ADF vs the Defence Minister and the Media

I’ve always maintained that the ALP do not like the ADF. They hate the officer system and spend most of their time in the treasury benches initiating inquiries that all seem to recommend less money while demanding the same service. As in they are currently demanding a $20 billion savings over then next decade in the defence budget.

This current mob appears to have an agenda to denigrate the military in any way they can. I heard on the ABC today that one of Defence Minister Smith’s inquisitions have identified 757 cases of sexual misconduct some of which occurred in the 1950s. The 1950s FFS! Who can remember anything sexual from that far back. I’ve got another one for them. In the 70s whilst the battalion were practicing for a parade the RSM said I looked like a kangaroo dog rooting a marble.

I think a lot of the 757 cases will be at about that level.. I did hear old mate Duncan Lewis (now Secretary of Defence), interviewed and he did say some of the cases are serious. I”m sure they are but hey, it looks like we are talking about 60 years of misconduct – that ain’t all that bad. Maybe a standard week at University’s ‘O’ weeks

Jack Waterford at the Canberra Times says Diggers need just a little slack;

WAS EVER so much nonsense spoken as when politicians, journalists and feminist and ethnic icons vie with ancient generals, clergymen and academics to condemn the latest evidences that our soldiers, sailors and air persons are profane, cynical and somewhat racist and sexist young men and women?

Read more …

As if all this wasn’t bad enough, Defence has been lumbered with Smith as Minister. His opinion of the military and procedural knowledge of same has been clearly shown to be lacking. He sacked Kafer, the Commandant of ADFA despite there being no evidence that he had acted incompetently or had made an error of judgement in the Skype/sex ADFA video.

The Smith initiated inquisition found no evidence of incompetence and yet Smith has sat on that report for three months and only now does Kafer get to sit in the Commandants chair at ADFA.

Smith doesn’t give up easy though “I remain of the view that this was an error of judgment,” he says even after reading the report that categorically said that Kafer did not make an error of judgement.

and this;

Asked if Commodore Kafer had his full confidence, Mr Smith sidestepped the question, saying he had full confidence in Australian Defence Force chief David Hurley and other defence leaders

Tosser! I can promise him that the ADF do not have any confidence in their minister.

….and Smith was mentioned as a potential PM – what is it with these people?

UPDATE:

Back of the envelope quick calculations by reader Harry Buttle indicate that;

[the ADF] sexual assault figures comes out at 5.3 per month per 80,000 persons, or to put it another way means that as a group, on this particular crime over the last 60 years, the military is in fact more than 5 x more law abiding than society in general.

No sexual assault is acceptable, but this looks like another hatchet job.

Read more

24 Responses to ADF vs the Defence Minister and the Media

  1. HRT says:

    I don’t know if it was a peculiarly RAAF expression of disgust but, I do remember the term “Dunce, Dickhead and Gecko Watcher” being applied by 9 Squadron pilots to individuals who failed to impress.

    I had thought until now that post Vietnam, the expression was applicable to Rudd, Swan, Tanner, Gillard, Ludwig, Conroy and numbers only. However, it is clear that Smith must now be included.

    Indeed, he may well have won the D,D and GW award in perpetuity.

    Fellow readers may care to comment.

  2. Cav says:

    Smith is so moralistic that if he was PM would he have sacked that naughty boy Craig or would he wait for, how long has it been now, over three years?

    • Kev says:

      Yeah – I intended to add a para about Thomson but forgot.

      How incongruous is it that Kafer gets the flick for doing his job well while it’s OK for Thomson to allegedly steal money from union funds for whores and cash advances.

      You have to hand it to the ALP – they set very low ethical standards and stick to them religiously.

  3. Harry Buttle says:

    As a matter of interest I did a few back of the envelope calculations and it turns out that over the last 60 years, the “plausible sexual assault” figures given equals one assault (if all are proven) aprox every month. The ADF currently has 80,000 members.

    ABS Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia, 2010
    In 2010, the Australian victimisation rates for selected person offence categories were:
    •Sexual assault, 79.5 victims per 100,000 persons

    which, if my math is correct, comes out at 5.3 per month per 80,000 persons, or to put it another way means that as a group, on this particular crime over the last 60 years, the military is in fact more than 5 x more law abiding than society in general.

    No sexual assault is acceptable, but this looks like another hatchet job.

    • kevin says:

      Like the ADA, the military and Bolt and Sheridan you think it is OK to humiliate a girl soldier.
      The enquiry took Kafer’s word against that of the girl. Some justice.
      Kafer tried to force her to recant and then punished her for refusing yet you defend this “man”[sic] as a fine example of officer.
      I got the impression that he was just irritated that she did not see it as an honour to put out for the boys.
      And no, I am not anti-military. I finished my service as a captain and did two tours of active duty.
      But I am anti abuse of power and failure to respect women.

      • Kev says:

        None of the people in your first line think it’s OK to humiliate a girl soldier – The animals who conducted the sexual abuse are out of the military and facing civil charges for what was a civil crime.

        Other charges she faced are just Orderly Room procedures for a misdemeanor not connected to the video streaming.

        Kafer tried to force her to recant and then punished her for refusing yet you defend this “man”[sic] as a fine example of officer.

        What’s your source for that? That is just a “I hate the Military” statement

        I got the impression that he was just irritated that she did not see it as an honour to put out for the boys.

        That’s rubbish and a biased opinion.

        You obviously have a problem with the military – you didn’t fit in very well did you?

        You seem to be finding problems that don’t exist. The girl went AWOL and was charged. Later she was filmed having consensual sex with a classmate and he and one other are paying for their heinous crime.

        What’s the problem?

        I’m anti abuse of power and there was none apparent in this case. I’m also against the failure to respect woman and in this case the only disrespect shown to the girl was by the bastard who took the video and then broadcast it.

        Kafer did his job.

      • Harry Buttle says:

        Odd, I don’t recall ever saying that it is OK to humiliate a ‘girl soldier’ (though she was neither, she in fact was a female officer cadet).

        Oh, so you’ve read the CLASSIFIED inquiry have you, feel free to share it with us.

        I hate to ruin your impression, but she was happy to, as you put it, “put out” for one of the boys (in spite of it being in contravention of military law), she just objected to being filmed by him and his dickhead mates.

        I don’t care what you actually did (v what you claim), you are a dickhead who can’t read and makes assumptions not based in fact, please prove me wrong by showing anywhere I have said it is ok to ‘humiliate’ a ‘girl soldier’ (not a term I’ve EVER heard a member of the military use BTW), or provide a copy of the CLASSIFIED report to which you claim to have full knowledge of the contents, knowledge that contradicts what the sad excuse for a Defence Minister was forced to acknowledge in public – that Kafer did no wrong and that he behaved correctly in all respects in this matter, your turn fuckwit.

        • kevin says:

          Interesting.
          All these professional ex-military who make a living out of being an “old digger” such as our foul-mouthed host, Gillett, support the rubbish in the military who behave improperly.
          And their idea of justice is to take the word of the person who has most to lose.

        • Harry Buttle says:

          Kevin, you have shown your normal standard of accuracy in accusing “Gillett” of being “foul-mouthed”, I (Harry Buttle) called you both a dickhead and a fuckwit, not Gillett, and I stand by both those descriptions.
          Moving right along, I note that you have chosen not to share your supposed knowledge of the CLASSIFIED report with us, is it because you jumped to conclusions?
          Full disclosure. I don’t “make a living” out of being an “old digger”, though if anyone wants to pay me for it get in touch.

  4. PeterW says:

    The comparison with O Week is quite apt. Similar age group, similar ‘first time away from home’ anxiety, similar unrestricted access to booze, similar rush for acceptance and forming of new friendships.

    There is one difference though. During recruit training the sexes are mostly kept apart and are constantly supervised whilst during O week the crackling sound reminiscent of desultory musket fire is the sound of hundreds of hymens belonging to drunken and / or drug affected young women being split by equally drunken and / or drug affected young men and / or women – sometimes with willing consent, sometimes not.

    When Smith was interviewed on ABC 7:30 after the report’s release he was skewered by the interviewer and looked as dodgy as his chronically truth challenged boss.

  5. John Van Krimpen says:

    At the time of the incident I thought the matters disciplinary were a hobson’s choice. Personally as a former military miscreant I backed the Commandant’s call to get it out of the way at the time, seeing the eventual penalty was the bottom end for the charges anyway.The Commandant acted entirely within his duty to the ADA and the Australian Military in general in separating both issues to their proper perspectives.

    Smith has behaved abominably in standing aside the Commandant on what was purely a leadership decision not intended to intimidate, especially seeing the female cadet had agreed to have it heard. The matter was not a ministerial intervention issue, you can’t summarily stand aside the Commandant for performing his duty who had already offered all support possible, this is legal double standards.

    That Smith defends his emotional and petulant behavior as a noble and a moral stand while standing silently as a senior cabinet Minister to the Craig Thomson affairs speaks to his own and others dubious moral standards.

    That this matter took 12 months on evidence that was available within days speaks volumes about his integrity and loyalty or lack of to his department and also the Australian people.

    As a group the military and ex military community have not been served well in the Skype incident by the Minister but well by the Commandant who acted with probity in a true sense of leadership and management.

    Do I think there are cover ups, there always are in every organisation. Should they be investigated, of course. But each on its merit and not as a witch hunt by left wing ideologues.

    What Labor has never understood is that the Military and ex Military are a microcosm in some ways of working and middle class Australia, that we are a collective who do not embrace ideology but pragmatism and practicality.

    The time lines indicate that both sides of politics were in control when these serious issues arose and were covered up if, they all were.

  6. John Van Krimpen says:

    Sorry for multiple postings Kev, but your forebearance if I may.

    For the life of me I cannot see another or better way of handling this serious criminal issue, than the way it was handled by Commodore Shafer. If there was another way I and all of the ex mil community are waiting to be amazed.

    Mil law is not Civilian law, two breaches were mil law infringements they were not minor matters. Both are what military professionalism is all about, safe working evironments. Absenteism as the Minister so incorrectly put it shows he is is so alien to his portfolio, that he mistakes a serious breach of duty for a political correct version of wagging. Duntroon is not Hogwarts academy, it is supposed to deliver the highest standard men and women the nation can avail of to lead other men and women in dangerous hostile environments and win as safely as they can.

    To her credit the cadet Kate pleaded guilty, no ifs no buts no maybes. I got solitary 7 days and 14 CB and fined about 2000 dollars in today’s money for the same offence.

    The issue of fraternisation in the military is as old as mankind itself, the video camera and skype was new.

    An apology is not necessary as the media would like, a simple statement to the effect that he was in error that the Commander Duntroon has his full confidence as do all officers senior who reappointed Commodore Shafer.

    An apology is not necessary a STATEMENT OF CONFIDENCE is required, Duntroon is not a political party branch.

  7. John Van Krimpen says:

    Typo: Keefer not skafer, must be the meds

    • Kev says:

      Kafer! and he’s Commandant of ADFA, not Duntroon. You’re showing your age (or lack of meds) but just the same your points are very relevant.

      You have summed it up well.

  8. 1735099 says:

    “I’ve always maintained that the ALP do not like the ADF.”
    Perhaps it’s the other way around – I’d love to see some polling on the topic.
    In a constitutional democracy the military is subject to the government of the day (of whatever persuasion). Whether the ADF likes or dislikes said government is neither here nor there.
    Over 50% of the population is female. The vast majority of them would take a dim view of anyone who included the prior misdemeanours of a victim of sexual abuse as a consideration in her treatment.
    The problem is, of course, that by-the-book, military justice probably does. That’s your point of departure.
    My guess is that Smith probably has an eye on that 50%.
    As a matter of interest, I wonder how many women post here?
    Any idea, Kev?

    • Kev says:

      Whether the ADF likes or dislikes said government is neither here nor there.

      Exactly! I was talking about the ALP not liking the military, not the other way round. I will point out,however, that the military, officers particularly, are a professional force and they are obliged to be apolitical; but talk them, soldier to soldier, and you will find very little love for the ALP

      The vast majority of them would take a dim view of anyone who included the prior misdemeanours of a victim of sexual abuse as a consideration in her treatment.

      I don’t get that. Nobody suggested that her prior case of AWOL was to be considered in the Sexual Abuse case. It was simply the case that she had a misdemeanor to answer to and I can’t see what that has to do with the latter case.

      So, if young Private Gillett goes AWOL and then gets punched by the Sergeant a week later is that supposed to make me innocent of the AWOL charge because I was subsequently abused?

      No law system, civil or military, works that way.

      Woman visiting this web site – no idea. I have no interest in being gender specific or appealing to one group or the other.

  9. 1735099 says:

    “Nobody suggested that her prior case of AWOL was to be considered in the Sexual Abuse case”
    Depends what you mean by “considered in”.
    Apparently barrister Andrew Kirkham, QC, who completed the final report, begs to differ –
    ‘Commodore Kafer could and should have foreseen that [disciplinary charges would be served on Kate] at a time when [she was receiving] medical treatment and had recently been advised of the Skype incident, and further that such service could cause her upset.’
    And -
    ‘The inquiry finds this failure unfortunate … such inquiries would have been a sensible and appropriate course of action.’
    These are extracts from a leaked copy of the report aired by Channel 10.
    To quote from the report on the SMH website -
    “Mr Kirkham’s report also found that Kate suffered unnecessary distress because of Commodore Kafer’s actions, and that he failed to inquire as to whether Kate wanted the disciplinary matter to be delayed.”
    I reckon Smith should release the whole report. The assumption is that he’s covering his backside by not doing so, but it’s just as possible that some high ranking military backsides are also being covered.
    See – http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/defence-minister-thrown-report-lifeline-20120308-1un8b.html

    As I said, the problem lies in the difference between the legal perception of the case as seen by jurists and lawyers, and the view of military justice held by soldiers.

    • Harry Buttle says:

      Good lord, causing an officer cadet “upset”, can’t have that when they break the law.

      Kafer may have foreseen “upset”, but it was his duty to enforce the law fairly, without fear or favour – funny that a QC doesn’t seem to get that.

      I’m interested, would the “not being caused upset rule” have applied to Pte Buttle, had he disobeyed a lawful command, and a week later attacked Cpl Butch and gotten a severe beating in the process?

      Just curious, given that the whole Skype affair only happened because she CHOSE to break another law by sleeping with the dirtbag.

      I’m quite sure that the good QC leans very heavily on the “not being caused upset” rule in court, I’m less convinced that it has ever proven effective for his clients.

  10. Kev says:

    Kevin,

    My idea of justice is to take the word of legal opinion and accept it.

    Making a living out of being a foul-mouthed “old digger”

    I don’t make a red cent out of this blog and I thought I kept my words fairly civil.

    Your logic is so scattered and your hatred of the military so vehement I find it difficult to believe you graduated from ADFA or RMC.

    If you did, something has gone terribly wrong since you threw your hat in the air on Grad parade

  11. John Van Krimpen says:

    Catch 22.

    I am so sick of this government and their leaking.

    Having said that and noting QC Kirkhams comments as a sop to the Minister.

    We all know Mil Law and one specific charge conduct prejudicial to the good order of Military discipline.

    Quote.http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/defence-minister-thrown-report-lifeline-20120308-1un8b.html

    ”Commodore Kafer could and should have foreseen that [disciplinary charges would be served on Kate] at a time when [she was receiving] medical treatment and had recently been advised of the Skype incident, and further that such service could cause her upset.”

    Mr Kirkham’s report also found that Kate suffered unnecessary distress because of Commodore Kafer’s actions, and that he failed to inquire as to whether Kate wanted the disciplinary matter to be delayed.

    This is a legal opinion, but anyone feels upset during a military hearing on conduct, even people like me who had at one time frequent flyer points. It’s a legal process after all with people’s futures on the line.

    I remember reading at the time, cadet Kate had been asked about delay of proceedings and had waived it. Its not up to the Commandant then to play pscychologist, its up to him to try the case. (Judge not defence not prosecution).

    Smith is playing games if he stands by his decision the Commandant is not the right bloke to lead Duntroon, he considers the risk too great he should man up and transfer the bloke, but how can he(Smith) seeing his disciplinary actions are wrong to date.

    So all he is doing is playing at catch 22 about his bad decision which was over a series of events that were hairy all over.

    I remember in my time, some people were labor some were liberal and most people in the Military could not give a toss about politicians in general.

    The ALP have never gotten over Vietnam, the Whitlam failed government and moved on. This mob all they know is the blame game.

    The Commandant as Judge presiding had a call to make, dealt with issues in perspectives, Cadet Kate got off light in sentencing on two serious conduct charges and the other matter referred to civilian control and no charges laid on her fraternity issues. That is the nub of this matter.

    The Commandant acted in the best interests of good order and military discipline, not on Cadet Kate’s behalf or the charging Officer’s behalf.

    It’s a mess because this government runs government by media appearance and not sensible process in due time necessary.

    Minister Smith does not get it, he is in charge of the Military Good order and Conduct of the ADF as well.

    Not legal counsel for any specific individual.

  12. John Van Krimpen says:

    Final comment, Smith is armchair quarter backing and this delegation is piss poor leadership. He should not delegate the Commandant’s reinstatement he takes the pay he makes decisions.

    Commander Duntroon is one of if not the most senior Hands on training Leadership roles in the entire ADF.

    Smith and Labor just do not get it.

  13. John Van Krimpen says:

    Miranda Devine comes in from a Women’s Liberation perspective. I don’t necessarily agree with her premise that it was not sexual assault.

    Read more

    Personally I think the skype thing was pretty bloody ordinary and if Cadet Kate was my daughter bloke might be wishing he never heard of my daughter or me. aside Capn Jack might order some plank walking yet.

    Miranda is then backed up by a Union rep in comments

    “It is tempting to think that political outrage at sexual harassment is just that – political. You yourself, Miranda, have highlighted the shocking case of the parliamentary employee locked out and sacked after she reported child sex allegations against her Labor Minister boss. No Labor politician, state or federal (and some were asked) cared a jot or spoke out about that shocking treatment of someone who did the right thing, innocently caught in a sex scandal of one of their own did they?

    Having started work in the 1960s I have personally experienced the kinds of real inequalities which prompted me to engage in the union movement to work for the rights of women at work. Inequalities existed in opportunity, for promotion and for training advancement, and in pay scales for traditionally female jobs. There was harassment, but it usually came in the form of men treating women like servants to do their bidding, any unwelcome sexual advances were dealt with in person, and if that didn’t work a higher authority would have been sought to sort it out, which was invariably by way of an effective talking to.

    In a country which has only just introduced paid maternity leave, a vital component of female employment opportunity, and something which most other advanced countries have had in place for decades, there seems to have been an inordinate amount of energy instead expended on what for much of the time is normal male/female behaviour. You are right, Miranda, the very mention of sexual harassment seems to engender hysteria of approach.

    I know a man who lost his job after a woman accused him of an awful crime, which consisted of asking her out for a drink. He was not allowed to know the identity of the complainant or the nature of the complaint, but was just bundled offsite. By the time it was discovered that the complaint was vexatious and motivated by a grievance which had arisen from professional jealousy, it was too late, he had been got rid of. This is against all legal principles and is a shocking result of just too much misguided political correctness.

    We are big girls now and shouldn’t need armies of lawyers and politicians to go into bat for our sensitivities, because it makes us look as weak as ever we were!”

    So Smith pleases no one, decent or professional, on female grievance issues as well as misconduct to the good order and military defence of the ADF.

  14. John Van Krimpen says:

    Follow up:
    Mike Carlton addresses bullshit criticisms of him by critics, he speaks from a former war correspondent’s point of view with a sneak peek at the final report in his arsenal perhaps. The man is left of centre and unashamedly so, not that there is anything wrong with that.

    Article:http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/top-brass-have-no-need-for-an-airbrush-20120316-1vabm.html#ixzz1pJOvSgnq

    The truth is a lot of these issues are admin issues. They are also legal issues and as such have boundaries, no employee is allowed press freedom less so the military with the national security aspects and so on. Cadet Kate was protected as a victim and the Cadet who reported the incident was protected not as a whistle blower but acted as how a witness to a crime should act.

    The system worked.

    I think a media review is definitely in order, not to stifle free speech, as people infer but to make free speech accountable to the the matters of truth and accuracy over gossips and selected half truths and partial stories disguised as leaks and whistle blows but all really political cover ups and the Walkley’s should not be awarded in the year the events occurred, as events so serious generally take longer than a year for full facts to emerge.

    The point is as free speech is a democratic principle but the larger the audience the more comprehensive and factual the information issued in said presntation of the free speech should be.

    Mr Smith caused angst with just about all of the military community serving and ex serving, he feels that being Minister of Defence, team leader of the most fair dinkum industrially professional an organisation the nation has is beneath him, poor diddums.

    The leaked preliminary report goes to a deceptive character trait, whose we don’t know.

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