Women's peace action set
By Les Hazell
Around 300 people are expected to attend the National Women's Peace Action and Festival at the Australian Defence Industries factory in the north-east Victorian town of Benalla April 14 to 16. The action will focus on armaments and munitions production at the factory.
According to the action group, the production of weapons at this factory is to meet overseas contracts with Asian arms buyers, including Indonesia.
The group believes that the benefits of additional employment in the Benalla area contrast sharply with the human rights violations being perpetrated by the military dictatorships supported by the Australian government, whose populations regularly face attacks upon basic rights and needs — for example, the massive forced resettlement of villagers to make way for logging in Thailand.
The camp is seen as a platform against Australian militarism and its role in regional and global conflict through munitions sales and the ignoring of military repression, such as that inflicted on the East Timorese by Indonesian troops.
The festival will highlight society's "culture of violence" masquerading as economic expedience and ignoring the rape crisis centres and women's shelters that are needed in response to such a culture. Its impact on women within our communities will be examined through workshops and information stalls.
The peace message is the central theme of the festival, with the intent to make the action a fun and safe one, accessible to all women and children. Suitable facilities for safety and child-care will be included. For more information, contact Margaret of the Australian Nonviolence Network on (057) 938 400.