The Guardian • Issue #2096

Anti-AUKUS Forum, Port Adelaide

Australia scammed


A coalition of Anti-AUKUS, peace and community activists organised a public forum on the dangers of the planned involvement of Port Adelaide in the nuclear submarine industry.

The coalition comprised: No Nuclear Subs, Anti-AUKUS Coalition, Medical Association for the Prevention of War, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Independent and Peaceful Australia Network – IPAN, and the Greens among others.

Speakers included former senator and submariner Rex Patrick, Greens Senator David Shoebridge, and Dr Amanda Ruler, national vice-president of MAPWA (Medical Association for the Prevention of War).

Patrick noted that 60 per cent of Australia’s defence spending is projected for conflict in the Northern Hemisphere. To him, AUKUS means a loss of sovereignty, and comes with no public approval or proper explanation. Patrick explained that there were serious economic risks, with the huge expense endangering social programs, especially when there would be no exports of oil and gas to bolster the economy. At the same time, Australia lacked experienced project managers, engineers, and technicians. Put simply, AUKUS should not proceed.

Professor Al Rainnie, with a 40-year career in studying the employment situation in the nuclear submarine industry in the UK, was able to clearly rebut the Prime Minister’s claims of astronomical levels of employment being created in Adelaide. Al Rainnie’s research has focused on the port city of Barrow, as a base for submarine construction, that has been “doing it tough,”where the submarines have failed to bring any sign of prosperity.

Professor Rainnie expressed his dismay that Adelaide was building infrastructure for submarines that are unlikely to turn up. The real need lies in focusing on climate change, supporting local manufacturers of solar panels. By 2050 there will be a predicted one million jobs in renewables, but universities in South Australia were “chasing the nuclear dollar.”

Senator Shoebridge, Defence Spokesperson for the Greens, denounced the situation where First Nations people, not just in Australia but across the globe have suffered from the imposition of defence and other projects that threaten the environment. In no uncertain terms he called for keeping this continent nuclear free.

One tangible outcome of the meeting was the formation of a community action group to oppose the construction or the decommissioning of nuclear submarines In Port Adelaide. Over one hundred people were there to express a high level of community concern.

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