Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
ABC News Breakfast -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) have a great weekend. You're watching 'ABC News Breakfast'.

The top story this morning,

the Federal Government may

order a Royal Commission into

further allegations of systemic

abuse in the defence force. An

independent review of the ADF

lists more than 800 complaints stretching right back to the

1950s. The worst allegations

involve recruits as young as

the age of 13. The report

obtained by the ABC's says

perpetrators could now be in

senior defence force

management. The Defence

Minister, Stephen Smith, says

Government is taking the

allegations very

seriously. Joining us now from

Perth is the Opposition's

defence spokesman Senator David

Johns son. Good morning to

you. Would you support a Royal

Commission. Good morning Michael. Look, that's a matter

for the government because bear

in mind they have seen the

length and breadth of what DLA

Piper have presented. Those

matters have not been released

publicly for us to really make

an informed comment. Can I say

the Minister has sat on this

material for more than 12

months now. There is payload

to Mars named there was

initially 7 70 odd. Now

there's more than 800

complainants. I'm very concerned that a Royal Commission would take a number

of years and cost an awful lot

of money and simply have these

people revisit the trauma that

thief been through. The

problem I think is that we've

got to expeditiously deal with

them. The only thing that I see

we can to is provide them

compensation? Mao would you bh

that at what level of

compensation should the

government be looking at? In

our society we have a number of organisations that are high hi

skilled in damages assessment.

I think we have to work through

the legitimate claims and the

lawyers have said there are 800

legitimate, credible, legitimate, credible, plausible

claims. I think that if we're

going to be serious about

dealing with these people, we

wouldn't be sitting around for

12 months without even telling

them they're on the list of

plausible claims, leaving them hanging like they have been

left. The Minister really has

to do something rather than

make media appearances and

wring his hands. I think we

need to engage the victims if

they're credible, we need to

see if they'll settle their

claims as if we were a

compensate try agency with skill in claims settlement and

work our way through these

expeditiously. We spoke to play lawyer Brian Briggs

representing a lot of those

victims half an hour ago. He

said many victims have come up

with an extremely cheap option

for the Government and that's a

poll lick apology for these

abuse claims that stretched

back decades. Would you

support something like that?

Absolutely. I'm gratitude

that most of them from what I

can tell want just an apology.

More power to them. Many of

them are not going to accept an

apology. They've been treated

appallingly. The Senate

inquiry in 2005 let everybody

know there was a huge issue

with military justice over a

long period of time. The

Minister's clearly brought all

these people to the surface. He now doesn't have a plan for

them. I think he's really got

to start concentrating on

working his way through this

problem. He's brought it up to

the top. These people have

revisited trauma. He's got to

deal with them expeditiously. We saw the immense symbolic effect that

the poll we dot total lend

generations had. Do you expect

a similar response to an

apology is one it forthcoming

regarding the defence force

allegations? I think that's

very much a part of it. The

longer we leave them hanging

the less credible and sincere

any such action would have. We

really to get the ball rolling

urgently. He has had these

things on his table for more

than 12 months. One of the

disturbing parts of this report

the ABC got hold of last night was the revelation that some of

the alleged perpetrators could

now be holding senior ranks in

the ADF. What do you think

about that? I think that's

very concerning. I think

that's an interm governance

issue that the Minister must

take a hands-on approach with.

I think he needs to work

through that as a separate

issue. I think that's very

concerning. Bear in mind the

allegation are allegations, if

they're credible victim

allegations then the peripheral

allegations as to who

mishandled their complaints

need to be dealt with. David

Johnston in Perth thank you