On 14 May 2015 Chief of the Australian Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison retired after 36 years of military service.
My reason in mentioning this is that at a time when most people would probably sum up the Army in terms of Peter Sellers’ portrayal of Queen Victoria – “Join up and travel to distant and exotic places. Meet interesting and exciting people, and then kill them." – Morrison’s no-nonsense, non-sexist outlook was an inspiration.
Most notably in 2013 he gave a short speech in respect of an internet sex-ring in the Army that went by the name of the Jedi Council.
The speech may be heard and seen by clicking on the following link:
The text of the speech follows.
It is well worth reading again.
“Earlier today I addressed the media and through them and the Australian public about ongoing investigations in to a group of officers and NCO’s whose conduct, if proven, has not only brought the Australia Army into disrepute, but has let down everyone of you and all of those whose past service has won them the respect of our nation.
There are limits to how much I can tell you because the investigations into this network by both the NSW 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 on the internet and Defence's email networks. If this is true, then the actions of these members are in direct contravention to every value that 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 organisation in which every soldier, man and woman, 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. On 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 behaviour is acceptable, but I doubt it. The same goes to those who think 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 become aware of any 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 honours 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 everyone 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 have 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.”
– Chief of the Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison speech transcript.