However emotionally beneficial to those bereaved who deserve to be heard, Royal Commissions as cathartic events – the one announced today will make no civil or criminal findings – are not always useful. There is every possibility this Commission will end up hamstringing the ADF with yet more ‘cultural change’ policing. This in turn will do more harm to the longer-term national interest than good. Assistant Defence Minister Andrew Hastie’s insistence that the “core business” of Australia’s armed forces is the “application of lethal violence” rather than woke-feminist posturing is a timely ameliorant. Starting with recruitment.
Soldiering isn’t a netball derby. Advertise accordingly. Revise physical and psychological admission standards and make them not easier but harder. Affirmative action always destroys brand prestige. Those are just two logical corollaries of Hastie’s doctrine. If applied universally, the doctrine must also end the B-Team devitalisation of the regular army and attendant overuse of Special Forces in future conflicts. If Mr Morrison’s Royal Commission becomes solely an exercise in RU-OK welfare provisioning rather than a broad means to tune up an institution brought low by political termites, it will be a failure. Sadly, I am not optimistic.