David Morrison

For other people named David Morrison, see David Morrison (disambiguation).
David Lindsay Morrison

Morrison in Canberra in July 2012
Born 1956 (age 5960)
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1979–2015
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Chief of Army (2011–15)
Commander Forces Command (2008–11)
Deputy Chief of Army (2008)
Australian Defence College (2006–07)
3rd Brigade (2002–04)
2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1997–98)
Battles/wars Operation Lagoon
International Force for East Timor
Awards Officer of the Order of Australia
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)
Meritorious Service Medal (Singapore)
Officer of the Legion of Honour (France)
Australian of the Year (2016)
Relations Major General Alan Morrison (father)

Lieutenant General David Lindsay Morrison AO (born 1956) is a retired senior officer of the Australian Army. He served as Chief of Army from June 2011 until his retirement in May 2015. He was named Australian of the Year for 2016.

Early life and education

The son of Major General Alan "Alby" Morrison, Morrison attended St Edmund's College, Canberra and the Australian National University, where he studied arts and law. In 1979, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree and joined the Australian Army. He then graduated from the Officer Cadet School, Portsea into the Royal Australian Infantry Corps.[1]

Military career

In 1987 and 1988, Morrison served as the Australian Instructor at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in the United Kingdom.[1]

In 1992, Morrison attended the Army Command and Staff College, Queenscliff, and was then appointed as the Brigade Major of the 3rd Brigade, based in Townsville, Queensland.[1] During that time he took part in Operation Lagoon, acting as Chief of Staff for a multinational force that provided security to the peace conference held in Bougainville during 1994. The following year he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

In 1997 he was appointed Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR), holding that position until the end of 1998, when he was posted as the Chief Instructor for the Command, Staff Operations Wing at the Army All Corps Promotion Training Centre in Canungra.[1]

He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 1999 for his services as Brigade Major, Director of Preparedness and Mobilisation and CO of 2 RAR.[2]

Upon promotion to colonel in October 1999, Morrison was appointed as Colonel Operations, Headquarters International Force for East Timor (INTERFET).[1] On his return to Australia, he was posted to the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters (DJFHQ) as Chief of Staff.[1] He left that position at the end of 2001 to attend the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies, Canberra, where he graduated in 2002 with a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies.[1]

Morrison was promoted to brigadier in November 2002, and commanded the 3rd Brigade from December 2002 until December 2004.[1] He was then appointed as Director-General Preparedness and Plans – Army (DGPP-A) and held that position until his promotion to major general in December 2005.[1]

He was appointed Commander of the Australian Defence College in January 2006, and Head Military Strategic Commitments in April 2007.[1]

Morrison took up the appointment of Deputy Chief of Army in February 2008, replacing Major General John Cantwell. He served in this position until December, when he was appointed Land Commander Australia (LCAUST).[1] Following a re-structure in July 2009, the post of Land Commander Australia was re-designated as Commander Forces Command.[1] Morrison was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List of 2010 for distinguished service to the Australian Army in the fields of training and education, military strategic commitments and force structure and capability; in particular, as Commander Australian Defence College, Head Military Strategic Commitments and Deputy Chief of Army.[3]

Army veterans who fought a, "decisive ambush against far superior forces" at Thua Tich in Vietnam in 1969, have complained, that in 2008, Morrison vetoed their entitlements, which were subsequently approved by Labor defence support secretary Dr Mike Kelly.[4]

Morrison was promoted to lieutenant general on 23 June 2011, and assumed the post of Chief of Army in a ceremony the following day.[5] On 4 April 2014, it was announced that Morrison's term as Chief of Army had been extended for twelve months, to June 2015.[6]

In 2012, Morrison spoke out against defence budget cuts.[7][8]

In 2013, Morrison obtained a second Master of Arts in Strategic Studies from Deakin University. He received the university's Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.[9]

On 25 January 2016 he was made "Australian of the Year" in a ceremony in Canberra attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.[10] With his three priorities being, "action on a republic, domestic violence and gender equality".[11] Morrison's priorities were criticised.[12][13][14][15]

Women in the military

In June 2013, Civilian Authorities were going to announce the mishandling of serious investigations by the ADF. As a result, Morrison ordered an investigation into several emails sent from Army accounts over a three-year period that were highly demeaning to women.[16][17][18][19] At a 13 June press conference, Morrison announced that he had suspended three members of the Army, ordered action to consider the suspension of five others, and suggested as many as nine more could face disciplinary action. He described the emails as "explicit, derogatory, demeaning and repugnant," and suggested that the alleged conduct was even worse than the "Skype scandal" of 2011.[20][21] In a video posted on the Army's official YouTube channel, a visibly irate Morrison described the alleged behaviour as a "direct contravention" of the Army's values. He added that he had been committed ever since becoming Chief of Army to making the Army an inclusive force. "If that does not suit you," he said, "then get out!" He also told anyone not willing to work with women and accept them as equals, "There is no place for you amongst this band of brothers and sisters."[22]

Morrison's speech was written by his transgender speech writer, Lieutenant Colonel Cate McGregor. Morrison, as one of her strongest supporters,[23] refused to accept her resignation from his office, when she came out.[24] Morrison attributed, "one of the most quoted phrases" in his anti-misogyny speech, "the standard you walk past is the standard you accept" to General David Hurley.[25]

Morrison's aggressive response was widely hailed by Australian[26][27] and American[28] media, in particular comparing it to the relatively guarded response of the U.S. military to similar accusations.[29]

In June 2014 Morrison formed part of the Australian delegation to the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London, to which he delivered a speech arguing that armies that separate themselves from civil society, value men over women and celebrate violence "do nothing to distinguish the soldier from the brute".[30]


Since the "Jedi council scandal",[31] information was received by media outlets, that the army, under the control of Morrison, had previously investigated the individuals involved and had failed to find any evidence of the allegations and cleared those involved of any wrongdoing.[16] However, Morrison recommended that the commanding officer be dismissed.[32][33]

The journalist who initially investigated the matter, Robert Ovadia,[16] has allegedly been denied an interview by Morrison, however interviews have been granted to the ABC News, which have failed to raise the issues raised by Ovadia.[34]

Contrasts have been drawn regarding the differing responses to allegations of sexual misconduct by subordinates, in case of a Lieutenant Colonel, in the case of Governor-General Peter Hollingsworth, and Morrison.[35]

In February 2016, Senator Jacqui Lambie made a speech in the Senate in relation to cases involving former soldiers who claim to have suffered abuse,[36][37] calling for an inquiry into coverups and Morrison's involvement. The Prime Minister has also agreed to support a general mediation process for those involved.[38]

Post military career

In May 2015 Morrison retired from the army and in September 2015 was appointed chairman of the Diversity Council Australia,[39] a not-for-profit workplace diversity advisor to business in Australia,[40] and as a gender-diversity adviser to Deloitte Partners.[41] He is also a motivational speaker.[42]

As an advocate for gender-diversity, Morrison is campaigning against the use of gender-neutral terms such as 'guys'.[43][44][45] In response, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the use of generic words such as 'guys' should not cause offence.[46]

Morrison as an advocate against domestic violence, participated in a "Walk a Mile in their Shoes" event demonstrating against family violence.[47][48]

Honours and awards

Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)[3] 26 January 2010
Member of the Order of Australia (AM)[2] 26 January 1999
Australian Active Service Medal[49]
International Force East Timor Medal[49]
Defence Force Service Medal with 4 Clasps[49] (35–39 years of service)
Australian Defence Medal[49]
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)[50] February 2012
Meritorious Service Medal (Singapore)[51] 19 September 2013
Officer of the Legion of Honour (France) July 2014
Australian of the Year January 2016


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 "Chief of Army – Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO". Australian Army.
  2. 1 2 Member of the Order of Australia (AM), 26 January 1999, It's an Honour
  3. 1 2 Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), 26 January 2010, It's an Honour
  4. Benns, Matthew (9 February 2016). "David Morrison: Veterans slam Australian of the Year over his $1000 an hour job". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  5. "Army Celebrates Leadership". Defence Media Release MECC 263/11. Australian Department of Defence. 24 June 2011.
  6. AAP (4 April 2014). "Air Marshal Mark Binskin has been announced as the new head of the Australian defence force.". SBS News. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  7. Brendan Nicholson (26 October 2012). "More cuts a 'risk' to soldiers' lives, says army chief David Morrison". The Australian.
  8. Geoffrey Barker (22 November 2012). "Army Chief's outcry tests boundaries". Australian Financial Review.
  9. Tucker, Rebecca. "Deakin Alumni Lieutenant General David Morrison a fine choice for Australian of Year". Deakin University Newsroom. Deakin University. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  10. Smith, Dan (25 January 2016). "Australian of the Year: David Morrison, former Army chief, given top honour for gender equality work". ABC News. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  11. "Australian of the Year David Morrison pulls no punches in first speech". News Ltd. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  12. Greene, Andrew (29 January 2016). "David Morrison: War veterans attack 'sickening' Australian of the Year choice". ABC News. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  13. Luck, Geoffrey (28 January 2016). "David Morrison is another hectoring activist of the year". The Australian. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  14. Devine, Miranda (27 January 2016). "Sorry David, but it's the wrong fight". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  15. "David Morrison's Australian of the Year award brings many complaints". The Australian. 24 October 2016.
  16. 1 2 3 Ovadia, Robert (1 February 2016). "Part One: The scandal that made General David Morrison famous". Yahoo News. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  17. Ovadia, Robert (1 February 2016). "Part Two: Part of the Jedi Council speaks out". Yahoo News. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  18. Ovadia, Robert (1 February 2016). "Part Three: 'It's run by a kangaroo court'". Yahoo News. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  19. Ovadia, Robert (1 February 2016). "Part Four: The man in the middle of the 'Jedi Council' scandal". Yahoo News. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  20. "Australian military investigates 'explicit emails'". BBC News. 13 June 2013.
  21. Transcript of Morrison's press conference on 2013 email scandal, 13 June 2013, www.army.gov.au
  22. Chief of Army message regarding unacceptable behaviour on YouTube
  23. "Transgender Lieutenant Colonel Cate McGregor speaks out about abuse and support". News Ltd. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  24. Aston, Joe (26 January 2016). "Behind Australian of the Year race: David Morrison versus Cate McGregor". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  25. Aubusson, Kate (2 February 2016). "David Morrison defends Australian of the Year honour on Q&A". The Age. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  26. Sean Power (11 June 2013). "Sexism in the Australian Defence Force". Mama Mia.
  27. Julia Baird (8 June 2013). "A Timely Halt to the War Within". Sydney Morning Herald.
  28. Harold Maass (13 June 2013). "Australia's army chief demonstrates how you address sex abuse". The Week.
  29. Mary Elizabeth Williams (13 June 2013). "This is how you talk about military sex abuse". Salon.com.
  30. Gearin, Mary (14 June 2014). "Army chief Lieutenant General David Morrison labels gender inequality in militaries a 'global disgrace'". ABC News. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  31. Lion, Patrick; & Marszalek, Jessica (14 June 2013). "Anger and disgust at army sex scandal as 'Jedi Council' emerges". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  32. "Sacked colonel wants answers from Morrison". Townsville Bulletin. 21 October 2016.
  33. "It's not too late to say sorry, David Morrison. Many are still waiting to hear a few simple words". Daily Telegraph. 23 October 2016.
  34. "Ben Fordham – The Dark Side Of David Morrison". 2GB. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  35. Eastgate, Ross (7 February 2016). "David Morrison must take responsibility over army sexual abuse allegations and resign as Australian of the Year". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  36. Coletta, Frank (3 February 2016). "'Bound, bagged and sexually abused': Ex-SAS soldier claims he was tortured during training and senior officers - including new Australian of the Year - did nothing". Daily Mail. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  37. Wroe, David (3 February 2016). "Jacqui Lambie calls on David Morrison to resign over military abuse cases". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  38. "Lambie meets with PM over defence claims". Seven News. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  39. Sibthorpe, Claire (3 September 2015). "Former Army Chief David Morrison new chairman of Diversity Council Australia". Canberra Times. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  40. "About DCA". Diversity Council Australia. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  41. Markson, Sharri (4 February 2016). "Australian of the Year David Morrison's $15,000 speaking fee". The Australian. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  42. Smith, Michael (2 August 2016). "David Morrison in Perth Thursday. Tickets still available. Lots and lots and lots of tickets". Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  43. Shepherd, Tony. "Australian of the year David Morrison: Stop calling people 'guys'". The Advertiser. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  44. "Morrison 'guys' ban receives mixed reaction". Sky News. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  45. "David Morrison promised a lot as Australian of the Year, but he's fighting the wrong battles". News Ltd. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  46. Blackwell, Eion (15 July 2016). "Stop Saying Guys And Watch Your #WordsAtWork: David Morrison". Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  47. "Walk a mile in their shoes: Stiletto-clad men and women march for domestic violence charity walk". 9 News. 2 September 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  48. Edwards, Jean (2 September 2016). "Former Army chief David Morrison says no to domestic violence". ABC News. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  49. 1 2 3 4 Official High Resolution Photo, www.defence.gov.au Archived 27 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  50. High Resolution Photo, images.defence.gov.au Archived 28 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  51. Australian Army chief receives Singaporean military award, Australian High Commission Singapore

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie
Chief of Army
Succeeded by
Lieutenant General Angus Campbell
Preceded by
as Land Commander Australia
Commander Forces Command
Succeeded by
Major General Jeffrey Sengelman
Preceded by
Major General Mark Kelly
Land Commander Australia
Succeeded by
as Commander Forces Command
Preceded by
Major General John Cantwell
Deputy Chief of Army
Succeeded by
Major General Paul Symon
Preceded by
Rear Admiral Mark Bonser
Commander Australian Defence College
Succeeded by
Brigadier Brian Dawson (acting)
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Rosie Batty
Australian of the Year
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