Celebrating pioneering Indigenous Women in Defence

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Senator the Hon Marise Payne

Minister for Defence

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  • Henry Budd (Minister Payne’s office) 0429 531 143
  • Defence Media (02) 6127 1999

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9 July 2018

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne today launched a video sharing the stories of past and present Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service women and the women who have supported them in their careers as part of NAIDOC Week 2018 celebrations.

The video was launched at a ceremony in Sydney which paid tribute to their history, culture and achievements in keeping with NAIDOC Week’s theme this year of ‘because of her we can’.

At the event Minister Payne met with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, Servicemen and women, recruits and candidates.

 “Today women represent 19.5 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people serving in the permanent ADF,” Minister Payne said.

“Women also represent 61.7 percent 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 will celebrate the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have served, inspired and supported generations in both the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Australian Public Service (APS).

Minister Payne also acknowledged the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 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 featured a new series of videos on the Pathway Programs designed to inspire and assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 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 of the 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.


Media Note:


Because of Her We Can, see the video here:




To view Defence’s new suite of Indigenous Pathway program videos visit:


Navy and Army Indigenous Development Programs: https://youtu.be/GmWQFj3kBH4

ADF Indigenous Pre-Recruit Program: https://youtu.be/9IH4HlmRZzA

Navy Indigenous Development Program: https://youtu.be/3R9lxk-g3Fc

Air Force Indigenous Development Opportunities: https://youtu.be/JIRETTRsCdM

Army Indigenous Development Pathways: https://youtu.be/kbGtylBe3jc


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