Anti-ADF Sentiment – Echoes of The Past

We are entering a new era of defence bashing and whilst I don’t wish to contribute to the current SF discussion, I do wish to raise a word of warning that society may be on a path that we have seen before and it lead to a number of negative impacts for defence.

I am a proud member who enlisted in 1994 and commissioned in 1998 as a PSYCH OFFR.

I qualify as a Veteran but I don’t see myself that way. I am still serving and, approximately a month ago, one of the diggers reported a very disturbing interaction.

He was on his way to work, in uniform and an individual in the car beside him wound down their window and yelled ‘baby killer’.

That has echoes from the past and we know the damage it can do to soldiers with operational experience.

This young digger has been in the system for less than 12 months. He is a part-time soldier and a uni student. He brushed it off – it didn’t affect him.

At the moment, there is a real danger of overall anti ADF sentiment and, subsequently, it is up to all of us as individuals to show the community the real ADF that counters the current biased negative media coverage.

We do this through our dress and bearing, our interactions with the public whilst in uniform and our values.

The media will over-index negative stories because negative ‘stuff’ gets more views. They will not run with a balanced view of positive and negative that reflects the reality.

Therefore, all of us still in uniform need to work extremely hard to provide an alternative image of the ADF.

This may be unfair and unreasonable to ask but it does not mean it’s any less required.






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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

4 thoughts on “Anti-ADF Sentiment – Echoes of The Past

  • 25/04/2021 at 5:32 am

    It’s fair to say that the Brereton Inquiry has revealed terrible things. The conduct of the 2nd Squadron did not meet the standards we, the Australian public, expect.

    I know, from. Your comments, that.many of you are angry, and feel misjudged. I hope in time, these understandable feelings will ease. Those responsible will be made accountable. Those absolved will be ok.

    It s vital that the military always maintain the very highest standards, to maintain the trust of the public you serve, and the basic honour that attends military service. Bad Apples must be removed from service.

    There must also be compassion and understanding for the guilty. What does it do to a man to be trained to kill, and set upon an implacable enemy in the hardest conditions imaginable, for years on end? And why didn’t Command identify this risk?

    That report should be very concerning. For us all.

    I hope in time we will all gain understanding and insight and will never again confront these horrors.

    • 25/04/2021 at 7:24 am

      Nicely put, Guy.
      Thank you for your input.

  • 12/04/2021 at 6:06 pm

    Back in the mid ’80s I got called baby killer once at a party, she was a young lady whose dad was a Vietnam Vet.
    I only know the last bit as she told me after calling me baby killer. I told her I was RAAF and have never been in a conflict. She then said didn’t matter, all military people were baby killers.
    Then she went and sat on a chair and started crying. I didn’t know what to say.
    I said my goodbyes to the host, who was a civvie mate, and left. For me, it wasn’t worth the hassle of creating a scene.
    But, I did hear similar stories from people in all branches over the years but mainly from the 80’s.
    Nothing through the 90’s (I got out 1998) and with the sandpit, I suppose the circle is back to the start.
    Our new Vietnam with all the trappings…. history repeats.

  • 12/04/2021 at 3:34 pm

    The only anti-ADF sentiment is towards those who fail to uphold the values to which they agree to abide by.
    Society is on the whole smarter than any media show, but that doesn’t abrogate any responsibility for how the profession of arms carries itself, publicly and internally.


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