2011/16: Should women be allowed in front line combat positions?

Introduction to the media issue

Video clip at right:
A recent ABC news report on Australia's decision to open all ADF positions up to merit-based selection irrespective of gender. It includes a critical comment from retired Major General Jim Molan. If you cannot see this clip, it will be because video is blocked by your network. To view the clip, access from home or from a public library, or from another network which allows viewing of video clips.

What they said...
'In the future your role in the Defence Force will be determined on your ability, not on the basis of your sex'
Defence Minister, Stephen Smith

'We have only a few examples of socialising women to kill at close quarters. All those have failed so far'
Retired Major General, Jim Molan

The issue at a glance
On September 27, 2011, the Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, and the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, announced that the Government has formally agreed to the removal of gender restrictions from Australian Defence Force (ADF) combat roles.
Women will now be able to work in any position in the ADF, including combat roles, provided they have the ability to meet all of the demands of the role.
Roles to be open to women they were previously excluded from are: Navy Clearance Divers and Mine Clearance Diver Officers; Air Force Airfield Defence Guards and Ground Defence Officers; and Army Infantry and Armoured Corps and some Army Artillery roles.
The decision has been supported by the Opposition; however, there have been criticisms from a variety of commentators and from representatives of the Australian Defence Association (ADA).