How we celebrated

Jan 28, 2021 | News

Across Australia, the birthplace of ICAN, the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was celebrated loudly along with a clear call for the federal government to sign and ratify without delay. Worldwide, more than 150 actions and gatherings created an undeniable wave of dissent to nuclear weapons and all who wield, build or support them.

The movement for the ban gathered online and at events in every Australian state and territory. We heard the powerful words of First Nations nuclear test survivors, unionists, parliamentarians, ambassadors, councillors, activists, medical professionals, poets and peacemakers. A wide array of civil society organisations joined the call for Australia to get in line with international law.

These are some of the highlights:

  • More than 100 people joined a celebratory morning webinar hosted by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, featuring nuclear test survivor Aunty Sue Coleman-Haseldine, Terri Butler MP, Bishop Philip Huggins and Dimity Hawkins AM.
  • In Sydney a 7m tall inflatable nuclear missile declared nuclear weapons “ILLEGAL” in the city’s centre, a likely nuclear target.
  • In Melbourne the Medical Association for Prevention of War gathered, scrubs and all, in Federation Square with a statement to Health Minister, Hon Greg Hunt MP, signed by more than 340 medical professionals and organisations representing over 500,000 health professionals. Signatories include the Australian College for Emergency Medicine, Australian College of Nursing and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
  • The Treaty Enforcement Squad, coordinated by the ACE Collective, toured Australian super funds that have investments in nuclear arms producing companies.
  • Adelaide rallied and marched for the treaty, with speeches from Mark Parnell MLC and Steve Georganas MP, organised by MAPW’s Dr Amanda Ruler.
  • Mayors for Peace Fremantle hosted a gathering to hear the testimony of Hiroshima survivor Mr Ito.
  • Fremantle ban-champions watched the sun go down on nuclear weapons at an evening event, featuring ICAN Ambassador Melissa Parke and Public Health Association of Australia’s Tarun Weeramanthri.
  • The City of Hobart hosted a celebratory reception at the Town Hall, thanks to Mayor Anna Reynolds.
  • The Tom Uren Memorial Fund hosted a webinar featuring Labor leader Anthony Albanese MP, the ICRC’s Dr Helen Durham and the Costa Rican Ambassador to Australia, Mr Armando Vargas-Araya, chaired by Robert Tickner AO.
  • Parliamentarians, diplomats and activists gathered in Canberra to celebrate and ring the Rotary Peace Bell on the shores of Lake Burley Griffen.
  • The Alice Springs Peace Action Think Tank hosted a film screening of the 1982 film Paul Newman film “Fat Man and Little Boy” at the Alice Springs Cinema.
  • The Australian Labor Party’s Anthony Albanese MP and Senator Penny Wong issued a statement welcoming the entry into force of the treaty and reaffirming Labor’s policy to sign and ratify in government.
  • Australian Lawyers for Human Rights released a statement calling on Australia to join the treaty.
  • The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Commission for Social Justice wrote to the Prime Minister, urging him to join the treaty.
  • The Australian Red Cross disseminated a new action-based website for supporters of the treaty.
  • Dozens of parliamentarians, unions, councillors and civil society organisations took to social media, sharing videos, statements and images to welcome the treaty’s entry into force.

Some images of Australian events can be found here, and international events here.

With the treaty now in force, it will be harder for anyone to claim a legitimate role for nuclear weapons. They have always been immoral, and now they are illegal under international law.

Please consider a donation to ICAN Australia’s general fund or the Tom Uren Memorial Fund to support our work in 2021.



25.01.21  ‘Everybody’s got something at stake’: the push for Australia to sign historic treaty The Courier – Hayley Elg

24.01.21  ACT politicians join calls for Australia to sign nuclear ban treaty Canberra Times – Jasper Lindell

24.01.21  Calls for Australian commitment to anti-nuclear treaty City Hub – Allison Hore

22.01.21  WHO worries that Melbourne University’s links to arms industry will threaten joint medical research The Guardian – Paul Daley

22.01.21  51 ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, but not Australia PM, ABC Radio National – Karina Lester

22.01.21  Nuclear weapons treaty Breakfast, Radio Adelaide – Dave Sweeney

22.01.21  Nuclear weapons are now banned: meet one of the doctors who helped make it happen Medic Guild – Ruth Mitchell

22.01.21  Australia, China, Russia, U.S. all refuse to sign UN Nuclear Prohibition treaty ABC NewsRadio – Tilman Ruff

22.01.21  The nuclear weapons ban treaty is groundbreaking, even if the nuclear powers haven’t signed The Conversation – Tilman Ruff

22.01.21  Immoral, Inhumane, and Now Illegal Australian Outlook – Marianne Hanson

21.01.21  Addressing the Humanitarian and Environmental Consequences of Atmospheric Nuclear Weapon Tests: A Case Study of UK and US Test Programs at Kiritimati (Christmas) and Malden Islands, Republic of Kiribati Global Policy- Dimity Hawkins et al

18.01.21  Nuclear weapons ban treaty: more than a symbolic victory Croakey – Sue Wareham

Image: the Medical Assocation for Prevention of War, ICAN and the ACE Collective’s Treaty Enforcement Squad at Federation Square, Naarm. Photo by Jessie Boylan.