Surely there’s big­ger wor­ries

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - ROSS EASTGATE COM­MENT

about all our sons com­ing through ... will they get jobs?” one woman wrote.

In re­ply, an­other woman said: “Are you that in­se­cure that you can’t han­dle a woman do­ing a man job? Women need to work too. There are more and more men go­ing into day care work and phar­macy as­sis­tant roles. Both in­dus­tries that were pre­dom­i­nantly fe­male and you don’t see us cry­ing about it.” WHILE the world teeters on the brink of a pos­si­ble nu­clear holo­caust, deep in Can­berra’s De­fence bunkers there are more ur­gent mat­ters to ad­dress.

Ap­par­ently army chief Lieu­tenant Gen­eral An­gus Camp­bell is con­cerned only 12.7 per cent of his ranks are filled by fe­male sol­diers.

He has in­sisted that num­ber dou­ble to 25 per cent by 2023.

The way to do this, Camp­bell be­lieves, is to place a mora­to­rium on male re­cruit­ment and fill all va­can­cies with fe­males.

For the im­me­di­ate fu­ture, all roles, in­clud­ing cav­al­ry­men, ar­tillery­men and ri­fle­men, will be of­fered to fe­male can­di­dates, pro­vid­ing they pass the ap­pro­pri­ate phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal test­ing all re­cruits face. It seems males need not ap­ply be­cause they will fail the Camp­bell- im­posed gen­der test.

The RAN and RAAF have also placed gen­der re­stric­tions on cur­rent re­cruit­ing.

Not to put too fine a point on it, that is sim­ply dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Nor should any­one try to cam­ou­flage that process with smoke­screen de­scrip­tions of re­verse or pos­i­tive dis­crim­i­na­tion. Dis­crim­i­na­tion of any kind is still dis­crim­i­na­tion, par­tic­u­larly if it re­jects can­di­dates on the ba­sis of their sex.

War in our re­gion has be­come in­creas­ingly likely as Is­lamic State- in­spired ter­ror­ists in­fil­trate the Philip­pines and Kim Jong- un threat­ens to fire nu­clear weapons at US mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties in Guam.

Guam is just 3600km north of Townsville, or about fourand- a- half hours by air.

All three ser­vices need to re­cruit and train the best can­di­dates avail­able to en­sure they are best- pre­pared to meet th­ese threats.

A more im­me­di­ate threat to army re­cruiters was is­sued by Camp­bell about the con­se­quences if they con­tin­ued to defy his gen­der edict.

When a re­cruiter told his team to ig­nore the di­rec­tions to re­cruit women, Camp­bell was re­ported to have said: “I sub­se­quently in­vited him to re­view his post­ing op­tions.”

This is the very treat­ment of sub­or­di­nates which Camp­bell and his pre­de­ces­sor David Mor­ri­son claimed they would not tol­er­ate. In­creas­ing the num­ber of fe­males in se­nior com­mand po­si­tions might cre­ate a more com­pas­sion­ate, less threat­en­ing lead­er­ship.

What is good for the goose is good for the gan­der.

LEAD­ING THE WAY: Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer of the 3rd Com­bat Ser­vice Sup­port Bat­tal­ion Lieu­tenant Colonel Gabrielle Fol­lett had a key lead­er­ship role dur­ing the re­cent ex­er­cise, Tal­is­man Sabre. Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

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