Home' Air Force News : October 13th 2011 Contents 2
October 13, 2011
David Edlington: (02) 6265 4650
Simone Liebelt: (02) 6265 2253
Mobile: 0400 003792
Deputy Editor and sport
John Martin: (02) 6265 7219
Trish Dillon: (02) 6266 7607
Tim Asher: (07) 3332 7651
Mobile: 0459 842551
Air Force online
orce News is published
ightly by the Directorate of
nce News. Printed by Capital
Print. The publisher reserves
ight to refuse advertising if it is
deemed inappropriate and to change
the size of the ad, print type or
other specifications if material is not
compatible with our system. The fact
an ad is accepted for publication does
not mean that the product or service
has the endorsement of Defence or
Air Force News.
LAC Bill Solomou: (02) 6265 1355
Mail: Air Force News, PO Box 7909,
Canberra BC, ACT 2610
PEOPLE may have their doubts about
women in combat but LACW Shan-
nan Turley says bring it on.
The Amberley-based working dog
handler took part in several focus
groups during the research process
for the new policy and said it was a
"fantastic opportunity" for women in
She said she was excited that
there would be no restriction on her
working with airfield defence guards
in her role as a dog handler.
"At the moment I am concentrating
on my job but I am excited that the ADF
is opening to all opportunities for me
and other female handlers to be able
to work to the full extent possible with
their dogs," LACW Turley said.
She said no one should be
prevented from serving in any ADF
role providing there was no drop
in standard for the role. "Allowing
females to be in any role if they can
pass the criteria and maintain the
high standards is a fantastic opportu-
nity for all females wanting to serve
in front-line roles."
FSGT Paula Ivanovic, of HQ Joint
Operations Command, said any
initiative that increased options for
women was welcomed but she didn't
expect it would make a significant
change in the Air Force or wider ADF
in the short term.
She has 21 years' experience in the
Air Force and is only the third woman
of four to become a loadmaster.
FSGT Ivanovic has served on
C-17s and C-130s and has deployed
into Afghanistan and the challenge
of pushing her own boundaries was
very much a reason for remustering
to a loadmaster.
But she said pursuing a com-
bat role would always be personal
"Given the opportunity 10 years
ago if that option was out there I
feel I would have thought about it
-- it was something that I had won-
dered whether I could have done [a
combat role] if I had passed," FSGT
But she said it was unlikely, based
on her experience, the new policy
would necessarily mean a lot of
women would be attracted to those
"There have been female load-
masters since the first women broke
ground in 1999," she said.
"Opening that role hasn't exactly
drawn a bunch of women to join the
military or become a loadmaster.
"I think it all comes down to the
person, their character and what they
want to be."
LIFTING gender restrictions on
combat roles was welcome news
to Canberra-based LACW Brim-
lea Smyth who has already made
enquiries about remustering to an
A champion Air Force rugby
player, LACW Smyth said she had
sought advice and information from
members already in the airfield
defence guard (ADG) trade.
She said she loved being in the
field environment and the physical
challenges involved with front-line
roles and if women could meet the
criteria for the trade then they should
have the opportunity.
LACW Smyth has previously
served with Airbase Protection Flight
at RAAF Base Williams as a reser v-
ist but the idea of serving in a front-
line role had not really occurred to
her because of the restrictions.
She had enjoyed the opportunity
to undertake combat training and
training on various weapons and
said the role of the ADG was under-
"They [ADGs] are responsible
for maintaining an active ground
defence, air base defence, aircraft
security operations and force gen-
eration and sustainment," she said.
"This involves extensive physical
specialist ground defence force train-
ing that females did not previously
have the opportunity to take part in.
"Now the opportunity has arisen
and females are allowed on the
front-line and that opens up doors
to the interest that I, and many other
females in Defence, have in that
area," LACW Smyth said.
"I love being out in the field and
the front-line environment."
LACW Smyth said opinion from
serving airfield defence personnel
had been encouraging and at times
cautionary about the type of role it
was and the need for any person to
able to adapt to the challenges and
"We would have to adapt in that
environment but I don't expect to
be given any leniency because I'm
female. If that's the role we want as
a career then the expectation is to
meet the standard required in the
field," she said.
For the time being she is still
gathering information about the
trade and working through the deci-
But when asked she said there
was no urgency at this point to
become the first female ADG and
said whoever that female was will be
the person to change women in the
front-line for the future of Defence.
"Obviously, this is only new and
they are looking at implementing it
over the next five years.
"I'll just wait out and see how they
are going to go about getting women
involved in combat roles and what
selection requirements end up being
put in place to determine suitability,"
WOMEN will be eligible to serve in
airfield defence roles within the next
five years following the Government
announcement on September 27 to re-
move gender restrictions on service in
Women will now be able to work
in any position within the ADF
including combat roles provided they
have the ability to meet the demands
of those roles.
The new policy will open up air-
field defence guard and ground
defence officer careers to women, if
they meet the Air Force criteria for
CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown said
Air Force already prided itself on hav-
ing the best people for the job regard-
less of their gender.
"Our men and women already
make a tremendous contribution
across Air Force, both at home and on
operations," AIRMSHL Brown said.
"This will not change with the
news that women will be able to apply
as airfield defence guards and ground
"We will continue to judge our
people on their merits, skills and pro-
fessionalism, not their gender -- I wel-
come the Government's decision and
support women who wish to apply for
A joint statement by Defence
Minister Stephen Smith and Defence
Science and Personnel Minister
Warren Snowdon said the new policy
would be introduced over a five-year
"It's important that implementa-
tion of this matter be done carefully,
methodically and is done to ensure
that the appropriate training and other
opportunities are available to enable
women to take up these positions if
they so choose," Mr Smith said.
"The first implementation report
will come to the Government in the
first quarter of next year."
The new policy will remove gen-
der restrictions on the remaining 7
per cent of ADF trades where women
were excluded on the basis of gender.
This includes clearance divers for
Navy and infantry, armour and artil-
lery combat or frontline positions
within the Army.
The statement by Mr Smith and
Mr Snowdon said Defence would now
draw on the experience gained from
opening more positions to women
over the past two decades to imple-
ment the new policy.
Additional research will be under-
taken to enable the implementation of
the Government's position.
Mr Snowdon said women had a
long and proud history of service with
"This decision is a positive step,
enhancing equality among the men
and women who proudly wear the
uniform," Mr Snowdon said.
"Defence is committed to creating
a work environment where all person-
nel are treated fairly and with respect
-- developing the implementation plan
is central to this."
Mr Snowdon said work already
started within DSTO in partnership
with the University of Wollongong
would ultimately determine the physi-
Green light for women
Hoping to be
FOCUS GROUPS: LACW
Shannan Turley with military
working dog King.
Photo: LACW Kylie Gibson
cal capacities required to do a particu-
"That's how people will be judged
-- their physical and psychological
capacity to do the work, not their gen-
der," he said.
"That will make a significant
difference in opening up these
trades to women and it will mean
that in the future we may well see
women leading, for example, infan-
Bring opportunities on, says dog handler
ALREADY ENQUIRED: LACW Brimlea Smyth who loves being in the
Photo: LAC Bill Solomou
21 YEARS: Loadmaster FSGT
Paula Ivanovic during a mission
Photo: CPO Dave Connolly
FOCUS GROUPS: LACW
Links Archive September 29th 2011 October 27th 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page