Australian news, and some related international items

Australia and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – theme for January 2021

This ICAN  report  corrects the Australian government’s  misrepresentation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

Australians can be proud of historic efforts – Doc Evatt and the Labor Party led in the 1940s to establish the United Nations. Australia led in in negotiating and ratifying conventions against chemical weapons in 1972 and against landmines and cluster munitions in more recent times.   Gough Whitlam ratified the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 1973 and that treaty is still important in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.

Much more recently, Australians initiated the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which grew to eventually bring about the successful movement towards the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. ICAN was awared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was concluded in July 2017 with the support of 122 states. Unfortunately, Australia was one of those few countries that did not vote for that treaty. Under this government, we didn’t even participate in the negotiation of the treaty, and we voted against the 2016 UN General Assembly resolution that established the mandate for negotiations. It isn’t a proud record.

With 51 ratfications, the Treaty will come into legal force on January 22. This is being ignored by the present Australian government.  However, The Australian Labor Party is committed to working toward the ratification of the treaty. The US alliance is very important to Australia and to the Australian Labor Party. Ratifying this treaty as a sovereign state should not affect our relationship with the incoming Biden administration.

ICAN Australia says ” While the entry into force of the treaty won’t make nuclear weapons disappear overnight, it will mark a significant shift in the legal and political framework around these weapons. They will be increasingly shunned like chemical and biological weapons. The treaty provides a multilateral legal pathway for all nations to further the stigmatisation, prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. We won’t let Australia weasel out of it forever.”

December 15, 2020 - Posted by | Christina themes

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