THE HON BRENDAN NELSON MP by mifei

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									THE HON DR BRENDAN NELSON MP PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE MINISTER FOR DEFENCE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO CADETS: THE FUTURE RAAF RICHMOND 3 JUNE 2001 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Introduction  Welcome to: - Chief of the Defence Force, Admiral Chris Barrie - Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral David Shackleton - Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Peter Cosgrove - Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Errol McCormack - Director General of Cadets, Major General Darryl Low Choy - Air Commodore Roger Harrison, commander Airlift group and Mrs Harrison - Chiefs Cadets Services - Parliamentary colleagues – Kerry Bartlett (Macquarie); Jackie Kelly (Lindsay, Sport and Tourism); Fran Bailey (McEwan); Lance Barrett (rep Jim Lloyd); - Mr John Topley, Chair of Review team - Air Vice Marshal Bob Richardson, member of Review team - Distinguished Guests - Adult Staff, Cadets and Families

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Today represents a turning point - only for the Australian Defence Force Cadets, but for our nation’s efforts to provide a meaningful sense of belonging and purpose to young Australians. Shortly I will announce the Government’s response to the extraordinarily comprehensive report Cadets: The Future, authored principally by John Topley and Air Vice Marshall Bob Richardson and delivered to the Government late last year.

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But before I do, we should applaud the outstanding young Australians who are on parade here today and the other 25,000 who participate in cadet units the length and breadth of the nation. It is inspiring to see such fine drill and ceremony. But the immense pride you show in being Navy, Army and Air Force cadets, does still not match the pride we as parents, military and political leaders have in you.

History  The Cadets scheme has had a long and proud history in Australia. In fact, today’s cadets can trace their origins back to pre-Federation Australia.  From its beginnings at St Mark’s Collegiate School in 1866, the cadet movement continued to grow and evolve through the years, until hitting the infamous low point of the early 1970s. 

During this time, the Government was under increasing pressure to withdraw Australian troops from Vietnam. There was a growing feeling of open hostility towards Defence, as images of conflict – both military and domestic protest, were broadcast into lounge room television sets nightly.
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The newly elected Whitlam Government promised to review Australia’s Defence Forces – including the Cadet Corps.

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The subsequent report prepared by Dr T.B. Millar into the Australian Cadet Corps, recommended the retention of cadets with some modifications, noting that the scheme attracted broad community support.

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However, the Whitlam Labor Government decided to abolish the school cadets. The Government’s general scaling back of the Defence Forces as a whole included the withdrawal of support for Cadet units.

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All Army, Navy and Air Force cadet units were either disbanded, or continued without support from the Commonwealth.

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This decision generated angered unrest in large sections of the cadet and wider communities, but its abolition was appealed without success.

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In 1976, cadets were re-established under the Fraser Coalition Government as the Australian Services Cadet Scheme (ASCS), but on a fundamentally different basis.

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Community-based, rather than school-based units were encouraged, together with a downscaling of military-like training. The communitybased emphasis was crystallised in 1983 when the Hawke Labor Government announced that school-based units would no longer receive direct support from the Army – many of these units subsequently became ‘Limited Support Units’.
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On its election in 1996, the Howard Government initiated the Cadets in Schools Program and in mid 1998, moved to re-establish ‘Full Support’ Status to units, which had previously suffered neglectful indifference.

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Then in December 1999 a broad review, Cadets: The Future, was commissioned to provide a strategic plan for the Australian Services Cadet Scheme.

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Markedly increased support for cadets was foreshadowed in the Defence White Paper released in December last year confirming the general thrust of Topley’s Review.

Cadets:The Future identified a number of thematic problems. These included;  Poor supply of uniforms and basic equipment  Unreliable, and in some cases – meagre support from services  Boring, repetitive and didactic programs  Inadequate contact with services (bases, equipment, riding in vehicles)  Restrictions on engaging in elementary service activities eg. Simulated field exercises  Inadequate access to firearms  Under-appreciated staff spending too much time on outdated, complex administration having inconsistent contact with Defence while receiving inadequate support from its service personnel

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Cadets: The Future has been a benchmark for reform. I thank John Topley, Air Vice-Marshall Bob Richardson and Major-General Darryl Low Choy for their insightful work. It is a document critical to understanding not only the history of Cadets and its contemporary challenges - but most importantly, where the Australian Defence Force Cadets should be in the future.  The report has been considered at the highest levels of Government, and today I am privileged as Minister responsible, to outline both our vision and strategic plans for Cadets. That I do so before the Chief of Defence Forces, our three Service Chiefs and Major General Low Choy reflects the determination of the Government and Defence in this critical policy area.

Cadets: The Future 

Cadet programs need to be strongly aligned with their sponsoring Services. An important step in this direction is to re-name Cadet programs to reflect the modern nature of their associations and activities.

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We now have the Australian Navy Cadets, the Australian Army Cadets and the Australian Air Force Cadets. And the collective title for the three programs is simply the Australian Defence Force Cadets (ADFC).

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Young people join Cadets for many reasons from among the many youth development and activity programs available. But foremost amongst them is the desire to participate in adventurous, fulfilling but educational activities in a semi military setting. For this reason the Government

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moves to further strengthen the relationship between cadets and their sponsoring service units.  As foreshadowed in the Defence White Paper, the May 2001 federal budget specifically commits $30 million annually to Defence Cadets to be managed by Cadets for Cadets. Twenty four million dollars of this will be in the form of capability support from the three Services, a further six million dollars will be made available as a cash appropriation commencing 1 July. The $9 million currently raised by cadet units, their families, schools, RSL Clubs and community service organisations will still be critically important – not only to funding cadet programs, but also for building community relationships so important to cadet values.  Australia’s first Director General of Cadets, Major General Low Choy was appointed by the Government on 1st April. Reporting directly to the Chief of Defence, Major general Low Choy will head a Cadets Defence Directorate of twenty people based in Defence headquarters at Russell, Canberra. Half of his personnel will be military people; the remainder will be civilian appointments with skills in youth development and contemporary models of administration.  A tri-service co-ordinator will be appointed in each state to ensure effective communication between not only cadet units and defence headquarters, but also units themselves and the communities within which they are based.  Defence senior management team has made a strong commitment to increasing support for Cadets. This includes increasing the involvement of serving military personnel in support of Cadet activities; timely and
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consistent supply of uniforms; and means of increasing access to military bases and equipment. 

A project has been commissioned to examine ways of enhancing cadet participation in military-like activities such as simulated military field exercises. Headed by Brigadier (Rtd) Maurie Meecham, it will examine responsible options appropriate to the needs of young people. The Terms of Reference for this study also include possibly expanding upon the opportunities currently available for mature cadets in the training, handling and use of firearms under strictly controlled and supervised circumstances. The study will also consider the possible use of licensed rifle clubs to complement military facilities. Should the study – due for completion by the end of August, demonstrate this is achievable; firearmtraining opportunities will be available only for those cadet units and individual cadets who want it. Any expansion will be strictly within the context of the National Firearms Agreement and Commonwealth, State and Territory laws.

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Cadet safety is paramount. The Defence Safety Management Agency is currently conducting an occupational health and safety audit of cadet facilities and practices. This will be backed by the design of tailor-made training packages for cadets and their adult supervisors. The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone is equipped with the appropriate skills to safely conduct, and participate in, the adventurous activities that cadets want to experience.

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Defence will assess the feasibility of accepting responsibility for Cadet accommodation where a unit requests it, and report to Government next year.
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The relationship between Defence and adult cadet staff will be codified, with better systems put in place to recruit, train and retain staff. A system of staff accreditation and quality assurance is considered to be a necessary step in the right direction

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Defence will pursue accreditation within the National Training Framework, to give cadets and adult staff formal recognition in vocational education and training for many of the training activities they undertake. Cadets confers skills and personal development opportunities that employers and the general community seek – we want participants in Cadets to have the recognition they deserve in this regard.

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Defence will systematically computerise Australia’s 430 cadet units. Defence will commence delivery of computers in early August for completion by the end of September. Not only will cadets communicate directly with Defence, it is our intention that they communicate with one another and receive IT support from Defence in doing so.

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Defence will undertake a project to enhance the participation of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the ADF Cadets. $845,000 is earmarked for innovative projects that structure cadet activities to meet indigenous cultural and developmental needs.

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The ADF Cadets will also collaborate with other youth development organisations, to share its highly regarded experience and to learn from others. To facilitate this, an Australian Defence Force Cadets Council will be established to bring defence, community, social policy, youth, business and educational leaders to a process to ensure cadets serve
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not only the needs of young people, but Australian society generally. The Council will benchmark cadet programs against other youth development activities whilst facilitating corporate support for ADF Cadets. 

John Topley and Air Vice Marshal (Rtd) Bob Richardson will be appointed as a External Overview Committee to monitor progress on the implementation of these reforms, reporting both to the Director General of Cadets and Government.

Conclusion 

The list of enhancements I have just described is long, but there is a lot of work to be done to make sure that our cadets have a proper home both within the ADF, and the wider Australian community.

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For the ADF, sponsorship of Cadets is a superb way of giving young people an opportunity to gain an understanding of the Defence Force, its place within society, and service career options available. Though most leave cadets to pursue fulfilling civilian lives, for others, participation in Cadets is the first voluntary step towards recruitment in the Defence Force.

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Major reforms and resource arrangements have been identified. Changes are now underway to meet the expectations of the community and those of you who participate. They should also make cadets more attractive to those who don’t.

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Each of us has but only one life – only one chance to make a positive contribution to the welfare and lives of others. As we pass the threshold from the twentieth century to the twenty first, as we consider those things of enduring value in changing times, let us embrace participation in cadets – whether as adult staff or as cadets. We should see cadets as a journey of personal development, the understanding of ourselves, the importance of self-discipline and the dependence we have on one another as human beings.

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The way we live affects our world. As young Australians – as young Defence cadets, your challenge is to live to change the world. We live in a world of fundamentalist intolerance, of vast ignorance of the consequences of our actions and of unprecedented technological change. In that environment, what we need most is one another. That’s why we have a Defence capability - to uphold our responsibilities to peace in the world.

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Thankyou to you all for support of this wonderful movement we now know as Australian Defence Force Cadets.

BRENDAN NELSON

[Ends]

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