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One of the biggest recruitment jobs in the country is finding between six and seven thousand able-bodied people to join the Australian Defence Force each year.

Four months ago, Defence Minister, Stephen Smith outlined his plan to bring in gender-diversity targets in response to Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick’s report on treatment of women in the ADF.

The report, commissioned last year by the Federal Government in the wake of the ‘Skype sex scandal’, makes 21 recommendations in relation to a range of areas including the participation, recruitment and retention of women.

It’s not only a more pro-active approach to women that the ADF hopes will work, they are now also jumping on the temp-to-perm bandwagon that the commercial world discovered about 25 years ago.

You may have seen the ads on TV promoting the Army’s One Year of Adventure sounding like it’s straight out of the ‘Recruiting Gen Y’ play book.

‘Experience what it’s like towork in the Army over 12 exciting months. No long-term commitments and no strings attached. Just one year of adventure with the Australian Army.’

Clearly the long term commitment previously necessary to join the ADF was a massive turn off for Gen Y and, as a result, the quality and quantity of recruits have been short of the required targets.

The Army have moved with the times and now offer a range of 12 month jobs (eg Administration Clerk, Supply Co-ordinator, Cook, Dental Assistant, Military Police) which they are aggressively pitching:

After your one year commitment, you can choose to continue your career in the Army or use the valuable skills you have learnt to secure a civilian job. Your role may accredit you with a recognised certificate, so you’ll never
feel locked into your Army position.

Over 12 life-changing months, you’ll be paid to work in your chosen role. First, you’ll complete basic training, including physical training, weapon handling, first aid and field craft. You’ll then continue to learn on the job as you’re immersed in the active Army lifestyle. Working on challenging projects with a close team, you will make friends you’ll keep for life. What’s more, you’ll earn a competitive wage and unbeatable benefits like full medical
cover, travel opportunities – you may even be eligible for rental assistance.

On their website, the first three tabs you see are Lifestyle, Training and Pay & Benefits.  It’s the classic pitch of convincing the potential recruit that life in the military is one without undue hardship. Of course, the reality is that you are signing up to defend your country which may require you to go into a war zone, where the enemy, are … like … trying to kill you

It’s all a bit hard to take seriously after the classic 2008 episode of The Hollowmen entitled Military Matter (Series 1, episode 5) where Murph (the brilliant Lachy Hume, more recently seen starring as Kerry Packer in Channel 9’s mini-series, Howzat) at the Central Policy Unit, has to come up with a way to make life in the ADF seem more attractive to meet recruitment targets.

I won’t give the end away but suffice to say if you watch the episode you won’t ever watch ADF recruitment ads again without quietly chuckling to yourself.

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Mr Clennett,

RE this fantastic one year of adventure with no strings attached: is it at all possible it involves a lot of strings attached and will be a massive, instantly regrettable, and difficult to undo mistake for the young, poor and/or lesser educated more vulnerable members of society by chance?

Strings like being recalled anytime for the rest of your life forever; being reactivated in first wave conscription on the whim of the Queen's representative, forever, should there be an impending Asia Pacific Theatre call short fall; or being re-looped through basic for a year or more; long delays on discharge papers; never getting the posting you were promised and sometimes not the training either; poor complaint resolution, even for violent assault; no one to turn to for help that will actually help (especially for female and gay service members regardless of rank); leaving with debilitating psychiatric illness NOS; and no theme music? Anything like that?

And if so, and you recruit someone; do they have legal recourse to get out of their service contract? Is the service contract a contract? And are you personally legally responsible in the civil/criminal system for any such misrepresentations or are you a military man yourself?

I'm just curious. Please forgive the tone of the writing. & I appreciate your assistance on these matters.

Warm Regards,

[email protected]

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