Thursday, 12 June 2014

Expert Panel to Review Australia's Military Strategy

There are no women on the six-person expert panel set up by the Abbott Government to review Australia's military strategy and help Defence develop a new 10-year plan.  The Prime Minister said that the panel would "challenge any key assumptions."  Given the difficulties Defence have experienced with sexual harrassment and assault over the past decades it is amazing that the Prime Minister does not understand that it is important to have a gender balance on a panel looking at the next decade. Whether six men can challenge key assumptions without female input is questionable given a male dominated organisation is what has led to the well documented abuse.
Australia is clearly falling behind in their understanding of these issues.  Last Tuesday the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague with Angelina Jolie opened the first Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.  Angelina Jolie has recently written, produced and directed a film about the mass rape of women prisoners in the Balkan War in the 1990s The Land of Blood and Honey. Australia's Chief of Army Lieutenant-General David Morrison is also involved in this Forum. The Australian Government has acknowledged the issue of violence against women in conflict with a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security so what stops them understanding the need for gender balance when planning the future for Defence.

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