Home Latest News History made with the parliamentary tabling of IPAN’s People’s Inquiry Report, “Charting our own Course- towards an independent and peaceful Australia”

History made with the parliamentary tabling of IPAN’s People’s Inquiry Report, “Charting our own Course- towards an independent and peaceful Australia”

by Bevan Ramsden

This People’s Inquiry ran for over one year under the title of “Exploring the case for an Independent and Peaceful Australia. What are the costs and consequences of Australia’s involvement in US-led wars and the US-Alliance? What are the alternatives?”

IPAN members discussed and consulted directly with thousands of everyday Australians from all walks of life. The issues specified in the Inquiry terms of reference were presented, in-depth discussions were held and people encouraged to provide their submissions, whether lengthy or short, to the Inquiry. In addition, through the Inquiry period, several petitions and statements were signed by around 26,000 people, which engaged them in the work of IPAN. Independent Australia played an important part publicising the People’s Inquiry.

Submissions to the People’s Inquiry came from people across Australia and from all walks of life; academics, trade unionists, doctors, teachers, journalists, writers, nurses, lawyers, students, pensioners, ex-military personnel as well as organisations including peace, migrant and faith organisations. There were 283 submissions in total plus more than 1110 replies to a questionnaire on the same subject.

The People’s Inquiry Report totaling 104 pages was compiled and summarised from the submissions by eight eminent professionals in their fields – First Nations, economics, defence, social and community, workers and trade unions, environment, foreign policy and political and democratic rights. Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Kellie Tranter headed the panel of experts and produced the executive summary for the Report, which was tabled in Canberra in the Senate on 24thNovember, 2022 by Senator David Shoebridge.

In launching the People’s Inquiry Report in Parliament House on the same day, Inquiry Chair, Kellie Tranter said: “The Australian government must regain its sanity. Stop regarding US geopolitical superiority as a law of nature and follow an international path directed towards respect between nations and the common good of humankind everywhere……This report is of such value and historical importance, offering alternative visions and possible solutions. The release of this report itself may not make resistors, critics and hardliners in Canberra nervous but the public adoption and repetition of its ideas will.”

Attendees at the Charting Our Own Course conference, 22 November, Canberra.

This People’s Inquiry Report based on the views and concerns of a cross- section of Australian society on Australia’s foreign and defence policies is a unique document as the opinions of Australians on these matters of national importance have never been sought by the political leaders of this country. To the contrary, secretive decisions, not even debated in parliament are made by our political leaders to involve Australia in US-led wars. Yet these decisions can impact drastically on our international reputation and our life including the environment and the economy and undermine the peace and security of our region.

IPAN is urging political and community leaders, organisations and individuals to read this report and support its recommendations. The report has been published at a crucial time in the life of Australians when the Australian government is allowing and collaborating with the United States military in preparation for war against China.

The Northern Territory is being prepared as a launching pad for that war. US troops numbering 2,500 are stationed in Darwin each year and practise with our ADF for that war. The RAAF aircraft runway at Tindal is being lengthened at our expense and maintenance facilities established for US fighters and bombers, including for six of their B52s which can carry a nuclear payload. Huge fuel depots are being built in the NT to service these US aircraft. And the government is considering buying eight nuclear propelled submarines at the massive cost of $170 billion for hunter-killer operations in distant deep waters such as the Taiwan Straits.

The IPAN People’s Inquiry report clearly shows the aversion of many Australians to overseas wars and to subservient collaboration with the United States in these wars of aggression. The Report also urges the billions of dollars being spent on military hardware to instead be invested in peace and diplomatic solutions to conflict. The overwhelming desire expressed in the Report is for an Australian government to chart our own course in foreign policy with the best interests of the Australian people and the environment as its core principle and to seek peaceful and mutually beneficial relations with all countries including China and the United States.

Copies of the I{AN People’s Inquiry Report can be obtained at: https://ipan.org.au/wp-content/uploads/CHARTING-OUR-OWN-COURSE_softcopylinks.pdf

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