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■ Casey Council’s plan for youth conscription is taking hits ...
‘Nasho’ under fire By Victoria Stone-Meadows
They want you ... Casey councillors Amanda Stapledon, Rex Flannery and Rosalie Crestani want to see national service introduced for all Picture: VICTORIA STONE-MEADOWS Australians 18 years of age. 170716 council chambers when the motion was raised, he would not be able to support it as a matter of conscience. “Personally I don’t agree with it and feel we are not in a situation to warrant it,” he said. Two of the federal MPs Casey Council resolved to write to as part of the motion have shown a clear reluctance to support the plan. Member for Holt and Deputy Chair of the Intelligence and Security Joint Committee, Anthony Byrne, said he could see what council was trying to
achieve, but fell short of putting his support behind the move. “I appreciate that there is an issue with youth crime in our local community, and understand that we need to work co-operatively to find an effective means to keep our community safe,” he said. “I have been actively working with the security and law enforcement agencies to keep Australia and the community safe and I will continue working with my parliamentary colleagues to discuss all options for keeping the community safe from any potential
threats, particularly addressing the rise of youth crime rates in the electorate of Holt.” La Trobe MP and Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Migration Committee, Jason Wood, said he would not support implementing mandatory national service. “What the council is trying to achieve is getting young people out of crime and the gangs, but for me there are a lot of other things I’ll be doing before supporting that,” he said. “I can’t put my support behind that;
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I will be more supportive of getting more funding for youth programs, diversion programs, and giving young people hope. I don’t think this will be government policy, but their intentions are good.” While the Australian Defence Force was not able to provide comment, a spokesperson from the office of the Minister of Defence was quick to shoot down the idea. “The government has no plans to introduce compulsory military service,” the spokesperson said.
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Casey Council’s controversial plan to urge federal politicians to consider reintroducing mandatory national military service has attracted criticism from all angles. From a councillor who wasn’t present in the chambers during debate, to federal politicians and veterans’ rights groups, the council has found a marked lack of support for its bold plan. Casey Councillor Wayne Smith was not present when the motion was raised at the general council meeting on Tuesday 18 July, but said he would have spoken against it. “I read it in the agenda before I had to leave the meeting early and had not thought it would get anywhere; I though it surely was not going to get up,” he said. Cr Smith said he was absolutely shocked when he found out after the meeting that the motion had passed. “At the end of the meeting I asked how the motion went and when the other councillors said it passed unanimously, I thought they were joking,” he said. The motion will see Casey Council write to local federal MPs and urge them to consider supporting a move to reintroduce mandatory military service for all Australians when they turn 18. Cr Smith said Casey Council has no business meddling in federal policy areas and should focus on helping the residents of Casey have better lives. “The average everyday citizen in Casey wants us looking at issues that affect them and their quality of life in Casey,” he said. “Every person in Casey will have their views on conscription, but council doesn’t need to have that opinion on their behalf.” Cr Smith said if he were in the