Australian deputy prime minister scraps ridiculous ban on ‘woke’ LGBTQ+ morning teas

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Richard Marles speaks at the Shangri-La Dialogue summit in Singapore on June 11, 2022.

Australia’s deputy prime minister has repealed a ban on LGBTQ+ events organised by the Australian Defence Force.

Deputy prime minister and minister of defence Richard Marles on Tuesday (23 August) scrapped the ban that meant “woke” events, including LGBTQ+ morning teas, should not be scheduled by ADF employees.

Former defence minister turned opposition leader Peter Dutton had brought in the ban in May 2021 after employees celebrated the international day against homophobia, biphobia, intersexphobia, and transphobia by wearing rainbow clothing and having a tea party. Dutton said the ADF should not be “putting effort into matters” that distract from their “primary mission to protect Australia’s national security”.

“To meet these important aims, 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.”

But after being appointed as the minister of defence on 1 June following the Australian federal election, Marles has attempted to repeal much of the attack on what Dutton describes as the “woke agenda.”

In a statement from the office of Marles, reported by The Australian, he said: “Each year we recognise events of significance and importance. Many of these events contribute to our inclusive culture by acknowledging and promoting awareness of our diverse workforce.

“Last year a direction was issued in the DEFGRAM 221/2021 regarding how events of significance [should] be conducted, including those activities which should cease. The deputy prime minister has instructed that this direction be lifted.”

Dutton had justified the ban to The Sydney Morning Herald in a May 2021 article, where he claimed he was attempting to “build up the morale in the Australian Defence Force”, adding: “These woke agendas don’t help.”

“I’ve been very clear to the chiefs that I will not tolerate discrimination. But we are not pursuing a woke agenda,” he added. “We have made it clear to all service chiefs and group heads that combat and organisational capability is to be delivered through our well-developed training and education programs, exercises and operational experience, with respectful behaviours, underpinned by defence values.”

In response, the deputy national president of public sector union CPSU, Brooke Muscat, said: “If having a morning tea for reconciliation week, International Women’s Day or international day against homophobia is stopping our national security efforts then we have a real problem.

“This has Peter Dutton written all over it, the federal minister for culture wars.”