These reviews investigated various aspects of Defence culture and were intended to ‘address ongoing concern in relation to failure to meet appropriate standards of conduct.’ The reviews included: Review of the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force Academy and Australian Defence Force 3 November 2011Independent Advisory Panel on Alcohol – The use of Alcohol in the Australian Defence Force 2011Review of Social Media and Defence 2011Beyond compliance: professionalism, trust and capability in the Australian Profession of Arms 2011Review of the management of Incidents and complaints in Defence including civil and military jurisdiction 2011Review of Employment for APS women in the Department of Defence 2011In response to the reviews, the then Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, together with the Secretary of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Force jointly announced on 7 March 2012, ‘a strategy of cultural change and reinforcement in Defence and the Australian Defence Force’, entitled Pathway to Change: evolving Defence culture.After the Skype incident, a number of allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse emerged.The Government response to the DLA Piper review agreed with all its recommendations and provided that the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce would be responsible for Phase 2., chaired by Len Roberts-Smith, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of WA and former Judge Advocate General of the Australian Defence Force, was established on 26 November 2012.Also on that day, the then Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, delivered on ‘behalf of the Government to the men and women of the Australian Defence Force who have suffered sexual or other forms of abuse in the course of service to the Australian Defence Force and their country.’The deadline for reporting such abuse was . Phase 1 relates to establishing the Taskforce, Phase 2 involves the operational aspects of the Taskforce’s work and Phase 3 is the conclusion and legacy issues of the Taskforce.
A second interim report, released on 20 June 2013, is concerned with the transition to Phase 2.
The period of operation of the Taskforce has been extended to .
The Taskforce is also establishing protocols to share information with the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Secretary of the Department of Defence engaged DLA Piper (then DLA Phillips Fox) to review each allegation methodically and at arm’s length from Defence and to make recommendations for further action.
The final report of Phase 1 of the review was delivered to the Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith on 17 April 2012.