Anzac Day dawn service march too dangerous for female CO

Just when it seemed safe to assume that the Australian Defence Force had plumbed the depths of stupidity, along came Captain Fiona Sneath to remind us all that the military has a far greater capacity to embrace the moronic than was previously thought humanly possible.

So here we go again.

In a week where it seemed impossible to outdo the incorporation of ‘gender perspectives’ into Navy and Air Force operational planning, this intrepid legal officer banned sailors from marching at the Greenwell Point dawn service.

Reason? It was deemed an occupational health and safety issue.

This sentence is nothing more than a filler so that you can climb back onto your chair.

Yes. You read that right.

The Navy decided that it was too unsafe for sailors to march less than 500m down a well-lit road to commemorate the 100,000 Australians who gave their lives for this nation during times of war.

Basically, it now appears that our primary security strategy as a nation is to make such a joke of the Australian Defence Force in the hope that those who wish us harm will laugh themselves to death.

As I told the Daily Telegraph, you’ve just gotta feel sorry for the sailors who were issued these embarrassing orders. It is not their fault that they signed up to defend Australia with their very lives but are under the command of people who think Anzac Day marches are somehow a contravention of the Geneva convention.

The community backlash against these orders, thankfully, has seen them overturned.

However, in typical Defence fashion, its PR department has attempted to deflect blame for this whole shebang onto the media, which it claims is ‘misleading and incorrect’.

For the record, this is the relevant part of the actual orders issued to Navy members at HMAS Albatross on 4 April 2019:

And this is what the intrepid Captain Sneath told Win News:

The decision to not march in darkness before the Greenwell Point Anzac Dawn service was made on safety grounds.

So when it comes to misleading and incorrect statements, it would appear the media was correct to report that Navy personnel were ordered not to march on ‘safety grounds’ and that Defence PR is being loose with the truth. Again.

The Defence media release issued yesterday also states that due to ‘measures to effectively mitigate safety concerns, that decision was reviewed and reversed the morning of 10 April’.

However, I spoke with a representative of the Nowra RSL this morning. And, unsurprisingly, she confirmed that the RSL had not taken any additional ‘safety measures’.

So unless the Navy is planning to issue a wheel chair to each sailor marching, it seems pretty apparent that there are no additional safety measures in place. That’s probably because there are none required.

If sailors can’t march down a road to an Anzac Day memorial they’re probably in the wrong job. But they can and they are. So someone else is in the wrong job.

By the way, Captain Sneath’s Navy biography contains these comforting words:

From September 2011 to December 2014, Fiona was the Staff Legal advisor to the Chief of the Defence Force. During that time she advised the CDF on a diverse range of matters including the implementation of cultural reviews such as the Australian Human Rights Commission Review into the Treatment of Women in the ADF…

She was appointed as the Commanding Officer of HMAS Albatross in early 2017.

The Navy Times covered this glorious event with the following words:

HMAS Albatross has become a shining example of diversity, with the appointment of its first female CO – CAPT Fiona Sneath.

CAPT Sneath, who is the 38th CO of Albatross since its commissioning in 1948, described herself as “honoured and excited” by the posting.

“It’s always great to see that women can be recognised to perform in challenging and senior positions, but it’s also important to recognise that my selection demonstrates recognition of the importance of not just gender diversity in leadership roles, but the utility of diversity of background and experience,” she said.

In another first for Albatross, CAPT Sneath leads a mainly female command team…

However, let it be noted that most of this all female command team can be excused from this unholy mess. The large majority have since moved on and the orders were signed by a bloke, the current Executive Officer, David Hutchinson.

Somewhat ironically, the Navy Times article celebrating Captain Sneath’s diversity, background and experience featured above another story spruiking the fact that sailors would shortly march down Oxford Street in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

At night, too.

How brave of them.

By now it should be apparent that when words like ‘shining example of diversity’ are used in relation to the appointment of senior officers we should all take cover. No one knows what fresh hell will be unleashed.

Fortunately for Captain Sneath, she now has extra ‘diversity’ in her illustrious and experienced naval career. And she has also won the praise of the Chief of Defence Force, who leapt to her defence in Senate Estimates with these words:

But I do commend the Commanding Officer to bringing the point to attention that we ought to be confident that we’re not asking our people who have to concentrate on their music and on their marching in the dark that it’s done safely.

I’m sure another promotion is in order.


The Chief of Navy is sulking:

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of nine children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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  1. So, all those times that I spent months at sea, I really should have been home before it got dark ??
    No more Kye for midnighters either I suppose ?

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  2. The solution is cotton wool. Lots and lots of cotton wool.

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  3. Disgusting. So very similar to all Australian State & Territory Police. Drop selection criteria, do everything possible for a 50/50 male/female ratio, the list goes on.

    Have any of these chairborne Commando “leaders” worked out yet that by far the majority of violent, meth/alcohol fueled offenders are male? Or on the battlefield – where the enemy surely will target & enjoy killing, wounding or capturing some females. One can only imagine the result.

    Political Correctness will put everyone in a world of hurt. Except for those “leaders” who will be far away from the action, as usual.

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  4. All future day leave will be cancelled due to the fact personnel may have to walk home at night.
    Jokes aside, I feel sorry for the intelligent women in the force that are now tarred with the same brush as this moronic zealot capt Fiona Sneath.
    I know they are not all as foolish and cowardly as this.

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  5. Good thing that she is wearing Battle Dress and is combat ready for the fight against those nasty potholes!

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  6. How do we get the politicians to fix this mess and eradicate it for all time ?

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    • Peter, this crap is driven by politicians. Don’t look to them for relief!

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  7. I FEEL SICK….!

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  8. Having served as a combat soldier for 33 years in war and peacetime I am absolutely horrified at this decision and the way in which the Defence Force is heading. Nothing against the men and women who serve with diligence provided they are employed in the correct roles.

    My issue is with the senior command of the Defence Force – they re the ones who are responsible for this pathetic situation! They need to stop bowing to those who have never had any experience in the Defence Force and stand up for the Soldiers, Sailors and Air force personnel whom they so poorly command! Stop worrying about the cushy job that awaits on your retirement and show some balls!!!

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  9. I cannot believe this woman is seriously a commanding officer! I am embarrassed to say I am a woman if she is being held up as a shining example of diversity and women being recognised. She has dragged women’s fight for equality right back into the dark ages by showing emphatically she is not fit to make responsible decisions and command at that level.

    I have not served myself but I became a Navy wife in 1971 and was right up until 2000. My father was airforce. My first father in law was a POW in Changi prison camp during WW11. My second father in law was a RAAF Wing Commander. I had two Navy husbands in the 31 years I spent connected to the Navy. My son was in the Army, I had a brother and sister in-law who also served in the Army. I have lived in Nowra the best part 46 years and been involved with ADF families and personnel that whole time. Never in all my years connected to the ADF have I ever heard such a pathetic undermining decision made by a very politically correct inept excuse for a commanding officer. So ashamed and embarrassed for what I always believed the senior service to be. To be told they aren’t to march in one of the most iconic dawn service marches in the country because they might trip and injure themselves is ludicrous! No the Navy don’t supply band members to play musical instruments in this particular march. What does it say about the state of health and fitness of our Defence Force if returned service men and women, some of really advanced years are capable of marching but our current serving members may injure themselves if they do so??Yes I know the order has been rescinded but honestly, it should never have been issued in the first place.

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  10. In 30 years service to Her Majesty, I can say with some authority after observing many comments from the Legal fraternity…..

    There’s nothing more detached from reality & good sense than that lot…by & large when it comes to military matters like Espirit’dèCorps & war fighting & the sense military mate ship. These people are devoid of a brain cell, a soul & would loose us any war where they were to get heavily involved with crucial decision & policy making.

    This CO represents the worst case scenario…… We have lost the war, there’s no point showing up.

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  11. OT Sorry! A female mine manager recently directed that no-one must venture within a metre of an operating conveyor because of the “Nip point” risk without her personal written permission. This included the access walkways either side of a conveyor.
    My point is that decisions are often made by the inexperienced politically selected hierarchy, without any real understanding of reality.
    Either that or they have a hidden agenda, which in the case of the ADF is blatantly obvious.

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  12. What a bunch of cissies and nanny staters we have running the ADF.
    The laughingstock of the world.
    If it’s too dangerous for them to march in parades (except extremely inappropriately in uniform during the Mardi Gras), then I suggest that the armed services is absolutely no place for the precious petals to be!
    And I am not blaming the rank-and-file, but the politically correct, Marxixt deadwood at the top.

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    • Glad I was in the Army, we weren’t afraid of the dark, look out for the boogie man you senior service types.

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  13. correction.the RAAF did fly at night in vietnam.ask the RAR and SAS,both of whom were resupplied with supplies and medivac for the armed service chiefs,how many have faced action.i do not mean sitting in a bunker or ward room,and getting their medals,for just turning up.after all senior officers with ironed greens,fair go.and batmen to service 20 years malay thai border 1964 vietnam 1970 -1971.

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    • Thanks Phil. I am totally blown away by this ‘attitude’ where it is deemed ‘dangerous’ for serving ADF personnel to march in the ‘dark’. Is this in fear of the ‘boogy man’ or the dreaded ‘Drop Bears’ the area is renowned to harbour.However, it should be pointed out that it is only the skin conditioning of non Australians that initiate an attack of those intrepid little rascals. A dab of Vegemite will quell any perceived aggressive nature of these cute little guys.In respect to ‘I was only 19’I recall the ‘Contact’ as a forward scout, and given today’s Rules of Engagement, how the f**k do you sort out the civvies from the Choi Ducs when returning fire in an ambush situation? The tracer is a different colour . . . sure, but the direction of fire is still beyond our flanks and therefore must be enemy incoming fire.
      And now, we cannot march in the dark to a Dawn Service. Why did we even bother? This mob is not worth fighting for . . . ever! I lost a couple of mates in Vietnam in 8RAR and some office desk pony is dictating how the darkness should display our effectiveness as a combat ready Group? I feel ill! SVN 69-70, 70-71

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  14. But can’t they just carpet the roads then take it up after the march.

    What is wrong with people in charge now days.

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    • Let them ride in the back of army land rovers like they used to do with first and second war veterans
      Who were unable to March due to war service
      I feel sorry for our serving members that have to been embarrassed by
      their so called fearless leaders

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  15. The slow march of the Left through the institutions that were once proud emblems of Australian life continues.

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  16. How the hell does a lawyer get a command. Probably no sea time or experience at commanding people at any level.

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    • She is not wearing a sea service badge, so, less than 4 yrs sea time.

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  17. I guess the gender diverse command team have shown their true guts and glory. If you’re going to boast this bulls**t gender equality in a place where strength and selection is rewarded to only the best for the job whether being man, woman or non binary gender fluid identifying as unicorn, then this is what you get when these individuals rise up through the ranks based on filling gender gaps!!!

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    • Did she come up through the ranks? I very much doubt it be a lawyer she would most likely have been given a commmission this the problem people given positions to satisfy some silly stupid agenda that they are not fit to hold I wonder how much sea time she has not much I would think God help us if we have to depend on these idiots to defend us

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  18. Flying is dangerous. This female lawyer should ban that.too, and replace it with knitting.

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    • Knitting could be dangerous too though – might drop a stitch and stab your self in the eye with the knitting needle while bending down to pick it up …

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    • Nah can’t do knitting either, they might poke themselves with a knitting needle.

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    • That’s a rash comment. They might like themselves or someone else in the eye with the knitting needles.

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  19. Better take the Subs off them. The lights could go out and they would all sit and cry

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    • If you put her in a sub she’d be asking how to open a window !!

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  20. The Bible and homosexuality.

    There is an explanation by a man named, ‘Israel’.
    There is derision by a man named, ‘Joyce’.

    Jacinda Ardern doesn’t like what Israel says.
    Jacinda Ardern. Islam says what Israel says (and worse).

    I await Waleed Aly’s verdict on all this.
    Sorry – I must have missed Waleed Aly’s verdict on Brunei’s Sharia Law.

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  21. I guess the risk of tripping over in the Gay Mardi Gras over a feather boa is not as dangerous as tripping over a stone heading for the Dawn Service?

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    • Tripping over anywhere near a Gay Mardi Gras could have dire consequences

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  22. I think the CN would be far better off getting himself out of the bubble he operates in and put his energies into fixing the mess his predecessor has left behind. There are far bigger issues confronting Navy than whether Birdies can safely march down the main street of Greenwell Point in the dark. This whole sorry zffair has caused a great deal of distress and anger to currently surving members. Who are in no position to accept these orders and bare the brunt of the riducle with no right or opportunity to express their opinion. As for the far reaching equal opportunity endeavors in regard to gender they are doing a great disservice to the hard working women who work their arse off only to now have the pall of discrimination hanging over them no matter how much they have earned and acheived their career progression.Yes I’ve served my eldest daughter served,her partner continues to serve.My middle daughter is now into her 8th yr of service. There is more that could be said but a puplic forum probably isnt the place.

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  23. God Bless and protect Australia should we ever have to try and defend it with these gutless morons at the helm. Even though I served in the Army, I had several mates across the services. They, like me, I am sure, would be hanging their heads in shame, embarrassed beyond belief at what idiots we have inherited as leaders.

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    • At least the Army can still operate in the dark…
      I mean where would we be if the RAAF decides it too dangerous to work at night and opts to take off and land only during the day?

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      • Well, the RAAF pilots must now ensure that they don’t bomb any bridges etc where women may cross to collect water, food etc. Nut jobs are running the ADF.

      • Happened in Vietnam. The RAAF would not fly at night. Had to get the brave Americans in to do night missions. At least our limited Navy assets there flew at night.

      • The RAAF pilots of 9sqn were not ‘afraid’ to fly at night during operations in SVN. They were prevented by the ‘shiny arses’ in Canberra, afraid that any ‘losses’ would impact on their political career. Keep points and criticisms relevant pls!

      • Darren x Coburg?

  24. After 8yrs in the Puss I’m so glad I’ve moved on. Stupidity like this seems to be a never ending cancerous growth in the ADF. It’s an absolute embarrassment to all that have served.

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  25. God help us if Australia is invaded at night.

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    • We have already been invaded (planted into our country) by Muslims, they are in the NSW Police Force and the Australian Armed Forces.

      Bill Shorten needs to be asked:-

      What year do you and the Labor Party want Australia to become an Islamic country?

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  26. Australia is fast becoming the laughing stock of the WORLD. Please let us call on commonsense to save us.

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  27. Don’t know about anyone else, but being ex army, no disrespect to other services, I find this totally unacceptable, The current ADF hierarchy should hang their heads in shame, and surrender their uniforms!!! They are a disgrace!!

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  28. The navy contingent that march at Greenwell Point does not include a band, marching only

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  29. Did 40 years in uniform. So glad I am out, I could not keep quiet about such stupidity.

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    • The leftists are in charge of the ADF, God help us if we get into a war. Thank you for your service, btw. Forty years, wow

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  30. So they might slip on the road in the dark. How the hell do they manouvre around on a ship in the High seas. Do they stay inside and not venture out of their cabins.

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  31. They should be ashamed to wear the uniforms, Because they are not worthy of them

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  32. God help is if we ever have to defend Australia with these moronic politically correct drones in charge.

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  33. Get rid of every lawyer out of our Navy Air Force and Army. They’ve destroyed the justice system with their endless excuses for disgusting cowardly criminals and no sympathy for their victims. Now they want to destroy our Armed Forces. God help Australia!

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  34. glad she was-not the CO when the floods/bushfires required navy personnel to assist or heaven forbid when the hanger and aircraft were burnt it may have been deemed to dangerous for the little dears to participate

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  35. 20 years ago, navy had no issues in the dark, running around the beecroft weapons range at night during ship to shore shoots, extinguishing fires.. the dark didn’t scare us

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  36. A few years ago, I regularly visited HMAS Albatross, (NAS Nowra).
    I jumped out of airplanes there. Sometimes it was dark, and windy.

    Lucky I didn’t do anything dangerous.

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