Today, two Defence Abuse Response Taskforce reports were tabled in Parliament - Report on Abuse in Defence, which provides an overview of the nature and extent of abuse in Defence detailed in complaints to the taskforce and the Report on Abuse at the Australian Defence Force Academy, which relates specifically to complaints of abuse at the Australian Defence Force Academy.
Defence accepts that the abuse described in these reports has had a profound impact on victims, and we will continue to work closely with the taskforce in considering appropriate responses to these difficult matters.
Although the contents of these reports are deeply disturbing, I want to emphasise that I have every confidence and trust in commanders and leaders across the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Our people continue to serve the nation with distinction, and the ADF continues to excel in a wide variety of operations at home and abroad because we prepare and conduct ourselves professionally.
I am also conscious that hundreds of thousands of Australians have served in the ADF over the past 70 years, mostly unaffected by abuse. However, we cannot ignore the significant suffering and damage that has been caused to some and the effect this has had on them and their families.
I believe we are making real progress on cultural change across Defence to become more fair, inclusive and respectful. I am confident that the vast majority of our people do respect our organisation’s values and expected behaviours.
The Taskforce’s report includes a recommendation that a Royal Commission is conducted into the abuse at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Any establishment of any Royal Commission is a decision for the Australian Government.
I remain focused on supporting all of our people, and I strongly encourage anyone with information on abuse to us the Report Abuse and Misconduct portal at http://www.defence.gov.au/ReportAbuse.
If you require support or counselling services, please access Defence’s support mechanisms available on the Defence Protected Network.
CDF's media release regarding Defence Abuse Response Taskforce reports can be found at http://news.defence.gov.au/2014/11/26/cdf-statement-regarding-defence-abuse-response-taskforce-report.