Knaus, Christopher: ‘Deeply offensive’: Australian War Memorial urged not to renew BAE sponsorship

Christopher Knaus

“Deeply offensive”: Australian War Memorial urged not to renew BAE sponsorship‘, Guardian Australia, 5 June 2020

Update 25 June 2020: We understand from the Memorial that the BAE agreement does not in fact expire during June. We understand also that the Memorial has been asked to disclose expiry dates of this and other agreements with arms manufacturers. The more important issue, of course, is not the expiry date but whether an expiring agreement will be renewed.

Earlier story in Honest History.

Looks at the possibility of the Memorial renewing a sponsorship-naming rights deal with leading arms manufacturer, BAE Systems. The piece quotes Medical Association for Prevention of War President (and Heritage Guardian), Sue Wareham.

It is a huge conflict of interests that commercialises the memory of our war dead [said Wareham]. Having BAE’s name outside the AWM theatre is an abuse of the memorial for corporate promotion, and totally contrary to the statements of former AWM director Brendan Nelson that the companies did not have naming rights.

On the Memorial and naming rights, see on the Honest History site, entries for 2 May, 23 April, 11 April 2019.

In response, the spokesman for the Memorial said, ‘The Australian War Memorial highly values its continued partnership and association with BAE Systems Australia. We encourage those who support the memorial’s purpose, mission and vision to become donors and partners in this shared endeavour’.

The Memorial would not say whether it planned to renew or extend the arrangement with BAE. The current deal – donations in return for naming the Memorial’s theatre, the BAE Systems Theatre – expires shortly. BAE said no new agreements for future sponsorship were in place ‘at this stage’. BAE is currently generating massive revenues from the war in Yemen.

The Memorial’s new Director, Matt Anderson, has been in office since early April.

Earlier Honest History story.

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