"To give peace a chance, we need to give peace a budget"
The $1.98 trillion spent around the world on militaries in 2020 did not provide peace or security. Ever-growing military capacities and policies have only brought us more human and ecological devastation. More of the same will not change the situation. It should be obvious by now that countries trying to outspend one another by buying more and more deadly weapons systems does not create peace or security.
It has not worked in the past and it never will. It is time for us to join together and call on governments around the world to cut military spending, and to instead invest in the true needs of the people and the planet to build a just and sustainable peace.
To give peace a chance, we need to give peace a budget.
Security is often interpreted to mean military security – the capacity to meet perceived threats by the use or the threat of the use of force.
However, Australia’s true security would be enhanced by attention to economic recovery, social cohesion, and humanitarian issues.
Resources committed to developing the military mean less money for employment programs and the health, education, and housing needs of Australians and our neighbours.
We need a new security – security from threats to lives and dignity, such as extreme poverty, hunger, armed conflicts, pandemics, and political and criminal violence, as well as future fatal consequences from environmental threats.
Australia and the Pacific must be a nuclear free zone of peace.
Australia’s future depends on a healthy planet but military spending amounts to a war on the environment. All military activity is highly polluting and a major contributor to climate change.
We must have a peace budget that includes developing stronger disaster preparedness and response capabilities. This includes dealing with fire and flood in Australia but also aid for Pacific communities which are being hit with repeated disasters, including devastating cyclones, tidal surges, and sea-water inundation.
The Royal Adelaide Hospital cost taxpayers an estimated $2.5 billion and is insufficient to keep up with demand. We could build over 15 new hospitals with one year's defence budget alone!
On top of the annual defence budget, the Australian government under the AUKUS alliance is planning to build eight nuclear powered submarines costing at least $170bn which is likely to blow out -- that $170 billion that would buy eight submarines could be better spent on creating about 250 hospitals!
While defence of a state is necessary, the cost must not be too high – economically, socially or environmentally. An impoverished nation has little left worth defending.
Spending on the military rather than civilian areas of the economy results in a net loss of jobs. This is because military spending is less effective at creating jobs than virtually any other form of government activity.