antiwar movement in Australia

Philip Ferguson plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Dec 3 00:13:49 MST 2002


Peter Boyle writes:
> (not one serious political commentator in Australia doubts
> that if Labor was in government in Canberra, they would
> support Bush and Blair's war drive).


The fact that the british Labour leadership are up to their eyeballs in
it would seem to back this up.  But closer to home, NZ Labour prime
minister Helen Clark rushed to defend Aussie Liberal (ie Tory) prime
minister Howard when he talked about an Australian pre-emptive strike
against countries harbouring 'terrorists' who 'threatened' or 'might
threaten' Australia.

Clark claimed on TV here that people who were condemning Howard were
taking his comments "out of context" and that UN guidelines on this kind
of thing were 'fuzzy' and dear old John was merely seeking
'clarification'.

Interestingly, the NZ Labour government has been the cagiest of all
Western governments about what its troops are doing in Afghanistan.
There was an interesting piece in the 'Listener' last week about this,
noting how every time anyone form a journalist to Green MP Keith Locke
to Bill English (leader of the opposition) tries to get any information
about the deployment of the SAS, they are met by the Labour government
invoking 'national security' so they don't have to give any information.
 Information about their troops that is actually given by the US,
British and Australian governments to journos, MPs and so on is kept
secret by the NZ Labour government.

Our experience in organising against the invasion of Afghanistan was
that a number of notable peacenik personalities preferred to back off on
the issue because they didn't want to jeopardise their 'special
relationship' with Clark and co.  One of the most prominent peace
figures here did, however, ponce off to Europe to play some role in the
setting up of the new regime in Kabul, as it was being assembled by the
imperialist powers in Bonn.  (She accompanied a former member of the
pre-Taliban regime, who was living in Christchurch in exile.)

Philip Ferguson

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