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Government rolls WA out like a welcome mat for US military

The Australian Greens have urged the Federal Government to consult widely with the West Australian public before turning HMAS Stirling into a major American military hub.

The Greens spokesperson assisting on Defence, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, said rolling Western Australia out "like a welcome mat" would reduce the flexibility and independence of Australian foreign and defence policy.

"The US-led invasion of Iraq was deeply unpopular in this country. The next time the US embarks on a military misadventure, and bases in Australia are a part of that, will the Australian Government be able to say no when the demand comes for assistance?"

Senator Ludlam said that expanding the US military presence at Stirling and in the north of the state could have a serious detrimental impact on local residents.

"The Government should remember that its principal role is to protect and further the interests of the Australian people - regardless of what suits Washington.

"The record of US bases overseas and their impact on local residents is appalling, most notoriously in Okinawa, Japan - where US military personnel inflated the crime rate and, according to local records, have committed at least several hundred rapes in the history of the base.

"US personnel in Australia effectively operate above Australian law, and the bilateral agreement that does govern their rights and responsibilities is kept a secret.

"The social and environmental impacts must be considered and residents must be consulted. Do they want more nuclear traffic in their neighbourhood? Do they want cluster bombs and depleted uranium armaments stored on their doorstep?"

Fact sheet - The Impact Of Military Bases:


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