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Wednesday, 12 April 1989
Page: 1493

(Question No. 910)


Senator MacGibbon asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, upon notice, on 9 March 1989:

(1) How many women are in the Army Reserve, nationally and per state, over a 5 year period, and what percentage of the total Reserve body do women represent.

(2) What numbers of occupations are open to women reservists in each state and what are they.

(3) Is there a ceiling on the number of women who can serve in the Reserve at any one time, and what is the ceiling.

(4) How many applications are made by women per state to join the Reserves and how many are unsuccessful on the basis of a lack of available spaces.


Senator Richardson —The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Table 1 shows the number and percentages of women in the Army Reserve, by Military District, for the financial years 1984-85 to 1987-88 and year to date 1988-89.

(2) The occupations open to women in the Army Reserve are the same as those open to women in the Regular Army. In addition women may be employed in field force units, in the Army Reserve, whereas they are excluded from such units in the Regular Army. Occupations open to women are:

Operator Signals

Operator Keyboard

Technician Electronic

Storeman Technical General

Operator Computer

Operator Information Systems

Driver

Clerk Administration

Assistant Movement

Assistant Medical/Nursing

Physical Training Instructor

Assistant Health

Assistant Dental

Technician Cartography

Illustrator Reprographic

Technician Printing

Projectionist Cinema

Photographer

Analyst Intelligence

Steward

Cook

Photographer Public Relations

Reporter

Musician

Military Policeman

Mechanic Radar

Technician Electronic Systems

Mechanic Radio

Storeman Technical Ordnance

Clerk Technical

Rigger Parachute

Operator Work Study

Ammunition Technician

The occupations that are open to women are currently under review, with a view to increasing the employment opportunities for women.

It is not possible to state the numbers of each occupation that are open in each state. Unit commanders are given maximum flexibility in deciding whether positions will be filled by women, within the guidelines of the trades that are open and a requirement that women do not exceed 10% of the unit's authorised manning level.

(3) There is a ceiling on the number of women that can serve in the Army Reserve at one time. That ceiling is 10% of the authorised manning level, which at present stands at 28 000. This ceiling was introduced to enhance the opportunities for women to serve in the Army Reserve. Army Reserve units are geographically based and Reserve soldiers are necessarily drawn from the local community. To apply the same employment criteria to the Reserve which apply to the Regular Army would have denied many women entry to their local unit because most units have a combat or combat related role. However, to ensure that Reserve units were able to sustain operational capabilities, a numerical limit was applied to women serving in the Reserve. As can be seen from the figures in the table, the ceiling is currently being exceeded. The ceiling will be included in the overall review mentioned above.

(4) Detailed statistics on the number of women per state, who apply to join the Army Reserve or who are rejected because there is no vacancy, are not available, due to practical difficulties in aggregating unit statistics at regional level. However more suitable females enquire about Army Reserve service than can be placed in current unit vacancies. If there are no female vacancies at the time of an enquiry, the applicant is placed on a waiting list. An application is then completed when a vacancy becomes available.

Table 1

NUMBERS AND PERCENTAGES OF ARMY RESERVE FEMALE ALL RANKS BY MILITARY DISTRICT FOR FY 84/85 TO 87/88 AND YTD 88/89

Military1 district

84/85

No

%

85/86

No

%

86/87

No

%

87/88

No

%

88/89 (YTD)

No

%

1 ...

807

14

806

15

894

16

958

15

951

15

2 ...

929

13

885

13

917

14

975

14

1095

15

3 ...

964

16

788

15

810

17

841

16

815

16

4 ...

394

17

370

17

359

19

409

19

386

20

5 ...

235

10

265

11

313

13

348

14

345

14

6 ...

192

17

218

20

201

21

201

20

182

17

7 ...

40

11

42

13

38

12

42

13

52

13

Total2 ...

3,562

14

3,391

15

3,551

16

3,780

16

3,877

16

Note:

1. Military districts roughly correspond to State divisions as follows:

1 MD QLD

2 MD NSW

3 MD VIC

4 MD SA

5 MD WA

6 MD TAS

7 MD NT.

2. Totals include small numbers that could not be classified into the military districts shown.