- The Guardian
- Issue #2033
As the threat of war continues to loom as tensions rise in Europe, it is the responsibility of every state – to deter as much as humanly possible – the start of another potential world war.
This begins by making firm commitments against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Unfortunately, the Albanese government has failed to do that.
While under the Coalition, Australia was opposed to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) but under an Albanese government many expected Australia’s position to change. It did, but not to the position many had anticipated.
Anthony Albanese has been on the record of supporting Treaty for years. In 2018, at a Labor conference he moved a motion that committed the party to signing and ratifying the Treaty when it came into government, stating that “Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created.”
However, last month, when it came to vote on the annual resolution on the Treaty at the UN in New York, Australia abstained. While cited by many, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) (Australia), as an “important step forward” it is disappointing given that the decision to ratify the Treaty as been a part of Labor’s platform as recently as 2021.
Speaking on the positive aspects of the decision, ICAN stated that:
“ICAN looks forward to a formal decision by the Albanese government to sign and ratify the TPNW – in line with its pre-election pledge. The overwhelming majority of Australians support joining this treaty, and progress towards disarmament is more urgent than ever.”
A spokesperson for Foreign Minister Penny Wong stated that:
“Labor’s 2021 National Platform committed to signing and ratifying the TPNW after taking into account the need to ensure an effective verification and enforcement architecture, ensure the interaction of the TPNW with the Non-Proliferation Treaty and achieve universal support.”
The US was less than impressed with Australia’s decision and has warned against ratifying the Treaty, with the US Embassy in Canberra stating that:
“While the United States understands and shares the desire to advance nuclear disarmament goals, we do not support the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons,” a spokesperson for the US embassy told Guardian Australia.
“The United States does not believe that progress toward nuclear disarmament can be decoupled from the prevailing security threats in today’s world.”
This is typical rhetoric from the world’s leading imperialist state and, if Australia was to sign the treaty, would mark a threat to their presence in the region which is of immense strategic importance.
However, nuclear disarmament is important and must be carried out. There is zero justification for their use, given their lasting impact to destroy generations of lives. Australia MUST ratify the Treaty next year!