One of the authors of last year's landmark review into defence force abuse has declared he has lost faith in the Government's commitment to deal with the allegations uncovered.

Policy lawyer Gary Rumble helped write the report on sexual and other abuse that lifted the lid on hundreds of cases of abuse, including group rape, spanning six decades.

The first volume of his report included an overview of sexual and other abuse allegations from 847 people and was made public last year.

But the second volume with details of the cases has remained confidential and Defence Minister Stephen Smith has decided not pass it on to his department.

Dr Rumble on Thursday told a Senate Committee he is astonished that information was not handed to the people who run the Defence Force.

He says a redacted version of that report should have gone to defence secretary Dennis Richardson.

"If I had known those things in 2011, I would not have made a public statement of confidence in the Minister's commitment to our stage of the review process," he said.

"I'm frankly astonished that the Government considers it's not appropriate for the secretary ... and service chief to be provided with details."

The chief of the Defence Force, David Hurley, has also told senators he would like to know if the second volume of the report contains anything he should be aware of.

"I would like to know if there are currently serving members who have serious allegations against them that need to be dealt with," he said.

"If it was possible to have [the report], I would like to have it."

Mr Smith says that is not appropriate at this stage and he wants to keep the process independent.

The defence secretary, Mr Richardson, says the Minister rightly decided Defence should not be included.

"The Minister has taken what I believe is a considered and principled decision," he said.

He says it is the proper course of action in this case.

Dr Rumble also told the Senate Committee the Government's inaction in dealing with the review's content means victims might give up on the whole process.

"I'm deeply concerned the Government's lack of action and decision last year may have distressed those individuals who were hoping for some response to their issues," he said.

He says the Government's response could encourage perpetrators to think they can just wait out the public attention.

Senator Xenophon says it is unfair that defence has not been given the report.

"Dr Rumble's evidence wasn't just made with a heavy heart, it carries with it a lot of weight and if you combine the statement of General Hurley ... that if there are members of the ADF involved in serious criminal misconduct that he ought to know about it, then that's something the Government must act on," he said.

Abuse compensation

On Thursday Mr Smith announced compensation of up to $50,000 for victims of abuse in the Defence Force.

He says the payments are part of recognising that abuse in Defence is unacceptable and wrong.

"Individuals who suffered sexual or other forms of abuse in Defence should be afforded some form of financial reparation, as part of a broader acknowledgement that such abuse should never have occurred," he told Parliament.

Mr Smith says the payments will not stop victims seeking other compensation.

"Reparation payments are not intended as compensation per se - they are a way of enabling people to move forward."

But a law firm dealing with the Defence abuse allegations has raised concerns the capped reparation scheme will be seen as inadequate and insulting.

Lawyer Stephen Roche, from Shine Lawyers, says his firm is representing a growing number of people alleging abuse.

He says that includes cases of rape and sodomy and the Government's response fails to take into account the scale of abuse some people have suffered.

"What we strongly oppose is a scheme that will be viewed by victims that is inadequate and insulting," he said.

"Why we opposed the capped scheme is because of the specific nature and features of these types of claims."

 

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