The NSW Teachers’ Federation State Council meeting on June 4 passed the following motion.
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Federation opposes the announcement, made in September 2021, by the former Prime Minister Scott Morrison of a new three-way strategic defence alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS), initially to build a class of nuclear-propelled submarines, at a cost of $70 billion at an absolute minimum.
Indeed, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has estimated that the cost could be as high as $170 billion.
Federation notes that this wasteful military spending by the former Morrison government is in addition to the billions already lost after the scrapping of the previous submarine contract.
The billions wasted on submarines could be far better spent on expanding publicly owned renewable energy assets to fight the climate emergency and to increase government funding of essential public services including health, education and welfare support.
Only six countries in the world have nuclear submarines, and they all have nuclear power stations. Advocates for nuclear power and nuclear weapons have been emboldened by the Morrison government’s AUKUS move. The submarines will use highly enriched uranium ideal for nuclear weapons.
The Australian government has repeatedly tried to set up nuclear waste dumps on First Nations lands. The AUKUS deal will only intensify that pressure.
Federation stands in solidarity with workers around Port Kembla and Newcastle fighting off this nuclear threat against their communities which have been flagged as possible candidates for a coastal base for the submarines.
Labor’s lazy bipartisan support of the AUKUS partnership in opposition is of serious concern and serious pressure must now be applied to the incoming [Anthony] Albanese government to reject this obscene military escalation.
Further, the new Prime Minister must take immediate action to fulfill his party’s pre-election promise to finally make Australia a signatory to the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
This motion will be submitted to the next meeting of the Australian Education Union federal executive for consideration.
[The Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition is hosting a Resisting AUKUS and the war on China meeting on June 15 at the Maritime Union of Australia offices in Sydney and online. Details here.]