Australian Labor Party commits to joining Nuclear Ban Treaty

December 18, 2018

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) applauds the Australian Labor Party for committing to sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons when in government.

The policy commitment took place at the 2018 Labor Conference, where party members voted in favour of MP Anthony Albanese’s resolution setting out that Labor, in government, would sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Gem Romuld, Australian Director of ICAN, applauded this move as “a major breakthrough that heralds a more constructive Australian approach to nuclear disarmament. The treaty is our best hope for making meaningful progress in eliminating the world’s worst weapons. The current government has opposed this treaty based on its misguided belief that US nuclear weapons keep us safe. But we are confident that the next government will stand on the right side of history by joining the treaty.”

Karina Lester, Yankunytjatjara-Anangu second-generation nuclear test survivor said “My homelands were poisoned by nuclear weapons testing and decades later, we are still feeling the impacts. Labor’s commitment is an important step forward in ensuring no one ever has to suffer under the mushroom cloud again.”

The move also reflects the broad support for the Nuclear Ban Treaty among Labor’s base. Since the treaty was adopted in July 2017, 78 per cent of federal Labor parliamentarians have pledged to work for Australia’s signature and ratification of the landmark agreement. Their endorsement built momentum for today’s platform commitment. The trade union movement has also rallied behind the treaty, and other influential supporters include Australian Red Cross, the Australian Medical Association, the National Council of Churches, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and major environmental and humanitarian organisations. Finally, an Ipsos poll in November showed that <strong>83 per cent of Labor voters want the next Labor government to sign up to the treaty</strong>

As Romuld puts it: “For most Australians, this is a no-brainer. Nuclear weapons are never an acceptable means of defence. This is the next step in nuclear disarmament, entirely compatible with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the US Alliance. Australia has taken a firm humanitarian stand against landmines and chemical weapons. Now we must do the same for the most indiscriminate and destructive weapons of all.”

Watch the full presentation of the resolution here:



  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • sheen

    “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

  • bankimoon

    “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

    Ban Ki-moon Former UN chief

  • yokoono

    “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

    Yoko Ono Artist

  • jodywilliams

    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

  • desmondtutu

    “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

  • herbiehancock

    “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

    Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

  • dalailama

    “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate