Conscription in Australia

Universal military training for Australian men.

Universal military training for Australian men aged 18 to 60 was compulsory from 1911 until 1 November 1929, although only for serving on Australian Territory.Referendums were held during World War One to try to bring in Conscription for Overseas service.

The referendum of 28 October 1916 asked Australians:.

Are you in favour of the Government having, in this grave emergency, the same compulsory powers over citizens in regard to requiring their military service, for the term of this War, outside the Commonwealth, as it now has in regard to military service within the Commonwealth?

The referendum was defeated with 1,087,557 in favour and 1,160,033 against.

Mandatory registration and enrollment commenced before the referendum was actually held, (to be ready for action if this was proposal was passed) and it was found that 39.5% of those registered and physically examined were found to be fit for duty. (4,581 out the 11,607 examined by 5th October 1916)

An interesting fact is that 416,809, or 38.7% of the total male population aged between 18 to 44, actually volunteered for service.

The referendum of 20 December 1917 asked Australians:.

Are you in favour of the proposal of the Commonwealth Government for reinforcing the Commonwealth Forces overseas?’
The proposal was that this would apply to: single men, widowers, and divorcees without dependents between 20 and 44 years of age.

The referendum was defeated with 1,015,159 in favour and 1,181,747 against.

Published ANZAC day 2010, in memory.

Australian National Service 1964-1973.

    In 1964, an Australian Federal Law was passed, called “The National Service Act (1964)”.

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    This Act from 24 November 1964, required 20 year old males to serve in the Army for a period of 2 years continuous service, followed by 3 years in the Reserves. the aim of this was to increase the size of the Australian Army to 37,500 full time soldiers. This target then went up to 40,000 in 1965.

    In May 1965 the Act was amended to allow these conscripts to serve overseas.
    In March 1966 these conscripts could then be obliged to serve on active duty in Vietnam.
    In 1971 this Act was amended to reduce the service from 2 years to 18 months.

    In June 1973 the “National Service Termination Act” came into effect, ending the National Service requirement.

    Between 1964 and 1972, 804,286 young men were registered for service, but only 63,735 served in the Army.
    To put this number in perspective, 237,048 elected to serve in the Citizen Military Forces or volunteered for the Army.

Edited on Remembrance Day 2010 in memory

Australia currently has no Conscription.


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