On 23 March 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire. The UN call highlights the disparity between the huge financial and technological resources invested in wars, and the under-funded and under-resourced public health systems desperately trying to control this deadly virus.
The UN call for a worldwide ceasefire means little unless foreign military forces are sent back to their home countries. To that end we call on the Australian government to bring home our military forces from battle zones in the Middle East, Afghanistan and the Philippines, and to close the Pine Gap function that supports U.S. drone warfare Hundreds of billions of our tax dollars are used to buy military equipment largely to support the U.S. military agenda around the world.
In spite of this difficult period of physical distancing, people are organising and helping each other and building social unity. We need to make sure we come out of these crises with a more humane, just and democratic society.
We need a society that prioritises the health, education and safety of people and the environment over war.
We need a society that builds Australia’s self-reliant and diverse industries to manufacture and produce for the needs of the people, and an economy that’s not based on multinational profit making.
We need a society that invests in our research scientists, the CSIRO and other public research institutions, not globalised corporations in search of profit.
We need a society that prioritises peace, justice and the health of people and the environment – an independent and peaceful Australia.
This statement is the initiative of IPAN, the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network. Download a pdf of the notice published in a national newspaper.