It is important that I place on the record my deep concern regarding the reporting over the last few weeks in both new and old media that discredits the conduct of members of the Royal Australian Navy in Border Protection operations.
There are few organisations in this land that are subjected to such relentless public scrutiny in almost every aspect of its business; this is a fact of life that Navy readily accepts as a national institution.
Similarly, there are few organisations that hold its people to such a high standard of personal conduct. Today’s Navy actively holds its people to account when they do not live up to the professional or personal standards that are required in serving this nation and its people. Our people are overwhelmingly supportive of this approach.
Ours is not a perfect organisation, nor are our people infallible, but Navy is prepared to acknowledge its faults, take action and fix them.
An important component of our system of Government is civil control of the military. Navy’s role as part of the Australian Defence Force is to safely execute the lawful direction of Government, our people know this. Our people also know that by serving as members of the ADF they forgo some of the freedoms that the rest of the nation enjoys. It is clear there are those who exploit this.
I am exceptionally proud of the men and women of our Navy, particularly the way they serve on operations. They serve at sea and ashore, at home and around the world, each and every day with great dignity and often with considerable courage. They have 113 years of heritage and tradition to uphold, over a century of unbroken and honourable service to the nation protecting our ability to trade and contributing to our prosperity and security.
This generation of men and women who wear the uniform are worthy of more respect than has been shown to them in the past few weeks.
Chief of Navy