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Canberra Bishop challenges Bush to wage war on poverty

Canberra-Goulburn Diocese auxiliary Bishop Pat Power yesterday urged US President George Bush to forget about the War on Terror and instead make the world more secure by correcting the imbalance in the distribution of the world's wealth and resources.

He was addressing a group of several thousand protestors outside Parliament House yesterday as US President George W Bush met with Prime Minister John Howard and delivered a speech before a special joint sitting of Federal Parliament.

"We should be having a war on poverty rather than a war on terror," he said.

Other speakers included Greens leader Bob Brown, Labor's Carmen Lawrence and former security analyst Andrew Wilkie.

Bishop Power's speech was pitched as an Open Letter to the US President.

"Can't you see how your so-called war on terrorism has only succeeded in increasing the threat of terrorists attacks?" he said. "Can't you see that our world has become far more volatile and fragile since you embarked on this senseless campaign?"

He suggested it is deeply divisive for countries like the United States and Australia continue to flaunt their extravagant lifestyles in the face of the dire poverty of Third World countries.

"Surely it is in everyone's interest for the United States and its allies to be viewed as friends to the rest of the world, rather than trying to beat them into submission by threats and brute force."

Bishop Power pointed out that during the Jubilee Year 2000, a campaign was conducted to remit or at least reduce the international debt of those Third World countries whose whole economy is locked into trying to pay off impossible interest debts. He said a fraction of the price of the war on terror would have gone a long way towards lessening those crippling debts.

An appeal to President Bush (Bishop Pat Power)
Protesters rally outside Parliament (AAP/

Four arrested during violent protest (ABC TV 7:30 Report)
Bush heckled in Canberra speech (CNN)
Protesters rally outside Parliament (The Australian)
Bishop Power to urge Bush to be less aggressive (21/10/03)
Rev Gordon Moyes meets President Bush

24 Oct 2003