In April 2011, following the so called ‘ADFA Skype incident’, the Minister for Defence announced a number of reviews and initiatives:
- A range of reviews to commence a far reaching cultural appraisal and ongoing change program for Defence. These are now complete, and copies of these reviews have now been made publicly available, together with Defence’s comprehensive response to the Reviews, “Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture”:
Defence and ADFA to increase cooperation with Australian Universities on the challenges facing higher educational institutions and residences in relation to student behaviour and cultures. Defence initiated the 'Linking with Universities Forum' in May 2011 which meets quarterly to discuss common themes associated with the personal and character development of the young men and women living in residential college environments.
The opening up of all roles in the ADF to women, including combat roles:
- the review of the use of alcohol in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), led by Professor Margaret Hamilton;
- the review of personal conduct of ADF personnel, led by Major General Craig Orme;
- an examination of the treatment of women at ADFA, led by Ms Elizabeth Broderick, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, on behalf of the Australian Human Rights Commission, and tabled in Parliament in November 2011 (Part Two of Ms Broderick’s Review, considering the treatment of women in the wider ADF, and pathways for women into leadership roles in the ADF is due later this year);
- the review of the management of incidents and complaints, by the Inspector General ADF, Mr Geoff Earley;
- the review of social media and Defence, led by Mr Rob Hudson; and
- the review of employment pathways for Australian Public Service women in the Department of Defence, led by Ms Carmel McGregor.
An Independent Inquiry into the management of the ADFA Skype Incident and its aftermath by Mr Andrew Kirkham QC (the Kirkham Inquiry):
- In September 2011, the Minister for Defence and the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon announced the Government had formally agreed to the removal of gender restrictions from Australian Defence Force combat roles.
- Defence and the Government are now finalising a comprehensive implementation plan for the integration of women into combat roles within five years. The implementation plan is due to be considered by the Government in the near future.
The engagement of the law firm DLA Piper by the then Secretary of the Department of Defence to review allegations of abuse (received in the aftermath of the ADFA Skype incident) methodically and at arm’s length from Defence:
- The Kirkham Inquiry is now complete and details made available today by the Minister and the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF).
- In October 2011, the Minister for Defence received Volume 1 (General Findings and Recommendations) and the first tranche of Volume 2 (Individual Allegations) of the Review’s Report.
- Redacted extracts from the Executive Summary and Findings of Volume 1 of the Report have now been made publicly available.
- The final report is expected this month.
Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Department of Defence: (02) 6127 1999