Media Release. Canberra Airport to receive over 1,560 requests to remove weapons ads. 28 October, 2015

The Canberra Airport management will this morning receive a petition from over 1,560 people urging the removal of weapons advertising from the airport terminal.  The petition will be delivered by members of the No Airport Arms Ads (NAAA) campaign which has stirred recent debate about the inappropriate nature of prominent defence industry promotions where new arrivals to our city wait for their baggage.

The signed message to the Canberra Airport Group is:  “We call on you to stop arms industry promotion at Canberra Airport.” (The full text appears below.) Signatories include a wide cross-section of Canberrans and others, many of whom have expressed relief that attention is finally being drawn to the very unfriendly “welcome to Canberra” or “welcome home” that the ads represent.

NAAA spokesperson David Stephens said, “Canberra Airport management themselves recognise their particular responsibility to represent the ACT in a welcoming fashion.  Their website quotes travel author Pico Iyer who wrote that ‘Airports say a lot about a place because they are both a city’s business card and its handshake: they tell us what a community year[n]s to be as well as what it really is.’ Canberra is far more than a place that prepares to go to war.”

Canberrans have offered many ideas as to what could replace the weapons adverts, including an Aboriginal welcome to country, images of some of the ACT’s rich cultural and natural heritage, or images of Canberrans (famous or not), including the many diverse cultures represented here.  Given the Snow Foundation’s valuable philanthropic work in the community, advertising space could be offered to some of the charities it supports to promote their work.

Dr Stephens said that the campaign is gaining strength and will continue to keep this issue visible and strong in the community.

Full text of the petition to be delivered:

If you ever come through Canberra Airport, one of the main gateways to our national capital, you are likely to receive a "welcome" from some of the world's biggest arms manufacturers. Raytheon, BAE, Lockheed Martin, and Thyssen Krupps have all had big display ads there.

Austal is also there, proudly stating that its vessels are “delivering Australia’s border patrol capability”.

The ads are inappropriate.

  • They give the feel that one is entering a military-industrial complex that is preparing for war.
  • They help to normalise warfare and big military spending, and present a sanitised image of what weapons do.
  • They are inappropriate for refugees and others from
    war-torn countries, and inconsistent with Canberra’s new status as a Refugee Welcome Zone.
  • They do not reflect the Canberra community or its many beautiful natural and cultural attractions.

The No Airport Arms Ads (NAAA) campaign has met with the airport management, who say that they refuse ads that they deem “offensive”. People who come from war zones might have very different views from airport executives on what is offensive. Canberra Airport are proud of their image in the community. Please sign the petition to show that arms advertising is unwanted and undermines their image.

Open arms, not lethal arms, for Canberra Airport. It's time for the arms ads to go!