The Guardian • Issue #1992

Thanks but no tanks, rats please?

“You can’t make everything free,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison in response to Australia’s desperate plea to make not only Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT tests) available for all but also funding for small businesses suffering from the outcomes of the chaotic COVID mess, or supporting those front-line casual workers. The latter is forced to work regardless of the dangerous circumstances. Meanwhile, the Australian government chooses to spend an extra $3.5 billion on war tanks that have no economic benefit or means of protecting Australia.

The Australian government should focus its concerns on the most pressing threats, including the pandemic or climate change, yet instead, it focuses its investment on 120 tanks which will have no economic or social benefit for Australians. Even Greg Sheridan, foreign editor for The Australian is skeptical about the decision to invest in these ridiculous US military machines, rather than focusing on peace, trade, and stability.

Morrison has refused to make RAT tests widely available regardless of the current situation, which sees thousands of Australians isolated, scared, and financially unable to make ends meet.

This decision to spend billions on pointless military equipment is clearly an operation to fuel the US military-industrial complex and further work in conjunction with the US Indo-Pacific Strategy to contain China.

Australia is a small power, and should not be aggressively scheming to present itself as a threat to this major power. The premise that China presents a threat is a ridiculous one. China is focused on its own potential and alleviating the Global South from its shackles. China can choose to continue trading with Australia, or eventually choose a better trading partner once another country they have been supporting has built up its capabilities.

The working class of Australia needs to stand against the government, and should refuse funding for military tanks, submarines, and air force. Shockingly, the Australian population sits in crisis, unable to find out if they have COVID-19 or have zero government support while employees are in close contact or contract the virus themselves.

It is a disgrace that the Australian working class should take the fall for a global pandemic, which has been managed carefully elsewhere. Australians should be up in arms about the inadequate response to this crisis, and they deserve to be treated with much more respect and dignity by being given free access to RAT tests and not being subjected to the clearly inequitable decision of buying military tanks.

As the clear drawbacks of the AUKUS military pact become more apparent, it is imperative that the working class find a way to discourage continued aggression, and to find a way to diplomacy, not only for the region but for all living in Australia.

The Guardian can also be viewed/downloaded in PDF format. View More