Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear weapons and Australia’s hypocrisy about them

Australia’s hypocrisy on nuclear weapons cannot continue Canberra Times, Gem Romuld, 18 Oct 19,  “……..Then-Prime Minister Turnbull refrained from congratulating ICAN for the first Australian-born Nobel Peace Prize. While a childish move, this only served to highlight the government’s discomfort with the treaty and its clear challenge to Australia’s position on nuclear weapons. As the signatures and ratifications continue to stack up and the treaty nears entry-into-force, this challenge persists.
Australia professes to support a world free of nuclear weapons while simultaneously claiming reliance on the US nuclear arsenal for protection. This tenuous notion of security through nuclear weapons has long-served the nuclear-armed, to the detriment of all others.
The ban treaty outlaws the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons in all circumstances, strengthening the norm of abolition. To join the prohibition on nuclear weapons, as we have joined the prohibitions on other indiscriminate, inhumane weapons, Australia must quit playing enabler for the US arsenal. Our alliance with the US can and must exclude cooperation and support for the potential use of nuclear weapons.
Since the wild treaty-negotiating, prize-winning ride of 2017, the nuclear disarmament terrain has indelibly changed. To date, 79 nations have signed and 32 have ratified the treaty, with dozens of countries progressing their ratifications. The treaty will enter into force after the 50th ratification, certain within the next couple of years. Campaigns are growing in nuclear-armed and “nuclear-endorsing” states, word of the Treaty is spreading and the demand to sign and ratify is escalating.

Financial institutions are divesting from nuclear weapon producers, citing the treaty as their reason for doing so even though it has yet to enter into force. These include ABP, the largest Dutch pension fund, and Norway’s trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund. Cities and towns are declaring their support for the treaty, including Paris, Berlin, Geneva, Washington DC, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne.

The Australian Medical Association, Australian Red Cross and dozens of civil society organisations have directly called on Australia to join the treaty. Close to 200 of our state and federal parliamentarians have pledged to pursue this goal, and the Australian Labor Party has committed to sign and ratify in government.
It’s inevitable that Australia joins the prohibition on nuclear weapons. As other nuclear arms control agreements languish or collapse, we don’t have the luxury of waiting for the offenders to lead us out of the silo. With close to 14,000 nuclear weapons held between 9 nations, our world is armed to the brink. Further, let us not be distracted by the voices querying a domestic nuclear arsenal, we’ve already foresworn this dangerous pursuit under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone. Nuclear weapons are never a legitimate means of defence.

This year’s Nobel Peace Laureate, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, has been rewarded for formalising a peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea. For ICAN, the Nobel Peace Prize served a directive upon all nations to sit up and pay attention to the fresh 10-page nuclear weapon ban treaty. We know that we’re up against powerful nations, a lucrative industry and deeply entrenched modes of thinking. The real prize will be the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and we have the tools to get there. It’s up to all people, civil society and governments to turn the tide of history. Our collective security depends on it.

November 2, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war

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