This navy is hardly shipshape

Alcohol and sex aren’t the only problems in the Australian military

This navy is hardly shipshape

Rob Griffith/AFP/Getty Images

Following revelations of a “predatory culture” full of drunken misconduct, the head of Australia’s navy has orders for his troops: shape up or ship out. Addressing the entire navy by video link last week, Vice-Admiral Russ Crane threatened to ban alcohol consumption during overseas port visits following the release of a report detailing bad behaviour on board the HMAS Success in 2009. The report accuses sailors of preying on young female recruits and betting on how many colleagues they could sleep with as part of a “sex ledger.” At the end of a tour, mariners would also receive a cash prize for outlandish sexual conquests.

But alcohol and sex aren’t the only problems in the Australian military—it was revealed last year that nearly 600 military personnel had been caught taking illegal drugs and steroids in the past five years. While he threatened mandatory breath tests, drug testing and curfews, Crane said the recent report raises more serious issues about the treatment of women in the navy: “I cannot accept a situation where women feel threatened by their male counterparts,” he said. “This type of behaviour must and will be eradicated.”

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