First came the news that Defence was funding sex-change operations. Of course, this could not go ahead without the all-encompassing bureaucratic machine springing into action. Now commanders have official policy advising them that those fearlessly embarking on ‘gender reassignment surgery’ are to have access to their affirmed ablution facilities.
Defence, struggling to deal with negative publicity surrounding years of alleged sexual assault has now opened the door for males to shower in the ladies bathroom – whether they like it or not.
Then Defence gave approval for its proud uniform to be paraded through the streets of Sydney during the Mardi Gras, sharing the road with pimps, prostitutes and purveyors of moral decadence. Good call.
The supposedly apolitical Australian Defence Force is now marching to the beat of a very political tune, drummed up by those who demand gay marriage and take pleasure in ridiculing Christianity.
Finally, we now have Defence leadership wasting its time and resources over the last two days at the Gender in Defence and Security Leadership Conference. After contributions from questionable military luminaries like Anna Bligh, it has announced that there will be a push for a female Chief of Navy within a decade and that women can serve on the front line.
Who’d have thought that promotion decisions would be based on gender rather than merit? Or that women, who would struggle to compete on the footy field, will do better on the battlefield?
I bet no one bothered telling the conference the awful truth that not a single female officer trainee at the Australian Defence Force Academy was capable of passing the Army’s new combat fitness standard last year. Or that only one was capable of passing its new, scientifically designed basic fitness test. Or that these standards have since been watered down.
Defence’s preoccupation with addressing fake social problems is weakening its ability to operate and tarnishing its reputation.
It also diverts funds away from core activities. During my final years as a regular officer, I had to contend with cuts to training and travel budgets. This impacted on capability.
Now I have been informed that there are no funds available to allow me to parade as a reservist.
Here is some cheap advice for Defence hierarchy that might free up time and money to address a real equity issue: fair indexation of military pensions.
Stop wasting resources trying to recruit women. They are not as strong as men and generally don’t want to join. Focus on the target audience – young blokes. You’ll get more bang for your recruiting dollar.
Also, if someone wants to go from Molly to Mandy let them do it in their own time and at their own expense. And it will stop scaring the soldiers.
Ditto for those who wish to attend the Mardi Gras.
Finally, it would be useful for Defence hierarchy to publicly support efforts to fairly index military superannuation. It is an issue that not only affects retired soldiers but today’s serving military personnel.
If the Defence leadership is really committed to fairness, equity and mateship, it will sort out military superannuation and leave gender-bending affirmative action to fringe loony groups, like the Greens.
I don’t hold my breath though. If the last decade has taught us anything, it is that Defence is able to embark on military operations without knowing what the mission is, what the objectives are, or even who the enemy is.
Common sense is missing.
That is why I am sure the next time we hear anything from Defence leadership about an unfair playing field, it will have nothing to do with increasing pensions and everything to do with reducing physical fitness standards for women.