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On 4 October 1917, Tom Godfrey MC was killed at the Battle of Broondseinde. His story holds a dear place in our family history but it will also be familiar to many other Australian families – there are 60,000 similar tales that ended with shattered families back in Australian suburbs and in the regions.
The scale of heartache suffered during World War One is something that is entirely forgotten today. About one in four working age males served in the Australian Imperial Force. Half of those were killed or wounded. Statistically, about every 6th home was mourning a dead son, husband or father or tending the shattered body of a broken veteran.
My father continues Tom’s fascinating story below. Read Part One here: 100 years ago today, Tom Godfrey had one day left to live…
The advance to Bapaume
In late February 1917, great things started to happen because the Germans suddenly withdrew to a new defensive position – the Hindenburg Line – many kilometres behind the current front line. They did this to shorten their line, reduce the numbers they needed to defend their trenches and to occupy positions of great strength that had been carefully chosen and constructed.
The advance began on 24 February 1917 and lasted for a bit over a week as the Battalion focussed on keeping in close contact with the withdrawing enemy:
“After the long period of trench warfare, without appreciable change in the situation, this advance, particularly during the night, was a new experience, and everybody felt the lack of confidence in respect to the operations. The only safe course was to keep close to the heels of the enemy, and in the dark this was at times an exceedingly difficult task, owing to our not being familiar with the country and the nature of the German defences…
The Boche left many traps for our men. Many old watches, revolvers and other appealing souvenirs lying around were attached by cords to hidden explosives. A few of our fellows were caught, but they soon became wary of these Hun tricks.”
With respect to German booby traps, the worst was the large time bomb left hidden in the Town Hall at Bapaume. The Australians entered Bapaume on 17 March 1917 and settled in. The Town Hall was used as an administrative building and a depot for the Australian Comfort Fund, which provided food and hot drinks for the troops.
The bomb, concealed in a cellar, was triggered by a spring operating a striker. The spring was set in motion by the eating through of a steel wire suspended in acid and exploded on the night of 25-26 March, killing about 30 people and completely destroying the building.
The Battalion spent until the end of April 1917 consolidating their advance forward. They were now facing the Germans in the formidable Hindenburg Line. As the bitter, deadly winter had passed and spring had arrived, it was now time to begin planning for the major offensives that lay ahead over the next six months.
The Australians had no intention of letting the Germans sit quietly and in great strength in their new line. Plans began immediately to attack and seize part of the line and, on 11 April 1917, the 4th Division attacked at Bullecourt. The attack was hurriedly planned and based around substantial tank support that did not eventuate, but succeeded in penetrating the huge, thick concentrations of barbed wire and in capturing a portion of the Hindenburg Line. However, without support and eventually running out of ammunition, the Brigades of the 4th Division were forced to withdraw. About 3,000 were killed and wounded in what became known as the First Battle of Bullecourt.
Three weeks later, on 3 May 1917, a major attack right along the Hindenburg line was launched by seven British, Canadian and Australian divisions, including the 2nd Division (to which the 24th Battalion belonged). Within the Division, the 6th Brigade attacked on the left and the 5th Brigade on the right, in the same place that the 4th Division had made its failed assault three weeks earlier. There was substantially better planning and preparation for the second battle and the troops were well trained and thoroughly rehearsed. Detailed maps and photographs were plentiful and everybody knew what the plan was:
“To form an idea of this battlefield, picture two perfectly made enemy trenches on the upper slope of a long rise, protected with four or five dense belts of barbed wire, which in places were 30 yards in depth and breast high, and sighted to perfection as to enable the German machine gunners to fire along the fringe of the wire. To reach the first trench meant an advance of nearly 1,000 yards over ground which afforded no shelter for the advancing troops, beyond one or two sunken roads leading from our position to the Hun lines.”
The 24th Battalion had to advance up the bare slope in a lane about 300m wide, through multiple belts of barbed wire to the German trenches 900m away. Many dead 4th Division soldiers from the first attack lay along this path. The Battalion plan was to attack in four waves – A Company first, followed by B, C and D companies. They had to capture the two enemy trenches at the top of the slope, then advance another 550m to the final line. The 22nd Battalion was to the left of the 24th Battalion and behind both were the 21st and 23rd Battalions, tasked with moving through and beyond when the initial objectives were secured. It was a formidable, daunting task.
The 24th Battalion moved into no-man’s land after dark on 2 May 1917 and followed carefully-laid white tapes to the specific “jumping off” points. By 3 am the entire Battalion was in position, about 350m from the first barbed wire entanglements.
At 3.45 am the artillery barrage blazed into action and the Battalion rose to its feet. The attack had begun:
“The barrage was terrific, and while the spraying shrapnel burst over the enemy’s lines, the ‘heavies’ pounded the enemy’s wire, strong-posts and known machine-gun emplacements, though many of these wasps spat their deadly fire at our troops.”
The heavy artillery’s work on the wire was effective – substantial holes were blasted in the belts of wire, allowing the infantry to pass through quickly. The rolling artillery barrage to cover the A Company soldiers also worked perfectly. The troops moved forward behind the protective screen of exploding shells and actually rushed the last hundred metres or so to the first enemy trench. They were into the trench while our artillery was still coming down on it, and before the Germans climbed out of their deep protective bunkers:
“Their rush was so sudden and determined that little difficulty was experienced in capturing the first position, though some hand-to-hand fighting took place on the left flank”.
B Company and Tom Godfrey’s C Company had the task of capturing the second German trench. Both companies at 4.16am were in their assigned trench before our artillery had lifted and were sorting things out when their mates from the final wave – D Company – joined them:
“The work to be done here consisted of cleaning up the captured positions, collecting prisoners, establishing small dumps with the bombs and ammunition carried forward in the attack, and reversing the trench in order to engage the enemy”.
D Company then advanced on its own when the barrage lifted and moved forward, in accordance with the plan. Their task was to capture the furthest line – which they did, on time.
It was a brilliant, astonishing success that was as good as anything Monash was to achieve in 1918, albeit on a smaller scale. However, there were two problems.
Firstly, the flanking units to the left (22nd Battalion) and the right (5th Brigade) did not enjoy anywhere near the same success. They took heavy casualties and their advance was slowed. Secondly, the 23rd Battalion, behind the 24th, was cut to pieces by German artillery while forming up to follow the 24th.
This meant that the 24th Battalion was sticking deeply into the overall German position – with no-one supporting it on either side, and with little in the way of help or reinforcement coming from behind.
The Germans were quick to take advantage of this and counter-attack:
“The Germans soon recovered from the first effect of the bombardment, and being in the same trenches as ourselves, commenced bombing along them to drive us into a central pocket. Our men had been instructed to collect all the Hun bombs, and from the outset mix them with our own, so that should we run short of Mills bombs, the fact would not be detected by the Boche.”
D Company, way out the front and on its own, was heavily smashed by German counter-attacks. By 11 am, when it was forced to return to the line held by B and C Companies, D Company had been decimated. Only 19 of 168 men remained. None of its four officers returned.
Tom Godfrey, leading C Company, stepped into the carnage and:
“… on the left, immediately cleared up his section, and bombed along to the junction of the sunken road with the trench and there established a block. Some men of the 22nd could be heard bombing further along. Later this bombing died down and these gallant 22nd men were overpowered, fighting to the finish, surrounded on all sides. Captain Godfrey did his utmost to help them out, but as the Germans were pushed back, so they squeezed in the 22nd boys with sheer weight of numbers, until the inevitable came”.
The battle raged all day.
Other units tried to move forward on both flanks to provide support to the 24th Battalion with varying success, only to withdraw upon hearing – falsely – that the 24th had been forced to withdraw. The 24th had not and did not withdraw and, on learning of the withdrawal of the supporting units on its flanks, determined to stay put regardless.
Into the evening the fighting continued. Bombing parties from A Company and Tom Godfrey’s C Company were in action to clear trenches of Germans.
At about midnight, the 1st Brigade arrived to relieve the 6th Brigade, including the 24th Battalion:
“One cannot speak of the incidents of this battle without referring to the generous help afforded by the officers and men of this Brigade. Seeing that our men were in a completely exhausted state, not a moment was lost in effecting their relief. The relief was completed, and at 3.20am on the 4th of May 1917, the last men wended their way out along the communications trench dug by the 2nd pioneer Battalion. Every man who saw that trench of nearly 1,000 yards, dug under incessant artillery and machine gun fire, with the parapets covered with dead pioneers, sang the praises of those men who, without the excitement of a charge, dug like fiends to help those who were out in the thick of the battle.
Heavy as our losses were, great was the victory, due not only to the organisation of the Headquarters and the able leadership of the officers, but chiefly due to the indomitable spirit of the men. That day every man went out to win, with no thought of surrender or retreat, and win they did.
It was one of the Battalion’s hardest fights, and if the battle had gone well with the units on our flanks, it would have been one of our most successful assaults, for, despite the stout defences of the Hindenburg Line, the Battalion gained all its objectives in accordance with schedule time, and retained them until relieved, with the exception of the furthest, which had to be relinquished by reason of the non-success of the flanks”.
When the 24th Battalion commenced its attack at 3.45 am, its strength was 586 men. Twelve hours later, at 3 pm, only 92 remained. More than 84% of the Battalion was killed, wounded or missing. And they had another 12 hours before relief was concluded.
But Tom Godfrey had somehow survived the whole ideal without so much as a scratch.
Of the seven divisions that attacked before dawn on 3 May 1917 along a front of about 25 km, the only successes were those of the 24th Battalion on the extreme right of that attack, and of the Canadians at Fresnoy on the extreme left.
The official War Historian, C.E.W. Bean, said the capture of the Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt had few parallels in the history of the AIF, ranking it up there with the landing at Gallipoli, the capture of Lone Pine and the holding of the head of Monash Valley by the 4th Brigade:
“But their achievement won a tribute that they would have prized above all others. An officer of the 2nd Battalion records that his incoming troops, forced to trample on the dead crowded in those narrow trenches, were at great pains during that day to avoid stepping on any whose sleeve carried the red and white patch of the 24th Battalion. ‘We understood it was they who took this position,’ he says simply.”
Rest, Regroup, Reorganise, Reinforce
The entire 2nd Division was then withdrawn to enable the shattered battalions and brigades to rest and re-form. The 24th Battalion went to its “favourite village of Warloy” in warm and pleasant springtime weather.
“… if this village was not popularly known to most of the boys then, it was destined to be, for we arrived there in the spring, and spent a month among hospitable people in the pleasant weather of May and June. The troops became intimate friends with the inhabitants, whose homes were enlivened by groups of jovial Diggers … Civilian and soldiers knew one another by name, and the householders came to look for the regular visits of their Australian friends.
There was one French phrase which every soldier learned and made use of. That was: “Voulez-vous promener avec moi, m’selle?” (“Would you like to walk with me, mamselle?”) And the answer was usually those significant, tantalising words: “Apres la guerre!” (‘After the war!”). The French and Belgian girls became so used to saying “Apres la guerre!” that when at last the war ended, they forgot to alter the phrase … which had become equivalent to another phrase which madamoiselle was fond of expressing in English: “Nothing doing!”
It was during this time that General Birdwood, Commander I ANZAC Corps, visited the Battalion and presented awards to those who had earned them at Bullecourt. Amongst the awards were five Military Crosses – Tom Godfrey received one of these.
His citation read as follows:
“For conspicuous gallantry and ability in command of his company during the capture of portion of the HINDENBURG Line on 3rd. May, 1917. He secured the left flank against hostile counter attacks and reorganised the garrison consisting of portions of 3 battalions. During the charge he was blown down by a shell but remained at the head of his men, who have the utmost confidence in him”.
In July, the Battalion moved back to Flanders, to the Ancre Valley:
“… where the troops enjoyed the pleasures of bathing with a relish hardly surpassed at any seaside resort … many of the boys will remember the strategy of the RMO Major John Muirhead, in his quest for men afflicted with scabies, how he and his staff inspected the bathers as they undressed and filed past, took the names of the victims, and had them packed off to isolation”.
It was at this time (27 July 1917) that the Battalion marched back to the Pozieres battlefield, to Mouquet Farm where they had fought a year before, in order to dedicate a memorial to the Battalion on the ridge of the location of that horrendous battle.
Although the Battalion was not on the front, danger remained:
“Although the days were pleasant, the nights were full of the horrors of air raids. Gotha machines purred overhead, bombs crashed on the towns and villages, and anti-aircraft guns spread shrapnel broadcast”.
During this period of rest, during which they moved a number of times, several drafts of reinforcements were received as were wounded men returning from hospital and the Battalion trained hard for future battles. By the end of August, the 24th Battalion was at full strength and in a state of the highest efficiency.
In September, large-scale training began for the next phase of operations:
“Models of the field of action – perfect reproductions in miniature of the country to be won from the enemy – were constructed by the engineers and studied by the infantry regiments so that the troops knew every feature of the ground. Guns were packed into the field so that we wondered where the artillery commanders would place the next battery. Shells were piled up as if it were expected the war would never end”.
Third Battle of Ypres – Broodseinde Ridge
The artillery bombardment for the Third Battle of Ypres commenced on Sunday, 16 September 1917:
“The din was so continuous at church parade in our camp the padre could scarcely make himself heard. His text, ‘Be Strong and of Good Courage’ was well chosen”.
The attack began at dawn on Thursday, 20 September 1917; the 24th Battalion was not involved – yet. Every Australian Division was scheduled to participate. The Battalion, with all other Australian units not committed to the attack, assisted those in action by carrying up ammunition, supplies, trenching materials etc to those doing the fighting, often under artillery fire.
Consequently, the 24th Battalion lost 14 killed and 76 wounded whilst performing these “mundane” duties.
On 27 September 1917, the Battalion received its orders to join the battle. The 2nd Division was tasked with capturing the German positions on the Broodseinde Ridge.
And Tom Godfrey started his last march.
To be continued…
Read Part One here: 100 years ago today, Tom Godfrey had one day left to live…
I stumbled across this newspaper article from 2042 last night…
Additional youth marriage equality reforms set to pass parliament
21 November 2042
Prime Minister Mary-Anne Leeding has welcomed news that Opposition Leader Cynthia Hodgkins-Bliss will provide bi-partisan support for a bill to legalise informed and consenting relationships for children over the age of 12 years.
It is understood the bill, titled The Rights of the Child (Safer Relationships and Marriage Equality) Bill 2042, will be co-signed by the leaders of both major parties and presented to parliament later today. Once passed, the law will ensure marriage equality and safety is extended to 12 year olds provided they can prove to registered marriage celebrants that they are in a genuinely safe, consenting and beneficial relationship.
Currently, marriage equality is only automatically open to people over the age of 14 after laws were reformed five years ago. However, younger children can apply through the courts to have their relationships recognised as marriage.
In a symbolic nod to the significant history of marriage equality and safety reform in Australia, the bill will come into effect on 14 December, exactly 25 years after the passage of Australia’s first marriage equality and safety laws.
Advocates for the reform have argued that the legislative changes are necessary to protect children after recent legal rulings determined that children below the age of 14 could be married on application to the courts and that parental consent was not necessary for the legal recognition of genuine relationships involving minors. They also point to marriage equality and safety reforms in Europe that has seen Australia once again lag in international human rights ratings.
Critics such as independent Senator Nathan Taylor have used parliamentary privilege to claim that the reforms essentially legalise paedophilia. However, it is estimated that there are less than 3,200 minors living in relationships that will be covered by the proposed laws and the majority of them are exclusively between consenting youth aged between 12 and 14 years.
The move comes after Mr Hodgkins-Bliss stared down rebel MPs in a party room meeting of the New Liberal Party last night and obtained majority support for the move.
“The courts have already spoken on this issue and this reform is long overdue. I am proud that the NLP will support it. We have been able to ensure that there are appropriate safeguards in the bill,” said Mr Hodgkins-Bliss.
“This approach combines the best of our party’s liberal and conservative traditions. We have ensured that social progress is achieved with the care and consideration necessary to address concerns about unintended consequences.”
“I will be co-signing this bill with the Prime Minister and it will pass parliament today. This is our democracy working at its best.”
Some NLP MPs informed this newspaper that internal support was achieved after it was argued that swift passage of the bill would ‘get the issue off the table’ and allow the Opposition to refocus political debate on its strength of economic reform in the lead up to next year’s election.
It is expected that several NLP senators will cross the floor in the Senate against the bill, arguing that it fails to adequately protect children from sexual coercion. However, the bloc of seven Australian Muslims United senators and three Traditional Greens senators will ensure that Mz Leeding’s Labor Greens Alliance government has the numbers necessary to pass the law.
Long-time child’s rights campaigner and leader of the Traditional Greens, Senator James Sinclair, confirmed that his party would support the bill despite concerns over unnecessary bureaucratic requirements.
“Of course we will continue to work hard to progress marriage equality and safety.”
“No one can explain why an arbitrary and unnecessary age limit of 12 years has been inserted into this bill,” Mr Sinclair said.
“However, this law will go some way to reducing dangerous and bigoted social stigma and providing a legal basis for the recognition of thousands of loving and safe relationships.”
“But it is ironic that the Traditional Greens are the only party looking to reduce hurtful and discriminatory red-tape that presents a barrier to equal love.”
The Traditional Greens have lodged three bills in parliament since 2039 to reduce the age of marriage equality and safety to 6 years and have indicated that they will continue to pressure the government over the issue.
It is expected that the passage of the laws will provide a boost to the Leeding government, with leading ethical, professional, business, community and human rights groups combining to campaign for the reforms since early this year.
Deputy Assistant Co-President of Marriage Equality and Safety Australia, Justin Smith-Hently-Thomas-Lang issued a statement praising the bill and the symbolic move to recognise the importance of marriage reforms over the past 25 years.
“We have advanced far beyond the hateful and divisive debate that caused so much hurt for LGBTQITASST+ Australians and are now officially adding ‘C’ to our rainbow of love,” Mr Smith-Hently-Thomas said.
“We live in a wonderfully diverse and tolerant society and it is clear that all arguments against these reforms are based on fallacies. I am married to three wonderful young men between the ages of 15 and 21 plus my long-time partner Debbie. The world has not ended but our love has been recognised.”
“However, there is still a long way to go before all love is legal and we will continue to fight against the hateful and bigoted pockets in our society who cling to outdated notions of family, parenthood and sexuality.”
President of the Australian Christian Lobby, Adam Gooding, declined to comment, citing anti-vilifications laws.
In response, Mr Smith-Hently-Thomas-Lang called for the enforced shutdown of the right-wing organisation, claiming that it was a threat to law abiding Australians.
“We all know that this extreme organisation secretly believes in anti-democratic, unlawful and dangerous philosophies. If it can’t publicly articulate its views without breaking the law the government should act to ban it for the safety of all Australians.”
Today’s other headlines
Debt reaches $7.2 trillion: Commonwealth debt has ballooned to over $7.2 trillion with the government proposing new marginal tax rates of 70% in order to combat spiralling costs. However, new leasing arrangements with the Chinese government have added more than $500 billion to government coffers in the last three years and the Treasurer hopes that an expansion of the program will ease the need for new taxes.
Riots continue in Sydney’s west: Riots have continued for a third day in Western Sydney between Muslim youths and pro-democracy groups after a gay night club was burnt down in suspicious circumstances. Police are monitoring the situation but are unable to intervene due to an agreement signed three years ago requiring police to obtain approval from local Muslim leaders before entering a number of suburbs.
Human Rights Commission equipped with new armoured vehicles: The Australian Human Rights Commission Enforcement Task Force will receive 12 new Tactical Armoured Vehicles at a cost of $370 million. The vehicles will provide new capabilities to the AHRC and allow it conduct operations against threat groups that endanger social cohesion. The Commonwealth is currently negotiating with state governments to establish a legal framework that will allow the AHRC to intervene in growing civil unrest such as that seen in Western Sydney in recent days.
Last independent Catholic school shuts: An independent Catholic school in Adelaide will shut at the end of the year citing financial impediments after all government funding for private schools ended ten years ago. It is the last school to be operated by a Catholic diocese anywhere in Australia, although it no longer applies Catholic teaching after it lost its license to provide religious education due to failing to prove any racial-heritage need to do so last year.
Victorian man jailed for hate crimes: A Victorian man has been jailed for seven years after making unlawful hate-crime comments about abortion rights activists. The man claimed post-birth abortion was equivalent to murder and that the activists had lost all sense of moral reality. A Victorian judge ruled that the comments could be seen as offensive and hurtful and that they contravened the right to death and non-traditional moral beliefs, adding that a lengthy sentence was necessary to send a strong message to the community that the expression of traditional views was now an extreme threat to social cohesion.
Clean sweep shows equality: The AFL Women’s Brownlow medal has been swept away for the third year by transgender superstars. All top three places went to females who have battled their assigned birth-gender for recognition as women. However, the AFL is likely to face new pay disputes after falling crowd numbers again mean that there are less funds to subsidise the struggling women’s competition, the Indigenous League and the Muslim Integration and Harmony League.
The Law Society of New South Wales, in its wisdom, decided to issue a statement back in August that gave the impression all of its members supported redefining marriage.
That’s the way things are supposed to work in the world of ‘marriage equality’: the Central Committee decides your moral worldview.
However, we’re not there just yet and the statement has backfired spectacularly. More than 250 lawyers forced a humiliating retreat.
And now the Law Society of New South Wales has had to tell the truth: not only did the Law Society not ask its members their views about marriage, but the Law Society cannot guarantee legal freedoms won’t be stripped if marriage is redefined because no one has the foggiest idea about what the actual law may look like.
This is from the Law Society’s embarrassing statement today:
In light of concerns raised with her that the press release held out that solicitors had formed a united view on same-sex marriage, the President wishes to state that they have not. There has been no survey or poll of solicitors on the issue…
…Lawyers have an obligation to question any adverse consequence of a proposed change to the existing law, in particular how it will affect the dignity and equality of all Australians and the impact on justice, fairness and other freedoms. This is made difficult, if not impossible when there is no available draft legislation containing the proposed change.
If the Laws Society of New South Wales has no idea what the impacts of ‘marriage equality’ will be, how can Australians have any idea what they are actually voting for?
There is no doubt that it takes courage to publicly defend marriage in Australia today.
And there can be no doubt that a group of men have shown it.
During this campaign a number of them have stood up and defended the natural order and family unit. For that, they have been ridiculed, subjected to intense pressure and attacked.
In a campaign that is supposedly about showing ‘respect’ for homosexuals, these men have been attacked more than anyone.
It shows that ‘marriage equality’ has nothing to do with respect.
It shows that ‘marriage equality’ is all about radically redefining society, shifting power into the hands of the new elite and silencing any opposition they face.
This new moral elite does not care for the LGBT ‘community’.
It is a community that can be cast aside as quickly as it is embraced. It is nothing more than a pawn to be used in a campaign that won’t provide ‘marriage equality’ but that will vastly increase the power of the state over family, parents and education.
Total state control of the family unit is the end goal and victory won’t be declared until parents are separated from children and both are entirely subjected to the whim of the Central Committee.
A brave band of homosexual men can see this and that is why they have spoken up.
I have listened to their stories during this campaign. I have shaken their hands and looked them in the eye.
I applaud their bravery.
And I am proud to have given some of them a voice on this website. If marriage is redefined, the legal concept of freedom of speech in this nation will be trashed and the voices of these men will be silenced as well.
These men should inspire us with their courage.
I have also heard moving tales from men who have escaped the grip of homosexuality and who are now happily married fathers.
These men should inspire us with the hope that their lives proclaim.
As a Catholic, I do not resile from the teaching of the Church on homosexuality.
This teaching reinforces the natural law of sexual behaviour and morality which is so important and powerful: it is the power to create life and educate children.
However, as a Catholic, I also know that all of us are far from perfect: we each have our own failings and crosses to bear.
The journey from vice to virtue is a task that we have all been given. None of us are perfect.
So when homosexual men bravely speak up to defend the natural order amidst vitriol and hatred, they should be applauded for their efforts to defend marriage. And we should pray for these men.
Here are some of their efforts in this campaign:
And there is another group of people who have showed courage too: the children raised in same-sex households who have opposed homosexual marriage.
No one can claim that these people do not love those who raised them.
Yet they know first-hand the damage that is done to children who are deliberately brought up without their mother or father.
Katy Faust is one such child and this is what she has to say about redefining marriage:
Men, it’s time to man up. Get off your backsides and become the men that your fathers and grandfathers were.
They didn’t watch the world go by around them. They shaped it, lead it, fought for it, owned it and then handed it over – to us.
But the polling from the marriage postal survey shows that they handed it over, by and large, to men who have male bodies but not much else. Women are voting but men are not. It looks they’ve given up the fight.
We live in an effeminate world where even the leading blokes now push the gay bandwagon. And the fault lies entirely with the majority of males who find this whole subject repugnant but who are too lazy, too cowardly and too caught up salivating over Hugh Hefner’s sordid magazines to be real men.
If you want your children to be taught to ‘celebrate’ homosexuality as they are now in Canada, great. But stand up like a man and state it. And then wear the consequences.
But if you find this deeply troubling, disturbing, offensive and immoral, then do something about it. Our fathers would not have cowered in fear or left these battles to others. They’d have spoken up, taken part in the campaign and done their duty for their children and families.
Even if it meant copping flak. Because that’s what men do.
Don’t let this battle pass without taking a stand…sign up here.
My father, after much prodding, has written a short history of Thomas Godfrey’s service in the Australian Army during World War One.
Tom Godfrey was one of our many relatives who joined up and served during Australia’s bloodiest conflict. His story holds a special place in our family history. But his story will be familiar to many, many Australian families: the story of a son who never returned home.
There are 60,000 of these stories…
100 years ago today, Tom Godfrey had one day left to live.
Tom was a Captain in the 24th Battalion, 6th Brigade, 2nd Division, 1st Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
He was the Officer Commanding, C Company. Both he and the majority of soldiers of the Battalion were from Victoria and many, like Tom, were from Melbourne.
Tom was born on 25 April 1891 with a twin sister, Ivy, who died eight months later. He had no other brothers or sisters. So Tom was, in reality, his mother’s only child. His mother, Aunty Mill, doted on her boy.
Tom was educated at Xavier College in Melbourne and went on to become a clerk in an accounting firm, with a view to becoming an accountant himself.
In 1910, at about age 19, he joined the 63rd Infantry Regiment, Australian Militia (The East Melbourne Regiment) and served as a soldier before being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in December 1913.
Enlistment into the AIF
World War One broke out on 5 August 1914 (as it was in Australia). Tom joined the 1st AIF in early 1915 as a 2nd Lieutenant transferring from the Militia. When the 24th Battalion was raised at Broadmeadows in the first week of May 1915, shortly after the landing at Gallipoli, Tom was one of its original officers – a platoon commander in C Company. He was not tall at about 5’7″.
Within a week of being raised and in a huge rush, the 24th Battalion joined the other battalions that made up the 6th Brigade (21st, 22nd and 23rd battalions) at Port Melbourne that were to sail to Egypt. The 23rd and 24th embarked on the 15,000 ton liner Her Majesty’s Australian Troopship (HMAT) A14 Euripides while the 21st and 22nd were on HMAT A38 Ulysses. They all sailed out of Port Phillip Bay on Sunday, 9 May 1915.
For many men – including Tom – that was the last they saw of home.
A couple of weeks later, they landed at Colombo in Ceylon. Those on the Ulysses were granted shore leave, but those on the Euripides were not – which caused a bit of a mutiny aboard the latter. From the 24th’s official history:
“… only the most resourceful of the troops (who got away early) saw Colombo”.
It’s uncertain how Tom Godfrey fitted into this narrative, but here’s his picture (middle) in Colombo with his cousin 2nd Lieutenant Ted Gaynor of the 23rd Battalion (left), plus another young officer (right):
On to Egypt where they landed at Alexandria in June 1915 – it was the beginning of summer and bloody hot. A five or six hour train trip followed in temperatures reaching 130°F, taking them to their destination close to Cairo. Then came a 5km march to the camp site near Heliopolis:
“… and this march will never be forgotten. All ranks were wearing heavy uniform, and were encumbered with everything they possessed. The pace was fast, and the troops, as soft as butter after several weeks aboard ship, began to drop as if they had been under enemy fire. The discomfort and strain of such a tramp over heavy sand can hardly be understood without experience”.
The Battalion trained hard in the heat and sand near Heliopolis until towards the end of August, with many soldiers taking every opportunity to see the sights of Heliopolis, Cairo and the Pyramids:
“… and the 24th boys became experts in the art of breaking camp at times and under circumstances which were contrary to orders … some of the young officers are known to have befriended men of the regiment … a successful ruse was to get an officer to fall the party in and march them past the sentries. When challenged, the officer would say ‘Picquet returning from duty’ and the sentry would reply ‘Pass, picquet’ – even when it was plain that men had been out on no military duty”.
The Battalion was very conscious of how things were going at Gallipoli:
“The realities of active service were brought home to us very vividly on witnessing the number of hospital trains which nightly drew into the rear of No 1 Australian General Hospital, Heliopolis. These trains were loaded with sick and wounded men from the Peninsula, whose reminiscences of their experiences gave us a strong desire to get to the scene of hostilities without delay”.
At the end of August 1915, the Battalion moved back to Alexandria to board a ship to be taken to Gallipoli. The other three battalions of 6 Brigade were loaded on to three other ships and they all sailed for Lemnos Island. En route, HMAT Southland, carrying staff from 2nd Division HQ and 6th Brigade HQ, as well as 21 Battalion, was torpedoed, killing 33 men including Commander 6th Brigade, Colonel Linton.
Four months after 24th Battalion was raised, it landed at Gallipoli with the rest of the 6th Brigade. It was Sunday, 6 September 1915. They initially occupied “Courtney’s”, “Quinn’s” and “Steele’s” posts at the head of Wire Gully before moving on to Lone Pine on 10 September 1915.
And that is where 24th Battalion stayed for the rest of its time at Gallipoli. It did not take part in any huge battles at Gallipoli – those had all concluded. Instead, the men were just faced with the grinding monotony of front line service that saw illness, wounds and occasional deaths gradually whittle the numbers down:
“… the unpleasant work went on – mining, bombing, sniping, and the tiring, unceasing vigil.”
In November 1915, the weather turned very cold and gales and rain swept over the peninsula. In some areas elsewhere in the allied lines, scores of men drowned in their trenches and dugouts when hit by flash flooding. On 27 November 1915, snow fell heavily. The intense cold caused frostbite, sickness and exposure.
The very next day, 24th Battalion was hit by an intense and drawn-out Turkish bombardment including heavy shells up to 11 and 12 inches. Trenches and tunnels were blown in, material was buried and the whole position was thrown into chaos. 43 men were killed and many more wounded. This was the greatest loss the 24th Battalion experienced at Gallipoli.
Less than a month later, Gallipoli was evacuated. Tom was part of the first party of the 24th Battalion to leave, on Saturday, 18 December.
The rest of the Battalion left in staggered parties between then and Monday, 20 December 1915. They all went to the island of Mudros.
“The troops were now in a shabby condition. Many of them were lean and worn, numbers in bad health, and all reduced in weight and strength. If they had been marched through Melbourne as they left Gallipoli, they would have provided a striking contrast to the imposing body of men that left Australia eight months earlier”.
Tom Godfrey had three cousins at Gallipoli – Trooper Pat Dolan in the 8th Light Horse Regiment and 2nd Lieutenant Ted Gaynor and Private Tom Dolan (both in the 23rd Battalion).
Pat Dolan was wounded in the head on 6 June 1915. The bullet blew through one cheek, travelled through his mouth and burst through the other cheek. The day Pat Dolan was shot in the head was the luckiest day of his life. It meant he was evacuated from Gallipoli to hospital, until he had recovered and was returned to Gallipoli two months later. He arrived back at his Regiment on 8 August 1915 – the day after the 8th Light Horse Regiment suffered heavy losses by making the famous charge at the Nek (depicted vividly by Mel Gibson in the last scenes of the movie “Gallipoli”). Pat went on to serve with the Light Horse in Egypt and Palestine before returning to Colac, Victoria, at the war’s end. He lived to a ripe old age.
Ted Gaynor was wounded on 24 November 1915 when his right forearm was smashed by a bomb. That serious wound saw him evacuated back to Australia.
Tom Dolan was also in the 23rd Battalion with Ted Gaynor. He was at the evacuation and went with the 23rd Battalion to France where he was one of the very first Australians killed there, on 19 April 1916 at Fleurbaix. There are no details at to how poor Tom Dolan was killed – sniped or a shell – it is not known. He was 30 years old.
Eleven days after Tom led his party from Gallipoli, his platoon presented him with a gold watch:
Just before leaving Gallipoli, Tom was promoted to Temporary Captain.
The 24th Battalion moved back to Egypt after Mudros, to regroup, take reinforcements and re-train.
To Tel-el-Kebir they went in January 1916 and then off into the desert to the east of the Suez Canal for a month, to protect that flank against the Turks. In March, the Battalion handed over to the Kiwis, then made one of the most demanding marches in the entire history of the unit:
“Of all the strenuous marches accomplished by the Battalion whilst on active service, surely this journey over the heavy sand, on a day marked by desert heat of the most oppressive nature, must have pride of place. Carrying full kits and blankets, men began to drop out before two miles had been covered. Water bottles were emptied in the first half hour, and with no means of replenishing the supplies, the troops tramped on till the column became a line of stragglers. Half-way on the journey we came upon some horse troughs, and men stuck their heads down and drank like beasts, defying the officers who forbad them to touch this polluted water. When “Ferry Post” was reached at night, the water tanks of other units there were besieged and almost emptied in defiance of all attempts to check the thirsty men. The weaker men came drifting into the camping area till daylight next morning. Our thoughts turned to the story of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow, and we wondered whether Russian snows were worse than desert heat”.
By this time, Captain Tom Godfrey was now Officer Commanding, C Company.
On to France
The 24th Battalion returned back to Alexandria on 20 March 1916 and embarked on to two different ships for the sea voyage to Marseilles, arriving there on 26 March 1916. Within a couple of days they endured a snow blizzard.
By 15 April the Battalion was in the front trenches at Fleurbaix – a quiet part of the line that was known as “the nursery” to acclimatise new troops to the conditions of the Western Front. As with all the other Australian units, the 24th Battalion practised section level, then platoon, then sub-unit and then unit tactics.
On 29 June 1916, the 24th took part in its first raid in France, as part of a 6th Brigade raid on the enemy. They seized five German prisoners and killed about 50 others for the loss of five killed themselves.
In and out of the front line. Endless work parties when not in the line. Everyone tired, all the time.
And then came hell on earth….
Starting in late July 1916, 20,000 Australians were killed, wounded or missing in one square mile in just six weeks.
As part of the great Somme offensive of 1916, the AIF was given the task of attacking and capturing the village of Pozieres.
The 1st Division went in on the night of 23-24 July 1916 and, after very tough fighting, ousted the Germans from well-fortified positions. The 2nd Division (including 24th Battalion) went in to relieve the 1st Division on 26 July 1916. Through the town of Albert to smashed trenches and Sausage Gully, the 6th Brigade fought to relieve the 2nd Brigade.
Black night, flares, artillery shells, gas shells.
The 24th Battalion relieved the 8th Battalion. Just as the hand-over was occurring, there came a smashing barrage of German 5.9 inch shells.
As daylight broke on 27 July 1916, the Germans hit the Australians with all the artillery they had. Whole sections were killed, buried, wounded. Hour after hour of drum-fire artillery. Men were buried by huge spouts of earth – dug out by mates – and buried again.
“The ordeal of holding those ghastly trenches, which appeared to be merely waiting for death, threw many of the men into shell-shock stupor, and stretcher bearers who struggled with the wounded had to kick the dazed men to induce them to move out of the way …
… the braver men displayed their contempt for death by squatting down and playing cards while the earth-shaking explosives fell all around them; and every time the cards were shuffled, the strength of the platoons dwindled away …
… the vicinity of the captured concrete blockhouse “Gibraltar” was a terrible death trap … every track over the remains of the village changed shape a dozen times a day under the deluge of shells that fell there, and men went past “Gibraltar” and down “Death Road” at the double. Stretcher bearers with wounded were swallowed up in the inferno and fatigue parties sometimes had half their numbers cut down just trying to get through …
… about 200 reinforcements arrived while were in Sausage Gully and were allotted to the companies, but many of them, being sent forward immediately with the fatigue parties, became casualties before the platoon commanders had time to include them on their rolls”.
The Brigade attacked on the night of 4-5 August 1916 under tremendous machine gun and artillery fire. Heavy casualties were sustained but there was some success before the inevitable German counter-attack.
On 7 August 1916 disaster struck. The 24th Battalion’s HQ was hit by a shell. The Second-in-Command, the Regimental Medical Officer, the Adjutant and the Assistant Adjutant were all killed. The Commanding Officer was wounded.
The Battalion was taken out of the line a day later but returned on 18 August for the 22 August attack on Mouquet Farm.
It was a mess of artillery barrages, machine gun fire, bombing parties and endless rain and mud. Men were wounded by the dozens and exhaused stretcher parties floundered about. The German “Minenwurfers” added to the noise, obliterating whole sections of trenches and the men in them.
The 24th Battalion was relieved on the night of 26-27 August 1916. To Albert, then Warloy, then Herrissart, then 14 miles in the rain to Bonneville.
Then by train to Proven in Belgium for a rest, until the end of October, 1916.
And, after that, the agony of the winter of 1916-1917 back at the Somme. The 24th Battalion’s official history described late 1916 this way:
“November 1916 was surely our worst month on active service. It was a period of indescribable agony”.
With winter coming on, the 24th Battalion was detailed for work on an extension of a railway in the vicinity of Delville Wood, about four miles behind the front line.
“There was no camp or shelter of any kind here, and the men were marched on to a vacant piece of ground and informed this was to be their ‘home’. A dog might have died at the thought of trying to camp in such a spot. Mud and shell-holes were its conspicuous features. It was encompassed by the main roads, on which all the traffic of war ploughed through the slush; howitzer batteries on the edge of the wood kept up a continual din and drew enemy shells; the whole wood was reeking with the stench of the dead, and the whole aspect was one of turmoil and discomfort. The troops did not possess a blanket, and all that was offered for shelter from the rain and cold, as well as from the shells, were their waterproof sheets and greatcoats …
… the work on the railway line was begun immediately and, after a day of strenuous labour, shovelling, picking, and carrying heavy timber or rails, they came back to make themselves a hole to sleep on the sodden ground. The mud had to be shovelled away to get a resting place, but to attempt to dig a funk-hole meant the creation of a small dam, for water drained into every excavation that was made”.
German artillery harassed the place with fire because it was next to a battery of heavy guns. And that was not the only problem:
“Everybody had a cold, some developed bronchitis, while rheumatism was as common as iron rations”.
On many a night, having worked in the cold and wet and mud all day on the railway, the men came back to camp to find they were detailed for fatigues, to go to the trenches through miles of darkness and mud in order to work on trench maintenance and development.
During this time, on 14 November 1916, the acting CO of the Battalion, Major G.M. Nicholas DSO was killed by German shell fire whilst leading part of the Battalion forward to support an attack to be made by the 5th and 7th Brigades. Captain Tom Godfrey temporarily took command. The next day, it started snowing.
“The period of operations at Flers will remain as a dreadful nightmare in the minds of the men who were there. The whole field was a vast bog, while rain, intense cold, and dense fogs continued day after day. Men strained themselves to the point of exhaustion as they floundered through the mire, sinking deep in the slush, embalmed from head to foot with mud, and often unable to extricate themselves from the grip of the morass. Their weapons were at times clogged and useless, their clothes soaked and grimy and their hearts threatening to sink in despair as their bodies sank in the puddled earth … Death was a welcome deliverer from the physical and mental agonies of these cruel days, while wounds added pain and suffering indescribable, and made the afflictions of stricken men worse than the accredited tortures of hell.
It was with difficulty we got our men out of the worse parts of the trenches. Wooden planks and pieces of wire had to be used to drag them out of the veritable ‘slough of despond’ into which they sank. Some, unable to move, became alarmed by the thought that in the dark they might be left behind, and they cried out in their despair”.
In January 1917, the 24th Battalion rotated with the other battalions of the 6th Brigade through the front line, or on construction duties, or on other fatigues.
“The troops were in a sad plight. In some cases the trench-feet complaint was so acute that the feet were badly discoloured and so swollen that boots could only be removed by being cut off. Men groaned with the pain and the burning sensation that afflicted their extremities …
… one evening when the Battalion was ordered to move into the line, a man turned to his mates and said ‘I’m not going in – I’m finished’. A rifle shot rang out, and the man dropped to the ground. He had shot himself through the chest”.
To be continued…
I originally wrote this article for Online Opinion, where it was published on Friday.
In the current debate over marriage, proponents of the ‘Yes’ campaign argue that concerns over freedom of speech and religion are red herrings designed to cloud the issue.
They claim that Australians are being asked no more than whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
And it is true that the question itself asks just that.
However, it is deceitful at best to pretend that changing the law on marriage will not have implications for the freedoms that Australians have taken for granted but that are already slipping away before our eyes.
I refer to Commonwealth public service provisions that prohibit any criticism of any government policies (even outside the workplace), state investigations into the religious beliefs of a Catholic archbishop, news that a young woman has been sacked for her views on marriage and new corporate policies that will see workers disciplined or sacked if they use ‘angry’ emojis in Facebook posts about pay cuts.
In the current environment, it is clear that personal political and religious beliefs, social media and the law are tangled in an almighty mess where the ‘legal test’ can result in a very different outcome to the ‘pub test’.
I can attest to this probably better than anyone else in Australia.
The High Court will soon determine legal jurisdictional questions in five related matters that stem from complaints about my speech.
Between mid-2014 and early 2016, an activist in New South Wales lodged 32 complaints about my webpage, which is operated in Queensland. Of these, 22 complaints were accepted by the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board and they became 16 NSW Civil and Tribunal matters.
So far, no ruling has been made on constitutional questions relating to the implied freedom of political communication or the religious freedom provision in the Constitution. These questions are not before the High Court either. But I did fail on both those issues in a separate matter involving my sacking from Australian Army.
Consequently, it is fair to say that these matters are at the very least undecided as we contemplate our postal survey forms. However, if the betting agencies were running odds on this issue it is unlikely that I would be listed as the favourite.
If the High Court rules that one state’s tribunals can hear matters against a resident in another state altogether, I will need to account for my writings on marriage, family and morality to a tribunal in a state in which I do not even reside and even though my speech has not broken any laws in the state in which I live.
If I cannot do that, I will face potential orders to pay damages of up to $1.6 million and an order to apologise for my views on marriage and family. Failure to apologise opens up the possibility of contempt proceedings and jail.
My writings have sought to defend the concept that marriage is between a man and a woman. They have been heavily critical of LGBT political activism and tactics and uphold Catholic teachings on the morality of homosexual behaviour.
However, when the highest court of the land determines this matter, the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) will not be part of the proceedings at all. It is entirely irrelevant, in a legal sense, to this matter.
The High Court will, instead, consider a multitude of case law and other legislation, including: the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW), the Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (NSW), the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld), the Equal-Opportunities Act 2010 (Vic), the Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth) and the Constitution.
It should be immediately clear from this that the laws that govern the type of speech that is likely to be limited if marriage is redefined are not Commonwealth laws but primarily state laws operating within our federation and unified legal system.
Consequently, any ‘promise’ from any federal politician that changing the laws on marriage can be done in such a way to protect speech and religion without accompanying changes to state legislation ring hollow. The Commonwealth cannot protect speech regarding marriage because it is state anti-discrimination law, state anti-discrimination bodies and state tribunals that police this speech.
And right now every state (except South Australia) is arguing in the High Court that their tribunals should be able to reach across state boundaries to police this speech.
Even if I succeed in the High Court, the issues of speech and religion will not go away. They will simply be limited to each individual state’s boundaries and their respective laws.
That’s because redefining marriage will have a big impact on what state anti-discrimination boards define as ‘hate speech’.
This is one area of the law that has ‘progressed’ radically since 2000. Anti-discrimination boards have taken the view that ‘hate-speech’ is a changeable thing; it evolves to match some hypothetical and subjective assessment of community values held by a ‘reasonable person’.
There is no better way of highlighting this than by examining how the complainant in my matter has changed what he complains about.
His first complaint (back in 1999) was against another resident in his housing unit who he alleged had urinated on his door as well as scrawling on it the words ‘faggots should die’.
This atrocious behaviour, in my opinion, should best be dealt with by existing criminal provisions relating to stalking, intimidation and destruction of property. However, there is a case that anti-vilification laws should deal with such matters.
Unfortunately, 18 years later and these same laws are being used to complain about political communication made by residents in another state altogether relating to discussions about faith, morals, marriage and LGBT political activism.
The legal definition of what constitutes incitement to hatred, serious contempt, severe ridicule or even offence has changed radically as the legal system has recognised homosexual relationships.
It is not a guess, but the hard-nosed reality: if same-sex marriage is recognised in Commonwealth law, state tribunals will once again redefine what kind of speech can be made about homosexual behaviour.
In a post-same sex marriage world, no one knows where the line will be drawn in the state tribunals.
But if the Archbishop of Hobart can already be dragged before a tribunal for issuing a letter that described homosexual relationships as ‘friendships’, and if I can be hauled into another state for criticising uniformed military participation in the Mardi Gras, then it is clear that what most people would describe as ‘freedom of speech’ is about to be reduced even further by law.
And it will all be done under state laws that the federal parliament has no control over.
Well, it’s started.
You all know what I mean.
The redefinition of the redefinition of marriage is already under way.
And it was always gonna happen.
For those who don’t know (and I didn’t know until I was informed that Defence celebrated it), 23 September is ‘Bi-Visibility Day’.
It ‘celebrates’ people who ‘love’ more than one, and from every diverse ‘gender’ that there can be imagined.
Apparently, bi-sexual people are being left behind in the push for ‘marriage equality’. So much so, that there are even media guidelines that carefully inform journalists that the politically-correct term for bi-sexuals is actually not ‘bi-sexual’ but ‘bisexual’.
Hence why I have used the wrong one. The world is probably about to end. Or I am about to be dragged before another anti-discrimination tribunal. So I’ll go with the first.
Anyway, bi-sexual activists are now complaining that the debate on marriage is sidelining them, even with the LGBT community:
Having one’s sexual identity disregarded lingers long after coming out, in Joyner’s experience. Misunderstandings of bisexuality pervade the straight as well as the gay community. The problems stem from the fact that many people don’t understand how to define bisexuality. The sexual orientation goes beyond an attraction to men and women, in Joyner’s definition.
I’m not sure if anyone actually knows what that means in an age where language is meaningless.
But this much should be obvious: If ‘love is love’ and that means you should be able to get married and bi-sexuals love just about everyone, then they should be able to marry them too.
The Sydney Morning Herald summed up its primary argument for the redefinition of marriage this way:
First and foremost, yes, because at its heart, denying consenting adults the right to marry based on their gender and sexuality is discrimination. Equality under the law is – and always should be – the bedrock of a democracy.
The current laws on marriage discriminate against bi-sexuals. They can only choose to marry a single partner who happens to be of the opposite sex.
And the proposed laws on marriage will discriminate against bi-sexuals too. They will be able to ‘marry’ any of their partners, but only one of them. Their full ‘loving’ experience will not be recognised.
And that means the Sydney Morning Herald and all the activists will still have work to do to end this horrid discrimination after the postal votes are shredded. The battle will only end when people who are in love can marry everyone that they are in love with. At that point marriage will be entirely meaningless and the radicals will have achieved their aims.
Hence reports that this bi-sexual ‘discrimination’ is already causing hurt. So one American ‘throuple’ is pushing to end it:
“But I would definitely love to get married to Adam and Jane. It’s something we’ve always wanted even though it’s not legal.”
“Even so, it’s important that the three of us can make a commitment to each other with our family and friends around.”
Jane, Adam and Brooke already have a ‘blended’ family with two children and are expecting their third.
According to the logic of the Sydney Morning Herald and those arguing for ‘marriage equality’, it is ‘good’ for children.
So we should all be able to see where this is going. Unless marriage is redefined further, children from bi-sexual relationships will be ‘disadvantaged’.
And it will all be the fault of heteronormative cis ‘bigots’ who live with the deluded view that marriage is a monogamous relationship for life precisely because one mother and one father provide the real stability that children need to thrive.
The radicals want normal parents to go and to replace parental responsibility with a village. And that means the village idiot will be involved in raising children too. He represents the government.
Hence, the redefinition of the redefinition of marriage must continue. By the way, this is exactly how we are going to end up with Sharia marriage equality too.
A ‘yes’ vote won’t end the culture wars. It will only open the next phase in a battle.
So get prepared to hear a lot more about ‘Bi Visibility Day’. Mark 23 September on your calendar.
And May 22, January 27, December 10, May 17, October 8, March 31, March 1, July 14, October 26, November 8, April 26, June 26, October 11, December 8, May 24, October 19, June 28, November 20, December 1, May 19, June 12 and the months of October, February and June.
They are all set aside to celebrate all things LGBTIWHATEVER, and represent the days where the most ‘oppressed’ people in the world are recognised.
But you can now free up Father’s Day. It was the first casualty in the ‘marriage equality’ campaign…
The ‘Yes’ campaign claims it is tolerant.
But it does this:
No doubt, campaigners for traditional marriage will now be blamed for nearly causing the death of ‘Yes’ activists who are so insane that they will run across busy streets to tear down and steal signs…
Marise Payne is treating Australians with contempt.
She’s failing in her duties as Defence Minister.
And she should go.
Four weeks after a petition was launched, nearly three weeks after a letter was sent and after several phone calls with her office, the Minister for Defence has failed to even provide a response to the blatant politicisation of the Australian Defence Force during the marriage postal survey.
I’ve been ‘informed’ by embarrassed staffers that Payne is busy.
I’m not sure with what.
And that’s without any reporting of the fact that our new multi-billion dollar helicopters can’t even land on our new multi-billion dollar warships.
Yet the day I was told that Payne had too much on to explain why Defence was supporting a dinner for a lobby group that campaigns for homosexual marriage, this appeared on social media feeds:
You’ll see Payne in her bright red jacket standing there and campaigning to radically redefine laws on marriage. She’s not too busy for that.
That’s her right. But one wonders whether the Minister for Defence is busier with social justice wars than ensuring our military is able to fight real wars.
And it is a complete dereliction of duty for her to allow the Department she runs to be dragged into this as well.
The Australian Defence Force has a requirement to remain apolitical.
Yet over the weekend it supported a dinner with the leader of Australian Marriage Equality.
— Alex Greenwich MP (@AlexGreenwich) September 23, 2017
It supported a dinner for a lobby group that has been campaigning for homosexual marriage since at least 2011.
— DEFGLIS (@DEFGLIS) December 4, 2011
— DEFGLIS (@DEFGLIS) August 16, 2017
— Harley Dennett (@harleyd) April 19, 2012
And it supported a dinner which attendees claim had a theme: being on the ‘right side of history’.
— Harley Dennett (@harleyd) September 23, 2017
That all sounds political. Too make matters worse, the keynote speaker from the Australian Human Rights Commission stood up in front of a cabal of LGBT officers within the Australian Defence Force and said this:
While progress has been made, our work continues. And so does yours…
…While pockets of resistance remain in the ADF, a number of personnel now recognise diversity as ‘business as usual’.
It really is incredible. At this speech, war was declared on conservative ADF members.
They are the ‘pockets of resistance’ to the DEFGLIS agenda and they will be hunted down, interrogated and thrown out of service.
That is the clear message from this politicised dinner. It announced a political witch-hunt underway within the Australian Defence Force.
And it will only grow in strength if the laws on marriage change.
I mentioned above that Marise Payne’s staffers were embarrassed.
And they were.
They ‘informed’ me that Defence does not support DEFGLIS or the dinner. They also ‘informed’ me that Defence has never sponsored DEFGLIS.
When I pointed out that the DEFGLIS website was advertising that Defence’s LGBT ‘Defence Pride’ network was listed as an official partner, there was embarrassing silence.
And when I pointed out that Defence’s own webpage showed documents proving that Defence had sponsored DEFGLIS over $7,000 there was embarrassed muttering.
But no answers.