Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies) Bill 2020

 A controversial Bill is to be debated in the Senate.

If enacted, according to lawyer Kelly Tranter, it would authorise the use of foreign military and police forces and gives them the same immunity from legal liabilities as Australian forces. Tranter writes “The use of a foreign army or militarised police force should not be allowed at all, and certainly not without the safeguard of citizens’ rights of access to courts.”

MPG sees the legislation as a missed opportunity for creating a proper ‘Civil Defence Force’ to deal with future emergencies, as these are likely to be connected to the impact of the climate crisis (such as fires and floods) or the pandemic, rather than being of a military nature. To take the nation down the path to a more militarised future is to misunderstand the true nature of threats to national security. MPG has made submission to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

International Day of Peace 2020 – Shaping Peace Together

The International Day of Peace (“Peace Day”) is observed around the world each year on 21 September. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.

The 2020 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Shaping Peace Together”. Celebrate the day and stand together with the UN against attempts to use the COVID-19 pandemic to promote discrimination or hatred. Join one of the following events to help shape peace together.

Refer to details of the Sydney celebration and the Melbourne online event below.

SYDNEY CELEBRATION – 20 September, 2pm to 4pm

Raising Peace Event
When: Sunday 20 September, 2pm to 4pm
Time: 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Where: 107 Project, 107 Redfern St, Redfern 2016

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Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty – only 4 ratifications to go!

Update, October 1st. Malaysia has become the 46th nation to ratify the TPNWA – meaning that now only four more ratifications are required before the treaty comes into force.

A total of 44 states are now parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (also known as the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty) which was adopted by the United Nations on July 7, 2017. This landmark treaty prohibits nuclear weapons and establishes a legal framework for their elimination. It will enter into force after 50 states have signed and ratified the treaty.

The latest endorsements of the treaty coincided with the 75th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 in 1945. To mark Hiroshima Day, Ireland, Nigeria and Niue ratified the treaty on August 6, while the Caribbean state of Saint Kitts and Nevis has moved to do the same this Nagasaki Day. Continue reading Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty – only 4 ratifications to go!

Does the government now attach greater significance to preparations for war than it does to seeking peaceful co-existence?

That is the question MPG has put to the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon. Linda Reynolds, in a letter. MPG’s letter points to the fact that Australia has ignored the UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire, by announcing an additional $270 billion expenditure on defence. Meanwhile it also ignores the risk of Covid-19 infection by hosting US marines in Darwin and by joining the RIMPAC naval exercises off the coast of Hawaii. All of these points support the contention that the Australian government is more intent on preparing for war, than it is on maintaining peace. It is a sorry state of affairs. The full text of the letter can be read here.

Anzac Day and the coronavirus

Marrickville Peace Park

Due to the coronavirus, no public gatherings to commemorate Anzac Day will be held around the country this year. This has also resulted in the cancellation of the alternative Anzac Day Reflection which was scheduled to take place at the Marrickville Peace Park in Sydney.

This circumstance, however, opens up an opportunity for the Australian community to move away from Anzac Day ceremonies that have become so commercialised and politicised in recent decades.

In particular, it offers the opportunity for people, young and old, to critically reflect upon the Anzac legend and the historical distortions that this myth entails.

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