Thursday, 20 September 2018
Twenty cyclists undertook the Nobel Peace Ride, a 900-kilometre journey which echoed the legacy of ICAN, an organisation that started in 2006 in Carlton, Victoria, and has impacted political conversation in this country and indeed around the world. In 2017, ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 'for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty based prohibition of such weapons'.
The Federation of American Scientists estimated that there were 14,485 nuclear weapons in early 2018. In 1986, at their peak, there were approximately 70,000 warheads. While there has been significant progress in reducing Cold War arsenals, this reduction has slowed significantly, and that's a cause for concern. All of us want a safer world for us and our children and grandchildren, and we have seen in recent years the instability that emerges in global politics when nuclear threats arise. These threats not only shape geopolitics but create a climate of fear that permeates through to our own local communities.
But there are signs of change. Just yesterday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made a commitment to undertake active efforts to make the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. Whilst these talks will continue until 2021, it shows the steps that could be taken to ensure the safety of our world.
Thank you to ICAN, which promotes locally, nationally and internationally the importance of a world free of the threat of nuclear weapons. It is an example of Australian determination shaping international conversation. I congratulate all those who are associated with today's event and indeed those who have made such an extraordinary effort over the last two weeks to cycle here, to our national capital, from Melbourne.