Senator Lee Rhiannon has called for an urgent renegotiation of the US-Australia Defence Alliance. At a Sydney rally called to protest the arrival of the United States’ Vice President Mike Pence, the Senator warned that Australia’s current relationship with the United States could harm the Australian public due to the current tensions in the Asia-Pacific.
“This is the time,” Senator Rhiannon urged. “The toll of war is getting louder. This is a very serious time.”
The US-Australian Defence Alliance was renegotiated in 2014, and again in 2015 to enable a rebalance of United States power in the Asia-Pacific region. The renegotiated alliance allowed for the rotational deployment of US Marine forces in Darwin, and US Air Force aircraft to various locations around Australia. In exchange for this, the Australian Defence Force has gained access to technology which could not have been developed domestically.
However, with growing tensions within the Asia-Pacific region, and a volatile United States Administration, commentators are urging the Turnbull Government to prioritise alternative defence strategies. Such strategies include fostering nonthreatening multilateral regional engagement through a shift towards humanitarian and disaster response strategies.
Echoing these views, Senator Rhiannon called for a redistribution of defence funding – away from supporting the US-Australian military alliance – so that stronger humanitarian relief could be offered by the Australian Government. With this approach, it has been suggested, the Australian Government will foster goodwill – an undeniably crucial aspect to any defence strategy.