Quakers were represented at a rally in front of Senator Katy Gallagher’s office on 24 February 2023. The below letter was presented to her.
Click here to download a Word Copy: Letter to K Gallagher IPAN ACT 24.02.23
24 February 2023
Hon Katy Gallagher, Senator for the ACT, Minister for Finance Women and the Public Service
Dear Senator Gallagher
We are contacting you because of our profound concern about the AUKUS agreement, which along with the Force Posture Agreement signed in 2015, significantly impacts Australia’s foreign policy capacity, sovereignty and security.
The AUKUS proposal to acquire nuclear powered submarines at a projected cost exceeding $170 billion and develop an east coast nuclear submarine base at a cost of $10 billion (Wollongong, Newcastle or Brisbane) is of particular concern, when increased government funds are required for urgent social needs.
The ongoing social democratic project of Labor to provide a comprehensive social welfare system is threatened by militarisation and the possibility of a devastating war with China, our largest trading partner. Rather than being necessary to protect Australia, nuclear submarines are an offensive military force that could be used against China.
We are concerned that some policy advisors and members of the Australian military are apparently willing to host US nuclear weapons on Australian soil, despite the fact that it is counter to Australia’s ratification of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and Rarotonga Treaty as well as the ALP’s pre-election promise to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
The acquisition of nuclear powered submarines not only places Australia at grave risk at participating in a possible war that could become nuclear, but involves expenditure that is needed for health, housing, education, social and economic justice and most critically, climate action.
Climate change is the existential challenge facing human civilisation and life on earth that requires unprecedented levels of cooperation among all nations. The AUKUS agreement diverts Australia from this fundamental challenge into a dangerous and futile cycle of militarisation and polarisation.
All disputes between countries, including the ‘great powers’ can only be resolved through negotiation, diplomacy and international law through the United Nations or similar international institutions. There is an urgent need for increased quiet diplomacy rather than the threat of military force.
As an alternative to AUKUS, we refer you to the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) People’s Inquiry held over a two year period that led to the production of the report “Charting Our Own Course – Questioning Australia’s Involvement in US-led Wars and the Australia- United States Alliance”. We have attached a copy of the report and will contact your staff to arrange a meeting with you to discuss its findings.
David Perkins and Penny Lockwood
Co-convenors IPAN ACT