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Stephen Smith denies allegations of Sex Abuse “cover up” in Defence Force

June 15, 2012

They’re “untested allegations” says Defence Minister Stephen Smith

  • Report details tales of sexual abuse, brutality
  • Perpetrators may still be serving officers
  • No evidence that abusers were called to account
  • Defence Minister denies cover-up

Defence Minister Stephen Smith has been accused of “sitting on his arse” after the ABC revealed the extent of physical, psychological and sexual abuse evidently rampant in the Australian Defence Force.

The ABC disclosed the contents of a government-initiated review into Defence abuse yesterday after it obtained a copy of the report under freedom of information laws.

The review conducted by law firm DLA Piper, investigated allegations of abuse from 775 defence force personnel.

The report concluded that the majority of complaints are “plausible” allegations of abuse, and further indicated that the perpetrators of abuse may now be serving in middle or senior positions within the ADF.

However, when the report was first handed to the Defence Minister in March, he chose to make public “selected extracts” of the executive summary only.

The summary says previous report findings and defence files show very little evidence perpetrators had been called to account.

Some three months later, Mr Smith is facing accusations that he has done little to prosecute charges against those accused of perpetrating abuse and soliciting others to engage in abusive conduct.

According to Defence spokesman David Johnston Mr Smith should have been considering compensating victims of abuse from day one.

According to the report, defence force personnel were faced with the choice to either “join in bashing and assaults on other young boys or young males or to continue to be the target of such abuse,” it says of one notorious defence base in Fremantle, HMAS Lueewin.

The bastardisation is thought to have extended to molestation, with the report drawing parallels with paedophiles ingratiating themselves into churches or orphanages to exploit young people.

“There is no reason to think that such people would not have targeted relevant parts of the ADF [Australian Defence Force],” the report says.

Mr Smith has denied that he has been covering up the extent of abuse in the military, saying that “untested allegations” had to be properly assessed.

In the meantime, it is certain that those responsible for such abuse continue to serve in the armed forces today.

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. JAWS permalink
    June 15, 2012 11:03 am

    I understand the Pope picked up the telephone to Stephen Smith this morning to thank him for keeping Reb off his back for the last few months.

  2. June 15, 2012 11:06 am

    LOL!

  3. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    June 15, 2012 11:21 am

    “untested allegations”

    Did Craig Thomson’s mates write his script?

  4. Ex ADF permalink
    June 15, 2012 12:44 pm

    Meanwhile the people who put in submissions have had no feedback as to wether their submissions were included. The reviewers are saying contact the Dept of Defence, the Dept of Defence are saying contact DLA Piper.

  5. June 15, 2012 1:14 pm

    Just call a Royal Commission and get on with it! Whenever bureaucracy is faced with a dilemma, it dithers!

  6. el gordo permalink
    June 15, 2012 1:31 pm

    A Royal Commission sounds good.

  7. TB Queensland permalink
    June 15, 2012 3:46 pm

    I’m still trying to find … “since 1950” … and no … that’s not a defence (don’t’cha luv puns) …

    … I might remind you all that, Stephen Smith, commissioned, (there’s another one!), this report … NO OTHER Defence Minister ever has …

    Did Craig Thomson’s mates write his script?

    As for this ignorant remark, some folk still don’t understand the meaning of evidence and the difficulty of collecting it …

    I guess, stupid is, as stupid does …

    I agree with a Royal Commission too …

    Let’s look at what we have so far, though … 775 “plausible” – ( Seeming reasonable or probable) “allegations” (A claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof) …

    Just to put that in perspective … in the time period we are talking about, 1950 to the present, over 300,000 National Servicemen have been members of the ADF … as for Regular soldiers that number must be around 1,000,000 (conservatively – it may be twice that number) … a total of 775 complaints (not proven) over 60 years … out of 1,300,000 people …

    Gets out the calculator …

    The Defence Force is not special but it’s made up of people from the civilian world … and some of them can’t make the grade and simply look for any reason to sink the boot in …

    What annoys me is the rah! rah! attitude against the 99% of ADF personnel simply doing a very professional job and protecting your arses …

  8. June 15, 2012 3:49 pm

    I guess a little bit of child abuse is ok then.

  9. JAWS permalink
    June 15, 2012 3:50 pm

    “……….and protecting your arses …”

    Isn’t that what this Thread is about ?

  10. June 15, 2012 3:57 pm

    ROFLMAO..

    Well not quite MAO..

  11. el gordo permalink
    June 15, 2012 4:05 pm

    I note that only TB and moi have voted yes in the TFR poll…

  12. June 15, 2012 5:28 pm

    I feel much safer when my arse is protected from things in another hemisphere that I’m supposed to be shittin’ me smallclothes about.

    Much, much safer.

    So very safe indeed.

  13. TB Queensland permalink
    June 16, 2012 4:00 pm

    I guess a little bit of child abuse is ok then.

    … uncalled for … how long have you been reading my posts?

    So very safe indeed.

    Small minds, small thoughts, small lives …

    I note that only TB and moi have voted yes in the TFR poll…

    I think you’ll find I didn’t vote at all, egg, I avoid ‘loaded” questions … you know what these Media Barons are like manipulating the truth … I think you’ll find that the ADF has always had a “zero tolerance” to any sex abuse … its individuals that are the perpetrators … if they are reported and to the right sources they are dealt with properly … the ADF is not the Catholic Church … but the Vatican will be pleased the spotlight is off them … mmm … strange that?

  14. June 16, 2012 4:49 pm

    Oh dear.

    Maybe, rather than having a small mind, I’m broad minded enough not to fall for overstated threats & some sense of compulsory reverence for a ‘defence’ force which is actually part of an ‘offensive occupation’?

    I don’t agree with your pedestalic view of national service, TB. I can’t see how that makes my thoughts or my life small.

    Nice try.

    If the intent was to instill in me some kind of gratitude to those I’ve never asked or expected to kill or be killed in my name…well, it didn’t work.

    This, I can agree with…

    “I think you’ll find that the ADF has always had a “zero tolerance” to any sex abuse … its individuals that are the perpetrators … if they are reported and to the right sources they are dealt with properly”

    🙂

  15. el gordo permalink
    June 16, 2012 5:16 pm

    My comprehension is low…TB didn’t vote in the poll on this sensitive ‘loaded question’ so only the boss and me voted in the affirmative?

  16. Ex ADF permalink
    June 16, 2012 5:21 pm

    The 775 is only those who have come forward in response to the DLA Piper Enquiry – the report also states that not all incidents of abuse were reported. In my experience in the ADF a lot of abuse went unreported, or in my own experience was reported and NOT acted on, in fact inflamed the abuse and protected the perpetrators. Witnesses too scared to come forward in case they also suffered the same. I was told as a woman I should expect that type of behaviour. I agree not everyone in the ADF is an abuser, or was abused but when it did happen it was handled badly. Yes bring on a Royal Commission and get the truth of the matter, and change the culture, protocols in place to rid our Defence Forces of any further scandal.

  17. June 16, 2012 11:07 pm

    “some sense of compulsory reverence”

    this is where I agree with the boss……..

  18. TB Queensland permalink
    June 17, 2012 9:20 am

    I was told as a woman I should expect that type of behaviour.

    How was your complaint dealt with?

    “some sense of compulsory reverence”

    Nothing “compulsory” (obviously, with current comments) and certainly not “reverence” no-one has said that other than HD, but then he does get a bit emotional over things military … and it would be wonderful if the ADF weren’t a necessary evil! Respect might be a bit better terminology …

    Other “minority” groups expect it why not decent serving ADF personnel ..? (personal views aside) …

  19. public toilet permalink
    June 17, 2012 10:14 am

    I’d have thought that resorting to calling me small minded with small thoughts & a small life was a far more emotional response.

    Fuck the martial reverence, noone is forcing current members to be where they are.

  20. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    June 17, 2012 11:41 am

    I thought the “little” comment was quite unfathomable. Quite contrary to the range of entertaining and intelligent comments from HD too.

  21. el gordo permalink
    June 17, 2012 12:18 pm

    Smith’s minders have to do something about the man’s hair… if they are serious about him becoming PM by Xmas. Julia is streaks ahead of him in this department.

  22. TB Queensland permalink
    June 17, 2012 4:05 pm

    I don’t agree with your pedestalic view of national service, TB. I can’t see how that makes my thoughts or my life small … Nice try

    I don’t see how you could possibly “agree” with my views on, NS, HD, wouldn’t expect you to …

    … my comment re … “small” referred to what I perceived by your comment as a limited view of the international role of the, ADF … nothing more nothing less …

    WTF … Is a “pedalistic view”, FFS?

    My “view” of, NS, is a personal one … not something I would wish on anyone (if that’s what you mean?) … I was abused in uniform in 1970 … but the abusers didn’t ask what I thought about Australia’s involvement in VN … they just abused the “concept” of “the military …” …more like their perception … (I just happened to be their target) …

    I have no need to, “nice try”, anything … (especially with you, HD 🙄 …) and I’ve shared enough posts with you on similar subjects to know where we both stand …

    If the intent was to instill in me some kind of gratitude to those I’ve never asked or expected to kill or be killed in my name…well, it didn’t work.

    I’ve never met a Digger yet who would expect any gratitude, never have, suspect I never will … they have no need … BTW, Diggers, don’t fight for Queen & Country (and especially not for you 😉 )… if you want to find out who they really fight for – ask anyone who’s actually been in a firefight … it may surprise you …

    Principles are fine … but practicality often offends people …

    My initial comments were not aimed at protecting any arseholes who sexually abused anyone, anywhere, in any walk of life … I would have thought that was pretty obvious …

    … and I agree with, Quite contrary to the range of entertaining and intelligent comments from HD too (and I might add, sreb)

    But occasionally even the most even handed of us express “principles”, ahead of practicality … I’m afraid the world rally IS a nasty place …

    I don’t like our troops being in Afghanistan … but I had a duscussion with three Diggers on Anzac Day who had just returned … they had been building schools and medical centres (RAEME, my old Corps and my son’s, do that sort of thing while we are “occupying” the “enemy” country … its still referred to as “hearts and minds” by some people) …

    … anyway … the biggest concern that these guys had ex-Afghanistan?

    That the ADF would be pulled out too early and the Taliban would simply move back in and destroy what had been built and the lifestyle that they had helped to improve … the little things … little girls can now go to school, women can now drive a car and apply for jobs, the people can vote, no Taliban “thought police” on the streets … so you see its not about “killing” people for Australia … its about helping others who are worse off than ourselves … and of course the Taliban don’t like not being in control … so they fight it, nastily … (and of course thare has been a marked reduction in terrorist attacks in Western cities) …

    … I wonder who we would have knocking on our door if we disbanded the ADF, or even if it wasn’t as well respected by other military professionals around the world (respect that they do value) …

    Fuck the martial reverence, noone is forcing current members to be where they are.

    I assume you read my comment @ 9:20 am … and above … no-one asks for it, no-one wants it …

    No-one asks emergency service personnel to be there, either … and they often get attacked doing their job trying to help people … but I’ve never seen any of them “ask” to be recognised … like ADF personnel they just get on with the job …

    … all I did was reply to a sarcastic remark made after my original post … I’ll leave it at that, nothing to prove, nothing expected …

    And, ToM, I’m pretty sure that my relationship with, HD, will stand the strain of agreeing to disagree from time to time … without your “help”* … 😉

    (Taking a leaf out of Tony’s book of wedges, I see) 😆

    Apologies for the long post …

  23. June 17, 2012 4:41 pm

    “I’m pretty sure that my relationship with, HD, will stand the strain of agreeing to disagree from time to time ”

    Of course, TB.

    I consider us to be friends, not adversaries.

    I generally consider someone that would be in furious agreement with me 100% of the time to be an arselicker. That you certainly aren’t…& I know myself well enough to expect that most people will find some of my less mainstream opinions ‘questionable’, if not confronting.
    It’s the differences that make us all unique & interesting, much of the time.

    “all I did was reply to a sarcastic remark made after my original post”

    Fair enough. In hindsight, my initial comment was particularly sarcy & made flippantly, in a hurry. I respect the choices of individuals. I tend to bristle when I feel like someone is insisting that I must pay homage (not that that’s what you were doing).

    I do know that the world can be an ugly place, btw. My view is just that our higher ups are very specific about which snippets of ugliness they use to provoke a ‘defensive’ response from us.

    On the sexual harassment issue, I think we’re on the same page.

  24. TB Queensland permalink
    June 17, 2012 5:18 pm

    Thanks, mate!

    Glad you feel that way … I don’t doubt for one moment our social values are pretty much the same …

  25. Ex ADF permalink
    June 17, 2012 5:32 pm

    “How did the hierarchy deal with” my complaint? The comment that I should expect to be assaulted WAS the response by the hierarchy in the unit. It was ignored by hierarchy outside of the unit, but we are talking early 80’s and that was the culture then, put up and shut up.

  26. TB Queensland permalink
    June 17, 2012 6:05 pm

    ExADF

    That’s what I suspected … 🙄

    I’d like to think that 20-30 years on the culture is a bit better than that, now … from my observations the Navy and ADFA has had the biggest “issues” and number of complaints (and that is purely personal observatiuon) …

    As you’ve no doubt read, I was a Nasho (’70-’71)… but my son served as an Army apprentice and, of course, then in RAEME – (Bougainville and 12 months E Timor 8 months with UN) … neither of us (to my knowledge!!!) experienced nor saw any sexual abuse …

    … we both began our careers as motor mechanics …

    He had a parachute accident on his 17 jump and was seriously injured (no assistance or compo) so we ended up in the AAT … and won …

    As a manager I was involved in three SH cases … two employment terminated on the spot and one charged with an offence and suspended from duty) … so I don’t take sexual abuse lightly …

    … one of the real problems with ALL management is that they are frightened to make decisions … as you will know … the ADF is no different …

    I hope that you had an overall positive experience, as a member, though?

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