War Is Not The Alternative: ACTU Statement

(14 October 2002)

The ACTU strongly opposes any unilateral declaration and Australia involvement in a war on Iraq.

The threat of a pre-emptive strike by the USA, supported by Australia, contravenes international law, is a threat to world peace and must be resisted by the UN Security Council.

The ACTU believes that to avoid what will be a killing field on the streets of Baghdad, every effort must be made within the mandate of the UN to find a diplomatic solution to the current crisis.

Peace has always been a union issue.

It is working men and women and their children who bear the brutal brunt of war. Economies are destroyed, jobs are lost and families dislocated, wounded and killed.

Many of our members are Vietnam veterans and know full well the horrors of war and the impact it has on combatants and non-combatants alike, particularly children.

Nearly fifty percent of the population of Iraq is under 14 years; and up to a million families are already displaced. Save the Children Fund reports that there is widespread suffering with malnourishment endemic and war will further exacerbate an already desperate humanitarian crisis.

War is not the answer.

War is not the solution.

The real issue is disarmament and the continuing development of all weapons of mass destruction as a first step to global security. The ACTU is strongly opposed to the development of weapons of mass destruction whether by Iraq or any other country.

UN mandated international inspection of any country stockpiling weapons of mass destruction - chemical, biological or nuclear - whether Iraq, USA or Russia would significantly contribute to global peace and security.

The ACTU is deeply concerned that Bush and Blair's unrelenting war rhetoric has drowned out legitimate calls for many in the world community for a commitment to the search for peace as a means of global security.

Australian unions, join with the increasing number of individuals, community organisations and religious communities in supporting the continued strong presence and authority of the United Nations in combating the development of weapons of mass destruction.

We call on all Australian political leaders to oppose a war on Iraq and denounce any suggestion of a war levy.

home vicpeace.org