History is calling, Australia must answer

Apr 2, 2024 | News

Last week, myself and a fantastic team of ICAN representatives, led by by our visiting International Executive Director Melissa Parke, returned to Parliament House in Canberra, on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country, to talk with Australian parliamentarians about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). 

We had the opportunity to catch up with parliamentarians from across the political spectrum to speak about how growing nuclear risks, increased aggression from nuclear armed powers prosecuting war in Ukraine and Palestine, and the twin existential threats of nuclear war and climate change are critical issues that should make signing the TPNW a priority for Australia. 

The ICAN delegation met with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong to hand-deliver a joint petition with our partners at the Australian Conservation Foundation, urging Labor to keep their promise and join the treaty. With over 11,000 signatures, this petition is the biggest petition on the nuclear weapon ban treaty in Australia yet. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible!

It was a pleasure to gather with members of the Parliamentary Friends of the TPNW and hear from our Executive Director Melissa Parke, alongside ICAN’s Treaty Coordinator Tim Wright, to discuss how the TPNW is strengthening international disarmament architecture, and learn about the ways in which states that have joined it are progressing its implementation globally, and how they are working to seek justice for nuclear survivors.

New Report: History Is Calling! 

Whilst in Canberra, we launched our new report ‘History is Calling: Australia and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons’ which sets out in detail the case for Australia to join the global majority of nations in supporting the nuclear weapon ban treaty. 

It outlines how the treaty complements and strengthens other agreements, explains how the treaty is progressing on providing victim assistance and environmental remediation, gives an overview of Australia’s engagement with the TPNW to date, and much more!

In the news: The nuclear threat Australia is ignoring

In this week’s edition of The Saturday Paper our Executive Director Melissa Parke highlights  that the rising, existential danger of nuclear war makes it all the more important for Australia to get on the right side of history. 

“The Albanese government has an opportunity to leave a powerful legacy and help secure the future of all life on Earth. To do so, Australia must step out from under the shadow of the nuclear umbrella and sign the TPNW.”

Melissa Parke was also interviewed on ABC Afternoon Briefing with Greg Jennett and interviewed by Daniel Hurst, Foreign Affairs Reporter for the Guardian Australia, while in Parliament House.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is leading the way. It has set a new norm in international law that delegitimises and stigmatises the most destructive and inhumane weapons ever created. Together we will make sure that Australia answers the call, gets on the right side of history, and joins the Nuclear Ban!