Defence Force denies it has any plans to ban the words ‘his’ and ‘her’

The Australian Defence Force has denied claims by The Herald Sun that it has plans to ban the words ‘his’, ‘he’ and ‘she’ and ‘her’ from being used by personnel.

In a front page story today the newspaper suggests that a guide to using non-gendered language and respecting pronouns of transgender people used in the Australian Defence Force Academy is evidence that the words ‘his’ and ‘her’ have been banned from the organisation.

The ADF have released a statement saying the claims are untrue and this was made clear to the journalist prior to the publication of the story.

“Reports regarding Defence requiring the use of gender-neutral language are wrong. ADFA Cadets are not being told that they should not use terms like him or her.” the organisation said.

The Defence Force said it has not, and has no plans to issue a directive suggesting that gender specific pronouns should not be used.

“Members of the Australian Defence Force are required to work with each other, and address each other, in a respectful manner. This includes members addressing each other by rank and using the customary military compliments.”

The Defence Force highlighted that the protocol for addressing senior officers is ‘Sir and Ma’am.”

The guide offers advice on speaking to transgender members of the defence forces, noting that deliberately using the wrong gender pronouns could be considered bullying. While the guide offers advice for how to recognise a specific person’s gender pronouns, the Herald Sun article suggests that it constitutes a directive being issued against all service personnel.

The newspaper claims that senior sources within the defence forces have told them that there is a plan to issue a directive only use gender neutral language going forward. The claim has been categorically denied.

Defence Minister Marise Payne told the newspaper that there were no plans for a directive along those lines.

“The Department has not, and is not intending to, issue a directive on gender-neutral language. Claims to the contrary are wrong.” Payne said.

The Minister also appeared as a guest on Sydney Radio Station 2GB telling host Ray Hadley that the newspaper was more interested in a headline than reporting reality.

“The department hasn’t and the ADF has not issued any directive on the use of gender-neutral language.

“In fact, if you’re at ADFA in Canberra this morning, everybody will be hearing their seniors addressed as sir and mam and using the usual military compliments.” Payne said.

“We are not changing in any way shape or form the way in which we require the ADF to work together and to address each other.”

Despite the strong denial from the Defence Minister conservative politicians and candidates hit back at the suggestion that the training guidelines are proof of a policy existing.

Senator Pauline Hanson described the training as “PC Madness”, while Senator Derryn Hinch also commented on the story describing it as “madness” linking it to the Victorian government’s promotion of gender neutral language.

The Australian Conservatives senate candidate for Queensland, Lyle Shelton, took to Twitter saying the document was a result of allowing same-sex marriage. Shelton used an analogy about feeding crocodiles to demonstrate his concerns.

“We fed the crocodile by capitulating to its demands to de-gender marriage. Now the rainbow PC police are eating our military. This madness must stop.” Shelton said.

Last week Shelton issued an apology for a tweet he posted which claimed the coalition government has rolled out a advertising campaign that featured soldiers painted in rainbow camouflage. Shelton apologised after followers pointed out the campaign that has incensed him was from Sweden.

Kirralie Smith, the Australian Conservatives newly announced senate candidate for New South Wales posted a video saying that any member of the defence force who felt they’d been bullied should be discharged from their service.

“Today its been reported that the army and our military are considering labeling it bullying is you mis-pronoun someone, are you kidding me?” Smith said.

The Australian Conservatives candidate said Defence Minister Marise Payne should realise that it is not he job to listen to people who have “hurt feelings”

“In fact if we have any little princesses in our military who are going to be turning to jelly at the thought of being mis-pronouned or misgendered then show them the door. Tell them to get out. We don’t want them in our defence force.” Smith said.

OIP Staff

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