Return of the nasho

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Last updated on March 5th, 2018 at 01:45 pm

Young Labor wants to bring back national service:

The [NSW] group’s president, Sam Dastyari, said there were too many young people who were not willing to contribute to society. “It does not mean you would have to do military service or be an army cadet,” he said.

“The community service could take many forms, from being an army cadet to helping with chores at the local retirement village. It could be helping community groups or churches or charities.”

As long as they have to carry guns, no matter where they’re deployed, I approve. National service opponent Saint Gough won’t be happy:

One of Gough Whitlam’s first actions on being elected prime minister in 1972 was to abolish it.

(Via J.F. Beck)

Posted by Tim B. on 01/05/2006 at 10:43 AM
    1. “Society” only means “owned by beurocrats”.

      When is the extortion funded sector going to be shrunk to allow genuine society (of reciprocal self-interest) to form.

      Posted by Rob Read on 2006 01 05 at 11:53 AM • permalink


    1. “The community service could take many forms . . .”

      Well, if the government offers jobs painting the gluteous maximus of comely young PETAards, you ought to get hordes of volunteers.

      Posted by paco on 2006 01 05 at 01:05 PM • permalink


    1. The community service could take many forms…It could be helping community groups or churches or charities.

      Or maybe even handing out “how to vote” cards in marginal electorates?You know who for.

      Posted by James Waterton on 2006 01 05 at 01:48 PM • permalink


    1. I don’t know if economics comes in, but in any voluntary transaction, both sides come out ahead.

      Say, for example, you go to your job flipping burgers as a kid, they give you money that they value less than your work, and you give them some work that you value less than the money.

      There’s even a Japanese view of contracts that goes that if either party becomes unhappy with the terms, the contract ought to be renegotiated so they are happy, and that is done informally even in the West.

      Both sides always coming out ahead is why you want lots of voluntary transactions.  It raises the standard of living of both sides each time one happens.

      It’s also why you don’t want involuntary transactions, say national service programs for youth.

      Though the idea of armed janitors in retirement communities is a good one

      Posted by rhhardin on 2006 01 05 at 01:48 PM • permalink


    1. As long as they have to carry guns, no matter where they’re deployed, I approve.

      Lefty: SHRIEK!

      Posted by Achillea on 2006 01 05 at 01:56 PM • permalink


    1. National “service” = State Slavery.

      It would be time to tell the state that you own it, not the other way around.

      Posted by Rob Read on 2006 01 05 at 02:16 PM • permalink


    1. There are some schools in my neck of the woods that actually have ‘mandatory volunteer programs.’

      Yes, I live in a blue city in a blue state, how’d you guess?

      Posted by Achillea on 2006 01 05 at 02:39 PM • permalink


    1. “The community service could take many forms”

      Isn’t civilian conscription unconstitutional?

      Posted by 2dogs on 2006 01 05 at 03:17 PM • permalink


    1. They are a funny mob the ALP, they are against free trade, freedom to establish employment contracts and free speech and all for compulsory unionism and military service.

      All under the banner of “human rights”

      Posted by rog2 on 2006 01 05 at 03:25 PM • permalink


    1. Great way to keep those annoying kids from voting Labor, eh?

      Posted by Gary from Jersey on 2006 01 05 at 04:24 PM • permalink


    1. Why would the military want to deal with little shits that can’t be controlled by their parents? That’s nothing that a prolonged and merciless beating couldn’t fix.

      Posted by CB on 2006 01 05 at 05:44 PM • permalink


    1. There are some old dodderers around here who did their National Service in the 1950s. Best thing that ever happened to us and it would the best thing for some kids today (especially if girls came too).

      Posted by Happy John on 2006 01 05 at 05:54 PM • permalink


    1. Sounds good in theory, but it would be to the detriment of our military forces … I’m talking about military national service here … at the moment we require recruits to meet certain physical and educational requirements, that’s not going to happen.  Many in the serving military are opposed to it, their idea is to work in a professional defence force, and not be running some sort of youth boot camp.

      Aren’t many of our youth already doing community service, as dictated by the courts?  Ah, that doesn’t seem to be compulsory …

      Posted by Stevo on 2006 01 05 at 06:08 PM • permalink


    1. Their web site has yet to catch up with this news.  Given their list of beliefs, I think a good role for the conscript army would be to boost security on detention centres.

      Posted by noir on 2006 01 05 at 06:23 PM • permalink


    1. Tim … about our famous bum pic on the front page, can you turn it into an animated GIF and give it a bit of a wiggle … be more eye catching and maybe worth more silver …

      Posted by Stevo on 2006 01 05 at 06:49 PM • permalink


    1. What is it with these young people? Now they want to join the army?

      Heaven forbid, the army employs highly skilled, disciplined and highly trained soldiers, who in and out of the service are very employable.

      Is that why they want to join?

      Selfish buggers!

      Posted by WeekByWeek on 2006 01 05 at 07:18 PM • permalink


    1. All work is equal, and therefore any work is the same as any other work.  Since work is also anything anyone “works” at, then what I am doing right now is National Service work.  I want my check.

      Posted by Joe Peden on 2006 01 05 at 07:21 PM • permalink


    1. Compulsory military service, with the discipline it entails, can be good for those compelled to serve.  And there’s at least a reasonable argument that those who wish to enjoy the benefits of living in a state should be prepared to defend it.  These may override the liberty interest of individuals.

      There is no equivalent benefit to the draftee in compulsory service work, and no equivalent argument for requiring the work.  The liberty interest of the individual should trump such enforced servitude.

      And to argue for the latter on the grounds of “choice” is no more valid than arguing kids should have a choice between mandatory schooling and mandatory make-work projects.  The reason to require schooling is to benefit the youth; the system where you choose between schooling and make-work is no longer supported by that reason, and using dislike of the former to push people into the forced alternative of the latter is accordingly unjustified.

      Posted by Warmongering Lunatic on 2006 01 05 at 07:24 PM • permalink


    1. “The community service could take many forms, from being an army cadet to helping with chores at the local retirement village. It could be helping community groups or churches or charities.”

      Ahh, The Beazley youth. Rudd just wants to wear one of the uniforms.

      Posted by Nic on 2006 01 05 at 07:44 PM • permalink


    1. As libertarian as I may be, I can’t say much against the year I spent working in a local hospital (we do still have national service here in Germany). Sure, it was involuntary, but at least I did something reasonably useful, which is a quality I wouldn’t ascribe to the alternative, that being 10 months of military service being “trained” for nothing in particular on equipment that’s mostly older than I am.

      In other words, while I find conscript armies to be a useless relic (especially if they’re as badly maintained as ours here, and aren’t going to be used for anything anyway), the idea of mandatory community service is quite alright with me. As long as both sexes are required to do it.

      Posted by PW on 2006 01 05 at 07:54 PM • permalink


    1. Would like to fine tune it by having any Juvinile detention residents automaticly becoming draftees.
      Most come from crap families with no role models. We had quite a few in our shearing team who within a week of being around hard working, no nonsense men would straighten right out. Unfortunatly most would then be placed straight back into the crap families to become more damaged again.

      Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2006 01 05 at 08:00 PM • permalink


    1. So under Labour, the idea is that schools get more and more fluffy-bunny, and then we hit the kids with National Service as soon as they finish school?  Well, it’s a theory.

      Posted by Brett_McS on 2006 01 05 at 08:08 PM • permalink


    1. Ask any bloke who was ever a Nasho and I guarantee 90% will tell you it was the making of them. The ADF is rhetorically against reintroducing Nasho because they say it would detract from their war fighting capabilities.
      However I beleive this selfish and hollow argument forgets just how many Nashos went on to join the Regular Army and did their bit as career soldiers.
      Let’s not also forget all the Nashos who volunteered to fight in SVN. They sure did us proud and fought just as well as the Regs.
      Note I said VOLUNTEERED.
      You had to volunteer to fight O/S. A popular Leftist myth is that our Digs were conscripted to fight in Vietnam when in fact they were conscripted ONLY to do Nasho.
      THEN if they wanted to go and put their skills into practice you had to volunteer to go.
      And then they had to want you. Not everyone who put their hand up got a guernsey.

      Posted by 81Alpha on 2006 01 05 at 08:13 PM • permalink


    1. Odd how even Young Labor is coming up with conservative ideas- a fair indication of how even younger Australians are becoming more conservative. Even more odd is how the ABC’s yoof network is infested with bedwetting commies- hardly representative of the general young population. (Keeps it in line with the rest of the ABC, I suppose).

      Posted by Habib on 2006 01 05 at 08:32 PM • permalink


    1. I have a bush hat with an “Autralian Military Forces” badge on the turned up side.  Had it for years, and only about two years ago learned what it signified, and it surprised me.  During Vietnam, many US draftees went into the infantry, because that’s where they needed them, and were sent overseas, because that’s where they were needed.  Even Reservists and Guardsmen were mobilized for combat, but not nearly to the extent we are seeing today.

      I suppose I have a problem with national service being imposed in such a differential manner.  Not to take away from PW’s hospital service, but emptying bedpans might conceivably be more benefit to society than military service, it’s still not in any way equivalent in terms of hardship an dpersonal risk, even in peace time.  Again, in PW’s example, what the hell does Germany even have a military for, since 1991?  Oh, wait, forgot – so they can go in for peacekeeping after the US does the heavy lifting.

      But then again, if you’re facing combat you’d probably prefer to be accompanied by motivated volunteers than reluctant draftees.

      Posted by Steve Skubinna on 2006 01 05 at 08:38 PM • permalink


    1. That’s nothing that a prolonged and merciless beating couldn’t fix.

      Back in the day, that was called “wall to wall counseling,” as in, “I’m going to hit you til you get smart or my arm gets tired.”

      Of course, as an officer and a gentleman, I can assure such things NEVER occured (as an enlistmed man, I can assure you the banging and thumping could keep you up all night.)

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 01 05 at 08:43 PM • permalink


    1. So Richard you were an army medic?

      Posted by noir on 2006 01 05 at 08:47 PM • permalink


    1. Hard to imagine anything so sensible coming out of Young Labor.Maybe young Sammy has found his way into the wrong Party.Anyway a spell at a Re-education Camp will soon straighten him out.Stand by for interpretation,explanation and possibly retraction.Just when Albo gets his unfortunate head on Television with his mad plans to save the Pacific along comes this upstart and pinches his limelight.Expulsion might well be facing this heretic.

      Posted by Lew on 2006 01 05 at 09:07 PM • permalink


    1. The community service could take many forms

      Absolutely! I think an activist government should set up some kind of system whereby individuals would somehow be incented to devote their time and skills performing useful services for those in need of them. And we’d need some kind of communications mechanism, so that it’s clear what services are most needed at any given time, and exactly who needs them.

      And the government could build special buildings and areas that could serve as a nexus for all this! A convenient place for those in need to come and meet those who are willing to help them.

      Such a progressive dream…

      Posted by Supercat on 2006 01 05 at 09:28 PM • permalink


    1. Whoa

      I thought they caught that 1 neo nazi caving enthusiast guy and the beaches were safe from terror once again.

      Say it aint so

      Posted by Christian Bin Laden on 2006 01 05 at 09:38 PM • permalink


    1. William F. Buckley Jr. suggested something like this for the USA many years ago.

      Another example was Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers novel.  In that story one had to do Federal Service if one wanted to gain full citizenship and political rights such as voting and participation in politics, which most people did not.  Most service was non-military, but grungy and unpleasant (such as mining).  One twist was that they had to find something for a volunteer to do, no matter his physical condition.  Heinlein wrote an example where a recruit who washed out of infantry training (90 percent did) for medical reasons ended up as a cook on a transport.  It’s a libertarian version of national service, voluntary but predicated on restricted political rights for veterans of service only.

      Posted by Michael Lonie on 2006 01 05 at 09:42 PM • permalink


    1. noir—nope.  Straight leg and mechanized infantry, mortar and NBC assignments.  I meant the noise of it kept you awake all night…*g*

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 01 05 at 09:56 PM • permalink


    1. Not to take away from PW’s hospital service, but emptying bedpans might conceivably be more benefit to society than military service, it’s still not in any way equivalent in terms of hardship an dpersonal risk, even in peace time

      Steve—Maybe we could hire retired Nashos to walk around behind them firing shotguns over their heads while they empty the bedpans?

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 01 05 at 09:58 PM • permalink


    1. So under Labour, the idea is that schools get more and more fluffy-bunny, and then we hit the kids with National Service as soon as they finish school?  Well, it’s a theory.

      See Maggie Thatcher’s “Short Sharp Shock”… *g*

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 01 05 at 10:00 PM • permalink


    1. If your idea of “community service” is walking around the neighborhood with a loaded rifle to deter criminals, would Labor approve?

      Posted by Spectre765 on 2006 01 05 at 10:05 PM • permalink


    1. #24. I agree with Habib.  The boomer generation sucks.  The post-boomers are definitely more realistic.

      Posted by Brett_McS on 2006 01 05 at 10:06 PM • permalink


    1. Not to take away from PW’s hospital service, but emptying bedpans might conceivably be more benefit to society than military service, it’s still not in any way equivalent in terms of hardship an dpersonal risk, even in peace time.

      The hardships that my friends who did join for their 10 months went through mostly consisted of them having a somewhat longer way home (almost nobody who has a car and gets stationed less than two hours from home bothers to sleep in the barracks, even on weekdays), and getting screamed at by military superiors instead of crazy old nurses. I’m not trying to detract from military service per se, but as mundane as my hospital job was, given the pennies I got paid it was definitely a net benefit to society, while the blanket training of conscripts is an utter waste of money for a peace-time army. Much better to spend it on, say, training 40,000 long-term volunteers than the annual 130,000+ of conscripts who end up with little meaningful skills from it.

      As far as the “mandatory military service as a way of forming the youth’s character”, I’m afraid the usefulness of that concept expired in the 1960s and 70s…my friends are far from slackers, but not a one of them took their service any seriously. Well, except the one guy who signed up for three years afterwards. (He went down to Kosovo for a year as part of his service.) So I’m mindful of the other argument, “mandatory military service as a precursor for attracting long-termers”, but I think the examples of both the U.S. and Australia show that’s not really necessary to meet current recruiting goals.

      All in all, I suspect that re-introducing conscription in any place that hasn’t had it for several decades is bound to be a disaster. The backbone of societal morality just isn’t there to support it anymore. I think you could sell today’s youth on mandatory community service, though, but perhaps I’m a bit pie-in-the-sky from my own experience. (I should probably note that we did have one stoner in the hospital who eventually just didn’t bother to show up for work anymore, so it’s hardly a foolproof character-building experience, either.) And obviously, volunteering for the military should get you out of any other service obligations.

      Oh, wait, forgot – so they can go in for peacekeeping after the US does the heavy lifting.

      Nothing wrong with tailoring your military towards peacekeeping services. Sadly, the major proponents of that (Canada, Germany, some other Euro countries) continue to insist on telling the heavy lifters how their job is supposed to be done. I don’t particularly agree with that aspect, as you can imagine.

      And the government could build special buildings and areas that could serve as a nexus for all this! A convenient place for those in need to come and meet those who are willing to help them.

      Well, yeah, any country that isn’t already (Euro-style) heavy on government-provided services might find it difficult to gainfully employ the numbers of young people that would result from mandatory service (without crowding out the private sector even worse than mandatory service will do anyway). If national service just ends up as an excuse to pump funds into lefty artsy projects like, say, chalk sidewalk colouring, it’s just as much a financial waste as conscripting them into the military.

      Posted by PW on 2006 01 05 at 10:09 PM • permalink


    1. BTW, the German Wikipedia happens to have the final conscription numbers for my age cohort (1980): 137,500 military service, 152,000 community service, 150,500 neither, so pretty much one-third apiece.

      One of the main reason for “neither” is physical inability – standards for community service are obviously lower (although one of my friends got the lowest ability rating and ended up having a desk job in the military), but you need to declare before the physical and you can’t be overruled, so many behave strategically by declaring for military service and hoping they get rated low enough that the military won’t bother calling them in, because they can’t be forced to do community service instead. The other main reason is getting deferments until you can’t be conscripted anymore (age 26 when I went in, age 24 now).

      In other words, the system is pretty much fucked anyway, and there’s little equity in it, and they’d probably be better off scrapping it completely (either in favour of nothing or in favour of mandatory community service). Okay, so much for that OT.

      Posted by PW on 2006 01 05 at 10:30 PM • permalink


    1. And who will be legally obligated to put these teenagers to wprk, tell them what to do, and vouch for their service credits? Their parents, of course!

      Bwahaha, the liberal nightmare come true!

      Posted by localharbor on 2006 01 05 at 10:54 PM • permalink


    1. I presume that PW did his compulsory service somewhere other than Australia.

      Australia’s 2 year “Nashos” were indistiguishable from their regular army counterparts. The same military regulations applied to all (with some differences in pay structure for selected NS, and length of service obligation).

      It was a huge drain on training establishments, the defence budget, and outlived its usefulness when McMahon ended Australia’s involvement in Vietnam.

      If a referendum was held today on the introduction of compulsory military or community service, I would be amazed if the “Yes” vote was even 20%.

      Posted by Pedro the Ignorant on 2006 01 05 at 11:19 PM • permalink


    1. Richard, I was punning the typo.

      Posted by noir on 2006 01 05 at 11:44 PM • permalink


    1. I am amazed that any suggestion so sensible could come from Labor.
      Many European countries have a form of mandatory national service,[I wonder if their Muslim “asylum seekers” have to do it] It should begin in High School for ALL and continue on until the age perhaps of 25years.
      Skills would be taught, disciplines instilled and it should be paid enough to stop the moaning.
      It should begin today.

      Posted by waussie on 2006 01 06 at 12:08 AM • permalink


    1. National service? Hell yes. Every yoot should be required to run around Australia once. Many benefits: gets ‘em out of the house, stops ‘em from getting fat, difficult to do drugs while your running, get to see the country (bits of it anyway), takes a long time, creates employment for those who’ve got to feed them and find them. Also, you’re still serving even if you run away.

      Posted by larrikin on 2006 01 06 at 12:16 AM • permalink


    1. noir — Those aren’t typos.  I never make typos.  Those are coded microdot messages from Our Dark Master Karl to the lackeys…

      And by the way, you never heard that.  Or else wronwright told you.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 01 06 at 12:20 AM • permalink


    1. From the SMH:
      “A federal Labor frontbencher says he supports a national service initiative, as long as it is voluntary.”

      God I love Labor. Only they could decide to promote a voluntary system of compulsory national service.

      Posted by anagallis on 2006 01 06 at 01:48 AM • permalink


    1. I think it’s a splendid idea but far too innovative probably for federal Labor to pick up. I noticed would-be Deputy PM Jenny Macklin praise the idea but then say it should be voluntary. It’s the folks that wouldn’t volunteer that it would probably most benefit. Will someone put her out of her misery?

      Posted by Andrew Landeryou on 2006 01 06 at 01:53 AM • permalink


    1. Yeah, I reckon either one or both major parties will pick this idea up and run with it sometime in the next 10-15 years. National Service for military purposes is dead as a dodo, but like everywhere else Australia’s faced with an aging population requiring more and more health care. The chance of grabbing teenagers to empty bedpans and administer kero baths for minimal wages is going to look very attractive to some pollies. PW may be able to correct me on this, but I have been told that the German health/aged care system would be in deep trouble without national service.

      Personally, I favour the eskimo solution of pushing the sick and aged onto icebergs to be eaten by polar bears, but that’s just me.

      Posted by squawkbox on 2006 01 06 at 02:36 AM • permalink


    1. Pedro, PW did his service in Germany, hence my snide remarks concerning the utility of the post-USSR Bundeswehr.

      And I agree with PW that there is a place for peacekeepers, provided their mission is kept separate from the door-kickers and shooters.  The Clintons never understood this and were often surprised by the martial zeal of noted humanitarian service organizations such as the 82nd Airborne.

      Posted by Steve Skubinna on 2006 01 06 at 02:52 AM • permalink


    1. Sounds like more big government to me.

      Posted by DBO on 2006 01 06 at 03:23 AM • permalink


    1. # 26 Hey wall to wall beatings used to be carried out at primary school in Australia.
      Tennis champs openly admitted to using you as target practice (only employing the steel ruler,not the racket),paedophile teachers touched you up unhindered or teachers of other persuasions carried the most physically endowed young women around the class in their arms.The cane was something to be proud of (not showing fear or pain) and collars were something to throw you out of the class with.
      Emotional abuse was prevalent too,with terms such as dolt,lunkhead,dill,stupid,dumb,brainless,dunce,boofhead,useless waste of space etc being bandied about no end.Other horrors are too wounding to reveal…to sensitive souls like Blairites.
      Of course thats only from the teachers I mention,never mind the KIDS-that’s another story.
      The little darlings at school today don’t know how b##### lucky they are AND they are far more violent than we ever were.Some sort of middle ground is called for.

      Posted by crash on 2006 01 06 at 07:08 AM • permalink


    1. DBO,

      You can’t get bigger government than conscription! It’s slavery at it’s most basic.

      I cannot even beleive anyone can think this is a good idea.

      Maybe I’ll have to rediscover the “social good” of those conscripted from Africa to work on Plantations harvesting Sugar-cane.

      Australians (et al) should consider any government that conscripts, as a rogue state, and physically attack it appropriatly.

      Posted by Rob Read on 2006 01 06 at 07:43 AM • permalink


    1. #20: Say, PW, you didn’t by any chance see Ward Reilly brought in with a case of the DT’s while you were doing your hospital service, did you? I understand that he was in Germany during his stint in the army, and it must have been pretty frustrating trying to thwart Vietnamese communism from there, so I assume he probably tried to drown his sorrows from time to time.

      Posted by paco on 2006 01 06 at 09:03 AM • permalink


    1. 45 anagallis

      God I love Labor. Only they could decide to promote a voluntary system of compulsory national service.

      Brilliant!  And they can pay for it with a graduated flat tax.

      Posted by Stoop Davy Dave on 2006 01 06 at 01:06 PM • permalink


    1. And have the troops out by Christmas, but not say which christmas.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2006 01 07 at 03:23 AM • permalink


    1. Is anybody else surprised the little Labor weenie didn’’t say “from being an army cadet UP to helping with chores at the local retirement village.”?

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 01 07 at 11:46 PM • permalink


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