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Issue #1693      July 15, 2015

For an independent foreign policy

IPAN statement Brisbane National Conference Declaration – July 9, 2015

We, activist and organisational members of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN), met in Brisbane on the traditional lands of the Turrbal People.

We met as 34,000 troops from the US, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and Australia rehearse war and invasion at the Talisman Sabre military exercises on the pristine wilderness and coral reef of Shoalwater Bay joining the more than 1,500 US troops already stationed at US occupied bases in Darwin and across Australia.

We reaffirmed our belief that Australia needs an independent foreign policy. Such a policy is urgently needed if we are to deescalate rather than inflame regional tensions that are only provoked by war rehearsals, unfettered military spending and an unequivocal kowtowing to US military adventurism, all of which expose our nation to threats and treats our neighbours with disdain.

We appreciated the substantive information and engagement of Professor Kozue Akibayashi – International President of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Professor Richard Tanter, Nautilus Institute and Senator Scott Ludlam.

We celebrated IPAN’s second year of united and coordinated work among a broad spectrum of organisations that:

  • Reflected the considered and substantive opinions of Australians to policy makers through petitions and engagement with the Defence White Paper process;
  • Published statements, open letters and articles;
  • Organised many events;
  • Provided tangible and practical assistance to campaigns.
  • We recognised the need to bring about an independent and peaceful Australia through researching, lobbying and protesting on issues including:
  • The 50th anniversary of the signing of the Pine Gap Agreement of 1965. Pine Gap makes us complicit in the crimes against humanity and drone strikes of US military actions, as well as illegal global mass electronic surveillance. It is a key war-fighting base and makes Australia a nuclear target;
  • The stationing of US marines and bombers in Darwin resulting in a loss of sovereignty and independence. This does not serve the best interests of the Australian people;
  • Australia’s continued entanglement in the international arms trade, exemplified through the growth of the arms trade fair component of the Avalon Airshow. This arms bazaar, next scheduled for 2017, has grown in recent years to be one of the largest of its kind in the region;
  • Australia’s military spending of over $87 million per day and ranking as 6th largest importer of military equipment in the world while homelessness, domestic violence shelters, education, climate change action, Aboriginal communities and health spending are cut;
  • A Defence White Paper that commits taxpayer funds to purchasing submarines worth up to $50 billion and aircraft that cannot fly for $15 billion, and ignores the overwhelming security threat of climate change.

We concluded our meeting determined to expand our movement and share our many stories of success.  We have won many campaigns, we have shut down arms fairs and bases and will do so again.

Next article – Calls for more action to address the rise of ice – Focus on targeting “scourge”

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