Seven cadets suspended amid new misconduct allegations
SEVEN cadets have been suspended from the Australian Defence Force Academy amid fresh allegations of serious misconduct.
The new allegations come a day after the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce revealed it had received more than 2400 allegations of misconduct and abuse within the force, to May 31 this year.
Air Marshal Mark Binskin announced in Canberra on Friday that a new investigation would be held into the latest investigations, with seven male cadets already suspended.
He said the investigations involved an "off-campus incident" at the weekend, and he could not rule out alcohol being involved.
Air Marshal Binskin said the incident had come to light due to the "moral courage" of some cadets at the academy and there was potential for more suspensions in coming weeks.
He said it involved a small group of male cadets at the academy, and was particularly concerning given the academy specialised in training future defence force officers and leaders.
"I will not tolerate this sort of conduct; I will not tolerate it in out future leaders," Air Marshal Binskin said.
The latest incident was unrelated to shocking revelations last week that several senior commissioned and non-commissioned officers were involved in a string of demeaning emails.
That issue, involving a group that referred to itself as "the Jedi Council", was now under investigation by the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service, as well as New South Wales Police.
Air Marshal Binskin said he could not confirm whether the incident at the weekend involved either sexual or physical abuse.
However, he said the latest incident had highlighted alleged misconduct that had been going on for less than a year.
He said the majority of the cadets at the academy, who were due to graduate next week, would be disgusted, as he was, by the latest incident.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said she had already urged defence to implement residential service officers at the academy, to help deal with such issues.
That recommendation was made in Ms Broderick's report on the Review into the Treatment of Women at the academy, and defence had already employed such officers, who helped to bring the latest incident to light.
Ms Broderick said it was an example of the recommendations at work, and while commitments were made to implement 24 of her recommendations, "I urge them to implement the entire set of 31 recommendations at pace".
"While cultural progress has been made, there is clearly much more to do," she said.