17 March, 2008

Australia 2020 Summit - What's missing?

Whether the gathering of Australia's supposedly best and brightest will be yet another dreary Canberra talk-fest or a history-making congress that maps out the future of Australia through wise and productive policies .... there is one thing missing:

No mention of the men and women who will have to carry out the policies and the actions of our government and who will defend us from aggression.

There is no mention in the agenda of how Australian Defence Force personnel can be recruited, trained, organized, supported, committed, retained and then returned to fulfilling civilian life. That is a serious [but not surprising] omission.

It is entirely consistent with other responses to the perils of living in a dangerous world - just pretend a problem doesn't exist and it will go away .... and then when it becomes obvious it problem hasn't gone away but has got far worse, try to cope by crisis management.

Instead of allowing a crisis to develop and then trying to manage it in a blind panic, let's try a rational approach for a change .... by putting the discussion of new policies involving the ADF on the agenda of this Summit.

[Oh yes - and all the best for St Patrick's Day too :-) ]


Since I put up this post a few days ago, Australian Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, has made a statement on the crisis in recruitment for the Australian Defence Force. A news item about it is on the ABC website at

Discrimination and vilification against war veterans and peacekeepers would have a wee bit to do with discouraging relatives and neighbours from joining up. The bureaucratic abuse and cheating of widows and wounded might have some bearing on it too.

Don't hold your breath waiting for the thousand best-and-brightest to consider this issue at the Australia 2020 Summit.

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