A protest against the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal outside the office of Minister for Defence Richard Marles on March 24 attracted 30 people. It was the second such protest this year, organised by the Independent & Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) Geelong and Victoria south-west.
Protestors chanted “Earth care not warfare”, “No nuclear subs”, “No AUKUS” and “No War on China”.
Murray Noonan, convenor of IPAN Geelong, Julie Hart, an IPAN activist, Zelda Grimshaw from Wage Peace and Jackie Kriz, Australian Nurses and Midwifery Federation and Geelong Trades Hall Council delegate, all agreed that momentum is growing against $368 billion being committed towards the war machine while the homeless crisis worsens and the cost-of-living blowout continues.
Hart, a long-term anti-nuclear campaigner, vowed to continue to campaign against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Grimshaw condemned defence ministers who, after retiring from politics, feather their nests with cushy jobs in the arms industry.
She condemned the federal government for neglecting the environment while spending billions on future war machines, which will be obsolete by the time they are built. “We are in the middle of a climate collapse and this money needs to be spent on saving us from environmental catastrophe.”
Kriz said it was important for activists to push their unions to take a stand against the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal. She read out a motion from the Maritime Union of Australia and congratulated the Australian Education Union Maribyrnong Regional branch for passing a similar motion.