Senate debates

Thursday, 5 August 2021


Australian Army Reserve: Sydney University Regiment

1:44 pm

Photo of Jacqui LambieJacqui Lambie (Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie Network) Share this | | Hansard source

I want all the parents out there who have kids who are going through officer training to pull them out immediately. I'm not mucking around. Get them out of there. They are dangerous to your children. Kids who are doing a gap year with the Australian Army Reserve are being bullied and abused at the hands of Australian Regular Army officers. The Sydney University Regiment is an officer training regiment. Young people go there and live on base. That is part of the one-year program to become an Army Reserve officer.

Most of them are 18- or 19-year-old recruits, and they should be having the time of their lives. They've just left home, they're right out of school and they're meeting new people. But their gap year is turning into a nightmare from hell. The problems are bubbling over. There are illegal room searches going on. There are allegations of sexual abuse. There is rape going on. There is bullying going on. You name it—that is what's happening at our Sydney University Regiment. Come out and try and deny it! Just try me today!

I'm doing everything I can to get it fixed. I've raised it with the Chief of Army, I've raised it with the Minister for Defence, and I'm asking both of them: for the sake of our children and for the future of our military, go in there and make sure our kids are safe. We are now at the point where they need to delay the start date of the new recruits, like I've just said. Let's be clear here. The Army has a duty of care—and you're not living up to the expectations of the standard one's supposed to walk past. You are bloody shameful. You are absolutely shameful. I've asked the minister whether he was confident that 18- and 19-year-old recruits would be safe from abuse. Guess what? He has not directly answered my question.

That is where we are at. We can't guarantee that those kids will be safe. I'm ex-military police. I am asking you, from one military police person to another, get in there and do your job, and call them out! Get in there and use that training! We've got problems—they're abusing our kids at the Sydney University Regiment. Get in there!