Nuclear Double Speak - Letter Canberra Times - Tuesday 31 October 2017

David Wroe's article on nuclear instability ("Unstable days as nuclear club fall out", October28, Forum, p4) quotes a former long-serving Pentagon official, who describes the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as "hopelessly quixotic". This is the equivalent of asking a tobacco company about cigarette taxes.

However, last year, the US government revealed its true assessment in a (leaked) letter sent to all NATO states. The US expressed major concern about the effectiveness of such a treaty. 

Over the past few decades, human error or technical glitches have brought us to the edge of nuclear war on numerous occasions. The brinkmanship and instability of Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump are in their own right a  clear argument for ridding the world of these, the worst "weapons of mass destruction".

The treaty puts nuclear weapons on the same legal footing as chemical and biological weapons. It will take time to work, with progressive, verifiable, time-bound reductions in weapons stockpiles.

Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop talk a lot about keeping people safe and the importance of the rule of law.

But until Australia signs this treaty, that amounts to nothing more than doublespeak.

Margaret Beavis, board  member, ICANi (Australia)