Greens leader Bob Brown greets Barack Obama after the US President addressed a joint sitting of Parliament in the House of Representatives. Picture: Ray Strange Source: The Australian
GREENS Leader Bob Brown has called for parliamentary debate on the increased US presence on Australian soil, warning the nation risked giving up an independent foreign policy.
Senator Brown also revealed he had asked Barack Obama to consider supporting a push to place Antarctica on the World Heritage List, a request the US President said he would consider when the pair spoke after his parliamentary address today.
As President Obama flew out of Canberra to Darwin, Senator Brown said the deal to rotate 2500 troops, as well as hosting increased numbers of ships and planes, should be debated by the public too.
“This means Australia giving up the alternative of an independent foreign policy and an independent future in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
“We are proud of Australia’s position in the world as a middle order nation with growing influence and a huge potential for good in our neighbourhood and in the Asia-Pacific region.”
“The government needs to give a debate into the parliament fully informed. Is 2500 the limit? What are going to be the on-ground facilities which ports, which airfields and bombing ranges will be made available to the United States?” he said.
Senator Brown said Antarctica should be “top of the list” for World Heritage listing.
“The response from the president was that he would look at it,” he said.
James Massola – The Australian