Compulsory defence force training after high school has been suggested by Senate candidate Allan Mull, but he has insisted it would not be conscription.
The independent candidate from Tawonga South said the 12-month stint in defence-based training would ensure young people had the life skills they needed.
“It’s a compulsory training, but not conscription, not to send them overseas to fight,” he said.
“A little bit of hardship can have great benefits.”
Mr Mull left school himself at 14 and his children were unsure of what they wanted to do for work when they finished high school.
He said education should be balanced to include basic life skills as well as academic skills.
“We’re not all endowed with academic ability and it puts an enormous pressure on kids,” Mr Mull said.
“I know our kids are going out and getting on drugs, getting pressure put on them by this single academic course.”
The idea would involve stints at mobile defence locations where teenagers would camp in tents at locations such as the tropics, the desert or the snow.
Mr Mull said making young people more employable would save hundreds of millions of dollars in welfare and help alleviate depression and suicides.