In Canberra on April 21, there will be the first meeting of representatives of the groups that together make up the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN). The individual representatives will be drawn from every state and territory.
On April 22, the main conference will take place, with invited experts speaking on a range of related topics. The conference will be open to the general public and is expected to draw a large number of people with an interest in creating a more independent Australia.
In November 2011, former PM Julia Gillard and US President Barack Obama jointly announced that US marines were to be stationed in Darwin.
The speakers have been selected to focus attention on the various aspects and issues that have arisen out of IPAN’s initial concern about the US marines in Darwin. Questions about the US alliance and Australia’s regional, strategic stance will be raised, against the background of an increasingly globalised economic structure and global environmental problems.
Vincent Emanuele, an ex-US marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, will join the panel of speakers, which includes Michael McKinley (ANU), David Stephens (Honest History), Kim Sattler (Unions ACT) and Sue Wareham (Medical Association for the Prevention of War).
The conference aims to bring together people with a serious interest in a peaceful and independent Australia, prepared to raise issues that they consider to be of vital national importance. It is hoped that a process of re-evaluating where Australia now stands, and where it is headed, strategically, might begin at the conference.
IPAN delegates collectively sense that Australia is not on the most beneficial course for preserving either peace in the region or prosperity at home.
They sense that something is wrong with present arrangements, and they see it as a democratic responsibility to raise their voices in unison and ask the hard questions.