- The Long March into Decline -

    100 Years of ANZAC     

The Spirit Lives on....

...... or does it?

 

Working on the assumption that an army is a reflection of its society, it is my intention by this Post to graphically illustrate aspects of cultural change that have occurred in the Australian Defence Force over the past century or so. Whether today’s armed forces are an accurate reflection of our society I leave you to consider.

The Australian soldiers of Gallipoli, the Western deserts and the Western Front were hastily recruited, cursorily trained and flung into the furnace of war. Members of today’s armed forces are carefully selected and purposely trained to form a thoroughly professional and modern force.

Yesterday’s army and navy had a job to do. To win the ‘Great War’. Their successors twenty-one years later, in the tradition of ANZAC, had another clear duty – to win the ‘Second War’.

The armed forces of yesteryear represented a demographic catchment that extended right across Australia. They came together to do a job and then they went home. Theirs was not the job of political engrossment; social engineering or cultural experimentation.

Today’s defence forces have amongst their priorities a number of extra-military activities. Today’s defence forces have taken upon themselves inter alia the role of providing rewarding career prospects for their members together with providing a happy, stress free, diverse and inclusive workplaces for its members in which each member can fully realise ‘its’ self’ to its full sexual and emotional potential. 

Yesterday’s military was a passive, if conservative, reflection of Australian society. To this end, yesterday’s recruiting posters targeted certain sentiments in yesterday’s Australian soul.  

Today’s armed forces are, by contrast, proactive political actors at the forefront of social and cultural change. My short selection below of cited quotes, taken mainly from volumes of official and politically correct military sources on the subject, amply illustrates this societal activism.

There is a clear distinction between moral, immoral and amoral. Some people might describe the changing military values as social progress; others might describe them as ‘immoral’ and yet others might dismiss them as amoral. I recognise that the taxonomy is debatable.

What these changed values are not however, are the values of ANZAC. To equate Australia’s modern military with its forebears is to commit one of the greatest sins – that of hubris. Indeed, in the classical tradition such excessive pride was offensive to the Gods and led to one’s Nemesis.

The question of the relevance of the ANZAC tradition to the modern military has been the subject of recent debate by military historians and commentators. It has been suggested that today’s ‘diggers’ do not identify with the legends of the past. They want more contemporaneity. If this is indeed correct, there is a case to answer as to whether they should in fact and in all conscience be allowed to assume the mantle of ANZAC and its concomitant term ‘Digger’.

I would be disappointed if most Australian servicemen and women aren’t equally as appalled at the societal consciousness-raising role that the Defence Forces have arbitrarily assumed upon themselves.

The Australian Defence Force has a proud heritage. Notwithstanding, it is becoming just another career choice in a large over-bloated corporation replete with strategic plans, statements of objectives and all the other ephemera of sound management practice and good governance. Nevertheless, this corporation shamelessly  spends significant quantities of taxpayers money earmarked for ‘defence’ on a host of irrelevant, unnecessary and meaningless programmes of social engineering. Disgracefully, it expects its members to embrace a variety of cultural constructs that have nothing to do – indeed, taken to their logical ends, might be antithetical to – their core business namely, the successful prosecution of war.    

The ANZAC tradition is an Australian founding myth. It sustained this country in its good and bad times. It created a set of values which were once considered worth emulating – something to which we, as a nation, could aspire.

Today’s crop of cultural cravens that constitute Australia’s military hierarchy have shredded these values. To return to the classics, I hope they meet their Nemesis in that dark and special place over the water, past the snarling heads of Cerberus, in double time.

 

**********

 

Quote 1. Official Defence Force Website

A MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCE

During my forty years in the Australian Defence Force I have witnessed the change in Australia’s multicultural diversity. It is important that Defence engages a culturally diverse workforce that not only represents the community in which its personnel live and serve, but that draws from the full breadth of skills available.

Defence is committed to creating a fair and equitable workplace that encourages personnel to reach their full potential and positively contribute to organisational goals. People are, and always will be, a fundamental part of our capability and valuing the differing skills and attributes of all personnel is essential to providing an inclusive workplace.

http://content.defencejobs.gov.au/pdf/triservice/Guide_to_Religion_and_Belief_in_the_ADF.pdf

 

Quote 2. Army Press Release

The Australian Army has achieved accreditation as a White Ribbon Australia Workplace, the Chief Executive Officer of White Ribbon Australia, Ms Libby Davies, announced today.

http://www.army.gov.au/Our-work/News-and-media

 

Quote 3. Army Press Release

The Australian Army has been named one of the top 50 leading companies for women in a report published this month by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). [http://www.army.gov.au/Our-work/News-and-media]

 

Quote 4. Mamamia

The man who got to 55 before finally ‘coming out’ as a woman. And what a woman she is. Lt Col. Cate McGregor is not the same person today as she was when she joined the army.

Born Malcolm McGregor, she endured decades of a private struggle – unsure of why she felt the way she did – before finally coming to realise that she was a transgendered person when she was in her 50s.
Read more at http://www.mamamia.com.au/cate-mcgregor/#FMKgcFv6VJ1V7eK4.99

 

Quote 5. Gay News Net Work

In 2013, David Morrison "refused to accept her resignation when she went public" as transgender. In November 2013 McGregor was the highest ranking transgender individual in the Army, and the speechwriter and strategic adviser for David Morrison.

Morrison, who left the army last year to take up a role as chair of the Diversity Council Australia, has vowed to use the honour to continue to promote workplace diversity and equality.

“The rules that we live by have largely been written by white Anglo-Saxon men, and the beneficiaries are, surprise surprise, white Anglo-Saxon men,” Gen Morrison told AAP.

Morrison has promised to continue outgoing Australian of the Year, domestic violence campaigner, Rosie Batty’s push for a safe inclusive Australia.

“We need to be careful about the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves because that largely defines our culture,” he said. “If those stories are exclusive rather than inclusive, if they deny people opportunity on the basis of gender or the colour of their skin, then we as a society can’t reach our potential," Morrison said.

http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/news/national/former-army-chief-david-morrison-named-australian-of-the-year-20193.html

 

Quote 6. From the Starobserver

Highest-ranking officers to lead defence forces in Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras - "Why wouldn’t I be proud of my LGBTI service man and women", says air force’s most senior enlisted officer as he prepares for next month’s march.

The top guns of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) are to throw their weight behind LGBTI service personnel this Mardi Gras with confirmation the most senior enlisted member of each of the three armed forces will — for the first time — march in next month’s iconic parade.

The warrant officers of the navy and air force and the regimental sergeant major of the army will lead their respective services along the parade route through inner city Sydney on Saturday, March 7.

http://www.starobserver.com.au/artsentertainment/festival-guide/mardi-gras/highest-ranking-officers-to-lead-defence-forces-in-sydney-gay-and-lesbian-mardi-gras/132462

 

Quote 7. Officially Accredited DEFGLIS

DEFGLIS is an association that supports and represents Australian Defence Force LGBTI personnel and their families.

 OUR VISION

A Defence culture that is fair and inclusive that strongly values the contributions of its diverse workforce.

Defence personnel who are well supported throughout sexual orientation and gender identity development.

A strong Defence LBGTI community with resilient members who support one another.

Educate

We provide subject matter expert advice to the services and the department, new and education about LGBTI matters to the Defence community.

 https://www.defglis.com.au/index.php/about

 

Quote 8. The Daily Mail [UK]

[Ed. Note: Members of the ADF participate in a 2014 Washington Conference for sexual misfits.]

Transgender military personnel from 18 countries where open service is allowed gather to discuss whether US military could lift ban … The conference attendees gathered in Washington, DC on Monday ….. At least 18 nations, including Australia, Canada, England and Israel, allow military service by transgender individuals ….. Gathering is the first international conference of transgender military service members on US soil ….About 15,500 transgender individuals currently serve in US military secretly {Published: 07:22 EST, 21 October 2014 | Updated: 08:25 EST, 21 October 2014}

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2800742/transgender-military-personnel-18-countries-open-service-allowed-gather-discuss-military-join.html#ixzz41uEAHNQP

Quote 9. Official Army Website

Getting ready for Sydney Mardi Gras 2015 “It’s not about the celebration; we are simply supporting our soldiers, sailors and airmen.”

http://www.army.gov.au/Our-work/News-and-media/Sydney-Mardi-Gras-2015

 

Quote 10. Official Army Website

Army has a solemn obligation to our nation. This is our contract.

Our contract with Australia

I'm an Australian soldier who is an expert in close combat
I am physically and mentally tough
compassionate and courageous
I lead by example, I strive to take the initiative
I am committed to learning and working for the team
I believe in trust, loyalty and respect
for my Country, my mates and the Army
the Rising Sun is my badge of honour
I am an Australian Soldier – always

http://www.army.gov.au/Our-people/Our-contract-with-Australia

[Ed. Note: Is this callow nonsense really going to make better soldiers?]

 

Quote 11. Official Army Website

We respect our heritage. We are the custodians of more than a century of service and sacrifice for our nation. Inspired by our proud history, we continuously adapt and innovate to the unique demands of the time.The Rising Sununifies us – it links our past to our present to our future.
Our ‘Contract with Australia’describes our individual obligations to our Army, and our Army’s obligations to the nation.

http://www.army.gov.au/Our-people/Who-we-are/Heritage

 

Quote 12. Official Army Website

I'm an Australian Soldier Established by Lieutenant General Peter Leahy in 2006, the ‘I’m an Australian Soldier’ campaign aims to cover the so called ‘soft’ side of the Hardened and Networked Army. The initiative is built on nine core behaviours, which describe a soldier ready to meet any challenges on operations. The nine core behaviours are aspirational in nature. The challenge is to ensure that each move we make takes us towards a common goal: developing our soldiers for the challenges of the future.

http://www.army.gov.au/Our-people/I-am-an-Australian-Soldier

 

Quote 13. Official Army Website

The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison shared his views and initiatives on the culture and values within the Army, at the Fifth Estate Forum at the Wheeler Centre on Tuesday, 12 June 2012. The discussion with Australian's foreign affairs analyst Greg Sheridan was moderated by broadcaster, journalist and anthropologist Sally Warhaft. Exploring the role of Australia’s Defence Force in the 21st century, Lieutenant General Morrison also championed the need to increase the diversity within the Army population, with a particular emphasis on increasing the participation of women in Army, and took this opportunity to flag his intention to increase the number of women in Army by 600 within his remaining tenure of two years. 

http://www.army.gov.au/Our-work/Speeches-and-transcripts/Wheeler-Centre

 

Quote 14. Official Army Website

Army Indigenous community Army supports the Australian Government’s Closing the Gap commitment made in 2008 to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.

http://www.army.gov.au/Our-people/Army-Indigenous-community

 Quote 15. Official Army Website

Army's first Indigenous Elder

The Army’s inaugural Indigenous Elder, Uncle Roy Mundine, was appointed by CA Lt-Gen David Morrison at a ceremony in Canberra on April 18.

http://www.army.gov.au/Our-people/Army-Indigenous-community

Quote 16. Official Army Website

More Indigenous Recruiting Officers join Army ranks

The Australian Army has appointed eight new Indigenous Recruiting Officers to support Indigenous candidates throughout the recruiting process and help boost numbers across the service.

http://www.army.gov.au/Our-people/Army-Indigenous-community

 

Quote 17. From the official ‘Army’ news site

A confidential survey to gauge the awareness, impact and effectiveness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) initiatives in Defence is open until 27 March 2015. It is part of Defence's workforce benchmarking through the Australian Workplace Equality Index, which is Australia's definitive national benchmark on LGBTI workplace inclusion practices and initiatives.

http://www.army.gov.au/Our-work/News-and-media] On-line ‘Army’ news site

 

Quote 18. Daily Telegraph [Sydney]

Halal certification: Army mandates Muslim-certified food for our Diggers

ONE third of combat rations ­offered to all Aussie troops now has to be halal-certified, despite the Australian Defence Force having fewer than 100 Muslims.

The orders that four of the 12 battle meal menu options offered to soldiers in the field need to be halal were approved by the Deputy Chief of Army Major General Rick Burr.

Under the new changes, ration packs should also contain kosher and vegetarian meals to help combat “menu fatigue”.

 http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/halal-certification-army-mandates-muslimcertified-food-for-our-diggers/news-story/5cabceeedab44dff055f32116aae21e0

[Ed. Note: Diggers at the Somme were sometimes lucky to get fed let alone have a choice!]