The demise of our Military because of ALP changes forty years ago.

I served in the Army from 1959 to 1980 in the Infantry retiring as a Warrant Office Class One, and I retired because of the creation of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) that included the civilising military law a fact introduced by the Hawke government in the mid-1980s.

I believe that this and other changes spawned the troubles experienced in Afghanistan when McBride stole secret documents and gave them to ABC, the catalyst for the Bretherton report on alleged war crimes. There is a report today that Army Senior Officers who were involved in policy doctrine and training policies adopted by our Special Forces refuse to accept responsibility for the alleged war crimes, so, I believe that these policies and doctrine are the reasons that our SF frontline combat warriors are now under scrutiny.

Applying civil law to the military has been a disaster for the members of the ADF when compared to my time in the services. The British and United States military have retained their specific law and regulations because they know that civil laws and justice in the military in not compatible with civil justice, there is no comparison. If you have never worn the boots you’d never understand.

I believe that abandoning the pre-ADF military service conditions has created toxic service conditions that could be the cause of the suicides in the ADF.

Those who served with me agree.

There needs to be a Royal Commission into the ADF, with terms of reference to include the civilisation of laws and regulation, command and leadership, and the comparison of the service conditions applied to the pre-1980s Australian Defence Forces, against those of the Australian Military Forces.

We need to demand transparency and integrity to protect our military warriors, not protect senior officers and politicians who endorse training policies and doctrine, as combatants are our most precious weapons of defence.

Robert (Bob) Buick MM JP

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  • John (Jack) Snell May 16, 2024   Reply →

    Agree wholeheartedly with your views, Bob.
    We have lost sight of the fact that military law is a function of command, not the overall regulation of the society as expected of civil law.
    Having served on several courts martial as defending and prosecuting officers and as member of the court on several occasions, my experience tells me that the CMs were as fair as any civil court trial; posibly fairer, because those in judgment had walked in the shoes of the accused and witnesses at some stage or other of ther military careers.
    We seem unable to recruit new blood, probably because we are not ‘selling’ a life in the ADF as a career. As for equal opportunity between the sexes, why are the physical requirements for the females lower than for the blokes? Recognition of lower upper body strength of the females? Does that imply the females cannot disembark down (or emabark up) the nets over the sides of the ships discharging into landing craft?
    It is nice to see ADF members helping out in natural disasters and ministering to injured civilians, but where are the tough, uncompromising and well-trained combat soldiers that are going to impose themselves between the bad guys and me in my old age, as I was once capable of doing?

  • Ken.T. May 17, 2024   Reply →

    Bob, I agree with what you say. I was having a quiet conversation a few weeks ago with an old schoolmate, (We are Both Vietnam Veterans and understand the Laws of yesterday) He was a Jet Jockey in his day, and the conversation got around to then and now. I said to him would you be game to drop your ordinance on a village now knowing that there may be civilians within the houses? His reply worried me then and still does. He said, “No way! I would be worried about the investigation which could follow a year or two down the road, and being found guilty of negligence or some other trumped-up charge.”

    I then reflected with him on the use of artillery, Aircraft Bombing, and Rocked Attacks. What method do you use to eliminate the enemy without bringing yourself into a dispute with some overzealous Wally?? The world and Rules have changed for the worse. I believe.

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