Press Conference

Release details

Release type

Related ministers and contacts

The Hon Matt Keogh MP

Minister for Defence Personnel

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Media contact

Stephanie Mathews on 0407 034 485

Release content

19 July 2023

SUBJECTS: ADF Careers Centres; Increased diversity in ADF recruitment; Exercise Talisman Sabre.

JOURNALIST: Minister, the ADF is already falling backwards on retention and recruitment targets. How can it possibly meet ambitious expansion goals for personnel?

MINISTER FOR DEFENCE PERSONNEL, MATT KEOGH: Well, that's exactly why we're here today launching ADF Careers. Putting a whole new approach into how we are going about recruiting into the Defence Force to make sure that we can hit those goals that we need in the expansion of our Defence Force, both through recruitment and retention.

JOURNALIST: In your speech before, you said, "Defence is diverse and the ADF is looking to include people reflective of our community." Can you expand on what kinds of diversity you're hoping to attract and how will these new careers centres help attract this diverse new candidates to the ADF?

MATT KEOGH: So, certainly we're trying to make sure that we are getting good gender diversity across our Defence Force to be more reflective of our community and it's why we also have the specialist indigenous recruiters to engage with our indigenous communities to make sure that they understand the opportunities that are available to them in a defence career as well. But across the board, we're trying to make sure that we are engaging with communities across Australia that we haven't seen traditionally been signing up in numbers to join our Defence Force to make sure that they're aware of the tremendous opportunities through an ADF career.

JOURNALIST: So does that include people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds as well?

MATT KEOGH: Absolutely. We're engaging with people of all different backgrounds across Australia. Culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. People of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, all Australians. We want to see everybody interested and engaging with an ADF career.

JOURNALIST: Great. And how - has the handling of war crimes allegations contributed to morale and retention problems?

MATT KEOGH: I think the key thing about how Australia has dealt with allegations of war crimes is that we're a country that is taking responsibility for issues that may arise within our own defence force and making sure that they're properly examined and that any decisions that need to flow from that and improvements do - are reflected in what we do as a defence force. And that should give people the confidence in our defence force, not just from our international partners, but for Australians to have confidence in our defence force and to know it is a great place to work and is a place that operates with integrity.

JOURNALIST: Speaking about international partners, what message does Japan test firing an anti-ship missile in Australia send to the region?

MATT KEOGH: Well, obviously all of our partners do a lot of work when it comes to making sure that they exercise, test and engage with their defence force and it's why with exercise Talisman Sabre here in Australia coming up over the next few weeks, we'll see a large number of regional partners engaging in that exercise which improves interoperability and engagement with each other because fundamentally, what we are all committed to is a stable region and one that will see prosperity into the future that's what we're all committed to working towards.

JOURNALIST: That's all from me. Thank you.


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