‘The strange case of the weapons maker and the Australian children’s charity‘, Guardian Australia, 4 December 2020
Chronicles the slow retreat of Australian charity, The Smith Family, from its involvement with arms manufacturer, BAE Systems. Persistent pressure, ultimately successful, came from Dr Sue Wareham, President, on behalf of the Medical Association for Prevention of War.
BAE … remains [wrote Wareham early in her exchange with The Smith Family’s chief executive, Lisa O’Brien] a key supplier of the Saudi-led coalition that has bombed Yemen into humanitarian catastrophe, depriving children there of virtually everything they need. MAPW regards The Smith Family’s good name and reputation as being threatened by association with a company whose products destroy families and communities.
The Smith Family says it put the BAE shekels to good use, but BAE’s $A100 000 barely qualifies as small change for the company, which had arms sales in calendar 2018 worth $US21.2 billion. Following the MAPW campaign, the BAE-Smith partnership is to end shortly, for which we should be grateful.
For other mentions of BAE, search the Honest History website with search term ‘BAE’. For many years prior to its Smith Family involvement BAE has had the naming rights to the BAE Systems Theatre at the Australian War Memorial. The Memorial should cease this partnership, as should humanitarian and charity organisations with their gunrunner ‘partners’.
There is more on the charity partnership lurk in this piece by Michelle Fahy on Pearls and Irritations. For more from her, use our search engine. Also search our site with the terms ‘arms’, ‘donors’, ‘gunrunners’ and related. And, beyond the arms industry, there’s the RSL and Legacy being grateful for a small donation from an international brewing company earning massive revenues (covered in this post about booze and Anzac).
David Stephens and Sue Wareham are members of the Heritage Guardians group, campaigning against the $498m extensions to the Australian War Memorial.