As Greens MLA rather than with his ACT Government Ministerial cap on, Shane Rattenbury has today called on the Canberra Airport to remove arms industry advertising from its premises.
Mr Rattenbury is seeking support from the ACT Legislative Assembly for a motion on the issue after the No Airport Arms Ads presented a petition with 1500+ signatures to airport management.
However, as a privately operated business, the airport would not be obliged to change its advertising policy and forsake revenue from defence clients even if Mr Rattenbury’s motion were successful.
Advertisements for arms manusfacturers such as Raytheon, BAE, Lockheed Martin and ThyssenKrupps vie for the attention of passengers and other visitors to the airport, no doubt particularly targeting Federal MPs and senior public servants who make procurement decisions for the armed forces.
Mr Rattenbury said images of border patrol ships and other military images were confronting and unwelcoming.
“The Canberra Airport is a major gateway into our city, it is the first place people see when they land in the Nation’s Capital and it should be a place to celebrate and promote the range of beautiful assets Canberra has to offer,” he said.
He said the advertising did not represent the Canberra community nor reflect the image Canberrans want visitors to the city to see.
“These advertisements help to normalise warfare, present a sanitised image of what weapons do and are likely to be offensive and confronting to the many refugees Canberra welcomes every year from war-torn countries,” he said.
“Given that this year Canberra was officially declared a refugee welcome zone, it is simply not appropriate that those seeking refuge from war should be greeted upon arrival in Canberra with advertising that promotes warfare and armed violence.”
His motion calls on the Canberra Airport to recognise community concern about the ads and put something more welcoming and representative of Canberra in their place.