Cancel the Talisman Sabre Military Exercise
We need your vote to persuade Get Up to run a campaign on cutting military spending.
Please click here to vote. You may have to register if this is your first time but this is a simple and quick process.
Our campaign is on page 7.
The military exercise
With approximately 30,000 US and Australian military personnel, Talisman Sabre is a massive joint military exercise planned for July this year. It will cost an estimated $100 million.
It will involve firing live ammunition and explosives from both land bases and aircraft, amphibious assaults, land force manoeuvres, and the use of high power sonar and active sonobuoys.
Talisman Sabre will utilise areas of high environmental significance, some of which are world heritage areas. It is centred around Rockhampton. Environmental impacts identified by the Department of Defence include effects on air quality, potential harm to marine animals, fire potential, noise pollution, waste disposal and spills and erosion from amphibian craft landings and weapon target zones.
The case for cancellation
- Australian military personnel have already made a contribution to recovery efforts. It would be perverse to expose flood damaged areas, including the Great Barrier Reef, to an intensive 300,000 strong military training exercise.
- Cancellation of the exercise would release thousands of troops and approximately $100 million to be used for Queensland recovery and reconstruction.
- At present the Australian military budget is $32 billion a year, a little over $85 million each single day.
- Public support for disaster relief work by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) stands at 86 per cent, surpassing even support for the defence of Australia. (2009 ANU poll)
- 70 per cent of Australians want less money spent on defence and a large majority, 82 per cent, oppose tax increases to pay for more defence spending. (2009 ANU poll)
- Independent MP Rob Oakeshott says the government needs to consider cuts to a wide range of areas. "I will throw one out there - defence wasn't touched at all in any savings measures. Many people have put to me in e-mails that if we got one less JSF (Joint Strike Fighter), that's $110 million right there," he said on 10 February.
- US President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, said: “The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without”.
- Greens MP Adam Bandt and Independent MP Andrew Wilkie have also called for the military budget to be cut to help fund Queensland reconstruction instead of the Federal Government’s planned cuts to global warming, housing, education and other important programs.
HOW YOU CAN HELP STOP TALISMAN SABRE
Queensland recovery means Talisman Sabre war games must be cancelled.
PRESS RELEASE 23 January, 2011
Millions of dollars and military manpower hours earmarked for the US-Australian Talisman Sabre military exercises should be diverted to assist in the recovery and reconstruction of Queensland following the recent catastrophic floods, according to a letter from a major peace group sent to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.
“We know that the people of Australia see the reconstruction effort as our number one priority and would support a Federal Government decision to cancel the Talisman Sabre war games due to be held in the Rockhampton area in July this year,” Denis Doherty, Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC) national co-ordinator, said in Sydney today.
“Australian military personnel have already made a contribution to recovery efforts. It would be perverse to expose flood damaged areas, including the Great Barrier Reef, to an intensive 300,000 strong military training exercise. This could undermine the ADF efforts which should rather be expanded.
“As well as its environmental costs, the Talisman Sabre war games will cost an estimated $70 million, money that could and should be used to help people whose lives have been devastated by the floods,” he said.
“A 2009 Australian National University poll revealed that public support for disaster relief work by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) stands at 86 per cent, surpassing even support for the defence of Australia,” said Dr Middleton, Executive Officer of Sydney University’s Sydney Peace Foundation.
“The same poll tells us that 70 per cent of Australians favour spending less money on defence and a large majority — 82 per cent — oppose tax increases to pay for more defence spending.
“It is therefore clear that the great majority of our community would favour the Federal Government reconsidering its priorities and using the ADF for reconstruction work,” Dr Middleton said.
“The Australian people are very wise,” she added.
“On average one dollar spent on programs to prevent violence achieves as much as 60 spent on crises once violence erupts. “And violence solves almost nothing. More conflicts are now ended by negotiations than by military victory - a ratio of 17:4).”
“Our peace group is calling on the Federal and Queensland Governments to listen to the voice of the community and cancel the Talisman Sabre military exercise immediately,” Denis Doherty concluded.
For further comment, please contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663 or Dr Hannah Middleton 0418 668 098.