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Defence Ministers meet with CDF's Reference Group on Women.

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THE HON. JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Minister for Defence THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

Thursday, 12 February 2009 012/2009


The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP and the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP today met with members of the Chief of the Defence Force’s Reference Group on Women.

In attendance were the Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston and Reference Group members: Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Commissioner responsible for Age Discrimination, Elizabeth Broderick; Vice Chancellor of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Margaret Gardner; Corporate Adviser and Board Director, Sam Mostyn; and Company Director, Elizabeth Proust.

Air Chief Marshal Houston convened the Reference Group in May 2008 to help confront the challenges in recruiting women to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and find innovative ways of encouraging them to serve for longer periods.

Mr Fitzgibbon said women were under-represented in the ADF and it was essential that Defence create a more supportive environment that will improve recruitment and retention outcomes for women.

“I am determined to ensure that gender is no impediment to a successful and fulfilling career in Defence.

“This change can only be driven by strong leadership, underpinned by initiatives such as mentoring programs and career management practices that can better accommodate individual needs and deliver greater workplace flexibility.”

Mr Snowdon said the Reference Group members had met informally with serving women to hear their experiences and had now presented their initial conclusions to the Chief of the Defence Force and the Service Chiefs for further discussion.

“I have recently completed my own series of consultations with over 200 serving Defence women across Australia and the issues they raised resonate with the Reference Group’s findings.

“The Services have already started work on a range of initiatives to improve the employment of women and though some of the issues such as cultural change are quite complex, it is essential that Defence gives top priority to these matters.”

Media contacts: Christian Taubenschlag (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0438 595 567 Kate Sieper (Warren Snowdon): 02 6277 7620 or 0488 484 689 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664