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MILPLEX
Australian military embroiled in gay-hate claims

by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) April 13, 2011
Australia's Defence Force came under more fire Wednesday after claims it failed to discipline dozens of personnel allegedly linked to an online gay-hate campaign.

The Sydney Morning Herald said the military received a complaint eight months ago about a Facebook site created to expose and intimidate what the page called "bum bandits getting around the ADF".

"This page has been created to inform current and past serving members of the ADF who is biting the pillow," the page reportedly said.

"I have had other emails from ADF members reporting their suspicions, (but) only confirmed cases of homosexuality will be displayed on this page."

The page, which has since been taken down, allegedly had links to violent and pornographic videos on YouTube, with dozens of ADF members signing on as "friends".

The newspaper said key ADF personnel were aware of the complaint but an investigation was shelved due to inadequate resources and no one had been disciplined.

One of those targeted was Major Paul Morgan, an army psychologist who served in Iraq. He was named on the Facebook page for having made a "filthy lifestyle decision".

Morgan told the newspaper he could not comment due to the ADF's strict rules on personnel speaking to the media, but said it was hard being gay in the military.

"It is very hard being gay in this organisation," he said.

"I have sacrificed my whole adult life to the army and the inaction in this case is soul-destroying."

The ADF acknowledged it had received a complaint about the website.

"Defence was made aware of certain 'anti-gay' social media activities in August 2010," it said in comments emailed to AFP.

"The material which Defence was made aware of does not reflect Defence's official position, and is not representative of the behaviour and thoughts of the majority of Defence personnel.

"The attitudes and behaviours described are contrary to everything that the Australian Defence Force stands for and has achieved in welcoming and supporting diversity across the organisation."

The latest claims come after the military announced a series of reviews this week into the treatment of women sparked by a sex scandal involving a young female cadet at an elite military academy.

The woman went to the media, triggering several fresh complaints about sexual misconduct within the military stretching back decades.

The Australian Defence Force has allowed personnel who are gay or lesbian to serve openly since 1992.



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