Will our Nobel peace prize convince Australia to give up nuclear weapons? via The Guardian

America’s vast nuclear arsenal has for decades protected Australia against attack and guaranteed our prosperity. This dangerous, misguided belief forms the basis of Australian government policy on nuclear weaponry. It incites proliferation and undermines disarmament.

And it denies us any credibility or moral authority in demanding that North Koreaabandons its nuclear ambitions. If a nation as geographically secure as our own requires nuclear protection, why not one in a much more volatile part of the world?

Proclaiming the virtues of nuclear weapons while voicing support for their total elimination does not make sound and convincing foreign policy.


Atomic bombs do not distinguish between combatants and civilians. They incinerate and irradiate human beings indiscriminately and on a massive scale. And now, like other inherently indiscriminate, inhumane weapons of war, they have at last been deemed illegal.

Our Melbourne-born campaign, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, was awarded this year’s Nobel peace prize in recognition of our role in achieving the treaty and efforts to draw attention to the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of nuclear weapons.

The Australian government, at the behest of the United States, boycotted the UN-mandated negotiations that led to the treaty’s adoption. Never before had we failed to join a multilateral disarmament process.


Rather than siding with the nuclear powers as they hold the world to ransom, Australia should stand with the great majority of nations in insisting that there are no right hands for wrong weapons. It should help establish a powerful global norm against the bomb.

The new treaty sets the same standard for all. It recognises that, if we are to succeed in curbing the spread of nuclear weapons to countries like North Korea, we must also do something to address the 15,000 warheads that already exist across the globe.


By opposing the most promising UN disarmament initiative in decades, and by promoting nuclear weapons as legitimate and essential instruments for defence, the Australian government is recklessly undermining our collective security.

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