Susie Carleton. The ABC is at it again.

Don’t we all now know from the upright Hon Scott Morrison that decent members of the Australian Armed Services would never – and did not – cause the burning of the hands of asylum seekers under their control. Nor was there any further ill-treatment of a later batch of unfortunates as claimed in ABC 7.30- Report of March 17. Servicemen told Scott – and he told us.

Australian servicemen, according to Scott, are above such conduct and it is an insult to our nation’s Armed Services to think otherwise. Of this he is convinced because there are “Regulations” and a “Code of Conduct” which rules out the sort of behavior widely claimed by the victims.

Isn’t there also not only a code of conduct but a criminal law to provide protection within the services against the gross ill-treatment and sexual violation of young men in the services’ playful initiation ceremonies or the sexual harassment, mistreatment, even rape of their female colleagues in the services.

Recent years have seen, according to former Minister Steven Smith, more than 2,000 such incidents perpetrated by Mr Morrison’s upright servicemen. Almost without exception these have taken place on military establishments or vessels at sea with very senior military personnel close at hand. These offences have been committed against workmates and colleagues in the services.

It ‘s surprising then that the same people become White Knights when operating among “enemies”, “Illegals” and “undesirables” virtually unsupervised on the high seas. Morrison said he had not bothered to question the alleged victims as they had “vested interests” in making their claims.

In view of his “Code of Conduct” mightn’t the servicemen in question also have a vested interest in denial?



John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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