AABCC Press Release 20 November, 2002

RAAF decisions criticised in ABC documentary

"Australia cannot afford the expanded strategic strike and force projection capabilities required by the Government's commitment to interoperability with the United States and the so-called 'war on terrorism'," Denis Doherty, National Co-ordinator of Australian Anti-Bases Campaign, said in Sydney today.

Mr Doherty was speaking before the screening tomorrow evening of Air Force, an ABC Television program on the RAAF, in which he and Dr Hannah Middleton raise a number of criticisms of current military-strategic planning.

"Australia simply cannot afford such an approach economically, politically and socially," he said.

"Australian Governments spend over ten per cent of the country's disposable income on security. This is equivalent to an ordinary worker spending $4,000 out of a $40,000 annual income to secure his house," Mr Doherty said.

"Australia's military is resourced to the tune of $22 billion a year," Dr Middleton from the Blue Paper Project (a research and lobby group on military spending) said.

"But the World Bank reports that high military spending contributes to fiscal and debt crises and negatively affects economic growth and development".

"The current emphasis on terrorist threats and the willingness of the Federal Government to commit Australia to America's oil war against Iraq point inevitably to higher military spending and the possible introduction of a war tax," she said.

"Such military expenditure will tend to reduce public and private investment, divert funds and personnel from civilian research and development and retard the rate of economic growth.

"The government's goal must be to minimise military expenditure as far as responsible defence strategy allows. More arms make Australia poorer, not safer," Dr Middleton concluded.

For more information call Denis Doherty 0418 290 663 02) 9660 7562 or Dr Hannah Middleton 0418 668 098