National Service gives youths direction

YOUTH SUPPORTER: Anthony Beezley supports the reintroduction of compulsory National Service.
YOUTH SUPPORTER: Anthony Beezley supports the reintroduction of compulsory National Service. Rose Hamilton-Barr

FORTY years ago, almost to the day, National Service was abolished.

More than 15,000 national servicemen served in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1972. It provoked debate about conscription, which led to the scheme being abolished on December 5, 1972.

Now one local man is raising the idea of reintroducing National Service in Australia.

Cherbourg Shire Council's manager of employment services Anthony Beezley said it could be highly beneficial to regional communities and younger generations.

"National Service would create a solid workforce of like-minded individuals, who are strong, determined and skilled," he said.

"(This) would add value back into their community.

"It would also create a sense of security for all Australians, knowing that we are skilling and equipping this generation to meet any national security demands that may arise."

Vietnam Veterans Association president Trevor Sanderson was drafted into the Vietnam War from Murgon.

Mr Sanderson was deployed to Vietnam for 12 months in 1967, after his birth date was drawn from a conscription lottery.

He said the time he spent in military training was where he learnt a lot of valuable life skills.

"I learnt a lot of discipline and to respect my elders," he said.

"When I was called up they said 'we're here to make men out of you boys'.

"And that is exactly what they did."

Mr Sanderson said National Service could help discipline younger generations and encourage respect.

"The reintroduction of National Service in Australia is a great idea," he said.

"Discipline and respect is what the kids of these days are lacking.

"Even at the age of 19 or 20, they should be conscripted into National Service for 12 months."

National Service exists in a number of countries, including Israel, Finland, Switzerland, Greece and Norway.

Do you think National Service should be reintroduced? Let us know at

  • Defence Act 1903 gave the government the power to conscript for the purposes of home defence but not overseas service
  • Universal Service Scheme introduced in 1909 was passed into law in 1911. It was the first system of compulsory military service in Australia. Abolished by the Labor government immediately after its election in October 1929
  • Compulsory military service within Australia was revived in 1939
  • In a bill passed in February 1943, 'Australia' was defined to include New Guinea and adjacent islands. This obliged soldiers in the Citizen Military Force to serve in this region, known as the South-West Pacific Area
  • Compulsory military training brought back in 1951 by the Liberal government as the National Service Scheme. Abolished in 1959
  • Service was re-introduced in 1964, and in May 1965 the Liberal government introduced new powers that enabled it to send national servicemen to serve overseas.
  • From 1965 to 1972, 15,381 national servicemen served in the Vietnam War
  • The National Service Scheme was abolished on December 5, 1972 by the newly elected Labor government.
South Burnett

Topics:  national service

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