Australia’s early ambitions to acquire an atomic arsenal ended when it joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1973. But it has not yet become a strong and consistent supporter of nuclear disarmament. Australia has resisted calls by civil society to join the vast majority of nations in supporting negotiations on a treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons, as the government believes that US nuclear weapons enhance Australia’s security.
Australia also contributes to global nuclear dangers through the export of uranium to most of the nuclear-armed nations. Safeguards offer only the illusion of protection against the diversion of Australian uranium for weapons production. Furthermore, many Australian financial institutions, including the government-owned Future Fund, invest in foreign companies that manufacture, maintain and modernise nuclear arsenals. It is time for Australia to end its complicity in the nuclear problem.