Message from Acting Chief of Army regarding unacceptable use of social media

You may be aware of recent public reporting about inappropriate comments made through social media.

I am personally appalled and disenchanted with the repugnant comments made by some among us on Facebook. Racist and homophobic comments are entirely unacceptable and completely at odds with Army’s values, including all of the cultural and equity training we undertake.

These comments display, for all to see, a simple lack of human decency, intelligence and compassion; the very qualities that set us apart from our adversary. The behaviour undermines our efforts in Afghanistan, fuelling those who seek us harm and weakening our efforts to win the support of the Afghan people. At home, such comments erode the confidence of our Government, the Australian people and, indeed, the overwhelming majority of soldiers.

We should be proud of the great work that Army undertakes on a day to day basis, both at home and abroad. We should all remain committed to protecting the reputation of the Australian Army. In my view, there is no place in the Army for people who act with such poor judgement.

Finally, I actually encourage the use of social media, such as Facebook, for good. Harnessing the power of social media can help us learn and adapt more quickly than ever before. But that same power can be equally destructive when it is used inappropriately. We each have an obligation to ensure that we act with the good of Army in mind. It is a serious obligation and one for which individuals must be held to account. Unacceptable behaviour is unacceptable, regardless of the means through which it is conveyed.

P.B. SYMON
Major General
Acting Chief of Army