Protesters gathered outside Minister for Defence Richard Marles’ electorate office to protest the AUKUS pact on February 24. The action was organised by No AUKUS Victoria Coalition and Independent and Peaceful Australia Network Geelong & South West Regional Victoria.
The first mission of AUKUS, between Australia, Britain and the United States, signed on November 2021, is to help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.
What the rally lacked in numbers, it more than made up for in energy with lots of chanting. Just about everyone accepted the opportunity to take the microphone and voice their opposition to AUKUS and its offensive security arrangements.
One speaker reminded the gathering that only a so-called “Executive group” — presumably Marles, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and foreign minister Penny Wong — would make the momentous decision to take the country to yet another US-instigated war. This effectively makes a total mockery of the country’s claim to be a healthy, functioning democracy.
Several spoke about the very real danger of Russia’s war on Ukraine spiralling into a much broader conflict. They mentioned the negative impact of more funding being allocated to the military, while spending is being cut to the health, housing, education and welfare sectors.
Another said the environmental consequences of a global war, sparked by Russia’s invasion, would obliterate any chance of containing global warming.