A set of documents requested from the Defence Department under freedom of information show that the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services wrote to Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin in September last year to say that ADF members should not be allowed to march in uniform at Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras:

At the time the decision to allow this was made, the RACS was not asked for an opinion. However, after receiving correspondence on this issue the Committee has felt the need to make a statement concerning it, which I have been asked to communicate to you. Whilst the RACS fully accepts the right of individual ADF members to participate in the Mardi Gras it is deeply concerned about the decision to allow ADF members to march in uniform in an event which patently allows participants to mock and vilify religious faith, and which also has a political agenda.

The RACS seeks clarification on the current policy of the ADF with regard to the participation of uniformed ADF members in events which are political in nature and are also harmful or insulting to many religious members of the Defence Force.”

The FoI documents show that someone is looking into how the Defence Force is managing LGBTI issues, with other documents requested including financial details of Defence’s sponsorship of the Military Pride Ball and details of the attendance of Defence members at an international conference on transgender personnel and military service.

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Peter Fray

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