AUKUS makes Peace Contacts a priority

Associations will be encouraged to elect a Peace Contact who will be guided by a comprehensive role statement as a matter of priority, Federation’s Annual Conference decided today. (3 June, 2023)

It was among a raft of action called for in a recommendation endorsed by delegates to protest the AUKUS (Australia, UK and US) agreement, which requires Australia to purchase eight nuclear submarines for at least $368 billion.

Conference congratulated the Illawarra Teachers Association for its role in this year’s May Day March in Port Kembla in opposition to AUKUS, the nuclear submarine deal and the earmarking of Port Kembla as a possible site.

Officer attached to the Peace, Environment and International Issues Special Interest Group (SIG), Kelly Marks, offered congratulations to the South Coast Labour Council and the Wollongong May Day Committee for their leadership on the issue.

Ms Marks said Federation stands in solidarity with all workers who are “fighting off this nuclear threat” against their communities and “Encouragingly, opposition to the deal is growing”.

She said Federation stood with the people of the South Coast “in protecting your future, your civilian port that holds the key to a renewable energy future for your region, but I want to say to everyone here that Federation does not support a nuclear base, anywhere.”

Conference endorsed the “On Peace” recommendation to work with anti-war, peace and broader union movements to expose and oppose the threat inherent in this rise in militarism. Federation’s participation will include, but will not be limited to:

  • encouraging all interested members to join the Peace Environment and International Issues Special Interest Group
  • encouraging each Association to elect a Peace Contact to assist the union to organise future teacher solidarity and supported by developing a comprehensive role statement for Association Peace Contacts as a matter of priority in conjunction with members of the Special Interest Group
  • members and associations actively encourage students to send entries into the Sam Lewis Peace Awards each year
  • continuing to promote and support activities, rallies, events and publications that inform and encourage the participation of members and the wider community around peace and the risks posed by AUKUS, including with financial support, where appropriate and as determined by the Senior Officers and Executive
  • development of a Trade Union Training campaign course, which may include focus on the teaching of peace in the curriculum and the history of peace in Federation and the broader trade union movement.

Federation’s history and activism on peace began with one of our former presidents, Sam Lewis. Federation honours his legacy every year by running an annual competition for students in public schools and TAFE, called the Sam Lewis Peace Prize.

This year the theme is “How do you promote peace in your community?” and students can submit entries to this competition until 22 September.