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- Calls for ADF to embrace ‘foreign legion’
- Cost-of-living pressures deepen mental health crisis
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Calls for ADF to embrace ‘foreign legion’
The federal opposition and leading military experts are calling on the Albanese government to consider radical policy changes, including allowing foreigners to fight under the Australian flag to help address the recruitment crisis plaguing the nation’s defence force.
Former senior defence officials said Pacific Islanders should be allowed to enlist in the Australian Defence Force and offered an accelerated pathway to Australian citizenship, while others said the offer should be extended to citizens from friendly nations such as New Zealand, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Australian Defence Force personnel in Honiara. The ADF is suffering from a recruitment crisis, leading to calls for bold ideas to boost staff numbers.
The federal government has set an ambitious goal of adding an extra 18,500 uniformed personnel by 2040, a 30 per cent increase on current levels, but the Defence Force is struggling to maintain its current staffing numbers.
Longstanding defence policy states that only Australian citizens can serve, with exemptions granted only in “very rare and exceptional circumstances”.
Several other nations allow non-citizens to serve in their militaries, most famously the French Foreign Legion and the British army’s brigade of Nepalese Gurkhas.
You can access the full story by national security correspondent Matthew Knott here.
Cost-of-living pressures deepen mental health crisis
Financial and crisis counsellors are reporting the highest rates of mental distress they have seen as a growing number of Australians cancel appointments with their psychologists to cut costs.
There have been 8000 more calls to the National Debt Helpline during the first three months of this year compared with the same period last year, representing a 30 per cent increase.
Claire Tacon, assistant director of financial counselling at the Consumer Action Law Centre, said a new demographic of fully employed people who had never experienced financial problems before were phoning the National Debt Helpline.
She said rent and mortgage repayments had overtaken credit card and energy bills as the main reason people sought help.
“Previously, everyone had a story … their marriage may have broken down, or they stopped work to care for a parent or partner,” she said.
“Now, there is often no backstory. It’s because interest rates have gone up, cost of living has gone up, and their incomes have stayed the same.”
Read the full article here.
If you or anyone you know needs support, call Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.
This morning’s headlines at a glance
Good morning, and for your company.
It’s Monday, May 1. I’m Ashleigh McMillan, and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day
Here’s what you need to know before we get started:
- Leading military experts are calling on the Albanese government to consider allowing foreigners to fight under the Australian flag to help recruitment to the nation’s defence force.
Financial and crisis counsellors are reporting the highest rates of mental distress they have ever seen. According to suicide prevention organisation Lifeline, up to 80 per cent of its calls now relate to cost-of-living pressures.
- Hundreds of infrastructure projects announced by former Coalition governments are under the gun in a snap review of the Commonwealth building pipeline.
- The Reserve Bank board will tomorrow decide whether to increase interest rates or hold them, after lifting the official cash rate from 0.1 per cent to 3.6 per cent in less than a year.
- Former prime minister Tony Abbott has accused Labor MPs of gagging figures who are sceptical of this year’s Voice to parliament referendum, after he was blocked from appearing at a key parliamentary inquiry.
- Aged-care providers are urging the federal government to delay slashing work rights for international students, warning it will worsen critical workforce shortages in the sector.
- Looking overseas, and Sudan’s army and its rival paramilitary said on Sunday they would extend a humanitarian cease-fire for a further 72 hours.
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