David Morrison Speech Transcript: The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

Here is the transcript of the David Morrison Speech – a leadership speech delivered by Chief of the Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison. In the midst of a “Jedi Council” sex scandal, this was posted as a 3 minute video regarding unacceptable behaviour.

[For the article that outlines 3 reasons why this is a great leadership speech, click here]


I’ve included both the Chunk Structure transcript and the ‘text’ transcript below.

The Chunk Structure transcript reminds us that most great speeches have:

  1. A clear structure
  2. Key, take-home points
  3. Closing message.


David Morrison Speech Chunk transcript

Leaderhip The Standard You Walk Past

David Morrison Speech text transcript

Chief of the Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison


“Earlier today i addressed the media and through them and the Australian public about ongoing investigations in to a group of officers and NCO’s who’s conduct if proven, has not only brought the Australia Army into disrepute, but has let down everyone of you, and all of those who’s past service has won them the respect of our nation.


1. What happened

There are limits to how much i can tell you because the investigations in to this network by both the NSW police and the ADF investigative service are ongoing. But evidence collected to date has identified a group of men, within our ranks, who have allegedly produced highly inappropriate material, demeaning women and distributed it on the internet and defences email networks. If this is true, then the actions of these members are in direct contravention to every value that the Australian Army stands for.


2. We are an inclusive organisation

By now I assume you know my attitude to this type of conduct. I have stated categorically, many times, that the Army has to be a inclusive organisation, in which every soldier, man and woman, is able to reach their full potential and is encouraged to do so. Those who think that it is ok to behave in a way that demeans or exploits their colleagues, have no place in this army. Our service has been engaged in continuous operations since 1999, and in it’s longest war ever in Afghanistan. On all operations, female soldiers and officers have proven themselves worthy of the BEST traditions of the Australian Army. They are vital to us, maintaining our capability now, and in to the future.

If that does not suit you….then get out!!

You may find another employer where your attitude and behaviour is acceptable, but I doubt it. The same goes to those who think toughness is built on humiliating others.


3. Every one of us is responsible

Every one of us is responsible for the culture and reputation of our army and the environment in which we work. If you become aware of any individual degrading another, then show moral courage and take a stand against it. No one has EVER explained to me how the exploitation or degradation of others, enhances capability, or honours the traditions of the Australian Army.

I will be ruthless in ridding the army of people who cannot live up to it’s values. And i need everyone of you to support me in achieving this. The standard you walk past, is the standard you accept. that goes for all of us, but especially those, who by their rank, have a leadership role.


Wrap-up: Make a difference or move on

If we are a great national institution, if we care about the legacy left to us by those who have served before us, if we care about the legacy we leave to those who, in turn will protect and secure Australia, then it is up to us to make a difference. If you’re not up to it, find something else to do with your life. There is no place for you amongst this band of brothers and sisters.”

– Chief of the Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison speech transcript.



If you’d like to develop your public speaking or leadership skills, consider:

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  1. […] June last year Lieutenant General David Morrison made a speech about sexual assault in the armed forces. There was no messing about, no political waffle in what he […]

  2. […] Australian of the Year Lt General Retired David Morrison AO, famously used the expression, ‘the standard you walk past is the standard you accept’, in regards to the treatment of women […]

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