A Greens motion demanding transparency on Minister Christopher Pyne’s arms-dealing tour of Saudi Arabia has sparked a rare moment of unity with the entire senate crossbench and Opposition voting against the Government.
“It takes a lot to unite this crossbench, but the idea of Christopher Pyne selling weapons and defence equipment to Saudi Arabia appears to have done it,” Greens Defence Spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today.
In December 2016, Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne travelled to Riyadh and met senior Government figures including Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah al-Saud, the head of Saudi Arabia’s National Guard, with a view to increasing defence exports to the Saudis.
“It may have escaped the attention of Mr Pyne that Saudi Arabia is one of the most oppressive regimes on Earth, and it is presently engaged in a horrific assault on its Yemeni neighbours.
“In January the death toll from the conflict in Yemen reached 10,000. Three million people have been displaced, nineteen million need aid. Saudi authorities, with explicit backing from the US and UK, have used targeted bombardment to destroy essential facilities and appear to be trying to an engineer a nationwide famine.
“For Christopher Pyne to travel to Riyadh to try and cash in on this tragedy exposes a deep sickness at the heart of the Turnbull Government.
“Australia should cease export of all weapons and other military material to Saudi Arabia. These indiscriminate airstrikes break international humanitarian law. Instead of enabling the targeting of schools, hospitals, ports and weddings, Australia should be loudly condemning them and pushing for a universal arms embargo.
“It was heartening to see the entire crossbench and the opposition come together in a rare display of unanimity. The senate has ordered the government to disclose the Minister’s itinerary, and details of the military exports to the Saudis in the previous year.
"I hadn’t thought this Government could sink any lower, but it seems nothing is beneath them."
The motion the senate passed can be found here: http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/articles/minister-pynes-visit-saudi...