Pollies, Churches and Unions say NO to Missile Defence/Star Wars

March 1, 2001

Joint Press Release by
Australian Peace Committee
Friends of the Earth Australia
People for Nuclear Disarmament
Anti-Bases Campaign

32 Federal Parliamentarians, 44 environment groups, peace groups, trade unions, church groups and others today called on the Federal Government to reject involvement in the US Missile Defence (NMD) /'Star Wars' scheme. Senator Vicki Bourne, the ALP's Laurie Ferguson, and letter coordinator John Hallam of Friends of the Earth, today released a letter that called on Foreign Minister Downer and Defence Minister Reith to refuse to allow the use of the Joint Facilities in any mode that would allow their use for National Missile Defence or Theater Missile Defense The letter calls on the government to use its diplomatic resources to argue against missile defence.

Missile Defence has been opposed by the governments of not only Russia and China, but also by Sweden, Germany, France, and by major groupings in the United Nations.

It is widely felt that the deployment of missile defence will mean the commencement of a new nuclear arms race and the end of nuclear disarmament progress. According to the government of France, the initials 'NMD' mean 'No more Disarmament'

According to the groups,
"The Australian Government has been sending all the wrong signals, and saying that Australia 'understands' the US desire to deploy NMD. This means that we are backing a scheme that threatens to derail nuclear weapons elimination efforts worldwide, breaks the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and in all likelihood cannot be made to work."

"Australia should be instead sending a clear signal that it will not support this ill-considered idea and will not allow the use of its facilities to further missile defence."

As well as 32 federal parliamentarians, the letter has been signed by ACTU, the Uniting Church, Greenpeace Australia-Pacific, Womens International League for Peace and Freedom, the Australian Conservation Foundation, and four city councils. Australian peace and environment groups nationwide have signed it, including the Australian Peace Committee, People for Nuclear Disarmament, and Anti-Bases Campaign who have launched it in Canberra.

For further information contact:

John Hallam
Friends of the Earth Sydney
9517 3903
9810 2598 (ah)

Hannah Middleton
0411 409 954