THE CASE OF EX-MAJOR WARREN: SUMMARY

1. Allan Warren, a major in the Australian Army, was drummed out of the service in 1981 apparently for trivial matters. This case shows the failure of official channels to deal with a miscarriage of justice.

2. On 11 November 1975, the day of Australia's gravest constitutional crisis, Captain Warren objected to an attempt by senior officers to politicise officers against the dismissed Whitlam government. An 'old boy' network then acted to destroy Warren's reputation and career. A succession of Warren's commanding officers abused and then finally corrupted the officer report appraisal system to manufacture evidence against him. They wrote vindictive and malicious reports without producing evidence to support their allegations. By 1980 they resorted to raising illegal and secret damning reports without Warren having the legal right to sight, sign and make representation against them.

3. Warren was confident his superior officers, their malicious reports and corruption would be arrested at Army Office. There the generals were duty bound to examine and act upon his case. Instead they charged Warren with unprofessionalism and incompetence. They ignored Warren's reply in defence that gave sound legal reasons that there was no real evidence. Instead they endorsed the irrelevant and manufactured evidence brought against him. By this time the Director of Army Legal Services and the Military Secretary had embraced the perspective promoted by their subordinates' sub-culture. Warren was forced to resign in disgrace.

4. From 1981 to 1993 several Defence ministers, the Prime Minister and the Governor-General made decisions to uphold the damning charges and refused Warren's petitions to be reinstated. They repeatedly asserted that his case had been comprehensively and objectively examined several times by competent authority. Eventually in August 1993 the Acting Chief of the General Staff, Major General Carter, admitted under cross examination to an Administrative Appeals Tribunal that Warren's defence reply had not been properly considered by Army. But Carter argued that there had been no need to do so as Warren clearly had refused to admit to the charges and hence he could not be rehabilitated. Carter then presented his own misleading evidence against Warren. The Tribunal ruled against Carter. This led to yet another ministerial investigation done by Lieutenant Colonel B Salmon QC in 1994. This Army report on Army again found that no one had acted improperly against Warren. The Minister for Defence Personnel, Mrs B Bishop, embraced this report as her decision and claimed the case closed. She claimed 'unfair administration' had caused the destruction of Warren's career and offered a token Act of Grace payment.

5. The Major Warren case demonstrates ministerial violation of the rule of law and denial of natural justice to the individual. Ministers have acquiesced or connived with the Army generals and so protected this scandalous military sub-culture. The story has become complicated by the issues involved over time but the evidence against Army's corruption is simple despite attempts by ministers and their generals to cover up.



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