The Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) gay and lesbian social network says anti-homophobia education for defence personnel must improve following revelations 40 ADF members who joined a gay-hate Facebook page in 2010 have escaped punishment.
During a Defence Department investigation, conducted over the last 12 months, no charges were laid against any ADF members found to have joined or contributed directly to the gay-hate page which labelled gay service personnel “pillow biters” and “bum bandits” and outed some ADF members.
Defence LGBTI Information Service (DEFGLIS) chair Stuart O’Brien said issues of homophobia in the force should not be swept under the carpet.
“DEFGLIS will seek further improvements to LGBTI education and awareness training, potentially on an annual basis,” O’Brien said.
“Incidents such as this and unreported incidents of homophobic behaviour are disappointing and the Department needs to be aware that the problem is not solved.
“Policy and procedures are not by themselves enough. Homophobic culture must be addressed through training and leadership.”
This month the Star Observer reported ADF members who joined the page were simply given written warnings and told to make sure their social networking security settings were in place.
Greens senator Bob Brown has called on Defence Minister Stephen Smith to explain why members involved in the page were not charged with insubordination when some of the gay and lesbian service members targeted included senior officers.