View Full Version : Book your invasion of Australia now! Avoid Xmas rush!

Rising Sun*
11-19-2008, 08:48 AM
Australia temporarily shuts down navy

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) Australia's navy gets a big Christmas gift this year: two months paid vacation for most sailors that will ease the effects of a recruiting slump but make the service Down Under look something like a part-time operation.

The navy hopes that by making life on the sea more family-friendly, it will attract the extra 2,000 sailors it needs achieve its target strength of 15,000.

Critics say the so-called shut down, which inspired a front page newspaper headline Tuesday: "Navy Closes For Christmas," will worry Australia's major defense ally, the United States.

"Mothballing your ships for two months sends totally the wrong message to our region and to our allies," opposition defense spokesman David Johnston told The Associated Press. "I've never heard of anything like this. I'm flabbergasted."

All 55 navy ships and submarines that are not on operational deployments have been ordered home for Christmas, and the number of sailors who stay aboard docked ships as sentries will be reduced to skeleton crews.

It is not clear how many how many sailors will take extra time off.

Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio that the two months break for sailors, which begins Dec. 3, is "just a way of saying thank you and encouraging them to stay in the service."

Fitzgibbon said a shortage of troops was the biggest challenge facing the Australian Defense Force and making their jobs more family friendly was part of the solution.

"The family-work balance is a very, very important part of the equation," Fitzgibbon said.

Navy Deputy Chief Rear Adm. Davyd Thomas said that the break will not adversely impact national security.

An Australian navy frigate would remain in the Middle East guarding oil wells over Christmas and seven patrol boats would guard Australia's northern waters from illegal fishers and smugglers, he said.

Two ships would also be on standby, one on the east and the other on the west coast, to respond to any emergency at sea, he said.

Thomas said the navy always had a shutdown period over the southern summer, although this one was longer.

"We're trying to become an employer of choice. We want people to want to be in the navy and want to serve here," Thomas told reporters.

Thomas said he expected most naval personnel would take the time off.

Neil James, executive director of the independent security think-tank Australian Defense Association, agreed the shutdown was not radically different from previous years, although it was a few weeks longer and would involve more ships remaining in dock.

He said the length of vacation would vary depending on the individual and some could expect to be recalled at short notice.

He said military chiefs had been considering longer Christmas vacations for years because the navy has the worst retention rate of Australia's three military services.

"The bottom line driving this is the retention problem," James said.

"If you look at the exit surveys of people serving in the defense force, the biggest single cause of dissatisfaction is family-work life balance," he said. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hwisNM1DSnaS5NGRQaqQMcNWBG3AD94HCL2G0

11-19-2008, 01:15 PM
The UK gave almost everyone in the army an extra week off at Christmas last year, to save on heating bills!

11-19-2008, 04:47 PM
Happens every year here in the UK, not 2 months though, usually about 2-3 weeks and as PDF says, it saves fuel. Normally the Uk military will get about 2 weeks for xmas, then you will get about a weeks stand down on top. Some of it comes out of your 30 working days leave, but not a lot. This year I get 3 weeks for only 5 working days leave at Xmas.

I suppose its a perk for all those times Ive been away over this period and worked every day....

As for the Aussie Navy, 2 months off wont hurt their high standards, in fact, they will come back ready for some action.

Rising Sun*
11-19-2008, 04:52 PM
As for the Aussie Navy, 2 months off wont hurt their high standards, in fact, they will come back ready for some action.

If they're like the pussers of old, they'll come back from leave shagged after too much action.