Australian Army Chief Lieutenant General David Morrison has said he would like to see greater recruitment of gays and lesbians, women and ethnic minorities into the Australian Defence Force.
Morrison made his comments in a speech to the Sydney Institute on Tuesday.
“Twenty-five, 30 years ago the reaction to people of a different sexual orientation would have been seen as almost insurmountable,” Lt Gen. Morrison said.
“Yet now, of course it isn’t an issue and nor should it be. And we have many very proud gay and lesbian soldiers, airmen, airwomen, sailors serving in our ADF.”
The army chief said the defence forces require a strong combat culture, but this often results in some groups in society feeling excluded.
His comments follow the discovery of another Facebook page, with a membership of 1000 former or current ADF members, which contains racist and sexist posts.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young yesterday backed Lt Gen. Morrison’s calls to increase diversity in the armed forces.
“Lt Gen. Morrison is right to say that a person’s sexual orientation is not an issue. A person’s sexual identity makes no difference to their ability to serve their country, be it in uniform, or in other roles,” Hanson-Young said.
“We also hope this effort to accurately reflect diversity will also mean the ADF responds quickly to any future incidents such as sex scandals or attacks on gay members of the military as happened on Facebook in recent years.”
raised the role of gays and lesbians in Australia’s armed forces.
Last year the ADF was under fire for a scandal involving ADF members who joined a gay-hate Facebook page which outed and vilified several serving ADF personnel.