Australia-US alliance: continuing dependence or strategic independence?

January 7, 2021
Donald Trump and Scott Morrison at the White House in 2019. Photo: Shealah Craighead/Wikimeadia Commons

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has launched a national People’s Inquiry into the costs and consequences of Australia’s involvement in United States-led wars, the US alliance and alternatives.

The aim is to promote a national conversation on this important subject and IPAN is inviting submissions from organisations and individuals, including readers and contributors to Green Left.

The great majority of Australians have never been asked about this alliance, it’s implications and its limitations.

It can be argued that strategic dependence on the US has led Australia into morally unjustifiable wars, which have had disastrous consequences for the invaded countries — including Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Furthermore, it can be argued that such dependence has led to Australia’s foreign policy mirroring that of the US, and is leading Australia into dangerous waters including impacting negatively on trading relations with its major trading partner, China.

Australia’s alliance with the US and the consequential Australian Defence Force (ADF) integration with the US military would almost certainly draw the country into any conflict the US has with China, with its subsequent economic disaster for Australia.

The alliance has given rise to negative impacts — directly and indirectly — on Australia, its soldiers and civilians. It has also compromised health and social needs, the environment and political and democratic rights.

There are many views and IPAN is keen to access those and, in doing so, provide a voice for those views that are rarely or never heard.

Submissions to the inquiry, which may be general or specific, will be considered by a panel of experts chaired by lawyer and investigative journalist Kellie Tranter. IPAN has identified eight possible appropriate areas and appointed panel leaders to each.

They consist of: Dr Vince Scappatura — military and defence; Very Rev Dr Peter Catt — social and community; Dr Alison Broinowski AM — foreign policy; Terry Mason — impact on First Nations peoples; Ian Lowe AO — environment; Associate Professor Jeannie Rea — union and workers’ rights; Dr Chad Satterlee — economic; and Greg Barns SC — political including democratic rights.

Submissions can be as short as a paragraph, or as long as 5000 words.

The inquiry is open for submissions up to July 31. Submissions can be made through the IPAN inquiry website.

Each panel leader will produce a consolidation report relating to the submission received in their particular impact area. Tranter will compile the overall report, which will be printed and publicised.

IPAN’s aim is to enable and promote individual and community organisations’ views and concerns so that Australia’s foreign and domestic policies may better reflect them and help in the push for a more peaceful, just and independent Australia.

[Bevan Ramsden is a long-time peace activist and on the coordinating committee of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network.]

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.