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Thursday, 20 June 2024

Why David Morrison was a great Australian army leader


While historic military leaders have always been praised for their adept strategies and masterful tactics, their modern counterparts need to be valued differently. In a modern world where warfare is seen as a last resort, and an unfortunate necessity, the traits of great military leaders, need to be reconsidered.

David Morrison was the Australian Chief of Army from 2011 to 2015 and is undoubtedly an example of a great modern military leader. Born into a proud military tradition following his father Major General Alan Morrison, David Morrison was a well-educated man who joined the Australian Infantry Corps as an officer.

During the late 1980s, he served as a foreign military instructor at the Royal Military Academy in the UK. In the 1990’s he served as acting chief of staff for a multinational task force the maintained security during the Bougainville negotiations in 1994. He also served as Colonel of Operations for the International Force for East Timor.

Despite his distinguished service (for which he was awarded many accolades), Morrison was always graciously humble about his achievements. He became Chief of Army in 2011, and his greatest test as a leader was about to begin.

David Morrison is most fondly remembered for his hard-line, aggressive stance against misogyny and bigotry in the armed forces. He authorised for Australian army personnel to march in Mardi Gras parades celebrating gay and lesbian relationships.

He is arguably most famous for his quick action during the ‘Jedi Council’ scandal that plagued the Australian Army in 2013. When it was discovered that a range of NCO’s and Officers were sharing misogynistic content to each other via the Army’s email infrastructure, his sincere disgust and anger at the actions were followed by quick disciplinary action.

He was hailed as an example of how the military should deal with misogyny in the armed forces, and used to criticise the way the US army failed to take the same matter seriously.

Hamish Macghey
Hamish Macghey
Hamish is a writer and journalist with more than a decade of experience working for major media outlets spanning print, digital and publishing. He began his career in Cairns as an award-winning news reporter and has since covered leaders, business, entertainment and human interest.

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