Anti-war activists oppose ADF trainer deployment

October 27, 2022
Stop the War Coalition is opposed to Australia's efforts to become more embedded in the NATO war alliance. Graphic: Kerry Smith/Green Left

A day before the federal Labor government announced on October 26 it was sending Australian Defence Force (ADF) trainers to Britain to train Ukrainian troops, the Sydney Stop the War Coalition (STWC) raised its opposition to the deployment and concerns that Australia lacks legislation requiring parliamentary approval before military forces are deployed overseas.

“The Ukraine trainer issue has come up as peace and anti-war campaigners want Labor to agree to reform the laws governing war powers,” STWC said.

“Britain is investing in an extensive training program for the Ukrainian military in Europe, to which New Zealand, Sweden and the Netherlands have contributed military instructors.

“Sending Australian military trainers to Europe would be a significant advance for the Australian state’s pro-military, pro-weapons' production agenda.”

STWC opposes the deployment on the basis that it would “[b]ring Australia into NATO’s intervention into the war in Ukraine” and “[h]elp the Australian state use Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine to roll back opposition to imperial wars in general”.

STWC said the deployment would also “[p]repare for conflict with China as a bipartisan policy ... help Australia-NATO ‘interoperability’” and “further soften up Australians” for war with China. It would “[n]ormalise the AUKUS treaty, which includes an Australian commitment to spending at least $170 billion on nuclear-powered submarines, and hosting more US bases,” STWC said. “It also means the Australian state is on the lookout for opportunities to practice complex and varied military manoeuvres with its partners. Military exercises are the main way to practice interoperability, but military training offers some of the same.”

“[STWC] opposes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of international law and we support Ukraine’s right to self-determination.

“But we reject the hypocrisy of the hawkish Australian state and its efforts to become more embedded in the NATO war alliance.

“If Australia was serious about wanting to help Ukraine without fanning the flames of war, it could immediately offer permanent residency to Ukrainian refugees, instead of temporary protection visas.

“The West’s so-called support for a “rules-based” order is hypocritical in the extreme, when the same powers invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, and continue to ignore years-long wars such as the Saudi war on Yemen, Israel’s war on Palestine and Indonesia’s war on West Papua.”

[Read the full statement at: @StopWarCoalition/facebook.]

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.