Costello Slams Pyne’s Weapons Export Plan

World Vision Australia chief advocate Tim Costello has slammed plans by federal minister Christopher Pyne to turn Australia into a major weapons manufacturer and exporter.

Mr Costello said there was a vast difference between a defence manufacturing industry and the creation of a weapons export industry.

“This is a government that has cut humanitarian aid, which saves lives, to the lowest level in our history, and it is now seriously discussing the merits of becoming a major weapons manufacturer and exporter,” Mr Costello said.

“The government says this is an export and investment opportunity, but we would be exporting death and profiting from bloodshed.

“Is that what we want Australia to be known for?

“Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne says he wants Australia to become a major arms exporter on par with Britain, France and Germany and use exports to ‘cement relationships’ with countries in volatile regions such as the Middle East.

“Is it really a good idea to sell weapons in a volatile region?

“Minister Pyne also says we would only sell weapons to ‘appropriate countries’, and would not export weapons ‘willy-nilly’, as though weapons never fall into the wrong hands.

“The war in Syria, which is now in its seventh year, could not have lasted for more than a year without armaments profiteering.

“And the consequences have been terrible: more than 300,000 people killed, including thousands of children; 13.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance; 6.3 million people internally displaced; 5 million people turned into refugees.

“There is only one purpose in making a weapon and that is to kill someone with it.

“Do we really want that to be what people think of when they see the brand ‘made in Australia’?”

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Picture: Khouloud, 15 months, holds her mother Mahal's hand, at Rajab Informal Tented Settlement, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. The family fled Syria's war four years ago.

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