Peace Action Meanjin (PAM) disrupted a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and defence conference at the Emporium Hotel on August 15. They called for weapons companies to be banned from primary and secondary schools.
The ADM STEM in Defence Summit describes itself as “a cornerstone event that brings together Defence, defence industry and education to discuss the future of the Defence workforce”. It is sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest weapons manufacturer.
Lil Barto from PAM said the group aimed to highlight the weapons industry’s growing influence on STEM education. The number of STEM programs in schools is the result of “industry partnerships” with private weapons manufacturers. “Weapons corporations simply have no place in schools,” she said.
“Arms dealers should be banned from schools — just like junk food and gambling operators,” Barto said, herself a science graduate.
Eleni Dowling, 18, held a banner saying: “Get weapons corporations out of schools.” “Young people want options. They want to repair the environment, build renewables, create transport options, make art. We don’t want to make weapons. Where is the conference for $1000 a head to organise those things?”