Australia — External legal review of allegations of abuse in Defence

The Min­is­ter for Defence, Stephen Smith MP, announced on 11 April 2011 an exter­nal legal review of the large num­ber of alle­ga­tions of sex­u­al or oth­er forms of abuse that have been raised since the recent Aus­tralian Defence Force Acad­e­my inci­dent.

The exter­nal legal review is being con­duct­ed by the law firm DLA Piper (for­mer­ly DLA Phillips Fox). The Review team is led by DLA Piper Spe­cial Coun­sel, Dr Gary Rum­ble, assist­ed by for­mer Com­mon­wealth Ombuds­man and DLA Piper Spe­cial Coun­sel, Pro­fes­sor Den­nis Pearce AO, and by part­ner Melanie McKean. 

The Review team will make an ini­tial legal assess­ment of all com­plaints and alle­ga­tions raised with the office of the Min­is­ter for Defence, the Depart­ment of Defence, or report­ed in the media since 1 April 2011 to put the Gov­ern­ment in a posi­tion to make fur­ther deci­sions about how to deal with these matters.

The Attor­ney General’s Depart­ment and the Ombudsman’s office sup­port this process.

Cur­rent and for­mer Defence per­son­nel (includ­ing mem­bers of the Aus­tralian Defence Force) may make or refer alle­ga­tions relat­ing to sex­u­al or oth­er forms of abuse in Defence to the review until 17 June 2011.

The Min­is­ter also requests com­mu­ni­ty asso­ci­a­tions and Aus­tralian media out­lets that may have been noti­fied of com­plaints or alle­ga­tions to pro­vide any infor­ma­tion about those mat­ters which they can reveal to the review by 17 June 2011.

To lodge an alle­ga­tion for review, con­tact DLA Piper on 1800 424 991 Mon­day to Fri­day between 2 pm and 9 pm (AEST) or email gary.a.rumble@dlaphillipsfox.com or melanie.c.mckean@dlaphillipsfox.com.

It is impor­tant that per­sons wish­ing to pro­vide infor­ma­tion on a con­fi­den­tial basis con­tact the review team before they sub­mit the infor­ma­tion to dis­cuss options for doing so.

Defence has estab­lished sup­port arrange­ments for peo­ple who are expe­ri­enc­ing dis­tress or oth­er­wise feel that they require emo­tion­al sup­port. Sup­port is avail­able to cur­rent and for­mer Aus­tralian Defence Force and Aus­tralian Pub­lic Ser­vice per­son­nel and their imme­di­ate fam­i­lies who raise or have raised alle­ga­tions with the exter­nal review team. Details of the rel­e­vant sup­port arrange­ments are avail­able from the DLA Piper team and through inter­nal Defence channels. 

This exter­nal legal review process will con­tin­ue until all mat­ters raised in the peri­od 1 April to 17 June 2011 have been assessed. 

Media Con­tact:
Defence Media Oper­a­tions: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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