New Recruitment Changes to Boost Australian Defence Force.

Under newly announced changes, eligible New Zealanders living in Australia can apply to join the Australian Defence Force (ADF) starting in July this year. Additionally, eligible permanent residents from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada will be able to apply from January 2025.

The National Defence Strategy emphasizes the need for Defence to recruit, retain, and grow a highly specialized and skilled workforce. These new changes are expected to support federal government initiatives aimed at expanding the ADF.

“Australia and New Zealand have a longstanding relationship – opening the Australian Defence Force to New Zealanders living in Australia will increase opportunities whilst strengthening our Anzac bond,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles. “The Australian government has chosen to grow the Australian Defence Force because it is essential to meet the nation’s security challenges through the next decade and beyond.”

Permanent residents wishing to join the ADF must meet entry standards and security requirements, have lived in Australia for at least one year prior to applying, not have served in a foreign military in the past two years, and be able to attain Australian citizenship.

The Defence is also streamlining the Overseas Lateral Recruitment Scheme, which addresses capability shortfalls by recruiting skilled military personnel from overseas.

Minister for Defence Personnel Matt Keogh stated, “Our people are our most important capability, but reversing the Defence recruitment shortfalls of the last government requires innovation. Recruiting from a wider pool of people will help ensure our Australian Defence Force reflects the full diversity of Australia and is able to draw on the talents of the entirety of Australian society.”

The 2023 Defence Strategic Review revealed that Defence recruitment was a recurring issue across the ADF, APS, and defence industry. It recommended increasing recruitment speed and creating flexible responses to address recruitment challenges.

Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell, at the Senate estimates meeting on February 14, acknowledged the current inflow rates are below the required level to maintain the Defence Force. “Recruiting and retention, Defence is addressing retention and recruitment as a priority. As of January 1, 2024, the ADF is 6.9 percent or 4,308 people below its authorized strength of 62,735,” he said.

General Campbell outlined four key areas of focus: widening eligibility to include non-citizen enlistment with a pathway to citizenship, increasing recruiting system capacity, accelerating recruitment processes, and encouraging retention through targeted initiatives. Early results show separation rates have declined, and the size of the Air Force has reached a 20-year high. The Australian Defence Force Academy and the Army have also seen significant intakes and graduations.

“Nevertheless, a considerable effort continues to be required to remediate our recruiting and retention challenges,” General Campbell concluded.



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  • Richard Barry OAM June 6, 2024   Reply →

    Please Mr Prime Minister could you transfer the existing Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel to a lesser known portfolio.

    With regard to this news item about recruiting overseas personnel into the ADF he got up in front of the media and announced that the ADF would take recruits from all countries. Obviously he didn’t listen or read the brief.

    Non-citizens … … … I had a scan of the list of KIA in Vietnam. A large number were born overseas and became Australian citizens as soon as they volunteered for the Army. This is not new.

    • Swannie June 6, 2024   Reply →

      As a non citizen who was subject to NationalService in 1970, I was was given an Australian Passport when I went on R&R in 1971 I still have it. It is marked not valid for North Vietnam. This idea of enlisting non citizens is not new, it has been used for at least 60 years. In those days you weren’t given a choice citizen or not you were subject to the law of the land.

  • Noel Usher June 6, 2024   Reply →

    There is a good case to be made for Kiwis to be recruited into the ADF; there are many already. However the quickly quashed call for other nationals to be allowed into the ADF brings to mind the experience of Rome during its twilight. The ordinary Romans largely did not want to serve, so they recruited many mercenary foreigners, a large percentage of whom were enemies, with predictable results.

    Worse, they awarded such mercenaries with Roman citizen status.

    Other issues contributed to the decline of Rome but I would not like to see Australia and the west generally to follow.

    There is at least one group of people amongst us who are quite happy to see the destruction of western civilisation.

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