Service personnel have been busy since last Tuesday night poring over the Senate Estimates for the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee. They’re particularly interested in what the brass and the boffins have had to say about the case of Peter Criss, the Air Vice Marshall dismissed in 2000 as air commander of Australia and deliberately denied compensation.
They’re keen to learn what they can from the Senators’ questions on the way Criss was dealt with – and how the system is continuing to treat him (and his wife), despite findings by various inquiries that he has been subjected to serious injustices, unacceptable conduct and suffered from defective administration.
Service personnel and their supporters fear the Criss case is just one of many examples that prove that the concept of – let alone an understanding of – justice, integrity, ethics, honesty and fair dealing have gone AWOL from the highest levels of Defence and been missing for some time.
The Sydney Morning Herald may have put it best when it wrote in a recent leader: “There are only two problems with the system of justice now operating in the Australian Defence Force: it is not a system, and it is not just.”
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