Lieutenant General David Morrison is surprised that his speech on YouTube has become viral. The three-minute clip shows Australia’s Chief of Army addressing the recent sex scandal of the nation’s army has been viewed over 1.3 million times in less than a month.
When the Australian army was besieged with controversy in June when it was learned that a group of male soldiers who call themselves the “Jedi Council” has been exchanging emails containing footage of them having sex.
At least 17 soldiers including senior officers were included in the email ring distribution since 2010. It’s possible that the women filmed having sex with army personnel didn’t know that they were being filmed or even unaware that they are featured in the demeaning emails.
General Morrison condemned the act, promising that he would be “ruthless” in getting rid of those people involved in the Army. He addressed the army in a YouTube video released on June 12.
“If that does not suit you, then get out,” he bluntly told the army.
The clip has been viewed more than 1.3 million times and has garnered more than 4,000 comments, which surprised the army officer.
“I have been taken aback by the public reaction completely,” he told SBS TV of his reaction to the popularity of his video. “It wasn’t designed to be anything more than a message to the Army. The public support as a result of people watching it has been exceptionally heartening.”
In the video, Morrison brutally addressed soldiers to get out of the army if they cannot uphold the values the Australian army stands for.
“If you’re not up to it, find something else to do with your life. There is no place for you amongst this band of brothers and sisters,” he said in the now viral video.
“There are limits to how much I can tell you because the investigations into this network by both the New South Wales Police and the ADF Investigative Service are ongoing. But evidence collected to date has identified a group of men within our ranks who have allegedly produced highly inappropriate material demeaning women, and distributed it across the Internet and Defence’s email networks.
“If this is true, then the actions of these members are in direct contravention to every value the Australian Army stands for. By now, I assume you know my attitude to this type of conduct. I have sated categorically many times that the Army has to be an inclusive organisation, in which every soldier, man, and woman is able to reach their full potential and is encouraged to do so.
“Those who think that it is okay to behave in a way that demeans or exploits their colleagues have no place in this Army.”
“If you become aware of any individual degrading another, then show moral courage and take a stand against it. No one has ever explained to me how the exploitation or degradation of others enhances capability or honours the traditions of the Australian Army.
“I will be ruthless in ridding the Army of people who cannot live up to its values and I need every one of you to support me in achieving this.”
More recently on July 1, the Australian Defence Force has suspended five more members of the Army over the sex scandal. In total, ten soldiers have been suspended already, with 90 more are being investigated.
In 2011, a separate sexual controversy had plagued the Australian Defence Force Academy after a cadet had broadcast himself having sex with a female cadet to his friends via Skype. The female cadet was unaware of being filmed.