We are not a US naval base – WA Senator
Media Release: Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, March 28th, 2012
The Federal Government must rule out allowing US military spy drones to be based on the Cocos Islands and conduct a proper public debate on expanding the US military presence in Western Australia, the Greens said today.
The Greens spokesperson assisting on Defence, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, said the Government needs to respond decisively to reports that the US is considering the use of the islands off the north-west coast for surveillance drones and other spy aircraft, and the proposed upgrade of Stirling Naval Base to undertake maintenance work on US naval vessels.
“Already we are locked in to the deployment of US Marines through Darwin and increased bombardment of air weapons ranges across the top end. All of this is occurring without a whisper of consultation on the dangerous assumption that this will be all benefit and no cost.”
The Greens are calling for parliamentary and public debate on Australia’s position in the US-China relationship before these deals are done.
“The Washington Post refers to the Cocos Islands as an ‘ideal site’. It may be ideal for the Pentagon, but it is not ideal for this country to give up yet another piece of our territory and yet another degree of our independence to the US military.”
“Minister Smith told AM today that the Cocos airstrip would need to be upgraded to be able to launch the drones and that’s ‘very much a long-term prospect’. It may be long term, but it’s still very much a prospect – and that’s not acceptable.”
“The lease on the over-crowded US base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean expires in just four years. We are not a replacement.”
Media Contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302