Queensland Senate candidate Renee Lees expressed her party's “complete opposition” to the nuclear-powered submarine project on September 21. Lees, who is running for the Socialist Alliance, was supported by Cairns councillor and Socialist Alliance member Rob Pyne.
“The cost for the submarines is more than $100 billion”, Lees said. “We would much better serve our nation and our region by spending this on health and education, rather than a military venture to support United States' interests in the Asia Pacific.”
Lees told Green Left that Australia should aim to be a “productive partner in our region”, rather than “a colonial bully”.
She noted the federal government's dismal record on taking real climate action and reducing the wealth gap, compared with its enthusiasm for military belligerence.
Pyne will be moving a motion for a nuclear-free Cairns at the city's next council meeting.
He told Green Left that as Cairns is strategically located on the Pacific Rim it has an important role to play in helping get the anti-nuclear message out. “The ocean’s name – ‘Pacific’ – comes from the word peaceful”, he said. “We want to be a peaceful city, not a nuclear city.”
He also noted that Cairns has a big Chinese population, saying, “the Chinese are our friends; we don’t want conflict with China”.