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Army battalion in Adelaide being investigated for 'unacceptable behaviour'

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The Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) is investigating "unacceptable behaviour" inside Army's 7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, but precise details of the allegations are being tightly held by the military.

Earlier this year, the Army confirmed it had conducted its own inquiry into the Adelaide-based 7RAR amid claims of "racial slurs" and "denial of justice", but no wrongdoing was substantiated.

Now the ABC can reveal the IGADF launched a fresh probe into the unit last month, just days after concerns were raised in a parliamentary committee.

Appearing before Senate Estimates in October, the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr, was questioned by South Australian senator Rex Patrick about the conduct of the 7th Battalion.

"I'm not aware of the precise, finite detail of what is being investigated and what is not," Lieutenant General Burr told the committee on October 27.

"Based on what I know, [the allegations] have been investigated and they were not substantiated," he added.

Lieutenant General Burr also told the committee that he believed there was "some friction between some of the local ex-service organisations dealing with the unit on some of these matters".

In a brief follow-up response provided to Senator Patrick this week, the ADF confirmed that "Army has completed its inquiry into this matter", but that another formal investigation had begun.

"On the 2nd of November, 2021, the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force commenced an inquiry into allegations of unacceptable behaviour at 7RAR."

"The IGADF inquiry into this matter is ongoing and it is not appropriate to provide further comment," the Defence statement concludes.

Senator Patrick is vowing to pursue the matter, particularly why the IGADF began an inquiry just five days after parliament was told Army had already investigated the matter.

Just over a year ago, the findings of the IGADF's historic inquiry into allegations of war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan were released.

Since that time, the Defence Department has been criticised by several veterans and commentators for its handling of the Afghanistan war crime allegations.

 
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