Women in combat role soon in Aus army: Gillard

Melbourne: Australian women could soon win the right to serve in frontline combat role according to the country`s Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

"I think it`s right…that men and women should have an equal right to fight and die for their country," Gillard said.

If Canberra okay`s the move, then Australia would become the fourth country in the world after Israel, Canada and New Zealand to allow women a frontline combat role.

So far, Australia only allowed women soldiers to fill non-combative supportive roles in the military keeping them away from enrolment in special forces, rifle companies and fighter pilot roles.

A review of women`s combat role was announced by the Defence Minister Stephen Smith after recent scandals that rocked the country`s military.

In a recent case a woman cadet was filmed by her male colleague while having sex and the incident beamed live to other cadets through Skype.

The women in combat role was first mooted by Australia`s former defence chief General Peter Cosgrove who said "men and women should have an equal right to fight and die for their country".

Gillard said she could not agree more with that.

However, she said physical and intellectual capability had to be judged for every job.

"But if a woman has the physical capability and intellectual capability to do a particular job then I do not believe it should be denied her on the basis of gender," she said.

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