Media Releases

23 Feb. 2017

quaker-grannies

Avalon Airshow: Public Dissent Grows Around Lockheed Martin Monopoly in Australia

In the lead up to the 2017 Avalon Airshow, peace and anti-militarism groups including Quaker Grannies for Peace are expressing concern about the increasing infiltration of US weapons manufacturers in Australian foreign policy.

Quaker Grannies Dawn Joyce, Jo Valentine & Helen Bayes block entrance to Shoalwater Bay Training Area with lamingtons in July 2015.

“Quaker Grannies” donning vintage Quaker bonnets have been boldly speaking out about the grave social and environmental costs of war, and call for peace through international relations and by addressing social needs.

In regard to the Airshow, Quaker Granny Helen Bayes asks “What kind of message are we sending when a weapons display is promoted as entertainment?”

“Australians need to ask questions about the encroachment of the US military-industrial complex into Australian defence policy, politics, business, and even now, university life”.

Late last year Melbourne University signed a deal with Lockheed Martin for a $13 Million research facility, soon to begin construction. The Melbourne University Student Union has condemned the partnership, calling it “ethically dubious”.

The revolving door culture between Government and weapons industry notorious in the US is being mimicked on Australian shores. In June last year, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Kim Beazley joined the Australian board of Lockheed as Non-Executive Director.

A $17 Billion procurement of Lockheed Martin aircraft has been a subject of controversy and of scrutiny in the Senate.

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said in parliament “Australia’s planned acquisition of 72 F35A joint strike fighters stands out for its cost and time overruns and lack of a backup plan. When even US testing authorities are uncertain whether the aircraft will be fit for service, the basis for the enthusiasm shown by Australian defence officials—all documented in this report—deserves greater scrutiny.”

Deals with US weapons manufacturers are a key element of Australia’s military alliance with US, which has come into spotlight since the beginning of the Trump administration, with Paul Keating recently joining Fraser and Whitlam as former Prime Ministers who have called for a more independent foreign policy.

“We’ve got to this almost sort of crazy position now where the American alliance, instead of simply being a treaty where the United States is obliged to consult with us in the event of adverse strategic circumstances, it has now taken on a reverential, sacramental quality” says Keating in an interview late last year.

 

ENDS

Editor’s Notes:

Helen Bayes: 0422 138 991
Meet Helen and supporters at 8:30am Tuesday 28 Feb at the gates of the Avalon Airshow, 80 Beach Rd Lara.