I have often railed against the Defence Force Discipline Act (DFDA). I believe that those who promoted it did the Army a gross disservice and in effect laid down the bed from which has grown the Brereton Report. There isn’t anything one can do about it now except remind all concerned that we told you so. Thus…
When discipline in the Army
Used to rest upon one’s sleeve,
And the word was ‘march the guilty bastard in’.
There weren’t no lawyer chappie,
And the Diggers, they were happy.
And the Army basked and revelled in its sin.
For the men who lived in barracks
In those happy, happy days
Had a simple understanding of their fate.
It was called the AMR&O
The which dictated where you’d go
For murder – or just for being late.
For murder or for being late;
For ‘conduct’ or for ‘having done’.
Most crimes found then we could relate
Were thoughtless, or ‘just having fun’.
And should one, can one, really say
They don’t compare with crimes today?
Once corporal, sergeant, CSM.,
The rank was bridge twixt us and them.
But now that clout has gone its way
What purpose does rank serve? We say
The devil take that lawyer bloke
Who sent our discipline up in smoke.
Ousted by DFDA.,
Written by, I’ve heard it say,
A brigadier (the lawyer chap),
Inclined to scotch and gin and such,
Of which, ‘twas thought, he drank too much
And so they sent him on his way.
Career spent, off he went,
But left the rest of us hell bent
To prove that we as well as them
From order could creat mayhem.
Discipline we’ve chased away
The Law and lawyers now hold sway.
Thus an officer for defence,
Another one to prosecute.
The law’s an ass and we’re so dense,
That now we know not when to shoot
Or hold our fire. But in the day we men, we saw,
The dangers of this Common Law.