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Farewell to our Former Chief Commissioner, Mr Chris Bates

Chris Bates

The Chair of Scouts Australia’s National Executive Committee, Mr Dennis Green AM, announced, on the 23rd of November 2017, that the Chief Commissioner of Australia, Mr Chris Bates, had tendered his resignation with immediate effect, and that an Acting Chief Commissioner of Australia had been appointed.

“Mr Bates has steered Scouts Australia through one of the most significant periods in its history” said Mr Green. “Over the past three years, Scouts Australia has conducted a comprehensive review covering all elements of how we can retain our status as one of Australia’s leading youth development organisations.

“This thorough examination of how we stay relevant to future generations has resulted in many recommendations, which Mr Bates has championed. It has been an exhaustive process and Mr Bates should be congratulated for his achievements, the improvements he has brought to our Movement, and his contribution to the exciting future for our members.”

The recruitment process for the next Chief Commissioner of Australia will commence immediately. In the interim period Mr Phil Harrison will be acting as Chief Commissioner of Australia. Mr Harrison has been involved in Scouting since 1978 when he first joined as a Cub Scout. He has been an adult Leader since 1988, and since September 2015 has held the position of Deputy National Commissioner, Adult Training and Development, a role in which his particular focus has been Adventurous Activities. Prior to this time, Mr Harrison held the position of Deputy Principal of Scouts Australia Institute of Training (SAIT) for three years. He has travelled extensively to World Scouting events, and was awarded the Silver Emu in 2015.

As we move forward, Scouts Australia looks forward to the launch of its new Youth Program at the Australian Jamboree, being held in South Australia in January 2019.

The Chair of the National Executive Committee and our National General Manager – Mrs Cathy Morcom very much look forward to working closely with our Acting Chief Commissioner during what will be a very busy, exciting and challenging year ahead.

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Scouting Remembers Sir Ninian Stephen KG, AK, GCMG, GCVO, KBE, PC, QC

Scouts Australia recognises with much gratitude, the enormous contribution made to our Movement by  Sir Ninian Stephen KG, AK, GCMG, GCVO, KBE, PC, QC, during his term as Chief Scout of Australia from 1982 to 1988, and for many years afterwards.   Sir Ninian passed away on the 29th of October 2017.

As Chief Scout of Australia, Sir Ninian supported Scouting in Australia to flourish as a major youth development organisation.  During his time as Chief Scout, over a quarter of a million young people benefited from the leadership and personal development opportunities we have delivered for 110 years.

During Sir Ninian’s term as Chief Scout, Scouting celebrated a number of milestones including the 75th Anniversary of World Scouting.

In 1988 Sir Ninian opened the 16th World Scout Jamboree, hosted by the Scout Association of Australia, welcoming 10,000 Scouts from over 100 countries to the Cataract Scout Park in Sydney.   This event co-incided with Australia’s Bicentenary. He spent one night under canvas at the event, after opening it at 12.05am cementing its position in Australian history books as the first official function of our Bicentennial year.

The following week Sir Ninian opened the 31st World Scout Conference 1988 in Melbourne, hosting international Scouting delegates as they met to further the aims of Scouting.

Sir Ninian is remembered for his ongoing and active support of Scouting and of young people.   He attended many Scouting functions, as varied as the Sunraysia Gang Show, and in the words of one of Scouts Australia’s Chief Commissioners, Mr Neil Westaway (Chief Commissioner 1986 to 1992) ‘never said no to anything”. There is even a well-known story of Sir Ninian flying a Scout with special needs by helicopter to an Australian Jamboree, ensuring the Scout didn’t miss out.

Following his term as Chief Scout, Sir Ninian stayed an active participant in Scouting, chairing Scout Association fundraising initiatives, as well as serving as a National Council member from 2000 to 2003.  Even beyond serving in any official capacity, Sir Ninian continued to provide benefit to Scouting through his networks, his knowledge and his experience.

Sir Ninian will be remembered as an outstanding Australian, contributing to our country with a variety of significant achievements.   Scouting was truly fortunate to benefit from his incredible intellect, wisdom and enthusiasm.

Adult Recognition Awards 2017

Scouts Australia congratulates the recipients of the 2017 Adult Recognition Awards. For further details and a list of awardees click here.


A Letter From the Chief Commissioner of Australia

A Scout Promise and Law for All Young Australians

Dear Scouts of Australia, Members and Supporters,

After three years of planning, research and consultation, on Saturday the 22nd July 2017 the National Council of Scouts Australia endorsed the new wording for the Australian Scout Promise and the Australian Scout Law.

This is wonderful news for Scouting.  Scouts Australia now has one Promise, with two versions. Following the World Organisation of the Scout Movement philosophy of one developmental program from ages 6 to 26 years, the Promise will be used across all five of our Sections. As Australia’s young people become more diverse, from a multitude of backgrounds and beliefs, we now offer a Promise they can make with conviction, and a Law they can easily understand and follow. 

Both versions of our Promise express Scouting’s core values and have been endorsed by World Scouting. Scouts will now have the choice of either option depending on personal preferences.


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The National Council also endorsed new wording for the Australian Scout Law to be used across all age Sections.

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Next Steps
Scouts Australia is now preparing online resources to help our members incorporate the new wording into the Scouts Australia program. We expect these to be available in early September 2017. Scouts Australia communications channels will be used to let you know when you can access them.

Each Group will also be sent a poster of the new wording.

We invite every Group across Australia to use these resources to assist all members to understand and live by our Promise & Law.

The Promise and Law review is one important step in preparing Scouting for the next generation of young Australians. In 2018, we implement our newly developed Scout Method, Areas of Personal Growth and other revised fundamentals of the Scouting program. 

We congratulate all our volunteers who spent countless hours on this project, and all our members who provided valuable feedback.

By living by the values of our Promise & Law, Scouts in Australia will ‘Create a Better World’.

Yours in Scouting

Chris Bates
Chief Commissioner - Scouts Australia


Scouts Australia’s National Child Protection Policy
One Approach for All Australian Scout Members

Scouts Australia has merged all Branch-based child protection policies into a single National policy to ensure consistency and clarity of our zero-tolerance approach to child protection.

This new National policy describes several areas of child protection including strategies for prevention; dealing with reports of abuse; training of all Scouting adults with regards to child protection; and the ongoing education of both adults and youth members. From all the different State and Territory legal requirements, Scouts Australia has selected the highest standard to apply in our new comprehensive National policy.

All State and Territory Branches agreed on four key child protection principles:

  • All adults in Scouting must report incidents to the appropriate authority
  • Any report will be responded to quickly and positively
  • There will be no delay, and strict steps must be followed
  • Investigations are not conducted locally - there is an escalated process

The independent, not-for-profit child protection organisation Child Wise has accredited the policy and has closely assisted Scouts Australia through its development. Child Wise will continue to work with Scouts Australia to ensure the policy and its underlying Scout Branch frameworks remain at best practice levels across Australia.  

The new policy was approved by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Scouts Australia in November 2016. During the next few months all training materials and handbooks across every Branch and Group will be updated. All Leaders, parents, volunteers and participants in Scouting must follow the new National policy.

To ensure that every Scouting member plays their part in providing the safest possible environment for all children, please read the summary page here and download a copy of the full policy here.



The support and financial contributions of our sponsors are very much appreciated at every level within Scouts Australia.

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