Pacific Islanders should be recruited in Australian army to create cordial relationship: Analysts
Professor Hugh White and Anthony Bergin have called on the Australian government to look to its neighbours for new defence recruits by offering Australian citizenship in exchange for military service. The proposal has not been ruled out by Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson.
Professor White, from the Australian National University, said the move would create a closer, more confident relationship with troubled regional states such as East Timor, Fiji and Solomon Islands.
Under pressure to sustain overseas deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and the South Pacific, the Australian government wants to boost the army by 20 percent over the next 10 years - the biggest it has been since the Vietnam War.
But the Australian Defence Association says it would be "morally abhorrent" to offer citizenship in exchange for military service for Pacific Islanders. Spokesman Neil James says he questions a society which is not prepared to defend itself, and will pay foreigners to do it.
Source: Radio Australia