Aust must sign Treaty on Nuclear Weapons – petition

On August 6th and 9th, it will be 75 years since atomic bombs were dropped, destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing ~210,000 civilians and leaving many more with shocking injuries, cancer and chronic disease.

Australia once led the world in pushing for disarmament but is now largely silent on the matter – timid in the face of American bravado. The Australian Democrats have always been anti-nuke!

ICAN is a small but highly effective organisation that won the Nobel Prize in 2017 for its work in establishing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This treaty will come into force if it is ratified by just 12 more countries.

81 countries have signed the treaty, 38 have ratified it so far, including New Zealand. Australia has done neither.

ICAN says this is an opportunity to take stock and take action. We agree. We suggest you sign and widely circulate our online petition below and we will forward it to the Senate.


The Honourable President and members of the Senate in the Parliament assembled: The petition of the undersigned shows concern at the risk to life on earth of the existence of almost 14,000 nuclear warheads, 90% of them held in the US (6,185) and Russia (6,490). We fear the gradual dismantling of treaties to contain nuclear weapons proliferation, the fact of nine nuclear weapons states currently investing in ‘modernisation’ of their nuclear arsenals and the accumulation of an unknown number of nuclear warheads acquired by states that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Your petitioners ask that the Senate urges the Australian Government to sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as 38 other countries have done. We ask that the Minister for Defence, Senator Reynolds, adopt an unequivocal stance in calling for nuclear weapons states to disarm.


Here’s what ICAN circulated to us:

We’re celebrating the 38th ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), thanks to Lesotho! After just 12 further ratifications it will enter into permanent legal force, entrenching the illegality and unacceptability of nuclear arms.

As you may be aware, the United States has recently discussed the resumption of nuclear testing. This continues an alarming trend to undermine or wreck nuclear arms control agreements including the Iran Deal, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty. ICAN co-founder Associate Professor Tilman Ruff AO has summarised the state of play in this article. Australia should be kicking up a fuss about these perilous developments, but it’s not. 

Our government’s credibility on nuclear disarmament can be regained by joining the global push to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons with the TPNW. Any use of nuclear weapons would catalyse a public health crisis, one which we can and must avoid. 

Our third monthly web-meet is coming up in a few days, discussing the Quit Nukes campaign to move money out of nuclear arms producers. Quit Nukes has so far recognised 4 super funds for their nuclear-weapon-free policies, including Future Super. Join Future Super’s Head of Impact, Emily Flood, and Jenny Grounds and Margaret Peril from Quit Nukes to learn more. 

June Justice web-meet: Quit Nukes

Monday 15th June at 6-7:30pm

Register here


The Democrats have argued long and loudly for a world free of nuclear weapons. My predecessor, former Senator Sid Spindler travelled to Tahiti in 1995 as a member of a group of anti-nuclear politicians protesting against the resumption of French nuclear testing on Muraroa Atoll.

I have worked with the survivors of nuclear bomb tests in France, the UK, US, NZ, Japan, Tahiti, Iran, Fiji, and in Australia at Maralinga, raising awareness of the awful mortality, ongoing sickness, and failure of nuclear weapons states to take responsibility for the damage done by their testing.

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