Pat O’Neill has been called out for his recent campaign billboards by the Department of Defence over his photograph that features him in his Army uniform.
O’Neill is in the line-up to nab the seat of Brisbane for Labor at the upcoming Federal Election, with the ex-army man leaving specifically to run in this election, after being relieved just 10 short days ago.
The 35-year-old has been in the Army since he was 17, with two deployments in Iraq and working on local disasters like the Bundaberg floods in 2013.
But the Department of Defence is demanding he pull down his political campaign billboard, because it breaches policy concerning the Army uniform, which O’Neill is pictured in on the billboard.
The ads are in violation of a Defence policy which prohibits members using their uniform for any kind of political agenda or purpose.
Speaking to news.com.au, O’Neill said, “I got out (of the Army) 10 days ago after joining when I was 17. Every day I’ve worn a uniform and it’s an important part of who I am.
“I left the army specifically to run in this election. I’ve left a career, I’ve left a job that I’ve done since I was 18. I think people want politicians from a wide range of backgrounds.”
He also added that he was leaving the issue with senior party officials, instead devoting his attention on his campaign to steal the seat away from LNP’s Teresa Gambaro.