Who we are
We are leading the movement for Australia to end its disarmament doublespeak by signing and ratifying the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. We are proudly independent, non-partisan and funded by donations from our community of supporters.
While our organisation is made up of a voluntary board, ambassadors and a small staff team, the success of the campaign rests on a broad-based movement for change involving a diversity of people and groups. Everyone has something to contribute.
A Kokatha woman who lives in Ceduna in South Australia, Sue Coleman-Haseldine is a nuclear test survivor and outspoken advocate of Aboriginal culture and environmental protection. She was a child at Koonibba Mission when the British carried out nuclear testing at Emu Field and Maralinga in the 1950s and 60s. In 2014, she travelled overseas for the first time to tell 150 governments about the effects of nuclear testing on Aboriginal land, culture and people at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.
Sue is a Co-President of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance and was awarded the South Australian Premier’s award for excellence in Indigenous leadership in 2007 and the 2018 Jill Hudson Award for environmental protection.
Sue participated in a national speaking tour, ‘Black Mist White Rain’, highlighting the humanitarian impacts of nuclear testing, in April 2016. She delivered a statement during the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty negotiating conference at the United Nations in March 2017 and attended the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony for ICAN in Oslo in December that year.
Karina Lester is a Yankunytjatjara-Anangu woman who grew up on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands) in South Australia. Her father, the late Yankunytjatjara elder Yami Lester, was blinded by the ‘black mist’ fallout from the Totem 1 nuclear test at Emu Field in 1953.
The Lester family has been a stalwart of nuclear resistance for decades. Karina works with the University of Adelaide’s Mobile Language Team as the Aboriginal Co-Manager and Language Worker, co-hosting the Nganampa Wangka radio show on Radio Adelaide about South Australian Aboriginal languages.
Karina attended the 2015 World Nuclear Victims Forum in Hiroshima, Japan and spoke about the consequences of British nuclear testing on her family and Aboriginal people more broadly. Along with her sister, Kunmanara Lester, she travelled with the national Black Mist White Rain speaking tour in April 2016, highlighting the humanitarian impacts of nuclear testing in Australia and the Pacific.
Karina and Kunmanara spoke at the women’s marches to “ban the bomb” in New York and Sydney, respectively, in June 2017. Karina delivered an Indigenous statement to the negotiating conference for the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on behalf of 35 First Nations organisations. The statement helped to enshrine the rights of victims and impacted environments in the final agreement, as well as recognising the disproportionate impacts of nuclear weapon activities on Indigenous people worldwide.
Scott Ludlam is a writer, activist and former Australian Senator representing the Australian Greens. He served in Parliament from 2008 – 2017, and as Co-Deputy Leader of his party from 2015 – 2017. Scott held the nuclear issues portfolio for nine years, during which time he contributed to campaigns on uranium mining, waste dumping and nuclear weapons. He is currently an occasional columnist for The Guardian and The Monthly, and his first book on ecology, technology and politics will be published in 2020.
He is a long-term supporter of ICAN, co-hosting the Western Australian launch in 2007 and travelling to New York in 2017 for the final session of the ban treaty negotiations. He delivered a statement to the negotiating conference on the day before the Treaty’s adoption.
Melissa Parke is a former Federal Labor member for Fremantle, former Minister for International Development and former United Nations lawyer. She has degrees in business, law and public international (human rights) law. Melissa is a patron of the Tom Uren Memorial Fund, which supports the work of ICAN.
Robert has been campaigning against nuclear weapons since he was in his early 20s, firstly as an activist in the environmental movement and then as a Federal Labor MP where he was the convenor of Labor Parliamentarians for a nuclear-free Australia.
Robert was Australia’s longest serving Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, before spending a decade as the CEO of Australian Red Cross. During that time he spoke on behalf of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Federation at the three international humanitarian conferences in Norway, Mexico and Austria, which led to the negotiation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Robert is a patron of the Tom Uren Memorial Fund and advocates tirelessly for Australia to sign and ratify the Treaty.
Vale Kunmanara Lester
Kunmanara Lester was an ICAN Ambassador, along with her sister Karina Lester, until her passing in June 2021. Rose worked as a translator and interpreter, with a passion for preserving and sharing traditional language. A tribute page detailing more of her activisim is coming soon.
Dr Margaret Beavis (Co-Chair)
Margaret Beavis is a general practitioner with a strong interest in public health. She teaches at Melbourne University and is the immediate past president of the Medical Association for Prevention of War.
Associate Professor Marianne Hanson (Co-Chair)
Associate Professor Marianne Hanson gained her Masters and Doctoral degrees in International Relations at Oxford University, where she focused on international security issues, especially the East-West conflict, strategic studies, and arms control. She has lectured at the University of Queensland for the past 24 years; prior to this appointment, she was a Stipendiary Lecturer at Magdalen College, Oxford University. Between 2000 and 2005, she served on the Australian government’s advisory panel on international security.
Dr Hanson joined the ICAN Australia board in 2019.
Jessica Lawson (Secretary)
Jessica has been involved with ICAN since 2013. She has a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of International Relations. She recently completed a Master’s thesis that examined the prospect of middle power states and non state actors bringing about negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, despite nuclear weapon states undermining any effort to do so.
Dr Marcus Yip (Treasurer)
Marcus is currently an advanced trainee registrar with the Australian College of Emergency Medicine. He also has a Bachelor of Biomedical Science with Honours and has previously served as Student Representative for the Medical Association for Prevention of War.
Dimity Hawkins AM
Dimity has over two and a half decades of experience in the civil society sector working as an advocate on issues of nuclear disarmament and broader social, environmental and human rights activism. She was a co-founder of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN). Dimity is currently a PhD candidate at Swinburne University in Melbourne, with a project focusing on nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific. She has a degree in Politics and Public Policy with first class Honours.
Dimity was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2019 Queens Birthday Honours for “significant service to the global community as an advocate for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.”
Dr Daryl Le Cornu
Daryl is a lecturer, curriculum consultant and textbook writer. He has many years experience teaching and designing curriculum for history and legal studies in government schools. He is currently Co-Vice President of the NSW Division of the United Nations Association of Australia and a member of the Academic Council of the United Nations.
Dr Tilman Ruff AO
Tilman Ruff is a public health and infectious diseases physician, associate professor at the University of Melbourne, international medical advisor for Australian Red Cross, Co-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (Nobel Peace Prize 1985), and founding international and Australian chair of ICAN.
Dave Sweeney has been active in the uranium mining and nuclear debate for over three decades through his work with the media, trade unions and environment groups on mining, resource and Indigenous issues. Dave is a founding member of ICAN and also leads the Australian Conservation Foundation’s national nuclear free campaign.
Dr Sue Wareham OAM
Sue Wareham is a retired GP and President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War. She has played an active part in the peace and anti-nuclear movement since the 1980s, and was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia. She was one of the founding members of ICAN.
Talei Luscia Mangioni
Fijian-Italian PhD candidate at the School of Culture, History and Language at the Australian National University.
Talei joined the board in 2021.
Dr Ruth Mitchell
Ruth Mitchell in a neurosurgeon and a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne. She was the 2019 winner of the John Corboy Medal from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons for her advocacy for diversity and inclusion in surgery, and was the inaugural Australian Medical Association Doctor in Training of the Year in 2016. She has previously served as Deputy Chair of the Board of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and Vice President of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War. Twitter/Instagram @drruthmitchell.
Previous board members
ICAN Australia wishes to acknowledge the advice and assistance of previous Board members, from the first meeting in May 2006 to the present day, in alphabetical order:
Tim Wright (Treaty Coordinator)
Tim Wright is ICAN’s Treaty Coordinator. He is a member of the international staff team and has been involved in the campaign since 2006. He has degrees in law and arts from the University of Melbourne.
Gem Romuld (Australian Director)
Gem Romuld is the Australian Director for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, building awareness and pressure for Australia to sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. She has been a nuclear-free campaigner for a decade, with six years’ experience producing radio. Gem has degrees in Communications and Law from the University of Technology, Sydney and is based in Wollongong.
Jemila Rushton (Campaigner)
Leila Mutapcic (Bookkeeper/Administration)
ICAN Australia wishes to acknowledge the contributions of our staff and special project workers since the campaign began, in alphabetical order: