Outmanoeuvring defence: The Australian debates over gay and lesbian military service, 1992

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Australian Journal of Politics and History, ISSN: 1467-8497, Vol: 61, Issue: 4, Page: 562-575

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http://researchbank.acu.edu.au/fea_pub/3631; http://researchbank.acu.edu.au/fea_pub/2841
Riseman, Noah Jed
Wiley-Blackwell; Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences; History; Australian Studies; Military History; Sociology
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article description
On 24 November 1992, Australia overturned its longstanding ban on gay and lesbian service in the Australian Defence Force. The ban was on the political agenda throughout 1992, though it was never a government priority or subject to mass protest. The debates over gay and lesbian military service have subsequently received scant attention from historians. The arguments against gay and lesbian service centred on troop morale, security concerns, fears of predatory homosexuals and the spread of HIV/AIDS. The arguments to permit gay and lesbian service hinged to an extent on principles of non-discrimination, but even more so on international law. This article examines the debates in 1992 leading up to the repeal of the ban, focusing in particular on the Labor Party divisions and the ways international law influenced the decisionmaking process.