Australian news, and some related international items

Albanese urged to take stand against nuclear weapons during G7 summit in Hiroshima

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons wants Labor to send a ‘message to the region’ and sign and ratify a treaty to impose a ban on atomic weapons

Guardian Daniel Hurst 19 May 23

Anthony Albanese is being urged to take a firm stand against nuclear weapons when he attends the G7 summit in Hiroshima this weekend.

The prime minister has been invited to attend the summit in Hiroshima, which along with Nagasaki was devastated by the US atomic bombing in the closing stages of the second world war.

Albanese is due to arrive in the city on Friday afternoon and will join the mayor of Hiroshima for a visit to the Peace Memorial Park, including the ruins of the former industrial promotion hall now known as the A-bomb dome.

A Nobel prize-winning group, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican), has written to Albanese to urge him to make good on Labor’s promise to join a new treaty to impose an outright ban on nuclear weapons.

The party platform said a Labor government would sign and ratify the treaty, after taking account of factors including the need to work to achieve universal international support.

Ican cited Albanese’s speech championing the treaty in 2018 when he denounced nuclear weapons as “the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created”.

“At the 2018 National Labor Conference, you showed what strong leadership on this issue looks like,” said the letter from the co-chairs of Ican Australia, Dr Margaret Beavis and Associate Prof Marianne Hanson.

“You now have the unique responsibility to show the world once again what leadership on this critical issue looks like.

“We urge you to take the opportunity to advance Australia’s position on this treaty when you visit Hiroshima.”

The letter argued the acquisition of nuclear-propelled, conventionally armed submarines under Aukus “sharpens the need for a binding and permanent commitment that Australia will not possess, host or assist with the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons now or in the future”.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is a relatively new treaty that imposes a blanket ban on developing, testing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons – or helping other countries to carry out such activities.

The TPNW now has 92 signatories, 68 of which have formally ratified it. But it is opposed by the United States and other nuclear weapons states, which argue it is out of step with international security realities.

The former Morrison government said the treaty’s terms were inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the US alliance.

In November, the US embassy in Canberra warned that the TPNW “would not allow for US extended deterrence relationships, which are still necessary for international peace and security”.

Talei Mangioni, 29, who is a PhD candidate at the Australian National University’s School of Culture, History and Language, addressed a youth summit in Hiroshima late last month. She hopes Albanese makes progress on the issue.

The Ican Australia board member said she was touched to hear directly from hibakusha (survivor) Keiko Ogura about the “invisible scars” of the 1945 bombing and about visits to Japan by Pacific activists in the 1980s.

“At the moment Australia is really out of step with the rest of the region,” said Mangioni, who is of Fijian and Italian descent and whose research focuses on the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement.

“Most Pacific countries have either signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. If he were to commit to the TPNW, I think it would send a great message to the region. The nuclear test legacy is a very serious issue in the Pacific and also for Aboriginal communities in Australia.”

During the Albanese government’s first year in office, Australia has taken some cautious steps to engage with the TPNW, including sending a backbencher as an observer to the first meeting of the parties in Vienna last June.

Australia followed that up by shifting its position at a UN committee in October to “abstain” after five years of actively opposing the treaty under the Coalition.

But Albanese and senior ministers have avoided giving a clear timetable for joining the TPNW………………………………


May 20, 2023 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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