Labor Party members joined leftists and peace activists to speak out against militarism, AUKUS and the Quad at a protest organised by Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition on May 24.
Speaking on behalf of Labor Against the War, journalist Marcus Strom said that the Quad and the G7 “seem to be suffering mission creep”.
“From collaborators on trade and economic development, they’ve become bodies set on containing China and beating the drums of war,” he said.
“For them to do this in Hiroshima — the first city to suffer a US nuclear attack — is both astounding and appalling ... Australians do not want to be dragged into another US-led war.”
Speaking on behalf of Young Labor, James Miranda said thousands of young people across the country refuse to accept the AUKUS pact and “refuse to accept a Labor government that is willing to trade away their futures to prop up the ambitions of a dying US empire”.
“The wealthiest in this country — the capitalist class who have been banging the war drums and actually have the capacity to pay — won’t be the ones asked to tighten their belts and cough up the money for these submarines,” Miranda said.
“No, they’ll be offered giant tax cuts while the working class men and women, on whose backs their empires are built, will be forced into austerity and have their safety nets ripped out from underneath them.”
Gem Romuld, Australian director of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and an activist with Wollongong Against War and Nukes said she had hoped the Anthony Albanese government would not follow in Scott Morrison’s steps.
Instead, she said, Labor is “taking us in the opposite direction of what so many of us want: a nuclear free, independent foreign and defence policy”.
“This government’s actions are inviting war, but the people want peace.”
Romuld said that the hundreds at the rally were just the tip of the iceberg of a new movement that is building against militarism. She emphasised that people organising together can change the shape of the future.
She called on the government to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as Labor had previously promised.
The rally was timed to coincide with a meeting of the Quad leaders in Sydney. However, the week before Biden announced he would not make it, and the Quad happened on the sidelines of the G7 in Japan.
Protesters chanted “No to AUKUS; No to war” and “No base, no waste, on Aboriginal land” as they took to the CBD streets.