1.1. Policy: The Science Party believes war should be the absolute last option, and believes that in recent history many countries, including Australia, have entered into war too easily.
1.2. Discussion: The Science Party holds that one of the greatest wastes of resources is war. War directs human labour away from constructive elements of the economy such technological innovation, infrastructure construction and the production of enjoyment for individuals. This labour is instead put to work making destructible items (e.g. a bomb is dropped and never used again), and put to work destroying the infrastructure and livelihoods of others. It also results in the destruction of human life itself, which is the most immoral and destructive of acts.
It is sometimes claimed that war results in technological development. Although some technological development does come through the defence industry, the scale of development is tiny compared to the scale of the spending on the defence industry. For example, the war in Iraq has cost Australia approximately $2 billion dollars. The resultant technological developments are nowhere to be seen.
Australia is a small country with very few resources to defend itself from invasion. What protects us from invasion is isolation and the good reputation that Australia has built in the area through trade and through organisations such as ASEAN. To achieve ongoing security of Australia and to avoid war if at all possible, the Science Party will aim to strengthen ties with regional partners to reduce barriers to economic trade. By allowing free flowing trade, investment, communication and movement of people, the likelihood of war is significantly reduced. Our neighbours should be reassured that Australia has no imperialist ambitions, through a reduction in funding of military equipment and structures that could be seen to be offensive.
2. National secrets
2.1. Policy: Hold national secrets only as long as they are operationally important. Conduct a review of all currently held national secrets to determine the suitability of those national secrets for early release.
2.2. Discussion: The Science Party is committed to the transparent operations of government. National secrets, while sometimes operationally important, can also be misused to suppress information that may be sensitive to the government of the day, and hence national secrets, when used too liberally, can be a threat to the democracy of a nation. National secrets should only be held as long as operationally important. So, for example, in the process of capturing a group of criminals, if a secret regarding these crimes must be kept to prevent the escape of those criminals, then this is reasonable grounds for establishing a national secret. This secret should only be kept until all of the criminals have been captured. The maximum length for national secrets (including those that are deemed operationally important) should not last longer than 30 years, as currently stands, but the national secret should be released earlier if the operation is completed.
3. Autonomous Weapons
- Advocate for the development of a global convention on artificial intelligence (AI) in the deployment and use of military and police weapons. This convention should focus on setting a minimum level of human involvement in any use of weapons and establishing the chains of evidence used to record how AI was used in the targeting and weapon release mechanisms.
- Advocate for a global moratorium on such autonomous weapons until a convention is developed.
- Legislate that Australia not deploy or use AI in conjunction with weapons prior to the development of a global convention, unless they are governed by an interim bipartisan Government policy.
3.2. Discussion: Degrees of AI are already in use for military purposes. The world needs to be ready for the legal implications of the use of AI in weapons. Australia can and should be at the forefront of this policy development so as to be prepared for this outcome.
A new Australian law or global convention must demand stringent record-keeping such that any use of AI in the deployment of weapons can be tracked and audited.