Update: AUKUS Opposition
On 16 September 2021, the Australia-UK-US trilateral security pact (AUKUS) was jointly announced by the leaders of the three countries. Although the public focus of the Pact has been primarily on nuclear powered submarines, there are many other aspects of the pact which are concerning. https://www.pm.gov.au/media/australia-pursue-nuclear-powered-submarines-through-new-trilateral-enhanced-security
As part of this media statement, Scott Morrison indicated there would be some form of ‘consultations through AUKUS over the next 18 months’. As part of this process, a short submission process and public hearing on the US-UK Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement took place in early December.
Since the announcement, opposition to the Pact is being raised by many sectors of civil society including: union movements, climate change, women’s empowerment, social justice, peace, anti-militarisation, public health and education funding, and a nuclear-free Pacific.
Friends may remember that the Quaker Peace and legislation Committee (QPLC) was one of the like-minded organisations which signed a letter endorsing a national meeting to discuss the possible formation of a broad-based national coalition/movement campaigning against AUKUS, nuclear submarines and the march to war.
A well-attended national online meeting of organisations and individuals, including several Friends, was held on 7 November 2021. One decision that was enthusiastically endorsed was a weekend of nation-wide actions on 10-12 December 2021. This weekend also marked the 19th anniversary of the national rallies opposing the war on Iraq.
An interim decision making group from this meeting is sifting through the notes of small group discussions on a range of topics. The group is planning another national meeting in January 2022, to decide the name of the national coalition and identify potential actions throughout 2022. Already, some plans are being considered for a February weekend of national actions.
The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network website includes information and links to articles and some events across Australia at https://ipan.org.au/no-nuclear-submarines/. QPLC will continue to monitor this topic and share information with Friends.
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