By JR on Sunday, July 03, 2011
(For overseas readers, "diggers" are Australian troops and war veterans)
ACTING Chief Commissioner Ken Lay faces a revolt from rank-and-file members over their right to be paid to march in a gay-pride parade, but not on Anzac Day. Officers are paid to support the gay event, but not for participating on Anzac Day, unless they have served overseas in the military or as peacekeepers.
The police union argues all former military or peacekeeping personnel, regardless of service overseas, should be paid if they march on Anzac Day.
Victoria Police command did not respond to questions about whether the policy might change. But a police spokeswoman said paid leave to march for non-overseas ex-service people was being considered.
Police Association secretary Greg Davies said the union was pushing for the change during enterprise bargaining negotiations. He said if officers could march on full pay in the Gay and Lesbian Pride parade, it was "one in, all in" and former military staff who had not served overseas should be paid to take part in the Anzac parade.
Under former boss Simon Overland all officers could participate in the gay march. Attendance is classified as being on duty, according to the Police Gazette. But officers who were not former military or peacekeepers with overseas experience had to take time off to march on Anzac Day.
Victoria Police argued officers had attended the gay march since 2002 and it "significantly" improved the "trust, confidence and co-operation" with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.
Mr Davies said the rules were discriminatory. He said the RSL was now the Returned and Services League rather than Returned Services League, and recognised all military personnel.