Taking a stand for Peace

Oct 27, 2023
A keyboard with a green button - Online Petition Image: iStock/Zerbor

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has produced a petition opposing the Force Posture Agreement which is enabling US militarisation of Australia in preparation for the US to support/launch war from the Australian continent against China. The e-petition to parliament is an instrument for peace calling for the termination of the Force Posture Agreement.

It can be signed at here.

The devastation of war, currently in Ukraine and in Palestine, confronts us on TV on a daily basis. All peace-loving people cry out for a ceasefire on both war fronts to enable, hopefully under United Nations auspices, conferences of all affected parties to find solutions which meet the security needs of all parties and free non-combatants from the horrors of war.

But concern about these wars should not blind us to the preparations for war occurring on our own continent under the auspices of the United States and with the enthusiastic complicity of successive Australian governments.

When defence matters are discussed, much is made of the US-Australia alliance and the ANZUS treaty. But when the US militarisation of Australia is considered, ANZUS pales into insignificance compared to the US-Australia Force Posture Agreement (FPA). It emerged as a concept from Obama’s “Pivot to Asia of the US armed forces” in which he announced the stationing of US marines in Darwin each year to train for war with our ADF. The “Pivot” was a strategy designed to “contain” China and maintain U.S. hegemony in the Asia/Pacific area. President Obama’s concept was enthusiastically received by all politicians of both major parties. Subsequently the Gillard and Abbott governments in conjunction with their US defence counterparts produced a greatly expanded concept, the Force Posture Agreement providing “an operational posture” for US forces in Australia, a gateway for US militarisation of Australia. It was signed by the Abbott government and the United States government, in 2014.

The Force Posture Agreement or FPA for short:

  • Facilitates the stationing in Darwin, for six months each year, of up to 2,500 US Marines; they are trained and equipped for immediate deployment and while in Australia, train for war in exercises with the Australian Defence Force. They are not under the control of the Australian government. They are under the control of the US Indo-Pacific Command.
    Facilitates unimpeded access to Australia’s airfields and airport facilities for US fighter planes and bombers including the stationing of up to six B52 bombers at RAAF Base Tindall. B52 bombers were used to devastate Vietnam in that war and some are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
  • Facilitates unimpeded access to Australia’s seaports for U.S. naval vessels including their nuclear submarines at HMAS Stirling in WA.
  • Facilitates establishment of storage facilities for aircraft fuel, spare parts and munitions under US military control. This includes huge fuel storage facilities at East Arm, Darwin and logistics facilities for storage of equipment, munitions and spare parts at Bandiana in Victoria.
  • The FPA opened the door for the imbedding of US military intelligence operatives within the Australian defence intelligence organisation now called the Combined Intelligence Centre-Australia.
  • Under the FPA, a US command centre has been established in Darwin to control US aircraft operations and another command centre in Darwin to control US marine operations

In short, the US could launch and control military operations from Australia.

I have stressed the words unimpeded access because that is the word used in the Agreement.

Article IV of the FPA states: “United States Forces and United States Contractors shall have unimpeded access to and use of Agreed Facilities and Areas for activities undertaken in connection with this Agreement” and: “Australia hereby grants to the United States operational control of Agreed Facilities and Areas.”

Part 3 of Article VII states: “As mutually determined by the Parties, aircraft, vehicles, and vessels operated by or for United States Forces shall have access to aerial ports and seaports of Australia and other locations, for the delivery to, storage and maintenance in, and removal from the territory of Australia of United States Forces’ prepositioned materiel.”

Activities under Article IV include: “training, transit, support, and related activities; refueling of aircraft; bunkering of vessels; temporary maintenance of vehicles, vessels, and aircraft; temporary accommodation of personnel; communications; prepositioning of equipment, supplies, and materiel; deploying forces and material; and such other activities as the Parties may agree.”

Summing up, the FPA with the enthusiastic support of the Australian government is facilitating increased US militarisation of Australia to support US military operations in the Indo-Pacific and from which it could launch or support a war against China. This has been done with the agreement of both major political parties.

The FPA lasts 25 years from the date of signing but has a clause facilitating termination if either party gives one year’s notice.

IPAN is campaigning to have this FPA terminated. This would be a strong step in the direction of keeping Australia out of another US war; and this time, one which would have a catastrophic impact on the Australian people.

If you wish to join this campaign, IPAN has a parliamentary e-petition which is open until 15th November, 2023 for signature and it can be accessed by using your mobile phone and this QR code.

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