The Guardian • Issue #2063

CPA’s Elly Hulm to CPUSA International Conference

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2063
The anti AUKUS-WA protest held at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, WA.

The anti AUKUS-WA protest held at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, WA.

Dear Comrades

On behalf of the Communist Party of Australia, I thank the CPUSA for inviting us to speak and I send our fraternal greetings and solidarity to all your members and supporters.

I acknowledge that I speak on the stolen lands of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, the traditional owners of the Australian continent. I pay my respects to their elders, past and present, and I acknowledge their ongoing connection to the land, sky, and water. It always was, and always will be Aboriginal land.

US imperialism is setting up a dangerous plan to encircle and contain socialist China. Alliances have been formed such as the Quad, Five Eyes, and AUKUS. The AUKUS agreement between the US, UK, and Australia was signed with bipartisan support in 2021 and endorsed by the new Labor Albanese government in office since May 2022.

The US had long been militarising the north of Australia as a potential site to threaten China. This has been accelerated by AUKUS to include US nuclear-armed submarines being based in Australia as well as the additional forces and weaponry.

The old colonial approach of terra nullius is again in play. There is little to no consultation with the Australian people and in particular with remote communities in Northern Australia that will become the front line of Australia in an offensive war in Asia Pacific.

Space company Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) has signed an agreement with United States rocket company Phantom Space Corporation to collaborate on missions at the Arnhem Space Centre (ASC) in the Northern Territory.

Phantom, has confirmed it has had links to the US Department of Defence. It has hopes to mass-produce rockets and fire orbital rockets from the north-east Arnhem Land site by 2025.

This is causing alarm in local communities. Elder and Arnhem Land politician Yingiya Guyula said consultation with local constituents was needed if the space centre was to be used for military purposes, such as for a missile range.

“I have not been consulted … about orbital rockets and missiles being launched from our country and it is very concerning that these things are being talked about by ELA and others without the Yolngu clans connected to the Gove Peninsula being at the forefront of that conversation.”

Yingiya said “…our country is seen as expendable because we are in the middle of nowhere. But we are not in the middle of nowhere. The rockets are launching, flying over, and coming down on country that is populated. … From bigger towns, to homeland towns, to hunting grounds and ceremonial sites.”

The US is intent on constructing an overwhelming military presence in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Most of South East Asia have expressed misgivings about AUKUS reinforced by NATO’s characterisation of AUKUS as a key instrument for NATO’s Asia-Pacific involvement.

This presence involves the modernisation and expansion of America’s military alliances with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia, upgraded security arrangements with Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, and Pakistan, and efforts to build closer ties with India.

Australia is set to become a willing proxy for NATO which looks to exert power and influence in Asia Pacific. France, UK, Canada, and Germany will join the bi-annual Talisman Sabre war games organised by the US and Australia, which started on 22nd July for 2 weeks.

Australia must withdraw from the partnership with nuclear-armed NATO and its aggressive war plans and NATO must be kept out of Asia and the Pacific.

The real threat to Australia’s security is from the US war machine which is targeting the People’s Republic of China. Neither Australia or the US can win a war against China. The only winner is the military industrial complex.

In a highly significant move India has withdrawn from the Talisman Sabre war games. Ms Annette Brownlie, spokesperson for the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) said the “United States and Australian government hopes for India joining the Quad and making it a military alliance have been dashed by India’s withdrawal from the Talisman Sabre war games.”

In Australia the failure of mass mobilisation to stop Australia joining the US in the invasion of Iraq saw the peace movement greatly diminished. Small groups remained focussing on aspects of peace but there was no network to bring those groups together in a mass movement. Since the announcement of AUKUS the Party joined others to set up anti AUKUS groups. It looks increasingly promising that the Anti-AUKUS movement will develop into the strong organised movement that is essential.

The Communist Party of Australia has called for the adoption of a peace budget; a budget that will create many more jobs and far greater security for the Australian people through much-needed spending on housing, education, medical care, and action on climate change.

It is working class taxes that pay for the weapons, the working class who fight their wars, and the working class who are abandoned by the government when they develop post-traumatic stress disorder from fighting those wars. A 2021 defence department report put suicides at 24 per cent higher for ex-serving males and 102 per cent (or 2.02 times) higher for ex-serving females when compared with the Australian population.

The only beneficiaries of the preparation and execution of war are the weapons dealers, the war profiteers who sell the guns, bombs, subs tanks, missiles, drones, and more. Without war, they are nothing.

Submarines have started to appear secretly in our ports. These ports are in close proximity to residential communities but knowledge of the activity is not well known. Proposed permanent sites for submarine rotations have been identified in Cockburn Sound in Western Australia, and Port Kembla in New South Wales.

The people, including the Maritime Union, have mobilised to deliver strong resistance in Port Kembla but not so much in Western Australia, and South Australia where the promise of jobs, that won’t be realised, is used to subdue workers and their unions.

Dollar for dollar, military spending creates far fewer jobs than spending on other sectors like education and health care. Military spending creates jobs that bring wealth to some people and businesses, but does nothing to alleviate poverty, or result in widely shared prosperity.

Prime Minister 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.

Awareness is being raised among trade union members and their unions that the job story is a hoax. Unions must join the movement against this anti working-class military adventure. We applaud the blow delivered by the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) when a motion against AUKUS put to the Queensland Labor Party Conference got support from the rank and file.

There is hope that unions such as the Maritime Union of Australia, electrical trade union will present challenges at the National conference of the Labor Party next month.

Psychological warfare is being waged against the Australian people. An enabling media who, as we have seen with its view of climate change, runs a consistent editorial line on AUKUS and “critical” voices are rarely heard.

A sinister socialisation and militarisation process is underway to persuade schoolchildren about the merits of AUKUS.

Weapons companies are sponsoring and directly delivering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) education programs to primary school children, with the explicit intention of creating positive attitudes to careers in weapons development and production. Research by Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) shows major weapons companies seek to attract the “best and brightest” young people into a comprehensive talent pipeline socialised to accept the development and deployment of war hardware and software as an essential, exciting, and rewarding career.

Children should not be the vehicle to deliver the militarisation of our society entrenching the belief that our political, ideological, economic, and social issues can and should be resolved with military solutions.

Where is the funding for career training and pathways for skills to tackle our greatest threats such as homelessness, lack of medical care, and environmental crises? Where is the funding for skills in areas such as renewable energy, water and food security, or public health? There is no such equivalent funding. War and its preparations are the greatest threat to the environment. How do these politicians, military, academics, and media criminals intend to save Australia from environmental catastrophe?

Where is the funding for the half a million Australians who are struggling to afford food every day?

What is occurring is theft of the public purse that is being funnelled to UK and US nuclear submarine industries. Generations of the working class will face austerity to pay for it so that Australian armed forces can effectively be turned into a branch of another country’s military. There is no choice but to take it to the streets – Climate activists, nuclear free activists, and peace activists are realising their common interest and working together with left and progressive parties, some trade unions, churches, and community groups. We know war and climate change are the greatest threats to our security; China is not. We can all agree on one thing and that is China is not planning to invade Australia.

With organisation our voices will be magnified with the rallying cry that the proliferation of weapons is one of the greatest threats to peace in today’s world. The global weapons industry profits from war and insecurity, and is associated with corruption and human rights violations.

Imperialist wars will not end until capitalism is overthrown. We know the declining imperial empire will aggressively and viciously struggle to retain its domination. The losers will be humankind and the planet.

We can only confront this on a global scale. We must fight to replace capitalism by socialism.

Hannah Middleton recently wrote “It is time for us 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.”

The Communist Party of Australia is committed to defeating AUKUS and getting Australians the peace budget, they need. We commit to organising locally and in a unified front globally for the better world we know is possible.

Thank you for the invitation and best wishes with this important conference.

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