Poor Australia! The country's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan must have cost billions of dollars! And what's worse, the federal government is on a shopping tour to get new ships, submarines and fighter jets (hopefully not made in the USA, but that’s a different topic), which will cost $20 billion.
With all these expenditures on the horizon, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) must save money. How? The answer the ADF found is as simple as it is ridiculous: By cancelling the traditional beating the retreat ceremony at the Royal Military College in Duntroon:
"Defence wishes to advise this year’s Beating the Retreat Ceremonies at the Royal Military College has been cancelled. These ceremonies were scheduled to be conducted on the evenings of Thursday 24 September and Friday 25 September 2009 at the Royal Military College, Duntroon."That will save the extraodinary sum of $0.000083 billion, which brings the necessary sum down to $ 19,999,917,000. The ADF claims the Queen's Birthday parade could cost about $24,500 (or to remain in the billion region: $0.0000245 billion. But every time you read fresh articles, the figure seems to go up. Spin doctors must work overtime to calculate the cost to calm down the public's anger.
However, the Queen's Birthday parade was cancelled this year anyway because of a swine flu outbreak, but it will be back on again next year, assured the ADF. The retreat is an adaptation of military tradition going back to the 16th century and is the festive parade for the cadets the Royal Military College in Duntroon, something they show pride in. The retreat ceremony could be revived next year, depending on the budget, a press release promised. Past retreat ceremonies have involved 200 cadets, bands, field guns and firework, and were watched by many thousands of spectators.