The author of an upcoming book on special forces says Australia leads on responding to war crimes, but new political meddling casts a shadow over truth.
Dr Samantha Crompvoets helped soldiers come forward with the secrets they were holding that blew the lid on alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan.
Defence chiefs continue to back the work of Dr Crompvoets, but the Minister Peter Dutton has now ordered a retaliatory strike on her company Rapid Context.
Mr Dutton said he has concerns about her upcoming book on the special forces titled "Blood Lust, Trust and Blame" and has sought legal advice.
"I've made my view very clear to Defence and I don't think you'll see any more contracts awarded in this regard," Mr Dutton said in a radio interview on Thursday.
He said the men and women of the ADF should be told to get back to business, "not to be distracted by things that have happened in the past".
Dr Crompvoets, a military sociologist and chair of the Australian Centre for Excellence in Post-Traumatic Stress, has been producing cultural research for the Defence department for more than a decade. That work came under political attack in estimates this week.
"I get that I'm telling uncomfortable truths, which is why people are gunning for me," Dr Crompvoets told The Canberra Times.
The researcher has been harassed with abusive phone calls and messages since media reports of her book.
"I'm disappointed that some have chosen to play politics over issues as serious as these," Dr Crompvoets said.
"I'm worried about the message that these attacks send to those members of the ADF who bravely came forward, and about the impact that this will have on people's willingness to come forward in the future.
"Australia is leading the way internationally in responding to these allegations of war crimes, however we must continue to work together to improve Defence culture - both for the national interest and for the incredible service men and women who wear the uniform."
Dr Crompvoets said Defence has acted on the research she has produced, helping improve Defence culture.
"To be honest, I'm more concerned with how I can contribute to renewing a positive culture within Defence than what individuals might say for a particular audience," she said.
Monash University Publishing announced Dr Crompvoets will be an upcoming contributing author in its "In the National Interest" book series that so far included Liberal Senator Scott Ryan and former prime minister Kevin Rudd.
Dr Crompvoets, a military sociologist and research fellow at ANU, was chosen after she produced an early report into perceptions of Australia's special forces that led to her receiving tip-offs of potential criminal offences committed during the Afghanistan War.
General Campbell confirmed Defence had a manuscript copy and was reviewing it in the interests of Defence and its members.
"I do believe it is an important aspect of our military history, [but] it's not the only aspect," the chief said.
"There's great extraordinary parts of our military history, our Army history and our special operations history.
"But we shouldn't walk past the things that make us uncomfortable. If we look them squarely in the eye, we get better as a force."
Dr Crompvoets' work helped that process start, he added.
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