Australian Anti-Bases Coalition & IPAN-NSW Statement August 18, 2014
On 12 August 2014, the Australian Government hosted United States Secretary of State John Kerry and United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in Sydney for the 2014 Australia-United States Ministerial Consultation (AUSMIN). AUSMIN covers military matters, foreign affairs and trade in the region.
Ignoring advice from prominent Australians that we are too ‘close to the US’, the Abbott Government engaged in more abject groveling. Former Prime Ministers Malcolm Fraser and Paul Keating and former Foreign Minister Bob Carr have all said that Australia’s interests are not served by servility to the US super power but require greater independence.
Paul Keating was reported as saying in the Keith Murdoch Oration 2012 that “Australia was over deferential to the US” (Diary of a Foreign Minister by Bob Carr p 217).
The combined weight of the Abbott Government and US officials has squashed any tendency towards a more independent Australia. Instead the path of ‘all the way with the USA’ was reinforced by AUSMIN 2014.
Press Release August 11, 2014
As dedicated watchers of the US-Australia alliance we expect that the Australia Government will agree to pay the entire cost of Marines in Darwin at the 2014 AUSmin talks.
We have been campaigning against the stationing of US Marines in Darwin and have constantly been asking who will pay the bill? Said Denis Doherty of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition.
The Government has been evasive but mentioned they would be announcing the decision in early August, so we presume the AUSMIN is as good as any place to make the announcement.
The buzz about Iraq will cover this information but as far as Australians are concerned this decision is far more important that a bit of emergency care to Iraq. We are not objecting to the Iraq relief just to the possibility that this issue will obscure the Marines in Darwin.
The decision means that Australia will pay either $1.6 billion in a once up or $1.6 per year we do not have the exact figures yet but the $1.6 bill is being bandied around.
In midst of attacking pensioners, the sick and the jobless on the excuse that the economy is bad, how can they argue to throw around $1.6 bill once or yearly?
For more information contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663
I refer to your letter dated 6 July 2014 to the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, concerning legislative amendments to security intelligence powers. The Attorney-General has asked me to respond on his behalf.
On 16 July, the Attorney-General introduced the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No 1) 2014 in the Senate. The Bill contains a package of targeted reforms to key legislation governing Australia's intelligence agencies, in line with the recommendations of the bipartisan report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) in 2013 on potential reforms to Australia's national security legislation. Continued
A senior strategic analyst has called for the Federal Government to rethink the Pine Gap communications facility, saying some of its work now is "ethically unacceptable".
Australian National University Professor Des Ball previously supported the joint Australia-US communications facility near Alice Springs, but changes to its role since the Al Qaeda attacks in 2001 have changed his mind. Continued
It was announced last year that in 2013 the Government was going to produce a new white paper on Defence (military) without any input from the community! They said they were only interested in hearing from stake holders. This meant that Admirals, Generals and arms corporations and pro war academics were going to be the only ones consulted. A classic case of the fox looking after the hen house!
Undaunted we mounted a postcard campaign urging the Defence Minister to change his mind. Late last year he relented and announced that the Defence White Paper Committee would take submissions by the 28th Feb 2013. The announcement was not very well advertised and not very well communicated the Australian people. The restrictions placed on the submissions were meant to dissuade the community from sending in suggestions to the Committee.
The Anti-Bases Campaign has mounted a drive to get as many people letting the committee know its feeling that there is far too much being spent on the military at the expense of other socially needed objectives.
We have distributed widely a postcard which many have expressed thanks for as well as providing considered views on different aspects of Australia’s military spending. Please click below to view post card and submissions.