The Case for National Military Service for All 18-Year-Old Australians

As the world navigates an increasingly complex geopolitical landscape, nations continually assess their strategies to ensure security, unity, and resilience. Among the various options, implementing national military service for all 18-year-old Australians stands out as a proposal with significant benefits. This policy could not only bolster national security but also foster a sense of unity, discipline, and civic responsibility among the youth.

Here, I explore what I believe are the compelling reasons for introducing mandatory military service in Australia.

In an era marked by unpredictable global threats, having a well-prepared and versatile military is crucial. National military service ensures a steady influx of trained personnel, ready to respond to various security challenges. By equipping young Australians with essential skills in defence and emergency response, the nation enhances its preparedness for any contingencies, from natural disasters to external threats.

A robust reserve force, composed of trained and disciplined individuals, provides a strategic advantage. Countries like Israel and South Korea have demonstrated the efficacy of such systems, where mandatory service has contributed to strong, adaptable, and highly skilled military forces capable of responding to multifaceted threats.

National military service offers a unique opportunity to bridge societal divides. In a multicultural and diverse society like Australia, mandatory service brings together individuals from various backgrounds, fostering mutual understanding and cooperation. The shared experience of serving the nation cultivates a collective identity and reinforces the values of teamwork, respect, and patriotism.

Through this integration, young Australians gain exposure to different cultures and perspectives, promoting social harmony and reducing prejudices. The bonds formed during military service can extend beyond the tenure, contributing to a more cohesive and united society.

Military service is synonymous with discipline and responsibility—qualities that are invaluable in personal and professional life. The rigorous training and structured environment instills a sense of accountability, time management, and resilience among young recruits. These attributes not only enhance individual character but also prepare them for future challenges, whether in higher education, careers, or civic duties.

The structured regimen of military service encourages healthy lifestyles and physical fitness, addressing concerns related to youth health and wellbeing. Moreover, the emphasis on mental toughness and emotional resilience equips young Australians with coping mechanisms to navigate the stresses of modern life.

National military service serves as a foundation for skills development, offering training in various fields such as technology, engineering, logistics, and leadership. These skills are highly transferable and valuable in the civilian job market. Veterans often find that their military experience gives them a competitive edge in pursuing careers, further education, or entrepreneurial ventures.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) provides comprehensive training programs that can lead to certifications and qualifications recognized across industries. This creates a pathway for young Australians to develop professionally while serving their country, ultimately contributing to a skilled and versatile workforce.

Engaging in national service fosters a deeper appreciation for civic duties and responsibilities. Young Australians who serve are more likely to participate in community activities, volunteerism, and democratic processes. This heightened sense of civic engagement enhances the overall democratic fabric of the nation.

Moreover, the pride and honour associated with serving one’s country cultivate a strong sense of national pride. This pride is not only a personal sentiment but a collective one, reinforcing national identity and solidarity. Celebrating the contributions of these young individuals can inspire future generations to value and uphold the principles of service and duty.

Implementing national military service for all 18-year-old Australians presents a multitude of benefits that extend beyond the realm of national security. It strengthens social cohesion, instills vital life skills, enhances career prospects, and promotes civic engagement. By investing in the youth through this policy, Australia can build a more resilient, united, and dynamic society capable of facing the challenges of the future with confidence and solidarity.


Ray Payne OAM – 5/6/2024


You may also like


  • Fred Anderson June 5, 2024   Reply →

    Does this include all 18yrs Male & Female persons and all Citizens of Australia ? If so I would be fine with it.

    • Noel Usher June 6, 2024   Reply →

      I agree and with, as Ray says, the option of trained youngsters contributing in ways other than simply being of the arms. I would also like to point out that, in todays technological competence to be essential, there would need to be more time alloted to training so that there is a return for that training. I seem to recall that the reason why the RAAF and RAN rejected conscription last time was because of the time spent on training was unable to produce a realistic return of service.

      If that is a weakness in the proposal, there would need to be at least another year added to the 2 years proposed. Would the people tolerate this proposition? The need for inculcation of the positive social reasons through national service is obvious.

  • Peter Knight June 5, 2024   Reply →

    Two years would be needed

  • Greg Shannon June 5, 2024   Reply →

    12 .months would work. But there must be bipartisan support.

  • John Barker June 5, 2024   Reply →

    While l’m fine with the concept l’d really like to see the broad intent of the suggested program and the really difficult task of implementing it.

    I joined the Army in’59, as the old form of NS was being shut down and in ’65 experienced the new iteration of NS, particularly in 1RAR as the first of many conscrips marched in to the battalion. Interesting times indeed.

    I’d like to think that if we were to introduce NS again, we would learn from any mistakes that may have been made in the past. By both ourselves and others. If we are to to do this let’s get it right.

    Lest we forget.

  • Peter Billington June 5, 2024   Reply →

    Hi Ray,
    Great work and so well-articulated, 18 Year Old’s to do MILITARY / NATIONAL SERVICE is exactly what Australia so critically needs now and forever into the future.
    Also, your timing is spot on, as I have only recently admonished Ross Eastgate (in leave a comment) for his Empty Suggestions are Never Going to Float, he wrote in FRONTLINE 1/6/2024.

  • Richard Barry OAM June 6, 2024   Reply →

    If we could see a massive shake up of the ADF from top down and if we could have a Minister who has seen active service and if we can weed out the wokeness then, only then, the recruitment numbers will increase.

    National Service as we saw and was involved with in the 1960’s would never succeed today. Yes, I think it’s a great idea but kids today would never do what we did.

    I’ve always advocated a compulsory twelve months ‘Civilian Service’ in the gap year after Year 12. These folk to be trained in aspects dealing with the cleaning up after fires, floods and droughts etc. They’ll learn respect, comradeship, respect for assets and may start a trade. They’ll have mates for life.

Leave a comment