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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 20 September 2018) . . Page.. 3915 ..


international law and has been signed by 60 countries and ratified by 15, including New Zealand.

It is based on the principles of international law that underpin the biological weapons convention of 1972, the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, the anti-personnel mine ban treaty of 1997, and the Convention on Cluster Mines of 2008. It closes a loophole, as prior to the treaty’s adoption nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a categorical ban, despite their catastrophic humanitarian consequences. The new treaty thus fills a major gap in international law.

The Australian government did not endorse the treaty, did not support the original motion to commence negotiations which led to the development of the treaty, and has not ratified the treaty since its creation. This is a failing of the Liberal-National coalition at the federal level.

Many of my territory Labor colleagues have also signed the ICAN pledge, including the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister and the Attorney-General. Many federal Labor members have signed it as well, including then-ACT Senator Katy Gallagher, the shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus MP, Linda Burney MP, Mark Butler MP and other members of Labor’s shadow ministry.

In signing the pledge, parliamentarians warmly welcome the adoption of the UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons on 7 July 2017 as a significant step towards the realisation of a nuclear weapon-free world. The pledge states that we share a deep concern about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons and we recognise the consequent need to eliminate these inhumane and abhorrent weapons.

As parliamentarians, signatories pledge to work for the signature and ratification of the landmark treaty by our respective countries and we consider the abolition of nuclear weapons to be a public good of the highest order and an essential step to promote the security and wellbeing of all peoples.

As the Deputy Chief Minister has said, it may seem to some that the Legislative Assembly is going beyond its remit by tackling issues of nuclear disarmament and the horrors of future war. These are weighty issues certainly. But our position as legislators speaks to our values as elected representatives and members of the broader community.

The way in which ICAN has developed a model of collaborative activism, gaining support from across the non-government sector, working with elected representatives and raising awareness in the community has been a resounding success. Not many other Australian-based community campaigns can say that they have swayed the United Nations into supporting changes in international law.

I congratulate ICAN again on its well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize and I look forward to one day seeing the Australian government sign up to the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. We all want to see a better and more peaceful world for our families and our communities.


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