Defence has reprimanded two military personnel and counselled 13 others over violent and racist comments posted on Facebook in the wake of last month’s Islamic protests in Sydney.
The action, which has been welcomed by the Islamic Council of NSW, comes a month after a group of Australian soldiers from Townsville-based 3rd Brigade were caught joking on Facebook about using sniper rifles and machine guns on Muslim men who protested in Sydney on September 15.
“Mate, what I would given to drop the legs on a MAG 58, slap on a 500 round belt, adopt a stable firing position in the middle of the street and lay waste to every single one of those cancerous f—s,” one wrote. “Cronulla round two,” wrote another.
The comments were made in the days after the Sydney protest, which occurred after a crude US film denigrating Islam’s most holy figure, the prophet Muhammad, was released.
Defence was only alerted to the Facebook page by media reports. A month later it has revealed two soldiers have been charged under the Defence Force Discipline Act. The pair received “formal reprimands”. A further 13 were formally counselled and action remains pending against another, Defence said.
“Targeting of any person on the basis of their gender, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation is repugnant and contrary to Defence’s values as well as those held by the wider community,” a Defence spokesman said. “The overwhelming majority of Defence personnel are professional and hard-working people who act in accordance with the values and standards of behaviour expected from our people in uniform.”