Mistaken public attacks on the ADFA Commandant have continued, despite the trial of of those charged over the April 2011 "skype" incident again proving that many public beliefs about the circumstances are untrue. And despite Commodore Kafer having long been exonerated by an independent inquiry by a respected QC.
Letter to The Canberra Times
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
(published Monday, 21 October 2013, but with editing of the third paragragraph unfortunately resulting in its meaning being reversed)
David Groube (Letters, October 16) claims “skype affair revelations” somehow mean former defence minister Stephen Smith should get apologies from his many critics concerning many different issues.
But the recent trial of the “skype” offenders revealed nothing new and again disproved the numerous false claims and beliefs prevalent at the time.
Claims that Smith, who was briefed on the facts from the start, took nearly two weeks to refute publicly for reasons he has never explained and despite his silence worsening the misinformed public hysteria.
Smith, who was briefed on the facts from the start, took nearly two weeks to refute claims publicly and, despite his silence, worsened the misinformed public hysteria involved.
ADFA Commandant, Bruce Kafer – the undoubted second victim of the “skype affair”, was also subsequently exonerated by an independent inquiry but Smith still refuses to apologise for scapegoating him and denying Kafer natural justice and worse.
Moreover, Major-General John Cantwell’s post-retirement criticism concerned Smith’s demonstrated lack of empathy or even respect for our diggers when visiting Afghanistan.
David might ponder why Smith is the first Minister for Defence since World War II never to address the annual course at Command & Staff College and the first never to address the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies since its inception in the mid 1990s.
Or why, during his three-year tenure and even before the “skype affair”, he never attended a graduation parade or otherwise visited ADFA or the three Service officer-training colleges.
The common thread is that when ministers address diggers in a war zone, or ADF students here in Australia, they are naturally expected to answer reasonable questions.
Especially informed ones about that Minister’s policy views, expectations, responsibilities and actions.
Smith’s continual evasion of this responsibility, and his persistent failure to reciprocate loyalty downwards, is telling.
Finally, in mentioning me, David might try to cite an ADA explanation about the “skype affair” that has been proven incorrect subsequently.Back to Letters: 2013