Australian Involvement in Missile Defence Under Attack

Press Release 5 December, 2003. For immediate release

"We are appalled by the Howard Government's decision to sign Australia up to the United States missile defence plans," Dr Hannah Middleton from the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC) said in Sydney this morning.

The US program is estimated to cost a minimum of $30 billion and Canberra is not giving any estimates of how much Australia will be expected to contribute. With a defence budget already running at over $43 million a day and Medicare and education in desperate need of more funding, this is irresponsible.

The Howard Government is dragging us into a massively expensive, controversial and still-experimental system which will make Australia complicit in US plans to turn space into new arena of war.

The US is not building a defensive system. It is planning to militarise and control space. The U.S. Space Command report, Vision for 2020, speaks of "dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect U.S. interests and investment."

The US Air Force Space Command Strategic Master Plan says the United States intends to dominate the world by turning space into the crucial battlefield of the 21st Century.

"Air Force Space Command has the vision and the people to ensure the United States achievesspace superiority today and in the future," the plan says, adding that the US will not allow any other power, ally or enemy, to get a foothold in space.

A report by the US Congress' own General Accounting Office has warned that Bush's drive to erect an anti-missile system is hampered by immature technology and limited testing, raising the risk of failure.

The US is pushing for early deployment of theatre missile defence which will be used to virtually surround China with US deployments in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea and on ships and planes throughout the region.

The Howard Government signed up for theatre missile defence when it announced on November 7 that work would start on three new air-warfare destroyers by 2006.

In February 2002 the Office of National Assessments warned that the US missile defence system could provoke a regional arms race and "would not be in Australia's diplomatic or security interests".

China has repeatedly warned that US plans for missile defence will be destabilising and will provoke a new regional arms race.

There is no benefit for Australians in the Howard Government's decision. We will suffer economically, our security will be damaged, trade and diplomacy will be undermined, relations with our regional neighbours will be negatively affected and our sovereignty will be diminished.

For further information, please contact: Dr Hannah Middleton (02) 9660 7562 or Denis Doherty 0418 290 663