ADF chief General Angus Campbell (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

So much has been said about the Brereton report in recent days, but how could the shameful and criminal episodes we keep reading about have come this far without being stopped?

Anyone who has taken even a passing interesting in the cleaning up of the Australian police forces over the past three decades will find eerily familiar lessons at the heart of the disgraceful cruelty revealed by Justice Paul Brereton.

And principally it lies with how complaints are dealt with: once a reason to persecute the complainants, now a means to prosecute those who step over the line.