Defence head General David Hurley steps down

In bracing Canberra weather, this ceremonial occasion on the green grass of Blamey Square in front of the defence headquarters, was marked by a flypast of RAAF Hornet fighters and a 17-gun salute to the outgoing chief.


General Hurley won’t be heading into low key retirement. He’s the new governor of NSW, taking over from outgoing governor Marie Bashir.

In his final address, he said when he started on the job in July 2011, defence was on the cusp of significant change.

Then, more than 3300 troops were deployed in East Timor, the Solomons Island and Afghanistan, new equipment was entering service and the organisation had just embarked on major cultural change.

Operations have now concluded in East Timor and the Solomons and the job of training the Afghan National Army has ended. The recent search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 showed the strength of strategic and regional partnerships, he said.

General Hurley said defence remained committed to cultural reform and would act swiftly and decisively when unacceptable behaviour occurred.

“We have accepted that the ADF did not not always provide an environment where all members were safe from sexual, physical and mental abuse,” he said.

Air Chief Marshal Binksin said he remained committed to seeing through the reform process.

“There’s a lot to do. Four years will come and go very very quickly but I have a lot of priorities out there that I’d like to pursue in the evolution of the Australian Defence Force,” he said.

Earlier, the navy also changed command with Vice Admiral Tim Barrett taking over as chief of navy. Former navy chief Vice Admiral Ray Griggs become the new vice chief of the defence force.