Monday, 26 October 2020
Statements by Members
It is a momentous achievement that the nuclear weapon ban treaty yesterday achieved its 50th ratification, which means it will come into force in January. At a time when global cooperation in the cause of peace and shared wellbeing is both necessary and at risk, this milestone is a cause for celebration. I pay special tribute to the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, ICAN, which was born here in Australia. I say to every campaigner who rallies, marches, writes to politicians, paints banners, and stands out in the cold first thing in the morning on the approach to Parliament House and holds up the symbol of a broken nuclear missile: thank you for your commitment, energy and strength of purpose.
I was glad to be a small part of the work at Labor's national conference in 2018 that saw a commitment to sign and ratify the ban treaty through progress to address its interaction with the NPT and build wider international support. Australia should be focused and proactive in that work. In the past we've been a leader in pursuing nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. We've let that mantle slip. We need to take it up again.
I am 100 per cent a nuclear realist. The only way to ensure that we avoid nuclear devastation is to see the abolition of nuclear weapons. Every normative and every practical step we take in that direction is hard-won, precious and vital.