The ACTU has opposed a unilateral declaration and Australian involvement in a war against Iraq and called for an increased diplomatic effort for disarmament and peace.
Speaking ahead of a public rally for peace in Melbourne on Sunday, ACTU President Sharan Burrow said a network of unions, church, welfare and community organisations were united in their opposition to unilateral military action led by the United States.
“The threat of a pre-emptive strike by the US, supported by Australia, contravenes international law, is a threat to world peace and must be resisted by the United Nations Security Council,” Ms Burrow said.
“We call on all Australian political leaders to oppose a war on Iraq and denounce any suggestions of a war tax.
“Working men and women and their children bear the brunt of war. Combatants and civilians are killed and wounded, families are dislocated, and economies are destroyed.
“Nearly half the population of Iraq is under the age of 14-years-old. Up to one million Iraqi families are already displaced. Save The Children Fund reports that a war will further exacerbate an already desperate humanitarian crisis,” Ms Burrow said.
“War is not the solution. Disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction is a first step to global security. The ACTU is deeply concerned that war rhetoric is drowning out legitimate calls for a commitment to the search for peace.
“The continued strong presence and authority of the United Nations in combating the development of weapons of mass destruction should be supported,” Ms Burrow said.
Thousands of people are expected at a peace rally in Melbourne tomorrow organised by groups including the Catholic Commission for Justice Development and Peace, the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, the Victorian Council of Churches, the Australian Arabic Council, the Australian Jewish Democratic Society and the Islamic Council of Victoria.
WHEN: 1pm to 3pm AEST Sunday October 13, 2002
WHERE: State Library lawn, cnr Latrobe and Swanston Sts, Melbourne 3000
WHAT: Rally for Peace