Aussie military officer tells young cadets to stop being attractive to avoid being assaulted

Defence chief Angus Campbell
Defence chief Angus Campbell Photo credit: ABC News

Australia's top military officer has come under fire for suggesting first-year cadets be less attractive and avoid going out after midnight if they want to avoid being sexually assaulted. 

The Canberra Times reports Defence chief Angus Campbell told officers in training to avoid "the four A's" - alcohol, out after midnight, alone and attractive.

His comments have been blasted by Australia's Parliament with leader of the opposition Anthony Albanese saying the focus needs to be on changing male behaviour, rather than female.

He said sexual violence is "a scourge" in the community and men need to take responsibility for changing their actions. 

Labor frontbencher Kristina Keneally said the comments implied women were responsible for avoiding being raped.

"Women are never responsible for not being raped. Men are responsible for not raping women."

The Defence force has stood behind Campbell, saying his comments encouraged people at risk of sexual assault to be aware.

"Being aware of the four As - young attractive people, noting the entire class fell into this risk factor, alcohol, after midnight and alone - enabled the group to recognise and mitigate the threat posed by abusive or predatory individuals."