DEFENCE LIVES MATTER

Let's build a more fair and robust ADF workplace together.  

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Several policy inequities are identified in the existing Defence (Inquiry) Regulations 2018 policy that have the potential to expose ADF Commanders to the risk of making procedurally unfair decisions.

 

We encourage minor policy reforms, in good faith, to ensure ADF members have realistic opportunities to resolve their complaint in the workplace, to advance towards a fairer, more just and mentally robust workplace. 

Royal Commission Submission 2021

Submitted 18 November 2021

Our submission draws on the lived experience of the authors and clients of GAP Veteran & Legal Services. It is our expectation that a large number of similar concerns to those raised in this submission will not be heard by the Royal Commission because of caveats imposed under the Defence Inquiry Regulations and, indeed, under the Defence administrative inquiry processes more broadly which prevent Defence members from openly discussing their personal matters pertaining to maladministration or other injustices faced in service.

 

This limitation is aggravated by the non-disclosure caveats attached to discretionary settlements under discretionary compensation schemes including the CDDA scheme.

If the Royal Commission were to consider these limitations and imposed obstacles, and subsequently enable Defence members and veterans an opportunity to fully disclose the true nature and extent of grievances, many more Defence members and veterans would likely have the confidence to come forward. This would thus provide a more accurate and complete picture of the challenges faced by Defence members and veterans in the course of their service.

Principal Author:

 

Dr Kay Danes OAM

Human Rights Advocate

GAP Legal Pty Ltd

kay@gaprm.com.au

 

 

Co-Authors:                                                                                                  

 

Glenn Kolomeitz

Lawyer/Director

GAP Legal Pty Ltd

glenn@gaprm.com.au

 

Kerry Danes, CSM

Veteran Adviser

GAP Legal Pty Ltd

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Ever Suffered a Career Detriment in the ADF?

Have you suffered a career detriment during ADF service where someone failed to uphold Defence policies and procedures, which resulted in significant professional harm to you? 

Have you been involved in matters where you were called either as a witness, or called to show cause in relation to a complaint or incident, and as a consequence you were punished?

If you answered YES to either of these two questions, then we encourage you to tell your story. 

The nature of your complaint needs to be articulated concisely:

  • Your current employment status (serving, reserves, ex-serving ADF personnel),

  • A brief synopsis of your complaint and any relevant violation of regulations/legislation,  

  • What level your complaint reached (e.g., CDF, IGADF, Ombudsman, Minister, Information Commissioner etc.),

  • The achieved outcome or resolution.

  • Description of the outcome you wanted to achieve.

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You might have concerns about talking to the Royal Commission. We have set up a safe process for you to share your story. If you’d prefer to remain anonymous, please let us know and we can support you.

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Royal Commission Submission 2021

Submitted 18 November 2021

Our submission draws on the lived experience of the authors and clients of GAP Veteran & Legal Services. It is our expectation that a large number of similar concerns to those raised in this submission will not be heard by the Royal Commission because of caveats imposed under the Defence Inquiry Regulations and, indeed, under the Defence administrative inquiry processes more broadly which prevent Defence members from openly discussing their personal matters pertaining to maladministration or other injustices faced in service.

 

This limitation is aggravated by the non-disclosure caveats attached to discretionary settlements under discretionary compensation schemes including the CDDA scheme.

If the Royal Commission were to consider these limitations and imposed obstacles, and subsequently enable Defence members and veterans an opportunity to fully disclose the true nature and extent of grievances, many more Defence members and veterans would likely have the confidence to come forward. This would thus provide a more accurate and complete picture of the challenges faced by Defence members and veterans in the course of their service.

Principal Author:

 

Dr Kay Danes OAM

Human Rights Advocate

GAP Legal Pty Ltd

kay@gaprm.com.au

 

 

Co-Authors:                                                                                                  

 

Glenn Kolomeitz

Lawyer/Director

GAP Legal Pty Ltd

glenn@gaprm.com.au

 

Kerry Danes, CSM

Veteran Adviser

GAP Legal Pty Ltd

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Phone: 02 6239 3066
Web: gaplegal.com.au

Other Relevant Publications
 

Danes, Kay. 2021. 'Pleading Positive Reform: An analysis of suicide risk, self-harm and reputational peril impacting serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members.' 

 

Danes, Kay. 2021. 'Stand Tall for ADF PTS Reforms.'
 

Danes, Kay. 2020. 'How dare the ADF Leadership tarnish our 1st Commando Regiment.' 

 

Danes, Kay. 2020. 'Defence Lives Matter... call for Senate Inquiry' CLArion.

 

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.

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?’

 

Kolomeitz, Glenn and Grierson, Doug, 2021. 'DEFENCE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (DISCIPLINE REFORM) BILL 2021

Ever Suffered a Career Detriment in the ADF?

Have you suffered a career detriment during ADF service where someone failed to uphold Defence policies and procedures, which resulted in significant professional harm to you? 

Have you ever been subjected to an action where there has been an unreasonable failure to institute appropriate administrative procedures in dealing with your matters in the workplace? 

Have you been given incorrect or ambiguous advice that was within an official’s power and knowledge (or was reasonably capable of being obtained by the official) and which has resulted in a detriment to your career? 

Have you been involved in matters where you were called either as a witness, or called to show cause in relation to a complaint or incident, and as a consequence you were punished?

If you answered YES to any of these questions then you may have a claim for defective administration under the Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration Scheme (CDDA Scheme).

What is the CDDA scheme?

The CDDA scheme enables Government agencies to compensate individuals who have experienced losses caused by the agency’s defective actions or inactions. The purpose of the CDDA Scheme is to put the claimant back into the financial position they would have been in had the defective administration not occurred.

What type of losses can be claimed? 

Compensation is payable if the loss suffered is a direct result of the defective administration. Loss or injury can be claimed for: Financial loss; Detriment relating to personal injury, including a recognised mental illness; Damage to property; Bank Dishonour fees. Note: Compensation will not be given for grief, anxiety, embarrassment or disappointment that is unrelated to a personal injury that is being compensated under the CDDA scheme.

About making a claim

The nature of your complaint needs to be articulated concisely. You can make a complaint yourself or you can nominate someone else to make a complaint for you. (We recommend the latter) 

Your complaint should include; 

  • Your current employment status (serving, reserves, ex-serving ADF personnel),

  • Details of your complaint and any relevant violation of regulations/legislation,  

  • What level your complaint reached (e.g., CDF, IGADF, Ombudsman, Minister, Information Commissioner etc.),

  • The achieved outcome or resolution.

  • The losses you incurred as a direct result of defective administration. 

  • Description of the outcome you wanted to achieve.

Next step: Formalise your complaint by completing the following form and submit to GAP VETERAN & LEGAL SERVICES: 

GAP Legal Services, is a Veteran owned boutique legal firm.

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Phone: 02 6239 3066
Web: gaplegal.com.au
gapvs.com.au | gaprm.com.au

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Trauma of troops accused of war crimes
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Dr Kay Danes OAM 

"I think a critical element that is missing from the current discourse is the impact that defective administration also has on ADF members, prior to discharge. As the research reflects, many ADF members have been subjected to significant professional employment failures during service, that have caused them  irrevocable reputational harm. The risk of suicide and self harm is not just a consequence of war. It is now commonly accepted, in research, that there is a link between institutional abuse and abnormal suicide risk among this cohort."

Kay earned her PhD with the School of Law and Justice at Southern Cross University, and has a Masters in Human Rights, with High Distinctions, at Curtin University. 

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As frequently displayed in the media, the hierarchy of Defence appear quick to condemn ADF personnel without due process. But are silent in publicly exculpating them when Defence Legal Officers cannot uphold the ‘brutal truths’ as espoused. The Defence Legal Service needs to be held to account for sustaining the impact defence abuse and gross maladministration has on ADF members.

Glenn is an ex-Army Officer who understands the reality of defence maladministration. Kolomeitz has postgraduate degrees in international law, fraud and financial crime investigation, investigation management, and business administration. He is presently writing his doctoral thesis on command responsibility for war crimes and maintains that there will undoubtedly be litigation or defective administrative actions arising from the flawed findings of the Brereton report.

Major (Retd) Glenn Kolomeitz

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WO1 (Retd) Kerry Danes, CSM

I served 42 years in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), predominately with the Australian Special Forces, and obtained the rank of Warrant Officer Class One. Throughout my service, I have stood beside a number of my colleagues who were subjected to inequitable treatment that resulted in significant detriment to their career, reputation and mental health. The mistreatment of ADF personnel must stop! We need reforms that include a reparation policy that: acknowledges violations that were committed against an ADF member, to repair the damage done by these violations, and to identify the root causes of the violations to prevent them from occurring again in the future.

Kerry has deployed numerous times to several ADF operational theatres, including Afghanistan, where he deployed in varying roles and twice as a Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of two Special Operation Task Group rotations. Throughout his career, Kerry Danes specialised in counterterrorism, hostage rescue and crisis continuity planning in extreme environments.

Australian first – public defence and veteran suicide prevention symposium

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)
 

11 March 2021 National Symposium
11 March 2021 National Symposium

Submission by Dr Kay Danes OAM

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Pleading Positive Reform: An analysis of suicide risk, self-harm, and reputational peril
Pleading Positive Reform: An analysis of suicide risk, self-harm, and reputational peril

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.

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We must do better!
We must do better!

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.

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11 March 2021 National Symposium
11 March 2021 National Symposium

Submission by Dr Kay Danes OAM

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Dr Kay Danes address to National Commissioner Symposium on Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention