Date: June 15 2012
Defence Minister Stephen Smith denies there's been any attempt to cover up the extent of physical and sexual abuse in the Australian Defence Force over the past 60 years.
The executive summary of a government-initiated review into Defence abuse was published yesterday, more than three months after Mr Smith made public extracts only.
The summary of the review conducted by law firm DLA Piper was published following a freedom of information request by the ABC.
It states ''it is certain'' many boys, young men and young women were subjected to serious physical and sexual assault while they were in the ADF from the 1950s ''at least into the 21st century''.
The summary says previous report findings and Defence files show very little evidence perpetrators had been called to account.
''[And] there is a risk that those perpetrators now hold middle and senior management positions within the ADF and there is a risk that those that witnessed abuse and did not report what they witnessed now hold middle and senior management positions within the ADF,'' the 25-page document states.
Mr Smith yesterday denied releasing extracts from the summary in early March was part of a cover up.
He told ABC TV: ''The materials released today simply serve to further underline the seriousness of the matters I've been dealing with for some considerable time.''
The defence minister said he didn't know if any perpetrators of abuse were still serving in the ADF.
The Piper review includes allegations from 775 people. It suggests the overwhelming majority are ''plausible allegations of abuse''.
Mr Smith said investigating so many claims over a 50-year period was ''complex and complicated''.
''It can't be done overnight and it couldn't be done as a job lot.'' However, the minister said the fact the government hadn't ruled out a royal commission proved it was serious about tackling the issue.
The government launched the review following the so-called ADFA Skype scandal in April last year. AAP
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