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Transcript of interview with Amelia Adams: Channel Nine News: 7 March 2012: Defence Reviews

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Minister for Defence - Interview with Amelia Adams, Channel Nine News

7 March 2012



DATE: 7 MARCH 2012

TOPICS: Defence Reviews.

AMELIA ADAMS: The Defence Force has this afternoon released findings from a wide range of inquiries into conduct, abuse and culture within Australia‘s armed forces.

To discuss the findings Defence Minister Stephen Smith joins us now. Minister good afternoon to you.

STEPHEN SMITH: Good afternoon, Amelia.

AMELIA ADAMS: What are the biggest challenges facing the Defence Force as a result of these reviews?

STEPHEN SMITH: Well the biggest challenge now is to make sure that we change culture. In a very significant report, released by the Chief of the Defence Force and the Secretary of the Defence Department this afternoon, it in a frank way acknowledges mistakes in the past, inappropriate conduct in the past, the need to make sure that the highest standards are held by those who wear the uniform and represent the nation.

So the biggest challenge is to change that culture so that we have zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour, and we can only do that, firstly through leadership from the top and secondly from education. And that’s what we’re proposing to now do.

AMELIA ADAMS: Also this afternoon the head of ADFA has now been cleared over his handling of that Skype sex scandal. You disagree though.

STEPHEN SMITH: Well I absolutely accept the findings of the report into the management of that matter. The point that I made at the time was I thought it was an incorrect judgment, wrong in principle, to allow the

character of a potential innocent victim of an alleged sexual abuse or assault to have her character put into play by allowing unrelated disciplinary matters about alcohol and absenteeism to be dealt with at the same time. So I made that point at the time, I don’t resile from it.

But the findings today by the Kirkham inquiry, which is an exhaustive investigation into that matter, provide no legal basis for the commandant not to go back to ADFA to resume his duties there after nearly a year on leave, and that will occur by the end of this week.

AMELIA ADAMS: Okay, Minister Stephen Smith we will have to leave it there. Thank you very much for your time this afternoon.

STEPHEN SMITH: Thank you. Thanks very much.