Chief Commissioner of Australia

Chris "Chiefy" Bates



Mr. Chris Bates, Scouts Australia's latest Chief Commissioner, began his term on February 1, 2015.

Chris brings with him a wealth of experience in Scouting. His initial foray into Scouting began as a Cub with the Lameroo Scout Group. He fondly remembers exciting moments from camps in Ridge Pole tents out in the National Park, cooking food and hiking for hours in the bush with nothing more than a compass.

In 1974 Chris commenced what would become a 36 year long public service career with the Department of Social Security, now known as Centrelink. During his career he resided in Port Lincoln, Berri and Adelaide. All this while, his passion for the Scouting Movement continued to grow. After registering his two eldest sons into Scouting, Chris joined as a Leader. This began an illustrious Scouting career which included volunteering at numerous Jamborees and taking on a variety of Scouting roles including Troop Leader, Activity Leader, Branch Commissioner International and Manager of Course 2 of the South Australia Young Leader Development Program. In 2012 Chris was appointed as Chief Commissioner for the South Australia Branch of Scouts Australia. 

Chris Bates' vision for Scouting is Australia is that "across Australia we enable our members to become more aware of the individual and organisational benefits of having young people actively involved at all levels within the Movement."  

Chris Bates believes that Scouts as a youth organisation should be youth led and hopes to achieve this through his appointment.  

"I am eager to use my current role as an opportunity to follow through on formulating a method whereby Scouts Australia becomes a Youth Organisation led by young people. There have been many examples shared at the International events I have attended which demonstrate how this change can operate. While moving the pendulum of change, we need to continually engage those who are no longer youth (but still young at heart) and ask them how their role can facilitate/support the youth leading.

We need to also respect the knowledge of our current adult members and encourage them to be innovative in supporting youth to build their knowledge. It is imperative we reduce conflicts around age and create a structure where we can all be working together. I believe the current Youth Program Review will ultimately present something that will enable us to deliver on this issue."

"My passion is to show our communities we can offer a system where a person can learn to be ‘resilient’ and develop a sense of ‘wellbeing’ and have adventurous experiences and take a risk in a controlled environment."

When Chris isn't out and about inspiring people through Scouting, his hobbies include breeding Red Canaries; however he also breeds, shows and judges many other types of canaries at competitions and has been President of his local club for many years.

Chris and his wife Janis also enjoy travelling, particularly small group touring, which often takes them on adventures 'off the beaten track'. Some of these trips have included cycling in China and Bali and walking part of the 'St James Way' Camino in Spain as well as trekking along some of the fabulous walks around Europe. 

Chris Bates' hopes to meet more members of Scouting. He said,"If you should have the opportunity to see me out Scouting please come and say Hi, as 'Chiefy' is keen to meet as many people as possible from across Australia."