High-level defence cover-up: Lambie

Former Palmer United Party senator, and now independent, Jacqui Lambie. Photo Crikey

Former Palmer United Party senator, and now independent, Jacqui Lambie. Photo Crikey

CANBERRA –  [AAP]  Independent senator Jacqui Lambie has accused the Australian Defence Force top brass and politicians of abuse cover ups.

Senator Lambie launched the blistering attack under parliamentary privilege in the Senate adjournment debate overnight, while SAS trooper Evan Donaldson and former Army officer Marcus Saltmarsh watched on from the public gallery.

‘The cover up in this matter has been at a very high level, spectacular and absolutely deliberate,’ she told the chamber while describing Mr Saltmarsh’s case.

She said Mr Saltmarsh had been the ‘subject of extraordinary abuse of office by senior members of the Australian Army’.

The senate heard he should be awarded the immediate classification total permanent impairment for post traumatic stress disorder after being sent 28 autopsy photos of his best mate.

While serving in East Timor in 2000, Mr Saltmarsh’s rifle independently discharged accidentally killing Corporal Stuart Jones, Senator Lambie said.

A military court found he had no case to answer, she said.

Meanwhile, trooper Donaldson had been the victim of brutal sexual abuse and other assaults during secret training exercises run by the Defence Intelligence Organisation.

‘Evan was bashed, bound, bagged, blindfolded, stripped naked, placed in stress positions, deprived of sleep and food for 96 hours and during that time he was sexually assaulted and left bleeding,’ she said.

She said he had been subject of almost seven years of government investigations and the Defence department had misled six defence ministers, including the current one Marise Payne, over the case.

Senator Lambie said Senator Payne’s latest compensation offer to Mr Donaldson had been grossly inadequate and she invited Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to meet the two veterans on Wednesday afternoon and hear their plights first hand.

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