- by Denis Doherty and Hannah Middleton
- The Guardian
- Issue #1990
New anti-AUKUS coalitions around the county are gearing up for this weekend (10th-12th December), where people will take to the streets to make it clear that we will not accept nuclear submarines and everything else contained in AUKUS, the new military deal between Australia, the UK, and the USA.
There is a growing movement which is making it clear that we, the people, will not accept nuclear powered submarines and their economic, social and environmental costs.
We will not tolerate a policy that intensifies military tensions in our region with China, fuels a new arms race, and increases the dangers of accidents, which can trigger escalation to a catastrophic war that could destroy the human species and the planet.
We reject the ludicrous government assertion that Australia’s national security is enhanced by exorbitant spending on planes, warships, submarines, and land vehicles, totalling more than half a trillion dollars over ten years. In reality, such spending can only make Australia poorer and less secure.
Instead of billions spent on killing machines, we demand the money be used instead to fund public hospitals and Medicare, pay nurses decent wages, increase the number of regional doctors and healthcare workers, and properly fund the NDIS.
If we are equipped for war when a pandemic hits our nation but not to battle a virus, how foolish are we? We need to keep our promise to fund vaccines for developing countries and start health preparations instead of war preparations.
We demand funding to improve the living standards of the people of both town and country, eliminate unemployment and homelessness, provide education and decent housing for all, and promote culture.
These initiatives would meet the needs of the Australian people and would create far more jobs than dollars invested in war preparations. The argument that “defence spending creates employment is a lie.
We refuse to accept submarines powered by highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel that produces weapons-grade waste. Furthermore, nuclear reactors come with the possibility of disastrous accidents. There are already nine nuclear reactors on the seafloor as a result of nuclear submarine accidents.
We refuse to accept the high-level waste. No solution exists for its disposal, and so it would probably be dumped on Aboriginal land, despite the opposition of traditional owners and despite the appalling dangers involved.
We will not accept more US soldiers, planes, surface vessels and submarines in our country. We will not accept more joint war games.
We will never accept AUKUS that provides Australia with the resources to become a nuclear power and even to develop nuclear weapons. Already the Nationals and other politicians and corporations are arguing publicly for Australia to develop nuclear power generation.
We demand a country free from foreign military and free from militarisation. We want a foreign policy committed to peaceful relations with all our neighbours and the resolution of conflicts through diplomacy.
The AUKUS pact is disrupting relations in the region, with some states supporting the deal but others, including Indonesia and Malaysia, expressing strong opposition.
Regional countries are caught between antagonising China, which they rely on for trade and investment, while having to line up politically and strategically with the US.
We totally reject an alliance that forces regional countries against their will to choose sides, join an arms race, or be involved in fighting proxy wars for the US.
ATTACK DOG DUTTON
Defence Minister Dutton is making deliberately alarmist and exaggerated allegations to justify Australian war spending of billions of dollars.
In his recent Press Club speech, Dutton claimed that all Australian capital cities were in range of Chinese missiles, and the fall of Taiwan would be the first step towards Beijing’s domination of the region.
Dutton made the ludicrous allegation that China sees other countries in the region as “tributary states” and warned China would dominate Asia if it succeeded in invading Taiwan.
His criticism of China’s militarisation of islands in the South China Sea did not include any mention of US upgraded bases on Guam, new bases on Okinawa, and a US base on Jeju island in the Republic of Korea, all of which have far more military equipment and hostile weaponry pointed at China than anything China has defensively placed in the South China Sea.
The ALP has attacked Dutton’s rhetoric, accusing him of stoking tensions with China for electoral gain.
A Chinese Embassy spokesman said Dutton’s Press Club address was “fanning conflict and division” and was based on “visionless analysis and outdated mentality”.
The three governments that have signed AUKUS are the very same ones that have destroyed the Middle East for the last forty years. The so-called war on terror has caused around four million deaths, produced 37 million refugees and created mountains of rubble.
Yet, these governments now proclaim that they are acting in the interests of peace and stability in this region. Dutton claimed Australia’s main desire is to secure peace through deterring China from aggression. This is disgusting hypocrisy!
Australia’s full-hearted attacks on China may give some solace to US arms corporations but they are not doing Australia and the region any favours.
Already the US President has realised that he must work with China and has held talks with China on the environmental crisis, leaving Australia looking foolish and isolated.
Although the original AUKUS pact proposed an eighteen-month period for negotiation, Dutton rushed through the exchange of nuclear propulsion information element of AUKUS through a proposed new AUKUS Treaty.
Less than one week was allowed for community submissions, making it clear that Dutton will push ahead regardless. In yet another example of his government’s contempt for democracy, he will consult with the US and the UK leaders but not with the Australian people.
At the September AUSMIN meeting, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed that the United States “will expand our access and presence in Australia.”
More detail of how the US will garrison Australia was given in the US 2021 Global Posture Review released on 29th November. The review states:
“In the Indo-Pacific, the review directs additional cooperation with allies and partners to advance initiatives that contribute to regional stability and deter potential Chinese military aggression and threats from North Korea […].”
This cooperation will include:
Further enhanced air cooperation through the rotational deployment of US aircraft of all types in Australia and appropriate aircraft training and exercises.
Enhanced maritime cooperation through increased logistics and sustainment support for US surface and subsurface vessels in Australia.
Enhanced land cooperation through increasingly complex and more integrated exercises and greater combined engagement with allies and partners in the region.
Establishing a combined logistics, sustainment, and maintenance enterprise to support high-end warfighting and combined military operations in the region.
These are moves to transform Australia into a US forward operating base for pressure on China with two main purposes: to maintain the US, and to a much lesser extent Australian, economic and political control in the region, and secondly for Australia to pay for as much as possible of the costs of the US throwing its weight around in the region.
There is nothing at all here which benefits the Australian people. We have to say loud and clear: NO to AUKUS. ϑ
JOIN THE CAMPAIGN FOR PEACE AND CLIMATE
Kaurna – Adelaide: Saturday 11th December, 2 PM, on steps of Parliament House
Meanjin – Brisbane: Friday 10th December, 4 PM, Reddacliff Place
Ngunnawal – Canberra: Friday 10th December, 5.30 PM Venue TBC
Nipaluna – Hobart: Friday 10th December, 12.30 PM Mathers House, Mathers Lane
Naarm – Melbourne: Friday 10th December, 5:15 PM Victoria State Library, Swanston Street
Naarm – Melbourne: Saturday 11th December, 1 PM Victorian State Library, Swanston Street
Noongar – Perth: Friday 10th December, 4:30 PM Wesley cnr Hay and William Streets
Gadigal – Sydney: Saturday 11th December ,12 PM Town Hall Square
Dharawal – Wollongong: Thursday 9th December, 6:30 PM 6-8 Wentworth Street, Port Kembla