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Transcript of interview: Sky News: 15 June 2012: DLA Piper review

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Sky News - DLA Piper review June 15, 2012

Ashleigh Gillon: Joining me now is the Shadow Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston. Thank you for your

time - firstly does the opposition support a Royal Commission into these allegations?

Senator Johnston :Well I want to see what the allegations actually are - these documents have not been fully

released. We are flying blind as to the length and breadth of the allegations, I am concerned for the victims - and I

think that we need to focus on the victims - a Royal Commission would simply delay their entitlement to

compensation, an apology or whatever we resolve to do about that. Now the Minister has been sitting on this report

for more than 12 months, he has known there was over 700 very serious allegations. What on earth has he been

doing for 12 months?

Ashleigh Gillon: Considering that we do have so much information now and more today after that Freedom of

Information request, are you saying that from what you have seen of this report so far there isn’t a need for a Royal


Senator Johnston :Well, I don’t want the thing to be bound up as a lawyer’s feast, a process where we have got

judicial officers taking evidence from people who have had to relive the whole thing. We have asked them to come

forward, we haven’t even told them if there in the more than 800 credible and plausible complaints.

Ashleigh Gillon: You don’t think the victims would want that sort of process?

Senator Johnston :Well I am not sure they want to come into court and be cross examined and give evidence and

do all of the things a Royal Commission would involve.

I think what we need to do is to take the lawyers advice - if these are plausible claims lets address them, lets see if

we can compensate them, lets see if they will be happy with that and lets just get on with because all of this hand

ringing from the Minister, I mean, what was his intent in the first place?

How would you invite over 800 people to relive graphic and horrible experiences in the Australian Defence Force with

no plan to deal with them. That is what he has asked them to do, and then he has just left them hanging.

Ashleigh Gillon: But surely the Minister had to go through this process because he didn’t know what sorts of

allegations would come out of this either?

Senator Johnston :You see Ashley, he did because the 2005 Senate inquiry into Military Justice yielded a whole

host of people who were aggrieved over a long period. Now anybody with any understanding of this portfolio knew

that this was going to happen. But he has embarked on this revisitation with no plan.

Now I am saying get on with it Minister. Sign these people up, compensate them, apologise to them, do what you

need to do to get them over this. Think about them and not about the process, we can deal with that later, but lets

deal with the victims.

Ashleigh Gillon: David Johnston, appreciate your insight this morning. Thank you

Page 1 of 1 Sky News - DLA Piper review > David Johnston, Liberal Senator for Western Australia