Peace protester Graeme Dunstan is back in Rockhampton to oppose Exercise Talisman Saber.
Peace protester Graeme Dunstan is back in Rockhampton to oppose Exercise Talisman Saber. Chris Ison ROK290617cdunstan1

Dump Trump: Graeme wants a stop put to Talisman Sabre

GRAEME Dunstan's peace protesting started in one of the most unusual ways, as a cadet in the military.

The 74-year-old who now tours around the country protesting war in his peace bus grew up surrounded by all things military.

Born in 1942, his mother was in labour with him at the time of the Pearl Harbour bombing, with her father having been killed in France and her two brothers shipped off to war around the same time.

From then Graeme got the idea that his mother wanted him to be a soldier.

"She never said this to me, I just assumed I'd be better loved if I was a soldier,” he said.

"I think this militarism happens in families, boys think they should follow their father into the services.

"So I went through high school, joined the cadet unit and ended up running the cadet unit for two years.”

From high school Graeme went onto the Duntroon Royal Military College where he "went well” for the first year.

"I began doubting the system and got persecuted, I realised the military wasn't for me so I left and resigned from Duntroon with a certain amount of bitterness and then along came bitterness towards the military,” Graeme explained.

The self described grey nomad of 19-years has found himself in Rockhampton again this year to peacefully protest against exercise Talisman Sabre, a protest which he has been carrying out for many years now.

The biannual exercise is an Australian and United States training activity, designed to train the respective military forces in combined task force operations to improve combat readiness between forces.

Graeme makes his way to Rockhampton every two years just in time for the event to carry out protests against the events, this time bringing his peace bus with a slogan on the side reading "Dump Trump”.

PPEACE NOT WAR: Peace activist Graeme Dunstan works on a banner for the protests he is holding in Rockhampton .
PPEACE NOT WAR: Peace activist Graeme Dunstan works on a banner for the protests he is holding in Rockhampton . Chris Ison ROK300317cdunstan2

Wielding signs outside the army barracks on Western St and speaking to the soldiers across a megaphone, Graeme along with other members of the public want their voices to be heard.

"We are baring peace to a time in perpetual war because no one else seems to be doing it,” he said.

"I come to Rockhampton to bare peace in this time of endless war. I feel our military has been hijacked for wars that don't bring us any benefit at all.

"I'm really concerned about the U.S alliance and the toxic affect it's had on our foreign policy and on our military.

"They cost us heaps of money, they cost us blood, they leave many casualties in terms of post traumatic stress disorder that we have to care and look after. They bring no reward, they only bring us enemies so I think we should be changing our ways, I feel like a biblical prophet in that regard, it's time to turn to peace.”

Graeme said it's been over 17 years now of war in the middle east with no end in sight and he would continue to protest.

"These wars are not being debated in parliament and within the armed forces themselves there is no strategy as to why we are doing this,” he said.

"The US military because of the US alliance has stolen any strategy where Australians can plan for an independent Australia.”



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