AABCC Press Release November 18, 2003

US Base in Darwin a threat to National Security

"A new United States military base or staging post in Darwin will undermine Australia's security and add even more to the already out of control Australian military budget," Denis Doherty, National Coordinator of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign (AABCC), said in Sydney today.

"The US alliance hinders us and costs valuable trading opportunities and political contacts and influence. Australia is regarded as being too close to the US to be independent.

"It has already cost us wheat and sheep sales to the Middle East.

"In the current international climate, Australian Government backing for a new US military facility in Darwin increases the potential for Australians to become a terrorist target.

"The Governor of Okinawa said yesterday that the US bases on his island brought a major increase in the crime rate. It has increased levels of prostitution, drugs, alcoholism, rape, sexually transmitted diseases, abuse of women and children and other social problems.

"There are also major dangers of pollution from repairs and maintenance programs.

"This is not what we want for Darwin," Mr Doherty said.

"Our security cannot be enforced by ever greater numbers of weapons. Security comes with jobs, homes, education and health care, democracy and human rights. Australia's current military spending of over $43 million a day steals the resources needed to provide these necessities.

"Australia needs an independent, non-aligned foreign policy which is efficient, affordable and genuinely serve the defence of our country and the need for peace and stability in our region.

"War is not sustainable. Canberra's constant support for US aggression, illegal invasion and occupation of other countries is not sustainable," Denis Doherty said.

For more information, contact: Denis Doherty Sydney office: (02) 9212 0800 mob: 0418 290 663. Dr Hannah Middleton Sydney: mob. 0418 668 098