Parliamentary Inquiry into Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament

(UPDATED 24 MARCH 2009) Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has published 78 public submissions to its Inquiry into all the international nuclear treaties involving Australia.

Submissions by MAPW, together with individual members, ICANi and many other organisations, including a wealth of information and opinions on nuclear weapons and the nuclear chain, are available at the Inquiry website. See:
http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jsct/nuclearnon_proliferation/subs.htm

The Committee has been asked to report on:

  • The international treaties involving Australia which relate to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
  • How these treaties advance Australia's objectives in this field.
  • How the treaties might be made more comprehensive or effective.
  • How inter-parliamentary action can assist in strengthening treaty-based aspects of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime.
  • How the Committee and the Parliament can contribute to the work of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.

What this means: issues covered by the Inquiry

The Inquiry is conducting a review of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPTi); and examining a range of other nuclear treaties — including steps to bring the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBTi) into force to end nuclear testing for all time; and for a proposed Fissile Materials Cut-Off Treaty (FMCTi) that must prohibit reprocessing and the separation of weapons-usable fissile materials as a key step toward an end to the production of fissile materials.

MAPW, and our partners in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANi), believe that a major focus of the should be a Nuclear Weapons Convention (www.icanw.org/nuclear-weapons-convention) to bring about the elimination of nuclear weapons. The Inquiry should recommend that Australia champion this initiative at the United Nations. ICANi, MAPW, and many organisations and individual submissions have supported a Convention.

This Inquiry is a major opportunity for a broad critical review of Australia’s nuclear cooperation and uranium exports agreements, and in particular the treaty signed with China by the previous Government.

The Committee is due to report in mid 2009.

Resources

Background on international treaties

Need for a Nuclear Weapons Convention

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPTi)

The safety of uranium exports:
This inquiry is a chance to recommend that Australia’s untenable uranium exports deail with China be discontinued by the new Federal Government.

  • See the recommendations of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACFi) and Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) Report “An Illusion of Protection. The Unavoidable limitations of safeguards on nuclear materials and the export of uranium to China” (October 2006). The existing China deail fails the test of the Recommendations of this Report.
  • See the report of the JSCT Inquiry (Report 94, Sept 2008) which recommended that the Commonwealth not proceed with a proposed uranium sales agreement with Russia, and set strong pre-conditions on some key issues. These recommendations are applicable to all of Australia’s uranium exports. The existing China agreement also fails to comply with preconditions set for the proposed Russia deail by the JSCT.

More advice
Further detailed advice on nuclear insecurity issues, and recommendations for strengthened safeguards as pre-conditions on supply of Australia’s uranium exports, is available from

  • MAPW President, Dr Sue Wareham OAM: sue [dot] wareham [at] mapw [dot] org [dot] au or via 03 8344 1637
  • ICANi Chair for Australia, Associate Professor Tilman Ruff: tilman [dot] ruff [at] mawp [dot] org [dot] au or via 03 8344 1637
  • Dr Jim Green, Friends of the Earth Australia, 03 9419 8700 or jim [dot] green [at] foei [dot] org [dot] au  
  • David Noonan, ACFi Nuclear Free Campaigner, 08 8211 6838 or d [dot] noonan [at] acfionline [dot] org [dot] au