Senator Jacqui Lambie and Dr Glenn Kolomeitz delivering the documents to AusPost in Parliament House
Yesterday I called on the government to acknowledge and take responsibility for the shocking lack of accountability at the top of our defence force.
The Government didn’t support my call to admit that we have a problem. A massive problem.
And I have been asking for a meeting with the Minister of Defence for months to talk about this.
Like the Chief of the Defence Force and the top brass - the government is - no doubt - hoping this will all go away.
They’re hoping that Australians will forget – that when alleged war crimes in Afghanistan were investigated – our senior commanders got a free pass while our diggers were thrown under the bus.
Well, we won’t forget.
I won’t forget
Lest we forget!
There is a culture of cover-up at the highest levels of the Australian Defence Force.
It is the ultimate boys club.
Well today I say enough. It is enough.
No more marking your own homework.
No more throwing our diggers under the bus.
When the war crimes investigation was formed Major General Brereton ruled out investigating senior commanders – and the previous Government said YES SIR!
And what do you know this government is following suit.
Let’s be quite clear here – the senior commanders have not been examined through the hard core legal lens they have put the diggers through.
When the Chief of Defence was asked in estimates if his ”Command Accountability Review” was an investigation he admitted that it wasn’t.
So, I guess it was just another marking your own homework exercise.
It seems that those who are most responsible are the least accountable.
Evidence from multiple sources independent of the Brereton Inquiry, including witness testimony before a civil defamation trial said that and I quote “The leadership knew. This went beyond patrols – this went up the chain.” End quote
Some of these sources confirm that the Leadership knew for years about the allegations of unlawful behaviour - including a former SAS patrol commander
The incident was reported all the way up the special forces chain of command.
The former patrol commander says he was told by a senior officer that - “the regiment is bigger than an individual and the integrity of the regiment must come first… he informed me the regiment will handle this internally.’
The former SAS patrol Commander had one message – EVERYONE KNEW
And still our government is silent – worse – they put the guy who gave the senior commanders a free pass the top job at our National Anti-Corruption Commission.
So, this morning we took action.
We have filed with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague an Article 15 communication.
This asks him to look at Australia’s higher commanders through the lens of command responsibility.
An enormous amount of work has gone into this – I thank them all for their contribution – especially Dr Glenn Kolomeitz, veteran and lawyer.
The law of command responsibility is a method of criminal liability where commanders have failed in their duty.
The International Criminal Court is a court of last resort. It isn’t an easy task to get them to investigate.
They can only do this if the State party – in this case Australia - has failed to investigate higher command for their breach of duty.
Alexander Downer fought hard to get Australia to sign up to the International Criminal Court.
I’m sure he never considered that we would need the International Criminal Court because Australia was shielding its own military commanders from accountability.
But that is what has happened –
Australia has in effect set up two systems of criminality –
one for Australia’s top military commanders
And another for commanders from the rest of the world
Quite frankly I feel embarrassed that Australia is in this situation –
so I am helping the government today - giving them a second chance to get this right and fix this mess.
It is now your turn – you are the government of the day – let’s see if you have the leadership it takes – the ball is now in your court.