“Plans for a new naval base in Brisbane should be rejected out of hand,” Liam Flenady, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of South Brisbane in the upcoming Queensland state elections, said on February 17.
Flenady was responding to a statement in the February 14 South-East Advertiser by a local business leader advocating that a new naval base should be established at the Bulimba Military Barracks, on the banks of the Brisbane River.
This follows the recommendation of the Defence Department Force Posture Review. The January 31 Courier Mail reported that the review said a new navy base should be built “in Brisbane as part of a fundamental shift of naval power north of Sydney”.
The report also recommended that other defence facilities in Queensland be expanded or upgraded.
Flenady said: “Clearly, following the announcement by US President Barack Obama during his visit to Australia last year, any such base would be closely linked in with the US war machine, as it expands its military operations in the Asia-Pacific, especially in collaboration with the Australian armed forces.
“Any new naval base in Brisbane would put our city at the centre of any war of aggression that the US, and its close ally, Australia, might seek to launch in future. Socialist Alliance strongly opposes any expansion of Australian or US military facilities in Brisbane, or anywhere in Queensland.
Flenady told Green Left Weekly that he “also opposes any moves to begin uranium mining in Queensland, whichever party wins the state election on March 24. And we call for the reversal of the decision by Brisbane City Council to dump its previous declaration of Brisbane as a Nuclear Free Zone.
“We should also cancel the biennial US-Australia military war games at Shoalwater Bay, north of Rockhampton, which destroy a World Heritage natural environment and help prepare the way for future US-Australian wars in our region.
“In the light of the current world economic crisis, now is the time to slash military spending, not increase it.”
[For more details about the Socialist Alliance Queensland state election campaign, phone 07 3831 2644/0423 741 734, or visit the Socialist Alliance Queensland website.]