Background to the inquiry
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has had a long history of incidents
of reported abuse and harassment (including sexual abuse) within its ranks, and
related reviews and reforms. The contemporary relevance of these issues has
been highlighted by the recent announcement of action commenced against ADF
members who allegedly have been circulating inappropriate material.
Frequently these incidents have been related to ADF training
establishments or have involved junior members of the ADF. For example, in May 1970,
the Four Corners program covered the 'bastardisation scandal' at
the Royal Military College, Duntroon.
In particular, in 1998, the Department of Defence released the Grey Review,
a report concerning 'bastardisation' and sexual harassment at the Australian Defence
Force Academy (ADFA) conducted by a Defence official, Ms Bronwen Grey. The
Grey Review found that a high level of unacceptable behaviour was
occurring at ADFA, including sexual harassment and sexual offences.
The Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee has also
previously conducted inquiries which have addressed, or touched on, abuse and
sexual harassment in Defence. These inquiries have included:
- Inquiry into an equity and diversity health check in the Royal
Australian Navy - HMAS Success (September 2011);
- The effectiveness of Australia's military justice system (June
- Sexual Harassment in the Australian Defence Force (August
Events leading to the DLA Piper Review
In April 2011, media reports indicated that an incident had occurred at
ADFA where a first year female cadet was filmed without her consent having sex
with a male colleague and the footage sent via Skype to other cadets in a
Following the so-called 'Skype incident', the Minister for Defence, the
Hon Stephen Smith MP, (Minister) described the pursuit of disciplinary
proceedings against the female cadet by the management of ADFA in relation to other
matters as 'inappropriate, insensitive and wrong' and 'almost certainly faulty
in the law'.
The Commandant of ADFA, Commodore Bruce Kafer AM CSC, was subsequently directed
to take leave effective from April 2011.
On 11 April 2011, the Minister announced a range of reviews into Defence
culture generally and an inquiry into the 'Skype incident' in particular. These
- an inquiry, under Defence regulations, to be conducted by Mr Andrew Kirkham
QC, into the management of the 'Skype incident of March 2011' (Kirkham inquiry);
- a review of treatment of women at ADFA and the treatment of women
in the ADF and pathways for women into ADF leadership;
- a review into employment pathways for women in the Department of
- a review of the use alcohol in the ADF;
- a review of social media and Defence;
- a review of personal conduct of ADF personnel; and
- a review of management of incidents and complaints in Defence.
Further, the Minister noted that 'a large number of public and private
allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse' had been drawn to the attention
of his office. The Minister stated:
These allegations are of concern and must be dealt with
methodically and at arm's length from Defence. The Secretary of the Department
of Defence will engage an independent legal firm to review each allegation
raised to determine the most appropriate way for these complaints to be
addressed and whether further independent action is required to deal with any
Defence culture reviews
On 7 March 2012, the Minister released the outcomes of the Kirkham
inquiry. The Minister stated that the inquiry had found that neither the ADFA Commandant,
nor the Deputy Commandant, had made an error of judgement in their decision to
commence and conclude disciplinary proceedings against the female cadet. Nonetheless,
the Minister remained of the view that this was an error of judgement.
The Minister indicated that the inquiry report would not be publicly released.
Commodore Kafer subsequently resumed his position as Commandant ADFA.
Treatment of women at ADFA and in
The Review into the Treatment of Women at ADFA the Review into the
Treatment of Women in the ADF were both conducted by the Australian Human
Rights Commission, chaired by Ms Elizabeth Broderick, the Sex
The report of the Review of the Treatment of Women at ADFA made a large
number of recommendations. These included the establishment of an ADFA specific
'hotline' for cadets, staff and families to provide advice and referral and the
establishment of a database to record, track and manage complaints and
incidents of unacceptable conduct, including sexual harassment, abuse and
assault and sex discrimination.
The report of the Review into the Treatment of Women in the ADF also made
a large number of recommendations in relation to sexual abuse and harassment.
In particular, the report recommended the establishment of a dedicated Sexual
Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SEMPRO) 'to coordinate timely
responses, victim support, education, policy, practice and reporting for any
misconduct of a sexual nature, including sexual harassment and sexual abuse in
The report also recommended the ADF should investigate mechanisms to allow
members to make confidential (restricted) reports of sexual abuse to SEMPRO.
Review of the Personal Conduct of
The Review of Personal Conduct was undertaken by Major General CW Orme
AM, CSC. The report, titled 'Beyond Compliance: Professionalism, Trust and
Capability in the Australian Profession of Arms' was completed on 3 August 2011.
The recommendations of the review centred on the promotion of 'the Australian
profession of arms' framework of values within the ADF. Other recommendations
included: continuing initiatives to improve avenues for members to report
concerns, improved programs of socialisation; a strategic communication
program; and appropriate research to inform policy development.
Use of Alcohol in the ADF
The Review on the Use of Alcohol in the ADF was undertaken by an
Independent Advisory Panel on Alcohol, chaired by Professor Margaret Hamilton
AO, and completed on 19 August 2011. While the Panel did not explicitly address
the relationship between alcohol and abuse in the ADF, it did note that while
the ADF is a highly safety focused and discipline based organisation, 'it is
not immune to alcohol related transgressions by its members'.
Social media and the ADF
The Review of Social Media and Defence was undertaken by George Patterson
Y&R. It found that Defence is in a similar position to other organisations
dealing with social media and there is 'no evidence of systemic abuse by
Defence personnel in their official or unofficial use of social media'.
It made a number of recommendations including a unified social media strategy,
a review of policies and training in relation to social media and developing a
social media crisis management plan.
Review of the Management of Incidents
The Review of the Management of Incidents and Complaints in Defence
including Civil and Military Jurisdiction was undertaken by the Inspector-General
of the ADF (Inspector-General ADF), Mr Geoff Earley AM, and completed on 6 September 2011.
The review report made 38 recommendations which, in particular, highlighted a
number of inconsistencies in Defence policy documents regarding the management
of incidents and complaints. The recommendations included that:
- greater use of alternative dispute resolution across Defence
should be encouraged;
- DI(G) PERS 35-3 Management and Reporting of Unacceptable
Behaviour and DI(G) 35-4 Management and Reporting of Sexual Offences should
be reviewed to clarify the administrative action that may be taken when
disciplinary action is pending;
- Defence's administrative policies should be amended to allow for
administrative suspension from duty;
- the ADF should not adopt restricted reporting (whereby a victim
can report abuse outside of the chain of command and access support services,
but an investigation is not triggered without the consent of the victim);
- case officers to support complainants and respondents should be
appointed in all cases;
- policy on management of unacceptable behaviour and sexual offences
should be combined in a single policy document; and
privacy law exemptions should be made to enable outcomes of
discipline and administrative proceedings with names redacted to be made
available to Defence personnel to ensure the transparency of military justice
The DLA Piper Review
Conduct of the DLA Piper Review
While the Review has come to be known as the 'DLA Piper Review', Volume 1
of the report notes that the 'Review leaders were to provide a report based on
their own findings and they did not represent the law firm with which they were
The Department selected Dr Gary Rumble, a partner with law firm DLA Phillip
Fox (later to become DLA Piper), one of Defence's panel of legal services
providers, as a suitable person to lead the review. Professor Dennis Pearce AO
(formerly the Defence Force Ombudsman between 1988 and 1990) and Ms Melanie McKean
(both, at that time, also associated with DLA Phillip Fox) were appointed
joint leaders of the Review with Dr Rumble.
All three leaders of the DLA Piper Review moved to another law firm, HWL
Ebsworth, during the course of the Review.
Following concerns raised regarding the independence of DLA Piper as a
provider of legal services to Defence, the Review released a statement on
21 June 2011 which clarified that the report 'will contain and will
only contain assessments, conclusions and recommendations of the Review
The Minister expects the Review [members] to provide our own
honest assessment and recommendations, regardless of whether or not doing so
may involve criticism of aspects of Defence's response to allegations.
The Review members would not be participating in the Review
if we thought it was a sham.
Terms of Reference
The Terms of Reference were notified to the DLA Piper Review team by the
Minister's office on 21 June 2011. The Terms of Reference of the Review are
extracted at Appendix 4. The Terms of Reference directed that the Review
would be conducted in two phases and that DLA Piper had been engaged by the
Secretary of Defence to conduct Phase 1:
The Review will consider all relevant allegations, whether
referred from the Minister's Office, raised in the media or coming directly to
the Review which have been or are made in the period 01 April – 17 June 2011...
Phase 1 will review all allegations of sexual or other abuse
and any related matter to make an initial assessment of whether the matters
alleged have been appropriately managed and to recommend further action to the
Phase 1 will also report on whether Phase 1 has identified
any particular systemic issues that will require further investigation in Phase
Phase 2 is expected to provide oversight of Defence's
implementation of Phase 1.
Phase 2 will also review Defence's processes for assessing,
investigating and responding to allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse
to consider with any systemic issues identified in Phase 1 and any other
systemic issues and to make appropriate recommendations about all systemic
issues that have been identified.
The DLA Piper Volume 1 report noted that following the announcement of
the Review via an internal Defence publication on 10 May 2011 the rate of
communications to the Review was 'initially slow'.
After [Defence] organised print-media advertisements, towards
the end of May 2011, there was a clear increase in the number of people
contacting the Review. In the beginning of June 2011, as the date for making
allegations to the Review was approaching, the number of persons contacting the
Review continued at a steady level.
A report by the ABC's Four Corners program on abuse in Defence titled
'Culture of Silence' on 13 June 2011 significantly increased the number of
persons raising matters with the DLA Piper Review. Approximately 550
communications came to the Review in the four days following the broadcast.
Review reports and releases
On 25 August 2011, the Minister announced the reporting date of the DLA Piper
Review would be extended to 30 September 2011.
On 11 October 2011, the Minister received Volume 1 (General Findings and
Recommendations) of the DLA Piper Review report and the first tranche of Volume 2
(Individual Allegations). On 7 March 2012, the Minister released an extract of
the Executive Summary of Volume 1.
A Supplement to Volume 1, was delivered to the Minister in April 2012.
The Supplement to Volume 1 added to, and updated, the recommendations and
findings of the original Volume 1 report. The Supplement to Volume 1 was
prepared only by Dr Rumble and Ms McKean, as Professor Pearce had
withdrawn from the Review due to ill-health.
An updated Volume 2 report was also provided in April 2012, which was a
consolidated report dealing with all the individual allegations before the
On 14 June 2012, under Freedom of Information provisions, the complete
and un-redacted Executive Summary of Volume 1 was released. On 10 July 2012,
the Minister released all of the Volume 1 report of the DLA Piper Review,
subject to a small range of redactions.
At the Budget Estimates hearing in May 2012, the Department of Defence
indicated that $9.9 million had been expended on the DLA Piper Review for 'over
27,000 hours of activity'.
At the October 2012 Supplementary Estimates hearing, the Department of Defence
indicated this expenditure had increased to $10.49 million. It also noted that
DLA Piper continued to provide on-going services in relation to the Review.
On 3 June 2013, Defence indicated that about $11.3 million had been expended on
the DLA Piper Review.
DLA Piper Review—Volume 1
Volume 1 of the DLA Piper Review report contained 10 recommendations, 23 issues,
and 29 findings. The concluding remarks of Volume 1 also called on the ADF, the
Australian Government and the Parliament 'to give proactive support to those in
the ADF who have the courage to stand up for what is right when other in the
ADF do, or have done wrong'.
For convenience, the issues and findings identified in Volume 1 can be
grouped into a number of key themes including that:
- ADF environments typically have factors which indicate a high
risk of abuse;
- a substantial number of persons suffered abuse in the ADF or
experienced inadequate Defence management of abuse allegations;
- a substantial number of boys and young people have suffered
abuse, including serious sexual and other physical abuse in the past;
- those who suffered abuse in ADF may have later participated in
inflicting abuse on others;
the ADF and the Australian Government have in the past failed to
take steps to protect those vulnerable to abuse;
- many perpetrators of abuse, or those responsible for the
mismanagement of allegations of abuse, have not been identified, called to
account or rehabilitated and these persons may have advanced to more senior
positions in the ADF (creating serious risks);
- the victims of abuse in the ADF may be at risk of suffering
mental health, substance abuse and associated physical health and employment
problems, and these victims may need counselling and other assistance;
- Phase 2 of the Review should examine improvements which could be
made to the mechanisms which track and record unacceptable behaviour in the ADF
to enable commanders to identify and manage potential serial perpetrators;
- Phase 2 should examine relevant Defence Instructions (General)
and other aspects of ADF procedures in responding to allegation of sexual
offence to allow appropriate use of administrative action by commanders;
- the culture of the ADF discourages the reporting of abuse and a
substantial number of victims of abuse have not reported abuse they may have
- Phase 2 of the Review should consider changes to procedures for
Defence procedures for responding to allegations of abuse and to assist victims
- Phase 2 should consider Defence's response to review of the ADF Investigative
Service (ADFIS) and the retention of personnel in ADFIS to ensure skills in
management of abuse allegations are maintained.
The recommendations made by in Volume 1 included that:
- further information should be considered and reported on in a
supplementary report to the Minister and Secretary;
- Phase 2 of the Review should undertake discussion with Defence
regarding the clarification or amendment of Defence Instructions (General) –
Management and Reporting of Sexual Offences to permit administrative action
to be taken in respect of sexual offences;
- new Defence Instructions should be considered to direct relevant
Commanding Officers to consider taking administrative action even if incident
has been reported to civilian police;
- relevant Defence Instructions should be redrafted to provide
simpler advice and guidance to management regarding sexual offences and
- if a new complaint resolution scheme is established, it should
not be limited to those who contacted the Review and allegations in Volume 2
should be reassessed;
further investigations made during Phase 2 should be conducted by
an external review body similar to that which conducted Phase 1;
- a capped compensation scheme for the victims of abuse within
Defence should be considered;
- a framework of private facilitated meetings between victims,
perpetrators and witnesses of abuse with Defence should be considered;
- the special counselling and health services in place for the
duration of the Review be extended to Phase 2 while a plan for providing health
services to victims of abuse is prepared.
Finally, Volume 1 of the report recommended that a suite of options be
adopted to afford reparations to persons affected by abuse in Defence
- public apologies/acknowledgements;
- a capped compensation scheme;
- facilitated meetings between victims and perpetrators; and
- provision of health services and counselling.
Previous incidents of serious
sexual offences at ADFA
A particular area of concern for the Review was information regarding
the investigations by Lieutenant Colonel Northwood during the period of the Grey
inquiry of ADFA. The Review noted that this material, which was accessed late
in the Review process, had affected their consideration of appropriate action
for Phase 2.
The Review noted that that Lieutenant Colonel Northwood had 'identified
around 24 cases of rape at ADFA in the late 1990s'. The Review raised the issue
that it was possible that 'male cadets who raped female cadets at ADFA...and
other cadets who...did not intervene may now be in 'middle' to 'senior'
management positions in the ADF'. The Review noted these possibilities 'carry
serious risks for the ADF'.
The Review raised the issue that Phase 2 should consider the possibly of
establishing a Royal Commission to clarify whether persons suspected of having
committed rape (or those who did not intervene) were still in the ADF and 'if
so, how to deal with that situation'.
DLA Piper Review—Supplement to Volume 1
The Supplement to Volume 1 report contained five additional
recommendations (replacing one recommendation made in Volume 1), 12 additional
issues and 9 additional findings. The findings of the Supplement to Volume
1 confirmed the original findings made in Volume 1.
The additional recommendations made in the Supplement included that:
- further information received regarding allegations not be
considered until Phase 2 commences;
- the findings and issues in Volume 1 be taken into account in
Defence's Pathways to Change strategy;
- concerns raised in Volume 1 regarding taking administrative
action after an allegation of sexual assault be drawn to the attention of the
Inspector-General ADF, the Directorate of Rights and Responsibilities and
others reviewing relevant Defence Instructions (General);
the formulation of personal and general apologies should take
into account criteria for formal apologies set out previously by the Law
Commission of Canada and the Senate Community Affairs Committee; and
- for each personal apology recommendation which is accepted, a
representative of the Service Chief should liaise with individuals regarding
details of the apology.
The Supplement to Volume 1 highlighted the difficulties of the Review in
accessing Defence file material and ADFIS material, noting this had
'significantly delayed' the Review's initial assessment of allegations in
A number of other issues were raised in the Supplement to Volume 1 for
consideration in Phase 2 of the Review including:
- improved access to reports of administrative inquiries;
- Defence systems for tracking and responding to media allegations
of abuse with the ADF;
- arrangements between Defence and Department of Veterans' Affairs
(DVA) about abuse in the ADF;
- consultation with DVA regarding its role in informing and
contacting those person who may be eligible for benefits;
- options for increased liaison with DVA and additional roles for
reform of spent convictions legislation to add recruitment into the
ADF to existing exclusions.
The Supplement to Volume 1 also expanded the findings of the Review in
relation to possible incidents of rape or indecent assault at ADFA and the
possibility that perpetrators (or witnesses who did not intervene) may now be
'middle' to 'senior' management in the ADF. Issue S1 suggested that Phase 2 of
the Review should consider the possibility of a 'Royal Commission or Court of
Inquiry' into whether those persons identified by Lieutenant Colonel Northwood
and 'any other Cadets who engaged in similar conduct at ADFA in the years
preceding the Grey report' are still in the ADF and, if so, how to deal with
The Supplement to Volume 1 also contained assessments made by the DLA Piper
Review of the allegations raised by the five former defence members featured in
the Four Corners report 'Culture of Silence'.
This Appendix was redacted in the publicly released Supplement to Volume 1.
The full list of the recommendations, issues and findings made in both
Volume 1 report and the Supplement to Volume 1 report are extracted at Appendix 5.
DLA Piper Review—Volume 2
Volume 2 contained the Review's preliminary assessments of, and
recommendations in respect of, each allegation received by the Review. While
Volume 2 has not been publicly released by the Minister, the Supplement to
Volume 1 contained information about the structure and format of its contents. It
outlined that that Volume 2 contains:
- assessments of 1,095 allegations of abuse raised by 775
- 494 Fairness and Resolution Branch database matters; and
- 49 ADFIS matters.
The committee also received evidence during the inquiry that Volume 2
- 23 Parts - large ring-binder folders - containing the Review's initial
assessments and recommendations on around 1100 specific allegations from 775
sources (including the Four Corners—Culture of Silence program
- three Parts reporting on 494 Fairness and Resolution Branch
- one Part dealing with 49 ADFIS matters; and
- folders of explanatory material.
A number of other matters were considered by the Review but were
determined not to be within the terms of reference, or were matters which were
assessed as having been managed appropriately.
The Supplement to Volume 1 report included 'tallies' of the allegations contained
in Volume 2. For example, these tallies indicated that:
- 40% of the subjects of abuse were female;
- 18% of the subjects of abuse were under the age of 18;
- the largest portion (39%) of the subjects of abuse were in the
Army at the time of the alleged incident, while the smallest portion was in the
Australian Public Service (6%);
- ADFA (5.7%), HMAS Cerberus (5.3%), Kapooka (4.9%) and RMC
Duntroon (3.8%) were the four of the most frequent locations for alleged
incidents of abuse;
- 80.8% of allegations were assessed as 'plausible', 0.6% of
allegations were not assessed as plausible and no finding was made for 18.6% of
- 58.3% of allegations were identified as having been managed by
- of those allegations managed by Defence, in 4.5% of cases the
management of allegations was appropriate, in 21.2% of cases the management of
allegations was not appropriate and 74% of cases the management of allegations
required further investigation; and
- 61.6% of the Review's recommendations recommended further
external investigation during Phase 2 of the Review; 23.9% recommended internal
referral - in the majority of cases to single Service Chiefs and apology. Only
3 incidents (0.2 %) were referred for external review for further action. For
14.3% of incidents the Review recommended no further action.
The report emphasised that the DLA Piper Review had only carried out an
initial assessment of specific allegations, and accordingly has not found as
fact that any one of the allegations of abuse received by the Review has been
made out. The Review considered that a 'substantial' number of former and
current ADF personnel had not reported abuse which they suffered in the ADF.
The Supplement to Volume 1 stated that 'approximately 100 [Assessment
Worksheets]' included a recommendation that:
The 'circumstances of the alleged abuse suggest strongly that
the alleged perpetrator(s) might have been serial perpetrator(s)'. The matter
should be referred to the ADFIS and Service Chief for consideration on that
Many Assessment Worksheets in Volume 2 had a recommendation that
allegations be referred to the ADFIS for possible action under the Defence
Force Disciple Act 1982 and/or referral by ADFIS to civilian police.
Australian Government response to DLA Piper report
Context to the response—Pathway to
Following the reports of the Defence cultural reviews, Defence released
a strategy document titled Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture: A
Strategy for Cultural Change and Reinforcement (Pathway to Change) in March
2012. This strategy document outlined that Defence agreed, or
agreed-in-principle, to all of the recommendations made in the reviews into
In the Pathway to Change strategy, Defence committed to implementing
actions in six areas: leadership and accountability, values and behaviour,
right from the start; practical measures; corrective processes; structure and
support. The members of the Secretary and CDF Advisory Committee were nominated
as leading these 'key levers for change'. While the Pathway to Change strategy
noted that implementation 'will commence immediately', it acknowledged that
'substantial change in our culture will take some years'–suggesting five years
as the 'likely time for cultural effect' in some areas.
While the Pathway to Change document did not refer to the findings of
the DLA Piper Review, the Supplement to Volume 1 stated that the
recommendations of DLA Piper Review 'will positively support the cultural
changes that [the Secretary of Defence] and the CDF have identified in the
Pathway to Change strategy as being "cultural changes that [Defence] must
make if we are to continue to mature and evolve as an institution and as a
community of professionals"'.
Following receipt of Volume 1 of the DLA Piper Review report, the
Minister stated that the report's findings and recommendations 'will now be considered
and dealt with carefully and methodically'.
He also noted that this included 'a full opportunity for Defence to carefully
consider and respond in relation to the Review report'. Further:
Defence's response to the systemic issues identified in the
Review will be based on Defence's 'Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture'
document, released by the Secretary of the Chief of the Defence Force in March
On 17 October 2012, a media report indicated that the Minister was examining
the establishment of a judicial inquiry or royal commission. The Minister was
reported as stating:
I am looking in a very focused way at the potential for a
royal commission or a judicial inquiry into limited aspects and the DLA Piper
report itself draws attention to a couple of areas where there was both
inappropriate conduct and systemic failure.
The government's response
On 26 November 2012, the Minister for Defence, the Hon Stephen Smith MP,
announced the government's response to the DLA Piper Review report. A table of
the government's response to the DLA Piper Review recommendations is at Appendix
6. The components of government's response included:
- an apology in Parliament (delivered by the Minister for Defence
on 26 November 2012);
- a telephone hotline (1800 424 991) for anyone wishing to find out
more about the proposed arrangements or report new information; and
- a Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (also referred to as DART),
headed by the Hon Len Roberts-Smith QC, to assess individual allegations
made to DLA Piper, and any additional allegations made before 11 April
2011, and work with those who have made allegations to determine an appropriate
response in individual cases. These responses may include:
- possible restorative justice/conferencing processes where a
victim and alleged perpetrator are brought together in a facilitated process;
- referral to counselling;
determination of compensation (capped at $50,000);
- referral of appropriate matters to police for formal criminal
investigation and assessment for prosecution; and
- referral of appropriate matters for disposition by the military
The Minister for Defence noted that the Taskforce would be based in the
Attorney-General's Department and '[a]ll the costs of this exercise will be met
from within the Defence budget'. He explained:
In the end, when there is inappropriate conduct in an
institution, whether it's an agency, a department or an institution outside of
Government, in the end, there's a price to pay, and that will be part of the
price which Defence has to pay for inappropriate conduct in the past, but, more
importantly, with the steps we're putting in place, we want to get zero
tolerance and appropriate conduct into the future, and we'll manage that in the
same way that we manage other Defence budget issues.
The Minister for Defence also announced the government's response to the
Review of Treatment of Women in the ADF conducted by the Sex
Discrimination Commissioner, Ms Elizabeth Broderick, and provided an update on
the Defence cultural reform program, Pathway to Change. In particular,
this included accepting recommendations for the establishment of a dedicated
Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SEMPRO). The implementation
of restricted reporting (allowing defence personnel to make confidential
reports of sexual harassment, discrimination or abuse), and the introduction of
waivers for Initial Minimum Provision of Service and Return of Service
Obligations for victims of sexual assault/ harassment (to allow them to discharge
from the ADF expeditiously and without financial penalty).
The Minister for Defence stated that to 'ensure that ongoing
implementation of these essential reforms receives the highest levels of
oversight, the Minister for Defence will on an annual basis provide a report to
the Parliament on Defence's implementation of the reform program'.
The Minister later announced that the first annual report on Defence's
implementation of the cultural reform program under the Pathway to Change
strategy would be provided in June 2013.
On 26 November 2012, the CDF, General David Hurley also made an apology
to those who had suffered sexual, physical or mental abuse while serving in the
Accepting that the rigors of training in the Army, Navy and
Air Force will be tough and demanding every ADF member must be able to pursue
their aspirations in an environment free from physical, mental and sexual abuse
in accordance with the ADF's values and associated behaviours.
The allegations received through the DLA Piper review process
demonstrate that the ADF has not always provided such an environment. That it
hasn't done so is evident in alleged incidents of sexual, physical and mental
abuse... I, as the head of the ADF, recognise the suffering that some have
experienced. On behalf of the ADF, I say that I am sorry to those who have
suffered sexual, physical or mental abuse while serving in the ADF.
Defence Abuse Response Taskforce
The terms of reference for the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, signed
by the Minister for Defence and the Attorney-General, were released on 21
The Taskforce is to:
(i) assess the findings of the DLA Piper review and the
material gathered by that review, and any additional material available to the
Taskforce concerning complaints of sexual and other forms of abuse by Defence
personnel alleged to have occurred prior to 11 April 2011, the date of the
announcement of the DLA Piper Review;
(ii) include in this assessment the 24 Australian Defence
Force Academy (ADFA) cases noted by DLA Piper and the cases of abuse identified
by reports into physical violence and bullying at HMAS Leeuwin, and whether the
alleged victims, perpetrators and witnesses in relation to these cases remain
(iii) determine, in close consultation with those who have
made complaints, appropriate actions in response to those complaints;
(iv) will also, as appropriate, gather additional
information relevant to consideration of the handling of particular allegations
eg relevant records held by Defence;
(v) take account of the rights and interests of alleged
victims, accused persons and other parties;
(vi) liaise with the Minister for Defence, Chief of the
Defence Force and the Secretary of the Department of Defence on any
implications of its work for Defence's 'Pathway to Change' and other responses
to the series of reviews into Defence culture and practices in particular the
work done by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner into the Australian Defence
Force (ADF) and ADFA;
(vii) report to the Attorney-General and Minister for
Defence every 3 months on its progress and issues arising, including
whether the funding it has been provided is adequate so as to enable the
Attorney General and Minister for Defence to report to Parliament as
(viii) report to the Attorney-General and Minister for
Defence by October 2013 on whether, in what form, the Taskforce should
continue in effect beyond the initial 12 month period and the funding that
would be required so as to enable the Attorney General and Minister for Defence
to report to Parliament as appropriate; and
(ix) to advise whether a Royal Commission would be merited
into any categories of allegation raised with the DLA Piper review or the
Taskforce, in particular the 24 ADFA cases.
On 14 March 2013, the Minister tabled in the Parliament the First
Interim Report of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce. The report
indicated the Taskforce had completed its 'Establishment phase' of constructing
the Taskforce, meeting with stakeholders and establishing practices and
processes and was moving to its 'Operational phase':
During this phase the Taskforce will conduct an initial
assessment of DLA Piper and other allegations of abuse and Defence mishandling
of reported allegations. Preliminary enquiries of plausible allegations will be
made, including obtaining further information and material from Defence and
In consultation with complainants, appropriate action will be
determined and where necessary appropriate allegations will be referred to
external agencies such as Police agencies, the Defence Force Ombudsman or other
With respect to the ADFA and HMAS Leeuwin cases, enquiries
will be made as to whether alleged victims, perpetrators or witnesses remain in
Defence. Where the circumstances so require, the Chair will make
recommendations to the CDF in relation to appropriate action he may wish to
The Taskforce Chair will also make recommendations for action
to the Minister for Defence, Secretary of Defence and CDF or other Service
Chiefs in Defence as appropriate in individual cases. Further, the Chair will
liaise with the Minister, Secretary and CDF on any implications for Pathway
To Change or other reviews.
The report also anticipated a 'Conclusion and Legacy phase' during which
the Taskforce would provide its final report to ministers, make recommendations
in relation to any outstanding matters and organise storage of the Taskforce's
The Minister announced that, on the advice of the Taskforce Chair, the
timeframe for the Taskforce would also be extended to the end of May 2014.
[T]he cut-off for the Taskforce accepting new allegations of
abuse that are alleged to have occurred prior to 11 April 2011 will be 31 May
this year, giving the Taskforce a full year in which to assess these
allegations and conclude its work. This announcement will ensure that people
who have experienced abuse prior to 11 April 2011 but who have not yet brought
their case forward have the time to consider doing so.
Once claims of abuse are processed and assessed by the Taskforce as
plausible and in scope, claimants will be offered a number of options,
- referral to police;
- referral to Defence for administrative or military justice
- restorative engagement;
- reparation payment; and
On 20 June 2013, the Minister made a statement on the Defence Abuse
Response Taskforce and provided his first annual report on the implementation
of the Pathway to Change Defence cultural reforms. In particular, the Minister
reported on the progress in implementing the recommendation of the Defence
As at 12 June 2013, a total of 108 of the Pathway to Change
Actions and Defence Review Recommendations have been finalised:
6 of 15 key actions have been completed;
82 of 160 recommendations have been completed; and
20 of 160 recommendations have been overtaken by subsequent
activities or reviews or have been addressed through other means.
It is expected that many of the remaining actions and
recommendations currently being implemented will be completed over the coming
The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce second interim report was also
tabled by the Minister on 20 June 2013. The Taskforce's second interim report
Up until the reporting deadline of 31 May 2013, the Taskforce
received a total of 3251 enquiries, which were received through DLA Piper, from
law firms or directly to the Taskforce. Approximately 331 complaints have been
identified as duplicates or multiple lodgements by the same person and approximately
510 have not provided consent for information to be passed to the Taskforce
As at 31 May 2013, it is estimated there are 2410 complaints
which will be assessed by the Taskforce. Of these, 1535 are new complaints
(post 26 November 2012) and 875 are complaints that the Taskforce has consent
to reassess, which came from DLA Piper....
More than 240 complaints were at various points of the
assessment process on 6 June 2013 and eight complaints had been provided to the
Reparation Payments Assessor for consideration.
Re-thinking systems of inquiry,
investigation, review and audit in Defence
On 8 November 2011, the Secretary of Defence and the CDF commissioned a
review of all investigation, inquiry, review and audit systems:
The objective of the review is to make recommendations
regarding the establishment of a system that is fair, timely, simple to
implement, provides whole of Defence outcomes and which takes into account
legislative requirements, with the initial step being to:
- summarise current structures, demonstrating key strengths
- outline the key factors that prevent quick, decisive, whole
of Defence outcomes; and
- identify the essential components of an optimal system for
On 12 November 2012, the then Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP,
announced that a Royal Commission into institutional child abuse would be
established. Following the announcement, the Acting Minister for Families, the
Hon Brendan O'Connor was asked if the Royal Commission's investigation would
include consideration of the abuse of Defence cadets. The Acting Minister noted
that 'there is an ongoing investigation into those matters' and that the terms
of reference of the Royal Commission would be determined 'before the year's
The Letters Patent of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to
Child Abuse do not appear to exclude those who suffered abuse in Defence
institutions when they were underage.
The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce reported it has commenced discussions
regarding establishing an information sharing protocol with the Royal
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