The Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (ABCC) launched a short campaign on January 4 to contribute to efforts to oppose the federal government’s preparations for war against China, as a part of the United States’ warfighting forces.
“The north of our continent is being increasingly garrisoned, militarised and nuclearised by the US,” the ABCC said.
Professor Richard Tranter said in November last year: “This unquestioned technical, doctrinal and organizational integration of northern Australian military facility into US planning and preparation for an increasingly likely conflict with China has grave implications for Australian security.”
One aspect not publicly mentioned, the ABCC noted, is “the humanitarian consequences of war, especially if nuclear weapons are used”.
Frank Bongiorno wrote in his book, The Eighties: The decade that transformed Australia: “A nuclear attack on Nurrungar, for instance, if carried out during a north-westerly, might have killed about 10,000 people in SA cities such as Port Augusta, Whyalla and Port Pirie, as well as making many in Adelaide very ill.
“The less likely event of an attack on the naval base at Cockburn Sound in Western Australia could have caused 100,000 fatalities in Perth and Fremantle, while a similar attack on the air force base in Darwin would have killed or injured almost the entire population of the city.
“Nuclear attacks on a major Australian city such as Sydney or Melbourne would have produced hundreds of thousands of fatalities, with people being killed either by the blast or fallout.”
The ABCC is asking you to do three things:
1. Send a version of the letter below to your federal MP and a Senator for your state or Territory, asking for casualty estimates and medical response planning. Send it in hard copy or by email in the week of January 9–13, allowing time for replies before parliament sits on February 6-9. Please feel free to amend the letter.
2. Please share this campaign with people you know would be interested.
3. Please send any information you receive to Hannah Middleton at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a constituent of yours and am writing about my concerns about the militarisation and even nuclearisation of the north of our wonderful country.
I am deeply worried about talk of war with China and statements by government and opposition politicians that Australia would support the United States in a war over Taiwan.
The government has committed us to combined military operations and unfettered access for US forces and platforms in northern and western Australia.
It is of great concern that historically no US wars have been fought on US soil except the civil war. This rises a red flag that Australia tied to the US military could be set up as the front line in a US conflict. Surely no Australian government could or should take such a risk with the lives of Australians.
Tragically, it is clear that Australia is moving, inexorably, towards a satellite, garrison state to be disposed of and used by the US in its efforts to contain China.
This includes expansion of US troop rotations in Darwin, stationing of nuclear capable B52s at Tindal, the construction of eleven giant jet fuel storage tanks in Darwin to support US defence operations in the region; a major expansion of the US Pine Gap base which will play a vital role in any conflict with Beijing; US bombers exercising out of Amberley with the South China Sea and beyond as targets; runway improvements, parking aprons, explosive storage infrastructure, and facilities to support the workforce; and substantial investments in modernisation of training areas, garrisons and airbases.
I have two specific queries and I request that you provide me with answers to them:
- What is the federal government estimate of the number of civilian casualties in the event of our country becoming involved in a war with China?
- What planning is the federal government putting in place for additional medical services to deal with civilian casualties in the event of our country becoming involved in a war with China?
I look forward to receiving your response.
[Denis Doherty and Hannah Middleton are members of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition.]