Australian news, and some related international items

To sign or not to sign. Australia’s dilemma over the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

‘Would the US alliance survive?’ Signing nuclear weapons treaty comes with risk

SMH, By Matthew Knott and Paul Sakkal, April 4, 2023 

The Albanese government is weighing whether to make a dramatic break with the United States and sign an anti-nuclear weapons treaty that would aggravate Washington and launch a new era in Australian security policy.

Anti-nuclear campaigners are urging the government to join over 90 countries and sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) before the next election, a step that would see Australia abandon a key pillar of the US alliance by removing itself from America’s “nuclear umbrella” in the Asia-Pacific.

Labor’s national platform commits the party to signing and ratifying the treaty – which prohibits member states from participating in any nuclear weapon activities – but only after certain conditions are met.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been a strong supporter of signing the treaty, describing the idea as “Labor at our best”.

The US strongly opposes the treaty and has previously urged friendly nations not to support it, on the grounds it would undermine peace and security.

……………………… A spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the government will consider the treaty “systematically and methodically as a part of our ambitious agenda to advance nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament”.

“There are a number of complex issues to be considered,” she said.

…………………………………….. Gem Romuld, Australian director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said “if the government is committed to non-proliferation and disarmament, it will sign the TPNW during this term of government”.

“That would be warmly welcomed by countries across the Asia-Pacific, most of which have already signed the treaty, as well as most of the Australian public,” she said.

Romuld acknowledged ratifying the treaty would represent a “big change for Australia, ending a practice we have had in our security policy for a couple of decades” by prohibiting Australia from hosting American assets armed with nuclear weapons, such as B-52 bombers.

………….. Romuld said the AUKUS pact – under which Australia will acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines – does not prevent the government from signing the treaty. “In fact it only underlines the importance of it,” she said.


Labor MP Josh Wilson, the chair of the joint standing committee on treaties, said the TPNW represented a “much-needed jolt of momentum in the global nuclear disarmament effort”.

“In my view Australia should aspire to sign and ratify, while in the meantime being engaged, supportive, and open to incremental progress,” he said……………


April 4, 2023 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war

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