The Guardian • Issue #2048

Palm Sunday Peace Rally 2023 Adelaide

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2048

Palm Sunday 2nd April 2023, Adelaide. Photo: CPA

A gathering of dedicated peace activists met on the steps of Parliament House in North Terrace (Adelaide) in advocacy for peace which seems so fragile at the moment. Strong demands were for termination of AUKUS and the nuclear submarines deal. Instead, Australia should sign the treaty to ban nuclear weapons and heal the country with no nuclear dumps.

In line with the Communist Party’s peace budget policy, military spending should instead fund important social needs including housing, health and education.

No Nuclear Subs SA, a group who have steadfastly argued against the nuclear option, declared that the nuclear submarines ultimately will be offensive rather than defensive in their use, and in fact, escalate the dangers of conventional as well as nuclear conflict, notably war between the United States and China. Global proliferation of nuclear military technology will be another certain consequence along with firmly entrenching the nuclear industry in Australia, and, at the same time, its attendant dangers around nuclear waste storage, including particularly hazardous high level waste.

First Nations Australians, the traditional owners of land targeted for dumps and military activities, for example the Barngarla people near Kimba in South Australia, have consistently protested against the violation of First Nations’ wishes to preserve their land and waters for the enjoyment of future generations.

No Nuclear Subs SA, remain emphatic about the virtual waste of “billions of dollars that should be providing jobs for the true needs of the Australian population, including climate safety, health, housing and education.”

Information at the rally quoted from a range of sources: Hugh White AO, Emeritus Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian University and a long-time defence and intelligence analyst, argues that there is no threat from China:

China today is certainly strategically ambitious, but there is no serious reason to fear that – the special case of Taiwan apart, its claim to which the rest of the world acknowledges – it seeks to conquer and absorb others’ territory.

Malayasian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob offers this warning:

AUKUS could potentially be a catalyst towards a nuclear arms race in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as provoke other powers to act more aggressively, especially within the South China Sea region.

Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation also warns:

This arrangement further entangles Australia in the USA’s war-fighting plans. It raises serious non-proliferation concerns relating to access to highly enriched weapons grade uranium, and sets a disturbing precedent for imitation and escalation.

Former federal politician and minister for the environment, Peter Garret, has stated:

Australia will now be the only non-nuclear nation that is in possession of nuclear submarines. This raises a series of critical questions in relation to the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and the management and disposal of nuclear waste.

Former prime minister, Paul Keating, thinks that:

… through AUKUS, Australia is providing expensive support to the UK and US defence companies. The Australian Prime Minister, the US President and the UK Prime Minister could barely conceal their joy with A$368 billion heading the way to their defence companies – in the UK, BAE Systems, in the US the east coast submarine shipyards.

Former Senator Rex Patrick (former submariner) on the cost of AUKUS, stated:

The AUKUS nuclear submarine project will bleed the Australian Defence Force white, topping the billions in Defence spending waste this year.

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