MEDIA RELEASE: Independents pressure Australia on nuclear ban treaty ahead of UN meeting

Nov 24, 2023 | News

MEDIA RELEASE: Independents pressure Australia on nuclear ban treaty ahead of UN meeting

November 24th, 2023

11 independent parliamentarians have issued a public call on the Prime Minister to keep Labor’s promise to sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, ahead of the treaty’s Second Meeting of States Parties on 27 November – 1 December in New York.

The letter, which is signed by Kate Chaney MP, Zoe Daniel MP, Dr. Helen Haines MP, Senator David Pocock, Dr. Monique Ryan MP, Dr. Sophie Scamps MP, Allegra Spender MP, Zali Steggall OAM MP, Senator Lidia Thorpe, Kylea Tink MP, and Andrew Wilkie MP, states that “nuclear weapons do not promote security, they undermine it. We don’t accept the everlasting presence of these weapons.” They “urge the Government to advance its signature and ratification of the Ban Treaty without delay, to bring Australia in line with our South-East Asian and Pacific island neighbours.”

In regards to the letter, Federal Member for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel MP, said: “Voters supported Labor at the election, believing in good faith that they would implement their platform. 

“Signing and ratifying was Labor Party policy before the election and has been reaffirmed since.

“In the most perilous times since the height of the Cold War this treaty is needed more than ever; voters want it and so do the vulnerable nations of the Pacific whose backyards were used for nuclear testing without their permission.

“Look at what Labor does, not what it says.”

Australia will attend the Second Meeting of States Parties as an observer, with a parliamentary head of delegation, after attending the first Meeting of States Parties in June 2022. It is expected that several states, including Indonesia, will ratify the treaty during the meeting, bolstering universalisation efforts. Around 100 countries will attend, along with over 400 civil society delegates. 

Gem Romuld, ICAN Australia Director, welcomed the independents’ statement and Australia’s attendance at the meeting, but said the Albanese Government must do more, in line with their policy platform to sign and ratify the treaty. 

“We welcome the Australian government’s engagement with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, but observing meetings isn’t enough. There is clearly broad support for signing on to this treaty in the Australian Parliament, as indicated by the independents’ statement to the PM.

“Labor needs to make good on their promise to join the majority of our South East Asian and Pacific neighbours and sign and ratify the TPNW. We hope that Australia’s attendance at this meeting will spur efforts towards this urgent goal.”

Romuld is joining the international ICAN delegation at the meeting, including Yankunytjatjara-Anangu woman and second-generation nuclear test survivor Karina Lester, and current ICAN Executive Director, former Labor MP Melissa Parke.