AUSMIN 2023 increases US militarisation of Australia

August 7, 2023
Hiroshima Day protest in Gadi/Sydney. Photo: Peter Boyle

Defence minister Richard Marles and foreign minister Penny Wong agreed with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin at AUSMIN 2023 to deepen and tighten the US military grip on Australia.

It must be broken to have any hope of a peaceful future.

The AUSMIN 2023 deal involves enhanced Force Posture Cooperation across land, maritime and air domains as well as the Combined Logistics, Sustainment and Maritime Enterprise. They have also declared enhanced space cooperation.

More US forces will be deployed to Australia, including with amphibious troops and maritime reconnaissance planes. US intelligence analysts will be embedded within Defence’s spy agency, establishing a Combined Intelligence Centre-Australia within Australia’s Defence Intelligence Organisation by 2024.

In addition to upgrading RAAF Tindal and Darwin, RAAF Scherger near Weipa in Queensland and RAAF Curtin near Derby in Western Australia will be expanded to service aircraft used by both Australia and the US including the F-35 Lightning, Super Hornet fighters and C-17 cargo planes.

The ABC’s Four Corners last year revealed that RAAF Tindal will be upgraded to accommodate up to six nuclear-capable B52 bombers and on August 4, it disclosed plans to build a US Air Force Mission Planning and Operations Centre in Darwin — plans which have not been disclosed by federal Labor government.

There will be more and longer visits of US nuclear submarines to HMAS Stirling in WA from this year. This is preparation for Submarine Rotational Force-West, and involves British and US nuclear submarines being berthed and serviced under the AUKUS Agreement.

The US will now conduct a “regular rotation” of army watercraft, as well as deploying a US Navy spy plane to conduct surveillance flights.

The US also announced its intention to pre-position US Army stores and materiel at the Bandiana Army base, near Wodonga in Victoria, as a precursor for longer-term establishment of an enduring Logistics Support Area in Queensland.

The US and Australia will collaborate in the local production of multiple-launch guided missiles, planned to begin by 2025.

Australia faces no military threat; the huge public expenditure on “defence” is at the expense of addressing urgent social needs. The real beneficiary is the US military-industrial complex — Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other corporations — which have a presence in Australia.

Sovereignty has been sacrificed on the altar of the US-Australia military alliance. For a peaceful future, we need to break the US grip on our country. To do that we must unite the increasing numbers of people from different political persuasions who are alarmed at the growing militarisation.

We need political leaders to serve our interests, rather than those of the US or any other foreign power. Only independence can give us back our sovereignty, self-respect and the possibility of a peaceful future.

[Bevan Ramsden is a long-time peace activist and edits the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN)’s monthly e-publication, Voice.]

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