Greens spokesperson for Defence Peter Whish-Wilson provides the following comments on today’s announcement that Australia is joining and contributing to a regional arms race, with a massive blow-out in expenditure in the Defence White Paper.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, "Reports today about the Defence White Paper suggest that the paper will indicate that the threat level to Australia remains unchanged, yet somehow the Government has decided to continue to ramp up their Defence spending.
"I was expecting to see evidence of the fingerprints of the new Prime Minister and Defence Minister but the reports indicate the government is continuing to pursue Abbott-era policy settings.
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (16:12): I rise to speak on the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee report on contamination caused by firefighting foams at RAAF Base Williamtown and Australian Defence Force facilities. On behalf of the Greens, I moved for this inquiry and was pleased to get the support of the Senate. We moved to do that because of the rising concerns of residents at Williamtown, and many other people as well, that the Department of Defence was not being responsible in how it was responding.
Greens spokesperson for Defence, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, welcomes the support of the Senate to establish an Inquiry into Australia’s procurement of the $24 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “Despite heavy lobbying of the cross-bench by the world’s largest arms manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, the Senate today voted to establish an Inquiry into Australia’s $24 billion procurement of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Lee successfully moves a motion to investigate the environmental and health impacts of contamination at Williamtown from the RAAF Defence Base, as well as any other relevant Defence sites. Submissions are now being accepted.
Through extensive questioning, Lee has ascertained that from 2003 to 2011 the Defence Department failed to inform Williamtown residents of the dangers posed by contaminants used at the airforce base. The contaminants found in run off from the Williamtown Base are perfluorinated compounds, including the toxic chemicals PFOA and PFOS. It is 2015, and toxic chemicals have leeched into water beyond the site. Residents of Williamtown deserve immediate answers.
Greens spokesperson for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson will be attending the first public hearing of the Senate Inquiry into Veterans’ mental health tomorrow in Canberra.
Senator Whish-Wilson established the Inquiry following shocking revelations about the prevalence of mental illness, suicide and substance abuse amongst our defence force personnel returning from deployments and other service.
The Australian Greens believe that genuine security can only be achieved by addressing the underlying causes of conflict and basing conflict resolution on cooperation, human rights, natural justice and disarmament, as per the United Nations Charter.
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