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Defence top LGBTI public sector employer

2015 05 15 AWEIDefenceWebDefence has ranked as a Top 20 LGBTI employer for the first time in the 2015 Australian Workplace Equality Index.

The achievement was announced at the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) Awards ceremony held in Sydney earlier this month.

Defence obtained equal ranking with the Australian Federal Police and were jointly recognised as the top public sector employers for LGBTI people.

Defence competes against major corporations in the private sector, including Price Waterhouse Coopers, who was announced as the top employer.

Mrs Ellen Swavley, the former Director of the Centre for Diversity Expertise was also recognised as a finalist for the Sally Webster LGBTI Ally award.

“Support for LGBTI inclusion such as the Service Warrant Officers marching in the Mardi Gras Parade, workplace inclusion initiatives throughout Defence and progress towards standing up an internal support network are responsible for our increased standing,” said Swavley.

“I’m very pleased to see the progress of Defence recognised this year at the AWEI Awards.”

The award was presented by the Hon Michael Kirby AC, comedian Bob Downe, and Mr Brad Cooper, CEO of BT Financial (Westpac Group).

“I applaud all the organisations here today, and indeed individuals who have played critical roles in their ongoing commitment and support of their LGBTI employees and colleagues,” said Kirby.

“While many employees feel comfortable to be themselves at work, let’s not lose sight of the fact that many more do not — where we stand today is still not good enough.

“The more inclusive your workplace culture, the more likely people will be to engage, respect and contribute to the organisation they are working for.”

The AWEI is free service provided annually by Pride In Diversity that evaluates and benchmarks LGBTI inclusiveness in Australian workplaces.  Defence has participated in the index since its inception in 2011.

Pride in Diversity Director Dawn Hough says more organisations are engaging with the AWEI, a 152% increase compared to its first year and now has over 9000 employees participating in the employee survey.

“The focus on LGBTI inclusion initiatives has increased substantially,” said Hough

“We are really looking at our Top 20 Employers now as examples of good practice.”

Photo by Ann-Marie Calilhanna

Pictured (left to right): Ms Rachel Green, Able Seaman Ellen Zyla, Mr Brandon King, Squadron Leader Vince Chong, Captain Christine Clarke, Lieutenant Colonel David Benson, Mrs Ellen Swavley, Squadron Leader Kelly Grehem, Warrant Officer Stuart O'Brien, Mrs Nicole Curtin

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