F-35 in the clouds, very much the description we should give this unaffordable US Lockheed Martin war-plane, the Joint Strike Fighter which John Howard committed Australia to, in a process that violated routine procurement procedures. The only reason for Australia to need this level of power projection would be to enable Australia to fight global wars for dominance as a partner to the US. Do we scrap this shabby deal and manage to afford an education system or follow the USA?
See ABC TV Four Corners, 18 February 2013, REACH FOR THE
Defence White Paper 2013 – Submission from Stand Fast
Stand Fast Veterans is a group of former military service-people who have committed themselves to a
principled position against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on grounds that
these wars were unjustified, in breach of international law, likely to inflict
severe harm to the civilian populations of these sovereign nations and a
needless risk to the lives and well-being of our fellow military brothers and
We maintain that war should not be entered into
lightly. It must always be the final resort when no other course of action is
left to our government. In the process of meeting these standards, all
inter-state disputes should be referred to the United Nations Security Council
for resolution. This is the function for which the UNSC was designed.
Only after this process is exhausted, the prospect
of war can be discussed. It must be prosecuted only after rigorous scrutiny in
the Parliament and in the public domain and must embody the kind of transparency
and accountability that should be expected from a genuinely democratic nation.
It must always be in the national interests of Australia and with the specific
objective of defending the territory of Australia.
Secret wars carried out by proxy forces,
mercenaries and special forces in secret and on the other side of the world do
not meet this standard. If Australian resource extraction corporations require
this sort of protection in order to operate in Africa or the Middle East we
should examine closely their implementation of human rights, social and
environmental codes of conduct, as in the Kimberley Process and the Equator
Principles and the conventions of the United Nations. Resource exploitation
without just recompense being given to indigenous communities generates
Ongoing issues for the Stand Fast group include the growing tendency for the
Australian government to accede to the increasing list of requests for US
military facilities in Australia. The US Marine base near Darwin and other
bases under discussion and planning demonstrate a determination on the part of
the Gillard government not to consult with the Australian people on the general
direction of these developments. If this government could manage these
developments without any public discussion they would.
These integrative plans demonstrate the expansion
of interoperability of Australian forces with US forces that further co-opt
Australian foreign policy into the web of US strategies that are designed to
enhance US global dominance, not defend Australia. We are being locked into
very ambitious and expensive procurements which are increasingly likely to
bring us into conflict with China, our major trading partner and will
undoubtedly offend regional neighbours in Asia and the Pacific.
Furthermore, fighting the USA’s wars does not
ensure that Australia’s ally will come to our aid. Nor does it ensure that
Australian views are listened to or acknowledged in Washington. We don’t get
the much yearned for ‘seat at the table’ with rights to be consulted. There is,
however, a very strong trend for Australian professional standards to descend
to the level practised by the US forces. US forces’ routine Standard Operating
Procedures include gross violations of Geneva Conventions; an absence of concern
for the well-being of civilians; disrespect for the dead; the mistreatment of
prisoners and the use of torture.
1. If this alliance with the US is regarded as an insurance policy, the
premium is too high, the small print too small and the payout non-existent.
2. The procurement costs to buy the equipment required for the kind
of inter-operable offensive force projection are way more expensive
than what Australia would need just to defend our own continent. The argument
of US special offers, spares and training are a form of entrapment and may be a
3. We should be very emphatic that the threshold on the decision to go
to war must be kept at the highest level of rigour. War must be the last
option, not the first. The decision must involve the Prime Minister, Cabinet
and the entire Parliament, not the PM alone, and not in secret.
4. The irregular deployment of special forces (SAS) without Parliament,
to locations not disclosed to the public should cease. In particular, the
removal of Australian forces from Afghanistan in 2014 should be all of
Australia's soldiers, with no exceptions whatsoever.
5. The use of Australian forces to fight wars and other categories of
lethal interventions designated as necessary by the USA and principally
commanded by the USA, and not sanctioned by the UN Security Council, must not
be routinised and must not be undertaken unless these are explicitly in the
national interests of Australia in the view of Parliament and in public
opinion. Importantly, the intelligence assessments and military advice must be
sourced independently in Australia and Australian foreign policy must be
independent of the USA and not beholden to Washington's whims.
6. The process of decision making has to be world's best practice, not
the way in which the Howard government decided to go to war against the people
of Iraq. Telling the public that no final decision had been made whilst all the
way through preparing to go to war was totally unacceptable for a democratic
society and was an abuse of power. Pushing forward with war plans with no plan
to divert the energy and resources into peace-making was equally deplorable and
must not be repeated.
7. Contemporary wars have been managed as PR exercises in which news and
analysis has been manipulated into propaganda. Real news about how the war is
proceeding has been surrounded with deceit and secrecy. Furthermore, soldiers
lives have been needlessly lost in pursuit of aims from the counterinsurgency
warfare doctrine, a colonialist project of military occupation against the
wishes of host populations, one in which Australia should not participate. It
has nothing to do with defending Australia. In particular, the ADF must cease
pretending to be aid workers. Australia's aid budget must be decoupled from
military expenditure and security objectives. Furthermore, ADF personnel must
not act in concert with private contractors. If they work together with allied
forces they must remain under Australian command.
8. Governments have sought to erect smoke screens of feigned concern for
the lost lives of soldiers in wars of aggression on behalf of the USA and have
sought to milk the grief of military families in order to exploit this for PR
which diverts the public from a genuine analysis of why the troops are deployed
where they are.
9. Egregious weapons must not be used by, ordered into use, stockpiled
or otherwise deployed by ADF personnel or ADF personnel acting in conjunction
with allies. These include cluster munitions (banned by a treaty that Australia
has signed and ratified - after a fashion), nuclear weapons, DIME, thermobaric
weapons, anti-personnel mines, napalm, white phosphorus and depleted uranium
10. The US is deploying drones to Australian Cocos Islands. The RAAF is
already using them, so some strict guidelines need to be drawn up.
US forces in Australia: 2012
The “Joint Facilities” revisited – Desmond Ball, democratic
debate on security, and the human interest, Richard Tanter
We can refer to the work of MAPW, mention Major General
John Cantwell, Malcolm Fraser and Paul Keating
Lodgement of Public
Submissions to the Defence White Paper 2013
Interested parties are invited to make submissions to the 2013 Defence
White Paper in accordance with the Media Statement from the Minister for
Defence Stephen Smith on 13 December, and available at: http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2012/12/13/minister-for-defence-consultation-process-for-the-general-public-for-the-2013-defence-white-paper/
Submissions can be lodged until close of business on 28 February 2013.
You may lodge one or more submissions (1) by completing the form and clicking the 'submit' button or (2) by
posting your submission to:
Defence White Paper 2013
Department of Defence
PO Box 7901
CANBERRA BC ACT 2610
Please ring 1800 643 938 if you experience a technical difficulty in lodging
your submission. We will respond to your inquiry no later than the next working
Submissions should not be longer than
To assist individuals and organisations to lodge
submissions, the following categories are provided as a guide:
Outlook, including the ongoing strategic shift to our region, the Asia Pacific
and the Indian Ocean Rim, particularly the shift of economic weight to our
2.The US re-balance to
the Asia Pacific and Australia’s enhanced practical cooperation with the US
pursuant to our 60 year old Alliance relationship.
3.The ADF’s operational
drawdown from Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.
Policy Approach: (a) Strategic Interests; (b) ADF's Principal Tasks; (c)
Australia’s Military Strategy.
6.Policy and Posture in
7.Force Structure and
8.Defence Budget and
Finances, including in the context of the ongoing adverse effects of the Global
Financial Crisis, which have continued to have a significant impact on the
Organisational Reform and Culture.
11. Science and Technology.
12. Industry Policy and the Defence Materiel Organisation.
13. Strategic Planning and White Paper Implementation.
Submissions for which the individual lodging the
submission has indicated permission to publish will be made available online.
Submissions will not be published if they promote a product or a service,
contain offensive language, or the sentiments expressed are liable to offend or
vilify sections of the Australian community.
Submissions that exceed the 1,500 word limit will also be excluded.
The Department of Defence reserves the right not to publish submissions deemed
inappropriate for reasons other than those outlined above.