Chief of the Australian Army Lieutenant General David Morrison AO has made a powerful speech about the need for the military to be more inclusive of women.
General Morrison is perhaps best known for his three minute clip on YouTube where he told his soldiers to leave the military if they don’t accept that women should be respected and treated as equals.
Addressing delegates from more than 100 countries at the Global Summit to end Sexual Violence in Conflict, General Morrison said military culture needs to change.
“I can state without hesitation that an end to sexual violence in conflict will not be achieved without fundamental reforms to how all armies recruit, retain and employ women; and how they realise the improved military capability that is accrued through more effective gender and ethnic diversity.”
General Morrison said that all soldiers must take responsibility for being protectors rather than perpetrators.
“There are no bystanders – the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”
He went on to outline two initiatives that he says have a dramatic impact.
“First, make all areas of military service open to women. It wipes away the barriers to achieving potential and sends a clarion call to all who serve that talent will prevail, not gender. ”
His second point alluded to the ADF’s ongoing work with the Human Rights Commission.
“Secondly, appoint an independent statutory authority to review the treatment of women, and of men and women from ethnic minorities who comprise the force.”
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick and her team have been working closing with the General Morrison and the ADF for the last three years to improve the treatment of women in the military.
Lieutenant General Morrison’s comments came shortly after confirmation that the ADF and the Commission will continue to work together on issues around women in the military for the next four years.