The video comes in response to a scandal within the Australian Ministry of Defence in which multiple personnel are being investigated for a “series of explicit and offensive emails that degrade women.” These emails were sent among officers and non-commissioned officers alike, including several high-ranking personnel. So far, three service-members have been removed from duty, with another five facing suspension, 9 more being investigated, and around 90 personnel implicated in the emails.
In response, Chief of Army Lt. Gen. David Morrison released to the public a video he filmed for those under his command. The message was clear — harassment ends now:
MORRISON: Those who think that it is okay to behave in a way that demeans or exploits their colleagues have no place in this army. Our service has been engaged in continuous operation since 1999 and in its longest war ever in Afghanistan. On all operations, female soldiers and officers have proven themselves worthy of the best traditions of the Australian Army. They are vital to us maintaining our capability now and into the future.
If that does not suit you, then get out. You may find another employer where your attitude is acceptable, but I doubt it. The same goes for those who think toughness is built on humiliating others. Every one of us is responsible for the culture and reputation of our Army, and the environment in which we work. If you become aware of any individual degrading another, then show moral courage and take a stand against it. No one has ever explained to me how exploitation or degradation of others enhances capability or honors the traditions of the Australian Army.
Watch the rest of Morrison’s comments here:
Morrison has also been in contact with several of the women targeted in the emails to apologize personally. “There are victims of this group’s alleged behaviour who have been denigrated in different ways,” he said to the Australian Broadcasting Company. “Some through texts, some through distortion of imagery, some through the distribution of material without consent.”