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March 28, 2013
DEFENCE has announced a joint ven-
ture with the Sydney Theatre Company
to develop a stage play based on the
personal stories of servicemen and
women who have been wounded or
injured in their service. Their stories will
be the basis for the production and they
will be the cast.
The ADF Theatre Project will use the
performing arts to support the recovery
of wounded, injured and ill ADF person-
nel and will provide Australian audi-
ences with a unique insight into some
of the impact and challenges associated
with Defence operations.
Sponsored by CDF GEN David
Hurley, the ADF Theatre Project has
been endorsed at the highest levels in
Defence, including the Service Chiefs.
"The production will be a powerful
means for participants to share their
personal stories," GEN Hurley said.
"Participants will have a unique
opportunity to achieve something dif-
ferent and be part of an activity that
focuses on their abilities, rather than
their individual incapacities."
The ADF Theatre Project is in the
early stages of development and an act-
ing workshop will be run in August this
year to prepare ADF personnel who are
selected to participate in the project.
The play will be performed in loca-
tions around Australia from February to
April 2014. ADF personnel interested in
participating are advised to talk to their
COs for further information.
Stage play to tell story
of wounded personnel
Gender equalit in the
CPL Max Bree
WHEN two female clerks were posted
to an Army regiment in the early '70s,
more than a few eyebrows were raised,
according to CDF GEN David Hurley.
"This was unheard of," he said.
"Women served in a separate part of the
Army -- the Women's Royal Australian
Army Corps (WRAAC) -- and they
wore distinctly different uniforms.
"I recall a fashion parade in Victoria
Barracks in Sydney, to which I wasn't
invited, when new WRAAC uniforms
were modelled by professional models."
More than 40 years later, and after
the removal of gender restrictions in the
ADF, men and women from around the
world came together to hear 20 speakers
discuss issues facing women in the mili-
tary and law enforcement in Canberra
on March 12 and 13.
Defence chiefs, politicians, senior
female officers from Australia and coa-
lition countries and civilian experts used
the Gender in Defence and Security
Leadership conference to discuss over-
coming obstacles facing women in the
defence and security community.
Twenty presenters representing five
nations addressed the conference over
the two days, including Federal Sex
Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth
GEN Hurley said the ADF had made
good progress but there was still work
"Exceptional women should not
be the exception," he said. "Defence
has the will and the policies to achieve
greater gender equality. The next step is
to ensure our mid-ranking officers and
middle managers have the support they
need to implement those policies."
The conference also helped the
ADF benchmark its progress in creat-
ing greater opportunities for female
"The changes we have made are
both necessary and valuable. To sustain
a viable workforce we simply cannot
ignore half of the nation's talent pool,"
GEN Hurley said.
Changes include flexible work
arrangements and support mechanisms
to make sure everyone in the ADF had
the same opportunity to pursue a mili-
GEN Hurley said as the ADF sought
to increase the number of women serv-
ing, the military would need to start
thinking about where it would ulti-
"What is the appropriate target --
50:50? 60:40? 40:60? Is there a mix of
men and women between the combat
and non-combat elements of our force
that optimises the force?" he said.
"I think that we need to undertake
more modelling of our workforce to
inform this discussion."
He also said the ADF needed
to explore ideas to develop a better
childcare model for military families'
requirements, such as allowing mem-
bers to purchase additional leave, allow-
ing shared leave between service cou-
ples and reviewing service residences to
PARITY: CDF GEN David Hurley told the inaugural Gender in Defence
and Security Leadership Conference to recognise the achievements in
gender equality but not rest on laurels.
Photo: Lauren Black
motion courses, increased flexibility
in meeting key career milestones and
greater access to part time or flexible
work arrangements," GEN Hurley said.
Also speaking at the confer-
ence, Defence Science and Personnel
Minister Warren Snowdon said when
he began floating the idea of women in
combat he anticipated a backlash.
"I started socialising it through the
community, through RSL conferences
expecting a negative reaction. It never
came, so I wasn't surprised at the end
when the announcement was made there
was hardly a trickle of opposition," he
said.He dismissed suggestions that the
new employment standards would stop
women entering combat roles.
"With physical employment stand-
ards, many men won't get the job,
because they won't pass the PES test, a
lot of women will," he said.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith
said increasing the number of females
in Defence would be essential in the
"Australia's ageing population, com-
bined with fewer school-leavers and an
increasingly strong employment market
means that in forthcoming years there
will be fewer people available to meet
demand," Mr Smith said.
"Greater inclusion of women in
Defence's core business will establish
and cement its place as a workforce
offer an extra bedroom for a full-time
"We are also currently examining
part-time or remote access to key pro-
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