The Guardian • Issue #2058


AUKUS, the ranks are breaking

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2058

Photo: Matt Hrkac ( – (CC BY 2.0)

How good would it be if we could see headlines like these?

Albanese to spend $300 billion on Public Housing


Power prices to plummet with $400 billion investment in renewable power

or even

Smiles all round: dental care now on Medicare

It’d be good, right? That’s what could easily happen if the government heeded the Communist Party of Australia’s calls for a Peace Budget to replace the largest-ever spend by an Australian government on anything. Perhaps “easily” is the wrong word, since our two major bourgeois parties are in unison on AUKUS. The Greens, who have said AUKUS will “undermine the global effort to fight the climate crisis,” aren’t about to form government.

So are those headlines just an unrealistic day-dream? Recently, it looks like there’s more opposition to AUKUS than the Albanese Labor government anticipated. Some of the opposition is in their own ranks.

Victorian Labor pulled a motion criticising AUKUS from the Victorian State Labor conference, allegedly after a deal was done to put off any debate until the ALP national conference in Brisbane. The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union moved the motion stating “profound” disappointment in the government going ahead with the Morrison Liberal government’s AUKUS pact and obscene submarine spend.

We are not starry-eyed about this. There is no requirement for Albanese’s government to do anything about any motions passed at the ALP national conference, and Labor governments have a long history of ignoring the wishes of large sections of their rank and file. However, it’s good to know that a growing group of ALP members and voters aren’t falling for Albanese’s preposterous spin on AUKUS.

The ALP draft national platform describes AUKUS as “our self-reliant defence policy,” which is a funny way to talk about a policy that will effectively turn our armed forces into a branch of another country’s military.

As former Labor PM Paul Keating has written, AUKUS has no other purpose apart from “to suit and comply with the strategic ambitions of the United States.”

It’s encouraging that Keating isn’t alone in seeing AUKUS for what it is – an obscene expense that also decreases our sovereignty, but dissident ALP branches won’t save us. Defeating AUKUS and getting Australians the peace budget they need will take a lot of work.

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