- by Denis Doherty
- The Guardian
- Issue #1979
We condemn unreservedly the new tripartite agreement, AUKUS, between Australia, the UK, and the US and the announcement that Australia will have nuclear powered submarines. The deal will cost billions and it will put our country into the hands of the US and the UK. Canberra will have to rely completely on them to build its new submarines and sustain them over their lifetime.
Australia will become the only non-nuclear country in the world to have a maritime nuclear capability.
The fleet will be the first initiative of a newly formed and highly dangerous trilateral security partnership called AUKUS. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the enhanced alliance was a response to rapidly developing circumstances in the region that were not envisaged even five years ago. That of course is the spin for containing China.
The move is not in the national interest. It is aimed at China, and China will recognise this development for what it is – a blatant step towards trying to limit that nation’s development.
China has responded saying countries “should not build exclusionary blocs targeting or harming the interests of third parties.” China’s embassy in Washington said the US, UK and Australia needed to “shake off their Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice.”
THE PRICE TO BE PAID
While US and UK arms corporations rejoice at this atrocious decision ordinary Australians will be condemned to living in one of the most unequal countries in the world.
Nuclear submarines will be so expensive that other government departments will have to be raided such as welfare, the environment, education, and now the all-important health budget.
With the purchase of these submarines goes the end of poverty eradication. Over 13.6 per cent of our people live below the poverty line, and homelessness is a growing problem, yet the Morrison government continues to spend like a drunken sailor on nuclear submarines which will not make Australia more secure or prosperous but insecure and poor.
The working class will bear the burden of this exorbitant expenditure by the Morrison government as it manoeuvres prior to a coming federal election to make it appear that it is protecting the Australian people when in fact it is doing the opposite.
Added to the cost will be the $2 billion already wasted on the French submarine contract, as well as many millions more in compensation for cancelling it.
Morrison has already said that Australia will need to spend more on the military as a requirement of the new partnership.
Former submariner and senator, Rex Patrick, is calling for an urgent inquiry before the deal is finalised.
“If it’s a US submarine, they have highly enriched uranium in their reactors and that creates a proliferation issue in terms of Australia standing up saying, ‘No-one should have this sort of fuel available to them’,” Patrick said.
Nuclear powered submarines do have accidents and do sink. There are already nine nuclear reactors on the seafloor from sunken nuclear subs.
A Royal Navy nuclear submarine collided with a French nuclear submarine in the middle of the Atlantic on 6th February this year in what the UK-based Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament described as a nuclear nightmare of the highest order.
The risk of nuclear contamination for our people and environment is too grave a risk for Australians.
While Morrison claims that Australia will not purchase or use nuclear weapons now and will not introduce a domestic nuclear industry, the possibility still exists for a future government to introduce both these items. Now that there is a platform from which to launch sea-based missiles the next step to nuclearise them will be easy.
NEW ARMS RACE
Prime Minister Morrison claims that nuclear submarines will bring peace and stability to our region. This is pure nonsense.
The last time Australia embarked on a major investment in attack weaponry it sparked an increase in submarine purchases by our near neighbours such as Indonesia and Malaysia.
It is a step backwards towards a new Cold War in our region, a rekindling of tensions that will not produce security but will instead increase tensions, suspicion and hostility – or worst-case scenario nuclear war.
We must fight this decision with determination for the good of all.
Send letters to Prime Minister Morrison and get as many friends and neighbours to do the same. Put up posters (during your exercise if you are in lockdown). Send protests to the newspapers. Ring radio programs. Get your union and community groups involved.
An arms exhibition of maritime weapons in Sydney next May will be an occasion for protests.
MAKE A NOISE!
HELP BUILD A MASSIVE PROTEST MOVEMENT!
SAY NO TO AUKUS AND NO TO NUCLEAR SUBMARINES!