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Defence Diversity & Inclusion Strategy

A message from the Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Force

Defence’s professionalism and war fighting strength is underpinned by our ability to problem solve, innovate and adapt quickly. We achieve outcomes by drawing on the different strengths, attributes and characteristics of the many individuals who make up our teams.

We understand that teamwork requires that we think about how we relate to one another, respect one another, recognise the value of each person’s contribution, are fair and inclusive, and that we work collaboratively to achieve the best results on all days and in all ways.

‘Diversity’ is broader than the labels of gender, age, language, ethnicity, cultural background, disability, sexual orientation and religious beliefs; it is a way of thinking and an approach to delivering the best results. Through diversity we gain the varied perspectives needed to tackle complex problems and come up with innovative solutions. Recognising this Defence is committed to creating an inclusive environment which values, respects and draws on the diverse backgrounds, experiences, knowledge and skills of our people.

A robust and agile Defence organisation depends on every person in it having the opportunity to contribute fully. Everyone within Defence has a role to play in making this a reality. We must walk the talk and ensure that we encourage diversity at every level, every day.

Our day to day activities must promote a fair, equitable, supportive and inclusive working environment that enables all Defence people to perform at a high level and encourages them to stay with us longer.

In an increasingly competitive job market, attracting and retaining the future workforce will be one of our most significant challenges ahead. Through the‘People in Defence’ strategy we are actively seeking new ways of attracting the right people from a broader section of the Australian community.

To build an organisation that embraces and capitalises on difference, we have established a Defence Gender Equality and Diversity Council that meets quarterly. Further, as an organisation we will:

  • recognise and understand that true inclusiveness does not mean treating everyone exactly the same way, all of the time;
  • become agile enough to accommodate the needs of different people as they move through various life and career stages;
  • apply creative, targeted human resource solutions to achieve the numerous strategic capability benefits that diversity brings to all levels of the organisation; and
  • challenge our traditional models of recruitment, progression, development and retention.

It is expected that all leaders in Defence will champion diversity. To be champions for diversity, all leaders, commanders and managers will:

  • advocate the important role of gender diversity in helping to increase organisational performance;
  • be an exemplar of positive and visible change by acting as a role model for all staff in regard to diversity;
  • regularly communicate the benefits of diversity and its role in organisational success across Defence;
  • support initiatives that increase the representation of, and career pathways for, women in the Defence organisation; and
  • assist in identifying and implementing targeted diversity initiatives.

Through our individual and our collective actions we will build a strong positive Defence culture and deliver a flexible adaptable, inclusive workplace and a sustainable workforce.

The measure of our success will be when the Australian Defence Organisation is respected for its role as a responsible and trustworthy employer and Defence has the people capability to deliver our operational and other requirements now and beyond

Original signed March 2013