Senate debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Statements by Senators


1:47 pm

Photo of David ShoebridgeDavid Shoebridge (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Right now, the most powerful forces in the media—the weapons industry and the political class—are baying for war, and we should all be alarmed. Twenty years ago the world went to war on a lie. This followed a concerted campaign from these very same groups to send the US and its allies, including Australia, into a devastating and ultimately failed war with Iraq, from which the Middle East and much of the world has never recovered. We are approaching the 20th anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq, and we should learn from what happened.

Nine Entertainment's newspapers have put together a hand-picked panel of academics and defence industry insiders, many with ties to the defence industry, who this week have launched an extraordinary campaign for war with China within three years. There's not one voice of moderation, not one critic of the pro-war agenda—not one. This is a real failure to represent the views and perspectives of the great majority of Australians and the array of academics and strategists who do not want war. It raises the question: so who does?

Nine's campaign is timed ahead of the Defence Strategic Review and a major announcement on nuclear submarines, and appears to be a concerted campaign to change public opinion in favour of a march to war and a dramatic escalation in defence spending. The panel has said that Australia's defence spending as a proportion of GDP should double from two per cent to four per cent. Our annual defence budget is already $48.6 billion, and we're not in a war. That's 97 times the amount this government is planning on spending on new homes in a housing crisis.

Australia has so much to lose from a war with a major nuclear power in our region. We have far more to lose than the US, but there are arms manufacturers and defence insiders out there who want to make an even bigger killing. War is not inevitable, and we need to resist it now more than ever. The New York Times ultimately apologised for its warmongering in the lead up to the Iraq invasion. Twenty years on, we need an urgent reminder of that lesson. We don't want another apology. We need to stop another war.


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