Bulletin 2. Arms Promotions – a History of Controversy

There is a long history of controversy surrounding arms sales promotions, and outright opposition to the practice, including at local government level in Canberra.

In November 1991, the Australian International Defence Equipment Exhibition, AIDEX, opened in Canberra, and attracted strong controversy. The organisers boasted that AIDEX 89, two years before, had been the “largest and most sophisticated defence high-technology exhibition ever held in the Southern Hemisphere”. However many Canberrans were not so enthusiastic.

The Canberra Times editorial of 2 August, 1991, stated that “The Canberra Times has time after time given its position on the arms trade: it is unequivocally opposed to the whole abhorrent industry…….The right to life of anonymous millions of potential war statistics should outweigh the rights of local manufacturers to increase their profits….”

The ACT Government, led by Chief Minister Rosemary Follett (ALP) shared the concerns.