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Compulsory Australian Military Stand Down

PACC 008 /01 Sunday, 04 February 2001


The Chief of the Defence Force, Admiral Chris Barrie, has announced a compulsory stand down for all military personnel tomorrow, Monday February 5, 2001.

"Late last year I announced an audit of the military justice system to determine whether there is any evidence of a systemic culture of abuse of that system," Admiral Barrie said.

"The Audit will be led by recently retired Federal Court Judge, Mr James Burchett."

Admiral Barrie said that, along with his Service Chiefs, he was taking the unprecedented step of an ADF wide "stand down" on 5 February, for a couple of hours, to enable each and every member to consider the issue of military justice and to provide all personnel with all relevant contact details for the Burchett Audit Team.

"Our defence force must always act as a force for good in our community. This means that we have a high regard for the rule of the law, whatever impact that rule of law may have on our own personal beliefs, or behaviours," Admiral Barrie said.

"Individual members of our armed forces must obey our laws. Indeed, on some occasions, and in particular circumstances, members of the ADF may be required to enforce our laws. There is no place for a double standard with respect to the law in our defence force.

"Each and every member, regardless of rank, is bound through service in the ADF to obey the rules and regulations of the ADF."

All military personnel will view a video address by the Chief of the Defence Force and their respective Service Chief on the issue of military justice. Each Commanding Officer will then talk to their troops about the importance of the issue and provide personnel with relevant contact details if they wish to make a submission to the Burchett Audit Team.

"The Military Justice Stand Down will be an opportunity for myself, the Service Chiefs and individual Commanders to strongly encourage personnel to make a submission to Mr Burchett's Audit if they believe they have a contribution to make.

"We must get to the bottom of any inappropriate or unlawful behaviours which have been going on, but have not been properly dealt with. The audit is intended to do this for us," Admiral Barrie said.


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