16 July 2003
FORMER RAAF officer and Paddington-based lawyer Kirstin Ferguson, 30, has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate a fair deal for Australian Defence Force wives and families.
Ms Ferguson will examine how the Australian Defence Forces provision of non-financial support to service widows and families compares to that of the US military and civilian organisations.
Ms Ferguson graduated as an air force cadet from the Australian Defence Force Academy in 1993 and served with an F-111 squadron.
She has since left the RAAF and qualified as a lawyer.
Married to a serving F-111 navigator with the RAAF, Ms Ferguson said she knew the risks of the profession and had lost close friends in an F-111 crash, seeing first hand the impact the accident had on the families.
She said too often widows and families were forced to take action in the media and the courts for compensation and justice and it was important to look at non-financial support because there were often inadequacies.
Ms Ferguson will travel to the US to investigate the levels of non-financial support given by the US military which she said paid relatively small compensation when compared with Australia and had a lower level of litigation.