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  • Writer's pictureMike Lyons


Updated: Jun 27

Background History

From the time of settlement in 1788, Australia has lived with a deep-seated sense of insecurity and has sought protection first from Great Britain and later from the United States of America. Today it engages in various international groupings and treaties including the Five Eyes, the Quad, ANZUS and AUKUS.

Australia hosts a US military presence in Pine Gap near Alice Springs; a naval communication station, Harold E. Holt in Western Australia and the Robertson Barracks in Darwin. The 2015 Force Posture Agreement with the US effectively provides for the US militarisation of Australia. 2,500 US Marines are stationed in Darwin while nuclear weapons capable B-52 bombers are stationed in Tyndall in the Northern Territory. Instead of protecting Australia, these arrangements and US facilities located in this country make Australia a target. 

Australia has consistently gone to war in support of its “great and powerful friends” to demonstrate its loyalty in the hope that this will be returned if Australia is ever seriously threatened. Way back in 2006, then Labor leader, Kim Beazley said that “In the event of a war between the US and China, Australia would have absolutely no alternative but to line up militarily beside the US.” In 2021, Peter Dutton (then Defence Minister) said that it was “Inconceivable that we wouldn’t support the US” in any military action it chose to take against China.

What do ANZUS and AUKUS really mean for Australia

In 1951, the US concluded the ANZUS treaty with Australia and New Zealand. However, the ANZUS treaty does NOT include a security guarantee for Australia but only a promise to “consult” if Australia is attacked. The deception that ANZUS provides a security guarantee for Australia has been ingrained ever since Menzies and subsequent Australian leaders have misrepresented the nature of this treaty to the gullible, trusting public.

The AUKUS deal is promoted to the Australian public as a means of “deterring” war. Instead, AUKUS represents a potential disaster, bringing an existential threat to Australia and dramatically increasing the risk of Australia becoming involved in a war between the US and China. AUKUS comes at a projected cost of $368 billion which Australia will be paying, not to defend Australia, but to participate with the US in a potential war against China, increasing the danger of a Chinese attack on Australia.

Although Australia’s leaders (Albanese, Marles, and Wong) claim to embrace AUKUS, they do so despite strong opposition within their own government ranks. The Queensland ALP branch has rejected AUKUS and the Victorian branch has passed a motion calling for a review of AUKUS. Corresponding motions will be put before the NSW branch at its state conference in July.

There is no doubt that the brunt of any war against China will be borne, not by the US, but by its allies as is the case for Ukraine in its war with Russia where the US has no boots on the ground. In any war involving China it is likely that Taiwan and quite probably Australia will be drawn in as US “proxies”.

Economic Dominance

In 2015 US policy turned against China even though the only “threat” was China’s extraordinary economic rise. Since 2017, intense “Sinophobia” has been unleashed and the “China Threat” has been playing in Australia ever since. There is no evidence that China poses any military threat against the West, and certainly not against Australia.

Current World Bank records show that the economic dominance of the West has passed and its global influence is waning. The US share of world output now stands at 14.8% compared with 18.5% for China while the US share of the world’s population is only 4.1%, compared with 17.8% in the case of China. Nevertheless, the US continues to pursue its grand strategy of remaining top dog, especially the top global military power. The US has 313 bases in East Asia out of a total of 750 bases worldwide. It is a major show of force against China, boosted even more by AUKUS.


The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) displays real cooperation between its member nations even though they have differing ideologies and different forms of government. Canberra became ASEAN’S dialogue partner in 1974. While ASEAN considers Australia to be a trusted security partner this trust will surely erode if Australia continues to advance an agenda which is contrary to the strategic interests of ASEAN’s members.

ASEAN countries want good relations with both the US and China. Only days ago, Chinese Premier, Li Qiang visited Malaysia, commending its Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim and other ASEAN members for “upholding their national strategic independence”.

The wisest policy for Australia is to align itself with the position of ASEAN and to return to its former approach of not choosing between China and the USA. That would enable Australia to play a bridging role between Beijing and Washington while enhancing its own standing with the other countries in the region. When China speaks to ASEAN, it involves investment and trade. It is the language of “win-win” for all. However, when the United States engages with ASEAN, the language is all about conflict and war!

What are Australia’s choices?

According to the respected Singaporean diplomat and International relations scholar, Kishore Mahbubani, Australia can “Choose to be a bridge between East and West in the Asian Century – or the tip of the spear projecting Western Power into Asia.” Australia’s geographic location as part of Asia places it in a strong position to play a major role in alleviating tensions between the superpowers and to contribute to world peace.

The following thoughts may seem to be “fantastical”. On the contrary, they are doable and if achieved, will enable Australia to regain both its independence and its sovereignty. This would require both courage and visionary leadership, qualities which are currently lacking. The impetus for this will probably need to come from the voting public and perhaps the entry of new political leadership to address Australia’s loss of sovereignty and the potential disaster that will come from continuing to follow America.

These are the steps which Australia’s leaders must take:

  • Recognition that ANZUS does not provide Australia with a security guarantee.

  • Acknowledging to the Australian public that AUKUS does not offer a defence for Australia but instead provides for Australia to participate with the US in a potential war against China.

  • Withdraw from both ANZUS and AUKUS.

  • Demand the removal of the US military and naval presence in Australia including US aircraft in Tyndall, and US Marines in Darwin.

  • Adopt a policy of non-alignment, noting that there are 120 countries which are members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), including India.

These bold steps would have the impact of an earthquake, not only in Australia but globally. They would lead other countries to reevaluate their position and would inevitably lead the US itself to reconsider its own strategic objectives.

Nothing to Fear and Everything to Gain

Australia enjoys the benefit of the greatest imaginable “moat” with the Pacific Ocean to the East and the Indian Ocean to the West. Any attempt to invade Australia would present almost insurmountable challenges. Despite Australia’s deep sense of insecurity, there is simply no threat to Australia nor any meaningful future threat. Not from China and not from any other nation. There is not the remotest risk of the US seeking to harm or even consider harming this country.


Without ANZUS Australia would no longer feel the need to follow its great and powerful friend into wars which have nothing to do with this country. Most importantly, Australia would no longer have to sacrifice young Australians in wars which have little or nothing to do with this nation.

However, Australia should take steps to defend its 59,000 km coastline against unlawful entry and the remote possibility of attack. This would be achievable using conventional boats and submarines at a fraction of the cost of AUKUS and with much greater speed than is currently projected for the delivery of the AUKUS submarines.

The enormous saving (even after acquiring conventional seafaring vessels to protect the Australian coastline) would create the opportunity for Australia to build and improve schools, hospitals and other amenities and would allow for this vast continent to enjoy the benefit of high-speed rail (and even the possibility of engaging our greatest trading partner, China through its BRI to participate in its construction).


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