Australian Army on institutional sexism: The standard you walk past is the standard you accept

Michael sez, "In response to a breaking scandal the head of the Australian Army gives a textbook example on how to respond to sexual abuse in the military, hell, misogyny in any organisation: blunt, unambiguous, drawing on both institutional policy and personal ethics, and frankly a bit terrifying in a Tywin Lassister kind of way. I quailed and I'm not even a soldier. I also think there should be more of this."

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 the exploitation or degradation of others enhances capability or honors the traditions of the Australian army. I will be ruthless in ridding the army of people who cannot live up to its values and I need every one of you to support me in achieving this.

The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. That goes for all of us, but especially those who by their rank have a leadership role.

Chief of Army message regarding unacceptable behaviour

(Transcript: Skepchick)

(Thanks, Michael!)


  1. A great antidote to the usual vague non-apologies that huge organizations drool out when somebody does something heinous.

  2. I like that “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept”.  That’s right up there with: 

    “A Man For All Seasons” – ‘Silence means consent.’
    USMC – ‘I will not lie, cheat or steal – nor tolerate those who do.’

    1. I never heard anything like that in the Marine Corps, but I did hear “gear adrift is a gift” all the time when things went missing.

  3. Nothing is going to change over night. Bad behaviour in the ADF and the officer training academy has been a problem as long as I can remember. Its a big boys club with free toys.

  4. Wish we could hear this from a few of our leaders here…military, political or corporate.  Bravo!

  5. “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. That goes for all of us[.]”

    Well, shit, that just applies to any of the crap the US Government puts out, especially this NSA shit as well. 

  6. Note that inclusiveness and being a band of “brothers & sisters” is done in the military to avoid death as opposed to some of the more abstract reasons for doing so.  If you’re busy fighting each other in any sense then those “other guys” (you know – The Enemy) will stroll by and kill you.  If you ask any of those soldiers who got Victoria Crosses or Congressional Medals of Honour what motivated them to attack a machine gun nest with a pointed stick it’s not for God and Country; it’s because the machine gunners were trying to kill their buddies.  Being a shit and degrading other people is not a good way to get them to risk their lives for you Tuesday next.

    In an active war memes advance not by nambly-pambly Social Darwinism but by plain old Darwinism.

  7. I also admire the

    That goes for all of us, but especially those who by their rank have a leadership role

    Complex little nugget.  Doesn’t exclude anyone from a leadership role in recognition of the real nature of people, but specifies that if you have a badge, you must follow the principles laid down with special focus.  By calling them out, it highlights the structure (which you need in an army), and also points out to everyone that they should be looking along the lines of that structure, which is hereby imbued with all the good qualities in the statement.

    That guy’s a smart cookie.

      1. Imagine what it must have been like for “those who by their rank have a leadership role” and didn’t deal with the situation properly to face him. They are probably still looking for the strips of skin he flayed off.

    1. “hardly blinked”? Two blinks at :57, one blink at 1:00, and that was it for a three minute video. Wow. That’s intense.

      1. Hm. Teleprompter? (It would be just great if this had been recited from memory, but I doubt it.)

          1. Yeah, I was just answering Luther’s question, cuz it would indeed be impressive if he’d done it from memory. But if not, yeah, it doesn’t matter, especially since he apparently reads so well. It’s not a talent show, but making an effective impression in front of a camera is an interesting feat, since it’s not easy for most of us to do.

          2. Yeah, I didn’t mean to impute it to you. It has become a premier talking point, though. Obama uses a teleprompter!!! Like Reagan was just totally ad libbing all his speeches. Of course, some of them are so incoherent, that’s a possibility.

          3. Agreed. But you would have to admit that this, from memory, would be amazing. A teleprompter would explain the intent look. So thank’s to @boingboing-2c4ab9b7954f1c0af3fab408b3290a86:disqus.

  8. Can we do some sort of officer exchange program with Australia?  The US military needs this man.

  9. A man that really is impressive.  It wasn’t too long ago that 3 women told him of the sexual assaults they suffered, purely because they were women.  It terrified him.  He then went onto champion equality of women in armed services (And in general).

    His speechwriter has gone through a sex-change, and he insisted that she stay on as his speechwriter.  (Once, a sex-change required the person to resign their post.  Lt Gen had nothing of that and endorsed and supported his speechwriter.)

    Truly an amazing man to read about our Chief of Army.   He has stunned world leaders about his openness of the problems and what he is doing to try and address it.

  10. My only criticism would be that at the point where he was finished chuffing on about the performance of female soldiers, he shouldn’t have said “they” in reference to female soldiers.  Instead, he should have made an inclusive “we” statement, along the lines of “we are an army of diverse people – different origins, different cultures, different genders, and yet we function as a cohesive whole”.  But good otherwise.

  11. I like that he isn’t dressed in the usual officer regalia.  Even though he is completely undecorated in the video, there is absolutely no doubt that he is in charge.

    I would hate to be on the receiving end of that terrifying gaze.

  12. I want to get him into some training camps for our politicians. Reduction of the bullshit factor in politics would be a godsend.

    1. There’s absolutely no incentive to reduce the bullshit factor in politics, unfortunately… the two are almost synonymous.

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