Fresh Sex Scandal Rocks Australian Military

Fresh Sex Scandal Rocks Australian Military

The Australian military is embroiled in another sex scandal with 17 personnel, including officers, under investigation.

Army chief, Lieutenant-General David Morrison, said he was appalled at the revelations of "explicit and repugnant" emails and images demeaning women.

The latest discovery follows a government report last year detailing more than 1,000 claims of sexual or other abuse in the forces from the 1950s to the present day.

That report was sparked by the so-called Skype scandal in 2011, when footage of a young male recruit having sex with a female classmate was streamed online to cadets in another room without her knowledge.

"I'd say it's worse than the Skype matter," General Morrison told a news conference, indicating the seniority of the staff involved - the highest-ranking officer was a lieutenant-colonel, with the remainder either majors, captains, warrant officers, sergeants or corporals.

"I view the allegations that are being made in the gravest light."

The discovery involved the alleged production and distribution of "highly inappropriate" material across both defence computer systems and the public internet over the last three years. Illegal drug use may also be involved.

Three people have been suspended so far and may face police charges, he said. Another five could be suspended and nine more are under investigation.

A further 90 Australian Defence Force personnel are implicated in the email chain, the general added.

General Morrison declined to go into details of exactly what the material contained, but said: "The matters both textural and imagery are demeaning, explicit and profane".

He said he had spoken to some of the women involved and apologised.

"This goes to the heart of what I've said about systematic problems with culture inside the army and it in turn shapes the army and it in turn shapes the approach that I'm taking with regard to how we deal with this," the army chief added.