Bullying probe at Ballarat army base

AN inquiry into unacceptable workplace behaviour and intimidation is being carried out at Ballarat’s 8th/7th army battalion.

The Australian Defence Force yesterday confirmed the inquiry, with a senior army officer carrying out interviews in Ballarat over the past few months.

The Courier understands incidents of concern about bullying occurred on several occasions throughout last year, prompting several formal complaints from members of the battalion.

The inquiry comes just months after the DLA Piper Review into allegations of abuse in the Australian Defence Force prompted more than 1000 people to come forward with complaints about sexual abuse, bullying, harassment and intimidation.

Defence force spokeswoman Gemma Haines said the Ballarat inquiry was initiated late last year in response to allegations concerning the conduct of personnel posted to the 8th/7th Battalion.

“These inquiries are not open to the public,” Ms Haines said.

“As this inquiry is ongoing, it is not appropriate to provide further detail regarding the allegations or to speculate on the outcome.

“All army members are expected to display the highest levels of integrity and honesty in their work.

“Army members are encouraged to report any conduct which falls below standard. There are a number of ways that this can be done, generally it is through their chain of command.”

Ms Haines said the defence force policy was that unacceptable behaviour was not condoned, along with mismanagement or disregard of complaints.

“Defence is committed to ensuring that incidents of unacceptable behaviour are dealt with appropriately. The policy applies to all defence personnel.”

The 8th/7th Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment is an infantry arm of the Australian Army and part of the 4th Brigade, which is responsible for most of the rural areas of Victoria and for protecting vital assets in Australia’s north.



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