15 Dec 2006

Australia should recruit Melanesian Legion says think tank

4:31 pm on 15 December 2006

A regional think tank is proposing that Australia start recruiting large numbers of soldiers from Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Anthony Bergin, Research Director at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra, says incorporating what he calls a "Melanesian Legion" into the Australian Defence Force would help solve its recruitment problems, and promote democracy in the Pacific.

"I'm suggesting that we would essentially buy units from Papua New Guinea and Fiji rather than just putting out a call for individuals to join our military. One of the problems facing both Fiji and Papua New Guinea is their bloated military forces and I think by reducing their numbers we could make a contribution to long-term democracy in the Pacific."

Anthony Bergin says he doesn't know if there's support for his proposal within the Australian armed forces.