Australian navy officer’s Twitter account shut down

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Canberra, Jan 6 (IANS) The official Twitter account of the Australian navy’s senior advisor on Islamic affairs has been shut down, days after an anti-Islamic political party complained about tweets that were critical of the party, a media report said.

Captain Mona Shindy, who also heads the navy’s guided missile frigate system programme office in Canberra, has been counselled and her social network account was shut down some time before Christmas after the Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA) said it had written to the chief of defence complaining of its content, The Canberra Times reported on Wednesday.

Captain Shindy is a 26-year veteran and until recently tweeted from the @navyislamic Twitter account as part of her outreach work to encourage Muslims to join the defence force, but ran into trouble after tweeting comments at odds with government policy.

Defence personnel are banned from expressing political views in an official capacity.

But the Twitter account published tweets critical of Tony Abbott during and after his prime ministership.

In a tweet after Malcolm Turnbull claimed the prime ministership from Tony Abbott, Captain Shindy wrote, “#QANDA @TurbullMalcolm talking #islam looking forward to a PM that unites #auspol & #OZ.”

She also retweeted a comment by counter-terrorism expert Anne Aly that read: “Wait. Did our new PM just give a speech and not mention boats, death cult, security, death cult, terrorism, national security and death cult?”

“It is completely unacceptable for an official Defence Twitter account to criticise any registered political party in Australia. This is military interference in Australia’s democratic political process. It must stop,” ALA president Debbie Robinson said.

In a statement to media outlets, Defence said the @navyislamic account was shut down in an attempt to “consolidate” the navy’s social media platforms.

Captain Shindy has won a government and academia award for her dedication pushing diversity and cultural change in defence.

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