City News

Australian peace movement begin fight against AUKUS

The Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC) based in Surry Hills put together an emergency remote meeting of peace activists with the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) on August 18 following the Morrison government decision to develop nuclear submarines. Photo: Facebook.

By EVA BAXTER

Australian peace, environmental and other activists and organisations are opposed to the Morrison government decision to join the trilateral security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (AUKUS) and the development of nuclear submarines.

The Australian peace movement is preparing to form a national coalition against AUKUS which establishes a position highlighting the risks of nuclear weapons proliferation, distracting from the threat of climate change and the financial costs to the Australian community.

Peace activists call for debate in parliament and with the Australian community and plan to pursue working with Labor.

Dr. Hannah Middleton, Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC) Chairperson told City Hub the peace movement was horrified by the decision and quickly began to develop a campaign.

She said the French deal over diesel-powered submarines could be argued as defensive but described the US nuclear submarines as “killer.”

Peace pressed

Dr. Vince Scappatura, professor of Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University said in an emergency remote meeting of peace activists on August 18 the decision is an indication of where the US sees Australia in its global or regional ambitions.

Dr. Scappatura referenced a report released in 2013 by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments which offers an American perspective on the U.S.-Australia military alliance and calls Australia’s geographical position a gateway to the Indo-Pacific.

The report said, “for the first time since World War II, Australian and American areas of strategic priority overlap. The strength of this rekindled convergence suggests that the U.S.-Australia relationship may well prove to be the most special relationship of the 21st century.”

The report “explores Australia’s current airpower and submarine debates and argues in favor of longer-range air capabilities, both manned and unmanned, as well as for Australia ideally to acquire nuclear-powered submarines, unmanned underwater vehicles, and submarine tenders.”

Dr. Middleton is expecting that the demonstrations taking place in parts of Australia not currently under lockdown will get bigger and hopes to call a National Day of Action. She encourages people under lockdown rules to write to the government, write to their MP, write to local newspapers, and call radio.

Dr. Middleton lives in Glebe.

“My hospital for all my medical problems is RPA. With the covid pandemic, it is stretched to the limit, it needs far more funding, so we can have more doctors, more nurses, more ancillary staff to meet the kind of demand they’re facing at the moment.

“I don’t want to see royal Prince Alfred Hospital collapse under a nuclear attack, and yet a place like Sydney is going to be a nuclear target if this standoff dominated by the Americans continues. This whole thing is madness, and it is criminal madness.”

A petition by the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network has reached over 6,000 signatures.

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