LGBTIQ Australians have criticised Defence Minister Peter Dutton’s ban on special morning teas in the department following Monday’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).
Government departments were among many organisations around Australia and the world that marked the day with events to highlight and oppose anti-LGBTIQ discrimination.
Dutton told The Sydney Morning Herald that the ban on “pursuing a woke agenda” will allow the department to focus on protecting national security.
“Changing language protocols and those events such as morning teas where personnel are encouraged to wear particular clothes in celebration… are not required and should cease,” he said.
Just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome said that Dutton’s “anti-diversity” order undermined the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
“Mr Dutton has ordered the ADF to fight his phoney culture war, when it should be preparing to defend Australia in actual wars,” said Croome.
“Affirming diversity in the ADF, as in any organisation, is good for recruitment, retention, morale, and productivity.
“By imposing his own narrow, personal, anti-diversity values on the ADF, Peter Dutton is undermining the organisation and betraying his duty as minister.
“In 2017, Mr Dutton told business CEOs who publicly supported marriage equality to ‘stop throwing their weight around’ and ‘stick to their knitting’.
“It seems that advice doesn’t apply to him.”
Politicians and social media users have also hit back at Dutton, calling the ban “fearmongering” and a “hissy fit”.
“Instead of supporting our troops, the Defence Minister is waging culture wars against LGBTIQA Australians,” tweeted Labor MP Josh Burns.
“Instead of fighting culture wars, Peter Dutton needs to focus on defending Australia and the values we have collectively affirmed,” posted Labor Senator Penny Wong.
Held every year on May 17, IDAHOBIT marks the day in 1990 when homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organization.
It comes ahead of next month’s international Pride Month.