In a letter to the editor of the Northern Territory News, Capt. John Campbell said he saw too much skin during a night in Darwin.
"It's about having standards, ladies," he said in the letter published Tuesday. "What are standards? Well, it can begin by dressing in a manner that leaves something to the imagination, to say the least."
He said women who "dress with less than nothing on" are sending men mixed messages.
Australians in Darwin and elsewhere appeared to find Campbell's comments disagreeable. "Paternalistic" and "idiot" were some of the comments reported by the Melbourne Herald Sun.
Lana Sandic, 19, a nightclub dancer in Darwin, was even blunter.
"He's got some guts to say that," she told the Territory News. "Most Territory girls would say 'Put it where the sun doesn't shine.'"