The National Archives of Australia, in consultation with the Defence Organisation, has imposed the disposal freeze on Commonwealth records potentially related to allegations, handling and consequences of sexual and other forms of abuse in the Defence Organisation.
The freeze takes effect on 22 October 2012 and will be in force until further notice by the National Archives.
The disposal freeze suspends the National Archives of Australia’s permission to destroy any relevant records that could otherwise be legally destroyed under current records authorities issued by the National Archives and designates any relevant records as not suitable for destruction through a normal administrative practice (NAP).
On 11 April 2011 the Minister for Defence, the Hon Stephen Smith MP, announced an external review of allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse that were raised following a 'Skype' incident at the Australian Defence Force Academy. In response, the Secretary of the Department of Defence engaged the law firm DLA Piper to review allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse within the Defence Organisation over a number of years and to make recommendations for further action. On 10 July 2012 Report of the Review of allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence: Facing the problems of the past was publicly released.
Following the release of the DLA Piper Report, the Archives has determined that a disposal freeze is necessary to ensure that relevant records are protected and available for future reference and accountability purposes and to protect the rights and entitlements of stakeholders. The Archives has identified the scope of potentially relevant records and the affected Australian Government agencies that may have these records.
The list of affected agencies and further information about the records affected by the freeze are contained in the following official notice: Notice of Disposal Freeze: Records related to allegations of abuse in Defence (pdf, 183kB).