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Diversity and Inclusion in Defence

Defence’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is articulated in Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture 2017 – 2022, under the key priority of ‘Capability through Inclusion’.

Defence is committed to building a capable and diverse workforce that reflects the community we serve. Defence capability relies on the ability to attract and retain the best possible talent regardless of background, gender, race, religion, ability or sexual orientation.

Diversity in Defence means respect for individual difference. It means valuing and utilising the unique knowledge, skills and attributes that our people bring to their work. Diversity reflects the variety of personal experience that arises from differences of culture and circumstance.

An inclusive culture within Defence is one where everyone feels valued and respected, where barriers are removed, and people are empowered to contribute their skills and perspectives.

A diverse and inclusive workforce provides Defence with the capability edge over its adversaries, as it draws on different ideas to innovate and adapt to a rapidly evolving strategic environment.

People with a Disability

Defence recognises the valuable skills and perspectives people with a disability bring to the workforce, and strives to enable all personnel to contribute to achieving Defence’s goals. Our recruitment focuses on an applicant’s ability, skills and experience.

Defence is firmly committed to providing a fair and equitable workplace for all personnel. Defence supports a range of programs and initiatives to remove real or perceived barriers within the workplace; working across the enterprise and other government departments to reflect best practice in supporting its personnel.

Defence is a member of the Australian Network on Disability, a national membership base that provides advice and services on disability to employers.


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Persons

Defence is committed to equality and inclusion for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons. Defence provides a work environment based on respect and trust, creating an experience where personnel can bring their whole selves to work, and thrive in their careers, regardless of sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.

Defence has a strong reform agenda to further LGBTI equality and embed a positive and inclusive culture across the enterprise. Defence supports personnel to participate in the annual Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, hosts an annual Military Pride Ball, and engages with Defence LGBTI Information Service (DEFGLIS) who proudly supports LGBTI Australian Defence Force (ADF) serving members, ex-service members and veterans of the Australian Defence Force and their families.

Defence is a proud foundation member of Pride in Diversity, Australia’s first and only national not-for-profit empower support program for all aspects of LGBTQ workplace inclusion.


People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds

Defence understands that people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds increase capability and deepen our cultural understanding. This helps to build effective relationships with our counterparts and allies. Defence aims to provide an inclusive working environment that respects, values and utilises the contributions of people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

It is recognised that cultural diversity is an asset to an organisation. Defence recognises the opportunity to gain from the diversity of its workforce for operational capability. Defence strives to create a supportive, flexible and fair work environment that embraces cultural and linguistic diversity and commits to establishing a workforce that reflects the Australian community.

Defence maintains membership with the Diversity Council Australia, an independent not-for-profit peak body leading diversity and inclusion in the workplace through research, events and expert advice.

Religious Advisory Committee


Diversity should be at the core of any Australian workplace, regardless of its size, history or purpose. As such, Defence is committed to greater representation of women at all levels of the organisation, providing Defence with access to the best possible talent available. This diversity of voice, opinion and experience enhances our capability.

Defence has a broad range of recruitment programs and pathways to increase the participation of women in both the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Defence Australian Public Service workforce, which includes the Defence Graduate Program and the ADF Gap Year Program.

Defence is a member of Male Champions of Change (MCC) who work with influential leaders to redefine the male role in taking action on gender inequality. Defence contributes to the annual Impact Report by the MCC and the Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell AO DSC represents Defence in MCC activities throughout the year.

International Women's Day

Indigenous Australians

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women have long contributed to the defence of Australia and its national interests during times of peace and war. For over a century, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have provided, and continue to provide, a vital contribution to Defence capability.

Defence contributes to the whole-of-Government Closing the Gap strategy through its Defence Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022, reflecting Defence’s enduring commitment towards Reconciliation. Defence contributes to Closing the Gap primarily through the provision of Indigenous employment pathways and procurement to improve the socio-economic outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Defence has set ambitious Indigenous representation targets of 3.0 per cent for the Defence Australian Public Service workforce by 2022, and 5.0 per cent for the Australian Defence Force by 2025. Defence will continue to prioritise Indigenous employment opportunities through targeted cadetships, traineeships and graduate placements along with specific legislative Indigenous Affirmative Measures recruitment activities. We are always looking to proactively find new and innovate ways of enhancing our employee value proposition to Indigenous Australians. This includes a collaborative partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on an Indigenous Attraction, Recruitment and Retention Project.

In addition to a diverse range of employment opportunities, Defence currently offers support programs and further education opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personnel.

Indigenous Artist Ms Chern’ee Sutton at the D-RAP Launch