Minister for Defence Stephen Smith – Reviews into ADFA, the ADF and Defence Culture


Reviews into the Australian Defence Force Academy, the Australian Defence Force and Defence Culture
Today I detail progress in the comprehensive cultural reviews within the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Defence organisation.
These comprehensive reviews were initiated following the raising of allegations of inappropriate conduct at the Australian Defence Force Academy on 5 April 2011.

A Steering Committee chaired by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force is coordinating the work of the reviews.

These reviews are in addition to the Inquiry into the Management of the ADFA Skype Incident of March 2011 and its aftermath led by Mr Andrew Kirkham QC.

Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Academy and Australian Defence Force

Ms Elizabeth Broderick, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, on behalf of the Australian Human Rights Commission, is leading an examination of the treatment of women at ADFA.

The other members of her panel are Dr Damian Powell, Principal of Janet Clarke Hall Residential College, Mr Mark Ney, former Assistant Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police and Ms Sam Mostyn, a corporate advisor and expert in cultural change programs in areas such as telecommunications, insurance and elite male sport.

The panel will also consider what further initiatives are required to drive cultural change in the treatment of women at the Academy.

In a second phase of her review, Ms Broderick and her panel will examine the effectiveness of current strategies recommended by the Australian Defence Force’s Women’s Action Plan, including implementation of these strategies across the ADF and measures and initiatives required to improve the pathways for increased representation of women into the senior ranks and leadership of the ADF.

Ms Broderick has released the Terms of Reference for the review (attached for ease of reference) and is working towards completing her task at the Defence Academy by July, and her second phase by the end of this year.

Independent Advisory Panel on Alcohol (IAPA)

Drinking and inappropriate behaviour often go hand in hand. The Independent Advisory Panel on Alcohol (IAPA) will oversee and review the outcomes of the ADF Alcohol Management Strategy including in relation to ADFA and consider the impact of alcohol in the ADF more broadly.

The objectives of this panel will be:

  • to advise the ADF on current organisational culture and individual attitudes towards alcohol;
  • to recommend evidence-based policy, strategies and programs to minimise alcohol-related harm and support cultural change within the ADF; and
  • to identify short, medium and long term goals that will support a sustainable ADF Alcohol Management Strategy.

The members of the IAPA are Professor Margaret Hamilton (Chair), an executive member of the Australian National Council on Drugs, Professor Steven Allsop and Associate Professor John Wiggers, who are both senior health promotion practitioners with extensive experience in alcohol-related research, and Commander Joint Health, Major General Paul Alexander. Professor Hamilton is scheduled to report at the end of July.

Social Media Use Review

The impact of social media has created new challenges for the ADF and the Defence organisation.

The review will examine Defence’s obligations in relation to the use of social media by its employees and the organisation, and make recommendations to mitigate associated risks and to harness opportunities to improve Defence’s work and reputation.

Mr Rob Hudson, from the external consulting company George Patterson Y & R, will lead a small team, with the aim of developing measures to ensure that the use of new technologies is consistent with Australian Defence Force and Defence values.

This review is scheduled to provide an interim report by the end of July.

Personal Conduct/Behaviour/Reputation Review Each member of the ADF, from the most junior cadet to the most senior officer, is a representative of Defence and our nation.

Major General Craig Orme, a senior, experienced Human Resources professional within Defence, will lead a review into the personal conduct of Australian Defence Force personnel, with a focus on assessing the Australian Defence Force’s codes of conduct and how behaviour matches them.

Major General Orme will review all policy and legislation that governs ADF conduct and identify opportunities to strengthen and clarify the obligations of ADF members to behave appropriately at all times.

The Personal Conduct review led by Major General Craig Orme will report in September.

Management of Complaints

It is essential that the ADF and Defence promotes and enforces the highest standards of behaviour and creates an environment where complaints can be aired and appropriately addressed.

The independent Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force, Mr Geoff Earley, is conducting a review of the management of incidents and complaints in Defence with specific reference to the treatment of victims, transparency of processes and the jurisdictional interface between military and civil law, which may lead to untimely decision making processes.

The Inspector-General ADF will provide an interim report on his review of the management of complaints in July.

Pathways for Women in APS Leadership

This review will examine pathways for women in the Australian Public Service (APS) in the Defence organisation and recommend methods to overcome cultural barriers, recommend methods to improve leadership representation rates of women in the Defence APS and recommend methods to improve progression outcomes for APS women within overall APS frameworks.

It will be led by the Deputy Public Service Commissioner, Ms Carmel McGregor.

Ms McGregor will report at the end of July.

Young Adults Development and Leadership Initiative Many of the challenges faced by young adults at ADFA are shared by other tertiary and youth organisations. This initiative by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force will develop effective responses to the challenge of leading and developing young adults undertaking tertiary education in residential environments which can be applied to both civil and military institutions.

Defence will engage with selected universities and appropriate residential colleges to identify the issues of greatest shared concern and to develop educational and training programs for both leadership teams and students to meet the challenges arising from them.

The initiative will be coordinated by the Australian Defence College and led by Rear Admiral James Goldrick, the Commander Australian Defence College.

Management of Allegations

The past month has seen a large number of public or private allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse drawn to the attention of my office, as well as to the attention of the Department of Defence and the media.

These allegations are being dealt with methodically and at arms length from Defence. Defence has engaged DLA Phillips Fox (now DLA Piper) as the independent legal firm to review each allegation raised.

The DLA Phillips Fox process will be ongoing until all matters raised have been assessed.

Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Academy and Australian Defence Force Terms of Reference

The Review Panel, led by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, will review, report and make recommendations on:

a. The treatment of women at the Australian Defence Force Academy with a particular focus on the adequacy and appropriateness of measures to: promote gender equality, ensure women’s safety, and to address and prevent sexual harassment and abuse, and sex discrimination;

b. Initiatives required to drive cultural change in the treatment of women at the Australian Defence Force Academy, including the adequacy and effectiveness of existing initiatives and of approaches to training, education, mentoring and development;

c. The effectiveness of the cultural change strategies recommended by the Chief of the Defence Force Women’s Reference Group in the Women’s Action Plan including the implementation of these strategies across the Australian Defence Force;

d. Measures and initiatives required to improve the pathways for increased representation of women into the senior ranks and leadership of the Australian Defence Force; and e. Any other matters the Panel considers appropriate that are incidental to the above terms of reference.

Additionally, 12 months after the release of the Panel’s report (the Report), a further independent Report will be prepared which:

  • audits the implementation of the recommendations in the Panel’s Report by the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Australian Defence Force more broadly; and
  • makes any further recommendations necessary to advance the treatment of women at the Australian Defence Force Academy and in the Australian Defence Force.

The Panel will consult widely in conducting the Review.
In preparing the Report the Panel may have regard to the evidence and available outcomes of the additional reviews announced by the Minister for Defence in April 2011.
The Panel may release interim reports addressing different elements of the terms of reference ahead of the completion of the Report.
Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Department of Defence: (02) 6127 1999

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

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