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Scott Rejects Call By Price On 3rar

The Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, Bruce Scott, today rejected the call by the Federal Member for Chifley, and Deputy Chairman of the Defence Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Roger Price, to disband the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.

Mr Scott was responding to an article in today’s Australian newspaper, Call to disband parachute unit, in which Roger Price called for the breaking up of 3RAR as a dramatic way of signalling its behaviour was un-Australian and would not be tolerated.

“Roger Price stands condemned by his words. He is besmirching the good name of not only 3RAR, a unit that has served with distinction in Vietnam and East Timor, but also of the 600 or so young Australians who feel that they are being unfairly labelled by the actions of a few,” Mr Scott said.

“Each allegation of ‘rough justice’ within 3RAR is serious, but collectively these incidents represent a small number of personnel and the vast majority of the Battalion does not deserve to be tarnished.

“His call for disbandment is particularly inappropriate given that there has been an almost 70 per cent manning turnover within the Battalion since January 1998.

Mr Scott said he had every confidence in the leadership the ADF, and in particular the Army, to thoroughly investigate the allegations raised in relation to 3RAR.

“The 3RAR allegations are being properly investigated through appropriate ADF channels.

“In addition to ADF cooperation with the sub-committee’s inquiry, Military Police investigations are ongoing and matters are being referred for prosecution under the Defence Force Discipline Act as necessary. As well, a new appointment, Inspector General ADF, on discipline matters has been created, and retiring Federal Court Judge, Justice James Burchett, has been appointed to carry out an audit to identify any irregularities in the administration of justice across the ADF.

Mr Scott said he had reiterated to the Chief of Defence Force, Admiral Chris Barrie, the requirement for the ADF to provide a safe and fair workplace for all ADF personnel, and that positive measures had been taken to put this in place.

“Last month the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Peter Cosgrove, announced a series of initiatives designed to ensure uniformity of conduct across the entire Australian Army and to enhance Army's existing equity processes.

Mr Price should stop playing cheap political games with the reputation of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Mr Scott said.


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