‘Bloody disgrace’: ADF Chief under fire after soldiers ‘treated like offal’
Ray Hadley has called for the Chief of the Defence Force to either apologise or resign over the treatment of SAS soldiers during an inquiry into alleged Afghanistan war crimes.
The Brereton report recommended a number of soldiers be investigated for war crimes by the Office of Special Investigators on the basis of ‘credible information’ in November.
No sufficient evidence came of the investigation, which reports suggest saw the soldiers told they did not require legal representation and ‘repeatedly harangued’ to produce evidence.
Now, thirteen special forces soldiers have begun preparing a legal class action over how they were treated by Major General Paul Brereton during the investigation.
Ray said the Chief of the Defence Force, Angus Campbell, should hang his head in shame, describing the inquiry as “a low act of bastardry in the extreme”.
“Apologise to these men,” he said. “Nothing less would be acceptable – it’s an absolute bloody disgrace!
“It’s absolutely incredible that brave men, who put their lives on the line, are being treated like offal by the Australian government via Angus Campbell.”
Press PLAY below to hear Ray’s comments in full
“People’s lives have literally been ruined only for them to receive a letter saying ‘no case to answer for’,” retired Special Forces Commander Heston Russell told Ray.
He pointed to General Campbell’s previous proposal to revoke Meritorious Unit Citations granted to Special Operations Task Group members in the wake of the Brereton inquiry.
“As an Australian citizen, I am still disgusted by that, because I know we have to be better than that.
“The culture that is destroying our Defence Force at the moment is this leadership culture that is abdication and is avoidance of blame and accountability.
“He would send an amazing example through the Defence Force if he simply stood up and said ‘hey, I got it wrong’.”
Press PLAY below to hear Heston Russell’s reaction in full