Related ministers and contacts
The Hon Matt Keogh MP
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Stephanie Mathews: 0407 034 485
The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP
Assistant Minister for Defence
Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Assistant Minister for the Republic
Ben Leeson: 0404 648 275
24 February 2023
For the first time, Defence Ministers will join Defence personnel in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, as part of the Sydney WorldPride festival on Saturday 25 February 2023.
Since 2013, Defence personnel have proudly participated in the Parade, demonstrating their commitment to building an inclusive culture where every individual is valued for their service and capabilities.
Hon Matt Keogh MP, Minister for Defence Personnel and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, and the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Assistant Minister for Defence and Veterans’ Affairs, will walk alongside members of Defence’s parade contingent in the parade.
This will include members of the Australian Defence Force, Defence Australian Public Servants, Defence LGBTI Information Service (DEFGLIS) members, former serving members, their families and allies.
This year will also mark the 30th anniversary of the Keating Government lifting the ban on openly gay people serving in the Australian Defence Force.
The former Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, acknowledged:
There have been at least thousands of gay and lesbian men and women who have served in our Army since its inception the 1st of March 1901. It’s just that their service has been constrained by the way they were able to live their lives, and to have that removed as a burden from our contemporary servicemen and women is a terrific thing. It makes us a better Army, Navy and Air Force. It makes us a better Defence Force; it makes us a better nation as a whole.
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade is a celebration of LGBTQIA+ communities. This year is particularly significant, as Sydney is hosting WorldPride 2023, the world’s largest international LGBTQI+ festival.
Quotes attributable to the Hon Matt Keogh MP, Minister for Defence Personnel and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
“People are Defence’s most important capability, so it is vital that Defence people are valued for who they are. I’m so proud to be the first Minister in a Defence portfolio to march in solidarity with personnel at Pride.
“We are committed to building an inclusive culture where each individual is valued for their service and skills. We want you to know, it’s ok to be you.”
“I often speak of the importance of Defence families, of the sacrifices they make and pressures they confront while supporting a Defence member. I want families of all kinds in Defence to know you are important, and you are appreciated.”
Quotes attributable to the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Assistant Minister for Defence and Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
“The Mardi Gras Parade is a fantastic event to recognise and support our LGBTQI+ community, and to celebrate diversity within Australia and in Defence.”
“As we walk alongside the Defence contingent, our colourful Mardi Gras shirts will reflect a number of significant anniversaries of diversity and inclusion at Defence, such as the 30th anniversary of the lifting of the ban on openly gay service in the Australian Defence Force.”
You can learn more about Defence’s commitment to diversity and inclusion on Defence’s website.
Minister Keogh and Minister Thistlethwaite will be available for interview, to discuss their involvement in Mardi Gras from 4:45pm on the evening of Saturday 25 February prior to the Parade.
Please contact email@example.com for arrangements.
Media can access imagery of Mardi Gras from previous years at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20230358
Imagery will be provided of the 2023 Parade following the event here - http://images.defence.gov.au/S20230134
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