Defence Minister out for at least a month
7 March 2021
On the advice of her cardiologist, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds will extend her medical leave to April 2.
On Tuesday March 2 Senator Reynolds was re-assessed by her cardiologist in relation to a preexisting medical condition, which had earlier required her to take a brief period of leave.
The day after that consultation Senator Reynolds was issued a medical certificate which extended her leave until April 2.
Senator Reynolds has advised Prime Minister Scott Morrison of her doctor’s assessment and will continue to consult with the Prime Minister as required.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne has also been advised of the situation and will continue to act as Defence Minister until Senator Reynolds returns.
Senator Reynolds is recuperating well and looks forward to resuming her duties as Defence Minister as soon as possible.
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Minister Reynolds off the mark on Defence Workplace culture
While the media and opposition insist on the Minister’s resignation, the issue that has not been unpacked is whether her leadership role in leading from the front and living the values regarding the workplace culture, has meet the exacting standards that is demanded of all Defence members, civilian and military. Having served in the Army and attaining the rank of Brigadier, she would be very familiar with the exacting policies that have evolved over the last 20 years dealing with harassment/ discrimination and ensuring that a healthy and inclusive workplace culture exists, one must ask is the Minister really capable of continuing in the role? Is her behavior a mere lapse of judgement or something more serious?
The ultimate test rests with parents of prospective recruits to the ADF. Do they want their children to join if this Minister’s behaviour has been called into question despite the support of the PM?
The corner stone of Defence culture is ethical behaviour. If the Minister has failed in this regard and remains unaccountable, what example does this set for the rest of Defence? One standard for the Minister and another for the rest, this may be viewed as entitlement and hypocrisy that has eroded public confidence. Is her behaviour an error of judgement or something more culpable and not appropriate for a Minister of the Crown? On balance and in the national interest, standing aside would be the right thing to do.