Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s nuclear history – scandals and successes

text-from-the-archivesAustralia has a secret and scandalous nuclear history. But at the same time, Australia has a fine history of successes by the nuclear free movement. Aboriginals have been at the forefront, but not alone, as Australia also has a proud record of environmental and anti nuclear activism.

Australia history

From the archives. Each week, this site will be reposting items from the past. Lest we forget:

U.S. military bases made Australia a nuclear target

Australia feared nuclear attack over US ties: archives ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Emma Rodgers 1 Jan 2011, Malcolm Fraser’s cabinet was warned in 1980 that boosting its military ties with the US could put Australia at risk of a nuclear attack and expose it to involvement it in American operations contrary to its national interest, secret cabinet documents show.

The documents, released today by the National Archives, also detail defence minister Jim Killen’s thoughts on Australia’s offer of military help to the US, which he described as having “improved Australia’s status as a worthwhile ally” and increased Australia’s access to US policy making.

In the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Australia was keen to show support for its US ally and significantly increased its defence budget.

Early in the year during a trip to the US, prime minister Malcolm Fraser offered the US access to Australian defence facilities such as the Naval Base at Cockburn Sound in Western Australia and the use of landing facilities for B-52 bombers in Darwin.

Cabinet also agreed to bolster Defence activities in the Indian Ocean through surveillance, patrolling, extra equipment and facilities and upgrading infrastructure………..

While the cabinet was adamant on showing strong resolve against Soviet expansion, Minister Killen noted in a submission to cabinet in July that the use of the Cockburn Sound base, which was not far from Perth, might increase the risk of nuclear attack………….

Minister Killen was also concerned about the use of Australian facilities by the US for operations that had nothing to do with the deterrence of the Soviets.

In July he asked cabinet to consider whether the government would want to distinguish its dealings with the US over matters relevant to USSR deterrence and other US operations.

“The operation of US military units from Australian territory could, therefore, involve a reduction of national control over Australia’s international involvements,” he wrote.

“Supporting common interests with so large a power as the US risks involvement beyond, and perhaps in conflict with national interests”………

Mr Killen also noted that he did not want Australia to divert defence spending on equipment and training on operations that were not relevant to Australia.

Australia feared nuclear attack over US ties: archives – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


December 16, 2016 - Posted by | Christina themes, history

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