Brief Speech by Shirley Winton * at a Melbourne rally outside the meeting of QUAD members on 10 February.
This was a quickly organised small but lively snap rally protesting outside the Quad meeting led by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and foreign ministers from India, Japan and Australia.
As Blinken and other foreign ministers arrived in bullet proof car cavalcade they were met with boos and loud chants Money for Health not for War, Go home Warmongers. Good to have some unions at the rally. Speakers included representatives from Maritime Union of Australia Victoria State Branch Assistant Secretary, Australian Conservation Council, Spirit of Eureka and Independent and Peaceful Australia.The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with QUAD members (US, Japan, India and Australia) is nothing more than the beating of war drums and the preparations for a US led war with China.
The Morrison-Dutton government take their orders from Washington and the US military-industrial complex. It shows the urgency with which the US is shoring up support for its economic and military dominance in the region.
Hasn’t our government learned lessons from the disastrous 20 year US-led war on the people of Afghanistan? Less than 6 months after withdrawing from Afghanistan we are being prepared to plunge into another US-led war, this time with China. As always, our obsequious government is in step with the US war mongers.
QUAD and AUKUS sends a warning to people of Australia and Asia-Pacific that preparations for war with China are well underway.
Most countries in the Asia-Pacific prefer not to have to choose between the US and China but want peace in the region. This doesn’t suit the US whose economic hegemony in this region and the world is being challenged by China’s economic rise and ambitions in this region.
The twin of QUAD is AUKUS – Australia, UK, and US military pact – instigated and led by the US.
The AUKUS military pact will siphon off hundreds of billions of dollars from needs of the people in health, education, social services, aged care, environment and urgent action to mitigate climate change. This is at a time of Covid epidemic, of our overworked and exhausted health workers, understaffed and under equipped public hospitals, understaffed and underfunded aged care facilities, shortages of rapid antigen tests. We are in a major health crisis and yet we’re spending billions on imperialist wars that benefit only the big corporations and the military industrial complex who reap huge profits from wars and military build ups in preparations for wars.
We hear the constant government and opposition’s mantra that AUKUS and QUAD are necessary for the security of this country. Well, we say it is not security and health of people and the environment that these profiteers have in mind. What they really mean is the security and increase of profits of US and European weapons corporations, and other corporations, and protecting the US global economic, political and military hegemony.
We already know that nuclear subs will cost the people more than $100 billion dollars through their taxes. Nuclear submarines in our ports risk the safety of people and the environment.
IPAN and Spirit of Eureka call on the Australian government of whichever party is elected in May to pull out of QUAD and AUKUS and start promoting an independent and peaceful Australian foreign policy that brings peace and justice in this region. We call for independence from all big powers. However, we primarily rely on building a people’s mass movement against wars of aggression and for peace with justice.
* Shirley Winton is a Spirit of Eureka and IPAN member