David Morrison

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For other people named David Morrison, see David Morrison (disambiguation).
David Lindsay Morrison
120718-A-AO884-034 Australian Army Chief Lt. Gen. David Morrison cropped.jpg
Morrison orating at Canberra in July 2012
Born 1956 (age 58–59)
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1979–2015
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Chief of Army (2011–15)
Commander Forces Command (2008–11)
Deputy Chief of Army (2008)
Australian Defence College (2006–07)
3rd Brigade (2002–04)
2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1997–98)
Battles/wars Operation Lagoon
International Force for East Timor
Awards Officer of the Order of Australia
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)
Meritorious Service Medal (Singapore)
Officer of the Legion of Honour (France)
Relations Major General Alan Morrison (father)

Lieutenant General David Lindsay Morrison AO (born 1956) is a retired senior officer of the Australian Army. He served as Chief of Army from June 2011 until his retirement in May 2015.

Early life and education[edit]

Morrison joined the Australian Army in 1979, after completing a Bachelor of Arts at the Australian National University. He graduated from the Officer Cadet School, Portsea into the Royal Australian Infantry Corps.[1]


In 1987 and 1988, Morrison served as the Australian Instructor at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in the United Kingdom.[1]

In 1992, Morrison attended the Army Command and Staff College, Queenscliff, and was then appointed as the Brigade Major of the 3rd Brigade, based in Townsville, Queensland.[1] During that time he took part in Operation Lagoon, acting as Chief of Staff for a multinational force that provided security to the peace conference held in Bougainville during 1994. The following year he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

In 1997 he was appointed Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR), holding that position until the end of 1998, when he was posted as the Chief Instructor for the Command, Staff Operations Wing at the Army All Corps Promotion Training Centre in Canungra.[1]

He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 1999 for his services as Brigade Major, Director of Preparedness and Mobilisation and CO of 2 RAR.[2]

Upon promotion to colonel in October 1999, Morrison was appointed as Colonel Operations, Headquarters International Force for East Timor (INTERFET).[1] On his return to Australia, he was posted to the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters (DJFHQ) as Chief of Staff.[1] He left that position at the end of 2001 to attend the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies, Canberra, where he graduated in 2002 with a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies.[1]

Morrison was promoted to brigadier in November 2002, and commanded the 3rd Brigade from December 2002 until December 2004.[1] He was then appointed as Director-General Preparedness and Plans – Army (DGPP-A) and held that position until his promotion to major general in December 2005.[1]

He was appointed Commander of the Australian Defence College in January 2006, and Head Military Strategic Commitments in April 2007.[1]

Morrison took up the appointment of Deputy Chief of Army in February 2008, replacing Major General John Cantwell. He served in this position until December, when he was appointed Land Commander Australia (LCAUST).[1] Following a re-structure in July 2009, the post of Land Commander Australia was re-designated as Commander Forces Command.[1] Morrison was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List of 2010 for distinguished service to the Australian Army in the fields of training and education, military strategic commitments and force structure and capability; in particular, as Commander Australian Defence College, Head Military Strategic Commitments and Deputy Chief of Army.[3]

Morrison was promoted to lieutenant general on 23 June 2011, and assumed the post of Chief of Army in a ceremony the following day.[4] On 4 April 2014, it was announced that Morrison's term as Chief of Army had been extended for twelve months, to June 2015.[5]

In 2012, Morrison spoke out against defence budget cuts.[6][7]

Women in the military[edit]

In June 2013, Morrison ordered an investigation into several emails sent from Army accounts over a three-year period that were highly demeaning to women. At a 13 June press conference, Morrison announced that he had suspended three members of the Army, ordered action to consider the suspension of five others, and suggested as many as nine more could face disciplinary action. He described the emails as "explicit, derogatory, demeaning and repugnant," and suggested that the alleged conduct was even worse than the "Skype scandal" of 2011.[8][9] In a video posted on the Army's official YouTube channel, a visibly irate Morrison described the alleged behaviour as a "direct contravention" of the Army's values. He added that he had been committed ever since becoming Chief of Army to making the Army an inclusive force. "If that does not suit you," he said, "then get out!" He also told anyone not willing to work with women and accept them as equals, "There is no place for you amongst this band of brothers and sisters."[10]

Morrison's aggressive response was widely hailed by Australian[11][12] and American[13] media, in particular comparing it to the relatively guarded response of the U.S. military to similar accusations.[14]

In June 2014 Morrison formed part of the Australian delegation to the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London, to which he delivered a speech arguing that armies that separate themselves from civil society, value men over women and celebrate violence "do nothing to distinguish the soldier from the brute".[15]

Honours and awards[edit]

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png INTERFET Medal ribbon.png DFSM with Rosette x 4.png

Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png US Legion of Merit Commander ribbon.png Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) ribbon.png Legion Honneur Officier ribbon.svg

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)[3] 26 January 2010
Member of the Order of Australia (AM)[2] 26 January 1999
Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Active Service Medal[16]
INTERFET Medal ribbon.png International Force East Timor Medal[16]
DFSM with Rosette x 4.png Defence Force Service Medal with 4 Clasps[16] (35–39 years of service)
Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Defence Medal[16]
US Legion of Merit Commander ribbon.png Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)[17] February 2012
Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) ribbon.png Meritorious Service Medal (Singapore)[18] 19 September 2013
Legion Honneur Officier ribbon.svg Officer of the Legion of Honour (France) July 2014


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Chief of Army – Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO". www.army.gov.au. 
  2. ^ a b Member of the Order of Australia (AM), 26 January 1999, It's an Honour
  3. ^ a b Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), 26 January 2010, It's an Honour
  4. ^ "Army Celebrates Leadership". Defence Media Release MECC 263/11. Australian Department of Defence. 24 June 2011. 
  5. ^ AAP (4 April 2014). "Air Marshal Mark Binskin has been announced as the new head of the Australian defence force.". SBS News (Special Broadcasting Service). Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Brendan Nicholson (26 October 2012). "More cuts a 'risk' to soldiers' lives, says army chief David Morrison". The Australian. 
  7. ^ Geoffrey Barker (22 November 2012). "Army Chief’s outcry tests boundaries". Australian Financial Review. 
  8. ^ "Australian military investigates 'explicit emails'". BBC News. 13 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Transcript of Morrison's press conference on 2013 email scandal, 13 June 2013, www.army.gov.au
  10. ^ Chief of Army message regarding unacceptable behaviour on YouTube
  11. ^ Sean Power (11 June 2013). "Sexism in the Australian Defence Force". Mama Mia. 
  12. ^ Julia Baird (8 June 2013). "A Timely Halt to the War Within". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  13. ^ Harold Maass (13 June 2013). "Australia's army chief demonstrates how you address sex abuse". The Week. 
  14. ^ Mary Elizabeth Williams (13 June 2013). "This is how you talk about military sex abuse". Salon.com. 
  15. ^ Gearin, Mary (14 June 2014). "Army chief Lieutenant General David Morrison labels gender inequality in militaries a 'global disgrace'". ABC News. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c d Official High Resolution Photo, www.defence.gov.au[dead link]
  17. ^ High Resolution Photo, images.defence.gov.au[dead link]
  18. ^ Australian Army chief receives Singaporean military award, Australian High Commission Singapore

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie
Chief of Army
Succeeded by
Lieutenant General Angus Campbell
Preceded by
as Land Commander Australia
Commander Forces Command
Succeeded by
Major General Jeffrey Sengelman
Preceded by
Major General Mark Kelly
Land Commander Australia
Succeeded by
as Commander Forces Command
Preceded by
Major General John Cantwell
Deputy Chief of Army
Succeeded by
Major General Paul Symon
Preceded by
Rear Admiral Mark Bonser
Commander Australian Defence College
Succeeded by
Brigadier Brian Dawson (acting)