649 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
Petition to
Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt and

Why this petition matters

We condemn the announcement that the Department of Defence will sponsor defence employees and other public servants for a Master of Science in Nuclear Science at the ANU as part of its Nuclear Science Academic Program.

The program, which will see more than 300 scholarships awarded nationally, is an attempt by the Morrison government to train a workforce capable of building and maintaining the nuclear submarines secured under the AUKUS alliance.

The AUKUS alliance is part of an aggressive military build-up by the US and its allies - including Australia - for a confrontation with China. It is not a defensive alliance, but about ensuring continued US domination of the Indo-Pacific region, and that Australia is better militarily equipped in the event of war against China. 

More than 300 scholarships will be offered around the country as part of the program, worth approximately $20,000 per student per year. This means that over $12 million will be spent on training as part of this military expansion in the next couple of years alone.

The submarines themselves are already Australia’s most expensive military expenditure of all time. It could cost up to $171 billion to build them, according to a report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and nearly as much again to maintain them over their lifetimes. Military expenditure as a proportion of GDP is set to continue to increase over the coming years in order to facilitate this.

This comes after federal funding for higher education was slashed by nearly 10% over the next three years in the 2021 budget. Federal funding cuts and university restructures have seen 1 in 5 university staff lose their jobs across the country in the 12 months to May 2021. 465 jobs alone have been cut at ANU along with hundreds of courses, multiple schools, degrees, and other qualifications. 

This announcement shows where the priorities of the Morrison government lie - there’s plenty of money available for higher education when it comes to funding war. Higher education should not be geared towards expanding a destructure industry. Both the dangerous military aggression of AUKUS and deeper ties between the military and the higher education sector must be opposed.

We demand that ANU refuse to participate in the Nuclear Science Academic Program. We also call on the federal government to scrap the program altogether, with the money put instead towards increasing Commonwealth funding for universities. This would be a small step towards replacing a fraction of the money that has been ripped out of the sector in recent years.

649 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!