Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 4 2011 Contents 4 DEFENCE MAGAZINE
ChIEF OF thE DEFENCE FORCE’S COLumN
OutGOING SECREtARy’S mESSAGE
This is my last column
for Defence Magazine.
I depart Defence with
considerable regret as I take
up the position of Secretary
of the Department of the
Prime Minister and Cabinet
I had no plans to leave, but this is a
unique opportunity and one that I feel
flattered and humbled to be given; I
deeply appreciate the confidence the
Prime Minister has shown in me.
I have worked at PM&C previously
and, although it is another challenging
role, the lessons I have learnt here and
from my previous roles as Secretary
in the Finance and Communication
portfolios provide me with a solid
footing. No other Australian Public
Service position would have led me
The last two years have passed
quickly; while it has been a challenging
period it has also been very rewarding.
I know as I leave Defence, I am leaving
behind an organisation with a very
When I first star ted in Defence, the
2009 White Paper had only just been
released and we were embarking on
the beginnings of the Strategic Reform
Two years on, I can see that we
are making good progress on both.
However, it is clear that the biggest
challenges are yet to come.
As Defence transforms with SRP,
it is important to consider how the
organisation wants to be characterised.
The finest qualities of the Defence
culture must be taken forward: the
standard of the workforce cannot be
dedicated, hardworking and loyal people;
the organisational resilience that has
allowed change to be integrated into the
workplace without adversely impacting on
organisational objectives; and the ongoing
commitment to continuous improvement
and training and development to ensure a
The spirit of cooperation and teamwork
is integral to Defence’s future and its
proud history must never be forgotten.
One of my focuses during my time in
Defence has been organisational culture
and this is central to the SRP.
The Defence culture reflects the
evolution of the organisation. Defence’s
culture was formed, and has transformed,
over time. Our multiple layers of
organisational complexity have also
created significant cultural challenges.
However, there are elements of
the culture that must change in
order to improve productivity and
performance—adopting a more
collaborative attitude and approach to
work practices so Defence operates as
one organisation—One Defence—not
14 Groups and Services; fostering a
mentality of cost-consciousness to ensure
tax payers’ dollars are spent wisely, and
with minimal waste; and enhancing
accountability to better support decision
making, performance management and to
highlight faulty processes.
I am very pleased that the
accountability reforms, identified in the
Rufus Black review that former CDF
Angus Houston and I commissioned at
the end of 2009, have now been released
and will be implemented as part of SRP.
Simply put, good accountability equals
good performance. Accountability
supports good decision making, improves
risk management and suppor ts people
management. Improving accountability
will directly support the vision of One
Defence, and is central to the success of
Implementation of the Black reforms
is a critical step for Defence’s better
future. The cultural reviews now well
under way will also have a significant
SRP is positioned to succeed because
it is supported by robust governance
and control arrangements, and a united
However, most impor tantly, SRP has,
and will continue to succeed because of
the commitment from each of you—
your openness to reform and your active
engagement in the program.You have
been, and will continue to be, the key to
I have said before, one of the greatest
challenges Defence faces is managing
the Strategic Reform Program while
simultaneously working in a high
operational tempo; this is unlikely to
change. In fact, the high operational
tempo provides even greater impetus for
the SRP to succeed.
The people of Defence, both
military and civilian, make a significant
contribution to this country. I am proud
privilege for me to have been a small
part of that work and the Defence team.
I want to thank you for your hard work,
dedication and loyalty. Change is never
easy, but your commitment cer tainly
positions Defence for a better future.
I know that Defence will be in capable
hands with Duncan Lewis. Duncan’s
breadth of experience and background
in Defence is a good foundation and,
combined with his depth of knowledge of
the strategic environment within which
Defence operates, I know he will lead
Defence well in the work that lies ahead.
I look forward to continuing my
association with Defence during the
coming years in my new role in PM&C.
I will be watching from the sidelines,
and helping where I can, as Defence
continues to reform and grow.
Leadership may change
but the challenge remains
By General David hurley
3270 Australian Defence
Force personnel currently
deployed on various
operations around the world.
As their employer, Defence
has a duty of care to these
men and women as it does to
all members of the ADF and
the Australian Public Service.
In an occupational health and safety
sense, initiatives like the Force Protection
Review are continually assessing our
equipment to evaluate it against current
and emerging threats. It is part of an
overall commitment to put the right
support mechanisms in place to protect
our members’ health and welfare.
During the past two years, Joint
Health Command (JHC) has received
a significant increase in funding to
strengthen mental health support for
members through the ADF Mental
Health Reform Program.
This includes increasing the mental
health workforce by 50 per cent;
improving policy and training for all
ADF health professionals; increasing
mental health research and surveillance;
and enhancing preventive strategies.
Most importantly JHC is working
with the three Services to break down
the stigma associated with mental health
issues. Collectively, we need to change
the way we think about mental health.
If you are injured or ill you see
a health professional, you treat the
complaint and in most cases you recover
and return to work.The same should
apply to mental health concerns.
JHC is examining the relationship
Breaking the barriers
on mental health
between deployment and mental health.
While I understand further analysis is
required, preliminary data shows that
it is not the number of deployments
but rather the experiences during a
deployment that impact mental health.
However, there is more work
to be done in this area. JHC is
working with Special Operations
Command, for example, to enhance
the physical and mental health of our
Special Forces personnel by building
their psychological resilience and
implementing early intervention
programs for emerging issues.
The ADF has an obligation and a duty
to care for its members. Importantly
though, each of us also has an obligation
to take care of ourselves and our mates.
At times this will require each of us to
make some significant decisions about
ourselves or our mates. I understand
mental health is not an easy subject
to approach but should you be
experiencing difficulties, I urge you to
have the courage to take the first step
and face these issues.You owe it to
yourself, your family and your mates.
Changes such as increased alcohol
consumption, disrupted sleep,
irritability or fatigue in yourself or
someone else are often the first sign
something is amiss. We know that
early diagnosis is the key to successful
treatment but I also know it can be
difficult to know how to help someone
who may be experiencing depression,
anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder.
The ADF’s All-hours Support Line is
a confidential and anonymous service
staffed by health professionals who are
available to help ADF members and their
families access the most appropriate
care.The operator will work with you to
identify problems you or someone you
know might be experiencing and help
decide the best source of help.
In addition to our efforts to continue
to improve mental heath care and
support, some excellent work is also
being done through our rehabilitation
programs to reduce the impact of
serious injury, illness and disease.
My goal is to increase the number
of people who successfully return to
work and reduce the number of medical
discharges.This goal is supported
by a recent review of the Medical
Employment Classification (MEC)
system, which provides additional
rehabilitation classifications that enable
a greater range of options for return to
work. The result is greater job flexibility
for ADF members.
A military career is immensely
rewarding but I know that it can be
demanding for members and their families.
Defence families live a unique lifestyle
which presents challenges and pressures.
Acknowledging this, the ADF has
moved towards a more holistic approach
to support that includes partners,
parents and children. The recent
launch of the Defence Community
Organisation’s FamilySMART program
is one example of this shift in thinking.
FamilySMART is a series of programs
designed to help Defence families identify
strategies to manage stressful situations
like deployment, absence from home or
moving to a new location. It is closely
aligned to the BattleSMART program.
SMART (Self Management Resilience
Training) teaches coping strategies to
help members adjust to environmental
stressors such as high threat situations,
operational tempo, fatigue and separation
from home and family. I encourage you
to draw on these resources so that you
and your family are well equipped to deal
with the unique challenges associated
with military life.
As ADF members, we have access to
a world class workplace mental health
care program, but this is futile if we
do not accept our responsibility to
recognise the signs or have the courage
to reach out for help when it is needed.
ADF ALL HOURS SUPPORT
LINE: 1800 628 036
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