Talisman Sabre 2009
During July 2009 the Australian Government hosted Talisman Sabre, a huge US-Australian military exercise which saw 15,000 US troops and 8,000 ADF personnel converge on the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in central Queensland. We opposed these war games because:
- They are held on land which belongs to the Aboriginal people.
- They are designed to practice aggression and offensive military strategies, not to defend Australia or protect its people.
- They are intended to train Australian military personnel to take US military orders - the so-called "seamless interoperability".
- The exercises cost over $50 million, an obscene amount in these times of economic recession.
- They cause serious environmental damage in a beautiful area near the irreplaceable Great Barrier Reef.
There are better things to do with our money!
Australia 's military spending is due to rise to $71 million a day following the recent Defence White Paper. This is an obscene amount in a financial crisis and when one million Australians are expected to lose their jobs. 70 per cent of Australians oppose more spending on the military.
Military exercises are an unacceptable use of Australia's unique environment and ancient cultural heritage. Australia is the oldest continent on the planet. We should be protecting it for future generations, not bombing it to pieces.
- Talisman Sabre will use areas of high environmental significance, such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and natural heritage listed sites.
- These areas are habitat to many migratory birds and threatened species. Shoalwater Bay is considered crucial to the stabilisation and recovery of local dugong numbers. The region also supports nesting sites for green turtles and endangered loggerhead turtles, critical feeding areas for turtles and dugongs and is also home to 26 species of dolphins and whales including humpbacks and the endangered Blue Whale.
- Environmental impacts include effects on air quality, fire potential, noise pollution, waste disposal and spills and erosion from amphibian craft landings and weapon target zones, collisions with marine mammals, and contamination from toxic chemicals including red and white phosphorus and perchlorate.
There are better things to do with our money!
- Australia's current military spending of $62 million a day steals the resources which should be funding human and social needs.
- A percentage of current military spending should go to upgrading public schools, reducing the cost of university education, supporting childcare, developing Medicare, assisting the needy in our community and creating jobs.
- Military spending creates far fewer jobs that spending the same dollars on civilian projects and businesses.
Instead of a focus on sustainable development, socially useful production and the needs of the community, priority is given to supporting US foreign policy, military spending and increasingly repressive social control.
It is time for Australia to cancel the Talisman Sabre military exercises, cut the overblown military budget, pull our soldiers out of Afghanistan, and develop an independent foreign and defence policy.
Peace Convergence 2009 Video Report
A video report from the Peace Convergence at Operation Talisman Sabre, the joint military exercise involving thousands of US and Australian troops, in central Queensland. Action depicted all took place on July 11 and 12, around the towns of Yeppoon and Rockhampton. Film by Professor Jake Lynch. Editing and additional camerawork by Annabel McGoldrick:
TS09 Media Coverage
In July 2009 The Australian Government hosted Talisman Sabre.
The AABCC has continued the campaign against Talisman Sabre even after it has been concluded.
During the exercise the media took the attitude that the TS09 was a Central Queensland issue. This meant not many in the capital cities of Australia heard about the exercise or the protest. This comes in the context of poor media coverage of military matters in general. We are asking the ABC and other media outlets to account for their lack of treatment of military and peace issues; We ask our supporters to use the letter here to send to the media and ask why they ignore 70% of Australians who want less spent on the military.
In the second series of letters we have asked the Queensland Government and Police to explain the use of a tactic which is design to undermine our protest; By putting up roadblaocks many kilometres from the Shoalwater Training Base, Queensland Police made certain that the media would not travel to place of our protest.
We sent a letter to the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties about this police practice.
In a reply to the Queensland Civil Libertarians describe it this way in a letter to the AABCC: The issue you raise is, in my view, most important and it reflects, on the face of it, police tactics that have been the subject of of considrable criticism over the last six to nine months in the UK about similar protests in that country.
In the UK, Police have been using tactics that can generally be described as minimising demonstration effectiveness by putting up what are effectively large exclusin zones so that a protest in respect of a particular facility attracts minimal media publicitiy because there is no media friendly photographic backdrop to cover a particular activity.