September 20th, 2014

Earlier today I addressed the media and through them the Australian public about ongoing investigations into a group of officers and NCOs whose conduct if proven has not only brought the Australian army into disrepute, but has let down every one of you, and all of those whose past service has won the respect of our nation.

There are limits to how much I can tell you because the investigations into this network by both the New South Wales police and the ADF Investigative Service are ongoing. But evidence collected to date has identified a group of men within our ranks who have allegedly produced highly inappropriate material demeaning women and distributed it across the internet and Defense’s email networks.

If this is true then the actions of these members is in direct contravention to every value the Australian Army stands for. By now, I assume you know my attitude to this type of conduct. I have stated categorically many times that the Army has to be an inclusive organization in which every soldier, man and women, is able to reach their full potential and is encouraged to do so. Those who think that it is okay to behave in a way that demeans or exploits their colleagues have no place in this Army.

Our service has been engaged in continuous operations since 1999, and in its longest war ever in Afghanistan. In all operations, female soldiers and officers have proven themselves worthy of the best traditions of the Australian Army. They are vital to us maintaining our capability now and into the future. If that does not suit you, then get out. You may find another employer where your attitude and behavior is acceptable, but I doubt it.

The same goes for those who think that toughness is built on humiliating others. Every one of us is responsible for the culture and reputation of our army and the environment in which we work. If you’ve become aware of every individual degrading another then show moral courage and take a stand against it. No-one has ever explained to me how the exploitation or degradation of others enhances capability or honors the traditions of the Australian Army.

I will be ruthless in ridding the Army of people who cannot live up to its values, and I need every one of you to support me in achieving this. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. That goes for all of us, but especially those who by their rank have a leadership role. If we are a great national institution, if we care about the legacy left to us by those who served before us, if we care about the legacy we leave to those who, in turn, will protect and secure Australia, then it is up to us to make a difference.

If you’re not up to it, find something else to do with your life. There is no place for you amongst this band of brothers and sisters.

—Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of Army, Australian Defense Force


  1. […] As Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of Army, Australian Defense Force, told us last year, The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. […]

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