A packed public meeting in Marrickville Town Hall on March 19 called on the Anthony Albanese Labor government not to repeat the Iraq war mistake of following the United States into another disastrous war.
The meeting commemorated the war's 20th anniversary but also opposed the $368 billion AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine deal, officially announced earlier in the week.
Held in the heart of the PM's electorate, the meeting drew about 500 peace activists, trade unionists, long-time Labor members and supporters, and concerned residents. Among the latter were members of the Asian-Australian community, who are already experiencing an upsurge of racism stoked by the relentless war propaganda.
Speakers included former NSW Labor Premier Bob Carr, retired US Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Greens Senator David Shoebridge and Dr Alison Broinowski who is President of Australians for War Powers Reform.
Carr said that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was motivated by a US attempt to bolster its military primacy and dominance in the Middle East. He said AUKUS was motivated by the same objective in Asia, rather than there being any real Chinese military threat to Australia.
But, this time, "there is a real danger of nuclear war," warned Carr.
The other speakers, including the retired US colonel, agreed with his assessment.
"We are gathered here 20 years on from a war that started with a series of lies," said Shoebridge. "As we gather here, the powerful forces of the media, the weapons industry and the political class are also gathering. But they are not gathering for peace, as we are. They are baying for war and we must all be alarmed."
The meeting was organised by the Marrickville Peace Group and facilitated by Mary Kostakidis.