AABCC Press Release 18 June 2007

Welcome to Hawai'ian Indigenous leaders

"We are delighted to welcome two important Hawaiian land rights activists to Sydney today," said Denis Doherty of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC).

Mrs Keko'olani and Mrs Quitevis are visiting Australia to support protests against the 35,000 strong US-Australian Talisman Sabre war games to be held around Shoalwater Bay in central Queensland.

Terri Keko'olani is an indigenous leader who for the last 30 years has organized Hawaiian resistance against state sanctioned evictions of natives from their land, fought to protect sites sacred to the Hawai'ian people, and occupied Kaho'olawe Island to save it from the US Navy's bombs. She was also integral to protests in Hawaii against nuclear testing in Tahiti.

Leimaile Quitevis is a singer, songwriter and teacher and advocate for the protection and perpetuation of native Hawaiian culture and cultural values. She works to protect the land, children, water and food from the effects of chemical and radioactive munitions. While working as cultural monitors she and her husband were exposed by the US military to depleted uranium.

"Concern about the Talisman Sabre military exercise extends beyond Australia to many countries of the Pacific," Denis Doherty said.

"We have a representative coming from Guam as well as reports of solidarity actions in the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and the United States.

"Mrs Keko'olani and Mrs Quitevis will speak about their people's struggle against militarisation of their homelands and their campaigns for sovereignty and culture.

"With Shoalwater Bay to become a permanent training base with thousands of US troops rotating through it annually, Australians need to hear the experiences of people who live near US military training grounds, Mr Doherty said.

"Any suggestion that the US military will be less damaging in Australia is fantasy.

The Philippines and Puerto Rico have thrown out US training bases but have been left to pay billions of dollars in clean up costs.

"Do Australians really want this sort of a legacy?

Mrs Keko'olani and Mrs Quitevis will be available for media interviews in Sydney on Monday June 18 and Tuesday June 19.

For interviews, please contact: Dr Hannah Middleton 0418 668 098 or 9660 7562 (h)