Australian army covers-up abuse and bullying, says gay colonel

Senior psychologist in the army says abuse is covered up, and speaks of his own experiences as a victim of anti-gay bullying

Australian army covers-up abuse and bullying, says gay colonel
08 March 2013

A whistleblower has spoken out on Australian TV about the ‘cover-up’ of abuse in the army.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Morgan, an openly gay senior army psychologist in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) said on ABC TV on yesterday:

‘The way army deals with abuse is entirely consistent with how you would run a cover-up.’

Morgan, whose job is to look after the mental health of soldiers serving in East Timor, Iraq and the Middle East, said:

‘My personal experience tells me that the Army’s abuse management strategies that I’ve seen – delay, deter and deceive – are still in force now.’

Morgan said that he made an official complaint in 2010 when he was experienced gay-hate bullying on Facebook and received an email death threat.

‘Every officer in my chain of command, every colonel and general all the way through to the current Chief of Army… systematically failed their duty in relation to the management of my complaint.’

Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley admitted that the army had to do more to help victims of abuse.

‘I put up in headlights in the department that our approach to victim support in the ADF had to change,’ said General Hurley on ABC TV’s 7.30 program.

Hurley said that ‘actions speak louder than words’ and pointed to the fact that ADF personnel were allowed to march in uniform at Sydney Mardi Gras for the first time this year. He said the decision to authorize that was one of the most difficult and most complained about of his career.

ADF has allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the army since 1992.  

Morgan said ‘we need an outside body to step in immediately and look after our current serving victims of abuse in the army… I don’t have anything positive to say about Defence’s handling of abuse and it’s mental health consequences’. 

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