Activists protest Indian Ocean weapons conference

Outside the Indian Ocean Defence and Security Conference. Photo: Stop AUKUS – WA/Facebook

Anti-war and peace protesters from Stop AUKUS – WA gathered outside Perth Optus stadium on August 25, the opening day of the Indian Ocean Defence and Security Conference.

Keynote speakers at the conference, including BAE Systems Australian CEO, talked up the AUKUS security arrangement between Australia, Britain and the United Sates, security in the Indian Ocean and “cyber security”, and “growing sovereign capability and the defence industry”.

The rally heard from Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John, anti-nuclear activist Jo Vallentine, Sam Wainwright from Stop AUKUS – WA, Mia Pepper from Nuclear Free WA and Adrian Glamorgan.

Stop AUKUS – WA said the AUKUS technology and intelligence sharing pact, agreed by then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison last September without parliamentary consultation, is an “obscene waste of tax payers’ money on attack-class war machinery, including nuclear powered submarines”.

“Nuclear powered submarines, based at Garden Island, would threaten our national security by making us a potential target. It would pose health risks to civilians,” it said.

The anti-war group opposes US bases in Australia, including Pine Gap, and integration of Australia’s foreign and defence policies into US preparations for a war with China.

“War is a major contributor to climate change: it causes catastrophic environmental damage and produces high amounts of greenhouse gasses. It has devastating health effects and kills innocent people.”