Anti-war and peace activists are planning to picket a naval arms bazaar, Indo Pacific Expo, being organised in Sydney, May 10–12, at Darling Harbour.
The Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition spokesperson Denis Doherty said both major parties’ support for AUKUS locks them into “wasting billions on weapons that would be better spent on livable welfare payments, combating global warming, and bushfire and flood mitigation”.
“The expo is sponsored by the New South Wales and federal governments and includes merchants of death from Europe, the United States and Israel,” Doherty said.
“Buyers from impoverished countries will be there to spend big dollars that should instead be used to meet their people’s needs, rather than profits for the arms corporations.”
The expo is being supported by weapons and security corporations including Thales, Boeing, BAE Systems, CEA Technologies, Northop Grumman as well as ANZ Bank.
Indo Pacific Expo’s website states that the Royal Australian Navy is acquiring or planning to introduce “29 major new vessels, including a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, nine Hunter-class frigates and 12 Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels”.
It will exhibit “upgrades to existing platforms” including “an enhanced long-range strike capability, along with associated electronics and communications systems, sensors and munitions”.
“Other navies of the Indo Pacific region are embarking upon similar upgrades”, the organisers state, “with many acquiring or seeking to acquire new vessels and aircraft, patrol boats, submarines, landing craft, frigates and supporting systems”.
Doherty said that the cost of one nuclear submarine could pay for 11,560 public houses or 43,452 nurses. He said people should join the picket on May 10 at the International Convention Centre to “tell the Morrison government, the military and the arms dealers that it is time to disarm the seas”.