The Gallipoli Centenary Peace Campaign (GCPC) opposes the militarisation of Australian history and seeks to encourage a more critical understanding of Australia’s war experience including the impacts of war on the ‘home front’. GCPC also seeks to promote public discussion on official Australian government reasons for engaging in war in the past and present together with the causes, costs and prevention of war. As well GCPC works for a more peaceful and non-violent world through research, education, advocacy and a variety of peace actions and initiatives.
The Gallipoli Centenary Peace Campaign (GCPC) is a coalition of citizens and organisations calling for a national conversation on Australia’s identity and the place of war in its past and future.
GCPC does not believe that Australia as a nation was born in war. We honour and respect all Australians who have died and suffered in war, both overseas and in Australia’s frontier wars, and respect the contribution and suffering of their families and loved ones. We also honour and respect all those who have pursued the path of non-violent resolution of national and international conflicts.
We appreciate that many young Australians died and were wounded at Gallipoli. We deeply regret the tragic loss of life in the killing fields of the First World War. This and other wars have had terrible consequences, not only for the soldiers, but for their loved ones and descendants and for Australian society generally. The experience of war encourages us to redouble our efforts in peacemaking and peacebuidling.
We believe that Australia should not in future be involved in wars at the behest of ‘great and powerful friends’. Australia, like all other countries, must abide by the UN Charter which stipulates that force may be used in only two circumstances: in self-defence or in operations authorised by the United Nations.
We wish to celebrate a story of Australia as a nation which:
- brought together peacefully six colonies in one Federation;
- pioneered universal suffrage for all including women, and brought in the eight hour day and the living wage;
- since 1945, has welcomed 6.5 million migrants seeking a new life;
- has successfully shaped a multicultural, multifaith community;
- has supported humanitarian projects and UN peace missions.
Much remains to be done to:
- officially recognise the violent colonisation of this land and resolve the troubled relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians;
- strengthen Australian multiculturalism;
- constructively engage with the peoples of Asia and the South Pacific;
- warmly welcome refugees and asylum seekers;
- actively support the United Nations and its programs;
- promote peace with justice for all.
To this end we propose to:
- mount and support a range of community reflection and education programs;
- provide appropriate resources for teachers and students;
- make representations to governments and members of parliament;
- contribute to an informed public debate in religious, ethnic and mainstream media as well as social media;
- advocate the establishment of new institutions, including peace institutes, peace museums and peace parks and a government agency dedicated to disarmament, mediation, conflict resolution and peace-building.
Organisations actively involved in GCPC include:
- Marrickville Peace Group, Marrickville Residents for Reconciliation (now merged with Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation – ANTaR Inner West),
- Marrickville Greens and
- Pax Christi Australia (NSW).