Peace and community groups join forces to sink AUKUS

February 21, 2024
Campaigning against AUKUS in Gadigal/Sydney in August 2023. Photo: Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition/Facebook

Representatives of more than 30 community organisations met on February 3 to discuss working more closely to oppose AUKUS and the US-Australia war drive against China.

They also endorsed the The Marrickville Declaration, which highlights the dangers of the AUKUS military agreement between Australia, Britain and the United States, and which commits signatories to a campaign to force Labor to withdraw from it.

Nick Deane, who helped initiate the new alliance, and who convenes the Marrickville Peace Group, told Green Left he drew inspiration from a well-attended public meeting opposing AUKUS, hosted by the group a year ago.

“The irony of meeting in the PM’s Grayndler electorate did not go unnoticed,” Deane said. The alliance has an “ambitious, yet necessary, goal to galvanise broad social support to oppose AUKUS and the war drive against China.

“Those present shared their many concerns … the consensus reached was that AUKUS is entirely contrary to Australia’s best interests and so deserves concerted opposition.”

A Mobilise Against AUKUS and War committee has been set up to cooperate with the labour movement, peace and faith groups and progressive organisations.

Dr Alison Broinowski from Australians for War Powers Reform endorsed the new group saying: “The unthinking continuation of Scott Morrison’s AUKUS policy by the Albanese government has been a deep disappointment.

“More than that, it is a dangerous policy that threatens Australian lives and our environment.

“We are not only at risk of being dragged into a deadly war, the government also has no plans to deal with the high-level nuclear waste generated by the AUKUS submarines. And we know that AUKUS funds from Australia are already underwriting the US nuclear weapons industry.

“The US has become an unstable ally. With Donald Trump a real chance of returning to the White House, we cannot risk Australian lives with AUKUS.”

Peter Murphy from the Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition, another supporter, said: “AUKUS is not only a colossal waste of money, it ratchets up the drive to war that is dangerous to the Australian people and the people of the Asia-Pacific.

“We are committed to building a broad unity to make the government see sense and reverse its involvement.

“While most focus has been on the disastrous nuclear submarine policy, it is vital to remember that AUKUS will commit Australian scientific resources to military priorities. Our scientific expertise in quantum computing, artificial intelligence and robotics should serve human need, not the dogs of war.”

Lilli Barto of Wage Peace added her support to the new alliance. 

The Marrickville Declaration opposes spending $368 billion on nuclear submarines instead of urgent social, environmental and community needs.

It calls on signatories to oppose AUKUS through “non-violent means” and to promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

It calls on Labor to reveal the full details of the AUKUS agreement, including its purpose, timing and cost.

Signatories of the declaration also stand in solidarity with First Nations communities, who will be left to bear the consequences of any nuclear waste and/or testing facilities on unceded Indigenous land.

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