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The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.
June 13, 2013 5:38 PM   Subscribe


 
Bravo! The US Army would do well to find leadership this compelling on the sexual assault epidemic in the US military.
posted by gen at 5:42 PM on June 13, 2013 [15 favorites]


I've written speeches, and delivered speeches, and I'll call myself a master if I could write or deliver a fraction as powerful as that. Quite apart from agreeing with the contents, it's just an amazing piece of political speech.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:53 PM on June 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


totallybadass is completely the correct tag for this.
posted by bfranklin at 5:55 PM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


'...the standard you walk past is the standard you accept'. Spine-tingling stuff.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:56 PM on June 13, 2013 [16 favorites]


Wow. What a startling, intense piece of rhetoric. It must be an extraordinary feeling to know that this guy has got your back.
posted by tim_in_oz at 6:09 PM on June 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm ready to join his cult.
posted by the bricabrac man at 6:11 PM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


That was awesome, and I hope subsequent actions live up to that inspiring rhetoric.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:14 PM on June 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bravo!

*stands, applauds*
posted by ocherdraco at 6:22 PM on June 13, 2013


The scariest ones never raise their voice...
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:23 PM on June 13, 2013 [13 favorites]


Now there's a man who deserves to be a leader.
posted by islander at 6:28 PM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


That excoriation left me running for cover.

If only our leaders could do that instead of "I had no idea anything was happening" or hiring This asshat.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:31 PM on June 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wow. I can't find any other words. Just, wow. I want to write this man a thank you letter.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 6:36 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also: no bloody blinking allowed!
posted by lalochezia at 7:00 PM on June 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


After watching this, I pity any fool that has to stand in front of Gen. Morrison's desk and attempt to explain himself. I predict empty excuses and full underpants.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 7:01 PM on June 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Leadership. This is what it looks like. Not many people now days have seen it.
posted by Jimbob at 7:07 PM on June 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


One of the best speeches I've ever heard. If I had a hat on, I'd take it off.
posted by Salamander at 7:12 PM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bravo.
posted by odinsdream at 7:13 PM on June 13, 2013


Looks to me like Lt. Gen. Morrison is all out of bubblegum.
Good on ya, mate.
posted by uosuaq at 7:16 PM on June 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


He also gave a pretty frank interview last year about the challenges of creating a more inclusive military culture in the age of social media.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:18 PM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


And some further information about the investigation:
The Australian Defence Force is reeling from another internet sex scandal in which at least 17 male army officers formed an email ring that circulated footage of members having sex tagged with demeaning commentary about the women.

Police sources told Fairfax Media that the ring of soldiers called themselves ''The Jedi Council'' and that they swapped footage of sex acts without the knowledge of the women depicted. At least 17 soldiers - including senior officers - were involved in receiving and distributing the footage, and it is understood three members of the ring shot the footage, starting in 2010. The material also includes stills, some of which have been doctored. [...] Fourteen army members were ''closely linked'' in distributing the emails, he said. Five of them faced imminent suspension and the other nine could also be stood down. Up to 90 other Australian Defence Force members, mostly in the army, were on ''the periphery'' of the affair.

[...] ''These are actions by men who have been in the defence force for in excess of 10 years. This goes to the heart of what I said about systemic problems with culture inside the army.'' General Morrison took personal responsibility for the affair and repeatedly acknowledged the army had a persistent cultural problem. ''The leadership of the ADF no longer accepts the 'bad apple' argument when one of these incidents does occur,'' he said. ''These behaviours are symptoms of a systemic problem and we will continue to address them in a comprehensive manner.''

[...] The email ring included a lieutenant-colonel - the sixth-highest rank in the army - as well as majors, captains, warrant officers, sergeants and corporals. They were based around Australia and did not belong to any one area of the force, he said. The three ringleaders are being investigated by NSW police for possible offences relating to producing and distributing the material on the internet. The wider ring of soldiers are being questioned by the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:30 PM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wow, he's good.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:41 PM on June 13, 2013


I think I might be just a little bit in love with Lieutenant General David Morrison right now. That? That is a Real Man.

Why aren't the leaders of the US Armed Forces this awesome, instead of all "Oh, you know, boys will be boys."?
posted by MissySedai at 7:49 PM on June 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm not much of a fan of any military organization, but THIS is what the military should be.

Bravo!
posted by BlueHorse at 7:51 PM on June 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


I haven't been able to find a video of it, but Morrison's speech to the UN at this year's Nations International Women’s Day Conference is worth reading.

When I assumed command of the Australian Army in July 2011 it was apparent that we needed to squarely face some serious cultural problems, in particular the manner in which we treated our female soldiers, those from ethnic minorities and those with alternative sexual preferences. There was, and still is, a recurring problem with alcohol abuse and social media which has periodically detracted from our reputation.

[...]

I was no longer comforted by the cliché that a ‘few bad apples’ were undermining the great work of the vast majority. Nor was I willing to argue that a widely publicised incident at our Defence Academy - where a sexual encounter between a young female cadet and a colleague was telecast via Skype - was no worse than conduct among young people on civilian campuses.


As the father of a service member, that the corrosive culture in the armed forces is so pervasive fills me with dismay, but that top brass can provide such strong leadership, what I read else where described as "credible rage", gives me some hope.
posted by adamt at 7:52 PM on June 13, 2013 [10 favorites]


''The leadership of the ADF no longer accepts the 'bad apple' argument when one of these incidents does occur,'' he said. ''These behaviours are symptoms of a systemic problem and we will continue to address them in a comprehensive manner.''

....

A bit stunned.

If you spend a lot of time trying to talk about rape culture, or trying to talk about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment; if you spend a lot of time trying to tell people why certain things they find fun and awesome harm women; if you spend a lot of time trying to convince them why that matters; if you even say the word "microaggressions," and you feel like all you get is blowback and snark from a bunch of smug privileged people, and you begin to feel like the tide of smug privileged young guys just keeps increasing, and you begin to feel worn down and futile --- go back to this quote and realize it came out of the mouth of the Chief of Army of a first-world country in 2013. That's what I'm going to do, at least. Maybe the tide is turning after all.
posted by cairdeas at 7:57 PM on June 13, 2013 [47 favorites]


Maybe the tide is turning after all.

Yesterday, without equivocation, Morrison accepted full responsibility. He had and has no choice. He's angry. He's embarrassed. He's forced to act. No. Choice. That's why he's there.

Some pretty senior heads will roll.
He has his orders.

Australia's next election is morphing into a gender war.
posted by de at 8:04 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for linking to that Women's Day Conference speech, adamt. It's amazing:
One day early last year [Elizabeth Broderick] called me and suggested that I needed to hear from some of the women whose experiences she had been collating. I agreed, not reluctantly but certainly with some trepidation. Not long after I was sitting very uncomfortably, and with mounting disbelief, through lengthy face-to-face meetings with three women who had endured appalling physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their fellow soldiers; so much for our pride in looking after our mates. These women had been let down by their leaders and their comrades. They had been robbed of that irreplaceable component of their individual human personal identity – their dignity and self respect. This was not the Army that I had loved and thought I knew.

My disbelief gave way, in turn, to shame that this had occurred in the institution to which I had devoted my entire life and of which I had been fiercely proud since I was young boy. That was my conversion experience and it had all the qualities of the road to Damascus apart from the fall from the horse.

I hasten to add that I had already concluded that the ‘bad apple’ theory was a comforting self-delusion. Police forces throughout Australia only started to come to grips with systemic corruption when they came to the same realisation. Cultural problems are just that; they are systemic and ingrained, not the work of a few rogues.

Such cultural problems generally evolve over time into distortions of what began as an admirable quality in an institution or organisation, but they are hijacked by misguided or malevolent people and become a device to exclude the vulnerable and the different from the dominant group. Often in hyper masculine environments, like armies, the ‘other’ is defined by being weaker physically, not drinking ‘like a man’, being more introverted or intellectual, and of course female.

In an excellent report compiled by Major General Craig Orme titled Beyond Compliance: Professionalism, Trust and Capability in the Australian Profession of Arms, this aspect of our culture was analysed with insight and frankness. Yes, we do need to bond our soldiers to one another and instil toughness and resilience into them. But when this goal is invoked to degrade and demonise women and minorities it is undermining rather than enhancing capability. We need to define the true meaning of teamwork to embrace a band of brothers and sisters.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 8:07 PM on June 13, 2013 [29 favorites]


This ain't bad either. "If that does not suit you, then get out." about accepting female soldiers.
posted by etaoin at 8:20 PM on June 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


To be fair, in his position, he can't exactly say "If that doesn't suit you, go jam your head up your ass," or "If that doesn't suit you, go shit in your hat."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:23 PM on June 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


That statement has me a bit stunned. I'm...I'm so unaccustomed to people at the top of organizations like this so directly challenging the rot in their midst, I barely know it to see it.

I also appreciate the quoted speech above for the self-reflection on how a unhealthy culture can be allowed to take root: you spend so much time having the specialness of an institution drilled into you, any evidence to the contrary can seem almost counter-intuitive. Even the Commander himself had to let go of perceptions he had had for decades. It's hardly surprising, while at the same time deeply saddening, that lesser men wouldn't be capable of such an epiphany. Thank goodness for people like him.

Also, "the standard you walk past is the standard you accept"...I think the world would be better if more of us lived our life by that principle. I think I'm going to give it a try.
posted by dry white toast at 8:23 PM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


''The leadership of the ADF no longer accepts the 'bad apple' argument when one of these incidents does occur,'' he said. ''These behaviours are symptoms of a systemic problem and we will continue to address them in a comprehensive manner.''
Amazing. If those eyes see right through me over the Internet I can't imagine being called up on the carpet in front of him.
On preview, I second what dry white toast said above.
posted by variella at 8:26 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Too much of the sexual harassment training I got in the U.S. Navy twenty-some years ago was along the lines of "Women in the Navy are here to stay, so you'd better get used to them." It was never "Treat them right, because it's the right thing to do," like Gen. Morrison says. The American military could learn a lot from him.
posted by ogooglebar at 8:30 PM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I come up against this -- and blatant homophobia, but that's another, different conversation -- all the time. When it's just tooooooo much to bear, I'll ask the person: would you say something like that to your mother? Your sister? Your daughter? They shut up , usually, but I wish I knew how to make those men feel the way a woman feels in that situation. I tell myself I'm speaking up for my daughter, and my sister, my mother and my wife, and that's all well and good, I suppose. But it never feels like it's enough...
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 8:32 PM on June 13, 2013


My disbelief gave way, in turn, to shame that this had occurred in the institution to which I had devoted my entire life and of which I had been fiercely proud since I was young boy.

You do not spend 35 years in an institution oblivious to its culture. Morrison must have walked past a few low standards himself. Thankfully he's risen through the ranks to a position of power; thankfully he is being rewarded with heaped on praise.

Thankfully Australia's commander-in-chief  is (currently) a woman, otherwise I doubt this would be playing out quite the same way.
posted by de at 8:36 PM on June 13, 2013


You do not spend 35 years in an institution oblivious to its culture. Morrison must have walked past a few low standards himself.

This makes a lot of sense, and I won't challenge the cynicism. But in this case, if Morrison is a hypocrite in light of his action or inaction in the past, I don't mind it as long as he keeps putting forth what he is putting forth now.
posted by cairdeas at 8:40 PM on June 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


Firstly, I must of necessity express some obvious qualifications about my remarks. Foremost, I can never fully imagine, much less experience, the issues faced by any woman. I was born male in an advanced Western nation, to comfortably well off parents. I have never routinely experienced discrimination in my career, nor the apprehension of violence in my personal life. Far too many women regardless of nationality, religion, or class status have known both. Most benefits of masculinity and patriarchy have accrued to me. Nonetheless, I hope those considerable limitations in my perspective can in part be offset by my sincere intent to support women in my organisation to thrive in the absence of both.
That dude is the head of the Army? In fucking Australia? Which, let's be honest, does not have the best reputation when it comes to these issues. But holy shit. Speaking truth to power is one thing. Speaking truth to power from a position of power is altogether rare, and this guy doesn't blink twice (or once!). I'm astonished and shocked in the best possible way, and I'm glad people like him still exist in meaningful roles.
posted by Errant at 9:04 PM on June 13, 2013 [25 favorites]


He did blink twice, he blinks about once a minute. Yes, I watched for it!
posted by cairdeas at 9:06 PM on June 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


I love that he said "patriarchy." I just feel gratified that he used that word.

I'll feel even more gratified when something doesn't take on additional legitimacy just because it's spoken by a gruff, tuff, powerful man with a crew cut and a uniform, but since we're in this lifetime, I'll be gratified now.
posted by cairdeas at 9:09 PM on June 13, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'd not call him a hypocrite, maybe a changed man who takes his newish role seriously; and I don't mean to come across as cynical. I'm glad he has stuck it out, and he is probably the best man for the job.

He has his orders.
posted by de at 9:10 PM on June 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


He's like a real life version of Major Garland Briggs on Twin Peaks, who likewise communicated hard truths clearly with an even tone, and was defined by his compassion. I sort of feel like this might be Morrison's vision, but for all members of the military, not just his son.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:20 PM on June 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


General Morrison strikes me as the sort officer who expects to earn his salutes, rather than one who expects to receive salutes as a matter of privilege or custom.
Yes, being human, he has inevitably made mistakes in the past but a stance like this takes some serious integrity and courage. Some of his fellow soldiers will be less than pleased and military / political culture can be pretty unforgiving as can bloke culture.
It's a spectacular example of masterful PR at the very least.
Good on 'im.
posted by islander at 9:23 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a spectacular example of masterful PR at the very least.

I'd say it's the opposite of PR. Or at least what "PR" has come to mean. It's courage, responsibility and leadership. Just picture, say, an Archbishop speaking like this in regards to sex abuse in the church. Nope, can't see it.

There were no weasel words. There was no "a few bad apples"..."internal investigation will suffice"..."boys will be boys"..."shouldn't reflect on the wider organization"..."we're sorry people were offended".

There was, instead, a statement that this was wrong, this was shameful, and we are all accountable.
posted by Jimbob at 11:45 PM on June 13, 2013 [16 favorites]


Given what's been happening in Australia over the lasts weeks from overt racism on the footy field to drunken brawls by our cricketers to the menus at fundraisers to political dialogue allowing (and passively endorsing) calling our PM a bitch and today's shock jock shock, this country needs to actively look at itself and ask if this is what we want it to mean to be Australian.

I will be thoroughly pleased and proud if Lieutenant General David Morrison's message manages to straighten out and raise the, frankly vile, level of discourse of recent times.
posted by michswiss at 12:02 AM on June 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


michswiss: I could not possibly agree with you more.
posted by Salamander at 12:52 AM on June 14, 2013


Given the godawful state of federal politics, I'm thinking a military coup would go down pretty well at this point, as long as Lt Gen Morrison headed the junta.
posted by tim_in_oz at 12:53 AM on June 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Thankfully Australia's commander-in-chief is (currently) a woman, otherwise I doubt this would be playing out quite the same way.

Australia currently has not just its first female commander-in-chief but its first female prime minister.
posted by atrazine at 1:07 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anybody else feel like they're in big trouble even though they didn't do anything?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:20 AM on June 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


Lieutenant General Morrison is Boss.maybe he could go on to deal with the bankers next.
posted by adamvasco at 1:43 AM on June 14, 2013


and today's shock jock shock

Just to add context for the non-Australian mefites who might not follow Australian affairs to closely:

Prime Minister Gillard's partner is a hairdresser, a male hairdresser.

A radio host in Perth asked her in an interview if he was gay, cause, y'know, he's a male hairdresser. And because they're not married either I suppose. He wasn't asking himself, of course not, but again, y'know, there's rumours and all, and he'd like to have given her the chance to clear things up.

Yup.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:48 AM on June 14, 2013


I'm certain you'll be shocked and surprised to hear that said radio host is scheduled to appear at a Liberal party event in the coming weeks...I wonder what will be on the menu?
posted by Jimbob at 2:05 AM on June 14, 2013


l know you are all ''Australians'' down there bit isn't that a bit out of order even for your culture?
posted by adamvasco at 2:09 AM on June 14, 2013


I don't know really, but I can tell you that lately when I hear people talk about "Aussie pride", I ask myself what they've got to be proud of, and when I hear about people talk about "defending Australian culture", I start wondering what the fuck worthwhile there is to defend about it.
posted by Jimbob at 2:34 AM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


''The leadership of the ADF no longer accepts the 'bad apple' argument when one of these incidents does occur,''

Someone is obviously aware what leaving a bad apple in a barrel does to the rest of the apples.
posted by Francis at 2:39 AM on June 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm certain you'll be shocked and surprised to hear that said radio host is scheduled to appear at a Liberal party event in the coming weeks...I wonder what will be on the menu?

It's going to be a regressive three (at least) years isn't it? :(
posted by adamt at 2:56 AM on June 14, 2013


l know you are all ''Australians'' down there bit isn't that a bit out of order even for your culture?

The prick got fired for it, so I guess yeah
posted by Greener Backyards at 4:21 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. My heart just filled up watching that. I hope I live to see the day where his attitude is the norm and not a mind-blowing exception.
posted by billiebee at 4:56 AM on June 14, 2013


Australia currently has not just its first female commander-in-chief but its first female prime minister.

I'm not sure this is correct.

Gillard is not the Commander-in-Chief. The Chief of Defence is CIC (as Americans understand it). Technically the Governor-General is the CIC, but I would not want to test that one under the Constitution.

The elected Australian Government controls the ADF.

Also, this is a bit inside baseball, but Sattler was fired as much (if not more) for the fact that that he's in the advanced stages of Parkinsons, and it was the easiest way to ditch him from his contract.

The rumours about "The First Bloke" have been pervasive for years, and I am not sure they have been addressed publicly, so you can argue that there was a public interest case - in context - for asking them.

That said, Sattler fucking hated Gillard with a passion. Their last encounter was not pleasant radio.
posted by Mezentian at 5:00 AM on June 14, 2013


I thought it extremely odd that his Parkinsons was even mentioned in the original article I'd read. What does that even have to do with the interview?

I have a hard time imagining Parkinsons was the underlying reason for Sattler's released. If Fairfax used this broadcast as an excuse for his disability, there's another comedy of embarrassments.
posted by michswiss at 5:38 AM on June 14, 2013


The rumours about "The First Bloke" have been pervasive for years, and I am not sure they have been addressed publicly, so you can argue that there was a public interest case - in context - for asking them.

As an outsider, it comes off as an incredibly bigoted and stupid joke. The fact that it's been going 'round for years just makes Australia seem worse.
posted by The River Ivel at 5:57 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bravo. I hope the General's words are heeded not only by his subordinates but also by other so-called leaders everywhere else. That, sir, is leadership, and in service of doing the right thing to boot.
posted by Gelatin at 6:18 AM on June 14, 2013


And because they're not married either I suppose

It says something about my cultural assumptions (as an American) that this surprises me almost more than anything else. An elected, high-level (highest level!), heterosexual official who is not married to their partner? This thing is possible? My mind boggles.
posted by rtha at 6:31 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


She's also an Atheist and against Gay marriage.

It's as if this is one of those two steps forward, one step back metaphors lived in political time while the rest of the invitees dance to another or three rhythms.

I'm pleased she's been our PM, yet disappointed in the party's ability to own and frame a message. I'm not unionist, but my bias is left leaning in most affairs. The military's dealing with it's internal issues might become the only concrete message of the problems.

Regrettably The only consistent media message sticking is the hound-dogging from the policy lacking right.
posted by michswiss at 6:56 AM on June 14, 2013


Gillard is not the Commander-in-Chief. The Chief of Defence is CIC (as Americans understand it). Technically the Governor-General is the CIC, but I would not want to test that one under the Constitution.

Yes, I was referring to the governor general (acting on behalf of etc. etc.) Quentin Bryce is the first woman to be GG of Australia.

Agreed that the title doesn't mean what it means to Americans.
posted by atrazine at 7:02 AM on June 14, 2013


Also, "the standard you walk past is the standard you accept"...I think the world would be better if more of us lived our life by that principle. I think I'm going to give it a try.

This applies to real life and internet life.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:43 AM on June 14, 2013


Wow, so now I'm jealous of Australia.

Trying to imagine a U.S. general delivering that speech. Wish I could.
posted by Andrew Galarneau at 7:43 AM on June 14, 2013




Technically the Governor-General is the CIC, but I would not want to test that one under the Constitution.

The elected Australian Government controls the ADF.


Yes. I used 'commander-in-chief', in italics, so as to be understood. Just as Howard (not his government, so much) committed Australia to Bush's war on terror, currently it is Gillard who'd make any call; and she would. Very early in her prime ministership Gillard was nastily corrected for referring to Australian soldiers as "my soldiers". She stopped as abruptly.

/falls out of chair

Stay on the floor, rtha, while you read about Australia's senator and her trans-partner. From memory, Senator Pratt maintains she will not marry her partner until Australia introduces marriage equality.

posted by de at 9:55 AM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


The YouTube comments aren't as bad as usual, but they're still pretty depressing.
posted by bonaldi at 9:56 AM on June 14, 2013


I'll leave this here as evidence that David Morrison is not alone, even in Australia.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:27 AM on June 14, 2013


Constitutionally it's perfectly cromulent to call Bryce our CiC. Not that it's a term we use.
posted by wilful at 4:04 PM on June 14, 2013


Technically the Governor-General is the CIC, but I would not want to test that one under the Constitution.

The Constitution is pretty clear on it:
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT - SECT 68
Command of naval and military forces

The command in chief of the naval and military forces of the Commonwealth is vested in the Governor‑General as the Queen's representative.
Most of the powers of commander in chief are delegated to the Minister for Defence by the Defence Act, but some remain held by the Governor-General.

In practice, given the conventions of Governance in Australia, all decisions are made by Cabinet, with the Prime Minister having the casting vote.
posted by kithrater at 4:10 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


River Ivel, it's not a rumour any thinking person has ever acknowledged. I'd never heard of it. We have some stupid low rent wannabe tea party types in aus, and sattler is one of their champions. But their influence and power should not be overestimated, they're pathetic more than anything else.
posted by wilful at 4:25 PM on June 14, 2013


Most of the powers of commander in chief are delegated to the Minister for Defence by the Defence Act, but some remain held by the Governor-General.

From what I understand, this has been used in the past by some in the military to play a 'you're not really the boss of me' card in the face of various other Government attempts at reform, but I am basing that off a half remembered column read several years back.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 4:28 PM on June 14, 2013


But their influence and power should not be overestimated, they're pathetic more than anything else.

Not to turn this into a thread about federal politics, but as far as I can see, the pathetic "Billy Tea Party" wield an enormous and disproportionate influence. I'll admit that in the ivory tower I inhabit, with work, friends and family, no-one has a bad word to say about Gillard. No-one can even come up with any legitimate reason why people don't like her, besides "changing a policy after an election". Yet there will be a slaughtering. Rudd is likely to be the only remaining ALP MHR in QLD. Tasmania might have just one left, too. There is a whole other nation out there that I no-longer belong to.
posted by Jimbob at 9:34 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a currently, and long, serving member of the ADF who is disgusted with the behaviour that has been enacted in the past, I see that Gen Morrison's statements are the minimum that needed to be done. At work yesterday there was no discussion about the necessity of his statements but rather if he went far enough (and hard enough) and if he would be effective. I have a teenage daughter and I am not sure I could be comfortable with her entering the Army at the moment. We are currently saying a lot of good things (zero tolerance for harassment, combat roles open to women) but we have been doing these types of things for years without creating a truly equal ADF.

tl:dr - a good start but the proof will be in what happens next and that there is action by more of our Generals.
posted by dangerousdan at 9:36 PM on June 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


Jimbob - can we start our own? Every opinion poll tells me that Abbot will be the next PM but I (am fortunate that I) don't know anyone who thinks that this is a good thing.
posted by dangerousdan at 9:38 PM on June 14, 2013


I'll feel even more gratified when something doesn't take on additional legitimacy just because it's spoken by a gruff, tuff, powerful man with a crew cut and a uniform, but since we're in this lifetime, I'll be gratified now.

To be fair, Lt. Gen Morrison is communicating effectively within a certain context - a context that is, by design, militaristic and authoritarian. Good communication means knowing your audience and what expectations they will have of you. Other forms of communication would not have been as effective in this context.

Mastery of communication is how Lt. Gen. Morrison is able to effectively portray both a tough-as-nails military leader and a defender of equality. He is not opening a dialog with his soldiers. In his capacity as a leader, he is giving them orders, and he is making these orders public. He is letting everyone know that all failures on this issue will be seen as communal failures.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:12 AM on June 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


From the UN speech, some bits that jumped out at me:
A core function of Army is the application of violence to protect and defend national interests. While violence is an essential part of our business, it is employed in a tightly regulated and controlled manner and we most emphatically do not accept or condone violence outside of these parameters. This is why Army is a Campaign Partner with White Ribbon, which as many of you would know, is a global movement to stop violence against women.
When you spend a lot of time around violence, there's a danger of getting desensitized to it ("violence is no big deal"), but you might also take a professional view and get analytical about it ("violence is a specialized tool").
I was angry, that in a crisis, those three women, and many others to whom Liz Broderick had spoken, had not been able to rely on their mates. In other words the very thing that we claim as our defining ethos had been used to exclude and humiliate others.
It's so specifically horrible to be betrayed by what's ostensibly a community; glad he saw that.
posted by brainwane at 8:40 AM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


In today's Crikey:
Next steps for army feminist hero? Canberra journos were quick to proclaim Lieutenant General David Morrison the most likely to success General David Hurley as Chief of the Defence Force after his redoubtable performance handling the latest ADF s-x scandal. But if he does, that's going to ruffle all kinds of feathers in the ADF brass. Convention says the next CDF should rotate to navy, which hasn't held the top rank since admiral Chris Barrie's departure in 2002. Some senior officers are already complaining that generals are behaving too much like politicians, and if the convention is thrown out, the top brass' independence may be thrown out too.
posted by wilful at 8:53 PM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is what happens when someone in authority tries the same thing here in the US:
Two defendants in military sexual assault cases cannot be punitively discharged, if found guilty, because of “unlawful command influence” derived from comments made by President Barack Obama, a judge ruled in a Hawaii military court this week.

Navy Judge Cmdr. Marcus Fulton ruled during pretrial hearings in two sexual assault cases — U.S. vs. Johnson and U.S. vs. Fuentes — that comments made by Obama as commander in chief would unduly influence any potential sentencing, according to a court documents obtained by Stars and Stripes.
posted by ogooglebar at 9:16 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some senior officers are already complaining that generals are behaving too much like politicians, and if the convention is thrown out, the top brass' independence may be thrown out too.

So, not a meritocracy then?
posted by Jimbob at 10:04 PM on June 19, 2013


Not sure if anyone is still following this thread, but I thought I'd add that General Morrison's speech writer is a transgender woman. There was an interview with Lieutenant Colonel Cate McGregor a few days ago on our national channel ABC on One Plus One.

This guy just gets better and better.
posted by michswiss at 5:51 PM on July 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow; thanks for posting that, michswiss. The interview has a slow start, but once it gets going, Lieutenant Colonel Cate McGregor reveals herself to be one of the most charismatic, candid, self-actualised interview subjects I think I've ever seen.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 10:55 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I came here to make the same update, michswiss. You've beaten me to it so here's Geraldine Doogue interviewing Cate McGregor back in November 2012. Cate McGregor is FPP worthy in her own right, "a national treasure" according to Kim Beazley. (He's right.)
posted by de at 9:08 AM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


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