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2011 Media Release: Sex Discrimination Commissioner to form Defence review panel

Discrimination Sex Discrimination

The Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, will lead a review by the Australian Human Rights Commission of the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force Academy and Australian Defence Force.

The aim of the review will be to conduct an independent gender equality audit of the Australian Defence Force Academy. It will also review the progress of existing strategies identified by the Chief of the Defence Force’s Women’s Advisory Group for the Australian Defence Force.

The review will be distinct and separate from the individual investigations that will be occurring in response to last week’s allegations.

“I have accepted the opportunity to lead this review on the express understanding that the findings will be taken seriously and the recommendations acted upon,” said Commissioner Broderick.

Commissioner Broderick said she would be assisted by a panel of experts who have deep knowledge and experience in working with cultural change in male dominated environments. The panel will be announced shortly.

“Without predetermining its findings, I expect the review will identify practical recommendations for creating an environment that is inclusive of both men and women, where violence, harassment and bullying have no place,” Commissioner Broderick said. “I anticipate that this review will identify any weaknesses and recommend solutions, as well as advance the existing strengths in the organisation."

The Australian Human Rights Commission will receive funding for a secretariat to assist with the review.

“The Commission has a track record in working with other parties, including government, to deliver significant social and community change in relation to gender equality issues, such as contributing to the implementation of a Paid Parental Leave scheme and improvements in the level of women in leadership positions in both business and government,” Commissioner Broderick said.

Commissioner Broderick said this track record was important because it demonstrates that change, in relation to gender equality, is possible and beneficial.

Media contact: Brinsley Marlay (02) 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529.