Damaging armed forces morale - why?
Wasn't it enough to reduce funding to the Armed Forces so that we are virtually defenceless? The government seems now determined to undermine morale in the defence forces. We had the case last year when SAS men were subject to an outrageous prosecution for doing no more than their duty in Afghanistan.
Now there's talk of a Royal commission into past abuse in the Armed Forces. So every day the media will be filled with detailed allegations before these are tested properly in a court of law.
We just learned that a firm of lawyers has produced a report for the government which says there are allegations of sexual and other abuse in the defence forces going back many years. Unsurprisingly, they say that compensation should be paid.
The lawyers had no power to compel witnesses neither to appear before them nor to produce documents. The allegations made have not been tested in court where the accused would have the important and crucial right of cross-examination. There was no jury to decide whether the claims were proven.
So why was such a report commissioned at great expense by the government?
It was because the defence Minister Stephen Smith was upset when a case of sexual abuse was reported that the Australian defence forces Academy. A female cadet was videoed while engaging in sexual intercourse with another cadet. When she became aware of this and the matter was being investigated, another case proceeded against her for some offence. The Minister was outraged by this and forced the commandant to stand down. He instituted multiple enquiries even about whether women should engage in combat operations.
What the commandant alone was found to be not at all improper and he was eventually reinstated without an apology it seems.
We're told that some of the alleged abusers now have high positions in the defence forces.
There is talk of a Royal commission where all sorts of allegations will be made daily and publicly.
If there were cases of abuse in the past, wouldn't the correct course of action be to refer the matter to the investigating authorities to determine whether a prosecution should take place.