Twerking Dancers at Warship Launch Compared to Scenes From 'The Dictator'

The HMAS Supply was officially commissioned in Sydney harbour, with senior government ministers and high-ranking military officials, including the Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell, attending the auspicious event.

But alongside speeches and the usual fanfare associated with ceremonies of this type, attendees sat through a dance routine performed by a group of scantily clad women.

About seven dancers twerked and thrusted their way through a performance set to a lively soundtrack.

The routine was branded "inappropriate" by lawmaker Phillip Thompson, a former soldier.

"Standards in the ADF [Australian Defence Force], and definitely when commissioning a ship, should be a little bit higher than that," he told ABC News.

"We've got the CDF, we've got members of parliament there, and the governor-general's there, I don't think it's appropriate to be twerking."

"We've got the CDF, we've got members of Parliament there, and the Governor-General's there, I don't think it's appropriate to be twerking. I think our standards in the ADF, and definitely commissioning a ship, should be a little bit higher than that". https://t.co/Nn1DwwdbeH pic.twitter.com/id6YAND9E7

— Andrew Greene (@AndrewBGreene) April 13, 2021

A clip of the performance was later shared on social media, where it has gone viral as people echoed Thompson's criticisms.

They compared the ceremony to a scene from Sacha Baron Cohen's 2012 satirical comedy, The Dictator, in which the Ali G actor is surrounded by all-female bodyguards.

Taking to Twitter, Elaine Carbines wrote: "Totally inappropriate! Who on earth thought this would be OK?"

User Oldm8ey added: "Staggering that someone signed off on this."

Ben Moles posted: "It looks like a scene from @SachaBaronCohen's 'The Dictator' that they decided to cut for being too ridiculous!"

David Savage tweeted: "It is too ridiculous to be real … there you go the truth or reality is often stranger than fiction. Whoever came up with this brilliant piece of marketing may well be looking for a new career."

A user called M wrote: "You've got to feel sorry for those actually watching this-they look genuinely uncomfortable."

GeometricAnalogAndDigitalTime added: "Whoever was involved in the hiring this act for the commissioning of a Royal Australian Naval vessel should be sacked. It's inappropriate & degrading on so many levels."

The commissioning ceremony took place at Fleet Base East on April 10, with the vessel, officially known as HMAS Supply II, the lead ship of "two Supply Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) ships," according to the Australian Navy.

The navy's website explained the ship's primary role, saying: "The ships are intended to carry fuel, dry cargo, water, food, ammunition, equipment and spare parts to provide operational support for the deployed naval or combat forces operating far from the port on the high seas for longer periods.

"In addition to replenishment, the vessels can be used to combat against environmental pollution at sea, provide logistics support for the armed forces, and to support humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) operations following a natural disaster."

This article has been updated with a new video.

HMAS Supply Commissioning Ceremony
On 10 April 2021, the Royal Australian Navy welcomed into service HMAS Supply (II), the first of two new Supply Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) ships. A dance troupe 'twerking' at the commissioning ceremony has been branded 'inappropriate'. Royal Australian Navy/SGT Catherine Kelly