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Issue #1923      July 13, 2020

Party Statement

Australia’s planned $270 billion expansion of its military capabilities signals its continued subservience to US foreign policy

In the lead-up to explain his government’s increase in defence spending, PM Morrison said, “We want an open, sovereign Indo-Pacific, free from coercion [...] Where countries can pursue their interests peacefully and without external interference.” If the PM meant what he said, then the correct policy for Australian governments would be to withdraw from US-led wars, to remove US military and spy bases from Australian soil, and denounce the US military build-up in the Indo-Pacific region. Since WW2 Australia’s ruling class has allied itself politically, militarily and economically with the United States. This alliance has brought Australia into the imperialist wars against Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia, and into intervention in the sovereign South Pacific Island states of the Solomon Islands, PNG, East Timor and to some extent, Indonesia.

If there is any threat to peace and sovereignty in our region, it comes from the US military. And the Australian government’s continuing role as second fiddle to US interests, this time against China, our neighbour and biggest trading partner.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)

The current rhetoric for the “need” for increased military capacity, against “a rising China”, is being pushed vehemently by the ASPI, an Australian “think-tank” that is partially financed by Australian tax money, and more alarmingly by generous donations from foreign countries, most notably Taiwan, and the US, as well as US corporations such as Microsoft and US arms manufacturers including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.

It is clear from the list of donors where the allegiance of ASPI lies: the military industrial complex and their profits.

Welfare, not Warfare

Australia is already the 8th largest global spender on military, and the world’s second largest importer of arms (after Saudi Arabia) in per capita terms. Enormous military spending and accompanying bellicose rhetoric will not only lead Australia down the dangerous path of war in our region, but also further impoverish Australian society.

Since February 2020, 838,000 jobs have been lost in Australia. More than one in five Australian workers is either unemployed and looking for work or underemployed. We are facing an unprecedented environmental, economic and social crisis.

Permanently increasing JobSeeker to present levels would cost less than $30 billion a year (based on one million unemployed) – not including the net economic benefit from supporting low-income spenders. That is a tiny amount compared to what the PM is committing to warfare.

Similarly, the provision of housing, universal healthcare, quality free public education from pre-kindergarten to the tertiary level, and a just transition to renewables can be easily funded if these billions are not spent on buying war machines.

The CPA rejects this trend of the Australian government to follow US foreign policy interests, and demands an independent foreign policy based on cooperation and peace.

The CPA further reiterates its demand that Australian military spending be reduced to fifty percent of its current budget, and the military-industrial capacity be redirected towards building a safer, more equitable domestic economy based on peace.

Communist Party of Australia
Central Committee
6th July 2020

Next article – COMPETITION – How would you spend $270 billion?

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