In the wake of the latest scandal to hit Defence, Defence Minister Stephen Smith has announced six inquiries, and says the Government will fasttrack changes so women can fight in all the most dangerous frontline positions. The Punch spoke to Australian Defence Association executive director Neil James about the move.
Q. Do you think women should be on the front line?
A. We support the fact that women in the Australian Defence Force serve on the front line and in combat (to the extent they currently can)... we also support the current scientific study into expanding the range of roles for women on the front line. We support evidence-based decisions - not emotive sloganeering.
This topic comes up every six to eight months and the discussion is never intellectually robust. Too many people enter it from an ideological viewpoint or they’re not across the facts. This is clearly a diversion by the minister - to divert attention from the fact none of the inquiries he’s called will investigate his apparent abuse of ministerial authority. He’s announced six reviews but none of them will include an investigation of him.
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If I were ever going to rob a bank I would do so in character. Specifically, I’d go in wearing the giant green St George Dragon mascot suit.
Aside from the delicious irony of a bank being robbed by its own mascot, the stunt would serve as a timely reminder to Reverend Fred Nile- and others- that there are a range of uniforms, sporting apparel, masks and other coverings that conceal the face and the identity of the wearer.
Last week Nile from the Christian Democratic Party introduced a Bill in the NSW Upper House to make it an offence (maximum penalty $550) for “a person, without reasonable excuse to wear a face covering in a public place.” Note, that’s not just in banks or service stations, but in any public place.
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