News & Media

‘Women of Honour’ must be formally consulted with as part of independent review

18 September 2021

Statement by Senator Mark Wall
Spokesperson on Defence, Tourism and Sport
  • Women of Honour and unions must have say in drafting terms of reference
  • Redress must be key component of review

Labour spokesperson on defence Mark Wall has welcomed the establishment of an independent review into how allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying are handled with the Defence Forces. Senator Wall said that the women who bravely came forward to tell their stories must be formally consulted with and included in the drafting of the terms of reference of the review.

Senator Wall said:

“The women who bravely came forward to speak of their experience of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying within the Defencr Forces are to be commended. But praise will be no good unless there is redress and an assurance of a cultural overhaul within Forces. The women who have come forward to tell their story must be a part of the process to rectify the situation. Ahead of his meeting with the 'Women of Honour', I am calling on the Minister to ensure that the women will be formally consulted with on the terms of reference of this independent review.

“As well as the women affected, there must be engagement with PDFORA, RACO and all relevant unions in drafting the terms of reference. There must be a root and branch review into how the Defence Forces deals with issues like this and ensure that the experienced described in the documentary never happen to another woman or member of the forces.

"It’s deeply troubling to hear women say that they do not feel that they have the power or the support to report incidences of harassment, and even that even when reports are made, women are given inadequate support to work through it or their reports are not followed through. There needs to be a higher standard within the forces. Victims of harassment should feel safe and empowered to report, confident that it will be dealt with as part of a formal process. Otherwise perpetrators of harassment trade off silence. There must be consequences for the actions of perpetrators and support for any victim of harassment or assault.

“Speaking on the documentary, the women said that they want to be acknowledged and apologised to. The Minister’s review must include how we can redress the situation for any woman who has been a victim of the misogyny described in the show. We need to ensure that this review will be one of substance, one that will change things within the Forces once and for all.”