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Lincoln Parker: Defence Force needs to stop paying for trans healthcare

Liberal Party Defence and National Security Policy chair Lincoln Parker says the Australian Defence Force should withdraw from the Australian Workplace Equality Index which is run by ACON and stop providing healthcare to transgender personnel.

Appearing on the Sky News program The Jury Parler told host Danica De Giogio that Australia’s military needs to be focused on its mission to deliver extreme violence to defend Australia’s interests.

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“It’s primary overarching objective is to be able to deliver extreme violence to defend Australia, to defend our interests, and defend quite frankly our entire maritime approaches because we are a trading nation.” Parker told the program.

“Anything they are doing, anything that they are spending money on, or policies that do not support that overarching objective is a waste of time.” Parker said.

The Liberal party member said the branches of Australia’s defence force should pull out of the Australian Workplace Diversity Index.

“We do not need the government and the department to be spending a lot of money on things like coming up and being a member of ACON. ACON is the AIDS Council of New South Wales, it’s now a national organisation primarily funded by government, but the Australian Department of Defence is a foundation member and a principal partner.”

Parker said because the Department of Defence has signed up to the Australian Workplace Equality Index it was leading to the changing of dress codes and IT systems, which was taking them away from their primary focus.

The policy advisor also called for the Defence Force to stop paying for the medical treatment of transgender personnel.

“I don’t think that China is playing for gender reassignment surgeries.” Parker said calling for hormone treatments and surgery to be denied to transgender people in the defence force.

“I’m just not really quite sure that fits into the overarching objective of what the military should be.”

Shadow Minister for Defence Andrew Hastie has previously voiced similar viewpoints

The Liberal party’s current Shadow Minister for Defence is Western Australian MP Andrew Hastie who also previously criticised the policy which allows allow transgender defence force members to have gender reassignment paid for via the defence force, when some of the costs of surgery are not covered by Medicare.

None of Defence Force personnel’s healthcare costs are covered by Medicare. They are fully paid for by service.

In 2017 Hastie said the policy encouraged people to transition gender, while also expressing concern about their recruitment processes. At the time Hastie said Australia should consider if banning transgender people from serving in the military was an option.

When Hastie raised his concerns as a backbencher Marise Payne who was the Defence Minister at the time, and Defence Industries Minister Dan Tehan, defended the policies around inclusion.

Appearing at Senate Estimates hearings in 2017 the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, said the cost of training staff outweighed the cost of proving their health cover.

“These are people who are wearing the uniform of this country and serving this country. They deserve to be treated with (the) respect that any other member of the ADF is treated with,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.

Graeme Watson 


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