- Landmark new report calls for Australia to ‘stand on our own two feet’ and ‘chart our own course’ in foreign policy
- The preparation for war is all too evident but we must instead work urgently for peace
- IPAN National Conference and Inquiry Report Launch, 22-24th November, 2022 in Canberra
The US is establishing Australia as a proxy in a war against China; Prime Minister Albanese must stand up to the US and say NO to nuclear-capable B-52 bombers stationed on our territory; Australia must stay out of any US plans for a war against China. As revealed by the ABC in an investigative report on 31 October 2022, the United States has been secretly planning to station six, B-52 long range bombers in the NT, each capable of carrying conventional or nuclear payloads.
IPAN calls on the Australian Government to reach out to the United Nations and to Ukraine and Russian leadership and call for an immediate ceasefire and a negotiated settlement of the conflict. Recent statements from Defence Minister Richard Marles echo knee jerk response from then Prime Minister John Howard after 9/11 leading us into the horrific no exit 20-year war in Afghanistan.
Community opposition to the secret deal of AUKUS, dropped on the Australian people one year ago, is evidenced by this petition being tabled today in the Senate by Senator Jordon Steele-John signed by almost 27,000 Australians.
Opposition to AUKUS is also evidenced by the public statement signed by over 1000 people, advertised over the past week in The Saturday Paper and The Weekend Australian.
A ceasefire is critical to avert the possible use of nuclear weapons and an escalation of the war. A ceasefire will enable negotiations for a security solution, to address the needs of all parties. A ceasefire will help provide a pathway to peace for the people of the region
- Military Exercises further entrench us with the US and pitch us closer to war
- Northern Australia developing into a US military colony
The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) Media Release - For Immediate Release date - 20 August
We, the undersigned, call on the Australian government to terminate the AUKUS agreement with the United States and Britain, and abandon the commitment to buy nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.
"Now that you are Prime Minister, we urge you to waste no time in making good on your wish to see Julian Assange’s ordeal come to an end, as the issue is now beyond critical, with his current health status meaning time is of the essence. It is now much too late for legal remedies.
No 68 June, 2022
Please share VOICE with organisational members and on your social media platforms. [Candobetter Editor: This version lacks most illustrations. For a full copy email [email protected]]
Your action can help save Julian Assange. Urge new PM and Foreign Affairs Minister to speak to President Biden at Japan conference
Dear friends of IPAN
We congratulate the people of Australia for voting in a new government comprised of Labor, Greens and Independents demonstrating a real community led demand for quality change in so many areas.
No AUKUS  and IPAN Victoria at Palm Sunday rally this Sunday 10 April, 2.00 pm, State Library of Victoria. No AUKUS Information Table at the State Library. Come to our Information Table, say hello, pick up some flyers and banners. AUKUS = WAR = REFUGEES. Peace, Justice, Environment - No AUKUS!.
In solidarity with the people of Ukraine and Russia, a call has gone out to the international peace movement to hold rallies and actions during the week of March 1 – 7, 2022. The Independent and Peaceful Australian Network proposes national rallies are held across Australia on Wednesday 2nd March in solidarity with international peace actions and with the people of Ukraine and Russia in their demands for peace. Please let them know if you are organising any actions earlier or interested in organising a rally/protest action in your state on Wednesday 2 March.
(Politician contact details inside) The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) says, "We need your help: Call the Morrison Government to act now to save Australian citizen and journalist Julian Assange!"
On December 10 court the UK court upheld an appeal to extradite Julian Assange to the US to be tried on espionage charges which carry a life sentence. Expert medical opinion is that he is very unwell and will be at risk of serious harm in the US prison system or if the legal processes are extended, by continued imprisonment in the UK prison.
Australia cannot become a staging point for the U.S. military, we cannot abrogate our sovereignty to the U.S., we cannot encourage nuclear proliferation and risk environmental catastrophe.
Australian peace, environmental and other activists and organisations are opposed to the Morrison Government decision to join the trilateral security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS) and the development of nuclear submarines.
This authoritarian decision, taken without consultation or engagement of the Australian public, undermines Australian sovereignty, wastes taxpayers money, damages the environment and poses a threat to peace in the region and to global peace.
With this agreement, the Australian Government can no longer claim it is remaining neutral between Beijing and Washington. Now Australia is ‘all in’ with America, regardless of the public.
This agreement also cements military dependence on the U.S. as Australia becomes unable to operate without Washington’s approval. Furthermore, the Morrison Government has also committed to allowing further U.S. military forces into Australia.
This will not only deny Australia the ability to act independently but will also make it complicit in dangerous regional tensions and conflict, undermining global cooperation to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
AUKUS is a step backwards for diplomacy, deepening a Cold War mentality, which has alienated Australia not only from France but our neighbours such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
Building nuclear submarines will impose an extraordinary economic burden on the Australian people. Funding for welfare, education, the environment and healthcare will be raided. These resources should be directed to the health, social and economic needs of workers and the Australian people.
There will also be a significant environmental cost as the presence of these vessels in our cities and harbours is a clear and present danger. There are already nine nuclear reactors on the seafloor from sunken nuclear submarines.
For these reasons and many more, we are calling on the Australian Government to fully withdraw from AUKUS and the development of nuclear submarines.
This statement was issued following an emergency meeting of over one hundred activists from around Australia.
- Monumental foreign policy decisions cannot be made without any public engagement behind closed doors.
- A nuclear-powered submarine fleet will represent a fundamental threat to global peace.
- Aukus cements Australia as a subordinate of the U.S. (Independent Peaceful Australia Network - IPAN)
"The shocking announcement of a trilateral security partnership between the U.S., U.K. and Australia (Aukus), which will be tied to Australia receiving nuclear submarines, is a blow to Australia’s independence and peace in the region.
The security partnership, Aukus, was announced without any public scrutiny or engagement.
While China was not mentioned in the announcement it is clear that this partnership is designed to confront and contain China, in a belligerent and dangerous manner." (IPAN)
Comments from China
A Global Times article by Yang Sheng, entitled “Nuke sub deal could make Australia ‘potential nuclear war target,’ reports Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a press briefing that "China will pay close attention to the development of the AUKUS deal. Relevant countries should abandon their Cold War and zero-sum game mentality; otherwise, they will lift a rock that drops on their own feet." (https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1234460.shtml)
Zhao also said that the 'AUKUS' alliance “seriously damages regional peace and stability, intensifies the arms race, and undermines the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.” And that, “Countries should not build exclusionary blocs targeting or harming the interests of third parties. In particular, they should shake off their Cold-War mentality and ideological prejudice.”
Subordination to Washington
IPAN stated, "Australia’s receiving of a nuclear submarine fleet as part of Aukus will only cement Canberra’s subordination to Washington.
There are also serious practical considerations to having nuclear submarines that received no public consideration.
Australia will be the only country that has nuclear submarines without nuclear weapons and domestic nuclear industry. While Prime Minister Morrison has said the submarines will not necessitate the development of said industries - despite the Government's close relationship to the pro-nuclear lobby - this only highlights our further dependence on, and integration into, the U.S.
Furthermore, this deal will likely see an end to the $90 billion contracts with the French company Naval Group, which marks one of the most egregious wastes of public funds.
During an economic downturn and a pandemic spending on public healthcare, education and public services should be the priority, sinking billions into submarines that will only put Australia in danger is irresponsible."
IPAN spokesperson, Dr Vince Scappatura, said:
"Embracing Aukus means undermining Australia's sovereign defence capabilities and contributing to further militarisation of the region. Australia should be working to reduce tensions and promote peaceful relations. Never has such a monumental decision been made with such little consultation and public engagement."
"We have only just withdrawn from Afghanistan, a generation-long invasion that is still causing untold devastation. Without taking a breath we have gone from following the U.S. into one catastrophe to committing ourselves to another."
The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network calls on the Australian Government to stop its support of the Israeli occupation and condemn the theft of Palestinian homes and land by Israel.
The Australian Government cannot pretend it does not have a role in the violence perpetrated by the Israeli military against Palestinians.
The Government has given a substantial amount of money to Israeli weapon manufacturers who supply the occupation, including $1.8 billion worth of Government contracts to Israeli weapon manufacturer Elbit Systems since 2010.
Furthermore, the Government's claim that occupied Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and failure to recognise both the Palestinian State as well as Palestinians' right to self-defence, amounts to support of the illegal occupation of Palestinian land.
Over recent days, we have also seen the Israeli military raid Al-Aqsa Mosque, which may amount to a war crime; kill over 100 people, including 28 children; assist extremists in stealing Palestinian houses; and conduct a ground invasion of Gaza.
Due to these events, the ongoing occupation and, as Humans Rights Watch recently reported, Israel's perpetuation of an Apartheid system, IPAN calls on the Government to:
- Unequivocally condemn the violence against Palestinian protesters
- Call for Israel to immediately stop its occupation of Palestinian territory
- Pursue a policy of diplomacy and non-violence
- Stop awarding contracts to weapon manufacturers who supply the Israeli military
Video inside with Ian Lowe talking on the impact of war on carbon gas production, and Peter Catt asking for people's views on the connection between war and refugees. The general public is invited to give their opinion in this democratic inquiry. The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) is a national network of community, peace and faith organisations, environment groups, trade unions and individuals concerned about the social, economic, environmental, military and political costs of Australia’s involvement in US-led wars. IPAN advocates an independent and peaceful Australian foreign policy. IPAN is conducting a broad People’s Inquiry examining the costs and consequences of Australia’s involvement in US led wars and the US alliance.
The Inquiry aims to give a voice to the community and increase public discussion on the social, economic, financial, environmental and political impacts. It seeks to inform and promote debate in the Australian community. The national Inquiry invites organisations and community members to make submissions on their views and concerns. We also invite submissions offering alternatives for the future. We are keen to develop a coherent and persuasive case for an independent and peaceful Australian foreign policy, and military and defence spending priorities. (See here for earlier information about the inquiry.)
The Inquiry deals with 8 key areas:
• Impact on First Nation Peoples
• Social and Community (Health, Education, Community & Welfare, Housing)
• Union and Workers’ Rights (Job security, workers’ rights, defence and sustainable industries)
• Environment and Climate Change
Military and Defence
Political, including Democratic Rights
For more information about the Inquiry, How to submit, Inquiry Background Paper, Terms of Refence please go to the People's Inquiry webpage: https://Independentpeacefulaustralia.com.au/
We are also offering you/your organisation a face-to-face or online presentation and discussion on the Inquiry and how to submit. If you are interested please feel free to contact us to arrange a time.
Submissions to the Inquiry will be reviewed by a panel of experts chaired by lawyer and investigative journalist, Kellie Tranter, and used to prepare a report on the impact to Australians, of the military alliance with the United States and involvement in wars of the past 70 years, from Korea to Afghanistan (where Australian personnel are still deployed). This report will be widely promoted and publicised in the community, the media, in parliament, amongst politicians and public figures.
With the escalating US-China tensions, the Inquiry report will share your views and suggestions for alternatives to our current predicament.
A submission can be one paragraph or up to 5,000 words. Please also pass this on to anyone whom you think may be interested.
We very much hope that you will be able to fit this important task into your busy schedule.
With best wishes,
On behalf of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network
On Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network urges Australians to reflect on our relationship with the US during this inauguration and think deeply about how we may forge an independent and peaceful foreign policy in the coming years.
While President Biden promises to differ from former-President Donald Trump, Australia faces issues that will persist regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.
On-going conflicts in the Middle East, the growing power of China, the ramifications of global warming and many more issues necessitate an intelligent foreign policy informed by the need for peace, science and our national interests.
IPAN has established the People’s Inquiry exploring the costs and consequences of the US alliance and US-led wars to assist in the development of this foreign policy. The Inquiry is already receiving submissions which will result in a report covering the Australian public’s opinion on the US alliance and its alternatives.
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s admission that Australia is “joined at the hip” to the US is a worrying prospect - a sentiment that has continued under Prime Minister Scott Morrison – and is one not supported by an Australian public that routinely disagrees with US foreign policy.
Australia needs to build a diplomatic and policy apparatus that can not only deviate from Washington but pursue the interests of the Australian people.
This will only happen when a cohesive and informed foreign policy approach is established. The People’s Inquiry will contribute to this through soliciting public submissions and expert opinion.
Details of this Inquiry can be found at the following link: https://www.independentpeacefulaustralia.com.au
A major people's Inquiry into the costs and consequences of the US Alliance and Australian involvement in US-led wars has been launched. Why is this inquiry so different? Because it is not run by government. It is run for the people by the people. The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has trumped most voluntary organisations by taking democratic power into its own hands. This people's inquiry was conceived of and agreed to by IPAN members and is run and officiated by volunteers, in cooperation with web news-site Independent Australia. You are invited to make a personal or organisational submission because they really want to know what you think about Australia's foreign policy. Please consider donating. The Inquiry was launched on 26th November 2020, and details can be found on the Inquiry website, namely https://independentpeacefulaustralia. In the video below, organising participants describe the aims and basic organisation of the inquiry. After some preliminary explanations, at 8.10 minutes into the video, Kellie Tranter, the Inquiry Chairperson, gives a great speech about why "Australia must reconsider its relationship with the U.S." We republish the transcript of her speech from her website. Other speakers follow.
Speech at the launch of IPAN’s US-Australia Alliance Inquiry, November 27, 2020 by Kellie Tranter.
[Republished from http://kellietranter.com/2020/11/speech-at-the-launch-of-ipans-us-australia-alliance-inquiry/]
I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today, and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and future.
May I thank IPAN, particularly Annette Brownlie, for inviting me to be a part of the first national public inquiry into the costs and consequences of the Australia-US Alliance.
May I also say what a privilege it is to be given the opportunity to work alongside the panel of experts Alison, Jeannie, Greg, Ian, Terry, Vince, Chad and Peter, who collectively bring such depth of knowledge, experience, wisdom, and energy to the conversation.
Condensing the views of many experts to date on the direction in which we must head in terms of defence and foreign policy, the general consensus is that our aim is to:
- be a responsible independent middle power taking a more independent position with multilateral organisations;
- be respected internationally not only for our moral clarity, integrity and values but also for our domestic governance systems, constructive global activism and human rights advocacy, provided always that what we espouse must be consistent with what we practice at home;
- recapture our strategic independence;
- recognise the paramount importance of peace in the Pacific to our national interests;
- determine our own foreign policy, respecting other nations and interests but looking after our own interests;
- gradually downgrade military cooperation with the United States and involve the parliament and the people in the development of our foreign and defence policy;
- be self-starting and self-reliant rather than sitting back waiting for a friend who may not come;
- prioritise our own security;
- understand that our future lies in South East Asia and make our way in Asia ourselves. Develop a coalition of interests; and
- accept that we can’t squeeze China down and that Asia will not be shaped by US military force or economic measures.
Achieving our aims requires leadership.
We are a competent people and should be a confident country. Our political leaders need to expend some political capital and time doing these things to prepare us for the new era that is dawning.
We need leaders with imagination, courage and intelligence, who will put the nation’s interests before their own. People who recognise that a time of change has come, who have sensible views about how it should be met and who can provide the leadership to drive change forward.
The current status
The current status is perhaps best summed up by Paul Keating when he said there’s “Nothing ever impressive about Australia’s Foreign Policy.”
We are a dependent middle power. We wait for signals from Washington before we speak.
There are not enough of our own foreign policy achievements. There are few examples of Australia deciding what it wants in the world, working out how to get there and taking steps to achieve that.
Australia is too closely tied to United States.
In July 2019 US made a $300 million push to expand naval facilities in the Northern Territory, with 2500 marines being rotated through Darwin in recent times.
It is unlawful and morally wrong to let another country take us to any war of aggression, but it is despicable to do so when those wars are based on lies and misinformation. Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria are the most recent examples.
Apropos Afghanistan, too little reflection has come now, following the release of the Brereton report. Immediately after the September 11 attacks the Howard government invoked the provisions of the ANZUS Treaty which references the United Nations Security Council in Articles I, IV and VI. UN Security Council resolutions 1368 and 1373 adopted before the US led invasion of Afghanistan on 7 October 2001 did not authorise the use of force and didn’t even mention Afghanistan. We now know that the US did not even seek specific legal support from the United Nations Security Council for its actions in Afghanistan.
The first Australian parliamentary debate about the war didn’t take place until October 2010, after we’d been there nearly a decade, and only after activists, lawyers, independent journalists, diplomats and humanitarian organisations had been publicly agitating for it.
A month later it was reported that the then Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, had cracked down on media coverage of the war in Afghanistan, gagging senior Defence Force officers and insisting that any media inquiries to the Defence Force be diverted to his office. Defence Force personnel were also barred from talking to the media during the parliamentary debate on the war.
The point missed by mainstream media is point 38 of the Brereton report which states that ‘the events discovered in this inquiry occurred within the ADF, by members of the ADF, under the command of the ADF. To the extent that the protracted and repeated deployment of the relatively small pool of Special Forces personnel to Afghanistan was a contributing factor – and it should be recognised that the vast majority of Special Forces personnel did repeatedly deploy to Afghanistan without resorting to war crimes- it was not a risk to which any government, of any persuasion, was ever alerted.’
If that is true, then the government has allowed Defence to operate independently on foreign soil and without proper supervision. That is culpable in itself and, even accepting that the principles of ministerial responsibility and of military chains of command meshed with responsibility seem to have been thrown by the wayside, cannot continue.
On 18 November Australia was still waiting for a decision from Trump on an Afghanistan troop withdrawal so we could follow suit even though our government was sitting on the horrific findings of the Brereton report which was released publicly the next day.
So we have a report saying there’s credible evidence our soldiers have committed war crimes and we’re still waiting on Washington to tell us what to do.
How many lives could have been saved if all individual members of parliament and the Australian people were permitted to air their concerns and openly evaluate strategies without consequences.
How many people know that we currently have troops serving in Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, the Golan Heights, the Sinai, Cyprus , South Korea, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and in every single State of the United States, either serving or embedded.
My FOIs to find out precisely what we’re doing in the Golan Heights and the United States were declined.
One wonders what else Australia might have had knowledge of or been involved with overseas when in 2017- a year after it was first reported that retired Australian Major General Mike Hindmarsh was serving as a senior advisor for the United Arab Emirates forces engaged in conflict in Yemen – we voted against a UN resolution about the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of people to self-determination, and in September this year we voted against the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the UN Secretary General on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (A/RES/74/302).
We voted no and the African nations themselves voted yes. The same African nations we romanced for a time to secure a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, then abandoned, and whom we will have to court again when we next bid for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2029-30 given that for successful election to UN bodies African votes are key to reaching the required 2/3rds majority.
Australia’s position of doing everything it can to oppose the ban on nuclear weapons, because it believes we rely on US nuclear weapons as a deterrent, is well known but misguided. It naively ignores the grave risks of “nukes” to all people of the world, particularly the scope for human error to lead to devastation, and leads to an absurdly militaristic mentality as demonstrated last year when we voted against a UN resolution for further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space. That was no doubt because of our government’s longer running enthusiasm to ‘deepen our cooperation with the United States on hypersonics’.
Post-COVID Scott Morrison announced that Australia will ramp up defence spending to $270 billion over the next decade as the country prepares for a “post-COVID world that is poorer, more dangerous and more disorderly.
About $90bn of that will be spent on advanced new kit, including “hypersonic” weapons, fighter jets and a cyber warfare capability. Australia will also put its own spy satellites in space.
Richard Speier, a member of the adjunct staff at the non-profit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation warned of the proliferation risks of hypersonics:
‘Hypersonic missiles travel at a speed of one mile per second or more—at least five times the speed of sound. They are able to evade and conceal their precise targets from defences until just seconds before impact. This leaves targeted states with almost no time to respond….It could authorise the military rather than the national leadership to conduct retaliatory strikes, but this would raise the risk of an accidental conflict.
We are enmeshed in the United States military machine. In Brian Toohey’s book ‘Secret’ he states that the US requires almost all countries that buy its weapons systems, including Australia, to send sensitive components back to the US for repairs, maintenance and replacements without the owners being allowed access to critical information, including source codes, needed to keep these systems operating…Australia could not conduct operations requiring the use of its advanced weapons platforms for any length of time without US support….This means we could be defenceless if attacked, unless the US allows the Defence Force independent access to key operational components of fighter planes, missiles, submarines, surveillance systems and so on… ‘
Australia’s relationship with China, on the other hand, is at its lowest point since diplomatic relations were established in 1972. We bait and antagonise.
In a July 2020 survey of how urban, educated Chinese view Australia’s bilateral relations going forward, 49.5% of respondents said the United States is the biggest impediment.
No doubt fuelled by Murdoch media and politicians, a Pew Research poll on 6 October 2020 found that negative views of China increased most in Australia, where 81% now say they see the country unfavourably.
Unsurprisingly, Australia abstained from voting on the yearly UN resolution about combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
Australia’s justification for abstention can’t possibly be support for free speech and freedom of expression when its own citizen, Julian Assange, having exposed US war crimes, sits in a high security prison facing extradition to the United States where, according to US prosecutors, 1st amendment protections don’t apply to foreign journalists.
Our Government has done nothing and remains silent.
In terms of respect for international rules-based order, last year Scott Morrison criticised the UN and called it an unaccountable internationalist body. Australia was criticised for blocking progress at the UN climate conference in Madrid by trying to use carry over credits for beating Kyoto targets. We have long ignored international criticism of our treatment of asylum seekers and Indigenous Australians. We continue to permit the export of weapons and/or componentry to countries known for human rights. And we continue to abstain from votes calling for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
Our Defence and foreign policies don’t seem to be underpinned by any strong or even substantial human rights values.
The path forward
I’m looking forward to the ideas generated by and through this Inquiry. The good news is that on the back of all I’ve said, there’s plenty of room for improvement in the defence – foreign policy space.
The first thing this requires is that Australia recognise and support the fact that diplomacy is vital to safeguarding our national interests. An annual spend of $28 billion on Defence compared to $1 billion on diplomacy is unsustainable and moronic. Not only that, but it has been reported that a numerical deficiency in strategically minded staff at DFAT has allowed Home Affairs and Defence Departments to step in and fill the strategic void.
The late former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser warned that ‘If the United States goes to war in the Pacific we don’t have an option to stay out of it. That as it stands the Australian Prime Minister has no capacity to stand up in Parliament and say we’re going to pass this one by because of US troops in Darwin and presence of Pine Gap.
Fraser called it a “total betrayal of Australian sovereignty, the parliament and the people.”
He proposed giving the United States 6-12 months to put their troops somewhere else, and to pull out embedded troops where it would lead to a conflict of interest.
He said Pine Gap would be more difficult, suggesting we give the United States 4-5 years to replicate Pine Gap somewhere else but pull out Australian personnel so it becomes known that it is a US controlled base. Signal that we’re not complicit.
In considering Pine Gap it’s important to remember that Wikileaks released a U.S. Strategic Sites List of 300 sites critical to US national interests and that would critically impact on the US’s ability to defend itself. It did not include Pine Gap.
I would also add that Australia must demand that it be able to operate key Defence systems independently of the United States.
Professor of Strategic Studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of the Australian National University, Hugh White, has already pointed out that in 10 years from now, China’s GDP will be US $42.4 trillion and America’s US $24 trillion, that money is power and that the United States will be unable to persuade or compel China to live within the rules of a regional order US has set and upheld for so long.
At a National Press Club meeting in August the Deputy head of mission for China’s embassy in Australia, Wang Xining, offered his embassy’s offices to get Ministers talking to each other. Assuming the Chinese wouldn’t adopt Australia’s approach to negotiations with East Timor and plant bugs, that sounds like a good place to start in terms of understanding, building relationships, testing each other and permitting criticism where necessary and warranted.
Australia needs a concerted effort to show it is serious about engaging with China. A strategy for enhancing Australian-Chinese relations. Possibilities might include a specific plan to open up dialogue, targeted Ministerial letters highlighting opportunities for engagement, the expansion of DFAT’s South East Asia expertise, investment in the expansion of our diplomatic network in China and it might, just might, help if the Prime Minister actually visited China.
Former Prime Minister Paul Keating sees the United States as a balancer or conciliator in South East Asia, bearing in mind the United States is on the other side of the world. A new President in the White House wanting to restore America’s international reputation may now offer us a chance to reset the current trajectory towards war with China, even if that desire is fuelled in part by his own or his family’s commercial self-interest.
I would like to end on climate change.
Within about a decade, dealing with the consequences of climate change will be the only game in town.
Dr Jaci Brown, research director at the CSIRO’s climate science centre, says that in 10-20 years’ time, our 2019 climate will not be seen as unusual and that this decade will be one of the coolest in the next hundred years.
The recent Bushfire Royal Commission report noted that warming over the next two decades is baked in. If we start acting now containment is the best likely outcome.
Action on climate change is in our national interests and defence procurement must align with that purpose. Needless to say it is my view that it’s pure insanity for the Federal government not to endorse the key recommendation of the Bushfire Royal Commission to create its own aerial water-bombing fleet.
At least Defence seems to be close to the head of the pack in terms of awareness and concern.
In a 2019 speech General Campbell warned that “In about 10 years from now global warming above pre-industrial levels is set to rise by 50%. At 1.5 degrees of warming we can expect more significant impacts. Particularly in regards to oceans, low-lying areas and human health. The poor and most vulnerable will be hardest hit. Livelihoods lost. Food scarce. Populations displaced. Diseases spreading. And this now looks like our best-case scenario…”
My views on political failure to deal with climate change and the over-reliance on Defence to deal with its consequences are well known.
By itself, Defence will not be able to cope with the likely concurrent events, and one can only assume the same problem exists for the United States.
Indeed the Pentagon is planning for extreme temperatures, collapsing countries, wars on multiple continents and simultaneous natural disasters in circumstances where there are not enough troops to defend the United States and to address foreign catastrophes. In short, a substantial degradation of the ability to deal with conventional military problems, but in the context of a demonstrated inability of the United States government to respond properly, in terms of both logistics and capacity, to its own domestic crises. The problem was clear after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, but its tragic depth only really surfaced in the parlous lack of response to the ongoing COVID nightmare.
One must ask, if a situation arose where the US has to choose between allocating scarce military resources between preserving one of its imperial conquests and dealing with an out of control crisis at home, would the exceptionalist American psyche permit the embarrassment of an overseas withdrawal of an occupying force.
Mother Nature will almost certainly force our hand to navigate our own way forward independently of the United States. We shouldn’t wait for a crisis to get us to that point: we had better begin planning our route while it’s still light.
The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) is encouraged by recent statements by the Foreign Affairs Minister, the Hon. Marise Payne, following the Australia-U.S. Ministerial (AUSMIN) talks in Washington, where the Minister indicated that Australia has no intention to injure our important relationship with China but instead seeks to ‘make our own decisions, our own judgments in the Australian national interest’. [To better situate the area in question, Candobetter has included a 2014 video about the disputed islands in the South China Sea.]
- No to U.S. pressure for Australia to sail provocatively inside the 12 nautical mile territorial limits around islands in the South China Sea claimed by China
- No to U.S. military fuel and munitions build-ups in NT
- No to an increase in U.S. marine deployment to the NT***
IPAN seeks clarity as to whether the Minister’s comments mean that Australia will resist fully the recent pressure from the U.S. to join them in provocatively sailing naval vessels inside the 12 nautical mile territorial zone around Islands in the South China Sea claimed by China.
IPAN spokesperson Mr Richard Broinowski, former Ambassador, urges the Australian Government to indeed make its own decisions for the benefit of the Australian people and seeks formal confirmation that Australia will refuse to take part in such provocative actions which could lead to incidents which escalate into hostilities.
“The so-called freedom of navigation exercises being carried out by the U.S. and Australia is a furphy, as neither China nor any other countries in the region have threatened interference with the shipping lanes in the South China Sea – and blocking such trade lanes would actually disadvantage China due to its heavy reliance on them for import/export trade”, stated Mr Broinowski.
“Furthermore, taking an independent stance is in the interests of peace and our economy which is very dependent on Chinese trade”, he continued.
IPAN urges the Federal Government to develop a truly independent foreign policy which would clearly involve making ‘our own judgements in the Australian national interest’ and not simply following the political direction of a foreign country.
“Reports indicate that the AUSMIN 2020 talks may commit Australia to accepting a military build-up in the Northern Territory with fuel, munitions and spare parts dumps and possibly long range missiles being established by the U.S. military,” stated Mr Broinowski.
“These AUSMIN talks set the objective of larger deployments of U.S. marines to Darwin and increased war exercises with the Australian Defence Force (ADF). In addition, such activity is tantamount to preparation for war. A war aimed at China would be disastrous for the Australian people and the people of our region”, stated Mr Broinowski.
IPAN urges the Australian Government to pursue an independent foreign policy in the interests of peace in our region and stability for our economy already under stress from the COVID-19 health crisis. Such a policy will resist attempts by the United States to force the Australian Navy into provocative actions in the South China Sea and will reject U.S. military build-ups in the NT, whether fuel and munitions dumps or deployment of U.S. Marines to Darwin.
Friday 29th May 630pm: Prof Clinton Fernandes is the guest speaker at one of Avid Reader bookshop online events. Co-hosted by Independent & Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) and Just Peace Qld. The topic “Australian foreign policy after Coronavirus: navigating the US-China rivalry.” This is a great opportunity to hear from one of Australia's best foreign policy analysts. Having Vince Scappatura MC will make this event one not to be missed!
Clinton's book Island off the Coast of Asia will be available for purchase at the event.
YOU NEED TO REGISTER:
Clinton Fernandes is a former Australian Army officer who served in the Australian Intelligence Corps. Today he is Professor of International and Political Studies at the University of New South Wales. His research focus is on 'Securing Australia's place in a changing world'
Vince Scappatura teaches politics and International Relations at Macquarie University. He published 'The US Lobby and Australian Defence Policy' in 2019
In the interests of an independent Foreign policy based on peaceful resolution of conflict
Reminder: Next IPAN-Victoria Meeting (Independent and Peaceful Australia Network). Meeting includes People's inquiry on costs and consequences of Australia's involvement in US wars; Public Forum on Killer Robots and Wars; Australian military in the Philippines; 50 years Vietnam commemoration.
Monday 2 March
1. IPAN People's Inquiry - What are the costs and consequences of Australia's involvement in US wars to the people of Australia and around the world. A people's inquiry into the US-Australia Alliance. Military, economic, social, political, environmental.
2. Public Forum - Killer Robots and Wars - Wednesday 18 March, 7pm. MUA. Dr. Joseph Camilleri wil facilitate the Public Forum.
3. July 4 - US independence day.
4. Avalon Air Show activities - Feb - March 2021
5. Australian military in the Philippines
6. 50 years Vietnam War Moratorium commemoration
7. Affiliates' Reports
Notes from IPAN-Vic 2 February meeting attached.
Shirley and Patrick
IPAN national co-ordinating cttee
Bushfires in Australia a real national security issue in contrast to talked up threats of hostile nations in our region. Climate change a significant cause of the fires. [Illustrations by Sheila Newman.]
Bushfires in Australia are a real national security issue in contrast to talked up threats of an alleged hostile nations in our region, according to the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN).
Australians are heading into a Christmas day of smoke, fires, death and devastation, with no significant rain projected for weeks, anxiety is rising about when this catastrophe will end.
Many are asking why our leadership isn’t acknowledging climate change as a significant cause of the fires and why is the Australian Defence Force and its highly trained personnel not taking a more active role in fighting the fires- instead of exhausted volunteers and fire fighters? said Annette Brownlie, Chairperson IPAN.
“Lack of public admission of links between increasing temperatures and human-made climate change is not just a failure of analysis but also a betrayal of all Australians.”
“Australia’s decision to spend $200 billion on military hardware including Joint Strike fighter jets and submarines over the next 10 years must be challenged as it is evident that climate change consequences such as drought, rising temperatures and bushfires will demand this money be spent providing genuine national security rather than engaging in wars unrelated to the defence of Australians.”
The escalating tensions between US and China are directly impacting on Australia militarily, economically and politically and threaten to drag Australia into another imperialist war, according to the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network. IPAN calls for an independent foreign policy from all big powers, and that includes independence from both China and US; an independent foreign policy that promotes friendship with people from all countries.
Recently we have been subjected to sensational mass media stories alleging interference in Australian politics by China. Some, like the recent headlines in Fairfax media repeating a claim by an ex ASIO chief that “China is out to take over our political system”, are clearly a gross exaggeration if not a straight out lie. Even if there is truth in the allegation that an individual was feted and supported to try and enter Federal Parliament as a “proxy” of the Chinese Government, and that is a matter of concern, it hardly constitutes a take-over of Parliament or our political system.
All big powers, and smaller ones like Australia, engage in espionage with the aim of gaining sensitive information and influencing the policies of other countries.
The Australian Government is no exception to this rule. It bugged the Cabinet room of the East Timorese Government to obtain inside information and thus gain the upper hand in negotiations with East Timor over access to East Timorese off- shore oil. This espionage worked to the advantage of Oil Corporations operating out of Australia. Whistle-blowers who exposed it are being subjected to harassment and criminal charges which are currently being heard in the courts and, if convicted, face the prospect of lengthy prison sentences.
Whilst justifiably calling out China for interference in Australian politics, the media and the two main parliamentary parties have failed to identify the big power which already wields a huge influence politically and militarily in Australia by ensuring that the major parties remain totally committed to the US-Australia Alliance. Through the US-Australia Leadership Dialogue, the U.S. fetes and trains politicians, trade union leaders and business leaders in support of the US-Australia Alliance and is considered by some as a “central institution” in maintaining the US-Australia relationship. Questioning the role of the US military bases and CIA operatives in Australia under that alliance was a major factor behind the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor Government on 11th November,1975. This major interference in Australia’s political system by a foreign power, the United States, was confirmed by the President of the United States in an apology made to Whitlam in 1977.
IPAN is campaigning for an Independent Foreign Policy for Australia from all big powers and this means distancing ourselves from the war policies of the United States, ending the stationing of US military bases in Australia and opposing interference in Australia’s political and economic system by any foreign powers and that includes China and the United States; an Independent Australian Foreign Policy that promotes friendship with people of all countries.
Independent and Peaceful Australia Network
Key note speaker Clinton Fernandes, author of Island off the Coast of Asia, will discuss in depth the US economic, political and military agendas in Australia, and US-Australia alliance. He argues for Australia's economic independence and an independent foreign policy. Clinton Fernandes is a former Australian Army officer who served in the Australian Intelligence Corps. Today he is Professor of International and Political Studies at the University of New South Wales.
Dear IPAN members and friends
INVITATION TO 164 EUREKA ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Thursday 28 November, 6pm. - MUA Auditorium
Key note speaker Clinton Fernandes, author of Island off the Coast of Asia, will discuss in depth the US economic, political and military agendas in Australia, and US-Australia alliance. He argues for Australia's economic independence and an independent foreign policy. Clinton Fernandes is a former Australian Army officer who served in the Australian Intelligence Corps. Today he is Professor of International and Political Studies at the University of New South Wales.
Continuing the struggle for Australia's Independence and the fight for workers' and democratic rights.
Bookings for dinner essential.
Organised by Spirit of Eureka, an affiliate of Independent and Peaceful Australia Network.
EUREKA REBELLION 165TH ANNIVERSARY
"Continuing the struggle for Australian Independence and the fight for workers' and democratic rights"
Join us for dinner and discussion to celebrate the 165th anniversary of the Eureka Rebellion and the continuing struggle for a just, democratic, and independent Australia.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH
46-54 Ireland Street
(3 minute walk from North Melbourne Station)
Doors open at 6.00pm
Buffet style meal: vegetarian available
Clinton Fernandes - Professor of international and political studies. Author of several books including What Uncle Sam wants - US Foreign Policy objectives in Australia and Beyond and Island off the Coast of Asia.
Joan Coxsedge - Long-time political, social justice, and anti-war activist, artist, writer, and former Victorian MP.
Dave Kerin - Long-time working class union activist, involved in many workers' struggles for justice, democratic rights, and independence.
Speakers start 7.00pm
$20 waged, $10 unwaged/concession
Beer, wine, soft drink - purchase from bar.
Raffle Fundraiser. All funds raised donated to West Papuan independence movement.
Presentation of the annual "Spirit of Eureka Award"
For catering purposes, dinner bookings are ESSENTIAL!
1) Book and pay online thru Eventbrite: https://eureka165.eventbrite.com.
2) Contact us directly to book your ticket and pay at the door on the night (CASH ONLY!) email: [email protected]
Please book as early as possible. Table bookings (10ppl) available - contact directly to book.
Organised by Spirit of Eureka (Victoria)
https://www.spritofeureka.org facebook.com/spiritofeureka Email: [email protected]
This is a call for volunteers to help with organising committees for 50th Anniversary of Vietnam Moratorium Campaign towards the celebration of 50 years on from the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign or offers of memorabilia from that campaign for display.
Please pass this on to your members or friends who might be interested.
To make it national, committees are needed in each state/territory to mirror that historical and successful national political campaign
Contact: [email protected]
This is an IPAN supported activity
The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN)
Remember Vietnam and Keep Australia out of U.S. wars