WILPF has submitted a letter to the Australian Government regarding the possible reforms to be made to current Defence legislation, addressing the changes and how the proposal will actually affect us. You can find more information about the reform here.

We write representing the oldest global peace advocacy organisation Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

As members of the Australian branch we reject the current dangerous path to war that too many of our military leaders are advocating.

Australia is a middle power, which needs to assert its independence and maintain its international relationships on the basis of conflict resolution and peacekeeping.

Instead these latest amendments to the Defence Act offer up our sovereignty.

They leave Australians powerless to act in the national interest.

The amendments are undemocratic and are belatedly attached to the Defence Review to which many organisations have already submitted grave concerns about the direction of national defence policy.

It appears this additional proposal has been made at the behest of decision makers in Washington and London, particularly the arms industries which have so much to gain from Australia’s decision to join AUKUS.

Furthermore there is no timetable for informed national debate and consideration by the Australian Parliament.

There is no place for scrutiny by the Australian people nor are their representatives in the national parliament being asked to comment on the impact of these amendments.

Women of Australia and many peace loving men will be devastated to wake up in the next few months to find these amendments could have been enshrined in our Defence Act without our permission.

Summary of Amendments to the Defence Act

  1. No right of protest for Australians opposed to war or any aspect of procuring weaponry from international arms dealers.
  2. Integration of the Australian Defence Force into foreign forces.
  3. US Bombing trials on Australian soil without Australian Government permission.
  4. National legislation to override all state, territory and local laws affecting health and safety, indigenous land rights and environmental protection in transportation of radioactive waste.

These amendments show a scandalous arrogance towards all Australians and must be urgently rejected by responsible decision makers


Margaret Reynolds

National President
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Australian Branch)