Home Latest News May Day speech by Shirley Winton

May Day speech by Shirley Winton

May 2024, Melbourne

Thank you May Day Committee for inviting us to speak on AUKUS, war and imperialism.

I’m on the stolen lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulan nation, never ceded. I pay my
respects to their elders past present and emerging and stand in solidarity with the First
Nations people of this country in their 260 year long struggle against the brutal colonialism,
for self-determination and sovereignty.

1 May is also 78th anniversary of the heroic First Nations pastoral workers in the Pilbara
walking off the cattle stations in a long 3 year strike for pay and working conditions. And
they won. Always was always will be Aboriginal land.

May Day is International Workers’ Day. A day when workers around the world proudly
celebrate their hard won victories and the ongoing struggles for workers’ rights, for decent
and secure livelihoods for all, for peace and a better world.

On May Day workers and their unions pledge their solidarity with struggles of the people
around the world against exploitation, oppression and imperialist wars.

This year’s May Day workers around the world stand in solidarity with our heroic Palestinian
sisters and brothers in their 76 year struggle against the Zionist Israeli colonial occupation
and genocide. Working people, unions, students and millions around the world from all
walks of life stand shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinian people’s resistance and
determination to free themselves from Zionist Israel oppression and its backer, US

Palestinian people’s struggle is setting the world on fire. Inspiring and giving confidence to
workers, unions, students, the oppressed and exploited, in their struggles.
The Palestinian struggle for liberation is exposing the face of imperialism behind the wars of
aggression, invasions, military occupations, political and military coups and foreign
interferences in countries.

Most major military and political conflicts in today’s world can be traced to fierce
competition between the imperial big powers for control and exploitation of natural
resources, markets, people and the environment – the proxy war in Ukraine, in the Middle
East, in Latin America, in the resources rich Africa, and in our own Asia-Pacific region.
Imperialism creates wars, refugees, and whips up racism to divide the people.

Today, the world is on the threshold of another global imperialist war threatening to engulf
workers across the world.

A war that is being instigated and led by the US. And, as in all the imperialist wars, we the
working people and the environment are the casualties, the disposable pawns in the super
power competition and the profiteering weapons corporations and military industrial
complex. It’s always us the ordinary people who pay with our lives, our health, our
livelihoods and carry the main economic and social burden of imperialist wars.

In our region of Asia-Pacific, the US is preparing to start a war with China, its biggest
competitor threatening to replace the US as the dominant global super power.

It will be a war of aggression forced on the people of this region. And Australia, the US
deputy sheriff in the Asia-Pacific, is again marching to the beat of US war drums.

Australia has joined AUKUS, an aggressive war pact between US, UK and Australia, created
and led by the US, to start a war with China. AUKUS and its nuclear powered submarines
are not for the defence of Australia and peace in the region. It is an instrument of
aggression to protect the US dominance in this region, not for the defence of the people of
Australia, nor for “peace and prosperity” in the region.

AUKUS is more deeply enmeshing Australia politically and militarily into the US war plans
and its multinational weapons corporations.

Australia, a US deputy sheriff doing the bidding for the US, enforcing the so called US global
rules based order in our region, rubber stamping US actions in the UN and supporting
Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

AUKUS and Australia’s involvement in a US-led war with China will syphon off more than
half a trillion dollars of Australian people’s taxes from urgent needs of Australian people in
health, education, housing, social services, aged care, child care, and urgent action to tackle
climate crisis. $368 billion on nuclear submarines and tens of billions more on US military
and propping up the US and UK economies.

The only beneficiaries are the US economy and the hugely profiteering military industrial
complex and fossil fuel corporations.

The winners from AUKUS and nuclear submarines are the multinational weapons and fossil
fuel corporations – Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, BAE, Boeing, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, the
military industrial complex – raking in $trillions of dollars in profits from suffering of people
and destruction of the environment.

The only imminent threats to the Australian people’s safety and security come from the
aggressive AUKUS war alliance, the US military bases across the country, the secretive US
controlled Pine Gap spy base, the nuclear weapons carrying US bombers and warships in
our ports and airfields, the AUKUS nuclear powered submarines in our ports, the deadly
nuclear waste stored on the lands of the First Nations people, the US-Australia Alliance and
the devastation of climate crisis These are the real threats to our safety and sovereignty.

Australia’s manufacturing industry is being turned into a production line for multinational
weapons corporations and imperialist wars. This is because workers in this country are not
in charge of what our labour produces. These are the weapons used in the horrific
genocide of Palestinian people and against our sisters and brothers in other countries
fighting for their rights and against oppression.

Multinational weapons corporations are embedding themselves in our universities and our
schools. Public funds and universities are handed over to weapons corporations for
research and development of their deadly weapons for wars of aggression. These are
public funds much needed for scientific research into health and wellbeing of people and
the environment. Australia’s military and defence are now deeply integrated into the US
imperialist war machine.

Our fight is not against workers of other countries. Our battles are right here – for secure
and decently paid work for all, for workers’ rights, for safety at work, for affordable and
secure housing for all, for properly funded health care and education and tackling the
climate crisis. For urgently needed funds to support women fleeing domestic violence and
to end the violence against women epidemic.

Australian people don’t want Australia to be involved in another US war.

Workers, unions and people from all walks of life are coming together, uniting, working
together and speaking out against AUKUS, for peace and against war.

Australian workers and their unions have always stood up for peace and against imperialist
wars. Peace is Union Business.

We need an independent and peaceful foreign policy that upholds the sovereignty of all
countries and builds solidarity with workers and the oppressed around the world. We must
build a broad anti-war movement and fight for peace. The heroic Palestinian people are
showing that protracted struggle will unite and mobilise the people against injustice and

  • Pease is Union Business
  • Scrap AUKUS and nuclear powered submarines
  • Remove all foreign military bases from Australia
  • Close Pine Gap
  • Cut ties with multinational weapons corporations assisting Gaza genocide
  • End US-Australia Alliance
  • End the Israel Zionist occupation of Palestine
  • Solidarity with Palestinian people
  • Solidarity with all workers and the oppressed around the world
  • Touch one Touch all! Palestine will live!
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