Statement from the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, DSC, AM.
9 March 2016
In 2015, two Australian Army members made complaints about the tone and language used by Major General Jeff Sengelman, DSC, AM, CSC, Special Operations Commander Australia, in a series of conversations, which occurred in May 2015. These conversations occurred in the context of normal workplace activity.
I can categorically confirm that there was no sexual harassment, and no proposition was made. To suggest otherwise is false, offensive and entirely misleading.
A complaint of this nature would ordinarily have been dealt with through workplace mediation. However, in light of Major General Sengelman’s rank, and his position as Commander of Special Operations, together with a desire for transparency and the principles of natural justice, I referred the matter to the Inspector General of the ADF.
The matter has been investigated. The investigation found that although it is likely that the remarks were made in jest, they were remarks that were unacceptable under Defence policy; in that those personnel who heard the comments perceived them as offensive. Importantly, the investigation further found that Major General Sengelman did not intend the comments to upset or cause offence to the two members.
Major General Sengelman has apologised to one of the complainants, and is in the process of apologising to the second, for any perception of offence he may have caused.
Major General Sengelman retains my confidence as he undertakes his role as Special Operations Commander, continuing to support and guide the special operations community through a period of continuous change and development.
All those who have been involved in this process are respected and valued members of the Australian Army and I appreciate their constructive participation in resolving this matter.
I consider this complaint to be satisfactorily resolved and the matter closed.