Home' Air Force News : April 28th 2011 Contents 2
April 28, 2011
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SUITABILITY of women to serve in all ADF
employment categories is to be reviewed as soon a
The intent to fast-track the initiative was reaf-
firmed on April 11 in a media conference by
Defence Minister Stephen Smith and CDF ACM
Mr Smith reaffirmed Government policy to
remove gender restrictions on all ADF employmen
as part of a broader review for increased represent
tion of women across the organisation.
"All positions should be opened up to women i
a combat role subject only to physical and intellec
tual capacity and capability," Mr Smith said.
He said he had asked ACM Houston to bring
forward initiatives already under way to open up
ADF employment categories regardless of gender
This will remove gender restrictions on remain
ing roles in airfield defence guards and ground
defence officers in the Air Force, infantry, armour
artillery and combat engineers in the Army and
clearance divers in the Navy.
An important ingredient in removing gender
restrictions on employment is the Defence Scienc
Technology Organisation's (DSTO's) long-runnin
Physical Employment Standards (PES) project.
The project is developing gender-neutral physi
cal assessment tests for specific job-related tasks
such as airfield defence guards.
The tests will set scientific benchmarks for the
physical employment of males and females alike.
you can pass the test you are eligible for the job.
As a result of CDF direction last year, DSTO
has already developed a project schedule that
will enable those employments with gender
restrictions to be reviewed by December.
ACM Houston said removing restrictions base
on gender had been discussed extensively within
the senior ranks. "We are all 100 per cent unani-
mous that this has to happen," ACM Houston said
"If we're to be a truly women-friendly organis
tion we should have all positions open to women."
The Chiefs of Service Committee in tandem
with the PES project has also endorsed the decisio
to commence planning to be ready to employ any
suitably qualified individual -- regardless of gende
-- in any ADF employment category when directed
by the Government.
Under the initiative, women will be able to wo
in any position in which they meet the physical an
academic standards -- including roles involved in
Women presently serve in 93 per cent of
employment categories and extensively on all
MORE than five years of hard work
will reach a milestone in December
when DSTO's Physical Employment
Standards (PES) project reports to the
The report can rightly be called
momentous. It is likely to be used to
inform the removal of gender restric-
tions for ADF employment categories.
Since 2006, the PES project has
been developing a set of performance
standards that represents the real
demands of ADF tasks.
The project will provide scientifi-
cally based physical assessments on
which a person's suitability for a par-
ticular trade can be made.
By defining the real physical
demands of military tasks, Defence
can ensure that all personnel have the
appropriate physical capacity to safely
and effectively carry out those tasks.
The chief of DSTO's Human
Protection and Performance Division,
Dr Simon Oldfield, said the project
was not originally intended to inform
debate on removing gender restric-
tions on ADF employment but it
became apparent that it could provide
the basis for gender-free decisions.
"The test itself is entirely appro-
priate to be used in this way," Dr
"It is as appropriate as to whether
a female could perform that task as it
is to make a decision that a tall, thin
man could do it."
The PES project is looking at
the roles of airfield defence guards,
ground defence officers for Air Force,
clearance divers and mine clearance
diver officers for Navy, and artillery
and infantry for Army to develop a
suite of core physical capacity assess-
ments based on muscular strength,
muscular endurance, aerobic power
and anaerobic power.
Five years of work into gender restrictions
to look into
up for review Graham McBean and CFN Max Bree
THE ADF will undergo a cultural stocktake in the wake
of alleged sexual misconduct at ADFA last month.
Five new reviews into ADFA and ADF culture gen-
erally were announced in a joint media conference by
Defence Minister Stephen Smith and CDF ACM Angus
Houston on April 11.
Mr Smith said the reviews would audit and assess
the good work that had been done in these areas, see
what improvements could be made and what lessons
could be learnt from other organisations.
"We need to ensure that everything we are cur-
rently doing is effective but also learn whether there's
more that we can do," Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith also announced that Andrew Kirkham,
QC, would lead an independent inquiry into "issues
relating to the so-called "Skype incident" under
Defence Inquiry Regulations.
The CDF described the incident -- in which an ADFA
cadet allegedly broadcast a sexual encounter with a
fellow cadet over the internet to other students -- as
"abhorrent", but emphasised the need to let all inves-
tigations run their course.
"We need to let the investigations run their course
and we need to give all involved natural justice and
due process," ACM Houston said.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth
Broderick has been identified to lead an examination
of the treatment of women at ADFA on behalf of the
Australian Human Rights Commission.
Ms Broderick will also review the existing strate-
gies identified by the CDF's Reference Group on
Women, including pathways for women into ADF
As well, the CDF will bring forward for implemen-
tation by the Government the opening up of all roles
in the ADF to women, including combat roles, based
on physical and intellectual ability.
Another review will look at alcohol and binge
drinking, the use of social media, and personal con-
duct at ADFA and the ADF as a whole.
Lastly, ADF Inspector General Geoffrey Earley will
review the management of incidents and complaints
within Defence including the relationship and inter-
change between civil and military law.
Mr Smith highlighted Defence's good work with
equity and diversity but conceded recent incidents
would damage the ADF's reputation.
"There's only one way we can counter that percep-
tion by essentially having an external examination as to
whether there's more that can be done," Mr Smith said.
He said allegations of abuse brought to the atten-
tion of Defence and his office in recent weeks would
be examined by an independent legal firm.
Photo: CPL Aaron Curran
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