Aaron Emery, a former Townsville soldier in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment has had a charge of stalking withdrawn against him by Queensland police.
Aaron Emery, a former Townsville soldier in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment has had a charge of stalking withdrawn against him by Queensland police.

Ousted soldier to challenge ADF dismissal

A Former Townsville soldier who had a charge of stalking a female colleague dropped has described the army's school of infantry as chauvinistic and reinforcing the attitude that women aren't up to the job.

Aaron Emery, 25, was accused of stalking a female soldier in his unit - the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment at Lavarack Barracks - between September 2017 and February 2018.

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said the one charge was withdrawn in the Townsville Magistrates Court on Monday before a hearing was to be held.

Mr Emery will be subject to a five-year restraining order.

Mr Emery had his service in the Australian Defence Force terminated in May 2018 and now will be taking his fight to be reinstated in the army to court.

According to a termination notice served to Mr Emery, then at the rank of private, by his commanding officer, he was to be medically discharged over his failure to "uphold army values" and having being found guilty of "disobeying a lawful order" by continuing to contact the female soldier after being instructed not to.

He reported a group of about six male soldiers in his company to his chain of command in 2017 after they wrote text and Facebook messages about making sexual advances towards the same woman. All seven soldiers were sacked.

Aaron Emery, a former Townsville soldier in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment has had a charge of stalking withdrawn against him by Queensland police.
Aaron Emery, a former Townsville soldier in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment has had a charge of stalking withdrawn against him by Queensland police.

The female soldier went to the Stuart Police Station with a work supervisor in February 2018 to make a complaint about Mr Emery, according to police statements.

An Inquiry Officer report from December 2017 into allegations of unacceptable behaviour against members of the unit found Mr Emery "should be thanked … for actively supporting Army's values in stark contrast to his peers" after reporting the comments made.

Mr Emery said he had been attacked online and threatened by his peers over his decision to become a "whistleblower" by taking their messages to his superiors.

"A lot of the problems I describe don't necessarily come from people in the unit, they originate from the school of infantry (Singleton) - that's where chauvinism really begins," he said.

"The army school of infantry created an all-male culture. It fundamentally comes down to bad training - no brief on how to deal with women. The common view in the military essentially is women are not physically up to serving."

Mr Emery said resentment built up among male soldiers over the alleged different treatment their female counterparts received.

"They always were going to be on the back foot," he said. "Women were being injured and not being treated the same as the rest of the soldiers. The army lacked understanding in how to deal with its female capability."

1RAR is the first unit to accept female infantry soldiers in the army.

A Defence spokesman said the army did not condone unprofessional or non-inclusive behaviour.

"Following the findings of the Review of Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force in 2011, Army embarked on a deliberate cultural reform program aligned with the Department of Defence's 'Pathway to Change' program," he said.

"Army monitors culture through a number of measures to better understand the lived experiences of our personnel, including discrete workforce sectors such as women. We use this information to inform initiatives that seek to positively influence culture."

Originally published as Ousted soldier to challenge ADF dismissal


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