Army chief becomes unlikely feminist hero

Last updated 15:46 14/06/2013
Army HQ

Chief of Army David Morrison sends a stern warning to Australia's armed forces on Thursday regarding unacceptable behaviour.

David Morrison
Alex Ellinghausen
POSTER BOY FOR FEMINISM: Australian Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison.

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His organisation is in the midst of yet another internet sex scandal but the Chief of Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison, has emerged as the unlikely poster boy for feminism.

Following revelations of further "demeaning, explicit and profane" behaviour by his army members, the tough-talking army chief released a powerful video message on Thursday night telling defence members who degrade women: "We don't want you."

The three-minute "smack down" has earned him the tag of "feminist hero" on social media and even suggestions that he should run for prime minister.

With a steely death stare, General Morrison vowed to ruthlessly rid the army of sexist men and told defence members to "find something else to do with your life" if they couldn't uphold the values of the organisation.

"No one has ever explained to me how the exploitation or degradation of others enhances capability or honours the traditions of the Australian Army," he says in the video posted on the Department of Defence website.

"Those who think that it is OK to behave in a way that demeans or exploits their colleagues have no place in this army."

"On all operations, female soldiers and officers have proven themselves worthy of the best traditions of the Australian Army. They are vital to us maintaining our capability now and into the future.

"If that does not suit you then get out. You may find another employer where your attitude and behaviour is acceptable but I doubt it."

The video was posted on YouTube, where it quickly amassed thousands of views and more than 300 comments.

It followed a week of accusations of misogyny, including an attack by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the Coalition's ranks of "men in blue ties", the emergence of a menu comparing Gillard's body to a cooked quail and the suspension of a Perth radio host who repeatedly questioned her partner's sexuality.

In response to the General Morrison's video and the week's events, feminist commentator Jane Caro said: "Feminist heroes turn up in the unlikeliest places, that's what keeps my hope alive."

She tweeted: "Quick, can we organise a series of leadership seminars run by the ADF's David Morrison for all our politicians before Sept 14?"

The feminist group Destroy The Joint shared the video on social media and said that General Morrison has emerged from the week as "someone who's got their marbles".

Others said his performance was a remarkable show of "real leadership" that is all too rare in Australian public life.

"I'd almost forgotten what a true leader sounds like," said political commentator and author George Megalogenis, who called the general "a gun".

TV host Marc Fennell called it the speech of 2013 to which another Twitter user replied: "I can't stop fist pumping. That's f--ing leadership right there".

General Morrison finished the video with a stern warning to Defence Force members that it was up to them to make a difference.

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He called on innocent members to "show moral courage" and take a stand against those who displayed degrading behaviour.

"If you're not up to it find something else to do with your life. There is no place for you among this band of brothers and sisters."

- FFX Aus


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