David Morrison: ‘peel away the complacent stories’

David Morrison

INTERVIEW: The newly named Australian of the Year tells The Mandarin how he went from gruff military officer to diversity champion. And how other government leaders can do the same in their agencies.

Some military officers can only lead by brute dictate, others are limited to the friendly figure gently encouraging cooperation. David Morrison marches the entire spectrum and gets results.

Defence service chiefs only have a few years to make an impact and by early 2013 it was clear to the then-chief of Army what he needed to accomplish. As custodian of public trust, he needed to future-proof the Army workforce, make his organisation a viable and attractive career for the most talented young Australians, but it wasn’t — not for women, not for minority groups.

Morrison implemented targets for recruitment of women. It was controversial in the ranks, and took oxygen away from concurrent efforts to support an inclusive culture.

Looking back now, Morrison says the most effect approach was critically examining the way Army promoted itself.

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