‘Not worth defending’: Aussies divided over war service

“If war broke out tomorrow, would you fight to defend Australia?”

A handful of men asked that question on the streets of Melbourne last week, with some admitting they wouldn’t stand aside for the nation.

In a video posted to his social media feeds by conservative journalist Fred Pawle, the responses captured a cross-section of attitudes toward war and patriotism.

“I wouldn’t, no,” replied one man.

“I can’t tell you why, but I’m not much of a fighter so I wouldn’t be of much use to you.”

Another question pressed him: “Do you think Australia is worth defending?”

“Not in its current state, no,” the man replied.

Another man also said he would not fight, adding that “I don’t believe in war”.

But there were some patriots who did not hesitate to say that they would be in the front lines if called to battle.

“Yeah, damn it, I would. I would be in the front line,” said one man.

“Australia now…and who wouldn’t defend their own country?” said another.

Some were more reserved, saying their political views could influence their participation.

“Maybe it depends on whether conscription is a thing,” said one.

“I think it depends on the context of the war whether I think it was worth standing up and defending it.”

**WARNING: Offensive language

Mr Pawle had previously suggested in the video that Australia could one day be dragged into a war between Ukraine and Russia.

It followed a similar post he made in Sydney in early May, in which most respondents said they would fight for Australia.

The war in Ukraine has been raging for more than two years and more than 830 days since the Russian invasion.

Ukraine has been supported by the West in the form of funding, weapons and training, but it remains unclear whether other countries would physically join the conflict because of the threat posed by Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

But earlier this year Curtin University Associate Professor of National Security and Strategic Studies Dr. Alexey Muraviev said Australia should consider reintroducing conscription because of the threat of “general war” with Russia.

Officials from other NATO countries, such as Sweden, have also recently spoken of the need to lay the groundwork for mobilization in the event of a major war.

The UK’s unpopular plan

Young people in the UK would have no choice but to join the army for up to 12 months under embattled Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s election policy.

He believes national service – also known as conscription – would “create a shared sense of purpose in our young people and restore a sense of pride in our country”.

The announcement of compulsory public service for 18-year-olds was met with outrage and derision by the public, with a former military commander describing it as a “nox”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promises to reintroduce compulsory national service

Mr Sunak was laughed at when he said national service would be a “great opportunity” for young people during the first televised debate of the UK election campaign.

Analysts are predicting a wipeout of the Conservative Party, with Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer saying the opposition has no intention of creating “some sort of teenage daddy’s army”.

ADF to recruit foreigners

In Australia, the federal government has announced that foreign nationals from some countries will be allowed to join the defense force in a plan to boost numbers.

Under the recruitment scheme, permanent residents must have lived in Australia for at least one year and not have served in another military for two years before applying.

Successful recruits would be eligible for Australian citizenship after 90 days of service.

New Zealanders living in Australia will be able to join from July, and UK, US and Canadian residents from January 2025.

Defense Personnel Minister Matt Keogh said they hoped the expansion of recruitment opportunities would increase conscription by 350 people a year.

He said that the defense is currently facing a target recruitment shortfall of 4,400 people.

“However, we need to strengthen the defense force, so looking at permanent residents who have already clearly adopted Australia as home, who are loyal to Australia as part of this recruitment pool, is a very important way in which we can continue to strengthen our defense force as we must. “

Leave a Comment