Opinion articles by the Australia Defence Association: 2012
Informed debate about the incidence of bullying, harassment and sexual abuse in our defence force is hampered by many Australians seeming to be in denial about three key aspects:
Difficulties with developing national security policy, and the defence strategies needed to help implement it, cannot be solved without recognising and resolving deep-seated problems in our civil-military interface at the strategic level.
Since June 2011 ["Defence Brief" 144 refers] the Australia Defence Association - as the relevant independent, non-partisan, public-interest watchdog - has been warning of a burgeoning problem with Stephen Smith’s approach to his responsibilities as Minister for Defence.
Media coverage of bad and criminal behaviour in our defence force has led many Australians to assume, incorrectly, that problems such as alcohol abuse, sexual harassment and youth suicide are prevalent in our defence force and occur at rates far higher than community norms or in other professions and industries.
By fixating on the recurrent symptoms, not the causes and cures, most public argument on asylum seeking continues ineffectively. Politicians are addicted to electoral point-scoring. Refugee advocates are prone to discuss factors selectively.