Archive for the ‘National’ Category

Aukus plan to expedite Australia’s nuclear sub construction an act of nuclear proliferation under ‘naval nuclear propulsion’ cover: Chinese mission to UN

September 26, 2022
Image from Global Times

 https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202209/1276076.shtml By Leng Shumei and Hu Yuwei , Sep 26, 2022 , The Chinese mission to the UN in Vienna warned in an exclusive statement sent to the Global Times on Sunday that the latest move by AUKUS to plan to expedite Australia’s nuclear submarine construction is a blatant defiance of and trampling on the international nuclear non-proliferation system, and is an act of nuclear proliferation under the pretext of “naval nuclear propulsion.” 

A spokesperson of the Chinese mission to the UN and other international organizations in Vienna made the comment after leaders of the US, UK and Australia said on Friday marking the one-year anniversary of the AUKUS security pact that they have made “significant progress” toward Australia acquiring a nuclear-powered submarine. 

In disregard of the serious concerns of the international community on the trilateral nuclear submarine deal, the US is insisting on and even making reckless remarks about accelerating the deal, which is a blatant defiance of and trampling on the international nuclear non-proliferation system, the spokesperson told the Global Times in the statement. 

China has repeatedly pointed out that the nuclear submarine deal among the three countries violates the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and Additional Protocols (AP). It is an act of nuclear proliferation under the pretext of “naval nuclear propulsion,” the statement noted.

The US regards China as an “imaginary enemy.” The act of inciting Indo-Pacific competition seriously undermines regional peace and stability, which shows that the US has a wrong understanding of China, of the world and of itself, it said.  

We hope that the US side will abandon the Cold War mentality, abandon the use of nuclear submarine cooperation among the three countries to contain China, abandon the trampling of international rules for geopolitical purposes, and work with China to implement the important consensus of the two heads of state, and practice mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, win-win cooperation, and shoulder the responsibility of a major country, read the statement.

Leaders of the US, UK and Australia said in a statement on Friday “We are steadfast in our commitment to Australia acquiring this capability at the earliest possible date,” according to Reuters.

The Biden administration is exploring an arrangement to expedite Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines to respond to China’s growing military might by producing the first few submarines in the US, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing some Western officials.

The idea is to provide Australia with an initial nuclear-powered fleet by the mid-2030s, while a longer-term effort is under way to give Australia the capability to produce nuclear-power submarines at home, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Chinese experts warned that Australia should also be alert that it is sleepwalking into a US trap to serve as the latter’s pawn in the US’ strategy against China. But they also believed that it would not be easy to implement the plan given the lack of spare shipbuilding capacity in the US and in Britain. 

In August, the US admiral in charge of building new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines said producing nuclear-power subs for Australia would interfere with the US’ efforts to build its own submarines unless a major effort was made to expand the American industrial base, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It is questionable how feasible the plan actually is, Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies and director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Sunday.   

The nuclear-powered submarine deal under AUKUS is a blatant, irresponsible act of nuclear proliferation, and once again proves that AUKUS countries are practicing a “double standard” on nuclear non-proliferation and using the deal as a tool for geopolitical gamesmanship, Ambassador Wang Qun, China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna, told the Global Times in a recent exclusive interview.

Song Zongping, a Chinese TV commentator, warned it is already a fact that the US is dedicated to nuclear weapons proliferation. 

But more importantly, the US is pushing its frontier against China to Australia by weaponizing Australia with nuclear submarines. The Australia’s nuclear-submarine fleet would be a squadron of and be controlled by the US, Song noted.    

In the Friday statement, the AUKUS leaders – US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese – also said they had made “significant strides” in other areas, including hypersonic weapons, cyber, electronic warfare capabilities and additional undersea capabilities, according to Reuters.

Chen warned that by enhancing cooperation under AUKUS in these aspects, Australia does not understand that it is actually sleepwalking into a trap to serve as a pawn for the US’ strategy against China.    

Currently, the nuclear-powered submarine deal under AUKUS attracts the most attention, but cooperation under AUKUS is far more complex as the organization’s long-term strategic aim is to contain China’s development, Chen noted.       

Australia is being pushed into the teeth of the storm in the US’ strategy against China. It should be on high alert that it probably is sacrificing its own national security for other countries’ national interests, Chen warned.

Kimba community groups need to pose these hard questions to Ministers Madeleine King and Ed Husic, and to ANSTO ARWA and ARPANSA

September 22, 2022

In order to establish fully and properly the breaches by the federal government as to its Kimba nuclear installation, community group opposing the installation proposals need to immediately send out this formal request to the various persons and organisations listed below

KIMBA COMMUNITY
Formal requests for Kimba proposals:

  1. What are the earthworks being carried out or planned in connection with
    the government’s proposed nuclear waste facility
  2. Are these earthworks confined to the Napandee farm site
  3. If not what other land in the Kimba region is affected by the earthworks
  4. How much actual physical work has been carried
  5. By whom and how was this work authorised
  6. Was any licence issued by ARPANSA for his work
  7. If not and why not as is required by the guidance codes and standards of
    IAEA
  8. Was a progressive safety case started for these earthworks
  9. If not how was the work justified without community consultation and
    involvement
  10. How have the environmental aspects of these earthworks been dealt with
  11. Have there been any environmental studies done
  12. Has the community generally been consulted on the environmental studies
    or referrals
  13. Will the community be involved by consultation as to all aspects of the
    earthworks as to the environmental implications

PLEASE immediately provide:
• the plans and other details for for the earthworks
• the environmental studies and assessments for this work
• any licences or applications for licences
• a full copy of the environmental referral

This list of requests should given to:
Hon. Madeleine King Hon. Ed Husic as the responsible ministers
The chief executive officers of ARWA ANSTO and ARPANSA
Meghan Quinn PSM as the Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science,
Energy and Resources
Andrew Metcalfe AO as the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water
and the Environment

Greens Senator Barbara Pocock calls on the Federal Government to suspend work on South Australian nuclear waste site

September 22, 2022

Call to suspend work on SA nuclear waste site InDaily , Stephanie Richards, 20 Sept22, The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation in December applied for judicial review in an attempt to thwart construction of the controversial radioactive waste storage facility at Napandee near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula, arguing they weren’t properly consulted before the site was selected.

Despite the active legal challenge, the Federal Court was told in June that the government had already approved plans to begin earthworks.

That prompted South Australian Greens Senator Barbara Pocock to last week write to federal Resources Minister Madeleine King asking her to commit to suspending all preparatory work and construction at the site pending the outcome of the court proceedings.

“The Barngarla people are unanimously opposed to the waste dump,” she wrote in the letter, seen by InDaily.

“The site is an important part of their culture and heritage, yet they were not consulted on the proposal.

“In light of the Barngarla opposition and lack of consultation, I write to ask that you commit to suspending all preparatory work and construction in relation to building the waste dump at Napandee, pending the outcome of the current judicial review and court proceedings underway.”

……………………….new information released by the federal government reveals it is spending three times more than Barngarla Traditional Owners fighting the project in the Federal Court.

In response to a question on notice lodged by Pocock, the government stated that between December and July, it had spent $343,457.44 on legal fees.

That compares to the approximate $124,000 spent by the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation over the same period.

The Native Title group estimates that the total cost incurred by the federal government would run into the millions.

Pocock said the disparity between the spending was “disproportionate and just unfair”.

“This is a David and Goliath case,” she said.“The spend so far shows that the government is doing all in their power to minimise the voices and traditional rights of the Barngarla people.”…………….

The Napandee site was selected by the former Morrison Government in November last year, with then Resources Minister Keith Pitt saying the government had secured “majority support” from the local community after more than “six years of consultation”.

But Barngarla Traditional Owners opposed the project and argued they were not included in the consultation.

South Australian Labor has long called for Barngarla people to have the right to veto the project, with Premier Peter Malinauskas telling ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that the state government had expressed its views to the federal government…………..

 https://indaily.com.au/news/2022/09/20/call-to-suspend-work-on-sa-nuclear-waste-site/?fbclid=IwAR112RR7jtDs6_ZDGb98Do0kqLRnWhuhoZAb-esAG6tp9WaB5F1YHIIPWM4

Barngarla people say NO to a nuclear waste dump

September 19, 2022

NITV – The Point, September 18, 2022)

Aw gee shucks – Australia can be IMPORTANT if we lead USA’s attacks with our AUKUS submarines !

September 17, 2022

Marles said nuclear subs would make “the rest of the world take us seriously,

Final design and cost of Australia’s nuclear submarines to be known in early 2023, Defence minister Richard Marles links the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success

Guardian, Josh Butler, Thu 15 Sep 2022 The defence minister, Richard Marles, says Australia’s pathway to acquiring nuclear submarines is “taking shape”, flagging key decisions within months about which ship to use, how to build it and boosting the country’s defence-industrial capability.

On the first anniversary of the Aukus pact, Marles said nuclear subs would make “the rest of the world take us seriously”, linking the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success.

Final design and cost of Australia’s nuclear submarines to be known in early 2023

Defence minister Richard Marles links the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success…………………………….

On the first anniversary of the Aukus pact, Marles said nuclear subs would make “the rest of the world take us seriously”, linking the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success.

“The optimal pathway is taking shape. We can now begin to see it,” he said. “With Aukus there’s a really huge opportunity beyond submarines of pursuing a greater and more ambitious agenda.”……..

Marles, also the deputy prime minister, said the first steps toward acquisition of nuclear submarines were on track. In a briefing call with journalists this week, he said the current timeline had Australia slated to make initial announcements in the first part of 2023.

The government plans to give answers to five questions by that time: the final design; when it can be acquired; what capability gap that timeline will create and solutions to plug it; the cost; and how Australia’s plans comply with nuclear non-proliferation obligations.

The government is said to be choosing between building American or British ships, or some hybrid. Marles said the government was not ready to announce which type of submarines would be built but hinted Australia’s design could be “trilateral” in nature………..


In a press conference with Marles in the UK earlier this month, the British defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said future submarine designs may see a combination of British, American and Australian components.

“We are on to our next design and our new one and that might well be fully shared with all three nations as a collaborative design,” he said.

The cost of the submarine program is not yet known but is expected to be in the tens of billions. Marles linked the Aukus arrangement not only to military but economic security, saying a boosted submarine fleet would protect freedom of navigation through vital shipping routes.

“We need a highly capable defence force which has the rest of the world take us seriously and enables us to do all the normal peaceful activities that are so important for our economy,” he said………

V Adm Jonathan Mead, the chair of the nuclear submarine taskforce, also spoke of protecting “sea lanes” on the call.

Mead said the navy was investigating workforce challenges, such as how to build and crew the ships – which may involve placing Australian staff in British and American nuclear schools or agencies, laboratories and shipyards

“The exchange of these personnel will be both ways and won’t just involve our submariners,” he said.

Facilities to build and maintain the submarines in Australia are part of the equation. Defence this year pinpointed Brisbane, Newcastle and Port Kembla as possible sites for an east coast nuclear base and consultation with those communities is said to be in its early stages.

Marles also spoke of building Australia’s defence-industrial capability on the back of the nuclear process…………………..“We hope Aukus can help develop a genuinely seamless defence industrial base across the US, the UK and Australia.”…………………….

A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (Aspi), released on Thursday, recommended further investment in other Aukus streams like hypersonic missiles and artificial intelligence technology, to help plug a capability gap while the submarines are built………..

Such short-term investment may force government to make “difficult choices and trade-offs” in its defence strategic review, also slated for March, Aspi said. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/sep/15/final-design-and-cost-of-australias-nuclear-submarines-to-be-known-in-early-2023

China, AUKUS clash over nuclear subs

September 17, 2022

By Francois Murphy, South Coast Register, September 17 2022  China has clashed with the countries in the AUKUS alliance at a meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog over their plan to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, capping a week in which Beijing has repeatedly railed against the project.

Under the alliance between Washington, London and Canberra announced last year, Australia plans to acquire at least eight nuclear submarines that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi has said will be fuelled by “very highly enriched uranium”, suggesting it could be weapons-grade or close to it.

To date no party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) other than the five countries the treaty recognises as weapons states – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – has nuclear submarines.

The vessels can stay underwater for longer than conventional subs and are harder to detect.

“The AUKUS partnership involves the illegal transfer of nuclear weapon materials, making it essentially an act of nuclear proliferation,” China said in a position paper sent to IAEA member states during this week’s quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors……………………

The AUKUS countries and the IAEA say the NPT allows so-called marine nuclear propulsion provided necessary arrangements are made with the IAEA.

China disagrees in this case because nuclear material will be transferred to Australia rather than being produced by it.

It argues the IAEA is overstepping its mandate and wants an unspecified “inter-governmental” process to examine the issue at the IAEA instead of leaving it to the agency.

In its seven-page position paper, China said AUKUS countries were seeking to take the IAEA “hostage” so it could “whitewash” nuclear proliferation.

Nuclear submarines are a particular challenge because when they are at sea their fuel is beyond the reach of the agency’s inspectors who are supposed to keep track of all nuclear material.

IAEA chief Grossi has said he is satisfied with the AUKUS countries’ transparency so far……………………

https://www.southcoastregister.com.au/story/7906718/china-aukus-clash-over-nuclear-subs/?cs=202

The Defence Strategic Review – Australia is becoming a proxy or is it a patsy for the US in a possible conflict with China

September 16, 2022

Pearls and Irritations By John Menadue, Sep 16, 2022

The Defence Strategic Review must warn Minister Marles about the dangerous path he is committing Australia to. We are becoming a spear carrier for the US.

  • Fearing its world hegemony is under challenge the US is goading China at every opportunity. Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was but the most recent example of this goading.
  • The threat we face from China is if we continue to act in our region as a proxy for the US. Other regional countries are not doing so.
  • The ‘China’ threat is a rerun of the shameful and earlier ‘yellow peril’. China is not a military threat to Australia.
  • The US is the most violent and aggressive country in the world, almost always at war. Its  military empire includes 800 foreign military bases.

  • We need a strong US presence in our region but not the provocative and dangerous behaviour we see time and time again.
  • We are attaching ourselves uncritically to a declining  but dangerous hegemon.
  • Our ‘Washington Club’ has been on an American drip feed for a long time.It has a ‘colonial’ mind set.It accepts without serious thought the US view of the world.
  • Northern Australia is becoming a US military colony.These points are developed further below.

Northern Australia is becoming a US military colony

In some political difficulty in 2011 Julia Gillard was anxious for President Obama to visit Australia and address the Parliament. Kim Beazley, our Ambassador in Washington was very keen to help. As part of the deal to lock in the Obama visit Gillard agreed to the rotation of Marines through Darwin with US hopes for more future basing in Perth and Cocos-Keeling.

This was the real door opening for the Americans.

The colonisation has continued apace since then with more and more Marines rotating through Darwin and USAF operations in Northern Australia.

But putting the foot on the accelerator of US military colonisation really came in September 2021.

On 16 September 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin hosted Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton in Washington D.C. for the 31st Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN 2021). The Secretaries and Ministers endorsed the following areas of force posture cooperation:

Enhanced air cooperation through the rotational deployment of U.S. aircraft of all types in Australia and appropriate aircraft training and exercises.

Enhanced maritime cooperation by increasing logistics and sustainment capabilities of U.S. surface and subsurface vessels in Australia.

Enhanced land cooperation by conducting more complex and more integrated exercises and greater combined engagement with Allies and Partners in the region.

Establish a combined logistics, sustainment, and maintenance enterprise to support high end warfighting and combined military operations in the region.

See the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) joint statement.

We have committed ourselves to ‘high end warfighting and combined military operations and unfettered access for US forces and platforms’ in northern and western Australia.

Only yesterday the AFR highlighted the US focus on western and northern Australia. ‘Former foreign policy adviser to president George W. Bush and new United States Studies Centre chief executive Michael Green predicts the US will become more dependent on Australia for its military operations and intelligence. A shift in foreign policy focus from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific meant that areas of western and northern Australia would be ‘‘critical’’ for the US and its allies. ‘‘We need access: we need purchase on the Indian Ocean and, so geographically, in technology, in terms of military operations and intelligence, the US is going to be more dependent on Australia,’’ Mr Green said. ‘‘There’s no two ways around it.’’

We have not seriously debated or considered the enormous and very risky consequences of all of this. Our sovereignty and integrity as a nation is on the line and at the whim of the US, a country that does not really know which path it is on, crypto-fascism, civil war or anarchy.

In AUKUS, at enormous cost and with great delay we are planning to fuse our future nuclear powered submarines with the US Navy to operate in the South China Sea against China.

Minister Marles has told us that we are not only working ‘inter-operatively’ with the US military in numerous ways but we are now committed to ‘inter-changeabilty’ with US forces. We are locking ourselves even more to a ‘dangerous ally’. Minister Marles seems unconcerned about the dangerous path we are on.Even worse he seems careless about surrendering our national sovereignty. He should be watched very carefully.

The US is the most violent country in the world and almost always at war

There is an enormous and powerful US constituency committed to continual war. We joined those wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. All were disastrous. Now the US is continually goading and provoking China and wants us to join it. And we are obliging…………….

In this blog, Is war in the American DNA?, I have drawn attention repeatedly to the risks we run in being “joined at the hip” to a country that is almost always at war. The facts are clear…………………..

Despite all the evidence of wars and meddling, the American Imperium continues without serious check or query in America or Australia………………………………………………………………

Australia is trapped within the American Imperium

This complex co-opts institutions and individuals around the globe. It has enormous influence. No US president, nor for that matter any Australian prime minister, would likely challenge it. Morrison and Albanese have the same view on the US imperium.

Australia has locked itself into this complex. Our military and defence leaders are heavily dependent on the US Departments of Defence and State, the CIA and the FBI for advice. We act as their branch offices.

…………………………………… AUKUS has locked us in even more. In AUKUS we are effectively fusing our Navy with that of the US so that we can operate together in the South China Sea and threaten China. We are surrendering more and more of our strategic autonomy by encouraging the US to use Northern Australia as a forward base against China as if the US does not have enough giant military bases ringing China in Japan, ROK and Guam.

A ’rules-based international order’; but not for America

The third reason for the continuing dominance of the American Imperium is the way the US expects others to abide by a “rules-based international order”………………………….

Derivative media compounds Australia’s lack of autonomy

A major voice in articulating American extremism and the American Imperium is Fox News and Rupert Murdoch who exert their influence not just in America but also in the UK and Australia. ………………………. But it is not just the destructive role of News Corp in the US, UK and Australia. Our media, including the ABC are so derivative. It is so pervasive and extensive, we don’t recognise it for its very nature. We really do have a ‘white man’s media’. We see it most obviously today in the way legacy media spew out an endless daily conveyor belt of anti-China stories…………………………………..

Read more in our Defence Strategic Review series of articles.  https://johnmenadue.com/the-defence-strategic-review-we-are-ceding-our-sovereignty-to-the-us/

South AustralianPremier backs traditional owners in saying no to nuclear waste facility

September 15, 2022

Above” Barngarla traditional owner, Linda Dare with the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Kyam Maher, Premier Peter Malinauskas, and Barngarla traditional owner, Daw Taylor. Picture: Jason Bilney, Chairman of Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation

Extracts Adelaide Now, 15 Sept 2022, Premier Peter Malinauskas has thrown his support behind traditional owners trying to stop a nuclear waste facility being built on Native Title land near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula. On Thursday, during the state government’s country cabinet tour, the Premier said he supported the Barngarla people who have been fighting to stop the proposed project…

Mr Malinauskas said though his government did not have the power to stop the project, he did support the Barngarla people and their cause, and would use his position to influence the Labor federal government.

“Ultimately, the nuclear waste facility is a matter for the federal government,” he said.

“However, the state government’s position is that the local Indigenous community should have the opportunity to have a veto on this proposal. “While the state government doesn’t necessarily have the legislative ability to act, the government does have the ability at a political level to raise concerns where relevant.” …

Chairman for BDAC, Jason Bilney, said it was good to see Mr Malinauskas backing the Barngarla people and hoped the federal government would do the same. …

It’s about the Statement from the Heart, truth-telling, and having a voice for First Nations people to be heard.

“It’s our country, we’ve been here for over 60,000 years and it’s about having us at the table and listening to First Nations voices, especially when we don’t want a nuclear waste dump on our country.”   https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/…/d4f25d032c394c9d77257d…

World BEYOND War Volunteers to Reproduce “Offensive” Peace Mural

September 15, 2022

 https://worldbeyondwar.org/world-beyond-war-volunteers-to-reproduce-offensive-peace-mural/By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, September 14, 2022

A talented artist in Melbourne, Australia, has been in the news for painting a mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging — and then for taking it down because people were offended. The artist, Peter ‘CTO’ Seaton, has been quoted as saying he was raising funds for our organization, World BEYOND War. We want to not only thank him for that but offer to put the mural up elsewhere.

Here is a small sampling of the reporting on this story:

SBS News: “‘Utterly offensive’: Australia’s Ukrainian community furious over mural of Russian soldier embrace”
The Guardian: “Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia calls for removal of ‘offensive’ mural of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers”
Sydney Morning Herald: “Artist to paint over ‘utterly offensive’ Melbourne mural after Ukrainian community anger”
The Independent: “Australian artist takes down mural of hugging Ukraine and Russia soldiers after huge backlash”
Sky News: “Melbourne mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging painted over after backlash”
Newsweek: “Artist Defends ‘Offensive’ Mural of Ukrainian and Russian Troops Hugging”
The Telegraph: “Other wars: Editorial on Peter Seaton’s anti-war mural & its repercussion”

Here is the artwork on Seaton’s website. The website says: “Peace before Pieces: Mural painted on Kingsway close to the Melbourne CBD. Focusing on a peaceful resolution between the Ukraine and Russia. Sooner or later the continued escalation of conflicts created by Politicians will be the death of our beloved planet.” We couldn’t agree more.

World BEYOND War has funds donated to us specifically for putting up billboards. We would like to offer, should Seaton find it acceptable and helpful, to put this image up on billboards in Brussels, Moscow, and Washington. We would like to help with reaching out to muralists to put it up elsewhere. And we would like to put it on yard signs that individuals can display around the world.

Our interest is not in offending anyone. We believe that even in the depths of misery, despair, anger, and revenge people are sometimes capable of imagining a better way. We’re aware that soldiers try to kill their enemies, not hug them. We’re aware that each side believes that all the evil is commited by the other side. We’re aware that each side typically believes total triumph is eternally imminent. But we believe that wars must end with the making of peace and that the sooner this is done the better. We believe that reconciliation is something to aspire to, and that it is tragic to find ourselves in a world in which even picturing it is deemed — not just unliklely, but — somehow offensive.

World BEYOND War is a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace. World BEYOND War was founded on January 1st, 2014, when co-founders David Hartsough and David Swanson set out to create a global movement to abolish the institution of war itself, not just the “war of the day.” If war is ever to be abolished, then it must be taken off the table as a viable option. Just as there is no such thing as “good” or necessary slavery, there is no such thing as a “good” or necessary war. Both institutions are abhorrent and never acceptable, no matter the circumstances. So, if we can’t use war to resolve international conflicts, what can we do? Finding a way to transition to a global security system that is supported by international law, diplomacy, collaboration, and human rights, and defending those things with nonviolent action rather than the threat of violence, is the heart of WBW. Our work includes education that dispels myths, like “War is natural” or “We have always had war,” and shows people not only that war should be abolished, but also that it actually can be. Our work includes all variety of nonviolent activism that moves the world in the direction of ending all war.

Don’t mention the war powers: what’s behind Labor’s silence on inquiry?

September 12, 2022

 https://michaelwest.com.au/dont-mention-the-war-powers-whats-behind-labors-silence-on-inquiry/ by Zacharias Szumer | Sep 12, 2022,

Last year Labor committed to holding an inquiry into war powers reform. A hundred days into taking power, there is no indication of when the inquiry might happen, but the reintroduction of the Greens’ bill into the Senate may put some pressure on Labor to clarify its plans, writes Zacharias Szumer.

At Labor’s 2021 conference, federal MPs Josh Wilson and Julian Hill put war powers on the agenda. They put forward a resolution that promised that “during the term of the 47th Parliament” a Labor government would “refer the issue of how Australia makes decisions to send service personnel into international armed conflict to an inquiry to be conducted by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.” The resolution was passed and the inquiry was added to Labor’s policy platform.

However, as we enter the fourth month of the Albanese government, there is still no confirmation that the inquiry will go ahead.

MWM recently contacted Wilson and Hill, both now members of the joint standing committee, to ask when the inquiry would take place. Wilson’s media adviser said that his office was “unsure about the timing of an inquiry” and Hill said it was a question for the Minister of Defence.

MWM has reached out to Defence Minister Richard Marles but is yet to receive a reply.

Reintroduced Greens bill may put heat on Labor

Meanwhile, the Greens plan to reintroduce their long-running Defence Amendment (Parliamentary Approval of Overseas Service) bill into the Senate. If passed, the legislation would mandate that “service of members of the Defence Force beyond the territorial limits of Australia in warlike actions would require the approval of both houses of the parliament,” with exceptions for emergency situations.

Over the past several decades, various iterations of the bill have been introduced to the parliament by the Greens and, before that, by the Australian Democrats. According to the bill’s explanatory memoranda, revisions to the original bill consist mainly of:

more detailed provisions relating to emergency situations which occur when the Parliament is not meeting and the information which is required to be provided to the public and the Parliament

The bill’s progress has always been stymied by the two major parties, and there’s no indication that its fate will be any different this time. However, the bill’s reintroduction may put pressure on the Albanese government to clarify when, or perhaps if, they plan to launch their promised inquiry.

Labor opposed the bill when it was last read in August 2021, with then deputy opposition leader in the Senate Kristina Keneally saying that “Labor believes that this bill leaves too many unanswered questions and may have unforeseen and unintended consequences.”

Keneally also said that “federal Labor have supported and continue to support this power remaining a prerogative of the executive.” However, given that Hill and Wilson proposed the resolution calling for an inquiry at the ALP conference only months earlier, there is possibly some division in Labor over the issue.

Consider the contrast between Keneally’s statement and Wilson’s response when asked by MWM on this issue:

The very mild checks on Australia’s executive war-making power that have been in place through legislation and parliamentary convention have arguably weakened in the course of the 21st century, and it’s time to have a hard look at how we might turn that wheel in the direction of greater parliamentary involvement in the name of better and more transparent decision-making.”

Public and parliamentary attitudes

In late 2020, civil society group Australians for War Powers Reform commissioned a Roy Morgan poll that found that 83.3% of Australians want parliament to decide whether troops are deployed into armed conflict abroad. Around 30% said that parliamentary approval should always be required, 52.4% said that approval should be required unless there was immediate danger to Australia and 16.7% said parliamentary approval was not needed.

However, according to MWM’s ongoing survey of parliamentarians, this degree of support for war powers reform is not shared by MPs and senators in Canberra. Or, if it is, they’re not willing to tell the public about it.
The majority of respondents said they had no comment, but an even larger number didn’t respond at all. Of those that did offer a response, their position could be fairly assumed based on their party allegiance: Greens supported reform, LNP members opposed it, and Labor members emphasised the complexity of the issue and consequent need for an inquiry.

MWM recently asked newly elected Teal candidates about the issue, but most did not offer a public response. The Independent member for Warringah, Zali Steggall, said:

“I strongly support war powers reform as other than in exceptional and urgent circumstances, the decision to commit Australians to an armed conflict or war should be made by the Parliament, in an extraordinary sitting and not just be the decision of the prime minister of the day.”

The Independent member for Indi, Helen Haines, told MWM that, while “there is no easy yes or no answer to the question on war powers reform”, she supported holding an inquiry into the issue. The newly elected Independent member for North Sydney, Kylea Tink, also said that she “would likely support an inquiry if called by Labor.”