DEFENCE LIVES MATTER
We encourage policy reforms to accord ADF members realistic opportunities to resolve their grievances and advance towards a fairer, more just and mentally robust workplace.
On 21 November 2023, I took the opportunity to submit my insights and recommendations to the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) Twenty Year Review. This important review presents a significant opportunity to advocate for much-needed reforms in the ADF workplace. As someone deeply invested in the well-being and success of our ADF members, I have passionately highlighted the pressing need to safeguard their professional status and reputation, as well as their mental health.
In my submission, I have put forth a comprehensive set of recommendations aimed at addressing the existing challenges and concerns faced by ADF members and veterans [and their families].
One of the key issues I have addressed is the inherent flaws in the current system of arbitration that is applied to ADF grievances. It is widely acknowledged that this system not only fails to effectively resolve grievances but also exacerbates the situation by generating even more grievances. This vicious cycle not only affects the mental health and well-being of ADF members but also has the potential to impact their families who provide them with unwavering support. By shedding light on these critical issues, I hope to ignite a meaningful conversation and spark the necessary changes in the ADF workplace. It is essential that we establish a fair and effective mechanism for addressing grievances that not only provides resolution but also promotes mental well-being and fosters a supportive environment for our ADF members and veterans. Only through such reforms can we truly honor their dedication and service.
Interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention
On 15 September 2021, the interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention, Dr Bernadette Boss CSC, handed her report to Government detailing the findings from her Independent Review of Past Defence and Veteran Suicides. The report was tabled in Parliament on 29 September 2021.
Dr Bernadette Boss, 2021, 'Preliminary Interim Report', Interim National Commission for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention, Commonwealth of Australia.
List of Recommendations made by Dr Bernadette Boss (Click here)
19 February 2021
Academics, experts and practitioners from across Australia will come together in March to look at suicide prevention and mental health through a two-day symposium in Canberra, themed ‘Prevention Through Understanding'.
Download the Full Symposium Program (Here)
Submission by Dr Kay Danes OAM
This discussion focuses on two key areas from a policy risk perspective: to examine the perceived inequities of already established dispute resolution policies that are to provide ADF members access to a fair, just, and inclusive workplace; and to explore the potential for exposure to suicide risk, self-harm, and reputational peril for those who seek to redress a grievance through their Chain of Command.
Suppose we are intent on achieving that aim. In that case, we must explore the inequities in policies failing to evolve with contemporary narratives of how everyone should think about their work and behaviour towards others. Supposing we do not consider the impact these inequities have on our ADF members professional reputations and mental health? In that case, ADF members will likely continue to carry unresolved grievances into life beyond service, assuming they do not suicide.
Submission by Dr Kay Danes OAM
Danes, Kay (2023) 'A Conflict Resilient Workplace: Transformative best practice in the Australian Defence Force workplace.’ (Submission to the Inspector‐General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) Twenty Year Review | 21 Nov 2023)
Coleman, Nikki (2023) "“Moral Courage: When the ‘Line in the Sand’ Demands a Response”," The International Journal of Ethical Leadership: Vol. 10, Article 4.
Tory Shepherd (2023), "ADF leadership ‘protected’ air force chaplain’s abuser, royal commission hears," The Guardian.
Danes, Kay. 2021. 'Stand Tall for ADF PTS Reforms.'
Kolomeitz, Glenn and Grierson, Doug (2021). 'DEFENCE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (DISCIPLINE REFORM) BILL 2021
Danes, Kay (2020) 'How dare the ADF Leadership tarnish our 1st Commando Regiment.'
Danes, Kay (2020) 'Defence Lives Matter... call for Senate Inquiry' CLArion.
Hanscombe, John, (2020) ‘Gerroa lawyer Glenn Kolomeitz blasts Defence culture in wake of war crimes report.’
Kolomeitz, Glenn and Rorris, Arthur, (2020) ‘A fish rots from the head: why is ADF top brass still here?’
Danes, Kay (2019) ‘Army ‘Regs’ lead to institutional abuse by Defence’ CLArion.
Danes, Kay (2018) ‘Command Failings that are defence-less’ CLArion.
Danes, Kay (2016) ‘The Moral Ethic of ADF Employment Rights,’ CLArion.
Dollisson, Trish (2013). 'Work Shouldn't Hurt!'