EFFIE BATEMAN Lifestyle Contact

In news that should surprise no one, the Australian Defence Force have reported that they are experiencing an acute shortage of new recruits, which they blame on ‘waning national pride’, and the fact that the social media obsessed Gen Z’s are apparently just too anxious to serve their country.

Recently speaking to ABC news, Opposition Defence spokesperson Andrew Hastie states that young people didn’t serve the defence force for economic reasons, but because they ‘love their country.’ 

But given the stark difference in opportunities across the generations, what exactly would Gen Z be fighting to preserve?

In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and extreme housing shortage caused by the same frustrated government, young Australians have learnt that they can’t even get ahead even by securing a job that pays well above the average wage.

It’s clear to young people that life would be even harder as a shell-shocked returned serviceman, who spends their days navigating the intentionally complicated and cruel bureaucracies that are supposed to provide services that help them readjust to society after donating their youth to foreign conflicts that have nothing to do with Australia.

While the Baby Boomers – who never had to even pay for university, let alone worry about being sent to war – continue to reap benefits from a rigged political system that is 100% geared towards an epidemic of hollow and meaningless wealth-hoarding at the expense of younger generations, it seems the Australian youth aren’t exactly that keen on potentially giving their life to a country that has proven more than incapable of looking after them when they return.

That is unless… the Australian government was still keen to offer a block of land in Maroubra or the Gold Coast to anyone who served overseas.

The New South Wales government introduced the Returned Soldiers Settlement Act in 1916. Soldiers were eligible to apply for Crown Lands if they had served overseas with the Australian Imperial Forces or with the British Defence Service. The soldiers also needed to have been honourably discharged to be eligible.

This initiative was mostly centred around new coastal suburbs and the rural fringe, providing returned soldiers with a stake in society that they would have otherwise been able to earn if they never served.

Even in a modern, secular and mostly pacifist contemporary Australia, young people would be willing to endure the horrors that come with shooting machine guns at strangers on the other side of the world – if there was a free-standing suburban home at the end of it.

However, with the vast majority of Australians unable to purchase a block land within 100km of the historic soldier settlement blocks of WW1 and WW2, even after 15 years in the workforce, it is highly unlikely that any Australian government would dare do anything that could devalue the assets of those too old to go to war.

More to come.


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