Communist Party of Australia

We acknowledge the Sovereignty of the First Nations’ Peoples.


Journal of the Communist Party of Australia

ISSUE 30September 1993

Australia: peace and security into the 21st Century

by Dr Hannah Middleton

In 1994, the Federal Government will release a new Defence White Paper which will have a major impact into the 21st Century on the economic, political and military role Australia plays, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

The alternatives before us are clear: Australia can maintain its current aggressive “defence” philosophy, using its military strength for economic leverage, acting as a United States surrogate in the region, pursuing the high technology path with increasing reliance on the United States for advanced systems and logistics support, increasing the militarisation and consequent impoverishment of our society and promoting the arms trade with an associated rise in poverty, insecurity and conflict.

Alternatively, we can rethink what we mean by security, develop different relationships with regional states, reassess the weapons systems required for defence, develop conversion programs and increase aid to our regional neighbours.

This paper looks at the background to the development of the new Defence White Paper and offers some alternative approaches and perspectives for action for the peace movement.

Current defence policy

The last Defence White Paper was released by the Federal Government in 1987. Entitled Defence of Australia, it reflects former Defence Minister Beazley’s argument that in order to achieve national security, Australia must develop capabilities which enable us to move offshore and to intervene within the region if necessary.

The 1987 White Paper announced “the largest defence capital investment” and “the most dramatic expansion” of Australia’s forces “in peace time history”. It boasted that “Australia’s long range strike capabilities are being developed to respond – quickly and lethally – to early warnings far from Australia’s shores”.

The military expansion program, costing a massive $25 billion over 15 years, included the purchase of up to 15 F-111 planes from the US and the construction of six Collins Class submarines and ten ANZAC frigates (two for New Zealand).

It relies on long-range delivery systems, which are offensive rather than defensive. Australia’s supremacy in long-range strike forces gives it the ability to launch pre-emptive strikes and raids and to intervene in the affairs of regional nations, to ensure the “stability” of the region.

Foreign Minister Evans said “ ... our strategy remains in the broader sense defensive, but that does not preclude the use, as appropriate, of offensive tactics to achieve defensive goals.”1

In the 1987 Defence White Paper, the 1991 Force Structure Review and many Government statements, much is made of the concept of “self reliance”.

Despite the rhetoric, the Australian Defence Force remains closely linked to the United States military and Australian inter-operability with US forces has been increased. Australia also remains dependent on the United States for the supply of equipment in critical areas.

Arms trade

Military hardware cost Australia $2.4 billion in 1991, a sum which was a major element in our balance of payments deficit.

The government’s response is to encourage arms exports to help pay for military purchases and to help reduce the cost of domestic military production. However, Australia remains a net importer of military goods, primarily from the United States.

Senator Ray said: “The Government remains strongly of the view that defence exports should be encouraged. The export efforts of defence-related industry will continue to receive active Government support. Australia is a substantial net importer of defence goods and services, and we should continue to support an increase in the level of exports from this sector of our economy.2

The economics of the arms trade do not add up

The government subsidises companies to produce military goods. In 1991, the total cost of the various subsidies to arms manufacturers was greater than the value of approved arms exports.

The government assists arms exporters by paying countries to purchase Australian military goods and services. This is usually called “military aid”.

The Australian Government claims it does not permit the sale of lethal weapons except under the most stringent controls. In fact, government guidelines have been relaxed, allowing fast tracking of export licences.

Only about ten per cent of what any military force requires is actually death-dealing equipment. However, no army can function without uniforms, transport, communications equipment and so forth.

If Australia sells boots, razor wire, computer software and mosquito nets to the military forces of other countries, this is as much part of the arms trade as the sale of rifles and bullets, bombs and missiles.

Increased armed sales in the region inevitably increase regional tensions and insecurity. In developing countries, total expenditure on defence is more than for education and health combined.

The ultimate cost of the arms trade can only be measured in the hundreds of millions of casualties – not only from war but also the appalling number of lives lost to hunger and to the killer diseases that are preventable at the cost of a few dollars for an individual life.


The 1987 Defence White Paper gave considerable emphasis to intelligence gathering – spying. Government policies go beyond what is required for the legitimate defence of Australia and encompass strategic planning, equipment purchases and force adjustments to allow interference within the Pacific region, if not beyond.

The base at Geraldton in Western Australia is an example of this. Geraldton will æeavesdrop” on the international communications satellite INTELSAT which carries all our ordinary international telephone calls, telexes, faxes and so on.

Thus Australia will have no difficulty in monitoring communications in and out of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and so on. The base will also have the capacity to monitor Australian internal communications carried by AUSSAT.

In addition, Geraldton will be able to monitor computer networks. Stock exchange networks can yield valuable economic information but another valuable source is airline computer booking networks. Spying on these tells the Australian and US Governments who is going where and when.

Militarising the economy

Defence Minister Ray told Parliament: “Our long term security interests will be better served if planning for defence and our national economic development are in harmony. This includes having appropriate sectors of the nation’s economy more attuned to the support of our defence effort.3

The government argues that military spending can stimulate Australia’s ailing manufacturing sector, acting as a kind of massive industry assistance plan. Coupled with this is the government’s vision of high-tech based economic recovery.

However, military spending is an inefficient and ineffective way to pursue economic goals. It is competitive with all other consumption or investment – every dollar spent on military activity is a dollar which cannot be spent elsewhere.

Military spending diverts financial and human resources from productive activity and investment; military production is capital intensive rather than job creating. Research from a number of industrialised countries makes it clear that military spending creates fewer jobs than would be created in civilian production for the same sum of money.

The growing military-industrial complex and the threat to democracy

The growing militarisation of the national economy which flows from the philosophy and directions of the 1987 Defence White Paper and subsequent policy decisions brings with it the development of a military-industrial complex in Australia.

The ideology of militarism has already begun to erode democratic freedoms and rights in Australia to some extent. Precedents include the use of the Air Force during the domestic pilots industrial action, sending troops against non-violent peace activists at the United States Nurrungar base in 1989 and again in 1993, and the appearance of Army trucks and personnel during a 200-strong Aboriginal protest outside State Parliament House in Sydney in 1990.

Instructions for soldiers to shoot demonstrators are contained in a leaked army training manual for officers entitled Aid to the Civil Power. The manual includes training to shoot unarmed civilians, set up detention centres, collect intelligence on so-called “dissidents”, control movement of the public, conduct search operations, and tell lies to the media “in times of industrial, political and social disturbances”.

What enemies?

In late 1989, Foreign Minister Gareth Evans told Parliament that there was no “identifiable threat” to Australia. “While circumstances can change relatively rapidly ... no country ... has, or will have in the foreseeable future, the range of naval, air and logistic capabilities that would be needed to both project and sustain substantial conventional forces for major military action against Australia,” he said.4

Despite all this, alarmist assessments have been made of alleged potential threats to Australia in a region pictured as full of changing power relationships and dangerous military and political developments.

Senator Ray claimed: “We face considerable strategic uncertainties as we enter the 1990s. We are not in Europe, where we might benefit directly from the decline in superpower confrontation.”5

These were not realistic assessments of political and military trends. Instead the expanding force projection capabilities of India, Indonesia, China and Japan were used to justify the expansion of Australia’s military power projection at a huge cost to an economy in deep crisis.

Military pressure on trade

The Asia-Pacific region generates more than one-third of the world’s trade. By the end of the 1990s, countries of the region are expected to create more than half of the world’s economic output. It is estimated that by the end of the 20th Century, the Asia-Pacific region’s economic growth will exceed the world’s average increase level and the focus of international trade will shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

An important shift occurred during the 1970s as United States trade with the Asia-Pacific region increasingly began to overtake its trade with Western Europe. There has been a relative increase in United States investment in the region and the US is substantially dependent on the Asia-Pacific countries for a number of raw materials.

Australia’s role in the region has mainly been as the supplier of mineral and agricultural resources. Australia’s own manufacturing industries have faced retrenchment and rationalisation in the face of new competitive threats.

As a reply to US and EC trading subsidies on Australian exports and economic competition with Japan, the Australian Government has been trying to develop a regional economic links and co-operation.

Economic questions are interwoven with military-strategic issues. The United States, for example, is prepared to use force to maintain its increasingly important economic interests in the region. With the lessons of Panama and the Gulf War still fresh, some states will accept disadvantageous trading arrangements rather than risk political or military intervention.

Australia is prepared to exert similar pressure. In 1989, Foreign Minister Evans said: “The contribution that our military capabilities make to our general national status strengthens our ability to exercise leverage across many fields.”6

There is a major arms race occurring in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in north Asia. During the last five years the military budget of the Philippines has increased by 50 per cent, Thailand by 75 per cent, Singapore by 100 per cent and Malaysia by 125 per cent. The majority of the weapon systems involved are offensive and are not appropriate for defensive purposes.

In north Asia, the speed and sophistication of Japanese rearmament is causing considerable concern among its neighbours. It has been estimated that Japan has the capability to produce a nuclear device within three to four weeks and a nuclear weapon with delivery system in three months.7

China’s military spending is increasing by 12 per cent each year. Although this is considerable, the base it began from was relatively low and technologically backward.

The major arms build-up in north Asia, which includes the two Koreas, is greater than among the ASEAN nations despite their own active involvement in the current regional arms race.


The proposed Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) grouping combines economic and “security” features.

Intended to bring the major Asian and Pacific industrial countries into a grouping which could harmonise trade, investment, customs and other procedures, it is fast shaping up as the mechanism for US-based multinational corporations to eventually dominate regional markets, the fastest growing in the world.

US Senator Alan Cranston said the forum, embracing the United States, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Brunei, China, South Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, would encourage free trade – a euphemism for eliminating barriers to the TNCs operating in the region.

In 1989, Senator Evans said: “It is highly desirable from a national security viewpoint that we succeed in adding greater substance to our economic links with South East Asia and the South Pacific. This is not just because of the economic benefits that will be obtained by one side or the other. The point is that such linkages create mutual interests and interdependence. If such economic linkages assume sufficient substance, awareness of their value can become a significant restraint on any temptation to resort to military conflict.”8

Recently, Senator Evans gave greater emphasis to the military view of security when he commented that what Australia wants is “an Asia-Pacific community, in both economic and politico- security terms, where there is much less emphasis on the traditional bilateral relationships, and much more on developing a multilateral approach to stability and security in the region”.

A major shift in US policy in the Asia-Pacific region is occurring under the new Clinton administration with a change from emphasis on exclusively bilateral relationships towards greater multilateralism.

Washington is now engaged in the exploration of regional security relationships and Winston Lord, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, called in April for the development of “new mechanisms to manage or prevent” emerging regional problems.

This approach may assist the Clinton administration to deal with the contradiction between its need to remain active in the region in order to protect US economic interests and the difficulty it faces in maintaining an effective military deployment in the region when it is cutting the number of its troops, ships and planes.

Evans made his comment about “our military capabilities” helping Australia “to exercise leverage” in the very same speech in which he spoke of regional “economic linkages” reaching “sufficient substance” to significantly restrain “any temptation to resort to military conflict”.

Australian policy has two faces: in one aspect, we get our way in the region by being the strongest military power with state of the art weapons technology; we are the bully whose might makes right.

In the other aspect, Australia works to “exercise leverage” through economic ties, in an international economic order in which many countries of the Asia-Pacific region are trapped in a state of dependence and poverty with massive debt burdens, the stranglehold of IMF and World Bank orders, often relying on a handful of agricultural or mineral resources, and subject to volatile commodity prices and trade imbalances.

In one aspect, the Australian Government is working to develop regional security mechanisms; in the other, it is making sustained efforts to sell Australian arms into the region, despite the fact that this adds to regional insecurity.

Australia is also providing “aid” to a number of regional states which is tied to the purchase of Australian arms exports. Some of these “aid” recipients are then accused of being countries whose developing military capabilities “threaten” Australia.

There is no contradiction between these different aspects of Australian Government policy. Rather, they intentionally and effectively complement each other. However, the statement on economic links by Evans does provide us with an opportunity to press for the peaceful over the belligerent approach. It is also a basis on which to build the alternative, people’s understanding of security.

New Defence White Paper

The factors outlined above will influence the development of the 1994 Defence White Paper. Additional factors will include Canberra’s determination to cut government spending, the influence of the military-industrial complex, the profitability of arms manufacturing, and the Government’s commitment to “regional security”.

And the new Defence White Paper will have also to take account of the fact that Beazley committed $25 billion over 15 years and only seven of those years will have passed. Most of these programs can be expected to continue.

Cost cutting at the level of military personnel and services for their families is likely to continue with the money saved put into big ticket, high-tech weapon systems rather than any peace dividend.

This approach is by no means exclusively Australian. US President Clinton’s first defence budget calls for US$250,700 million and emphasises force mobility, retaining technological superiority in key areas and reducing the size of the military. According to a Defense Department press release, “threats to stability in key regions throughout the world have become America’s principal military concern”.

In Australia, continued commercialisation of defence can be expected, with services contracted out to the civilian sector and increased private sector involvement in military production.

The increasing involvement of private companies in armaments research, development and manufacturing will inevitably encourage orders for new weapons systems. The military want new weapons, they always do, that’s their thinking. They argue about which weapons, not if more weapons. The private companies are interested because the profit margin in military production is usually high.

One of the inherent problems of defence equipment procurement is that expensive weapons purchased on the basis of today’s estimates of future threats may be unsuitable to meet the real threats that arise 15 or more years later.

The 1987 Defence White Paper focussed on low-level contingencies. However, this did not stop former Defence Minister Beazley putting in place his $11 billion military buying spree.

The ADF argued for force development on the basis of preparing for larger-scale contingencies. If the ADF arguments are more persuasive this time around, one wonders what ambitious new military spending plans the Australian taxpayer may be forced to fund.

Australia is struggling to become a major player in the arms race and this in itself may become an additional justification for an expansion in military spending.

The contradiction in government policy between the drive to sell arms in the region and its drive for regional security can create an opportunity to justify increased arms purchases (to defend the country and give weight to Australia's voice in regional security forums), increased arms production and sales (to help pay for the purchases), and then more arms purchases (to defend Australia against the countries which are armed with Australian-supplied weapons systems) – a most profitable vicious circle.

What is “security”?

Defence doctrines, foreign affairs, and economic questions are closely inter-related policies for any government. Their fundamental purpose should be to ensure the sovereignty, security and economic and social well-being of a country and its people.

Security can certainly mean military security – the capacity to identify and meet perceived threats. But military spending is an important component of the large and growing budget deficits which in effect mortgage the disposable resources of future generations.

The price of defence – money for armaments, erosion of democratic rights, damage to the environment and so forth – can undermine security. What point is there in devoting massive resources to defence if the very society being protected is seriously undermined by industrial and rural decline?

The belief that security can be enforced by ever greater numbers of more sophisticated weapons is being increasingly questioned. More and more people understand that real security comes with jobs, steady food supplies, homes, clean water, warmth, education and health care, democracy and human rights.

Competition for power and profits, greed, unequal access to resources, inequities and injustices lie at the heart of conflict and war. Seventy per cent of the world’s population live in underdeveloped countries and face poverty and starvation. Over 500 million people have no job. The third world pays for first world extravagance with their lives and grinding poverty. The mechanism of militarisation keeps this system under control.

A nation cannot be secure in isolation and no attempt to create a peaceful world can succeed unless these problems are confronted and resolved.

To establish a global system of international security, states will have to mutually reduce the proportion of their budget allocated to military expenditure, using the concept of “reasonable sufficiency”.

Reasonable sufficiency means that each state should be capable of no more than the defence of its own territory against likely – not imagined – military threats. A situation needs to be reached where no state has either the weapons or the operational doctrine for threatening the territory of another state. The goal of reasonable sufficiency can be worked towards by means of balanced and strictly supervised disarmament, while ensuring that each country retains equality with the other.

However, ending the use of the military to kill and suppress domestic opposition will require more than the introduction of reasonable sufficiency into defence spending.

Political factors are important for security, including respect for independence, strengthening mechanisms for the political settlement of international disputes and regional conflicts, building trust and confidence, agreed methods to safeguard international communication routes and to prevent international terrorism.

All states are economically interdependent. However, that interdependence is a source of inequality which keeps some states rich while others are poor and subservient. Economic factors are important for security, including a just solution to the foreign debt problem, the establishment of a new world economic order, pooled efforts for the collective solution of global problems (environmental crises, the peaceful use of outer space, etc.), and the use of funds released by reduced military budgets for the good of all states but particularly for underdeveloped countries.

Security can be enhanced by attention to humanitarian issues. These include the introduction of a new international information order, an end to all forms of racial, national and religious discrimination, international co-operation to secure people’s political, social and personal rights, agreed steps to deal with refugees and displaced persons, and co-operation and exchanges in the development of medicine, science, education, art and culture.

The alternative

There is a clear choice: either develop a just and sustainable order or pursue the arms race. We cannot have both.

For the world as a whole, allocating up to ten per cent of global output for military purposes is madness. We can either continue the arms race or move toward more stable and balanced social and economic development within a more sustainable international economic and political order. We cannot do both.

The Australian Government can and should respond to the changing strategic map of the world and adopt an independent and non-aligned defence and foreign policy which recognises and pursues the benefits for the people of Australia that would flow from peace and disarmament.

An independent and non-aligned Australian defence and foreign policy would pursue the benefits for the people of Australia from peace and disarmament:

  • Huge sums of money could be used to satisfy the needs of the people for jobs, housing, education, health, environmental protection, culture and leisure. Living standards could be dramatically improved.
  • Democratic rights would be extended as it is war or the threat of war which is often the excuse for the restriction of democracy.
  • Domination of one nation by another would be limited and ultimately become impossible as the means to enforce such domination would be reduced.
  • Relations between nations could for the first time be placed on a basis of equality, independence, non-interference and freedom. Trade, scientific and cultural exchanges between nations to the mutual benefit of all could expand.

Global security

The Australian Government should recognise that a system of international security requires it to work actively to outlaw the use or threatened use of force against any state or group of states.

Steps must be taken towards universal and complete disarmament, beginning with the scrapping of all weapons of mass destruction and an end to their production and testing.

The problems of foreign debt burdens and other injustices experienced by the under-developed countries will have to be solved.

Each state’s national independence must be respected and the threat of aggression, domination and exploitation removed.

Military spending will have to be cut and military alliances disbanded. International disputes and regional conflicts will have to be settled by international negotiation.

Trade, cultural and scientific exchange must be developed on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

The United Nations

We are living in an era of enormous destabilisation resulting from the destruction of many socialist states and the continuing internal crises of the capitalist world. The rupture of the old East-West balance, allegedly ending the Cold War, has brought with it a high degree of uncertainty, insecurity and conflict.

The balance of forces in the world has changed and there is no longer the same kind of constraint on the United States and its allies.

In the military sphere, the United States currently rules supreme although at the cost of considerable domestic economic and social problems. This monopoly of power is not duplicated in the economic and commercial spheres. The US is trying to use its military pre-eminence to bolster its position in the fierce competition with the other two major centres of imperialism, the European Community and Japan.

The United Nations has come under United States political domination more completely than ever before and the organisation is being blatantly used to promote US interests. The selective nature of intervention by the United Nations is a good example of this. The UN has intervened against Iraq and in Bosnia. It has not intervened against Israel or Indonesia, both countries guilty of “ethnic cleansing” of minorities.

Governments in Canberra are junior partners to the United States and Australian foreign policy follows very closely what Washington does and wants. Australia is participating in the current use of the UN to serve the interests of imperialism. The so-called Australian peace plan for Cambodia (which was nothing of the sort, being in fact a US-inspired approach) and the Australian support for the Gulf War (through the US bases on Australian soil and Australian war vessels sent to the Gulf) are examples of this.

The United Nations must be transformed. US domination must be broken and it must become a more democratic world organisation. Some of the possible steps to achieve this which are being widely canvassed include increasing the power of the General Assembly. This might be assisted by abolishing or limiting the use of the veto and increasing the number of permanent members on the Security Council.

The establishment of a parallel General Assembly made up of nongovernment organisations (without decision-making powers) might also contribute to the transformation.

Ultimately, restoration of a strong socialist opposition and an upsurge of anti-imperialist struggle in the Third World are necessary if the United Nations is to serve its stated aims and the needs of the world’s peoples.

Regional security

Improving regional security requires measures to achieve peace and disarmament, to improve political relations and establish just economic relations between states, to safeguard the environment and to benefit the human conditions of the people of the region.

The establishment of nuclear-free zones would contribute to peace and security in the region. The South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone will have to be considerably strengthened to ban the transit of nuclear weapons, testing of guidance systems and nuclear related facilities, exercises and military alliances.

The de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula would be a significant step towards calming one of the most dangerous regional flashpoints. It could be discussed within the context of establishing a North East Asian nuclear free zone.

As a vital part of the disarmament process, the region needs to be freed of nuclear weapons and their support systems and bases. Strong barriers to further proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region need to be set up.

All other forms of military presence in the region need to be reduced. Naval and air forces and non-nuclear ground forces should be the subject of negotiated reductions. All possible confidence-building measures should be explored to help bring about these reductions.

Regional disputes need to be settled peacefully without prejudice to the security and national independence of any state. Negotiation and co-operation should replace confrontation and force. There should be no interference in the internal affairs of any country in the region.

Collective security arrangements from which no country is excluded should replace the present alliances which embroil the region in conflict. The arrangements should bind all countries to mutual non-aggression. Until these new arrangements are in place, no new alliances should be formed and existing ones should not be expanded.

As countries in the region reduce their military spending, part of the funds released should be made available for assistance to the least developed countries in the region. Equitable economic relations should be put in place. Discriminatory trade terms, tied aid packages, and the smothering demands of foreign debt repayments should be ended.

No country should remain under the effective colonial control of another. The rights of all indigenous peoples should be respected. Political, racial and religious discrimination should be abolished.

Australia’s security

If this objective is to be achieved, Australia’s military capability and doctrines must be radically changed. While being capable of defending our own territory against likely military threats, we should not be in a position to threaten the territory of other states.

The government must implement an imaginative conversion program, channeling resources, including technical talent and capital investment, into production that generates wealth for our society, instead of siphoning off an ever larger bite to the military and the military-industrial complex.

Most military goods and services have no economic use either for consumption or for further production. Military spending diverts financial and human resources away from productive activity and it competes with other forms of public consumption. The choice is between defence and such things as education or health, social security and aid to developing countries, national parks and the arts.

Military research and development diverts scientists and engineers from more productive activities. If these researchers were employed on civilian projects, national economic dynamism would be increased.

The country’s present military, so-called “defence” budget must be reduced. A genuinely defensive defence policy could take advantage of cheaper but still efficient alternatives which would also generate a peace dividend.

For example, instead of expensive FA-18s exposed on large, easily located airfields, something like the Swedish Saab 37 Viggen which can be airborne from a rough runway or road in 500 metres could be bought. They are produced by a neutral nation which would be less likely to block the supply of spare parts. For training, the Saab Viggen’s predecessor, the Draken, could be purchased for as little as $1 million each – 20 Mach 2 jets for half the price of a single FA-18.

US military bases must cease to occupy Australian soil. Advances in satellite technology and data communications mean that the need for overseas bases is rapidly decreasing and all such facilities can therefore be relocated to their country of origin.

The current policy which permits nuclear-capable foreign warships and military aircraft to call at Australian ports and airfields or to transit through Australian territorial space must be ended.

Strict government control must be imposed on all research and development which have application in the development, production or testing of any components of nuclear, space or any other mass-destruction weapon.

Australia should withdraw from and seek the dissolution of existing alliances and co-ordinate its foreign policies with those of the nonaligned movement. Australia could and should begin to playa much more active role in the non-aligned movement.

The supply of military equipment, the provision of military training and military exercises with repressive regimes in the region must be ended.

Australia’s overseas aid policies should be changed, increasing the share of Gross Domestic Product allocated to the most needy countries.

Restrictive conditions specifying that a proportion of the aid must be spent on Australian goods and services must be eliminated.

Development policies should place priority on helping underdeveloped countries break out of their economic dependence and protect their environment.

Australia’s overseas sources of military equipment and the countries it allows to provide its forces with military training must be diversified.

The Federal Government should legislate so trade unions can be set up within the armed services.

Peace education programs in all State and private primary and secondary schools should be compulsory.

But the implementation by any Australian government of an independent defence and foreign policy in the interests of peace and development is compromised as long as Australia’s sovereignty remains compromised.

A program to achieve national independence and sovereignty must include control over foreign capital investments, nationalisation of foreign capital property holdings and a decisive break with the US alliance.

As the Woomera Declaration says:

“For Australia to become a fully recognised member of the Asia Pacific region and the global community, we must confront our history and dissolve the ties that bind the nation to the past ...

“The constitutional separation from Britain should be accompanied by a military separation from the United States of America. A cornerstone of the new constitution will be a peaceful, independent and nuclear-free Australia which would include a prohibition on the basing of any foreign troops or military facilities on sovereign land and likewise the basing of any Australian troops or military facilities on the sovereign land of other nations.”9


  1. Australia’s Regional Security, statement to Parliament by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Senator Gareth Evans, December 1989.
  2. Defence into the 21st Century, statement to Parliament by Defence Minister Senator Robert Ray, May 30, 1991.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Evans, 1989, op. cit.
  5. Ray, 1991, op. cit.
  6. Evans, 1989, op. cit.
  7. Andrew Mack on ABC TV’s Lateline, August 5,1993
  8. Evans, 1989, op. cit.
  9. Declaration of Australian Independence, adopted at Woomera. South Australia, by participants in the national peace camp at Nurrungar, Easter 1993.
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