Greens push to cut arms exports and establish civilian Maritime Service

Australian Greens

Media release

The Greens have said cutting government support for the global arms trade is on the Greens balance of power list.

Announcing a number of new Greens election policies, Greens Peace and Disarmament spokesperson, Senator Jordon Steele-John, said Australia should not become a government-backed arms exporter, and that in balance of power, the Greens would push for

the scrapping of the $3.8 billion Defence Export Facility.

The policies announced include:

  • Scrapping the $3.8 Billion Defence Export Facility.
  • Establishing an Australian Maritime Service to address large scale illegal fishing and other environmental threats in Australian waters and to demilitarise search and rescue currently conducted by the Navy. Funding for this service will be redirected from the Australian Border Force’s Operation Sovereign Borders.
  • Establishing a Global Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution.
  • Establishing a reparations fund in acknowledgement of the harms caused by ADF personnel during deployments, including paying reparations to the victims and families of war crimes committed that allegedly occurred in Afghanistan at the hands of Australian Special Forces members.
  • Establishing a redress scheme for current serving and ex-serving personnel who have experienced violence and abuse through the Defence institutions during their time of service.
  • Increase the availability of psychological and other wellbeing-based supports for serving personnel to address the high rates of suicide and other mental health issues.
  • Commit to decarbonising the Defence estate and moving towards “Net Zero by 2030” commitment for the Defence estate (this ensures defence capabilities, bases, operations and activities amount to net zero.

Provision will also be made for the costs of previously announced changes to the defence force posture, such as the scrapping of any AUKUS nuclear submarine contracts. The new policies build on previous announcements and would see annual defence spending

reduced from current levels of 2.2% of GDP to 1.5% of GDP.

As stated by Senator Steele-John:

“Right now, the Morrison Government, supported by the Australian Labor Party, gives public money to corporations for them to export weapons of war.

“It’s time to end Australia’s involvement in the global arms trade. In balance of power, the Greens will push to stop public money fuelling the global arms trade by scrapping the Defence Export Facility.

“We need to shift the focus of the military budget to ensure a peaceful future for our country. We must stop Australia from acting as an arm of the United States Military; being at their whim to participate in a war. Our plan will make Australia a better global citizen, it will support victims of previous wars, and provide more support to ADF personnel.

“The Royal Commission into Veteran’s Suicide is ongoing, if that Royal Commission recommends a redress scheme for victims, we are committted to full funding a broad and comprehensive scheme – available to survivors and effected family members – giving certainty

to victims of abuse and their families.

“Our plan allocates a compensation scheme, so that victims of Australia’s war crimes in Afghanistan will receive compensation. This would include compensation to victims, their families and compensation for damaged property.

“The climate crisis is a significant security threat to Australia, and the Australian Military is one of the biggest sources of emissions in the public service. To tackle the climate crisis we must decarbonise across all industries. This announcement commits the Greens to decarbonising the military.

As stated by Adam Bandt MP:

“Australia needs an appropriately-sized defence force, but we don’t need to be global gun runners.”

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