ADFA Skype scandal


Ten News, Network Ten




All Media: Best Scoop of the Year

In March 2011, an 18-year-old female airforce cadet named “Kate” had sex with a fellow cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA). A few days later, she learned the act had been broadcast live over the video chat program Skype to six other cadets. But a Defence and Australian Federal Police inquiry found no grounds for criminal investigation and deemed the incident a “lower-order Defence Force matter”.

Through their exclusive access to “Kate”, who had contacted Network Ten about the incident, Moran and Riminton were able to reveal a deep-seated culture of sexual harassment and misconduct at the Academy. Moran, an Army Reserve officer, remains the only journalist to have interviewed “Kate” on camera. Riminton followed up the legal and political angles.

After the story was aired, charges were laid against the offending cadets, the ADFA’s commandant, Bruce Kafer, was stood aside, six separate government inquiries were instituted and a long-overdue overhaul of the Academy’s culture was put in motion.

Matt Moran is a federal political correspondent with Network Ten in Canberra. Before joining Ten in 2004, he was a rural reporter with the ABC. He’s also a captain in the Army Reserve and was deployed to East Timor in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2009. In June 2011 he won the Paul Lyneham Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Hugh Riminton is Ten’s political editor in Canberra. He was previously a foreign correspondent and news anchor, working for the Nine Network and CNN. He has been a Walkley finalist several times, and won a Walkley Award in 2000 for a scoop first interview with Fiji coup leader George Speight.

Judges’ comments:

“This was a giant scoop. When Kate told Ten a fellow ADFA cadet had filmed their sexual encounter, the network knew it had a big story – and one that had to be handled with extraordinary sensitivity. The team combined a compassionate approach towards Kate with tough-minded reportage of her story’s political implications. The Defence establishment was rocked and the government set up six inquiries in the wake of the sensational revelations.”