About 50 people attended an April 17 rally in King George Square to mark a global day of action against military spending. The rally, organised by Just Peace Brisbane, called for Australian military funding to be radically cut back in the upcoming federal budget.
“If the world cut military spending by just one-half of 1%, we could save the lives of 6 million children," Peter Arndt, from the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, told the audience.
“It is up to us, the common people, to say we want an end to militarism, an end to the massive build-up of military might.
“Instead, governments need to invest in people and the earth; in education, health, and the environment. We must raise our voices to force governments to change direction.”
Daniele Viliunas, from the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW), said the group had adopted a new campaign for 2012 to change the focus of the ANZAC commemoration to be symbol of peace, not war.
She urged people to join in the MAPW campaign.
Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said: “Worldwide military spending in 2010 was an astounding $1.6 trillion. We would need only 10% of that figure to achieve all the World Millenium Goals adopted in the 1990s.
“Australia spends $73 million per day on ‘defence’. We need to radically rethink our expenditure on the military and redirect public funds to fair economic and social development, and combating climate change.
“The Greens welcome the partial withdrawal of Australian forces from Afghanistan as a small step forward. But it is now time for a full withdrawal of all our troops from Afghanistan.”
Just Peace produced a bright red T-shirt for the day that read: “No billions of dollars for bombs, tanks or submarines.”
More than 130 protests against military spending were planned to take place in 40 countries on April 17.