Protest calls on Labor to fight climate change, not prepare for war

May 31, 2023
Stop AUKUS WA and Walyup Climate Action protesting AUKUS. Photos: Alex Salmon and Stop AUKUS WA/Facebook

A protest against the Labor government’s enormous AUKUS military spending by Stop AUKUS WA and Walyalup Climate Action on May 27 put the case that such amounts mean Australia has no possibility of confronting the climate crisis.

The protest opposed AUKUS’s plan to make Cockburn a nuclear-powered and possibly nuclear armed base. It was chaired by Sam Wainwright from Stop AUKUS WA and jointly heard from Uncle Des Blurton, Greens MLC Brad Pettitt, Elizabeth Hulm from Stop AUKUS WA, Mia Pepper from Nuclear Free WA, Chris Johansen from Nuke Free Cockburn Sound and Extinction Rebellion.

Global military expenditure last year reached a staggering $2.24 trillion and the world’s militaries are responsible for approximately 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

War and armed conflict cause loss of lives, homes, food sources, environmental devastation and are exacerbating our climate emergency.

Wainwright said the Labor government is demonstrating it is more committed to preparing for war than combating the threat of climate change. He pointed out that just $4 billion had been allocated to renewable energy technologies compared to an annual $10 billion in fossil fuel subsidies, $48 billion for defence spending and up to $368 billion over 30 years on nuclear submarines.

“We are on track to breach the 1.5°C Paris target within the next five years, possibly sooner, if we don't take immediate and drastic action to limit climate change. By the time the SSN-AUKUS submarines are operational, in the 2040s, the world as we know it simply won’t exist.”

Stop AUKUS WA said there is widespread concern that making Stirling Naval Base a home for nuclear powered submarines poses “a lasting threat of nuclear accidents for the communities adjacent to Cockburn Sound”.

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