Australia

The Australian government has been accused of “freedom of information abuse at its worst” and unnecessarily dragging out an already lengthy legal battle over a $1.3bn arms deal. The government has spent nearly two years trying to stop the release of a report by the auditor general, that criticised the purchase of 1,100 Hawkeis combat vehicles built by Thales.

The Australian War Memorial (AWM) is one of our pre-eminent national institutions. It rightly holds a special place in commemorations of our war dead, not only as the nation pauses on Anzac Day, but right throughout the year. In the memorial’s own words, “Its mission is to assist Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society”.

Ferrovial is a Spanish multinational company, with a broad range of interests - they are involved in the construction of the Gugenheim Museum in Bilbao, the construction of the M3 motorway in Ireland, and manage toll roads across Europe. Ferrovial owns 90% of the company Broadspectrum, which runs Australia's offshore immigration detention centres in Papua New Guinea.

Nick Buxton

For anyone concerned with militarism, news of the terrorist attacks in Brussels brought a familiar sense of dread. We ache as we hear the stories of more innocent lives lost, and we feel foreboding from the knowledge that the bombings will predictably fuel new cycles of violence and horror in targeted communities at home or abroad. It creates the binary world that neocons and terrorists seek: an era of permanent war in which all our attention and resources are absorbed – and the real crises of poverty, inequality, unemployment, social alienation and climate crisis ignored.

New Zealand is a place often associated with its nuclear-free position, and it rates highly on the global peace index. In spite of a relatively bucolic lifestyle downunder, New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, plays host to an annual weapons conference in November where about 550 delegates representing 165 companies converge for an annual weapons conference.

Activists blockade the entrance to the weapons conference

By Sue Wareham

ACT Coordinator, Medical Association for Prevention of War

Things have been a bit dodgy in my neighbourhood lately. Some strange characters are hanging around, and more than the usual smattering of domestic arguments are disturbing the peace. Were it not for our gun ownership laws, it would be a golden opportunity. Set up a local arms and graft fair, similar to those wonderful weekend art and craft fairs, make a neat profit and help the nation’s economy, all at once.

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