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www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS June 6, 2013
Lessons on board Melbourne
SBLT Bianca Wise
The ADF showed a united front
in support of diversity on May 22
when personnel from all three ser-
vices, Defence civilians and ADFA
trainees attended a dinner to mark
the International Day against
homophobia and Transphobia
(IDAhO) and to celebrate the
launch of ADFAs new Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex
(LGBTI) support network.
VCDF AIRMShL Mark Binskin,
CN VADM Ray Griggs and CA
LT-GeN David Morrison all attended
the dinner, while CAF sent a senior
representative to the event.
The event was organised by
ADFA MIDNs Coral Belcher and
Ben Dickens, who are also respon-
sible for starting the Academy’s
LGBTI support network.
VCDF praised the courage of the
two junior officers.
“I’m proud of the fact that ADFA
is at the forefront of initiatives to
make Defence a more open and
inclusive workforce,” AIRMShL
Guest speaker at the dinner was
former Olympic swimmer Daniel
Kowalski, who shared his personal
struggles and victories with the audi-
ence of LGBTI and non-LGBTI per-
sonnel from all rank levels.
Kowalski said his decision to ‘come
out’ to the media and public was the
“toughest challenge he’d ever faced”.
“I was scared of the stereotype
and the way I’d be perceived, but at
the end of the day I’m proud of who
I am and what I’ve achieved as a gay
man,” he said.
“I look around the room tonight
and see medals and ribbons pinned
on uniforms. I won my Olympic
swimming medals for myself and
for my country and that is exactly
the same as what everyone in the
Defence Force does.
“I’ve never been so overwhelmed
DeFeNCe Families of Australia has
launched a survey to provide concrete
data on the effectiveness of existing
support services and identify needs not
The survey is unique in an increasing-
ly family-aware Defence space in seeking
family views independent of Regular
ADF or reserve members and with ano-
nymity and confidentiality guaranteed.
“The opinions of families matters,”
DFA National Convenor Julie Blackburn
“This data, combined with discus-
sions at DFA consultation meetings
around the country in June and July can
be used to assist decision-makers as to
where and how to allocate its Defence
“It is important that we give the gov-
ernment the vital information needed
about your needs as a Defence family
when making tough decisions about
Previous DFA annual survey feed-
back has been used by DFA to advocate
for and achieve improvements in housing
standards, base access, health, educa-
tion, childcare and deployment support
each Defence family should com-
plete one survey response. Respondents
may be partners, parents, children and
ADF and reserve members responding
on behalf of their family.
It should be noted that most questions
are directed to the family members living
with an ADF member.
All survey responses are anonymous.
Contact details requested at the end of
the survey are only collected for the pur-
poses of DFA membership and statistics
and will not be shared with Defence or
any third party.
Complete the DFA Family Survey online at
http://www.dfa.org.au/survey or contact DFA
at firstname.lastname@example.org for a paper version.
a look at
talking to a room before, but my
personal experience has shown how
important it is to surround yourself
with people who you know are going
to assist you with your goals and
dreams, and that is exactly what I can
see Defence doing right here, right
now, for its people. This is a very
The ADF has strongly encouraged
processes to break down discrimina-
tory barriers and foster an environ-
ment of inclusion for all members.
Through policy changes, welfare
alliances and social groups, various
avenues have been created to build a
healthy and diverse workforce.
The initiatives are heavily sup-
ported across all three services by
the Defence Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender and Intersex Information
Service (DeFGLIS), originally devel-
oped by WO Stuart O’Brien.
“Our people need to know there
are support networks out there, and
that they will be looked after,” WO
“Sexual orientation is about being
who you are and being able to get
on with it, being included by those
around you and breaking down the
barriers of isolation that many young
The ADFA dinner received strong
support from every service, with the
senior leadership group’s attendance
showing diversity is a priority being
CN recognised the great contri-
bution made by Navy members to
the diversity cause, and said he was
proud to be part of the progress being
made by Defence.
“I’m happy to see the senior lead-
ership group here, showing that our
support for diversity is not just lip
service, it’s real,” VADM Griggs said.
XO ADFA CMDR Shane Craig
praised MIDNs Belcher and Dickens
for their efforts.
“From a personal perspective,
I’ve learned a lot. The demographic
of 17-21-year-olds here at ADFA are
a perfect example of young members
in society who can experience feel-
ings of isolation,” CMDR Craig said.
“But these trainees are really
proving themselves, through their
courage and their commitment to
changing the environment for the
better. They’ve developed an open
and supportive network to assist the
understanding not just of LGGTI
members, but for all students.
“These are the future leaders
of our Defence Force and I’m very
proud of the efforts they’ve made
to begin new initiatives supporting
and encouraging diversity within the
United we stand
STRONG SUPPORT: (L-R) MIDNs Ben Dickens, Coral Belcher and Mathew Nichols with Olympian Daniel
Kowalski, WO Stuart O’Brien, CN VADM Ray Griggs and Commandant ADFA CDRE Bruce Kafer at
International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.
AheAD of a busy work-up sched-
ule, hMAS Melbourne opened her
gangway to 25 primary school stu-
dents from southern NSW on May 9.
Deputy Maritime Logistics
Officer LeUT Lucy Gaylor acted as
a tour guide as the children visited
the bridge, the flight deck, the galley
and the propulsion unit to gain an
understanding of life in the Navy.
“It was a pleasure for us to show
these kids how a warship operates,”
“Obviously the highlight for the
children was the morning tea we
served in the galley, where they expe-
rienced some of the culinary delights
that cooks do with such aplomb.”
The Navy visit was part of an
excursion by the schoolchildren
from the echuca region to Sydney,
which provided the crew with some
light relief during its work up.
LeUT Gaylor said her biggest
challenge in Melbourne had been
learning a new platform in time for
the work up.
“It’s a steep learning curve get-
ting used to an FFG,” she said.
Melbourne’s work-up program
includes the important milestones of
mariner skills evaluation, unit readi-
ness and mission readiness.
Sea Training Group’s challenge
with Melbourne will be blending
diverse, and often inexperienced
personnel, into a well-knit collective
team with finite time and resources.
Commander STG-MFU CAPT
Mick harris said Melbourne’s
young sailors would benefit from
the experiences of others.
“Sharing skills and knowledge is
essential because, generally, many
ship’s companies will have changed
out in the lead up to a work-up,” he
“Young sailors sometimes may
have a fear of the unknown, but STG
personnel will help to make them
a better crew member because we
want sailors to do it right in the real
world when it counts most,” he said.
ALL ABOARD: LEUT Lucy Gaylor hands out goodies as other
members of HMAS Melbourne welcome students from Echuca
aboard the ship for a school visit.
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