AUKUS: Action is the antidote to despair

Mar 30, 2023 | News

With the announcement to procure three US-made Virginia-class submarines while it builds up to eight nuclear-powered submarines of its own as part of the AUKUS joint defence agreement with the United States and United Kingdom, Australia has confirmed a radical shift away from a proud history as a non-nuclear state, assuming a position of provocation that is out of step with the expectations of our regional neighbours, and with a price tag far beyond acceptable to the Australian public. 

We know that many within the Australian Labor Party do not support the AUKUS proposal, and it has not been agreed to by the caucus. Despite this, the Albanese Labor Government has wasted a year of opportunity to review this rushed and undemocratic deal announced by the Morrison Government only 18 months ago.   

While Australia claims to uphold the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty as the cornerstone of our contribution to the nuclear disarmament landscape, Australia has committed to the exploitation of a loophole that will irrecoverably break down the legitimacy of safeguards regimes at the heart of this treaty, to pursue a deal which supports nuclear cooperation between the USA and the UK that will pave the way for more states to pursue proliferation efforts.

These nuclear-powered submarines, and their bases, will become high priority targets for conventional or nuclear attack. The use of these submarines in the support of the US in a war in northeast Asia further poses an alarming risk of any such war escalating to use of nuclear weapons.

If, like many of us, you are feeling infuriated by the $368 billion dollar commitment to nuclear militarism, in the face of many other global challenges, then it’s time to get organised!


Email your MP:

As the Australian Government pursues nuclear submarines under AUKUS, it’s even more important that it commits to rejecting nuclear weapons by signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Support for nuclear submarines is not unanimous in the federal Parliament, and support for joining the nuclear weapon ban is high.

Your MP needs to hear from you, to have the mandate to push for progress on joining the ban. Email your MP today.

If you’re a member of the ALP, raise a motion with your local branch calling for swift action on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

As the Australian Government pursues nuclear submarines under AUKUS, it’s even more important that it commits to rejecting nuclear weapons by signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Click here to download a suggested motion of support to bring to your local Labor branch.

Labor members can change the wording of what they want to propose, including specific reference to the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal. 

See Labor’s history of support for the TPNW here


Join the Movement:

The Australian Anti-AUKUS Coalition (AAAC) is calling for a united front against AUKUS, nuclear submarines, a broad movement for peace and a nuclear-free Australia.
Contact: info@antiaukuscoalition.org

The Medical Association for the prevention of War (MAPW) aims to reduce the physical and psychological impact, as well as environmental effect of wars throughout the world. MAPW has branches in every State and Territory in Australia.
Contact: mapw@mapw.org.au

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is a feminist peace-building organisation of volunteer activists, anti-war, non-profit, and non-aligned.
Contact: wilpfaustralia@wilpf.org.au

The Friends of the Earth Nuclear Free Collective (Melbourne) researchs, educates and actively campaigns on nuclear issues to protect people and the environment from damage by the nuclear industry.
Contact: nuclearfree@foe.org.au

Psychologists for Peace (PFP) are an Interest Group of the Australian Psychological Society. Its members are psychologists, and others, who are concerned about the prevalence of war and conflict in our world and are interested in applying their professional skills to issues relating to promoting peace and preventing war.
Contact: membergroups@psychology.org.au

Wollongong Against War and Nukes (WAWAN) are a local group organising to keep the Illawarra peaceful and Port Kembla free of nuclear submarines.

Contact: Facebook page.

See a full list of ICAN Partner organisations, here.


  • Tuesday 4 April at 12pm, Wollongong NSW: Protest the Illawarra Defence Industry Conference at Novotel Wollongong. Hosted by Wollongong Against War and Nukes.
  • Saturday 29 April at 2pm, Port Kembla NSW: Community Forum on the nuclear submarine base proposal at the Port Kembla Community Centre. Hosted by Wollongong Against War and Nukes.
  • Saturday 6 May at 12pm, Port Kembla NSW: May Day March in Port Kembla, Wentworth St. Hosted by the South Coast Labour Council.
  • To add more, email australia@icanw.org