War with North Korea would be a catastrophe; PM should tell parliament his plans for looking after civilians in the event of war

The raised tensions between North Korea and the United States must be addressed by Australia in a manner that reduces tensions rather than inflates them. Blindly following the United States into yet another conflict, this time with North Korea, would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.  PM Turnbull, in his knee-jerk “all the way with Donald J” comments appears to have given zero thought to the millions of civilians in North Korea, South Korea and elsewhere, who would be affected by a decision to go to war. Before committing our armed forces, there needs to be a debate and vote by both houses of parliament.

 “Currently the Prime Minister can make a “Captain’s call”. This is unacceptable.” said Dr Margaret Beavis, President of MAPW. “We urgently need legislation to reform the way Australians can be sent into armed conflict.”

 “New Zealand is able to remain a US ally and act in its own national interest without rushing to join US wars. The ANZUS treaty, so often used to justify Australia’s haste, commits parties to “consult”, but is much less clear about when and how countries “act”, said Dr Beavis.

Improving Australia’s ability to encourage peace in our region is also imperative. “Australia should increase funding to its diplomatic service, instead of continual cut backs” said Dr Sue Wareham, Vice President of MAPW. “With an independent standpoint and adequate diplomatic resources we could play a role in brokering peace in our region. A dedicated mediation unit similar to the Norwegian government mediation unit would be a valuable initiative.”

Finally, Australia should sign the recently concluded UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which opens for signature on the 20th of September. “Australia has zero credibility on disarmament matters when we continue to insist that we rely on US nuclear weapons ourselves.” said Dr Wareham “The current threats to use nuclear weapons highlight the urgency and importance of this treaty.”

 For further comment & interviews contact : Dr Margaret Beavis - President   0401 99 56 99