- by Hannah Middleton
- The Guardian
- Issue #2045
Anti-AUKUS demonstration Marrickville, Sydney. Photo: Denis Doherty
Under the appalling AUKUS plan announced by US President Biden on Tuesday (Australian time), Australia will begin hosting US nuclear-powered and armed submarines from this year and British vessels from 2026.
The long-term goal is for Australia to build a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines known as SSN-AUKUS, in a joint design with the UK made in Adelaide. They are planned to enter service in the 2040s. No doubt BaE (which has bought out ASC in Adelaide) which runs the Astute class construction program in Barrow has been a major player in this.
To bridge the so-called capability gap, Australia will buy three US Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines.
Australian sailors will this year be embedded with US and UK nuclear submarine crews to start training.
Prime Minister Albanese and Defence Minister Marles, like their predecessors Morrison and Dutton, are now exposed as traitors and agents of a foreign power.
They are willing to sacrifice Australia’s economy, to risk massive military and civilian casualties for the United States to retain dominance, economically and militarily in the Indo-Pacific.
They are prepared to risk WW3 and the possibility of it going nuclear with devastating worldwide consequences.
MORTGAGING OUR FUTURE
AUKUS is the most expensive military project in the nation’s history.
The cost of the program, including construction and maintenance, is estimated to reach $368 billion over the life of the program to 2055.
If the Department of Defence’s track record in managing and delivering major projects is any guide, those figures are probably a gross underestimate.
Albanese boasts of what he calls “new jobs, new industries, and new expertise in science, technology, and cyber” – but this is all for war, for death, and destruction. It is despicable propaganda.
War and preparations for war are the greatest threat to the environment. How do these politicians, military, academic, and media criminals intend to save Australia from environmental catastrophe?
There are no billions for life and sustainable development, for our health, housing, education, and other human needs.
Where is the funding for diplomacy and arms control?
Where is the funding for the half a million Australians who are struggling to afford food every day?
Prime Minister Albanese is betraying his own people.
Greens defence spokesman Senator David Shoebridge called the deal a “$368 billion nuclear-powered raid on public education, health, housing, and First Nations justice that will starve core services for decades to come.
“Until it is reversed, today’s announcement will force Labor to deliver austerity budgets to funnel billions of dollars offshore to fund the US and UK nuclear submarine industries,” he said.
FOR THE PEOPLE
If the ruling class really cared about the people (and of course they only care about profits and power), then the government would prioritise its spending priorities differently.
With $200 billion, for example, the government could raise rates of income support on pensions, JobSeeker, youth allowance and other payments to $88 a day.
An annual investment of $5 billion a year would go a long way to fixing the housing crisis.
$90 billion could increase funding for universities and public institutions like the CSIRO.
A $12 billion investment in household electrification over five years could eliminate a third of our emissions and save households $40 billion a year by 2028.
The aged care system is in crisis. Aged care workers need a wage rise of at least 25 per cent which would cost an estimated $35 billion over ten years.
The public education sector is screaming out for funding – it needs an additional $65 billion for public schools, $69 billion for abolishing university fees, $4 billion for free preschool, and $10 billion for a wage increase for early childhood education and care workers.
SELLING OUT OUR JOBS
Jobs are being pushed as the main social outcome of AUKUS.
However, dollar for dollar, military spending creates far fewer jobs than spending on other sectors like education and health care.
Additionally, military spending creates jobs that bring wealth to some people and businesses, but do not alleviate poverty or result in widely shared prosperity.
One trade unionist asked: Would you rather work on an offshore wind farm or be exposed to dangerous nuclear reactors and possibly nuclear weapons?
The jobs argument is completely dishonest.
Australia’s involvement in a US war against China would be a catastrophic disaster for the Australian people. With 90 per cent of our fuel supplies imported, transport chains would be disrupted and essential supplies including food and medical supplies, stopped.
Exports to China would cease and the economy would face a severe downturn with substantial job losses.
There is no way the government can protect the 1.2 million Chinese Australians from increased xenophobia or racial violence.
SELLING OUT OUR SOVEREIGNTY
Successive Australian governments have severely compromised Australia’s sovereignty and should be treated as collaborators with a foreign government to the detriment of the Australian people’s best interests.
Claims by Marles and Albanese that AUKUS will sustain Australian sovereignty are complete lies.
The US military forces and military facilities in Australia are not under the control of the Australian Government.
Since the 2014 Force Posture Agreement was signed, the north of Australia has become a US base.
The north is being integrated into US planning and preparation for a war against China. This includes the military and spy bases established from North West Cape in Western Australia, to the port and barracks and air base in Darwin, to the joint RAAF-US Air Force base at Tindal outside Katherine, and to the expanding Pine Gap spy and war fighting base outside Alice Springs.
The US has established a regional command centre in Darwin. The US Marines, Air Force and Navy operating within and from Australia are all under the command of the US Indo-Pacific Command.
The Sydney Morning Herald narrative “Red Alert” mirrors US media narratives using the military industrial complex, Wall Street, US think tanks, and some US generals. Such manufactured fears are intended to flood the minds of Australians with the objective of getting support for a war with China.
The merchants of death, the war profiteers who sell the guns, bullets and bombs, the planes, ships, tanks, missiles, drones, and more, work to manipulate public opinion to help them sell their terrible wares. Without war, they are nothing.
The corporations which wring super profits from exploiting cheap labour and resources in our region work to manipulate public opinion to help them maintain their economic and political power.
They are supported in Australia by disgusting fawning so-called “experts” in the military, among academics, and in the media who have been and are working to persuade the Australian people that war with China is inevitable and that billions must go to arms and war preparations.
They do not deserve to be called Australians.
WHAT ABOUT CHINA?
China does not threaten Australia. It is our major trading partner and essential for our economy. There is no evidence that China is a threat to Australia.
In reality, China’s threat is that it is growing in influence, in trade, in economy, in technology, medicine, education and lifestyle, and in defensive military power. US imperialism is risking Australia’s future to contain and control these positive developments. And the ALP and Liberals are betraying the interests of the Australian people by going along with this.
China may have militarised some atolls in the South China Sea but, unlike the US, it does not have 7000 troops in Guam, nearly 30,000 troops in South Korea or 80,000 troops and 125 bases in Japan. China’s security concern is to push US sea and air military forces away from its borders.
PASSION FOR PEACE
We must unite and mobilise to force the Australian government off this path to war.
Write to PM Albanese, War Minister Marles, and Foreign Minister Penny Wong to tell them that you reject Australia becoming a proxy in such a war and bearing the terrible consequences.
Make Tuesdays your No AUKUS day – email them every Tuesday.