Stop spending billions on warfare and put healthcare first



We the undersigned, call on the Australian Government to stop funnelling billions of dollars into offensive weapons for unjust U.S.-led wars, and invest instead in the health and safety of people and the environment.


On 23 March 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire.  The UN call highlights the disparity between the huge financial and technological resources invested in wars, and the under-funded and under-resourced public health systems desperately trying to control this deadly virus. 


We call on the Australian Government to support the UN Secretary General’s call.


COVID-19 has sharply exposed the dangerous and unsustainable priorities of our society. On the other hand,  the vast majority of Australians are co-operating to control the virus.  World-wide, there are desperate shortages in the supply of most basic safety and life saving equipment – ICU beds, ventilators, virus testing kits and personal protective equipment for front line health workers.  


At the same time there are vast stockpiles of technologically advanced military weaponry worth trillions of dollars, waiting to be used in endless profit-making wars. 


Redirect military spending


The UN call for a worldwide ceasefire means little unless foreign military forces are sent back to their home countries.  To that end we call on the Australian government to bring home our military forces from battle zones in the Middle East, Afghanistan and the Philippines, and to close the Pine Gap function that supports U.S. drone warfare. The hundreds of billions of our tax dollars are used to buy military equipment largely to support the U.S. military agenda around the world.  Instead, huge expenditure is urgently needed here in Australia, for health and medical services and to address the climate crisis.


Australia’s immediate priorities should be providing support for millions of people facing unemployment, homelessness and poverty during the national disasters of coronavirus, the climate crisis, drought and bushfires – rather than supporting unjust U.S. led wars.


Prioritise people and environment


In spite of this difficult period of physical distancing, people are organising and helping each other and building social unity.  We need to make sure we come out of these crises with a more humane, just and democratic society.


We need a society that prioritises the health, education and safety of people and the environment over war. 


We need a society that builds Australia’s self-reliant and diverse industries to manufacture and produce for the needs of the people, and an economy that’s not based on multinational profit making.   


We need a society that invests in our research scientists, the CSIRO and other public research institutions, not globalised corporations in search of profit.


We need a society that prioritises peace, justice and the health of people and the environment – an independent and peaceful Australia.


The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN)

More than 600 people, including many prominent Australians, as well as many organisations have endorsed this statement.



  1. This letter is full of delusion and paternalism.
    Australia does not spend hundreds of billions on defence. The Federal Government spend approximately $37 billion on defence a year. By comparison the Federal Government spends $80 billion on health. Of course, the states kick in a lot on health also – but nothing on defence.
    The core duty of the Federal Government is to provide security to the citizens and country. Individuals do not have the ability to operate submarines and jet fighters.
    Individuals can however go to work and invest in their own health and pay a doctor and buy medicine. Socialists will argue that the Federal Government owes the people free health care.
    But no, they do not.
    Freedom is a human right to be protected at all cost. Healthcare is privilege that you earn through personal responsibility.
    Will China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Indonesia join the author’s delusion in redirecting defence budgets into health, environment and unicorns? I doubt it.
    PS: Under global US leadership since WWII, the world has had peace, increased life expectancy and plummeting poverty greater than any time in history.
    That leadership and rule of law has been upheld with defence spending.

  2. Great comment and letter especially in this time of the pandemic where the Government is proposing to engage in a weapons led recovery. Just listen to what the great leader, Jose Ramos-Horta, of East Timor or Timor Leste says: “Freeze ALL weapons exports to ALL developing countries, for the next 10 years … Remember the slaughter of human beings that you enable with your weapons sales. You argue that you attach strict human rights conditions to your weapons exports. Oh please, spare me this which you know is a lie.”

  3. The reality is money rules and governments need money now more than ever.
    China does not understand the west and will sell to anyone with money regardless of the cost.
    The idea of saving lives in China with 1.2 billion people is in their mind stupid. This will not happen from the west and China does not even contemplate such ideas.

  4. Wowsers, can it be possible.
    “More than 600 people, including many prominent Australians, as well as many organisations have endorsed this statement.”
    Out of a population of over 25 million, wow this letter will certainly cause a ruckus in the corridors of power.

  5. I think it was only a week or so ago expenditure proposal for the purchase and accommodation of army land vehicles, I assume tanks and jeeps, was being discussed by senate committee hearing things. I thought ‘how ridiculous’, we are too little to fight the Yanks or Chinese but we sell out a strategic northern port to them while they play bully boy in the China Sea. The vehicles are going to cost…. Millions and many more millions to build sheds for their accommodation and for what? To fire at a faceless virus, tourists trying to get off a cruise ship perhaps, maybe plastic targets on an army base shared with the Yanks? I think the money should go to such things as health and education too, OR buying back our own water supply, beef and dairy farms from Chinese interests, any foreign interest for that matter.


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