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One Year After Albo Went To San Diego - "Abandon AUKUS!"

One year ago, on March 14, 2023, PM Anthony Albanese signed off on the AUKUS agreement for nuclear powered submarines (and much more) with the USA and the UK in San Diego, California. Today many voices question AUKUS, and the Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition (SAAC) calls for Australia to “Abandon AUKUS!”

AUKUS has locked Australia into US and British military policy tighter than ever – total support for Israel’s war on the Palestinian people, total support for US and UK military strikes in Yemen.

AUKUS had first been announced 18 months earlier, on September 15, 2021, by previous PM, Scott Morrison. But there was no parliamentary debate and the ALP leadership agreed to support AUKUS the day after Morrison sprung it on us.

The staggering official cost (A$368 billion) makes it the most expensive defence acquisition ever. Most Australians say it is too expensive compared to the climate and social challenges we face.

Little wonder, then, that opposition to the whole idea is gathering strength, from the anti-war movement as well as from defence insiders, the most prominent being Hugh White, a former Deputy Secretary in the Defence Department, and former Senator Rex Patrick, who has served on Australia’s submarines.

SAAC was established in December 2021, and was one of nearly 30 community groups that gathered in Marrickville in February to issue the Marrickville Declaration. It invites more groups and individuals to join a national campaign to oppose AUKUS.

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SAAC has three simple demands: No AUKUS, No War with China, and No Nuclear Submarines.

SAAC argues that the whole AUKUS project assumes that China is Australia’s enemy. The US decisions about AUKUS indicate that the proposed Australian nuclear submarines have to be available for a war with China.

“AUKUS increases the risk of regional conflict between the USA and China. It takes us into nuclear technology and the intractable problem of high-level nuclear waste, which would end up stored on Aboriginal land. It’s divisive, provoking suspicion of Chinese Australians,” said SAAC spokesperson, Nick Deane.

“The enormous cost of AUKUS will come at the expense of much-needed climate and social programs. The decision was made without proper parliamentary discussion or public consultation. Some experts say that it is doomed to fail. We want to speed it on its way to oblivion. We say, ‘Abandon AUKUS!’” said Deane.

SAAC will be a significant presence at the Palm Sunday Rally and March for Peace and Refugees in Belmore Park, 2pm on March 24.

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