We wish to share a safe home in a region built on friendship, trust and the peaceful resolution of disputes and differences.
However, US troops are on their way to be permanently stationed in Darwin –the “new forward-staging base”, a clear signal to China that “the US has quick-response capability in Beijing’s backyard” (The Wall Street Journal 27 Jan 2012).
Australia’s Defence White Paper, (2009) identifies China as a potential enemy and talks about South East Asia being “a conduit for the projection of military power against us by others.” But China, our leading trading partner, believes “Australia should beware lest it be perceived as a lackey of Washington”(The Australian 22Mar 2012).
Indonesia, our near neighbour, has warned that an expanded military presence would generate a “vicious circle of tension and mistrust.” (SMH 17 Nov 2011)
Such developments should ring alarm bells for Australia.
Australia has a long history of involvement in global peace efforts. We helped draft the United Nations Charter, which makes it illegal to wage aggressive warfare and were one of just eight countries to create the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition, we have been involved in numerous peace-keeping exercises around the globe.
This is the proud record we should be continuing to expand, not our military capabilities. Therefore,
– We oppose the continuing military build-up in our home region, which threatens to bring war to our doorstep;
– We call on the nations of the Indo-Pacific to reduce their force levels and military spending;
– We call on governments to build regional mechanisms to resolve disputes, under the auspices of the United Nations, to stop our differences turning into flashpoints or pretexts for war.
– We call on the Australian government to base the US-Australian relationship on our non-military ties.
The increasingly militaristic posture of the US-Australian alliance undermines our national sovereignty and our standing in the region.
Let’s replace confrontation with cooperation.
Let’s replace fear with friendship.
Let’s join a new wave made of hope and optimism
Let’s Keep War from our Door.