Table of Recommendations


The table of recommendations contains 31 recommendations that build on reform processes which began in the late 1990s. They are designed to realise the unfulfilled potential of ADFA.

The recommendations contained in the table are critical to drive cultural change in the treatment of women at ADFA. The table begins with a number of high-level reforms necessary to lift the status of ADFA and then moves to a number of more detailed recommendations in relation to ADFA’s policies, processes and systems.

Table of recommendations
ADFA’s role and purpose

1. The ADF leadership, including the Chiefs of Service, reaffirm ADFA’s pre-eminent role in the education and training of future leaders for the ADF.

2. The CDF issue a strong statement in support of ADFA and demonstrate a visible commitment to it.

3. The CDF develop for ADFA:

  1. a strategic direction which clarifies ADFA’s purpose and outcomes
  2. an associated communication plan to inform the ADF and the Australian community.

4. ADFA develop a performance framework that incorporates the current metrics and new metrics to capture the implementation of the recommendations contained in this report.

5. The VCDF be accountable for the implementation of the recommendations contained in this report to ensure the full inclusion of women at ADFA.

Equity and diversity
6. ADFA develop and articulate a clear, unambiguous and widely disseminated statement about diversity, inclusion and gender equality which:
  1. recognises the fundamental importance of women to the sustainability of the wider ADF
  2. provides a framework for the creation of a diverse workplace where both men and women can thrive
  1. emphasises the unacceptability of sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination to ADFA and the wider ADF.

7. ADFA teach equity and diversity separately from complaints procedures.

8. ADFA teach equity and diversity principles as core values underpinning ethical leadership.

9. ADFA evaluate the effectiveness of the Equity Advisers’ Network to strengthen its advisory capacity.

10. ADFA embed equity and diversity in all policies and practices through:

  1. ADF and ADFA senior leadership teams championing diversity and gender equality and publicly condemning all forms of sexism, sexual harassment and violence against women

  2. ADFA introducing regular forums for all cadets and staff where female role models from within and beyond the ADF present on their experiences.

ADFA’s Structure and Staffing

11. The VCDF develop a strategy to allow for greater engagement between the Commandant and the ADF Service Chiefs.

12. The Commander, Australian Defence College, work with the Deputy Chiefs of Service in order to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. as one of their highest priorities, the provision of high quality staff to ADFA
  2. a stronger role for the Commandant in the selection of outstanding staff, with particular attention to increasing the representation of women
  3. a wider pool of good educators and positive role models for cadets by considering innovative solutions, such as separating rank and role
  4. a simplified process of removing underperforming staff and cadets to ensure expediency while maintaining due process and, in relation to the removal of staff, the least disruption to the supervision and training needs of cadets.

13. The tenure of Commandants should be for a minimum of three years and should not be reduced, other than in exceptional circumstances.

14. ADFA provide staff with appropriate induction, education and training on:

  1. gender equality and the supervision of mixed gender environments

  2. pastoral, disciplinary and educational practices relevant to the supervision and care of 17-23 year olds in a residential setting.

    Initial staff induction training should be supplemented by the creation of staff learning groups that are built on appreciative inquiry. The learning groups should be facilitated by an expert facilitator in partnership with ADFA.

15. As part of their performance reviews, ADFA staff be assessed against, among other things:

  1. their capacity to implement equity and diversity principles
  2. confidential feedback from cadets and peers.
Midshipmen and cadets are young people and future leaders
16. The VCDF, in association with the Services:
  1. explore first year single service training and work placement for all ADFA cadets. Options regarding this process should be completed within 12 months of the release of this report. The preferred option should be implemented in 2013 in readiness for the 2014 ADFA intake
  2. review the minimum entry age to ADFA to ascertain whether it is appropriate
  3. explore a range of cadet recruitment options for ADFA which recognise the different life course of women compared to men.

17. ADFA offer cadets a mentor, external to ADFA who may be drawn from a non-military background, to provide support and advice. Female cadets should be given the option to be placed with female mentors. Workplace-based mentoring programs targeting women that operate through universities, including UNSW, should be considered as a useful template.

18. As part of the ADF’s overall review of alcohol, ADFA:

  1. review the pricing regime of drinks in the cadets’ mess to minimise the risks associated with over consumption of alcohol
  2. ensure ongoing regular alcohol testing of cadets as provided by Defence Instruction (General) Personnel 15-4 Alcohol Testing in the Australian Defence Force.

19. As a priority, ADFA instruct an Occupational Health and Safety specialist to conduct a risk assessment of the residential accommodation, including bathrooms, to identify the existence and level of risk to cadets arising from mixed gender living arrangements. ADFA should implement the recommended risk minimisation strategies arising from this assessment.

20. As a priority, to address the issue of isolation and to increase supervision in the residential setting the Commandant adopt a system based on a model of Residential Advisors for each first year Division (one male and one female) who will live in the residential block to provide after hours supervision. While they may be recent ADFA graduates engaged in postgraduate study, the Residential Advisors should be outside the cadet structure, and should have appropriate skills and attributes in leadership, and the ability to provide after hours supervision and pastoral care for cadets. They should have a direct line of report to the Commandant in the case of serious pastoral or disciplinary incidents.

21. The ADFA Redevelopment Project Committee:

  1. investigate options for suitable residential accommodation for Divisional staff within the ADFA precinct
  2. investigate options for spaces within the residential setting which allow for better interaction between cadets and academic, medical, support and Divisional staff
  3. develop a set of principles addressing women’s security and safety and promoting the better engagement between staff and cadets in the residential setting. These principles should underpin the future master plan.
Minimising risk, managing incidents and ensuring the safety of the workplace


22. ADFA, in collaboration with an expert educator, provide cadets with interactive education on:

  1. respectful and healthy relationships, and sexual ethics
  2. the meaning, inappropriateness and impact of sexist language and sexual harassment
  3. the meaning of consent
  4. the appropriate use of technology
  5. stalking, controlling and threatening behaviours
    and evaluate the effectiveness of this education every two years with an external evaluator and assess it against key indicators that measure attitudinal and behaviour change.
23. ADFA review the training on making complaints of unacceptable behaviour (including sexual harassment and abuse and sex discrimination), with specific attention to creating specific modules tailored to different groups within ADFA – namely first-year cadets, more senior cadets and staff – to reflect their different responsibilities in relation to complaint/incident reporting, response and management.

Advice and referral

24. ADFA establish and promote a dedicated, ADFA-specific, 24 hour, seven day, toll-free hotline for all cadets, staff, families and sponsor families. The expert operators will provide advice and referral about the most appropriate mechanism or service (ADFA, ADF or external) to deal with the complaint. In establishing the line, ADFA should draw on the protocols and policies of the Army Fair Go Hotline.


25. ADFA develop and annually administer a survey in order to more accurately measure the level of sexual harassment and sexual abuse among cadets. This survey should be followed up with a strategic organisational response by the Commandant, with feedback provided to cadets and staff to ensure that they have an investment in any reform arising from the survey results.

26. To provide meaningful comparisons, ADFA develop this survey in consultation with other Group of Eight Universities’ Residential Colleges and Halls, applicable to cadets as both military in training and university students. ADFA should consider including other single service training establishments in the development of this survey.

27. In order to record, track and manage complaints and incidents, ADFA develop and maintain, through the ADF information system, a comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date online database. This database should identify all relevant information relating to individual complaints and incidents of unacceptable conduct, including sexual harassment, abuse and assault and sex discrimination, including:

  1. name of complainant(s)
  2. name of respondent(s)
  1. date, details and nature of complaint/incident
  1. all steps taken in responding to and managing the complaint/incident, including the Quick Assessment Brief and all other documentation and reports required under the relevant Instruction (e.g. reports to Defence Fairness and Resolution)
  2. response/resolution option adopted
  3. timeframe to resolution/closure
  4. feedback from complainant(s) and respondent(s)
  5. any further issues arising from monitoring the implementation of the response/resolution.

28. Reports from this database are to be reviewed by the Commandant on a monthly basis to ensure timely and appropriate actions. The Commandant should also report monthly to the Commander, Australian Defence College, on incidents, trends and identifiable concerns arising from the data.

29. In order that standards of reporting, recording and resolving incidents are properly met, ADFA should ensure the database undergoes annual quality assurance testing to determine:

  1. whether all complaints and incidents are being entered on the database and all required fields in the database are adequately completed
  2. whether the record keeping and reporting standards in the Management and Reporting of Unacceptable Behaviour, Management and Reporting of Sexual Offences (including Forms AC 875-1 – AC 875-3) and Quick Assessment Instructions are being met in relation to all individual complaints of unacceptable behaviour or sexual offences.

Injury, health and wellbeing

30. ADFA undertake a detailed evaluation to determine whether female cadets are more likely to become injured than male cadets and, if so, identify the causes and additional mechanisms to be put in place to manage this risk. Following this evaluation, strategies should be developed to:

  1. improve injury and health management
  2. actively promote health and wellbeing with reference to best practice in comparable residential settings
  3. ecognize the physical capabilities of individuals commensurate with their respective roles
  4. eliminate stigma associated with medical restrictions.
31. In order to provide cadets with a range of support options regarding health and wellbeing, sexual or personal abuse and violence, ADFA:
  1. provide and/or display in plain view in residential and academic premises, information on key internal and external support services to cadets, including but not limited to the proposed ADFA Toll-free hotline (rec. 24), Women’s Health Services, Mensline, the Rape Crisis Centre, Lifeline and drug and alcohol counselling
  2. develop partnerships with key external service providers, including those that are predominantly utilised by women, to ensure that ADFA provides a holistic response to cadets’ health, wellbeing and safety needs.