'War games a threat to the region'
Jim McIlroy, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the Brisbane seat of Griffith, called on Labor leader Kevin Rudd to condemn the Talisman Sabre war games being held at Shoalwater Bay.
"Why do we need this massive invasion, involving 32,000 military personnel from the US and Australia, in one of the most beautiful areas of our coastline? This area, part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, will be blasted with live ammunition of all kinds."
McIlroy said the war games are not only an "attack" on Queensland's environment, but also "a threat to the peoples of the Asia-Pacific region". "This massive misuse of taxpayers' money is part of tying the Australian military even more closely to the US superpower", he explained.
McIlroy said that one of the purposes of the military exercises is to signal to countries in the region not to try to become too independent or carry out policies that challenge Australian and US hegemony in the Asia-Pacific. "If they do, they face the prospect of direct military intervention."
"This week's convergence on Rockhampton of peace activists from around Australia sends a strong anti-war message to the Howard and Bush governments. It adds to the worldwide pressure for US and Australian troops to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan immediately", McIlroy said.
He also called on the government to halt the games to protect seven peace activists, including a 67-year-old grandmother, who entered the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area on June 19.
According to David Bradbury, an organiser of the Peace Convergence, the activists, who have supplies to last for seven days, are "determined to risk their lives if necessary". Activists are urging people to send email messages calling for the war games to be cancelled to all MPs, and particularly defence minister Brendon Nelson at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.