‘You’re serving’: Lambie’s bold army plan

Senator Jacqui Lambie
Jacqui Lambie has called for Australia to establish a national guard, Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Jacqui Lambie has called for Australia to establish a national guard in the wake of Rishi Sunak’s plan to reinstate mandatory national service.

The Tasmanian senator has proposed a domestic arm made up of young Australians not working or studying to help the ADF meet the requirements of non-traditional missions – such as assisting with natural disasters and pandemics.

Offering slogan to go with her plan: “If you’re not earning or learning, then you are serving”, she suggested incentives may be needed but stopped short of calling for mandatory service.

Senator Jacqui Lambie says she wants Australia to build a national guard made up of young people. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

“I want to speak really out there to those kids who are 21 and below: you can see what’s going on with climate change, you can see especially when we need to go in there and we need to do the clean up, we haven’t got the feet on the ground,” she told Sky News.

“I would like to see some sort of compulsory (service), but I have to work around the kids of today and say ‘What can convince you to come in and get the training that you need, and what do we need to repay you back?’”

She floated the idea of cheaper university fees to encourage people.

Senator Lambie, a veteran herself, has lamented how heavily Australia relied on the military during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under Senator Lambie’s plan, service would not be compulsory but incentivised. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Glenn Campbell

Her comments come after the United Kingdom Prime Minister kicked off his snap-election campaign on the weekend by announcing the Conservative Party would require 18-year-old Britons to either join the military full-time or volunteer one weekend a month in community service.

The UK Labour Party has labelled it “desperate”, while Mr Sunak says it would help young people learn “real world skills, do new things, and contribute to their community and our country”.

Senator Lambie, whose own idea is not for mandatory service, said Mr Sunak’s plan would “scare the bejesus out of the younger generation”.

“I don’t want to scare you, I just want you to have some skill sets where especially with natural disasters we can use you for domestic use and we can go ‘Hey guys, 24 hours, grab your packs, go and help out there, we’ve got a massive flood … come and help us out’,” she said.