Push for all-gender toilets on defence bases
The Australian Defence Force is leading a push to install gender-neutral toilets at its bases to cater for transgender and intersex members.
ADF commanders have been told to consider rebranding disabled toilets for members "who do not identify as male or female", while a new policy is being developed to make sure there are toilets for gender-neutral and intersex personnel.
The move to all-gender bathrooms will require taxpayers to foot the bill for the new facilities to be built.
In a series of briefs circulated to senior members of the ADF, released under Freedom of Information laws, concern has been raised about there being no overarching policy for members who require gender-neutral toilets.
One document orders command to make sure sex and gender diverse members can use gender neutral facilities "if feasible".
"The Chain of Command must consider how to accommodate SGD members in environments where ablutions may not be segregated and or private (such as some barracks ablutions, field toilets and open communal same sex showers)," the briefing note reads.
"Commanders are to manage SGD member use of ablutions on a case-by-case basis taking into account the facilities, nature of training or operations, and needs/requests of the relevant member(s) and their colleagues."
Another briefing suggests disabled toilets should be used and "re-signed appropriately" for members "who do not identify as male or female".
"A Defence policy covering management of individuals who do not identify as either gender is currently being developed," the document reads.
"A number of units have commenced adapting or seeking to adapt their facilities to unisex in order to accommodate any combination of male, female or other gender(s) working within their units."
The document says the new bathrooms would have to meet a number of requirements and "therefore have an associated cost of conversion".
Liberal senator Eric Abetz called the policy "total nonsense", vowing to pursue how many dollars were being spent on the "extraordinary waste of money".
Senator Abetz said the Department of Defence should not be prioritising "this kind of expenditure over things that keep our troops safe abroad or provide better mental health support for veterans".
"The fact we have highly paid bureaucrats in Canberra spending weeks putting together this 30 page guide shows that some people clearly have too much time on their hands," Senator Abetz said.
"We are talking a very small minority of people in the Defence Force who have long been accommodated on an as needs basis."
"I will be pursuing this matter in an effort to find out just how much money the Department is wasting on this."