I am grateful that still in Australia today I have the opportunity to make a submission.
Impact on First Nations’ Peoples.
First Nations’ Peoples have lived in Australia for 60,000 years and consider their land, that we now occupy, to be their body. Like all people, like all animal species, they have four basic needs- clean, carbon and covid-constrained AIR, unpolluted WATER, uncontaminated SOIL and SPECIES DIVERSITY- the Web of Life on which all life depends.
Under Native Title, land in Queensland has been returned to our First Nations’ People and yet where military exercises are now occurring on their land they do not have access to their land. Will there be on-going damage to their water and their soil in this part of Queensland due to the use of PFATT fire retardant ? They do not know. They do not know if any of the temporary occupiers of their land care about what happens to them and their sacred land.
Social and Community.
How socially-minded and beneficial to the community is an ethos that lauds individual rights over community responsibilities,”those who give it a go, get a go” in preference to support for those in genuine need for an adequate basic living wage, secure housing for the elderly, the disabled and the disadvantaged, adequate health care and adequate education for the entire community?
Yet if we continue to pander to the demands of the US where the individual is believed to be the “gold standard”, where its lap dog nations are expected to devote, 2 % of its GNP to military spending, we we will disadvantage our disadvantaged community members.
Today more than ever we need to make more global friends, not more global enemies. We should not be expanding our military industries. We should not allow where we live to become a US offshore satellite State.
Political (including )Democratic Rights.
From the earliest invasion of Australia by Britain, Australia has been subservient to the demands of powerful nations and powerful overseas corporations, with Australia’s Federal government today even more subservient to the demands of the US and its large global corporations.
What is the point of picking a fight with China, our most important trading partner other than to keep in sweet with the US, in the hopes that the US will come to our aid in times of need?
I hope that a new Labor Federal government will make an effort to establish a relationship with the US that is more beneficial to Australia.
Environment and Climate Change.
“Weapons were manufactured to fight wars. Now wars are manufactured in order to sell weapons.”
(Arundhati Roy. Sydney Peace Prize Lecture 2004.)
However unless we now make a global war effort to adequately address global heating, it’s game over for much of humanity, much of human life as we now know it.
And the global reach of the US military machine and its military military adventurism, including its present military experiment in Queensland, is a major generator of greenhouse gases, the major cause of global heating.
The military machine is responsible for the greenhouse gases generated during the exploration, extraction, refinement and manufacture of materials used to manufacture military hardware as well as the massive quantity of fossil fuels used in the transport component of the military hardware.
Ever increasing global heating results in sea level rise and the consequent loss of arable land as well as the loss of arable land due to changing temperatures and rainfall patterns and more frequent and severe bush fires. Unless we address global heating the number of global refugees moving around the world will increase. This will lead to more social unrest and wars with the resultant increasing use of the military machine to try and keep on top of this increasing social unrest.
Last year the 7 year old daughter of a CEO of a major Australian organisation asked her father this question:- ” Daddy, will I have to wear a mask for the rest of my life?” An awful question for any 7 year old anywhere in the world. When will all our school students be forced to wear masks every day?
When was the last time we could no longer guarantee the air was safe to breathe anywhere in the world? When will we be able to guarantee that the air is once more safe to breathe anywhere in the world? No-one in the world knows.
And because clean, carbon and covid-constrained air is one of our 4 vital, basic needs, this is important for those who are allowed to vote for their future, for those still too young to vote, those future generations and the non-voting species of life that never have a vote for their future. And because species diversity is also one of our 4 vital needs, this latter group is important too.
Military and Defence.
Many Australians believe a military alliance with the US is important.
However I believe a military alliance with a US with military adventurism in the Asian region puts Australia in danger.
I therefore think we should develop our own independent Australian military capability.
When I was a pre-covid teenager in the 1950s in England my mother told me she thought that:- “We should treat each other and nature how we would like to be treated.”
40 years ago an 8 years old student told me she thought that :-” We should treat each other and the environment how we would like to be treated.” This little girl got it in one sentence.
So why is it so difficult for our politicians and our major decision makers to get it?
Marcel Caux a 105 year old World War One veteran became a pacifist and said :-
” I am against war because I realised I was depriving children of their fathers.”
If we give the world’s military personnel 2 weeks’ holiday we could feed, clothe, house and educate the entire world.
Australia is blessed with an abundance of resources and it beggars belief that any Australian government we elect would hold the bizarre view that it’s a great idea to use our material resources and brain power to develop an export military industry in preference to developing Australian industries to feed, clothe, house and adequately educate and care for everyone in Australia, as well as adequately protecting the environment on which we totally depend.
And if we really want to show the world that we have elected an Australian government that is humane and decent, we could even export Aussie-made Covid vaccines to those countries that really need them.
NB. Gwynne Dyer ” The Shortest History of War.” His most recent book is more interesting than war experiments in Queensland.
On Foreign Policy I can do no better than quote the final paragraph of the Background Notes on “Foreign Policy” by Dr. Alison Broinowski :-
“The US, military presence in Australia does not protect us, but rather makes us a target for attack for countries that resist US domination. If Australia developed a truly independent foreign policy and resisted dictates from the US., our nation would gain, not lose, friends. Our national security and prosperity would be greater and we could reclaim ‘good international citizenship’ as a country which rejects illegal wars.’
Unions and Workers’ Rights.
Over the past 70 years young people from Australia have been involved in fighting in the wars of other countries, wars of no direct benefit to Australia and its citizens. These foreign wars have resulted in a massive cost to the Australian military personnel involved as well as to their families due to their death or personal injuries as the result of wars. There is a massive financial cost to the Australian taxpayer for such destructive and counter-productive endeavours. Such taxpayer funds would be far more usefully employed in job creating activities in Education, Health, Welfare, support for refugees and asylum seekers, sustainable and social Housing, sustainable Transportation, Recreation and the Arts as well as the massive job-creating opportunities involved in adequately addressing global heating as well as the ever increasing cost of addressing the the damage caused by more frequent and severe bush fires, droughts, flooding, cyclones, other extreme weather events and sea level rises, all due to global heating.
Today ever more automation is an increasing threat to employment especially for lesser-skilled workers. Extra funds will be needed to ensure Unions are strengthened and that funds are allocated to ensure the adequate promotion of the concept of a ‘basic living wage’ for everyone in our finite world.
And as is so blindingly obvious in the case of Covid-19, our latest pandemic, adequate funds are still required to ascertain exactly from where this particular pandemic has come as well as more funds to ensure there is adequate education to reach our migrant populations with limited English and those citizens who are still vaccine-averse so that they know how to do the right thing to protect each other from covid.
Finally funds to educate the wider community about the great harm caused by racist attitudes so that Australians start to treat our First Nations’ People how we would like to be treated.