Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s new weapons export industry – secret men’s business

Secret men’s business of the arms industry needs exposure The Age, Stephanie Dowrick, 5 Feb 18,   “…….. I woke to the news that the federal government had decided to unveil a new “defence export strategy” to propel Australia into the big league of global weapons exporters.

Then, in the wake of that news – which has left many speechless, even despairing – comes a newer announcement of a $3.8bn boost to the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation. This is a taxpayer-funded “national interest” loan facility that previously supported the exporting of wine and other relatively harmless products but is now set, with a massive boost to its funds, to finance loans to some of the world’s largest arms manufacturers. What’s more, those loans do not need to pass any test of “social risk evaluation” – a nod to caring for others – but can be approved at the discretion of Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.

Oddly enough, on the Blue Mountains drive my friend and I had discussed the weapons industries and the influence they have on the global economy. Their power to affect, even to drive governments’ policies, is immense. It is also profoundly undemocratic. Governments keep a tight grip on media revelations. The weapons world is “secret men’s business” from which the public is definitely shut out. My best sleuthing efforts came nowhere near discovering what this industry is really worth or who profits most.

 What we can know is that these industries – and the governments that applaud them – depend on actual and perceived enemies, a fairly hysterical narrative of “terror” and a disturbing acceptance of the inevitability of armed conflict and war. We can also know that the No.1 exporter of major arms is the USA, followed by Russia. It was easy, too, to discover that between 2001 and 2014, reported global military expenditure rose from US$1.14 trillion to US$1.711 trillion. In a world ruled by greed and highly vulnerable to corruption, what chance does peace have?

“This strategy is about job creation,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull assures us. His colleague Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Defence Industry in a cabinet lacking a minister for science, is already presiding over a submarine project set to cost us $50 billion. Pyne is promising “tens of thousands” of jobs could be involved in this weapons’ push. But the issue here is surely far less about job creation than it is about which industries the government, on our behalf, wishes to support. These opinions, these ideological choices determine where we are heading as a nation. This is where a government has huge power. It’s also where it most accurately reveals itself. ……

If “job creation” truly is our government’s motive, then let them choose honestly. The weapons industries lack accountability, transparency, moral and social value. They thrive in the presence or expectation of deadly conflict. Their cost to the world’s physical and social environments is incalculable.

There are many sectors in Australia and globally that produce jobs and social benefits. With generous investment, they could produce more. In land and agricultural regeneration alone, as well as high-tech research and manufacturing, in renewable energy, the arts, community development, health and education, defence-sized investment would undoubtedly pay employment dividends – while simultaneously boosting our social and moral wellbeing. These are choices that have profound consequences. They could make the world safer. Or not.  Reverend Dr Stephanie Dowrick is a writer and social commentator www.stephaniedowrick.com   www.facebook.com/StephanieDowrick http://www.theage.com.au/comment/secret-mens-business-of-the-arms-industry-needs-exposure-20180202-h0spx3.html

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February 5, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, spinbuster, weapons and war

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