Australia

Nuclear-Weapons-Endorser

Did not participate in TPNW negotiations

Has not yet joined the TPNW

Australia did not participate in the negotiation of the treaty at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and thus did not vote on its adoption. 

Australia has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The treaty is incompatible with Australia’s ongoing support for the retention and potential use of US nuclear weapons on its behalf, as indicated in various policy statements, including its defence white paper of 2016 and its foreign policy white paper of 2017.

The Liberal–National government of Australia has said that it cannot support the treaty because it “seeks to delegitimise extended deterrence”.

However, the main opposition political party, the Australian Labor Party, adopted a resolution in December 2018 committing it to sign and ratify the treaty in government. Anthony Albanese, who proposed the resolution and now leads the party, said: “Our commitment to sign and ratify the nuclear weapon ban treaty in government is Labor at its best.” 

Most Labor parliamentarians have also individually pledged to work towards this goal.

The councils of several Australian cities, including Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney, have called on the Australian government to sign and ratify the treaty.

A public opinion poll conducted by Ipsos in November 2018 found that 79 per cent of Australians believe that their government should sign the treaty, with 8 per cent opposed to signing and 13 per cent undecided.

Australia voted against a UN General Assembly resolution in 2018 that welcomed the adoption of the treaty and called upon “all states that have not yet done so to sign, ratify, accept, approve, or accede to the treaty at the earliest possible date”.

On the opening day of the negotiating conference, it joined the United States and several other states in protesting the treaty-making process.

In 2016, Australia voted against the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence the negotiations in 2017 on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

Earlier that year, it had attempted to derail a UN working group on nuclear disarmament in Geneva, which adopted a report recommending that negotiations commence on the treaty.

Despite Australia’s ongoing support for the retention and potential use of US nuclear weapons on its behalf, it is a state party to the 1985 Treaty of Rarotonga, which establishes the South Pacific as a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

From 1952 to 1963, the British government, with the active involvement of the Australian government, conducted 12 nuclear test explosions and up to 600 so-called “minor trials” in the South Australian desert and off the Western Australian coast.

Radioactive contamination from the tests and trials was detected across much of the continent. Little was done to protect the 16,000 or so test site workers, and even less to protect nearby Aboriginal communities.Two representatives of those communities, Sue Coleman-Haseldine and Karina Lester, testified at the treaty negotiations in 2017 about the devastating long-term harm from the tests and trials. In large part due to their advocacy, the preamble to the treaty recognises “the disproportionate impact of nuclear-weapon activities on indigenous peoples”.

Find a local ICAN partner to get active Become an ICAN Partner Organization ›

  • Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement

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  • Act for Peace

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  • Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia

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  • Anglican Diocese of Gippsland

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  • Architects for Peace

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  • Arid Lands Environment Centre

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  • Association of Women Educators (AWE)

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  • Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

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  • Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies

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  • The Australian Conservation Foundation

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  • Australian Council of Trade Unions 

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  • Australian Democrats

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  • Australian Education Union (Victoria)

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  • Australia Education Union

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  • Australian Federation of Graduate Women

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  • Australian Greens 

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  • Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (Victoria)

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  • Australian Nuclear Free Alliance 

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  • Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation

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  • Australian Peace Committee

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  • Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN)

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  • The Baptist Union of Victoria

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  • Beyond Nuclear Initiative

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  • Canberra Region Anti-Nuclear Campaign

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  • Catholics in Coalition for Justice and Peace

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  • The Campaign for International Co-operation and Disarmament 

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  • Climate Landcare Environment Action Network

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  • Conservation Council of the South East Region and Canberra 

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  • Conservation Council of South Australia 

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  • Council of Australian Humanist Societies

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  • Dulwich Centre Foundation 

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  • Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education

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  • Footprints for Peace

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  • Fremantle Anti-Nuclear Group

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  • Friends of the Earth (Australia)

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  • Greenpeace Australia Pacific

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  • Householders' Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE) Inc.

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  • Human Survival Project 
  • Hunter Peace Group

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  • ICAN Australia 

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  • Independent and Peaceful Australia Network

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  • International Volunteers for Peace Incorporated

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  • Just Peace Old Inc

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  • The Maritime Union of Australia (Victorian Branch)

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  • Marrickville Peace Group

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  • Medical Association for Prevention of War

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  • The National Tertiary Education Union

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  • Network of Immigration and Refugee Women of Australia

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  • Newcastle Bike Ecology Centre

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  • No Waste Alliance

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  • Oxfam Australia

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  • Pax Christi Australia

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  • People for Nuclear Disarmament

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  • Presse 
  • Psychologists for Peace

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  • Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) 

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  • Australian Rail, Tram and Bus Union (Victoria Branch, Rail Division)

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  • SafeGround

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  • The Search Foundation

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  • Social Policy Connections 

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  • Social Responsibilities Commission, Anglican Province of Western Australia

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  • Soka Gakkai International, Australia

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  • Spirit of Eureka

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  • Student Pugwash Australia

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  • Sunshine Coast Environment Council

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  • UnionsACT

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  • Unions Western Australia 

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  • United Nations Association of Australia

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  • United Nations Youth Australia

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  • Uniting Church of Australia (Vic/Tas Synod), Justice and International Mission Unit

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  • Uniting Church in Western Australia, Social Justice Board

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  • Uniting Church in Australia National Assembly

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  • The Union of Australian Women (UAW)

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  • Victorian Trades Hall Council

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  • The Wilderness Society

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  • Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Australia)

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  • 3CR Community Radio 

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  • Conservation Council SA Inc 

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  • Alice Springs Peace Action Think Tank (ASPATT) 

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Get involved with ICAN in Australia ›

 

ICAN began in Australia. Read more about ICAN's Australian origins here 

ICAN Australia is coordinating the campaign for Australia to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

 

ICAN Parliamentary Appeal

These elected Parliamentarians in Australia have pledged to support and promote the TPNW:

Federal Parliament

→ Anthony Albanese MP

→ Anne Aly MP

→ Tim Ayres Senator 

→ Adam Bandt MP

→ Julia Banks MP*

→ Andrew Bartlett Senator *

→ Catryna Bilyk Senator 

→ Sharon Bird MP

→ Chris Bowen MP

→ Carol Brown Senator 

→ Tony Burke MP

→ Linda Burney MP

→ Josh Burns MP

→ Mark Butler MP

→ Terri Butler MP

→ Anthony Byrne MP

→ Doug Cameron Senator *

→ Kim Carr Senator 

→ Nick Champion MP

→ Lisa Chesters MP

→ Anthony Chisholm Senator 

→ Sharon Claydon MP

→ Libby Coker MP

→ Jacinta Collins Senator *

→ Julie Collins MP

→ Pat Conroy MP

→ Sam Dastyari Senator*

→ Richard Di Natale Senator 

→ Patrick Dodson Senator 

→ Mark Dreyfus MP

→ Justine Elliot MP

→ Kate Ellis MP*

→ Warren Entsch MP

→ Mehreen Faruqi Senator 

→ Joel Fitzgibbon MP

→ Mike Freelander MP

→ Katy Gallagher Senator 

→ Steve Georganas MP

→ Andrew Giles MP

→ Patrick Gorman MP

→ Stirling Griff Senator 

→ Helen Haines MP

→ Sarah Hanson-Young Senator 

→ Ross Hart MP*

→ Chris Hayes MP

→ Julian Hill MP

→ Emma Husar MP*

→ Ed Husic MP

→ Stephen Jones MP

→ Skye Kakoschke-Moore Senator *

→ Ged Kearney MP

→ Justine Keay MP*

→ Mike Kelly MP

For the full list of Australian MPs at state level that have taken the Parliamentary pledge on ICAN Australia's website

ICAN Cities Appeal

The ICAN Cities Appeal was born in Australia. These are the cities, towns and states across Australia that support the TPNW and have called on the government to join the Treaty:  

→ Augusta Margaret-River, WA

→ Ballina Shire, NSW

→ Bayside, NSW

→ Benalla, VIC

→ Blue Mountains, NSW

→ Canberra, ACT

→ Cockburn, NSW

→ Darebin, VIC

→ Fremantle, WA

→ Hobart, TAS

→ Inner West, NSW

→ Lismore, NSW

→ Melbourne, VIC

→ Moreland, VIC

→ Newcastle, NSW

→ Randwick, NSW

→ Sydney, NSW

→ Shellharbour, NSW

→ Wollongong, NSW

→ Yarra, VIC

→ Yarra Ranges, VIC

To get your city or local council on board, visit ICAN Australia's website