Taxpayers say no to subsidising Saudi arms

Liberal Democratic Party Senator Duncan Spender has called on the Australian Government to stop subsidising private Australian companies to sell arms to Saudi Arabia.

“Australian taxpayers are providing subsidies to Australian companies to win contracts to sell arms to Saudi Arabia,” Senator Spender said.

“Grants, finance and representations have helped an Australian company export remote weapons systems to Saudi Arabia via the United States.

“Under the Government’s new Defence Exports Strategy, taxpayers are providing Australian arms companies with $20 million in grants, trade shows and trade missions, plus $3.8 billion in taxpayer-funded finance, so these companies can win market access.

“The Defence Exports Strategy aims to make Australia the 10th largest arms exporter in the world. This is our own creepy attempt to establish our own military industrial complex.

“Saudi Arabia is the crucible for radical Islam. It is oppressive for women. And it is brutally repressive for anyone who steps out of line. Saudi Arabia should be considered an enemy.

“Recent reports state that Saudi Arabia is set to implement a record number of beheadings this year, including the beheading of young adults for sharing information about protests on WhatsApp when they were under the age of 18.

“Freedom House gives Saudi Arabia a score of seven out of 100 for civil liberties and political rights. This essentially means Saudi Arabia is the eighth worst country in the world.

“The Liberal Democrats oppose industry assistance in all its forms. Subsidising private arms exports is just the most repulsive example of government industry assistance.”

/Public Release.