Defence Minister Peter Dutton has ordered his department and serving military personnel to stop pursuing a “woke agenda” after Defence held morning teas where staff wore rainbow clothing to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia. Peter Dutton has laid down the law to his department over pursuing a “woke” agenda, saying such events are a distraction from protecting Australia’s national security. Mr Dutton, who has vowed to shake up his department and refocus on its core mission, told a media conference he ordered Defence Force Chief Angus Campbell and Secretary Greg Moriarty to issue a note ending events with “particular clothes in celebration”.

“I’ve been very clear to the chiefs that I will not tolerate discrimination. But we are not pursuing a woke agenda,” Mr Dutton said. “Our task is to build up the morale in the Australian Defence Force and these woke agendas don’t help.” Earlier in the year a note was sent out from Defence to staff urging them to mark IDAHOBIT by wearing rainbow clothing and ally pins to morning tea events. “Defence ADF and APS employees are encouraged to acknowledge IDAHOBIT in a COVID-safe manner. Examples for activity include hosting morning teas, encouraging discussions regarding the importance of IDAHOBIT, raising awareness of LGBTI rights and wearing visible rainbow clothing or ally pins,” the note said.

The goal was to show “support for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) colleagues, friends and family by standing against prejudice and discrimination, and demonstrating inclusion”.  But Mr Dutton ordered Mr Campbell and Mr Moriarty to issue a department-wide note banning events where staff celebrate by wearing particular clothes. “Defence represents the people of Australia and must at all times be focused on our primary mission to protect Australia’s national security interests. We must not be putting effort into matters that distract from this,” the note said. “To meet these important aims, changing language protocols and those events such as morning teas where personnel are encouraged to wear particular clothes in celebration … are not required and should cease.

“We have made it clear to all Service Chiefs and Group Heads that combat and organisational capability is to be delivered through our well-developed training and education programs, exercises and operational experience, with respectful behaviours, underpinned by Defence values.” The directive, signed by General Campbell and Mr Moriarty, applied to all members of Defence across the armed forces and the public service. A Defence People Group Communication Plan prepared for IDAHOBIT also told members to use the term partner instead of husband or wife and to check with colleagues “what is your pronoun”. “Do not assume that everyone is heterosexual or that this is the norm. Avoid using language such as ‘wife’ or ‘husband’ that assumes all relationships are heterosexual,” the document said.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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