All posts by Nick Deane

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.

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.

Honour the War Dead by Ending War!

As in past years, MPG will be active again on Remembrance Day – Monday, November 11. The group aims to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, Sydney. The wreath will have white and yellow flowers (white for peace and yellow in recognition of service personnel who have taken their own lives). It will bear the slogan used in previous actions – ‘Honour the War Dead by Ending War!’

Read the media release here.

Postscript

A wreath, procured by Antoinette Riley, was laid at the Cenotaph. Peter Griffin (in the photo) and Nick Deane represented MPG.

 

IPAN’s Fifth National Conference

Peace activists outside Robertson Barracks, Darwin. Click photo to enlarge.

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) held its fifth national conference in Darwin over the weekend of August 2-4, 2019. Darwin was the chosen location because it has, since 2012, played host to a US Marine Air-Ground Task Force. The MAGTF reached its full compliment of 2,500 personnel in July.

The conference began with a public meeting at the Charles Darwin University’s (CDU’s) Waterfront Campus. The meeting was attended by about 90 people – most of these were interstate conference attendees, but a good proportion were local. Continue reading IPAN’s Fifth National Conference

War’s toll on children

Armed conflicts around the world are inflicting a devastating toll on children. Save the Children’s report Blast Injuries: The impact of explosive weapons on children in conflict states: “In 2017 nearly a fifth of all children were living close to conflict – with 142 million children living near areas of intense fighting. These children are more at risk of harm than any generation since the end of the Cold War. The number of verified incidents of all six grave violations against children in war – as  identified by the United Nations – continues to increase, with the reported number tripling since 2010.” Continue reading War’s toll on children