Federal Parliament - Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

December 08, 2020

Dr ALY: Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created, both in the scale of devastation they cause and in their uniquely persistent spreading of genetically damaging radioactive fallout. They are unlike any other weapons. The mere mention of the words 'nuclear weapons' is universally understood as holding grave danger. Last week, we saw the 85th state ratification of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. On 22 January next year, the treaty will enter into force and, at that point, nuclear weapons, like chemical and biological weapons, the other weapons of mass destruction, will become illegal under international law. The treaty prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using—or threatening to use—nuclear weapons or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.

According to at least one poll, around 79 per cent of Australians support a prohibition on nuclear weapons and we've made tremendous progress towards eliminating other indiscriminate and inhumane weapons. We can no longer be a proxy to the devastation and threat that nuclear weapons pose. It's time for the Australian government to reflect the moral position of the Australian people and sign the UN treaty. Our children deserve this.