Old clique desperately clinging to ‘boys club’

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Old clique desperately clinging to ‘boys club’


THE strident reaction of the military’s cheer squad to six reports released by Defence Minister Stephen Smith about the so-called Skype-sex scandal proves the point of the $12 million exercise.

The “boys’ club” culture must be changed if Defence wants to attract more women and live up to community expectations, but judging by its vocal supporters, there is a long way to go.

Rather than vilify the minister, former generals and lobbyists such as the Australian Defence Association would do well to check their own records.

Women cadets have been subject to misogyny at the Australian Defence Force Academy for decades, and male cadets at Duntroon have been bastardised since its doors opened.

If the full report does indeed find that ADFA boss Commodore Bruce Kafer should have foreseen the damage that proceeding with unrelated charges would cause to the female RAAF cadet at the centre of the scandal, then those calls should cease.

The attacks by the “old and bold” on a minister with a strong reform agenda are nothing new. The question is, do they reflect the views of serving military brass? The answer is almost certainly no.

The vital Defence cultural reform agenda is far too important to be hijacked by those who appear to regard the military as their private turf and who create the impression that they speak on its behalf.

In the wake of this week’s murder of 16 Afghan civilians by a rogue American soldier everyone from the minister and chief down have much more on their minds.

Leaders such as General David Hurley are more than capable of speaking for themselves and, like all well-trained military officers, he knows that he answers to the elected government of the day through the Defence Minister – full stop, end of story.


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