Defence celebrates Indigenous service women

Lance Corporal Ashleigh Shannon, is deployed as a postal clerk and cash operator in the Middle East region. She is an Aboriginal woman of Yaegl Country and joined the Army in 2013. Photo: Defence.
Lance Corporal Ashleigh Shannon, is deployed as a postal clerk and cash operator in the Middle East region. She is an Aboriginal woman of Yaegl Country and joined the Army in 2013. Photo: Defence.

A new short film is celebrating Indigenous women in Defence. 

As part of NAIDOC Week 2018, the short film shares stories of past and present Indigenous service women.

Launched on Monday in Sydney by Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne, the short film is in keeping with NAIDOC Week’s theme Because of her we can.

 “Today women represent 19.5 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people serving in the permanent Australian Defence Force,” Minister Payne said.

“Women also represent 61.7 per cent of Defence’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian Public Service workforce.

“These Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are contributing to operations, capability and community every day.

“Women like Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker), Alice Lovett, Martha Alley, Linda Nihill, Myrtle Harris, Ruby Harris, Annie Logan, Dorothy Saunders, and Marjorie Tripp led the way for the current generation of service men and women.”

Across NAIDOC Week 2018, Defence is celebrating the Indigenous women who have served, inspired and supported generations in both the Australian Defence Force and Australian Public Service.

Royal Australian Air Force officer, Flight Lieutenant Sarah Conway-James, is a proud Kamilaroi woman from New South Wales and was deployed to Australia’s main command and logistics base in the Middle East region. Photo: Defence.

Royal Australian Air Force officer, Flight Lieutenant Sarah Conway-James, is a proud Kamilaroi woman from New South Wales and was deployed to Australia’s main command and logistics base in the Middle East region. Photo: Defence.

Minister Payne also acknowledged the Indigenous women who make valuable contributions to Defence in supporting roles.

“Margaret Tucker was renowned for the significant contribution she made in WWII fundraising for the Red Cross and working in a munitions factory,” Minister Payne said.

The launch of the new film in Sydney also showcased a series of videos on the Pathway Programs designed to inspire and assist Indigenous men and women to pursue ADF careers.

“The Defence Indigenous Pathway Programs have an important role to play in closing the gap in employment, boosting participants’ skills and preparing many recruits for their future careers, wherever that may take them.”

Minister Payne said several recruits have followed family and friends into the ADF and many attribute their success to the support and encouragement of family.

“Sharing their stories and the stories of new recruits will help ensure the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women are aware of the opportunities which exist for them in Defence,” Minister Payne said.

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