The Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC) and the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network NSW (IPAN NSW) profoundly oppose the PM’s statement on placing Australia among the top ten of arms exporters through its new arm export strategy. We fully support and commend this statement by Professor Stuart Rees – Council for peace and justice Sydney University.
The Coalition government’s proposed $3.8 billion to subsidise arms manufacturers in order to boost Australian weapons sales, is part of a plan to move this country from 20th in the arms exports league table to 10th. The policy beggars belief. The government wallows in amoral attitudes fuelled by motives to bolster profits whatever the human costs.
A huge humanitarian and jobs creation opportunity has been missed. The Prime Minister could have said that he wanted to identify with the philosophy and practice of non- violence because that is the way to contribute to peace, in the Muddle East, in S.E. Asia and beyond. He could have said that he wanted to invest in carbon free energy policies because is the 21 sr century means of job creation.
In the United States, our faithful war mongering ally, President Trump has announced a $716 Billion US rise in the military budget. As part of our outdated, threadbare defence policy, we want to follow suit.
If Australia wanted to follow the example of any one country, it should be Norway. If Australia wants to promote peace instead of armed conflict, members of the Australian Cabinet could spend valuable time in dialogue with members of the Norwegian Peace Prize Committee.
In global peace initiatives, Norway punches miles above its weight. By contrast Australia seems willing to foment conflict inYemen via support for the Saudis, in the Middle East by massive support for Israel and in West Papua by always accepting the violent, colonialist policies of the Indonesians.
A measure of commitment to a common humanity and to peace comes from measures of overseas aid provided by different governments. UN target is for each country to provide 0.7 %of gross national income (GNI) . Norway currently gives 1.11% of its GNI in overseas aid. Australia gives 0.22 % or one fifth of what Norway provides. In population Australia is about five times the size of Norway.
To compound the meanness and selfishness in our overseas aid contribution, the Prime Minister instead wants to spend more billions on the means of killing people. An opportunity for Australia to be committed to peace has been missed. The policy ‘let’s invest in violence’, ‘let’s support the international arms trade’ sounds like a return to 19 th century gun boat diplomacy.
‘Let’s swagger on a world stage.’ The policy beggars belief.
Stuart Rees, Council for
Peace & Justice, University of Sydney.