Calls for the Senate to address sexual assault allegations against USA marines in the NT

After an SBS News investigation revealed women’s claims made against US marines stationed in the Northern Territory were shifted overseas or dropped, there are calls for the Senate to look into the issue and for a legal agreement covering US military personnel in Australia to be revised.

Senator Rex Patrick said the cases were “awful” and encouraged women to come forward.

Professor Donald Rothwell, an expert on international law at the Australian National University, said the 1963 SOFA should be revised and brought up to modern standards in light of SBS News’ revelations.

“It’s time this SOFA was looked at to see whether it’s robust enough to protect Australian citizens.”

Women Veterans Network Australia spokeswoman and former Australian Army major Dr Kerry Summerscales said calls for a revision of Australia's SOFA with the US was "urgently overdue".

US marines accused of sexually assaulting women while stationed in the NT

EXCLUSIVE: Documents obtained by SBS News have revealed several allegations of sexual assault made against US marines serving in Australia, with investigations into them being shifted overseas or dropped. Some survivors also say they felt discouraged by the Australian Defence Force from following through on their complaints.

One woman woke to find a US marine assaulting her in her bed, another was taken to hospital after having her drink spiked at a military barracks, and a third believed a US marine grabbed her and tried to sexually assault her at a bar. All the incidents took place in Australia’s Northern Territory, but the investigations into them were either handed over to US authorities, stalled, or dropped.

SBS News has obtained a series of reports between 2015 and 2021 from the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS) under freedom of information laws. They detail six alleged assaults or indecent acts involving US military personnel whilst on rotation in Australia, including members of the Marine Rotational Force - Darwin, a contingent of up to 2,200 personnel regularly based in the Northern Territory since 2011.

FFS - The case was passed on to NT Police, which took charge of the investigation, to consider whether it warranted a criminal investigation “due to jurisdictional concerns”.

Pictures revealed of USA-Aus Army base planned for the NT

As Australia’s relationship with China becomes increasingly tense, a new development in the Aussie outback seeks to strengthen ties with our US allies.

Details and photos of the much anticipated $747m army base expansion planned for the Northern Territory have been released to the public.

The new development will help the Australian Defence Force and United States house and train troops on Aussie land.

The project, which spans four locations over 580km across the top end, comes in the wake of increasing global tensions between Australia, the US and China.

The four new military sites will be located at Robertson Barracks, Kangaroo Flats, Mount Bundey and Bradshaw Field.

NT could host proposed joint military exercises

THE Territory could be considered to host new military exercises with Australian and US troops, given its current relationship with the ally and multimillion-dollar defence upgrades announced earlier this year.

Australia and the US are in discussions about plans for new exercises in Australia, including joint training with American army soldiers.

The proposed exercises would be modelled on Darwin’s annual Marine Rotational Force and would use a variety of military training areas, according to The Australian.

It is not known yet what training areas are of interest but the Northern Territory is a likely candidate given its long history with the US.

Queensland is another candidate.

US forces give the nod to closer ties

Australia and the US are in talks to deepen their military co-­operation, with plans for new ­exercises on Australian soil ­including joint training with American army soldiers.

The proposed exercises with the US army would be modelled on the annual rotation of Marines through Darwin, and use a variety of military training areas including those in Queensland.

 

The Morrison and Biden ­administrations are also in the midst of delicate negotiations to build guided missiles in Australia using top-secret US technology, and store US weapons and equipment at Top End bases.