The Defence Workplace Equity and Diversity Plan 2003-2005 was published
in May 2003. The plan is aimed at ensuring that equity and diversity principles
are integrated with the way Defence operates. Other publications produced
and promoted in 2002-03 included the Guide to Equity and Diversity in
Defence booklet and the Equity and Diversity in Defence brochure.
The Defence Equity Organisation also revised and released the booklet entitled
A Guide to Fair Leadership and Discipline in the Australian Defence Force,
Defence instructions relating to the Defence equity adviser network and policy
on religious practices of the ADF.
During 2002-03, the number of Defence staff trained as equity advisers increased
from 2,800 to approximately 4,000. To complement the equity adviser network,
Defence continued to maintain the toll-free and confidential Defence Equity
Advice Lines, which were available to Defence personnel and their families.
Each year, Defence celebrates its diverse workforce by participating in broader
community activities. One example is Harmony Day, celebrated in March 2003,
which focused on religious harmony, acknowledging the range of religions represented
in Defence. Together with the Religious Advisory Council to the Services,
the Defence Equity Organisation developed a Declaration of Religious Harmony
in Defence. The declaration was signed by representatives from the Buddhist,
Islamic, Jewish and Christian faiths at a ceremony held at Russell Offices
in Canberra. In July 2002, as its contribution to National Aboriginal and
Islander Day Observance Committee Week, Defence conducted a memorial service
at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Memorial in Canberra to honour
Australia's indigenous servicemen and servicewomen. The International Day
of People with a DisAbility was observed in December 2002, through the dissemination
of information, display of posters and invitation of guest speakers.
Education and Training
Equity and diversity awareness training is a mandatory requirement for all
Defence personnel. Awareness training is available as a PowerPoint presentation
and as an on-line course. During 2002-03, approximately 80 per cent of Defence
personnel undertook this training. Although this is a good result for Defence,
strategies are being developed to ensure a higher level of participation in
In October 2002, an awareness session entitled Defence: Fair, Inclusive
and Bully-free was launched. These information sessions, conducted in
2003, were aimed at informing and providing direction to staff on identifying
and dealing with this type of behaviour.
Equity adviser workshops and refresher courses were conducted in all regions.
In addition, the Defence Equity Organisation conducted six 'Fair Go'
courses throughout the year, generating awareness of discriminatory practices
to 113 staff members of career management agencies. In 2002-03, the Defence
Equity Organisation established a cultural awareness training fund. During
the year, approval for funding was granted to five units to undertake cultural
awareness training at a total cost of $28,462.
The commitment to a diverse workforce is articulated in the Defence Multicultural
Policy. The diversity profile of the workforce is obtained through the analysis
of voluntary information provided by staff on joining Defence. The profile
is based on data related to people with a disability, people from a non-English
speaking background and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The table
below demonstrates that there was little change in the Defence diversity profile
Table 5.17: Diversity of all Defence Personnel as at 30 June 2002 and 2003(1)
||Non-English speaking background(2)
||Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
||People with a disability(3)
- Figures for the Navy, the Army and the
Air Force include full-time personnel and Reservists on continuous full-time
- A non-English speaking background includes
any person who indicated that either one or both parents was from a non-English
speaking background or spoke English and another language at home.
- People with a disability includes people
with an identified physical or mental disability (including chronic ailments
or conditions such as diabetes).
In 2002-03, Defence launched a pilot mentoring and peer support program to
assist participants of the national indigenous cadetship project. Defence
sponsored four new cadetships under the project. Six cadets continued their
cadetships during the year and three graduated.
Two indigenous liaison officer positions were established in Woomera and
Darwin to develop and maintain links with local indigenous communities. As
part of the ADF Cadet Indigenous Participation Strategic Plan, two additional
indigenous liaison officers were appointed to manage pilot projects to enhance
indigenous participation in the ADF cadet scheme.
Defence continued its participation in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Commission Army Community Assistance Program. The program utilises the expertise
of the Army to provide vital infrastructure assistance to remote indigenous
communities. One project, incorporating seven indigenous communities, was
completed during 2002-03 and is currently under a 12-month 'defects liability'
period. Another project is currently under construction at Palm Island.
Based on research into gender diversity in Defence, undertaken in 2002 by
a project team from the Australian Graduate School of Management, the Defence
Equity Organisation developed a draft Gender Diversity Strategy in 2002-03.
Stakeholders have agreed to the overall themes and principles of the draft
strategy. A working group has been identified to develop future actions and
Men and women have equal access to employment in the ADF with the exception
of certain functions involving direct combat duties. Following a direction
from the then Chiefs of Staff Committee in November 2001, planning commenced
on a proposal to enable physical employment standards to be developed for
the Army's combat arms employment categories and the Air Force's airfield
defence guards. The project will result in data being collected to enable
improved understanding of the physical characteristics and performance capacity
of Defence personnel and to develop a trade selection and barrier testing
regime that will optimise an individual's likely success in each employment
category. The project will begin in the second half of 2003.
The Commonwealth Disability Strategy 1994 requires all departments
and agencies to develop a Disability Action Plan and lodge it with the Human
Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Defence complied with this requirement
and produced the Disability Action Plan 1999-2003, aimed at ensuring
that people with a disability were not disadvantaged in being employed at
Defence. With the cessation of the Disability Action Plan 1999-2003
on 30 April 2003, actions to ensure fair treatment of disabled people have
been included in the Defence Workplace Equity and Diversity Plan 2003-2005.
Under the Technical Equipment for Disabled Commonwealth Employees Program,
Defence continued to provide equipment for APS employees with disabilities.
The equipment included voice recognition software, monitors for the visually
impaired, wheel chair hoists and hearing aids. In 2002-03, $38,000 was expended
on this initiative.
Defence maintains a strong stance on all personnel having the basic right
to work in an environment free from harassment, discrimination and other unacceptable
behaviour. Initiatives in place to address unacceptable behaviour include:
- the availability of policy documents and other publications to all staff;
- a mandatory requirement for all Defence personnel to undertake equity
and diversity awareness training;
- a network of approximately 4,000 Defence staff trained as equity advisers
to provide advice on equity and diversity matters; and
- a toll-free, confidential Defence Equity Advice Line.
In August and September 2002, a representative sample of 5,160 ADF members
and a sample of 1,500 Defence APS employees were selected to participate in
the 2002 ADF and Defence APS unacceptable behaviour surveys. In line with
survey findings and the need to make equity and diversity a mainstream element
of people management, the theme for the 2004 equity and diversity awareness
presentation will be 'Making and Managing a Complaint of Unacceptable Behaviour'.
A training program, 'Equity and Diversity Responsibilities of Managers and
Supervisors', was launched in July 2003.
The Defence Equity Organisation maintains a database of reported incidents
of unacceptable behaviour. Current statistics show an overall increase in
incident reporting from all Services, with the exception of the Army, whose
reporting has decreased slightly. The overall upward trend in reporting may
indicate that there is an increasing awareness of equity and diversity policies
and processes, resulting in people taking appropriate action as part of their
rights. The relatively high number of complaints in the Navy may be attributed
to the confidence in the chain of command to deal with these issues. The increase
in reported complaints by Defence APS employees and contracted staff may be
attributed to the stronger awareness of reporting requirements.
Chart 5.4 shows the total number of unacceptable behaviour incidents reported
for each of the last four years. Prescribed unacceptable behaviour includes
sexual offences, sexual harassment, general harassment, fraternisation, workplace
bullying and abuse of power.
Chart 5.4: Comparison of Reported Unacceptable
Behaviour Incidents 1999-2003
Chart 5.5 indicates the number of complaints of unacceptable behaviour per
head of the Defence population for 2002-03. The figures are derived from a
straight percentage calculation using the number of personnel in each Service
and the number of complaints reported for each Service.
Chart 5.5: Percentage of Reported Unacceptable
Behaviour Incidents by Service for 2001-02 and 2002-03