AABCC Press Release 5 August 2003

More lies from PM Howard

Peace groups reacted angrily to Prime Minister Howard's statement this morning (Darwin radio Mix 104.9) that Australia hasn't been approached yet about providing bases for US troops.

"This is the Prime Minister lying to the Australian people again by playing with words," said Dr Hannah Middleton from the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC).

"The possibility of more US bases in Australia has been the subject of discussion in Australian, Asian and American news outlets for months," she said,"with senior Pentagon officials quoted as saying this is what the US is asking for.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the Howard Government intends to embroil us even further in United States military adventures, whatever the security and economic costs to the Australian people," Dr Middleton said.

"The US also wants Australia to join - and help pay for - its missile shield program," AABCC Co-ordinator Denis Doherty pointed out.

"This is part of the Howard Government taking us ever closer into the orbit of the super power which is threatening world peace and stability by breaking arms agreements, developing new nuclear weapons and launching first strikes against

impoverished countries."

Asked if Australia was leaning towards becoming a partner in the controversial, expensive and still-experimental system, Senator Hill told the Weekend Australian (12/7/2003): "The trend has been in that direction.'"The more likely progress will be through a ship-based scheme that won't be specifically designed to protect continental Australia, but will have the

capability of missile interception that will give us the potential to engage in a broader missile defence agenda.''

"With Australian military spending currently running at over $43 million a day, it is time the Prime Minister came clean about his government's intentions so there can be a proper public debate of these vital issues," Dr Middleton said.

For further information please contact: Dr Hannah Middleton 0418 668 098 or Denis Doherty 0418 290 663