• Monica Bennett-Ryan

Taking on the Defence machine

Standing as whistleblowers against the might of Australia’s powerful Defence machine seemed to some like a dumb thing to do. Until we won!

We didn't plan to be 'whistle-blowers'. That title was given to us by the media after we made the decision to 'go public' with what we knew.

Who is 'we'?

Monica Bennett-Ryan, Janice Weightman and Owen Laikum. Three Aussie Christians - ordinary people - whose faith in God and desire for righteousness overcame all the mental obstacles normally associated with facing down a mighty opponent.

We didn't have the end planned from the beginning. We just stood on the principles of Scripture, walked 'in faith', and watched events unfold before us. As one door opened, we stepped through and witnessed things happen that we didn't expect. Then the next door would open and we would take the next step, and again watch in awe as more surprises unfolded.

It was an amazing journey!

The battle raged for three and a half years. All we did was take one step at a time and with each new step we saw part of the giant crumble. Finally there was no fight left, there was nothing more our opponent could threaten us with. When it got to that point the media called 'checkmate'. It was all over!

And we three - exceedingly ordinary people - had won!

After our triumph, ‘mopping up’ took a further eighteen months. Investigations needed to be conducted so the story could be concluded. And we were part of that mopping up because we discovered that the Prime Minister would not release details of the final investigation to the Senate until we three confirmed we had received a letter of apology from the Secretary of Defence. How amazing!

In total, we lived through five exhilarating, exhausting, history-making years.

We didn't come through totally unscathed. It was a fast roller-coaster ride from start to finish and it left us breathless. We did have to step back, take a long, deep breath and assess what had happened, and we each did that in a different way.

For me it was writing!

The writing itself was cathartic. Writing became the panacea for the corporate and political dysfunction which had jaded my view of our government. Going over the events in minute detail helped me to re-focus unbalanced emotions and re-gain a broad perspective of the whole affair.

Writing our story was for me a simple, but effective, natural healing process.

I wrote eight of the nine chapters during the ‘mopping up’ time while the details were still fresh in my mind, but I couldn’t write the last chapter at that stage because I was still living in an unfolding drama.

It was a surreal feeling, writing an historical account in real time, rejoicing in the victory, but still awaiting outcomes from high-level investigations, not knowing how the book itself would end. I had no choice but to put it aside, effectively bury it, until the real time events worked themselves out and I could look back and see how things had unfolded.

I left it buried for five years.

Then early this year, two things happened which made me want to take a fresh look at what I’d written.

First, someone asked me to tell my story and her reaction made me realise this was a story that needed to be told.
Second, the issue turned up in the media again. Certain aspects of fact appeared to be going unnoticed by the government appointed overseers; aspects they would hopefully notice and act on if they read my book.

I pulled out the manuscript, re-read it, and suddenly knew exactly how to finish it. It only took me a few weeks to write the final chapter. Then, with a little tweaking and editing, it was ready for publication.

I kept the book simple. It's not full of complicated jargon and it's not a documentary. It reads like story. The reader lives the events as we lived them.

Find out what we saw. See the steps we took which led to our success. Watch with us as the unbelievable happens in front of our eyes. Rejoice with us as our vindication is blasted across the nation. Cry with us as we are honoured in ways we didn't expect.

Taking on the Defence machine and winning, was one of the best experiences of my life!

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