The National Security Committee of Cabinet is today considering a $10 billion investment in defence personnel, with a move by the government to swell army ranks by 20%. Yet it seems that the defence forces face an uphill battle winning recruits.

An ageing population, low unemployment and a good enough chance of a tour of Iraq or Afghanistan are all scaring off recruits.

And the ADF seem to have problems looking after the people who are prepared sign up.

A Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission public forum in Adelaide next Monday will hear from a former submariner, Peter Peridis, about his experience of discrimination against same sex partners. He took on the Navy and won – after eight years.

Peridis featured on a 7:30 Report story on discrimination against gay defence personnel back in 2004 .

“All my performance appraisals were above average,” he told the ABC. “As a result, I was selected as, recommended for officer candidacy.”

But Peridis still had problems because of his sexuality. “They wanted you out one way or another, and if they weren’t going to get you on performance reports, their only other option was to push me to the edge,” he said.

Peridis has put a submission into the HREOC National Inquiry into Discrimination against People in Same-Sex Relationships: Financial and Work-Related Entitlements and Benefits.

And he’s told Crikey how families of defence force members who are in trouble or have suicided are now referred to him to for help with military know-how – and how to cut through red tape.