Protesters demanded the AUKUS military alliance be scrapped on September 16, a year since it was signed.
Sydney Anti AUKUS Coalition spokesperson Adam Adelpour said AUKUS, part of the “drive to war with China”, was being supported by the new Labor government which had also pledged to “keep military spending at more than 2% of GDP”.
Greens MP Jenny Leong, Alexander Brown from Wollongong Against War and Nukes, former federal Senator Jo Vallentine and Deputy National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Warren Smith addressed the protest at Sydney Town Hall. Kelly Marks from the New South Wales Teachers Federation sent a message of support.
“The nuclear subs will escalate military tensions between the US and China and contribute to an arms race that threatens to culminate in war between nuclear powers.”
Speakers pointed out that AUKUS puts communities in the firing line. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is committed to a $10 billion east coast nuclear submarine base, likely in Wollongong.
AUKUS also opens the possibility of Australia pursuing a dirty, destructive and dangerous nuclear industry.
Australia will become only the 7th country in the world with a fleet of nuclear submarines, at an estimated cost of $170 billion.
Albanese has flagged cuts in the October budget, Adelpour said, “but he makes no mention of the immense sums of money that will be devoured by AUKUS and funnelled straight into the pockets of arms manufacturers”.
This money should be spent on “public health, better public schools and universities, better support for the disadvantaged and more affordable housing and renewable energy”.
A petition against AUKUS by the Independent and Peaceful Australia network gathered more than 24,000 signatures.
Unions NSW, Victorian Trades Hall, the NSW Teachers Federation, the MUA and the United Workers Union have all passed resolutions opposing AUKUS.
[Get in touch with Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition here.]