- The Guardian
- Issue #2025
On 21st September, the United Nations Day of Peace, the Communist Party of Australia calls for the Albanese Government to step back from war preparations and to instead adopt a peace budget.
World military spending continued to grow in 2021, reaching an all-time record of $2.1 trillion. However, this did not provide peace or security. Ever-growing military capacities and policies have only brought us more human and ecological devastation. More of the same will not change the situation.
It should be obvious by now that countries trying to outspend one another by buying more and more deadly weapons systems does not create peace or security. It has not worked in the past and it never will.
It is time for all people to join together and call on governments around the world to cut military spending, and to instead invest in the true needs of the people and the planet to build a just and sustainable peace.
EXCESSIVE MILITARY SPENDING
Article 26 of the UN Charter calls for the “least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources.”
Australia is subservient to US foreign policy objectives and as a result defence budgets have been skewed to suit US objectives. This has meant that Australian Government outlays on the military are both astronomically expensive and mostly inappropriate for Australian peoples’ needs.
The Australian budget for the military in 2022-2023 is $48 billion and an estimated quarter of a trillion dollars over the next ten years. The great majority of tax payers’ money goes overseas to privately owned weapons manufacturers.
While defence of a state is necessary, the cost must not be too high – economically, socially or environmentally. An impoverished nation has little left worth defending.
Spending on the military rather than civilian areas of the economy results in a net loss of jobs. This is because military spending is less effective at creating jobs than virtually any other form of government activity.
The $170 billion that would buy eight submarines could be better spent on creating about 250 hospitals, 4,500 schools or 320,000 homes.
Security is often interpreted to mean military security – the capacity to meet perceived threats by the use or the threat of the use of force.
However, Australia’s true security would be enhanced by attention to economic recovery, social cohesion, and humanitarian issues.
Resources committed to developing the military mean less money for employment programs and the health, education, and housing needs of Australians and our neighbours.
We need a new security – security from threats to lives and dignity, such as extreme poverty, hunger, armed conflicts, pandemics, and political and criminal violence, as well as future fatal consequences from environmental threats. Australia and the Pacific must be a nuclear free zone of peace.
WAR ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Australia’s future depends on a healthy planet but military spending amounts to a war on the environment. All military activity is highly polluting and a major contributor to climate change.
The money that Australia spends on environmental protection is $3.4 billion. The money spent on the military is $48 billion this financial year and an estimated quarter of a trillion dollars over the next ten years.
We must have a peace budget that includes developing stronger disaster preparedness and response capabilities. This includes dealing with fire and flood in Australia but also aid for Pacific communities which are being hit with repeated disasters, including devastating cyclones, tidal surges, and sea-water inundation.