Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) https://www.mapw.org.au Health Professionals Promoting Peace Fri, 09 Nov 2018 05:24:33 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 MEDIA RELEASE – AWM ‘partnership’ with Lockheed Martin must end https://www.mapw.org.au/news/media-release-awm-partnership-with-lockheed-martin-must-end/ Fri, 09 Nov 2018 05:24:33 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4978 In the lead-up to Remembrance Day, there are renewed calls for the Australian War Memorial to dissociate itself from the arms companies that supply the repressive and murderous Saudi Arabian government. Lockheed Martin is one of those companies.  It has a new three-year deal with the Memorial which, “this year focus[ed] on initiatives commemorating the […]

MEDIA RELEASE – AWM ‘partnership’ with Lockheed Martin must end | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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In the lead-up to Remembrance Day, there are renewed calls for the Australian War Memorial to dissociate itself from the arms companies that supply the repressive and murderous Saudi Arabian government.

Lockheed Martin is one of those companies.  It has a new three-year deal with the Memorial which, “this year focus[ed] on initiatives commemorating the centenary of the Armistice that ended the First World War.”

In the wake of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson indicated that it’s business as usual with sales to the Saudi regime.  This week Martin said she will simply follow the lead of the US President on this matter, a man not known for any morally sound choices.  Lockheed Martin appears not to care about the brutality of their customers, nor about how many Yemeni children are killed by American bombs or starved to death in the wars they fuel.

Working with local Yemeni journalists and munitions experts, CNN has established that the weapon that left dozens of children dead on 9 August was a 227 kilogram laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest weapons-making behemoth.  Many people see its financial relationship with the AWM as a conflict of interest, but not the Memorial’s director Dr Brendan Nelson, who has been unapologetic in his pursuit of deals with weapons-making firms. Writing in Fairfax media, historian Douglas Newton has this week exposed Nelson’s faulty logic.

All five of the US weapons-making giants mentioned in this CBS report are also listed among the sponsors in the latest Australian War Memorial annual report. Raytheon’s CEO remarked in relation to Khashoggi’s murder that Raytheon has, “supported the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for more than 50 years,” and that he is, “pretty confident that we’ll weather this complexity.”

Dr Sue Wareham, President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War and chair of its campaign Commemorate Don’t Commercialise, said “Lockheed Martin’s turning of a blind eye to the impact of their sales is totally unacceptable. Support for the Saudi regime does not reflect the values for which Australians died.”

CONTACTS

Thursday:  MAPW President Dr Sue Wareham, warehams@ozemail.com.au, 0407 924 152

Friday or Saturday: MAPW spokesperson Michelle Fahy, mfahy.mapw@gmail.com, 0415 848 641

 

MEDIA RELEASE – AWM ‘partnership’ with Lockheed Martin must end | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Douglas Newton’s powerful piece in today’s Sydney Morning Herald https://www.mapw.org.au/news/douglas-newtons-powerful-piece-in-todayssydney-morning-herald/ Wed, 07 Nov 2018 05:54:52 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4967 Douglas Newton is a well respected historian and has written this powerful piece regarding the funding of the Australian War Memorial. “This weekend the nation will mark the centenary of the Armistice of 1918. This year the weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin has a “partnership” with the Australian War Memorial to support the commemorations. In recent […]

Douglas Newton’s powerful piece in today’s Sydney Morning Herald | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Douglas Newton is a well respected historian and has written this powerful piece regarding the funding of the Australian War Memorial.

“This weekend the nation will mark the centenary of the Armistice of 1918. This year the weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin has a “partnership” with the Australian War Memorial to support the commemorations.

In recent years at least six arms firms have been sponsoring exhibitions and contributing funds to the overall budget of the memorial. Some commentators see no problem. They argue that, because arms firms profit from preparation for conflict, and from war itself, it is only right that they help to defray the costs of running the memorial or major commemorative events.

This is twisted logic. To fund worthy causes such as a national commemoration, mounted in all our names, is why we have governments and taxation. Meeting the cost should not be an opportunity for arms firms to indulge in feel-good philanthropy, while promoting their brand names.”

To read more, click here

​Douglas Newton was the Associate Professor of History at University of Western Sydney, and has also taught history at Macquarie University and the Victoria University of Wellington. To know more, visit his page at www.douglasnewton.net.

Douglas Newton’s powerful piece in today’s Sydney Morning Herald | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MICHELLE FAHY. Invictus Games, glossing over inconvenient truths-the arms trade and the British royals https://www.mapw.org.au/causes-costs-of-war/michelle-fahy-invictus-games-glossing-over-inconvenient-truths-the-arms-trade-and-the-british-royals/ Sun, 21 Oct 2018 23:04:56 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4875 The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived and the media frenzy has erupted, fuelled by news of the royal pregnancy. As media coverage goes, the Invictus Games team couldn’t have managed it any better. Yet, when it comes to the actions of the royal family, all that glisters is not gold. (Originally published at […]

MICHELLE FAHY. Invictus Games, glossing over inconvenient truths-the arms trade and the British royals | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived and the media frenzy has erupted, fuelled by news of the royal pregnancy. As media coverage goes, the Invictus Games team couldn’t have managed it any better. Yet, when it comes to the actions of the royal family, all that glisters is not gold.

(Originally published at http://johnmenadue.com/michelle-fahy-invictus-games-glossing-over-inconvenient-truths-the-arms-trade-and-the-british-royals/ on

Prince Harry’s Invictus Games for wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women start in Sydney on Saturday. Invictus (Latin for ‘unconquered’) is the title of a poem by British poet William Ernest Henley, the final lines of which are the resounding, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” In an advertisement featuring Australia’s Invictus athletes reciting the poem, the last line is delivered by Prince Harry himself. He is the captain of his soul.

There is no doubt that sport is a powerful facilitator of recovery from illness and injury and I am as inspired and moved as anyone by the stories of the recovering athletes. At the same time I create a space for the ex service people who remain damaged by their military experience and wonder how they are feeling about this event and all that comes with it. Not everyone involved in warfare emerges unconquered.

Last year, at least 84 veterans killed themselves; that’s twelve more than the number of athletes in Australia’s Invictus squad. In 2002–2014, the rate of suicide was 13 per cent higher among ex-serving men compared with all Australian men. For ex-serving men in the 18-24 year range, the rate was almost twice as high as the national male average in that age range.

A 2018 report by the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia found that veterans are also over-represented amongst the homeless. During the study period more than 1 in 20 of the homeless people interviewed were found to be veterans. The veterans were more likely to be sleeping rough and 43 per cent of them had suffered a serious brain injury or head trauma. Unlike the US where veteran homelessness has received wide attention and a strong policy response, there has been very limited research in this area in Australia.

These statistics provide a small balancing insight into some of the tragic consequences of warfare for many returned service people. (And let’s not overlook the impact of warfare on civilians worldwide. Tens of millions of people have been killed, injured, traumatised, and had their property and livelihoods destroyed. They are not Invictus either.)

Given the focus on the ‘wounded warriors’ and their struggle to recover it is surprising to see that the list of corporate sponsors of the Games includes five of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers. The opportunity to sponsor a high profile event of this nature makes business sense for the corporations concerned (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Leidos, and Saab) and clearly they have no qualms about using it to create the impression of being good corporate citizens. But let’s get real, they’re in the business of profiting from death and destruction, despite the worthy-sounding euphemisms they and others employ to obscure that fact. It amazes me that Prince Harry, the captain of his soul, supported by the leadership of his Foundation, finds it possible to accept the involvement of such sponsors in these Games.

Pope Francis has stated his view in no uncertain terms, labelling these vast weapons corporations “merchants of death” and calling for an end to the arms trade. Meanwhile Prince Harry and his relations continue developing their relationships with dubious regimes and corporations of no conscience, and facilitate arms deals between them.

A few examples.

In 2010, Prince Andrew criticised the UK’s Serious Fraud Office for its attempts to investigate BAE for secret alleged payments to clinch arms deals (ie. bribes). Andrew Feinstein, respected anti-corruption campaigner and former South African MP who resigned in protest over BAE bribery allegations, has noted: “The royal family has actively supported Britain’s arms sales, even when corruption and malfeasance has been suspected.”

Prince Charles has visited Saudi Arabia many times. A 2014 visit was immediately followed by an announcement of a multi-billion-pound Typhoon jet deal with the Saudis. Such was the outcry that Prince Charles reportedly said he “no longer wants to promote British arms sales in the Middle East.”

Along with the Saudis, the Queen has developed close ties with the Bahraini royal family despite its known abuses of the Bahraini people. The King of Bahrain sat beside the Queen at the gala event celebrating her 90th birthday. Britain also sells arms to Bahrain.

In March this year, despite growing condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s role in the war in Yemen, the UK rolled out the reddest of red carpets for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. During his visit he lunched with the Queen, dined with Prince Charles and Prince William, and was entertained by PM Theresa May at her country estate. If this is not a ringing endorsement from the highest level of British society, what is?

Meanwhile, back in Australia, will any journalist raise with Prince Harry the apparent hypocrisy of hosting an event celebrating the resilience of the human spirit while concurrently accepting sponsorships for that event from companies supplying weapons of war to a regime that is helping create the world’s worst humanitarian disaster? These firms aren’t trying to hide it. Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon are currently seeking new weapons contracts with Saudi Arabia. Would His Royal Highness care to comment?

It is difficult to see how these Invictus Games sponsorships are anything other than ‘business as usual’ in a long history of similar deals of varying scale in which the UK royal family uses its influence and prestige to facilitate arms deals for the benefit of a privileged few, at the expense of the human rights of the many.

Michelle Fahy is a writer and researcher, currently on staff with the Medical Association for Prevention of War.

MICHELLE FAHY. Invictus Games, glossing over inconvenient truths-the arms trade and the British royals | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Gathering for Peace – 11th November https://www.mapw.org.au/news/gathering-for-peace-11th-november/ Mon, 08 Oct 2018 06:09:20 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4828 A silent peace vigil with the theme of “Honour Them – Promote Peace” planned for this Remembrance Day, has been refused. This refusal marginalises the peace message.  Help us overturn this decision. Please join us in making your views known to: NCA at nca.events@nca.gov.au the Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson at […]

Gathering for Peace – 11th November | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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A silent peace vigil with the theme of “Honour Them – Promote Peace” planned for this Remembrance Day, has been refused. This refusal marginalises the peace message.  Help us overturn this decision.

Join the Medical Association for Prevention of War in a Gathering for Peace

Please join us in making your views known to:

  • NCA at nca.events@nca.gov.au
  • the Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson at brendan.nelson@awm.gov.au and
  • the Canberra Times at letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au

Details : here 1810-005 Peace Gathering A5_FA

Gathering for Peace – 11th November | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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NCA Refuses Silent Peace Vigil on ANZAC Parade on Armistice Centenary https://www.mapw.org.au/news/nca-refuses-silent-peace-vigil-on-anzac-parade-on-armistice-centenary/ Tue, 02 Oct 2018 21:35:58 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4798 Canberra citizens are planning a Gathering for Peace on Anzac Parade on Remembrance Day, to stand in silent commemoration of those Australians and others who suffered the horrors of World War 1, with the message “Honour Them – Promote Peace”. However the National Capital Authority is denying permission for such a gathering.  In response to […]

NCA Refuses Silent Peace Vigil on ANZAC Parade on Armistice Centenary | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Canberra citizens are planning a Gathering for Peace on Anzac Parade on Remembrance Day, to stand in silent commemoration of those Australians and others who suffered the horrors of World War 1, with the message “Honour Them – Promote Peace”.

War Memorial Petition

However the National Capital Authority is denying permission for such a gathering.  In response to an event application from the Medical Association for Prevention of War, the Authority said that Anzac Parade is “reserved exclusively for the 2018 Remembrance Day Commemorations.”  This is despite the planned vigil being organised for that very purpose – to commemorate the 2018 Remembrance Day.

MAPW President Dr Sue Wareham said “One wonders what the World War 1 diggers would have thought of officialdom finding no room for ordinary citizens – those whom governments call on to fight wars – with a message of peace, on a day and in a space that belongs to all of us.  We can best honour those who died by respecting the importance of the peace message rather than marginalising it.”

Meanwhile, the Australian War Memorial welcomes the involvement of the world’s largest weapons-maker, Lockheed Martin, as a sponsor of Remembrance Day activities.  The weapons industry made vast profits from World War 1.

A century on from the “war to end all wars”, warfare has become the normal state of affairs for Australia.   We have been at war since 2001, a period four times as long as World War 1.

Other Canberrans have also expressed concern at the NCA decision. Bishop Pat Power, retired Catholic Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, said “As we commemorate the end of a period of human suffering on a scale that is hard to imagine, it is imperative that the need for peace is uppermost and visible in Remembrance Day commemorations.  Tragically, this message has become almost lost over the past 4 years with our nation’s focus on battles and military campaigns. The role of ordinary citizens in redressing the balance by promoting peace is critically important, especially at key commemorative times and places.”

Professor Peter Stanley of UNSW Canberra, and former Principal Historian at the Australian War Memorial, said “How can a silent, dignified and respectful vigil event on Anzac Parade conflict with the fitting remembrance of the end of the Great War?  Is this the democracy for which 60,000 Australians died in the Great War? Shame, NCA! Shame!”

Support our petition here.

For questions and interview, please contact:

  • MAPW President Dr Sue Wareham, phone 0407 924 152
  • Professor Peter Stanley, phone 0421 451 088

NCA Refuses Silent Peace Vigil on ANZAC Parade on Armistice Centenary | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Australia has failed to invest in peace rather than scourge of war https://www.mapw.org.au/news/australia-has-failed-to-invest-in-peace-rather-than-scourge-of-war-2/ Wed, 08 Aug 2018 03:30:41 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4492 Full marks for Stephanie Dowrick’s article “War — what is it good for?” (July 21, Forum p10). Dowrick rightly identifies Australia’s failure to invest financially in peace rather than war. Our funding for diplomacy has been slashed, while funding for war sky-rockets. The poor old weapons industry even gets a leg-up with government subsidies, despite […]

Australia has failed to invest in peace rather than scourge of war | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Full marks for Stephanie Dowrick’s article “War — what is it good for?” (July 21, Forum p10).
Dowrick rightly identifies Australia’s failure to invest financially in peace rather than war. Our funding for diplomacy has been slashed, while funding for war sky-rockets.

The poor old weapons industry even gets a leg-up with government subsidies, despite the fact that it provides one of the least efficient ways to create jobs.

The industry is honoured by brand name promotion alongside our war dead at the Australian War Memorial. And we wonder why the world is such a violent place.

It’s like ramping up cigarette smoking and wondering why there’s so much cancer around. There are multiple examples of the global co-operation that Dowrick rightly says we need to show a better way.

Civil society does it all the time. As just one example, thousands of people around the world worked with supportive governments to achieve, last year, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the best step in decades towards nuclear weapons abolition.

The Australian government shunned the whole process. The centenary of Armistice Day, November 11 this year, will provide an important occasion to reflect on how WWI might have been prevented, the arms races that preceded it, the well-documented missed opportunities for peace that arose during those four catastrophic years, and what we have learnt.

With Lockheed Martin providing some of the funding for the official commemoration, we will obviously have to look elsewhere for anything meaningful.

Dr Sue Wareham, President, Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia), Cook

Published by the Canberra Times, 24 July, 2018,  in response to “Trump’s ‘double negative’ the least worrying gaffe in Helsinki”  by Stephanie Dowrick, published by Canberra times 21 July, 2018.

Australia has failed to invest in peace rather than scourge of war | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Losing Esteem: Melbourne University’s reputation at risk https://www.mapw.org.au/news/losing-esteem-melbourne-universitys-reputation-at-risk/ Tue, 31 Jul 2018 06:16:37 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4457 Dr Margaret Beavis (MAPW National Secretary), Dr Michael Keem (MAPW  Vice President, and Vic Branch Convenor) and Ms Lobna Alukaidey, (President of the MAPW Student Group), recently met with  Professor Chris Manzie, Head of Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Director of the Melbourne Information, Decision and Autonomous Systems (MIDAS) Laboratory at the University of Melbourne. […]

Losing Esteem: Melbourne University’s reputation at risk | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Dr Margaret Beavis (MAPW National Secretary), Dr Michael Keem (MAPW  Vice President, and Vic Branch Convenor) and Ms Lobna Alukaidey, (President of the MAPW Student Group), recently met with  Professor Chris Manzie, Head of Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Director of the Melbourne Information, Decision and Autonomous Systems (MIDAS) Laboratory at the University of Melbourne.

At the meeting, the MAPW team raised the reputational risk to the School of Engineering as a result of its partnership with two of the worlds largest weapons manufacturers, Lockheed Martin and  BAE Systems. You can read the letter sent to Professor Manzie after the meeting here.

Losing Esteem: Melbourne University’s reputation at risk | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Australia has failed to invest in peace, rather than scourge of war https://www.mapw.org.au/war-memorial/australia-has-failed-to-invest-in-peace-rather-than-scourge-of-war/ Tue, 24 Jul 2018 06:53:27 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4446 Full marks for Stephanie Dowrick’s article “War — what is it good for?” (July 21, Forum p10). Dowrick rightly identifies Australia’s failure to invest financially in peace rather than war. Our funding for diplomacy has been slashed, while funding for war sky-rockets. The poor old weapons industry even gets a leg-up with government subsidies, despite […]

Australia has failed to invest in peace, rather than scourge of war | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Full marks for Stephanie Dowrick’s article “War — what is it good for?” (July 21, Forum p10).

Dowrick rightly identifies Australia’s failure to invest financially in peace rather than war. Our funding for diplomacy has been slashed, while funding for war sky-rockets.

The poor old weapons industry even gets a leg-up with government subsidies, despite the fact that it provides one of the least efficient ways to create jobs.

The industry is honoured by brand name promotion alongside our war dead at the Australian War Memorial. And we wonder why the world is such a violent place.

Advertisement

It’s like ramping up cigarette smoking and wondering why there’s so much cancer around. There are multiple examples of the global co-operation that Dowrick rightly says we need to show a better way.

Civil society does it all the time. As just one example, thousands of people around the world worked with supportive governments to achieve, last year, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the best step in decades towards nuclear weapons abolition.

The Australian government shunned the whole process. The centenary of Armistice Day, November 11 this year, will provide an important occasion to reflect on how WWI might have been prevented, the arms races that preceded it, the well-documented missed opportunities for peace that arose during those four catastrophic years, and what we have learnt.

With Lockheed Martin providing some of the funding for the official commemoration, we will obviously have to look elsewhere for anything meaningful.

Dr Sue Wareham, president, Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia), Cook

Published by Canberra Times, 24 July 2018

Australia has failed to invest in peace, rather than scourge of war | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Should arms dealers really be funding the Australian War Memorial? https://www.mapw.org.au/war-memorial/should-arms-dealers-really-be-funding-the-australian-war-memorial/ Tue, 24 Jul 2018 00:39:13 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4435 To hear Brendan Nelson tell it, arms manufacturers have a patriotic duty to fund the Australian War Memorial. It’s about “completing the loop”, he says. And it’s certainly not crass. “You need to know that the man on behalf of BAE Systems with whom I negotiated the sponsorship of our theatre, the BAE Systems Theatre, […]

Should arms dealers really be funding the Australian War Memorial? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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To hear Brendan Nelson tell it, arms manufacturers have a patriotic duty to fund the Australian War Memorial. It’s about “completing the loop”, he says. And it’s certainly not crass.

“You need to know that the man on behalf of BAE Systems with whom I negotiated the sponsorship of our theatre, the BAE Systems Theatre, himself spent over 30 years serving our country in the Royal Australian Air Force and his own father was killed in the service of our country,” the War Memorial director told Radio National.

BAE Systems sells guns, bombs, submarines, jet fighters and components for nuclear weapons. Its customers include Chile, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania and Qatar. It maintains Australia’s Jindalee over the horizon radar.

​The former defence minister says ​the British firm employs 4000 Australians. “Of course that company needs to be involved in the Australian War Memorial,” he says. “What makes me angry are the ones who won’t.”

While he doesn’t hold arms manufacturers responsible for “what happens to innocent civilians”, he says they do have an obligation to help tell the stories of wars they weaponised.

“I think these companies have a responsibility to complete the loop and help tell the story of what has been done in our country’s name and the impact that it’s had on the men and women who have done it,” he told Senate estimates.

And they wouldn’t be sponsoring the memorial itself, merely sections of it or its educational activities. In May he announced a three-year deal with the world’s biggest armaments manufacturer, Lockheed Martin. It’ll help fund a bigger Remembrance Day.

He is no slouch when it comes to getting money from the memorial’s owner, the Australian government. This year it will contribute $62 ​m​illion, money he regards as no more tainted than money from weapons markers.

“If you follow the argument to its logical conclusion, we wouldn’t accept any government money because government is the purchaser of equipment that’s produced by defence technology companies,” he ​said.

But the government isn’t ​that ​prescriptive about how ​the memorial uses it. ​Further, it’s directly accountable to voters, not shareholders. ​The prospectus ​Nelson offers corporations “offers sponsorship opportunities that are individually tailored to suit the sponsor“.

Among the donors is Chinese businessman Chau Chak Wing. His donation helped subsidise a book displayed in the memorial shop on Chinese Australian servicemen. It has beautiful photos but is written in pidgin English. It seems well meaning, if, as one researcher told me, “cringe making”.

The vigour with which Nelson has fished for private finance is driven partly by plans to acquire an awful lot of jet fighters and helicopters and to house them in a $500 million underground extension known colloquially as “Brendan Bunker​”​. The business case alone will cost ​many millions of dollars.
An academic group that monitors the memorial known as Honest History doubts that it’s a good use of money.

“It doesn’t have to build $500 million worth of space just to show kit it insists on getting from the Australian Defence Force,” says secretary David Stephens. “It can get digitised pictures instead.”

Stephens says if it insists on acquiring the big machines, it can hold them at the memorial’s annex in Mitchell, where it can be seen once a year on open days.

The Medical Association for Prevention of War, which began debate on the Australian War Memorial and weapons manufacturers, is about to launch a petition called ​​Commemorate, Not Commercialise. This week Liberal Senator Zed Seselja rejected its concerns. “What we’re talking about is the defence of our nation and that includes using weapons for the defence of our nation,” he said.

Expect other conservative warriors to bat for the plan and its strategy to use weapons manufacturers to help fund it. But there’s growing disquiet among what ought to be his core constituency. ​On a recent talkback segment one caller, a former naval officer​,​ said he almost expects Brendan Nelson to hand out showbags on Anzac Day.

​Toni Hassan is an adjunct research fellow with the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University in Canberra.

Published by the Sydney Morning Herald, 9 June 2018

Should arms dealers really be funding the Australian War Memorial? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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How the Australian War Memorial has lost its way https://www.mapw.org.au/war-memorial/how-the-australian-war-memorial-has-lost-its-way/ Tue, 24 Jul 2018 00:28:16 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4432 Australians do not “remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war”. Perhaps such an understanding in the case of the Frontier Wars might raise extremely uncomfortable questions about the implications for modern day Australia and our approach to warfare, or perhaps a focus on the Frontier Wars against the first people of Australia simply […]

How the Australian War Memorial has lost its way | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Australians do not “remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war”. Perhaps such an understanding in the case of the Frontier Wars might raise extremely uncomfortable questions about the implications for modern day Australia and our approach to warfare, or perhaps a focus on the Frontier Wars against the first people of Australia simply presents no scope for attracting lucrative corporate funding. Whatever the reasons, this most fundamental of all omissions in our pre-eminent place of war commemoration acts as a major hindrance in understanding the place of warfare in Australia’s history.

In 2013, AWM Director Dr Brendan Nelson explained his fast-tracking process for the new exhibit on Afghanistan: “We owe it to Australia to explain the narrative.” Do we not owe it to Australia to explain the narrative of the wars that dispossessed our first peoples?   Nelson also spoke passionately of a program to link schoolchildren to the names of World War 1 war dead, as a way of “linking our past with our future” and helping our children to understand the sacrifice of “real men who had real lives”. Do we not owe it to Australia’s first inhabitants to recognise the “real men with real lives” who died in the frontier wars? Is the past of the aboriginal people not worth linking with our future?

New galleries in the AWM to examine this hitherto hidden part of our history would be of enormous interest to very many Australians, and would be likely to do more to boost visitor numbers than displaying yet more of the killing machines that do little to further our understanding of warfare. 

Civilians

While the AWM addresses the impact of our wars on civilians back home, there is scant recognition of the fact that modern warfare in increasingly an assault on civilian society wherever the war happens to be fought. The current wars in the Middle East, in which Australia is taking part, are a stark example. Civilians form the majority of war’s victims. Even a strict interpretation of the AWM’s mission “to assist Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war” does not allow for such a stark omission. What of the experiences of those Australians who have lived as civilians in war zones elsewhere? What of the experiences of ADF personnel who suffer severe psychological harm related to the suffering, both civilian and combatant, that they have witnessed or perhaps have taken part in? Any impression that the wars in which Australia takes part are simply a matter of fighter versus fighter is false and misleading; it hinders any attempt to interpret and understand Australia’s experience of war in its proper context.

Any real examination of the Australian experience of war should involve looking at how and why Australia has become involved in wars. It also must reflect on what we could have done to prevent the horrors of war being repeated on our armed forces and their families and communities on many occasions since World War 2.

Cultivating private sector support

The most controversial aspect of the AWM’s cultivation of private sector support is in its choice of such supporters. Among the AWM’s financial donors are several of the biggest names in weapons manufacturing globally, the very companies that profit financially from the horrors that we commemorate. They include Boeing Australia, Raytheon Australia, Lockheed Martin, Thales Australia, the Australian Submarine Corporation, General Dynamic Land Systems and others.

The problem goes further than the mere acceptance of donations from war profiteers, and even extends to the promotion of brand names. BAE Systems, the UK’s biggest weapons maker, has its name proudly displayed as the sponsor of the AWM’s theatre. BAE Systems is a major military supplier to Saudi Arabia, which is one of the world’s most prolific sponsors of international terrorism, including the same forces of terrorism that the ADF is said to be combatting in the Middle East. The irony is stark. BAE warplanes are currently playing a central role in Saudi Arabia’s attacks in Yemen, which are causing a humanitarian catastrophe there. To have BAE’s name glorified alongside our war dead is contemptible.

Cultivation of corporate support – including from the war profiteers – includes also the provision of facilities for corporate functions with all the trappings designed to impress. AWM promotion of the facilities boasts of the “unique dining experience where you can wine and dine among historic items…” and capacity for “gala dinners” and “cocktail functions”. One can only guess what the diggers in their rat-infested trenches might have thought about sharing commemorative space with the industry that profited from their slaughter. For those of us who are still alive, few things could be more offensive.

Developing other income streams

While this submission does not address the issue of income streams for the AWM beyond urging that weapons’ company funding be ceased, one other observation will be made.

Australia has spent far more on World War 1 commemoration than any other nation, including all those which suffered vastly bigger losses than Australia. Therefore, one could reasonably argue for a more modest and affordable style and level of commemoration. The planned expansion costing $1/2 billion is not the marker of an institution struggling to maintain its presence. Reversal of the decision to expand would obviate the need for developing other sources of income, and would be more in keeping with the simple but deeply meaningful forms of commemoration that proliferated in towns throughout the country after World War 1.

Other relevant matters the Committee wishes to examine, including the process for establishing new institutions

Redirection of some funding to the prevention of armed conflicts, and to peace education, would go a long way to building the better world that Australians have died for. The creation of a Peace Museum would be an extraordinarily valuable addition to our list of national institutions, to showcase the steps that help to promote peace and Australia’s history of contributing to these steps. Such education for our young people would help balance the material presented at the AWM. 

Sue Wareham is President of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War. Last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons grew out of MAPW. Sue Wareham is a retired GP

Published by John Menadue – Pearls & Irritations blog 23 May 2018

How the Australian War Memorial has lost its way | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Drum with Carolyn Holbrook – https://www.mapw.org.au/war-memorial/the-drum-with-carolyn-holbrook/ Mon, 23 Jul 2018 02:53:04 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4429 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-22/the-drum-tuesday-may-22/9788900 Host: Ellen Fanning Panel: Kerry Chikarovski, Margo Kingston, Michael Biercuk and Paul Bongiorno Interview with: Dr Carolyn Holbrook The panel discusses Pauline Hanson’s decision to withdraw support for the Coalition’s company tax cuts, the scrutiny over Australian War Memorial’s operations, and the landmark ruling against Archbishop Philip Wilson. Starts at 20:38, for 16 mins

The Drum with Carolyn Holbrook – | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-22/the-drum-tuesday-may-22/9788900

Host: Ellen Fanning
Panel: Kerry Chikarovski, Margo Kingston, Michael Biercuk and Paul Bongiorno
Interview with: Dr Carolyn Holbrook
The panel discusses Pauline Hanson’s decision to withdraw support for the Coalition’s company tax cuts, the scrutiny over Australian War Memorial’s operations, and the landmark ruling against Archbishop Philip Wilson.

Starts at 20:38, for 16 mins

The Drum with Carolyn Holbrook – | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Are they in safe hands? https://www.mapw.org.au/nuclear-weapons/are-they-in-safe-hands/ Fri, 20 Jul 2018 05:11:22 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4425 It is far from reassuring to hear President Trump proclaim that he and Putin control more than 90 per cent of the world’s nuclear weapons. These weapons constitute a major hazard to world peace and health. Are they in safe hands? It is time for Australian politicians to reconsider our decision not to sign the […]

Are they in safe hands? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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It is far from reassuring to hear President Trump proclaim that he and Putin control more than 90 per cent of the world’s nuclear weapons. These weapons constitute a major hazard to world peace and health. Are they in safe hands? It is time for Australian politicians to reconsider our decision not to sign the new UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Sally Attrill,  Coordinator, MAPW Tasmania

Published by Hobart Mercury, 17 July 2018

Are they in safe hands? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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War Memorial should ditch weapons manufacturers: Anti war organisation – by Sally Whyte, Canberra Times, 21 May 2018 https://www.mapw.org.au/war-memorial/war-memorial-should-ditch-weapons-manufacturers-anti-war-organisation-by-sally-whyte-canberra-times-21-may-2018/ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 02:29:46 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4375 In this article, published in the Canberra Times and the Age on 21 May 2018, Dr Sue Wareham OAM, (MAPW National President) explains why Australia’s national war memorial should promote peace and refuse financial sponsorship from war profiteerers such as BAE Systems. You can read the text of the article below, or click here to access […]

War Memorial should ditch weapons manufacturers: Anti war organisation – by Sally Whyte, Canberra Times, 21 May 2018 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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In this article, published in the Canberra Times and the Age on 21 May 2018, Dr Sue Wareham OAM, (MAPW National President) explains why Australia’s national war memorial should promote peace and refuse financial sponsorship from war profiteerers such as BAE Systems.

You can read the text of the article below, or click here to access the article from the Canberra Times website.

To read MAPW’s submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories inquiry into Canberra’s national institutions, 9 May, 2018,  please  click here


War Memorial should ditch weapons manufacturers: Anti war organisation
By Sally Whyte, Canberra Times, 21 May 2018

The Australian War Memorial risks making war a source of entertainment instead of being a site of commemoration, the parent organisation of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners has told a parliamentary committee.

Last year’s Nobel Peace prize winners, the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, grew out of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, which has used the federal inquiry into Canberra’s national institutions to take aim at the memorial’s sponsorship arrangements with weapons manufacturers.

The association’s president, Canberra-based retired GP Dr Sue Wareham, has taken particular issue with the audio visual elements of the memorial’s exhibitions, the lack of peace movement materials on display and the prospect of recent border patrols to recent asylum seekers reaching Australian shores being recognised at the memorial. Dr Wareham was one of the founding members of ICANi and is a board member of the Australian arm of the organisation.

The inquiry will cover the ways in which the capital’s galleries, museums and other institutions receive funding from private sponsorship. The association believes that the memorial should have a policy against accepting funding from weapons companies that profit from ongoing conflicts.

“It’s particularly blatant when one walks into the theatre at the War Memorial and it’s named BAE Systems theatre. BAE Systems is Britain’s biggest weapons manufacturer, they’re selling a lot of material to Saudi Arabia at the moment,” Dr Wareham said.

“There’s BAE Systems alongside our people who have fought and died in the defence of freedom and there’s BAE Systems sponsoring, helping, assisting the Saudi Arabian government, which is contributing to a humanitarian disaster in Yemen.”

Dr Wareham said the memorial shouldn’t be expected to raise its own revenue, and that its plans should be scaled back to be more affordable.
“One of the things our organisation would like to see is that the AWM plans are a little less grandiose and actually get back to the basic function of commemoration of our war dead, which doesn’t require a huge and grandiose budget.”

According to the submission, the audio visual elements now used at the memorial, as well as interactive activities where children can dress up a nurse or pretend to be in a trench “[run] the risk of blurring the distinction between commemoration and understanding on the one hand, and entertainment on the other. Entertainment is not a part of the purpose or mission of the AWM.”

The association believes the memorial sanitises the reality of war, and its current direction doesn’t do enough to make people think twice about going to war. The submission also took issue with the suggestion that the memorial may include exhibitions relating to Australia’s border patrol to deter asylum seekers.

“Proponents who regard the AWM as a suitable place to display Australia’s rejection of boatloads of desperate people have simply lost the plot.”

The memorial has defended itself in the wake of the criticism.

“The Australian War Memorial refutes the notion that any parts of its displays are ‘entertainment’. Exhibits and displays are developed to engage all visitors and cater to a range of learning styles including those of children,” a spokesman said.

There are no plans for a memorial for Operation Sovereign Borders, the spokesman said, clarifying that comments by memorial director Brendan Nelson about all Defence personnel, including border protection, “were made in the context of the proposed extension to the Memorial being considered by Government next year.”

The Memorial said it will continue its funding arrangements with weapons companies.

“The overwhelming majority of cultural institutions rely on partnerships and corporate support to supplement revenue and support continued operations. These arrangements commonly and understandably involve acknowledgment or recognition of the supportive individual or organisation,” the spokesman said.

“The Memorial highly values the support of its corporate partners which allows investment directly back into the development of the Memorial’s galleries, exhibitions, programs, collection and staffing.”

War Memorial should ditch weapons manufacturers: Anti war organisation – by Sally Whyte, Canberra Times, 21 May 2018 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Please support our call for Australia to sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty https://www.mapw.org.au/news/please-support-our-call-for-australia-to-sign-the-nuclear-weapons-ban-treaty/ Thu, 24 May 2018 03:54:51 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4224 MAPW is asking healthcare professionals across Australia to join with us and call on the government to support the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Please take action to support our goal of getting Australia’s signature and ratification for the nuclear weapons ban treaty. If you are an individual health professional you can […]

Please support our call for Australia to sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW is asking healthcare professionals across Australia to join with us and call on the government to support the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Please take action to support our goal of getting Australia’s signature and ratification for the nuclear weapons ban treaty.

If you are an individual health professional you can read and sign the statement online here.

You can download a copy of it to share with colleagues here.

If you represent an organisation involved in health care, we urge your organisation to sign the statement which you can find here.

You can download a copy of the healthcare organisations statement to share with your professional body here

Please support our call for Australia to sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Sign the Petition – the ALP must commit to join the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban https://www.mapw.org.au/news/sign-the-petition-the-alp-must-commit-to-join-the-un-nuclear-weapons-ban/ Tue, 15 May 2018 03:26:19 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4202 We have launched a new petition calling on the Australian Labor Party (ALP) to commit to signing and ratifying the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The ALP is currently finalising their policy platform to take to the next federal election. The ALP is in the process of deciding their position on […]

Sign the Petition – the ALP must commit to join the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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We have launched a new petition calling on the Australian Labor Party (ALP) to commit to signing and ratifying the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The ALP is currently finalising their policy platform to take to the next federal election. The ALP is in the process of deciding their position on the nuclear weapons ban treaty. This platform will be adopted at the end of July, at the ALP National Conference.

Sign our petition now and together we can send a clear message to the ALP that the only platform worth having is one that supports Australia signing and ratifying the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Sign the Petition – the ALP must commit to join the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Nobel Peace Prize and the Doomsday Clock – The End of Nuclear Weapons or the End of Us? https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-nobel-peace-prize-and-the-doomsday-clock-the-end-of-nuclear-weapons-or-the-end-of-us/ Tue, 15 May 2018 02:26:30 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4192 On May 9th 2018, an important new article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and the Doomsday Clock – The End of Nuclear Weapons or the End of Us?”, co-authored by ICAN’s founding chair and former MAPW (Australia) President, Assoc Professor Tilman Ruff.  The NEJM has a […]

The Nobel Peace Prize and the Doomsday Clock – The End of Nuclear Weapons or the End of Us? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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On May 9th 2018, an important new article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and the Doomsday Clock – The End of Nuclear Weapons or the End of Us?”, co-authored by ICAN’s founding chair and former MAPW (Australia) President, Assoc Professor Tilman Ruff.  The NEJM has a long history of publishing leading work from around the world on the nuclear weapons danger.

Please click here to download a copy and distribute this as widely as possible among your colleagues and urge their support for MAPW, for example through joining us.

Thank you for your efforts at this critical time.

The Nobel Peace Prize and the Doomsday Clock – The End of Nuclear Weapons or the End of Us? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Age Letters Page – Monday 16 April 2018 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-age-letters-page-monday-16-april-2018/ Mon, 07 May 2018 03:27:58 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4138 There are weapons worse than chemical ones After more than seven years of appalling and highly complex conflict, Syria is increasingly a proxy for a new Cold War. Outrage about use of weapons of mass destruction does not make counter attack legal, and increases the risk of escalation. Chemical weapons inspectors arrived on Saturday to […]

The Age Letters Page – Monday 16 April 2018 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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There are weapons worse than chemical ones

After more than seven years of appalling and highly complex conflict, Syria is increasingly a proxy for a new Cold War. Outrage about use of weapons of mass destruction does not make counter attack legal, and increases the risk of escalation. Chemical weapons inspectors arrived on Saturday to investigate attacks in Douma.

Australia, along with the US, Britain and France, are highly sanctimonious about chemical weapons. Yet they refuse to commit to the new UN treaty banning the worst weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons. Never before has Australia refused to sign a weapons ban treaty. With nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons in existence it is only a matter of time before they are used, most likely by malfunction or human error. If a rules based order and protecting civilian lives is really such a priority, Australia must sign this treaty.

Dr Margaret Beavis, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia

Different standards of attack

So the lesson the US, Britain and France wish to teach Bashar al-Assad is that dropping bombs on the people of Syria is OK, but using chemical weapons against them is not. Is that right?

Peter Wigg, Eltham

The Age Letters Page – Monday 16 April 2018 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Australia Preaches Respect for International Law in Syria while undermining the Law https://www.mapw.org.au/news/australia-preaches-respect-for-international-law-in-syria-while-undermining-the-law/ Mon, 07 May 2018 02:54:52 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4132 Health professionals in Australia have strongly criticised the government for preaching respect for international law in Syria, while practising the opposite.   Australia strongly endorses attacks on Syria by the US, the UK and France which violate international law, given they are neither conducted in self-defence nor authorised by the UN . Claims by Foreign Minister […]

Australia Preaches Respect for International Law in Syria while undermining the Law | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Health professionals in Australia have strongly criticised the government for preaching respect for international law in Syria, while practising the opposite.   Australia strongly endorses attacks on Syria by the US, the UK and France which violate international law, given they are neither conducted in self-defence nor authorised by the UN .

Claims by Foreign Minister Bishop that protection of civilians is our driving concern are not credible.  In Senate Estimates last year the Defence Department noted that “Defence does not have access to information on the total number of casualties from the Iraq war”.   MAPW spokesperson Dr Margaret Beavis said “As civilian impacts in the Middle East are neither counted nor even estimated, it is deceptive to claim that their welfare is pre-eminent.”

Far from addressing the grave crime of chemical weapons attacks, military action will render accountability for these crimes virtually impossible.  As with other crimes, investigations – rather than allegations – are required to establish the facts, particularly as to who was responsible.  The recent attacks by the US and allies came just after inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons landed in Syria.  To pretend that punitive actions are conducted to uphold international law is farcical, given they preempt the collection of evidence.

Foreign Minister Bishop stated on 14 April that Australia has long called for a political solution to this crisis. That being the case, her support for military action is totally inconsistent. “Military action simply reinforces the cycle of violence, with civilians being the primary victims. It also risks major escalation.” said Dr Beavis.

Meanwhile the government continues to show its contempt for international law regarding weapons of mass destruction, as it refuses to sign the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Minister Bishop has stated that “the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances is illegal and utterly reprehensible”, but she specifically supports much worse weapons of mass destruction – nuclear weapons.

Australia’s disregard for the welfare of civilians is manifest also in our ongoing – and attempt to increase – military sales to Saudi Arabia, whose bombing of Yemen is a key factor in the unprecedented humanitarian crisis there.

“Australia should support OPCW investigations, provide far greater humanitarian aid, and sign the UN nuclear weapons treaty. If chemical weapons that indiscriminately kill civilians are so immoral, how can Australia justify supporting nuclear weapons, which are worse and have been banned by the UN?” said Dr Beavis.

MAPW Media Release – issued 16 April 2018

Australia Preaches Respect for International Law in Syria while undermining the Law | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Parliamentary Debate on Going to War is Long Overdue https://www.mapw.org.au/alternatives-to-war/4129/ Mon, 07 May 2018 02:32:34 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4129 This week marks the 15th anniversary, on March 20, of one of Australia’s most disastrous foreign policy decisions – our involvement in the invasion of Iraq. To characterise this as “our” involvement however does a great disservice to the millions of Australians who were vehemently opposed to the decision that was made by just one […]

Parliamentary Debate on Going to War is Long Overdue | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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This week marks the 15th anniversary, on March 20, of one of Australia’s most disastrous foreign policy decisions – our involvement in the invasion of Iraq. To characterise this as “our” involvement however does a great disservice to the millions of Australians who were vehemently opposed to the decision that was made by just one person, prime minister John Howard. The clear wishes of the people on this most significant of all decisions were ignored, and our elected representatives in parliament were not consulted. The situation was not an emergency and Iraq posed no threat to Australia. There was every opportunity for the exhaustive scrutiny of Howard’s plan that was critically needed. But it did not happen.

The invasion of Iraq unleashed a catastrophe in every respect, the consequences of which will continue to play out globally for the foreseeable future. Despite the terrible impacts of the war on many of its veterans, those who pay the highest price are the Iraqi people themselves, and those of Syria whose war followed and elsewhere in the Middle East. It is their families, their livelihoods, their communities and their futures that are shattered on an unimaginable scale. The extent of suffering that has occurred was predicted before the war, by humanitarian and other agencies, but the warnings were ignored.

The Costs of War project at Brown University in the US, which examines the impacts of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2001, estimates that the number of total war deaiths thus far from direct violence alone is over 370,000. Approximately 200,000 of these were civilians, with this figure likely to be an underestimate. There have been at least 800,000 more deaiths from indirect war-related causes.

This means that a majority of those killed are civilians. One might expect such a shocking reality to prompt a radical rethink on our approach to terrorism. Instead, however, the ostrich approach has more appeal in Canberra, Washington and other Western capitals.

The “liberation” of Mosul in 2016-2017, in which Australia is said to have played a key role, reportedly killed many thousands of civilians. However, according to USA Today on December 20, 2017, the Coalition “lacks the resources to send investigators into Mosul”. For a country, the US, that has spent around $5.6 trillion dollars on its post-September 11 wars (not including future interest costs of borrowing for the wars) this sounds more like “lack of interest”.

Similarly, in reply to a question in Senate Estimates in March 2017 on the total number of casualties on all sides of the Iraq war, our own Defence Department replied “Statistics regarding military and civilian casualties from other nations or organisations need to be sourced from those nations or organisations, as Defence does not have access to this information”. If the US and allies really are stretched for funds to find out what impact our wars are having on the people in whose countries we fight, then a quick google search could help them out.

On December 10 last year, Defence Minister Marise Payne proudly announced that Australia has given $180 million in humanitarian aid to Iraq since 2011. This equates to an amount each year that our military use every eight hours. Our priorities are warped beyond belief.

Deaths are of course just the tip of the iceberg. For every civilian killed, there are multiple others whose lives are devastated by grief, injury, lifelong psychological trauma, homelessness and a multitude of other deprivations. Brown University reports that 10.1 million Afghan, Iraqi, and Pakistani people are living as war refugees and internally displaced persons.

And the result of much of this human tragedy? To take the example of the second assault on Fallujah in 2004, in which the Australian Jim Molan who now sits in our Senate was in charge, according to The Guardian on January 12, 2005 “..the US military destroyed Fallujah, but simply spread the fighters out around the country.” The report continued: “They also increased the chance of civil war in Iraq by using their new national guard of Shias to suppress Sunnis”.

From the comfort and safety of Canberra, 2003 and 2004 might be regarded as too long ago to revisit. But for the Iraqi people, the impacts of the invasion of their country and everything that’s happened since are fresh, raw, devastating and in many instances lifelong.

We can no longer remain oblivious to the toll in human misery that our wars create, and the festering resentment that accompanies it. A proposal to go to war demands answers to critical questions. In an age when warfare represents an assault on civil society, those questions must include “What will happen to the civilians?”

Fifteen years on, and still at war with no end in sight, it is time to ask hard questions about who, other than the weapons makers, really benefits as we send the troops off again, and again, to wars that kill primarily civilians. Debate on this in our parliament and elsewhere is long overdue. Our troops themselves deserve nothing less, as do each and every one of the devastated lives left in our wake.

by Dr Sue Wareham is President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) and Secretary of Australians for War Powers Reform

Opinion article published by the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday 20 March 2018

Parliamentary Debate on Going to War is Long Overdue | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW National President awarded inaugural Rotary Peace Prize https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-national-president-awarded-inaugural-rotary-peace-prize/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 01:00:28 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4080 At a ceremony held at Nara Peace Park in Canberra, MAPW National President Dr Sue Wareham was awarded the inaugural Chief Minister’s Rotary Peace Prize on Friday 23rd  February. The awarding of this prestigious prize coincided with the unveiling of the Rotary Peace Bell,  a symbol of remembrance to all those who have lost their […]

MAPW National President awarded inaugural Rotary Peace Prize | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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At a ceremony held at Nara Peace Park in Canberra, MAPW National President Dr Sue Wareham was awarded the inaugural Chief Minister’s Rotary Peace Prize on Friday 23rd  February. The awarding of this prestigious prize coincided with the unveiling of the Rotary Peace Bell,  a symbol of remembrance to all those who have lost their lives as a result of violence, and a reminder for the need to unite in work for peace.

When accepting the award from Gordon Ramsay, ACT Minister for the Arts and Community Events, Sue called on the Australian government to rethink its policy of building the economy on war profiteering. As one of the founding members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN, and a long time anti nuclear campaigner, Sue called on Australians to work to ensure that Australia signs and ratifies the recently agreed UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
You can read more about the Rotary Peace Bell and the event itself here.

All of us at MAPW would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sue for her tireless work in promoting peace and a nuclear free future.

MAPW National President awarded inaugural Rotary Peace Prize | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Sign the Health Professionals Statement https://www.mapw.org.au/nuclear-weapons/stop-pushing-australian-arms-exports-support-petition/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:45:31 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4073 Please support our goal of getting Australia to sign and ratify the nuclear weapons ban treaty. Please sign the statement “As an Australian health care professional, I want my government to support the nuclear weapons ban treaty”. The statement is below, and you can read and endorse it by email here. An even bigger help […]

Sign the Health Professionals Statement | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Please support our goal of getting Australia to sign and ratify the nuclear weapons ban treaty.

Please sign the statement “As an Australian health care professional, I want my government to support the nuclear weapons ban treaty”.

The statement is below, and you can read and endorse it by email here.

An even bigger help would be for you to get any health care colleagues to sign too.  Please print some copies and take them to work and elsewhere.  We want as many health care professionals and students in the country as possible to see this statement.   You can download a copy of the statement here.


AS AN AUSTRALIAN HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL, I WANT MY GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS BAN TREATY

Nuclear weapons represent an overwhelming threat to human and environmental health. They have the capacity to cause death and suffering on an unprecedented scale, with widespread destruction of health care and other infrastructure and the natural environment. In the event of their use again, very little humanitarian response would be available to assist any survivors.

Therefore nuclear weapons must never be used again. The only way to ensure this is to abolish them.

For these reasons, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by the United Nations on 7 July 2017.  I am proud that health care professionals in Australia played a pivotal role in achieving this historic milestone.  The Treaty recognises all nuclear weapons, no matter which of the nine nuclear-armed nations they belong to, as illegal and illegitimate weapons of mass destruction.

As the risk of use of nuclear weapons – either deliberately or accidentally – is higher now than it has been for over half a century, action to reduce this risk is imperative.

As a health care professional, I am calling on the Australian Government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and I call on all parliamentarians to work to achieve this essential goal, as I believe it is a key step towards the abolition of the world’s most terrifying devices.

Name ……………………………………………………………………………

Profession*………………………………………………………………………

Email ………..…………………………………………………………………..

Postcode ………………………………………………………………………
*For health care students, please state “student of [discipline]”

Endorse this statement by email 
or
please print and post your signed statement to: MAPW PO Box 1379, CARLTON, Victoria, 3053

Sign the Health Professionals Statement | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW writes to Resources Minister Canavan and to ARPANSA about ongoing nuclear waste saga https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-writes-resources-minister-canavan-arpansa-ongoing-nuclear-waste-saga/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:24:42 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4062 MAPW has written to Resources Minister Matthew Canavan and to the CEO of ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, the nuclear regulatory body) Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, setting out in detail our concerns in relation to: the divisive and misleading way in which a location for a national radioactive waste management facility is being […]

MAPW writes to Resources Minister Canavan and to ARPANSA about ongoing nuclear waste saga | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW has written to Resources Minister Matthew Canavan and to the CEO of ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, the nuclear regulatory body) Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, setting out in detail our concerns in relation to:

  • the divisive and misleading way in which a location for a national radioactive waste management facility is being sought; and
  • Australia’s expansion of the production of nuclear isotopes for export, when there is no satisfactory solution to the waste problem, and when non-reactor means of production of isotopes gains momentum globally.

The letters state “For far too long nuclear waste management has been thought about well after the waste is produced”. This is effectively dumping the problem on future generations. The first principle of toxic waste management is to reduce production.
MAPW repeats our call for an independent inquiry into the production and management of Australia’s nuclear waste and for Australia to follow international best practice in relation to nuclear waste management.

You can read the letter to Sen Canavan here  & the  letter to ARPANSA here.

MAPW writes to Resources Minister Canavan and to ARPANSA about ongoing nuclear waste saga | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Strategic Dilemmas in Militarising Australian Exports https://www.mapw.org.au/australian-militarism/strategic-dilemmas-militarising-australian-exports/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:15:08 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4059 published on 8th February 2018 on the Australian Institute of International Affairs website. The Australian government’s recent decision to adopt an ambitious new defence manufacturing plan has met with controversy. Far beyond most job-creation initiatives, Malcolm Turnbull’s plan has international ramifications. The arms trade, in which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants Australia to play a leading […]

The Strategic Dilemmas in Militarising Australian Exports | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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published on 8th February 2018 on the Australian Institute of International Affairs website.

The Australian government’s recent decision to adopt an ambitious new defence manufacturing plan has met with controversy. Far beyond most job-creation initiatives, Malcolm Turnbull’s plan has international ramifications.

The arms trade, in which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants Australia to play a leading role, is fraught with strategic and ethical dilemmas which have caught us out in the past. We need to learn the lessons that history offers. Turnbull’s talk of jobs is not backed up by the evidence.

The United Nations Charter, to which Australia is committed, begins “We, the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…”. Article 26 refers to “the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources…”. Australia is therefore committed to the minimising of global weapons acquisitions, while Turnbull has just committed the country to what appears to be a contradictory goal, maximising our weapons exports.

When the goals of arms restraint and commercial interests clash, as they inevitably will and probably often, history indicates that commercial interests are likely to win out.

Undermining good relations

Even a cursory look at the history of the arms trade is replete with examples of its unintended consequences: the arming of dictators, the fuelling of tensions and the souring of international relations.

In 1988 Minister for Defence Kim Beazley liberalised Australia’s arms exports guidelines, with the result that Indonesia, Bangladesh, South Africa, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and the Philippines were all significant buyers of Australian arms in 1989-90, despite all being accused of serious human rights abuses. In 1990, Australia’s surplus Mirage fighters were sold to Pakistan, a move that added to the tension in the South Asian region, elicited a hostile response from India and jeopardised our much larger trade with that country. Minister for Foreign Affairs Gareth Evans, subsequently seeking to mend the rift with India, commented that the policy of expanding our weapons exports created “an endless quagmire of difficulties and sensitivities”.  That lesson appears lost on both Labor and the Coalition.

In May 1990, export approval was given for the sale of trainer engine parts to Iraq; the sale was abandoned only when UN sanctions were announced. In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Saddam Hussein had received approximately $48 billion worth of weapons during the 1980s, most of it from the US, the USSR, the UK, France and China. Many of the companies involved armed both sides in the Iran-Iraq war.

The optimists and the ostriches might argue that this time will be different, and Australian sales will not descend to the murky standards of the global arms trade. Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne assures us that export permits will fulfil “the most stringent requirements”. Presumably these are the same requirements that allow sales today to that great bastion of democracy and human rights in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia; Saudi bombing is contributing greatly to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Fuelling arms races

One might also argue that it is only by being heavily armed that we can deter aggression and avoid wars. While that notion is fairly easily debunked by a glance at the Middle East, a region that is both awash with weapons and plagued by wars, or at the US, which outstrips every other country in military spending by a huge margin and is virtually never at peace, we should reflect also on the history of the much-commemorated World War I.

Historian Douglas Newton writes:

In the two decades before the Great War, Europe and the world spent vast sums on armaments—that were meant to secure and deter. A vast raid on the public coffers took place, enriching fragments of the economy, and robbing the rest….

This created a huge vested interest in armed preparedness. Not surprisingly, that vested interest sought to influence political decisions and budgetary priorities..”

As tensions again rise in several regions of the world, there is an urgent need to reduce rather than augment the pattern of armed preparedness that was so catastrophic a century ago.

Undermining prospects for peace

Talk of a ‘peace dividend’ after the end of the Cold War didn’t factor in a rapacious weapons industry for which such a thing was an anathema to be thwarted at all costs.

William Hartung’s book, Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex, records that in 1996 Lockheed Martin engaged in a series of “defence-planning” seminars for officials in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, as part of a very thinly-veiled marketing pitch for F-16s. They included maps of hundreds of enemy fighter planes and missiles all aimed menacingly westward from Russia. The pattern has continued. The Intercept reported in September 2016 on “a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered….”.

US plans to increase weapons exports as a percentage of its total sales also include increasing sales to the Middle East. In January 2015, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson suggested to investors that continued “volatility” in the Middle East and Asia made the regions “growth areas” for the firm.  In April 2015, The New York Times described the militarisation of the region as “a boom for American defense contractors looking for foreign business in an era of shrinking Pentagon budgets…”.  For the merchants of death, war is simply a business opportunity; but it is one built upon millions of shattered lives.

Jobs: how many and at what cost?

For Turnbull, as he seeks to normalise and sanitise the notion of war profiteering, it’s all about jobs. Absent though are the figures demonstrating that weapons projects create more jobs than the same investment in other sectors. The figures don’t exist. However, evidence from elsewhere indicates that clean energy, health care and education rate far better than building weapons.

Hugh Gusterson, professor of international affairs and anthropology at George Washington University, wrote in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on 8 September 2011 that “USD$1 million spent on the [US] military creates 8.3 jobs, whereas USD$1 million spent on education creates 15.5 jobs and USD$1 million spent on health care creates 14.3 jobs.”

Undermining democracy

The weapons industry is one of the most corrupt, least accountable and most secretive of all industries. Decisions on sales are hidden behind the standard ‘commercial-in-confidence’ or ‘national security’ arguments. In Senate estimates last year, Defence Minister Marise Payne refused to provide information on Australian arms sales to Saudi Arabia when questioned by former Greens Senator Scott Ludlam. Information on what weapons Australia sells where has consistently been denied to citizens who ask (as the Medical Association for Prevention of War and others have attempted).

In addition, notions of who is an ‘expert’ in the matter of defending Australia, along with decisions on weapons exports, have become skewed towards those with technical knowledge of killing machines and away from those with knowledge and experience of diplomacy, peaceful conflict resolution and how to avoid tensions in the first place.

The decision to militarise its exports fits with the militarisation of Australia’s foreign policy generally. Our overseas aid, which could be a powerful force for building good relations, has been slashed to unprecedentedly low levels. Our huge potential for leading the world in renewable energies has been ignored in favour of an attempt to join the big players in fuelling current and future wars. The decision is ill-advised and will be fraught with strategic and ethical dilemmas.

Dr Sue Wareham is the president of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia).

This article is published under a Creative Commons Licence and may be republished with attribution.

 

The Strategic Dilemmas in Militarising Australian Exports | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Hobart Mercury – Letter by MAPW member, Dr Jennifer Bond https://www.mapw.org.au/news/hobart-mercury-letter-mapw-member-dr-jennifer-bond/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:11:33 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4056 Published by the Hobart Mercury, 8th February 2018 Last Friday the Peace Boat brought survivors to Hobart to describe their ordeals and ask us to help. Tanaka, a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 by U.S atomic bombs, described the enormous, instant, long lasting destruction of people and land. A farmer whose family […]

Hobart Mercury – Letter by MAPW member, Dr Jennifer Bond | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Published by the Hobart Mercury, 8th February 2018

Last Friday the Peace Boat brought survivors to Hobart to describe their ordeals and ask us to help.

Tanaka, a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 by U.S atomic bombs, described the enormous, instant, long lasting destruction of people and land.

A farmer whose family farmed near Fukishima for several generations, described the death and destruction from the nuclear power plant meltdown after a predictable earthquake; The daughter of a survivor of the British atomic tests at Maralinga in South Australia described the long term effects on First Nation people not only from the radiation (which was blown all over Australia by unpredicted winds) but also of the arrogant assumption that their lands can be used for storage of radiation residues which the Australian cities find too dangerous.

Some of us have been predicting the dangers of nuclear weapons and power stations since 1945. Now the groundswell of people’s opinion has led to the vote in the UN Assembly to ban nuclear weapons.  Those few governments who sell armaments and stockpile nuclear weapons are in league with the arms dealers and lie to us and themselves about the horrendous damage of war, cannot accept (yet) this vote.

Our Coalition Government cannot even congratulate ICANi for winning the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

Yours truly,

Dr Jennifer Bond

 

Hobart Mercury – Letter by MAPW member, Dr Jennifer Bond | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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IPPNW supports WMA condemnation of the arrest of Turkish Medical Association leaders https://www.mapw.org.au/news/ippnw-supports-wma-condemnation-arrest-turkish-medical-association-leaders/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:08:09 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4053 Written 07/02/2018 International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNWi) joins the World Medical Association in expressing grave concern over the arrests of leaders of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA). We concur with the statement of WMA President Dr. Yoshitake Yokokura, who said, in part, “The WMA fully supports our Turkish colleagues in their […]

IPPNW supports WMA condemnation of the arrest of Turkish Medical Association leaders | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNWi) joins the World Medical Association in expressing grave concern over the arrests of leaders of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA).

We concur with the statement of WMA President Dr. Yoshitake Yokokura, who said, in part, “The WMA fully supports our Turkish colleagues in their public statements that war is a public health problem. The WMA has clear policy that physicians and national medical associations should alert governments to the human consequence of warfare and armed conflicts.”

IPPNWi agrees that the threats of physical violence and the criminal complaint that has been made again the TMA violates the rights of free expression as enshrined in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and prevents these honourable physicians from performing the professional medical duties they are ethically required to uphold.

We join the WMA in calling on Turkish authorities to immediately release the physician leaders and end the campaign of intimidation and in asking all of our medical colleagues around the world to “advocate for the full respect of Turkey’s humanitarian and human rights obligations, including the right to health, freedom of association and expression.”

Statement issued by

Daniel Bassey, MD, Nigeria – IPPNWi Co-President

Ira Helfand, MD, United States – IPPNWi Co-President

Arun Mitra, MD, India – IPPNWi Co President

Tilman Ruff, MD, Australia – IPPNWi Co President

IPPNW supports WMA condemnation of the arrest of Turkish Medical Association leaders | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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PM Turnbull’s ‘jobs’ argument for war profiteering is a sham https://www.mapw.org.au/australian-militarism/pm-turnbulls-jobs-argument-war-profiteering-sham/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:03:39 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4051 Published by johnmenadue.com Pearls and Irritations,  5 February 2018 PM Turnbull’s push to make Australia a major weapons exporter puts paid to any pretence we might have of being a peace-loving nation.  And his claim that it’s all about jobs is a sham.  War profiteering is one of the least effective ways to create jobs. […]

PM Turnbull’s ‘jobs’ argument for war profiteering is a sham | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Published by johnmenadue.com Pearls and Irritations,  5 February 2018

PM Turnbull’s push to make Australia a major weapons exporter puts paid to any pretence we might have of being a peace-loving nation.  And his claim that it’s all about jobs is a sham.  War profiteering is one of the least effective ways to create jobs.

One of the big unexplained assumptions in the government’s recently announced promotion of a stronger role for Australia in the weapons industry is that the interests of the industry are completely aligned with Australia’s national interests.  In effect our prosperity is to become even more dependent on the industry that relies on wars and threats of wars for its survival.

If, on the other hand, we still have any pretence to promoting peace and stability in the world – admittedly a big “if”, given our roles in the destabilising of the Middle East – then the government’s recent announcement runs completely counter to that purpose.  Why would we advocate for arms restraint and peaceful conflict resolution when those things undermine the very market for the products we’re trying to sell?  Beef producers generally don’t promote vegetarianism.

In an attempt to normalise the notion of war profiteering, or at least distract the voter from its seedy reality, the PM’s announcement focussed heavily on the jobs that would be created.  Herein lies a further unexplained assumption: that weapons projects are the best way to create jobs. With an expenditure of $3.8 billion for a weapons financing facility, most of us could guess that there would be some jobs in there somewhere.  But what Turnbull has completely avoided is the question of whether that money spent in other ways could create far more jobs, with the added bonus of not pushing Australia further into the murky world of the arms trade and all its associated ethical and strategic dilemmas.

Where are the data indicating that $3.8 billion to help the weapons industry will create more jobs than the same investment in, say, health or education or renewable energies or public transport?  The figures don’t exist, of course.  Research comparing the costs of providing jobs in different sectors is sadly neglected in Australia, probably non-existent. (The author has looked and found zilch.)  This is a big gap that needs filling, if only to counter the recurrent mantra of “jobs” that accompanies every shuffling of our tax dollars away from where they are really needed.

Even research from elsewhere is hard to come by on this matter, but what there is indicates that military spending is one of the least effective ways to create jobs.  In 2011, a study at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, titled “The US employment effects of military and domestic spending priorities”, concluded that:

$1 billion spent on clean energy, health care or education would create substantially more jobs within the US economy than $1 billion spent on military projects; and that

The additional jobs in clean energy, health care or education were across all pay ranges, including mid- and high-paying jobs.

Unlike other jobs, military jobs are generally in large identifiable locations that can be directly linked to a parliamentary decision; that is, they are politically attractive.  Other jobs are less visible and more widely dispersed, and their advocates lack the huge lobbying resources of large weapons manufacturers.

William Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security project of the Centre for International Policy, in his book “Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex” wrote:

“When an arms company starts bragging about how many jobs its pet project creates, hold onto your wallet.  It often means that the company wants billions of dollars’ worth of your tax money for a weapon that costs too much, does too little, and may not have been needed in the first place.”

Although Hartung was referring to the Raptor F-22 in this instance, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter also springs to mind, as does Australia’s controversial submarine project.

Meanwhile, as we set about boosting our weapons exports, Australia has passed up the opportunity to be a world leader in renewable energy, a sector that is playing an essential role in addressing climate disruption and the devastation it is already causing in communities around the globe.  Having also slashed our overseas aid mercilessly, we will not even be assisting those most vulnerable to any significant extent, but simply profiting from the tensions and wars that follow. Most of the climate refugees, along with those from the wars we fuel, can of course forget about coming here.

Our PM’s vision for Australia’s place in the world is mean and adversarial. His excitement at the prospect of Australia being a leader in death and destruction is degrading and sells short our enormous potential to be a force for good in the world.

Dr Sue Wareham OAM is the President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia).

This article is based on a letter first published in The Canberra Times on 30 January.

http://johnmenadue.com/sue-wareham-pm-turnbulls-jobs-argument-for-war-profiteering-is-a-sham/

PM Turnbull’s ‘jobs’ argument for war profiteering is a sham | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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US’s new nuclear policy ‘a blueprint for war’, Nobel peace laureate says https://www.mapw.org.au/nuclear-weapons/uss-new-nuclear-policy-blueprint-war-nobel-peace-laureate-says/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 23:58:38 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4048 (Published by The Guardian, 6 February 2018) International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons founder describes weapons review as ‘a chilling document’ that echoes cold war era. Australia’s Nobel peace laureate says America’s aggressive new nuclear policy is “a blueprint for nuclear war” that returns the world to a cold war mentality. Tilman Ruff, the founding […]

US’s new nuclear policy ‘a blueprint for war’, Nobel peace laureate says | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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(Published by The Guardian, 6 February 2018)

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons founder describes weapons review as ‘a chilling document’ that echoes cold war era.

Australia’s Nobel peace laureate says America’s aggressive new nuclear policy is “a blueprint for nuclear war” that returns the world to a cold war mentality.

Tilman Ruff, the founding chair of the Melbourne-founded International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANi) said the newly released US nuclear posture review was “a chilling document”.

“This increases the danger of nuclear war … it clearly flags that great power confrontation with Russia is back on again. It essentially says, ‘we’re back in the cold war’.”

Last Friday the release of Donald Trump’s nuclear posture review revealed a significantly more aggressive stance towards Russia, saying Vladimir Putin’s regime must be convinced it would face “unacceptably dire costs” if it were to threaten even a limited nuclear attack in Europe.

The review also cast North Korea as a “clear and grave threat” to the US and marked out China, saying the US arsenal was tailored to “prevent Beijing from mistakenly concluding” it could be advantaged by using its nuclear weapons in Asia.

In October, ICANi was awarded the 2017 Nobel peace prize for the organisation’s efforts to abolish nuclear weapons globally, in particular through a prohibition treaty adopted by the United Nations. ICANi is the first Australian-founded organisation to ever be awarded the peace prize.

On the floor of the UN general assembly in July, two-thirds of the world’s countries – 122 nations – voted in favour of the treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. Fifty-six countries have signed the treaty and five have ratified it. The treaty will come into force when 50 countries have ratified it.

None of the declared nuclear states, including the US, have signed on to the treaty. And key allies such as Australia, reliant on the umbrella of US nuclear deterrence, have also refused to endorse the ban on nuclear weapons.

The Pentagon-led review of the US nuclear arsenal and the policies that govern it was ordered by Trump a year ago. Such reviews are customarily done at the outset of a new US administration.

In a written statement, Trump said US strategy was “aimed at making use of nuclear weapons less likely”.

But Ruff said the opposite was true, condemning the new US posture as one “that invests in new, more usable nuclear weapons on submarines and on ships, and that increases the range of options where nuclear retaliation would be considered”.

He said the US had abandoned its legal commitment to disarmament, agreed to under article VI of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

“The goal of a world free of nuclear weapons has disappeared from that document. It’s been described as a blueprint for nuclear war, and I don’t think that’s too extreme a characterisation.”

Ruff said on myriad indicators the risk of global nuclear war was increasing. “The continued reliance on nuclear weapons; the continued massive investments on keeping them indefinitely; making them more usable and more deadly; the lack of talks about disarmament, the increasingly belligerent postures and extraordinarily specific threats to use nuclear weapons by multiple leaders in multiple parts of the world,” he said. The US position has also been criticised – predictably – by China, Iran and Russia.

Russia’s foreign ministry said the Trump administration’s policy statement was both “confrontational” and “unscrupulous” while Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said it risked “bringing humankind closer to annihilation”.

The Union of Concerned Scientists described it as “reckless path” that will weaken US security.

On Monday, Ruff was speaking aboard the Peace Boat, which was docked in Sydney Harbour. The Peace Boat, a Japan-based non-government organisation, has toured the world since 1983, promoting peace, human rights and environmental protection.

Also on board the ship in Sydney was 85-year-old Tanaka Terumi, who as a 13-year-old, survived an atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki.

The former university professor has dedicated his life to speaking out on behalf of the Hibakusha, those who survived the Japanese atomic bombings, and to campaigning for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

“It was a truly cruel and inhumane weapon that should never be used again. No one else on this planet should have to experience the pain that my fellow survivors experienced.”

US’s new nuclear policy ‘a blueprint for war’, Nobel peace laureate says | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Keep a strict line https://www.mapw.org.au/other-weapons/keep-strict-line/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 23:53:34 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4044 (Published by The Age – letters page 5 February 2018) Over the years Australia has sold guns to government institutions in Papua New Guinea, which have sold them on to criminals in the civilian population. Armed violence now makes PNG one of the world’s most dangerous countries for its own citizens and for visitors. Australia […]

Keep a strict line | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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(Published by The Age – letters page 5 February 2018)

Over the years Australia has sold guns to government institutions in Papua New Guinea, which have sold them on to criminals in the civilian population. Armed violence now makes PNG one of the world’s most dangerous countries for its own citizens and for visitors.

Australia sells arms to the Duterte regime in the Philippines, which oppresses its impoverished population with irrational and brutal measures. We also sell arms to Saudi Arabia which also suppresses its own citizens militarily, is currently committing war crimes in Yemen, and passes on arms to extremist regimes and organisations it supports throughout the Middle East.

The arms trade is like the trade in narcotics. Both commodities have their legitimate uses but both can be abused, requiring responsible regulation. If Australia is to increase its arms trade, our current top secret and ineffective regulatory system must surely need review. Otherwise we are the equivalent of illicit drug dealers. Ideally the grounds for granting licences should be transparent, allowing Australians to know what our government is approving on our behalf.

Dr Peter Wigg, Medical Association for Prevention of War

Keep a strict line | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Australian Doctors Condemn Arrest of Turkish Colleagues https://www.mapw.org.au/news/australian-doctors-condemn-arrest-turkish-colleagues/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 23:48:59 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4041 MEDIA RELEASE  issued Thursday, 1 February 2018 The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) has expressed its grave concern at the arrests by the Turkish Government of all 11 members of the Turkish Medical Association’s Central Council for their statement on the public health consequences of war. MAPW President Dr Sue Wareham said, “MAPW in Australia […]

Australian Doctors Condemn Arrest of Turkish Colleagues | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MEDIA RELEASE  issued Thursday, 1 February 2018

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) has expressed its grave concern at the arrests by the Turkish Government of all 11 members of the Turkish Medical Association’s Central Council for their statement on the public health consequences of war.

MAPW President Dr Sue Wareham said, “MAPW in Australia fully supports our health worker colleagues everywhere in speaking out about the terrible impacts that warfare has on public health.  It is the duty of our profession to speak out about anything that undermines health and the closely related issue of human rights.”

War has many impacts on the overall health of a nation, not only in the deaths and physical and mental maiming of many of its citizens, but also in the suppression of basic freedoms – as we are seeing in Turkey now – and in the diversion of resources from health and other essential services to destructive purposes.

The doctors’ right to freedom of expression is enshrined in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Turkey ratified in 2003.  Those rights have now been undermined.

MAPW notes also the terrible impact of Western involvement in the Middle East in helping trigger and prolong the wars there, and particularly the flooding of the region with weapons. Australia’s recent decision to profiteer from warfare to an even greater extent than we already do is a grave indictment of our failure to put peace and human rights first.

MAPW calls on the Turkish government to immediately release the physician leaders and to end the campaign of intimidation against them.

For interview, please call:

MAPW President Dr Sue Wareham, 02 6253 1117 or 0407 924 152

Australian Doctors Condemn Arrest of Turkish Colleagues | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Making waves on journey to nuclear treaty – by Sally Attrill, Convenor MAPW Tasmania https://www.mapw.org.au/nuclear-weapons/making-waves-journey-nuclear-treaty-sally-attrill-convenor-mapw-tasmania/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 23:32:15 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4038 Published by the Hobart Mercury,31 January 2018 This is the 96th voyage of the ‘Peace Boat’, since its first trip in 1983. During that time it has visited over 120 ports in more than 80 countries. The current ship, the Ocean Dream, carries 800-1000 passengers on a different type of cruise to normal. During the […]

Making waves on journey to nuclear treaty – by Sally Attrill, Convenor MAPW Tasmania | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Published by the Hobart Mercury,31 January 2018

This is the 96th voyage of the ‘Peace Boat’, since its first trip in 1983. During that time it has visited over 120 ports in more than 80 countries. The current ship, the Ocean Dream, carries 800-1000 passengers on a different type of cruise to normal. During the trip guests have the opportunity to participate in lectures and workshops on a wide range of peace related topics, to  learn languages and to study the culture of the places visited ,as well as more traditional cruise activities such as music, dancing, and sport. The passengers on the Peace Boat are a diverse group of people from different cultures, ages and professions. The boat is run by a Japanese based international non-government organisation working towards peace, human rights, sustainable development and respect for the environment. The Peace Boat was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008.

The Peace Boat is a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANi ) which has recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for its work towards successfully negotiating  the new United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which was passed by 122 countries in July 2017.The treaty bans signatories from developing or possessing nuclear weapons, in the same way that other indiscriminate and devastating weapons such as land-mines, chemical and viral warfare have been banned.

Australia hasn’t signed this treaty as our politicians regard us as being protected by the US nuclear umbrella, and believe that nuclear weapons in certain hands only, act as a deterrent and reduce the chance of war. The current increased nuclear threat from the posturing between North  Korea and the US affects us all. Australia has been suggested as a potential target by North Korea. The presence of nuclear weapons in any hands, would appear to be a threat our entire international community and removal of these weapons is important. Atomic scientists have just re-set the nuclear time bomb Doomsday Clock at 2 minutes to 12-the highest risk since the peak of the cold war in 1953. Today it is very evident that being the leader of a country does not make one a safe person to control that nuclear trigger button.  None of the nine countries known to own the known 15,000 nuclear weapons in existence, have signed the treaty. This may gradually change with international pressure from   powerful civil society movements. Recent polls have suggested that more than 70% of Australians favour nuclear abolition.

The money spent on nuclear weapons could be used for health and education. It would be wonderful to see Australia sign this new UN treaty. One of the current projects the Peace Boat is undertaking is promotion of this new UN treaty. The Peace Boat will be spending Friday 2nd February in Hobart and staff are co-ordinating a public lecture in Hobart at 12.30 pm on the parliament house lawns to promote this new UN Treaty for nuclear prohibition. Speakers include those affected by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the nuclear power disaster at Fukushima, and the nuclear testing on aboriginal land in South and West Australia. This should be an interesting and powerful meeting which you may wish to attend.

Making waves on journey to nuclear treaty – by Sally Attrill, Convenor MAPW Tasmania | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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There’s no cause for celebration in exporting death and destruction – by Dr Sue Wareham, President, MAPW https://www.mapw.org.au/australian-militarism/mapw-president-condemns-prime-ministers-wish-australia-becomes-major-arms-dealer/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 23:24:55 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4034 Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: published 30 January 2018 The announcement that Australia is attempting to be a major arms exporter (“Major defence boost”, canberratimes.com.au, January 29) makes a mockery of any pretence we might have to being a peace-loving nation. A country doesn’t try to destroy the market for the products it’s flogging. […]

There’s no cause for celebration in exporting death and destruction – by Dr Sue Wareham, President, MAPW | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: published 30 January 2018

The announcement that Australia is attempting to be a major arms exporter (“Major defence boost”, canberratimes.com.au, January 29) makes a mockery of any pretence we might have to being a peace-loving nation.

A country doesn’t try to destroy the market for the products it’s flogging. PM Turnbull’s claim that it’s all about “jobs” is a contemptible fig-leaf for forcing people into the business of war profiteering. If he wanted more jobs he’d show us research on which sectors of society provide the most jobs for a given expenditure.

Such research just doesn’t exist in Australia, but evidence from elsewhere indicates that health, education and public transport rate far better than building weapons.

Australia has passed up the opportunity to be a world leader in renewable energy, but now chooses to spend $3.8billion on a weapons financing facility.

Meanwhile we have slashed our overseas aid mercilessly. Our contribution to the world in coming years will not be in helping reduce the climate disruption that is already happening, or assisting those most vulnerable, but in profiteering from the tensions and wars that follow.

Australia has also spent more on commemorating World War I than any other nation, presumably to keep the warrior spirit alive and well, but our leaders have refused to take a jot of notice of what that war teaches us, especially about the dangers of arms races.

Our PM’s excitement at the prospect of Australia being a leader in death and destruction is degrading and pitiful.

Dr Sue Wareham, President MAPW

There’s no cause for celebration in exporting death and destruction – by Dr Sue Wareham, President, MAPW | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Nuclear weapons — Australia stands on the wrong side of history by Tilman Ruff https://www.mapw.org.au/nuclear-weapons/nuclear-weapons-australia-stands-wrong-side-history-tilman-ruff/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 23:16:57 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=4031 During Senate estimates in October last year, the Australian government dug further into the deep and dark moral abyss in which it is stuck in relation to the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons. In questioning by Tasmanian Labor Senator Lisa Singh, DFAT Assistant Secretary Richard Sadleir sought to explain the circumstances in which under […]

Nuclear weapons — Australia stands on the wrong side of history by Tilman Ruff | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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During Senate estimates in October last year, the Australian government dug further into the deep and dark moral abyss in which it is stuck in relation to the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons.

In questioning by Tasmanian Labor Senator Lisa Singh, DFAT Assistant Secretary Richard Sadleir sought to explain the circumstances in which under Australia’s security doctrine the government regarded use of nuclear weapons as appropriate: “extended nuclear deterrence is something which comes to the fore in a situation of extreme emergency of the sort that has been referred to in terms of self-defence”. Senator Singh was appropriately appalled that there were any circumstances in which the government considered that use of nuclear weapons was appropriate.

Sadleir epitomised the fundamental Faustian bargain of nuclear deterrence – inextricably entwined as it is with a capacity and willingness to inflict indiscriminate radioactive incineration on millions of civilians, whether planned or by accident.

Shocking as this preparedness to be party to unleashing massive nuclear violence is, the government is being consistent. Consistent with what nuclear deterrence actually means; consistent with its refusal to support any statement that nuclear weapons must never be used again under any circumstances; consistent with its opposition to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (ban treaty), signed by 56 states since it opened for signature at the United Nations in New York on 20 September last year. Consistent with its claimed reliance on US nuclear weapons as fundamental to Australia’s national security and prosperity.

What is inconsistent is the Australian government’s hollow assurance that it is committed to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons, while claiming to need US nuclear weapons. This flagrant hypocrisy makes our nation an obstacle to disarmament and encourages proliferation. What credibility can Australia have in tut-tutting North Korea while it claims to need the option of US nuclear weapons being used on its behalf?

The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Melbourne-born International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANi), which led the effort to establish a nuclear weapon ban treaty – an achievement the Norwegian Nobel Committee described as “groundbreaking”.

Yet the Australian Government has refused to join the ban treaty. In October last year, Mr Sadleir and DFAT senior legal advisor James Larsen, in Senate estimates for foreign minister Julie Bishop, gave reasoning for Australia’s prompt decision not to join the ban treaty, less than 3 weeks after it was adopted at the UN in New York.

These claims have wider relevance because they bear a striking similarity to arguments made by other nuclear-dependent and nuclear-armed governments.

Let’s take a look at what they said:

  1. Australia doesn’t regard the ban treaty as an effective disarmament measure

All states agree that prohibition of nuclear weapons will be required at some point along the way towards achieving and maintaining a world free of nuclear weapons. But Australia argues that nuclear weapons should only be prohibited once they’ve been eliminated.

This flies in the face of logic, history and precedent. For every indiscriminate weapon which is in the process of being eliminated – biological and chemical weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions – codification of the norm of prohibition in a treaty has come first, providing the motivation and basis for progressive elimination of the weapon in question. More or less effectively, these treaties are working. They provide the proven path to disarmament: stigmatise, prohibit, eliminate. Australia has signed up to all of them; we played a leading role in the negotiation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The government is making an exception for the last and by far the most destructive WMD – nuclear weapons – because it continues to value them and believes US nuclear weapons might need to be used on behalf of Australia.

  1. The ban treaty disregards the reality of the international security environment, highlighted by the grave threat posed by the DPRK

A few years ago, Iran would have been substituted for DPRK. Next year it might be another state. The DPRK is following the copybook laid out by every other nuclear-armed state and demonstrates that the means are available for any determined state to acquire nuclear weapons. The problem is weapons posing an existential threat to all humanity, not any particular set of fallible human hands controlling them.

No doubt, the international security environment is alarming. Relations between US/NATO and Russia are at their lowest ebb since the end of the Cold War, with military exercising and deployments becoming more provocative, existing nuclear weapons agreements like the INF (Intermediate Nuclear Forces) treaty in jeopardy, Russian annexation of Crimea, and no disarmament talks underway or planned. Tensions simmer between China, US, Japan and others in the South China Sea. Almost weekly border skirmishes, a continuing nuclear arms race, weak security of nuclear weapons, and policies envisioning early use of nuclear weapons highlight the real danger of armed conflict turning nuclear between India and Pakistan. The situation in various parts of the Middle East is hardly stable. Irresponsible explicit and increasingly extreme nuclear threats have escalated between DPRK and the US, bringing closer the grim prospect of war, including nuclear war. Nuclear threats have also been uttered in recent times by Prime Minister Theresa May, President Putin, and leaders in India and Pakistan.

Meanwhile no disarmament negotiations are underway or even being planned, all nuclear-armed states are committed to indefinite retention of their nuclear arsenals, and all are investing large sums – together over US$100 billion annually – in modernising them, making them more accurate and “usable”. It is no wonder that the 15 Nobel laureate and other custodians of the Doomsday Clock, along with most authoritative others, assess the dangers of nuclear war to be as high as they have ever been, and growing.

All this makes all the more urgent the need to reduce and remove the real danger of nuclear weapons being used. Progress proved possible during the icy depths of the Cold War – after the Cuban missile crisis, with the Partial Test Ban Treaty, with the START treaty, with reciprocating unilateral measures between the USSR and the US in the 1980s and early 90s. Increasing tensions and potential flashpoints, ongoing proliferation of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, dysfunctional leaders, increasing possibilities for cyberattack to trigger nuclear war are all reasons to intensify and not stall work to diminish nuclear dangers.

Setting conditions and moving goalposts, like trust and resolution of regional tensions, that are claimed to be required before disarmament can proceed, is an excuse to stall. We will never have a perfect world free of tensions, especially not in an era of accelerating climate disruption. This reality makes it all the more urgent to get nuclear weapons off the table. There will never be a better time to get on with nuclear disarmament than now.

There are nine national nuclear arsenals in the world, and the North Korean nuclear arsenal, of an estimated 10-20 assembled weapons, and having produced enough fissile material (nuclear bomb fuel) for between 30 and 60, is probably the only one not capable of triggering global cooling, which would cause billions of people around the world to starve. More than 90 per cent of the global nuclear arsenal is held by Russia and the US. These arsenals, and the arsenals of France, China, UK, Pakistan, India and Israel, pose a far greater risk to humanity.

If nuclear weapons are exploded, the effects will be the same no matter where they came from, whether they were used first or second or third. Explosion of US nuclear weapons in Australia’s name will cause indiscriminate nuclear violence just as surely as any others. As Ban Ki-moon said, there are no right hands for the wrong weapons.

  1. The treaty is fundamentally flawed and risks undermining the NPTi

The claim that the ban treaty undermines the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPTi) could hardly be further from the truth, and the government seems to have studiously avoided explaining its basis for this claim.

The ban treaty specifically refers to the NPTi “as the cornerstone of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime”. Governments negotiating the ban treaty went to great lengths to reinforce the NPTi, and every one of them has consistently expressed this support before, during and after the negotiations. They acted on the basis that Article 6 of the NPTi obliges all governments to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures … relating to nuclear disarmament”.

Comprehensively prohibiting nuclear weapons as the ban treaty does is clearly “an effective measure”. Its provisions for the verified, irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons programs and facilities complement and build on the NPTi and apply consistent standards to all states, essential to delivering disarmament and breaking the current “nuclear apartheid” logjam.

The ban treaty fills a legal gap, including in the NPTi, which left nuclear weapons as the last and worst weapons of mass destruction not prohibited. It was way past due to fill this gap. A number of other multilateral treaties complement the NPTi, all of them supported by Australia – the regional nuclear weapon free zone treaties, the Partial Test Ban Treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty – still not entered into force – among them. A fissile material treaty, supported by Australia, would add to them. Additional legal instruments will be needed to attain and maintain a world free of nuclear weapons, as is envisaged by the NPTi.

  1. The ban treaty undermines the nuclear safeguards system

Nuclear safeguards are (imperfect) measures applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEAi) to deter and provide early detection of diversion of nuclear material or technology to make nuclear weapons. The ban treaty does not undermine this system, and again the government avoids explaining their claim. The treaty clearly stipulates in Article 3 that joining states must maintain their safeguards obligations. If they do not yet have a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) with the IAEAi they must bring one into force. In both cases the treaty appropriately anticipates that states may adopt additional safeguards in the future.

Some of those who make this criticism point to the failure of the ban treaty to require a CSA and an Additional Protocol, with its more stringent provisions for inspection and monitoring of nuclear activities, to be the safeguards standard required of states which join the treaty. While this would arguably have been desirable, blaming the ban treaty for not strengthening the safeguards regime in a way that the NPTi regime has failed to do over the past 20 years is seeking a scapegoat on a matter more properly within the province of the NPTi. But the ban treaty does not allow any states joining to weaken their safeguards obligations, and is entirely consistent with every state eventually being required to apply the same safeguards standards.

For states that have, or have had, nuclear weapons when they sign the treaty, after the verified elimination of their nuclear weapons, facilities and programs, a high level of safeguards is required. Such states: “shall conclude a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency sufficient to provide credible assurance of the non-diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities and of the absence of undeclared nuclear material or activities in the State as a whole.” These requirements certainly cover the elements of the Additional Protocol, and this specification of what the safeguards need to accomplish in these circumstances is appropriate, as the safeguards system can be expected to and should evolve in line with technical and other developments.

  1. The ban treaty will not eliminate a single nuclear weapon

This allegation is disingenuous and in bad faith. The ban treaty negotiations were open to all states. The nuclear-armed and nuclear-dependent states, with the exception of the Netherlands, chose to stay away. This was the first time ever that Australia has not joined a multilateral disarmament process. Hardly a sign of good faith.

States that don’t possess nuclear weapons obviously can’t eliminate them. However all people and all states are jeopardised by the existence of nuclear weapons, and all have a responsibility (including under the NPTi) to achieve nuclear disarmament.

The main “practical steps” to non-proliferation and disarmament Australia includes in its self-titled “progressive” approach are entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBTi), a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCTi), increased transparency about nuclear weapons holdings, work on verification issues, and meetings since 2010 of a dozen or so nations known as the Nuclear Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), which has achieved nothing significant. None of these would eliminate a single nuclear weapon either. To be sure, there is nothing wrong with any of these measures; however they have not been implemented in decades, and there are no foreseeable prospects they will be implemented.

The ban treaty powerfully codifies in international law a rejection of the legitimacy of nuclear weapons in any hands. As we have seen with other weapons subject to prohibition, norms are powerful. Which states now assert their essential right and need to wield a smallpox or plague “deterrent”, or their legitimacy in threatening to use sarin nerve gas? The strength of the norm against chemical weapons led to the Syrian government being forced to join the Chemical Weapon Convention in 2013 and the destruction of 1300 tons of chemical weapons. Despite states like China, Russia and the US opposing the treaties banning landmines and cluster munitions, none of them any longer export these, manufacture and use have declined, and the US boasts its virtual compliance with the landmine ban even though it hasn’t joined that treaty.

  1. The ban treaty process abandoned the consensus-based framework

The ban treaty was negotiated in eight months because negotiations took place under the rules of the UN General Assembly, the most inclusive and fundamental organ of the UN, which in the absence of a consensus allows the votes of a two-thirds majority to decide matters of substance.

The requirement for consensus which applies to NPTi meetings and to the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) mean that these bodies can agree nothing if just one state objects. This means both bodies are reduced to lowest common denominator, and goes a considerable way to explaining why the NPTi has been ineffective in advancing disarmament, and why the CD has not been able to agree even on an agenda for 21 years.

The claim that the ban treaty exacerbates divisions between states is spurious. The main sources of division are the existential threat posed by the nine states that claim a unique right to threaten indiscriminate globalized nuclear violence and their failure to deliver the disarmament they are obligated to. Differences that may be accentuated by intolerance and impatience with this moribund status quo are necessary and healthy to breaking the logjam in disarmament.

The standard by which any disarmament measure should be judged is twofold: does it progress the eradication of nuclear weapons and does it reduce the risks of nuclear war in the meantime?

The ban treaty provides pathways to join for states that are nuclear weapons free, have nuclear weapons currently, have owned them in the past, have nuclear weapons stationed on their territory, or like Australia assist in military preparations for their use.

Thus no state can legitimately claim that this treaty is not for them. It provides a moment of truth: if they are committed to disarmament they will sign; if they do not join, whatever they say, they are part of the problem rather than the solution. Sadly Australia still languishes on the wrong side of history.

opinion article published by righnow.org.au Jan 29th 2018

Nuclear weapons — Australia stands on the wrong side of history by Tilman Ruff | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Nuclear disarmament unrealistic? So is keeping the bombs and surviving https://www.mapw.org.au/nuclear-weapons/nuclear-disarmament-unrealistic-keeping-bombs-surviving/ Tue, 09 Jan 2018 01:55:12 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3901 Opinion article by Dr Margaret Beavis, – board member of ICAN (Australia) and the Medical Association for Prevention of War. Published by the Canberra Times on January 1st 2018 As we look back on the past year, one issue that abruptly came into focus was nuclear weapons. On the one hand, North Korea aggressively tested […]

Nuclear disarmament unrealistic? So is keeping the bombs and surviving | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Opinion article by Dr Margaret Beavis, – board member of ICAN (Australia) and the Medical Association for Prevention of War. Published by the Canberra Times on January 1st 2018

As we look back on the past year, one issue that abruptly came into focus was nuclear weapons. On the one hand, North Korea aggressively tested new weapons and both Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump threatened catastrophe; on the other, we have a new United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and a Nobel peace prize to the Australian-founded organisation the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons.

How will these two extremes meet?

Let’s start with the “ugly”. We are assured that nuclear weapons keep us safe, but with almost 15,000 in existence and more than 4000 deployed, the reverse is true. To say they will never be used is magical thinking, the stuff of fairy stories. It is only a matter of time. There have been many near misses, due to human or technical error, where only luck has stopped a nuclear launch. This luck cannot hold indefinitely.

The extent of destruction is so vast it’s difficult to contemplate. The fears of the 1950s and ’60s have given way to a sort of collective denial. But the horrors of the past are just a pale shadow of what lies ahead, with current weapons 30 to 50 times more powerful than those used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

No response will be possible. All hospitals and health workers will be destroyed. The thermonuclear blast will be followed by a massive firestorm, reaching temperatures of 800 degrees. All oxygen within a radius of 25 kilometres will be consumed, killing anyone who survives the fire.

After the blast, the soot in the atmosphere will create a decade-long nuclear winter, damaging crop yields and resulting in global famine. Careful modelling has found up to 2 billion lives will be put at risk from starvation.

Jong-un and Trump are unequivocally “bad”, way beyond the Twitter use of the word. They have horrified millions with their immature brinkmanship, name-calling and threats. Not since the Cuban missile crisis has there been such public concern.

The United States blames North Korea for acquiring these weapons yet, given the fate of Iraq and Libya, it’s unsurprising that the North feels it needs them. Clearly, as long as these weapons are regarded as legitimate, nations will try to acquire them. Indeed, the US is spending $US1.2 trillion ($A1.5 trillion) to update its nuclear arsenal.

It’s appalling that North Korea has them yet, in many ways, inevitable given the nuclear-armed states’ abject failure to honour their undertakings to disarm under the non-proliferation treaty.

So where is the “good” in all this? The new UN treaty finally places nuclear weapons on the same footing as biological and chemical weapons. Stigmatising these weapons and holding governments to account is a critical next step in restarting the disarmament process. One-hundred-and-twenty-two countries voted in favour of this treaty and, once 50 countries sign and ratify it, it will become international law. Fifty-six countries have signed so far.

Once it is international law, using these weapons will constitute a war crime. Major divestment and a shift in how the public and the military view these weapons will follow. There needs to be serious negotiations, with an agreed, verifiable, balanced, stepwise reduction in stockpiles, with a specific timetable. No one is saying the new treaty is a magic wand. All this will take time and extensive diplomacy.

In Australia, the government continues to cling to the belief that nuclear weapons make us safer. By legitimising these weapons, it ultimately encourages proliferation. Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are all considering becoming nuclear-armed.

We are at a turning point. New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines were among the first to sign the treaty, and all remain US allies.

People say nuclear disarmament is unrealistic, but what is truly unrealistic is to pretend our luck will continue to hold, and that these appalling weapons will never be used. The humanitarian impacts are too great, and the risks too high. The treaty offers a new impetus and renewed hope for a safer world. It’s high time for our government to acknowledge this, and sign it.

 

 

Nuclear disarmament unrealistic? So is keeping the bombs and surviving | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Plight of North Korean people will deepen https://www.mapw.org.au/causes-costs-of-war/plight-north-korean-people-will-deepen/ Tue, 09 Jan 2018 01:48:11 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3897 Letter to the Editor, written by Dr Sue Wareham, President, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Canberra. Published by the Canberra Times on December 30 2017 Australia has joined other nations in not imposing economic sanctions on the military of Myanmar for its atrocities against the Rohingya people, because they would damage the nation’s vulnerable […]

Plight of North Korean people will deepen | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Letter to the Editor, written by Dr Sue Wareham, President, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Canberra. Published by the Canberra Times on December 30 2017

Australia has joined other nations in not imposing economic sanctions on the military of Myanmar for its atrocities against the Rohingya people, because they would damage the nation’s vulnerable economy and isolate the country further (“Asia’s shocking calamity: Rohingya devastation must be seen to be understood”, canberratimes.com.au, December 27).

Economic sanctions do indeed punish the wrong people, as the Iraqis learnt at enormous cost during the 1990s, unless they are extremely tightly targeted. One can only assume therefore that the suffering of the people of North Korea, whose plight will be made even more dire by the latest round of economic sanctions against their country, doesn’t matter a jot.

Perhaps there is an expectation that Kim Jong-un’s behaviour will change because he cares about his people, or that the people will vote him out at the next general election in North Korea.

Regardless of the propaganda coming out of Washington, devoured and regurgitated by a servile government in Canberra, the sanctions against North Korea will make a repressed people even more repressed. They are gutless, ill-advised and counter-productive.

The reality of the impacts of economic sanctions that has been recognised in the case of Myanmar should be applied to the case of North Korea.

Plight of North Korean people will deepen | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAKING WAVES – ICAN & PEACE BOAT speaking tour comes to Tasmania https://www.mapw.org.au/news/making-waves-ican-peace-boat-speaking-tour-comes-tasmania/ Mon, 08 Jan 2018 03:01:28 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3869 Friday 2 February 12:30-2pm Parliament Lawns, Salamanca Place. In the event of wet weather, we will move the event into Parliament House. Free event. Register here. Speakers: Senator Lisa Singh Miyake Nobuo Kenichi Hasegawa Karina Lester Scott Ludlam MC: Leanne Minshull, The Australia Institute. Hosted by Peace Boat, the Australia Institute, the Medical Association for […]

MAKING WAVES – ICAN & PEACE BOAT speaking tour comes to Tasmania | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Friday 2 February 12:30-2pm

Parliament Lawns, Salamanca Place. In the event of wet weather, we will move the event into Parliament House.

Free event. Register here.

Speakers:

Senator Lisa Singh

Miyake Nobuo

Kenichi Hasegawa

Karina Lester

Scott Ludlam

MC: Leanne Minshull, The Australia Institute.

Hosted by Peace Boat, the Australia Institute, the Medical Association for Prevention of War and ICAN.

Invite friends on Facebook.

 

MAKING WAVES – ICAN & PEACE BOAT speaking tour comes to Tasmania | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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ICAN’s Beginnings https://www.mapw.org.au/featured/icans-beginnings/ Tue, 19 Dec 2017 04:26:54 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3810  

ICAN’s Beginnings | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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ICAN’s Beginnings | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Making Waves – ICAN Tour 2018 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/3799/ Tue, 19 Dec 2017 02:29:21 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3799 ICAN Speaking Tour 2018 Making Waves is a speaking tour featuring nuclear survivors from Japan and Australia, traveling aboard Peace Boat’s voyage to Oceania in January-February 2018. Public events, meetings and media opportunities will take place in five cities. The Tour is a collaboration between Peace Boat and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, […]

Making Waves – ICAN Tour 2018 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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ICAN Speaking Tour 2018

Making Waves is a speaking tour featuring nuclear survivors from Japan and Australia, traveling aboard Peace Boat’s voyage to Oceania in January-February 2018.

Public events, meetings and media opportunities will take place in five cities. The Tour is a collaboration between Peace Boat and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, in connection with local organisations in each city.

Making Waves will explore:

  • The devastating humanitarian consequences of the use and testing of nuclear weapons, particularly on Indigenous people
  • The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
  • The role of Japanese and Australian civil society in building momentum for their Governments to reject nuclear weapons and join the treaty
  • The impact of Australian uranium exports on the people of Fukushima in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster

Schedule

  • Fremantle: Thursday 25 January 11am-2pm at Foley Hall, Notre Dame University
  • Adelaide: Monday 29 January 6-8pm at The Sailing Club, Birkenhead
  • Melbourne: Thursday 1 February 6-8pm, at The Cube, ACMI
  • Hobart: Friday 2 February 12:30-2pm at Parliament Lawns, Salamanca Place
  • Sydney: Monday 5 February 6-8pm at Redfern Community Centre, Redfern

 

 

Making Waves – ICAN Tour 2018 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Watch ICAN Receive the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize https://www.mapw.org.au/news/watch-ican-receive-2017-nobel-peace-prize/ Tue, 12 Dec 2017 02:07:32 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3794 Watch  Hiroshima survivor, Setsuko Thurlow and Beatrice Finn, CEO of ICAN,  accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of ICAN. Their speeches send a powerful message to the world that nuclear weapons must be banned. Click here to watch the ceremony in full.

Watch ICAN Receive the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Watch  Hiroshima survivor, Setsuko Thurlow and Beatrice Finn, CEO of ICAN,  accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of ICAN. Their speeches send a powerful message to the world that nuclear weapons must be banned.

Click here to watch the ceremony in full.

Watch ICAN Receive the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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More from Oslo – Sue Coleman-Haseldine talks about the impact of nuclear testing on her community https://www.mapw.org.au/news/oslo-sue-coleman-haseldine-talks-impact-nuclear-testing-community/ Mon, 11 Dec 2017 02:04:25 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3792 Sue Coleman-Haseldine has been at the forefront of the camapign to abolish nuclear weapons. As a survivor of British nuclear testing at Maralinga and Emu Fields, Sue has supported ICANi‘s campaign by speaking out and sharing her testamony with people from around the world. Sue joined ICANi campaigners from around the world to witness, and […]

More from Oslo – Sue Coleman-Haseldine talks about the impact of nuclear testing on her community | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Sue Coleman-Haseldine has been at the forefront of the camapign to abolish nuclear weapons. As a survivor of British nuclear testing at Maralinga and Emu Fields, Sue has supported ICANi‘s campaign by speaking out and sharing her testamony with people from around the world. Sue joined ICANi campaigners from around the world to witness, and celebrate ICANi being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017. Click here to watch her message from Oslo.

Sue  has spoken to over 150 governments at the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna on 8–9 December 2014. A Kokatha-Mula woman, Sue was about three years old when the British nuclear weapons tests took place at Maralinga in the remote West of South Australia.

Sue Coleman-Haseldine has told delegations from over 150 governments that the British and Australian governments chose to conduct the tests at Maralinga and Emu Fields because they didn’t believe that the land was valuable.

“There are lots of different Aboriginal groups in Australia. For all of us our land is the basis of our culture. It is our supermarket for our food, our pharmacy for our medicine, our school and our church” Sue told delegates.

“These tests contaminated a huge area and everything in it but people hundreds of kilometers away were also impacted… I noticed people dying of cancer, something that was new to us,” Coleman-Haseldine told the conference.

More from Oslo – Sue Coleman-Haseldine talks about the impact of nuclear testing on her community | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Nobel Peace Prize 2017 – MAPW Congratulates and Celebrates with ICAN https://www.mapw.org.au/news/nobel-peace-prize-2017-mapw-congratulates-celebrates-ican/ Sun, 10 Dec 2017 02:01:03 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3789 MAPW congratulates and celebrates with ICAN the award of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to this outstanding campaign which is achieving so much towards our goal of a nuclear weapons free world.  The award will be presented in Oslo on Sunday, 10 December, very late evening (not so late for our friends and colleagues in […]

Nobel Peace Prize 2017 – MAPW Congratulates and Celebrates with ICAN | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW congratulates and celebrates with ICAN the award of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to this outstanding campaign which is achieving so much towards our goal of a nuclear weapons free world.  The award will be presented in Oslo on Sunday, 10 December, very late evening (not so late for our friends and colleagues in WA!). There will be celebrations in Melbourne, the birthplace of ICANi (10 Dec), Perth (10 Dec) and Canberra (13 Dec).

ICANi was founded by MAPW Australia just over a decade ago.  It was conceived in the mind of former IPPNWi Co-President, Malaysian retired obstetrician Dr Ron McCoy, who, in the wake of the 2005 NPT Review Conference that failed to progress nuclear disarmament, said “We need an international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons”.  And so we created one.  The message regarding the health and humanitarian impacts of any nuclear weapons use has been pivotal in the successful negotiation this year of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and its adoption by the UN on 7 July.

A good strong contingent from MAPW and ICAN Australia, including MAPW’s immediate past president Dr Margie Beavis, will be in Oslo for the award ceremony and all the associated media, cultural and other events.  Watch out for familiar names and faces!  We are proud of all of them, and particularly recognise the herculean efforts on the global stage of MAPW past president and ICANi founding chair Associate Professor Tilman Ruff, and of MAPW past president and ICANi global campaigner the late Dr Bill Williams.

A sincere thank you to all of you for helping make this happen.  The award is not to individuals but to all of us.  We’ve huge challenges ahead, but the recognition by the Nobel Committee of what has been achieved gives great heart as we redouble our efforts.

For a nuclear weapons free world

Dr Sue Wareham

MAPW President

Nobel Peace Prize 2017 – MAPW Congratulates and Celebrates with ICAN | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Message from the Aussies in Oslo – Tonight the Nobel Peace Prize is Awarded!!!! https://www.mapw.org.au/news/message-aussies-oslo-tonight-nobel-peace-prize-awarded/ Sun, 10 Dec 2017 01:58:02 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3786 The Australian ICAN/MAPW crew in Oslo send you a message of thanks and support as they wait for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to start. Click here to watch

Message from the Aussies in Oslo – Tonight the Nobel Peace Prize is Awarded!!!! | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Australian ICAN/MAPW crew in Oslo send you a message of thanks and support as they wait for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to start.

Click here to watch

Message from the Aussies in Oslo – Tonight the Nobel Peace Prize is Awarded!!!! | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Catch up on Events in Oslo with Dr Margaret Beavis – video 2 now available https://www.mapw.org.au/news/catch-events-oslo-dr-margaret-beavis-video-2-now-available/ Sat, 09 Dec 2017 01:48:32 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3784 Dr Margaret Beavis has posted the second video diary of her trip to Oslo. Dr Beavis will be attending the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony tomorrow. Click here to watch Margie talk about the seminar she attended at the International Red Cross in Oslo earlier today.

Catch up on Events in Oslo with Dr Margaret Beavis – video 2 now available | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Dr Margaret Beavis has posted the second video diary of her trip to Oslo. Dr Beavis will be attending the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony tomorrow.

Click here to watch Margie talk about the seminar she attended at the International Red Cross in Oslo earlier today.

Catch up on Events in Oslo with Dr Margaret Beavis – video 2 now available | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Count Down to Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony Begins! https://www.mapw.org.au/news/count-nobel-peace-prize-ceremony-begins/ Fri, 08 Dec 2017 01:44:19 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3782 MAPW Secretary, Dr Margaret Beavis is in Oslo, Norway to attend the ceremony. ICANi will awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday 10th December 2017. Dr Beavis is making a series of short films while in Oslo, sharing with us all the build up to the ceremony. Click here to watch the first film, alternatively […]

Count Down to Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony Begins! | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW Secretary, Dr Margaret Beavis is in Oslo, Norway to attend the ceremony. ICANi will awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday 10th December 2017.

Dr Beavis is making a series of short films while in Oslo, sharing with us all the build up to the ceremony.

Click here to watch the first film, alternatively you can watch via our facebook site.

Count Down to Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony Begins! | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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ICAN established by Australian doctors awarded Nobel Peace Prize https://www.mapw.org.au/news/ican-established-australian-doctors-awarded-nobel-peace-prize/ Tue, 05 Dec 2017 01:39:17 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3780 What does a United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and a Nobel Peace Prize have to do with Australian doctors, and Australian general practitioners (GPs) in particular? Quite a lot, in fact. On 10 December 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANi) will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize […]

ICAN established by Australian doctors awarded Nobel Peace Prize | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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What does a United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and a Nobel Peace Prize have to do with Australian doctors, and Australian general practitioners (GPs) in particular? Quite a lot, in fact. On 10 December 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANi) will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for ‘its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons’.1

ICANi was founded in Melbourne in 2006 by Torquay GP the late Dr Bill Williams, Associate Professor Tilman Ruff and Dimity Hawkins, from the Australian group the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW). Canberra GP Sue Wareham – current MAPW president – was also a key player. What spurred them to do this? As GPs we have a clear focus on improving health outcomes. You only have to look at Australia’s record on tobacco control to know that prevention via government policy can be a very powerful tool.2

War, especially nuclear war, causes enormous death, disability and displacement. There are more than 15,000 nuclear weapons globally, with 1800 on hair-trigger alert.3 Over the past five decades there have been a number of very close calls, where radar or computer faults have nearly sparked nuclear war.4

Just a small proportion of existing arsenals could kill many more people in a few hours than were killed during the entire Second World War. Furthermore, careful modelling has shown that with even a limited nuclear exchange of <1% of current stockpiles, atmospheric particulate matter will result in a decade-long ‘nuclear winter’. Decreases in crop yields for maize, rice and wheat of 10–15% would result in a global famine, placing up to two billion lives at risk of starvation.5

In 2006 the United Nations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPTi) was bogged down. Nuclear-armed states could veto effective abolition measures, as any decisions required consensus. At that time the United Nations landmines treaty, which did not require consensus, was proving very powerful, dramatically reducing use and virtually halting production.6 So MAPW pursued an idea from Malaysian obstetrician Dr Ron McCoy to start a similar campaign based on partnerships with existing humanitarian groups. The key to the campaign was shifting abolition from a political issue to a public health imperative.

ICANi and its many partners, including the World Medical Association, worked tirelessly to educate governments about the urgent need for action. In 2013 and 2014, Norway, Mexico and Vienna hosted intergovernmental conferences, which were attended by representatives from over 150 countries.

The recent brinkmanship, recklessness and unpredictability of US and North Korean leaders highlight the urgent need for verifiable reductions and eventual abolition on both sides.

The TPNW was adopted in July 2017 with the support of 122 nations. However, Australia refuses to sign it. Nuclear weapons are far worse than chemical weapons or biological weapons, and Australia has signed both those treaties. Many said the treaty on landmines would never work, but it has been surprisingly effective. Australia claims it shelters under a US ‘nuclear umbrella’. Would we feel OK sheltering under a ‘smallpox umbrella’? A ‘chemical weapons umbrella’? Nuclear weapons are far worse than both of those.

As medical professionals we are well placed to make change on a wider scale, as public health is a powerful motivator. Join us, or consider another area where health advocacy is urgently needed. MAPW will continue to work towards disarmament. The alternative is to watch nuclear weapons multiply and inevitably cause appalling catastrophe. As former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, ‘There are no right hands for the wrong weapons’.

Author

Margaret Beavis MBBS, FRACGP, MPH, is a Melbourne GP and immediate past president of the Medical Association for Prevention of War. She is on the board of ICANi (Australia).

Published in Australian Family Physician Magazine  Volume 46, No.12, December 2017 Pages 887-887

 

References

Alfred Nobel Memorial Foundation. 2017 Nobel peace prize. Oslo: Nobel Prize Committee, 2017. Available at www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace [Accessed 5 November 2017].

Beaglehole R, Bonita R. Global advocacy for controlling the tobacco industry. Med J Aust 2015;202(9):459–61. Search PubMed

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Nuclear arsenals. Geneva: ICANi, 2017. Available at www.icanw.org/the-facts/nuclear-arsenals [Accessed 5 November 2017].

Union of Concerned Scientists. Close calls with nuclear weapons. Cambridge, MA: UCSUSA, 2015. Available at www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-weapons/hair-trigger-alert/close-calls [Accessed 5 November 2017].

Helfand I. Nuclear famine: Two billion people at risk – Global impacts of limited nuclear war on agriculture, food supplies, and human nutrition. Somerville, MA: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, 2013. Available at www.ippnw.org/nuclear-famine.html [Accessed 5 November 2017].

United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. Landmines. New York: UNODA, 2017. Available at www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/landmines [Accessed 5 November 2017].

ICAN established by Australian doctors awarded Nobel Peace Prize | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Clean water, not weapons, needed in Yemen https://www.mapw.org.au/news/clean-water-not-weapons-needed-yemen/ Fri, 24 Nov 2017 01:28:51 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3775 MEDIA  RELEASE 24 NOVEMBER, 2017 Health professionals today called on the Australian government to take urgent action in response to the deepening humanitarian crisis in Yemen, rather than selling weapons to the Saudi government that is leading the bombing of this impoverished country.  Saudi Arabia is also leading the naval blockade that is drastically reducing […]

Clean water, not weapons, needed in Yemen | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MEDIA  RELEASE 24 NOVEMBER, 2017

Health professionals today called on the Australian government to take urgent action in response to the deepening humanitarian crisis in Yemen, rather than selling weapons to the Saudi government that is leading the bombing of this impoverished country.  Saudi Arabia is also leading the naval blockade that is drastically reducing availability of food, clean water and medical supplies.
The President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia), Dr Sue Wareham, said, “It is unconscionable that Australia continues to actively arm a government that has such an appalling record of past and current human rights abuses. Australia should be pouring in food and other supplies to bring relief to the people, and should also be putting maximum pressure on the Saudi government to stop their assault on innocent people.  Instead we are profiteering from the conflict.”    The UNHCR estimates that over 20 million Yemenis are now in need of aid, with over 2 million people displaced.  Malnutrition is rife and cholera rages due to destruction of sewerage and water treatment facilities.
In April, Human Rights Watch called on the Australian government to suspend military sales to Saudi Arabia.   On 21 June the Australian Senate passed a motion calling for disclosure of the nature of the sales. Both calls were ignored by the government.  It is virtually impossible to find out exactly what weapons are being sold to Saudi Arabia because such sales are labelled “commercial-in-confidence” and lack all transparency.   “Australians are told that our weapons exports are subject to strict controls, but when the bombing of civilians is not regarded as a barrier to receiving our weapons, then any controls appear to be illusory”, Dr Wareham said.   Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne has visited the Saudi kingdom to spruik Australia’s weapons. Photos of him shaking hands with Saudi officials are reminiscent of those of Donald Rumsfeld, then US Special Envoy to the Middle East, shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR INTERVIEW PLEASE CONTACT:
Dr Sue Wareham, MAPW President, 0407 924 152 or 02 6253 1117; or Dr Margaret Beavis, MAPW Immediate Past President, 0401 99 5699

Clean water, not weapons, needed in Yemen | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW Supports Joint Statement – A call to the Prime Minister and the Australian Parliament https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-supports-joint-statement-call-prime-minister-australian-parliament/ Mon, 06 Nov 2017 01:24:11 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3773 We support First Nations peoples’ Uluru Statement from the Heart. We call on the Australian Parliament to make this a national priority. We represent non-Indigenous Australians whose hearts and minds were filled with hope as First Nations voices called for acknowledgement in the Constitution and recommended treaties to bring about structural reform for socio-economic improvement. There […]

MAPW Supports Joint Statement – A call to the Prime Minister and the Australian Parliament | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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We support First Nations peoples’ Uluru Statement from the Heart. We call on the Australian Parliament to make this a national priority.

We represent non-Indigenous Australians whose hearts and minds were filled with hope as First Nations voices called for acknowledgement in the Constitution and recommended treaties to bring about structural reform for socio-economic improvement.

There have been many consultations and reports over many years, with the latest being the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart calls for ‘constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country’. It calls for a constitutionally guaranteed advisory body to provide advice to Parliament. The proposed body has no voting rights and will not alter the make-up of the Australian Parliament, but it will, for the first time, give First Nations peoples a voice to Parliament. It also seeks a Makarrata Commission to commence treaty negotiations engaging with all Australian governments and more active steps for ‘truth telling about our history’.

We are concerned about the negative response from the Australian Government to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.  

Many First Nations peoples that we know and respect are again experiencing a governmental rejection of their views.

First Nations voices are the only ones who can truly explain and ameliorate the historical intergenerational traumas, the marginalisation, the hurts and all their consequences.

We are concerned this inability to listen and work constructively with First Nations peoples potentially compounds intergenerational traumas and their consequences.

Evidence from many studies, here and overseas, shows when First Nations peoples are empowered, the adverse consequences of their marginalisation are more effectively addressed.

We urge governments to support institutional reform to hear to the multiplicity of First Nations voices and allow them to bring a rich and varied range of proposals for constructive change to the table.

Many of us have seen the devastatingly negative effects of successive federal, state and territory policies imposed on First Nations peoples; peoples who consistently remind us they are the best able to address the current situation affecting them, their families and communities.

We strongly support progressing Australia’s First Nations peoples’ right to a say in the decisions that affect their lives.

First Nations peoples make up the first sovereign nations of Australia with evidence of their presence in Australia for over 60,000 years. This sovereignty was ‘never ceded or extinguished and co-exists with the sovereignty of the crown’. However, it is yet to be rightfully acknowledged and First Nations peoples are not mentioned in the Constitution.

We agree with the Uluru Statement of the Heart that “With substantial constitutional change and structural reform (our emphasis) this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australian nationhood’. Such reforms must empower First Nations peoples and enable individuals, families, and children to flourish and consequently contribute inevitably to a more complete Australian society.

The Australian Government has been seeking support for recognition from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians over many years. A national survey recently found over 70 per cent of Australians surveyed support First Nations peoples’ constitutional recognition, with 60.7 per cent supporting the Voice to Parliament proposal, and the Uluru Statement from the Heart was ‘endorsed by unprecedented Indigenous consensus’.

We urge the Australian Parliament to listen to First Nations peoples’ recommendations in the Uluru Statement, and to back this attempt to improve their circumstances and participate more fully in Australian society.

We do not want Australia to continue on a path of policies and associated expenditure on interventions and activities that are proving ineffective in many situations.

Giving First Nations peoples a say in the decisions that affect their lives will provide an opportunity for doing things differently and more productively, by simply listening to the advice of people who are affected, and by allowing First Nations peoples to claim their rightful place in the nation.

We support First Nations peoples’ Uluru Statement from the Heart. We call on the Australian Parliament to make this a national priority.

First Nations peoples includes all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

MAPW Supports Joint Statement – A call to the Prime Minister and the Australian Parliament | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Murky business: Australia’s defence industry is growing, but at what cost? by Antony Loewenstein https://www.mapw.org.au/news/murky-business-australias-defence-industry-growing-cost-antony-loewenstein/ Mon, 06 Nov 2017 01:23:01 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/?p=3771 This year’s Avalon Air Show in Geelong was the first chance for the public to see the long-delayed Joint Strike Fighter in action. At a cost of at least $100 million per aircraft, Canberra is slated to spend $17 billion on 72 F-35s in the coming years. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest defence contractor, […]

Murky business: Australia’s defence industry is growing, but at what cost? by Antony Loewenstein | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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This year’s Avalon Air Show in Geelong was the first chance for the public to see the long-delayed Joint Strike Fighter in action. At a cost of at least $100 million per aircraft, Canberra is slated to spend $17 billion on 72 F-35s in the coming years.

Manufacturer Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest defence contractor, has faced countless problems with the plane including cost blowouts (spending more than $US1 trillion and counting), a Pentagon report in January finding 276 deficiencies (with 20 new issues discovered per month) and consistent troubles with overheating and cybersecurity. An Australian contractor on the aircraft was recently hacked, with sensitive material stolen.

None of this dampened the mood at Avalon. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, along with Defence Minister Marise Payne, Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, praised the plane and Australia’s growing defence sector.

“It is an example of how our defence industry plan is not simply securing our Air Force and our Army and our Navy with the capabilities they need to keep us safe in the 21st century,” Turnbull said. “It is driving the advanced manufacturing, the jobs, the advanced technology that Australians need to make sure our children and grandchildren have the opportunities in the years ahead.”

Billed as Australia’s premiere showcase of defence, civilian and aerospace equipment, sponsored by the world’s major defence companies such as BAE Systems, Raytheon, Thales, L3, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, along with Australia’s Department of Defence and the Victorian Labor government, this year was the largest in Avalon’s history, with over 210,000 people in attendance.

But away from Avalon’s glitzy surface, and its promotion of a family-friendly event to watch the world’s most sophisticated aircraft, is a darker reality. Australia’s defence sector has hugely expanded in recent years with barely any public discussion, let alone debate in federal parliament.

It’s a nearly impossible task to discover exactly what Australia is selling and to whom because the federal government refuses to say, but nuggets of information make it clear that Canberra is aggressively selling weapons and defence equipment to countries involved in conflicts where human rights abuses are being perpetrated.

Australian Defence Magazine released figures in December 2016 that revealed the scope of the industry. The top 40 defence contractors, including top players BAE Systems Australia and Raytheon Australia, had an annual turnover of $10.384 billion, 11 per cent higher than 2015 and the biggest in the magazine’s 21-year history.

According to Amnesty International, in 2016 the world spent $US1.69 trillion on the military, with the US Pentagon issuing  $US304 billion in contracts to corporations including Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

But how transparent is Australia’s defence spending internationally? In December 2016, Christopher Pyne visited Saudi Arabia and met with senior members of the regime, including the head of the National Guard. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request, filed in April by the Australian group, The Medical Association for Prevention of War, found that Canberra was looking to expand the reach of its domestic defence sector and had no issue selling equipment with dual use (for either military or civilian purposes). The government refused to give a full list of companies accompanying Pyne.

Christopher Pyne and a delegation of Australian defence firms meet high-ranking Saudi officials headed by National Guard …

Christopher Pyne and a delegation of Australian defence firms meet high-ranking Saudi officials headed by National Guard Minister Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah in Riyadh in December 2016. Photo: Twitter

Saudi Arabia is already the world’s second biggest purchaser of weapons. The Trump administration recently signed a $US350 billion arms deal with Riyadh for the next 10 years.

Saudi Arabia launched military action against Yemen’s Houthi rebels in 2015 and the humanitarian situation in what was already the poorest country in the Middle East has rapidly deteriorated. At least 10,000 civilians have been killed, cholera ravages millions of citizens and Saudi Arabia has been accused of committing war crimes by human rights groups. In October the UN included the kingdom on a blacklist for killing and injuring children (though the UN has previously backed down on similar steps under Saudi pressure).

Britain has refused to support a United Nations investigation into atrocities because it could affect trade and weapons sales and in July Britain’s High Court backed London’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia as legal. Charity War Child UK has claimed that British arms companies have earned more than £6 billion ($10.3 billion) from trade with Saudi Arabia since the Yemen conflict began (Holland banned such sales in 2016).

Australia has refused to condemn Saudi actions in Yemen. The heavily redacted FOI revealed that there was discussion during Pyne’s December trip of the Royal Saudi Naval Force eastern fleet expansion with a budget of $26 billion (Australian shipbuilder Austal accompanied Pyne on his visit), talk of the Tasmanian, Incat-designed and built aluminium catamaran damaged by a Houthi attack off the coast of Yemen in October 2016 and consultation about a future submarine program (though whose was not clear).

I asked the Australian Department of Defence for further information on any dealings with Saudi Arabia and was told that “Defence does not release the details of export approvals due to commercial-in-confidence restrictions. Exports of military equipment and technology to Saudi Arabia were assessed in line with Australian export control provisions.”

Then Greens senator Scott Ludlam was one of the only parliamentarians who questioned Australia’s dealings with Saudi Arabia. He told Fairfax Media that he could find nobody in the Labor Party to support his enquiries into Pyne’s trip.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale told me that he condemned Australia’s “military-industrial complex”: “Why promote Australia as a global arms dealer when we could be revitalising our manufacturing industry around new energy technology?”

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRIi) is one of the world’s leading researchers on conflict and armaments. Its latest figures, for the period 2010-2016, showed ships as the biggest Australian export, along with aircraft, missiles and armoured vehicles. The list of customers included Papua New Guinea, Oman, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Singapore and the United States.

I asked the Department of Defence to whom they were selling defence equipment. They said that no export licences were granted between January 2015 and the present day to Myanmar (currently engaged in ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya, according to the UN), but during the same period dual-use equipment and technology was sold to the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

The UAE stands accused of committing abuses in Libya and Yemen while Israel has been condemned by the UN and human rights groups for war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank. An Australian intelligence company, iOmniscient, is selling surveillance equipment to the brutal Bahrain dictatorship. Canberra is already one of the world’s biggest importers and exporters of small arms.

The federal government’s 2016 Defence White Paper outlined a $200 billion investment over the next 10 years. Canberra promotes its wares at events such as this year’s Defence and Security Equipment International conference in London, though protesters greeted the tens of thousands of participants.

Pyne said in July that his ambition was for Australia to “enormously increase that capacity and send a lot more weapons overseas to appropriate countries and appropriate places of course. We simply wouldn’t do so willy-nilly. We have a particular process for that.”

He says that current contracts are worth $200 billion in the coming years. That’s a massive expansion of defence exports from 2003/2004, when they amounted to just under $600 million.

The move was slammed by World Vision Australia chief Tim Costello, who questioned whether Australia should be “exporting death and profiting from bloodshed … Do we really want that to be what people think of when they see the brand ‘made in Australia’?”

The federal government states that export applications are granted against the following criteria: international obligations, human rights, regional security, national security and foreign policy. The government’s Global Supply Chain program gives exclusive access to Australian companies to enter into close commercial relationships with, and provide vital parts to, Lockheed Martin, Rheinmetall, Northrop Grumman, Thales, Boeing, BAE and Raytheon.

Some of these corporations have unprecedented access to decision making in the Trump administration, with the US President filling key roles in Homeland Security and the Pentagon with defence contractors. However, Barack Obama sold more weapons globally than any US commander-in-chief before him.

Australia’s ambition to expand its defence sector is intimately tied to the growth of the world’s biggest weapons companies on Australian soil, despite them being connected to some of the world’s major conflicts and controversies.

Thales is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the European Union’s increasingly militarised border policies and Lockheed Martin is supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia. Lockheed Martin refused to answer my questions about its role in Australia despite its presence growing by the year (including the establishment of a research facility at the University of Melbourne, praised by Pyne).

Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson shakes hands with a Saudi dignitary. The defence firm signed a $US6 billion letter of intent to build 150 Black Hawk helicopters in the kingdom.

But Australia’s goal of becoming a global weapons dealer may be futile. SIPRIi‘s senior researcher Siemon Wezeman has closely studied Australia’s defence policies and questions their stated aims.

“To be honest, I don’t see Australia becoming a major arms exporter in any near future,” he told me. “The list of exports in the last decade gives not the greatest reasons to be optimistic about exports of major weapons from Australia, the more so since the new-produced weapons listed are not very advanced and are not niche weapons. Australia has no comparative advantage and many other countries produce or can produce them cheaper.”

Wezeman stresses that Australia has made decisions to largely “cater for its own needs, largely now as subsidiaries of foreign companies, which works nicely if the government wants to spend its money in Australia (even if that may be not 100 per cent cost-effective).” He sees China, South Korea, Turkey, Japan and Singapore elbowing out Australia on the world stage because of their industrial, political and military connections.

In his seminal 2011 book on the global arms trade The Shadow World, journalist Andrew Feinstein exposes the fallacies of a nation’s expanding defence sector. “The arms industry’s economic contribution is undermined by the frequency with which its main players around the world, Lockheed Martin, BAE, Boeing, Northrop Grumman … are implicated in grand corruption, inefficiency and wastage of public resources,” he wrote.

Feinstein concludes that the arms trade “often makes us poorer, not richer, less not more safe, and governed not in our own interests but for the benefit of a small, self-serving elite, seemingly above the law, protected by the secrecy of national security and accountable to no one”.

Antony Loewenstein is an independent journalist, filmmaker, author of Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe and is currently working on a book about the global war on drugs.

published by Sydney Morning Herald – 4th November 2017

Murky business: Australia’s defence industry is growing, but at what cost? by Antony Loewenstein | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW submission to the Joint Committee on Treaties inquiry – Generation IV Nuclear Energy – Accession https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-submission-to-the-joint-committee-on-treaties-inquiry-generation-iv-nuclear-energy-accession/ Sun, 14 May 2017 15:07:18 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-submission-to-the-joint-committee-on-treaties-inquiry-generation-iv-nuclear-energy-accession/ The inquiry will examine the following treaty: Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems, as extended by the Agreement Extending the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems (Washington, 28 February 2005) The inquiry will examine the following treaty: Framework Agreement for International […]

MAPW submission to the Joint Committee on Treaties inquiry – Generation IV Nuclear Energy – Accession | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The inquiry will examine the following treaty: Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems, as extended by the Agreement Extending the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems (Washington, 28 February 2005)

The inquiry will examine the following treaty: Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems, as extended by the Agreement Extending the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems (Washington, 28 February 2005)

To read MAPW’s submission, please click here

MAPW submission to the Joint Committee on Treaties inquiry – Generation IV Nuclear Energy – Accession | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Statement on the imminent testing by the US of a second Inter Continental Ballistic Missile https://www.mapw.org.au/news/statement-on-the-imminent-testing-by-the-us-of-a-second-inter-continental-ballistic-missile/ Tue, 02 May 2017 17:49:28 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/statement-on-the-imminent-testing-by-the-us-of-a-second-inter-continental-ballistic-missile/ Today, May 3rd 2017 between 12:01 a.m. and 6:01 a.m. PDT, the US will test launch a second Minuteman III Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Today, May 3rd 2017 between 12:01 a.m. and 6:01 a.m. PDT, the US will test launch a second Minuteman III Inter Continental Ballistic […]

Statement on the imminent testing by the US of a second Inter Continental Ballistic Missile | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Today, May 3rd 2017 between 12:01 a.m. and 6:01 a.m. PDT, the US will test launch a second Minuteman III Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Today, May 3rd 2017 between 12:01 a.m. and 6:01 a.m. PDT, the US will test launch a second Minuteman III Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. According to Air Force Global Strike Command, like last week’s ICBM test, “The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the weapon system.”. These missiles can be used to deploy nuclear weapons.

It is hypocritical of the US to call on North Korea not conduct missile tests while undertaking two tests of its own within 7 days.  It is also important to note that this second test takes place on the second day of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference. This treaty requires all parties to negotiate in good faith for an end to the nuclear arms race.

The current crisis in the Korean Peninsula is the latest example that a world divided into nuclear “haves” and “have nots” is untenable. The possession and threat of use of nuclear weapons by a handful of states promotes, rather than discourages, conflict and the spread of nuclear weapons. Proliferation is a symptom that requires a global solution.

The persistent tensions on the Korean peninsula are rapidly escalating into a crisis fuelled by mutual fears, provocations, and the volatile temperaments of two unpredictable, nuclear-armed heads of state. The current US administration seems determined to “resolve” the situation through shows of force and military threats. The government of Kim Jong-un is accelerating its efforts to test and build nuclear weapons and missiles, while promising “massive” retaliation should the US follow through on those threats.

This is exactly how a regional nuclear war could start and escalate into a global catastrophe. The targeting of even a tiny fraction of the combined nuclear arsenals of the DPRK, US, Russia and China on cities in the Korean peninsula or elsewhere would result in a global nuclear famine putting billions of people worldwide at risk of starvation. The consequences of such a war have been described in recent years at three international conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which reaffirmed the long-held conclusion that nuclear weapons must never be used again under any circumstances, and that the only way to ensure our survival is to prohibit and eliminate the weapons themselves.

If immediate steps are not taken to defuse the current crisis and resume diplomatic approaches to the security issues on the Korean peninsula, the world may well run out of time to prevent a nuclear disaster, despite having had more than 70 years to eliminate the most urgent threat to our common survival. No other option should be on the table.

Tens of millions of people on both sides of the demilitarized zone are literally caught in the middle of an evolving conflict that could erupt into war—potentially nuclear war—with a single misstep or ill-considered decision on either side. Not only are the lives of millions of North and South Koreans at stake; an armed conflict would inevitably draw in neighbouring countries—especially China, Russia, and Japan.

For more information call

Dr Margaret Beavis, National President MAPW – 0401 995 699

 

 

Statement on the imminent testing by the US of a second Inter Continental Ballistic Missile | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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IPPNW statement on Korea crisis https://www.mapw.org.au/news/ippnw-statement-on-korea-crisis/ Sun, 30 Apr 2017 14:13:17 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/ippnw-statement-on-korea-crisis/ The persistent tensions on the Korean peninsula are rapidly escalating into a crisis fueled by mutual fears, provocations, and the volatile temperaments of two unpredictable, n The persistent tensions on the Korean peninsula are rapidly escalating into a crisis fueled by mutual fears, provocations, and the volatile temperaments of two unpredictable, nuclear-armed heads of state. […]

IPPNW statement on Korea crisis | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The persistent tensions on the Korean peninsula are rapidly escalating into a crisis fueled by mutual fears, provocations, and the volatile temperaments of two unpredictable, n

The persistent tensions on the Korean peninsula are rapidly escalating into a crisis fueled by mutual fears, provocations, and the volatile temperaments of two unpredictable, nuclear-armed heads of state. The current US administration seems determined to “resolve” the situation through shows of force and military threats. The government of Kim Jong-un is accelerating its efforts to test and build nuclear weapons and missiles, while promising “massive” retaliation should the US follow through on those threats.

Tens of millions of people on both sides of the demilitarized zone are literally caught in the middle of an evolving conflict that could erupt into war—potentially nuclear war—with a single misstep or ill-considered decision on either side. Not only are the lives of millions of North and South Koreans at stake; an armed conflict would inevitably draw in neighboring countries—especially China, Russia, and Japan.

This is exactly how a regional nuclear war could start and escalate into a global catastrophe. The targeting of even a tiny fraction of the combined nuclear arsenals of the DPRK, US, Russia and China on cities in the Korean peninsula or elsewhere would result in a global nuclear famine putting billions of people worldwide at risk of starvation. The consequences of such a war have been described in recent years at three international conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which reaffirmed the long-held conclusion that nuclear weapons must never be used again under any circumstances, and that the only way to ensure our survival is to prohibit and eliminate the weapons themselves.

If immediate steps are not taken to defuse the current crisis and resume diplomatic approaches to the security issues on the Korean peninsula, the world may well run out of time to prevent a nuclear disaster, despite having had a grace period of more than 70 years to eliminate the most urgent threat to our common survival. No other option should be on the table.

The alternative to nuclear war is a good-faith effort by the US, the DPRK, and other regional powers to replace military threats and actions with diplomatic initiatives that take the security interests of all parties into account. All nuclear weapons-related activities in the region—including nuclear tests by the DPRK, missile tests and tests of missile defense systems anywhere in the region, provocative military exercises, and verbal nuclear threats—should be halted immediately. A formal end to the Korean War, which was halted in 1953 with the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement, must be a goal of regional diplomacy

The current crisis in the Korean Peninsula is the latest example that a world divided into nuclear “haves” and “have nots” is untenable. The possession and threat of use of nuclear weapons by a handful of states promotes, rather than discourages, conflict and the spread of nuclear weapons. Proliferation is a symptom that requires a global solution.

Last March, the international community took a huge step forward toward ending the nuclear crisis when more than 130 countries, in partnership with international organizations and civil society, began negotiating a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons as a basis for their total elimination under international law. These negotiations have inspired a new sense of hope that effective leadership toward a world without nuclear weapons is possible, and that a clear path toward that goal can be defined by year’s end. Every government should support and participate constructively in those negotiations.

published 28 April 2017

click here to download the statement or to share it with friends

IPPNW statement on Korea crisis | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Silence is Deafening https://www.mapw.org.au/news/silence-is-deafening/ Sun, 30 Apr 2017 13:01:25 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/silence-is-deafening/ Letter by Sue Wareham, MAPW Vice President and ACT branch convenor, published Sunday 30 April 2017 in the Age newspaper Letter by Sue Wareham, MAPW Vice President and ACT branch convenor, published Sunday 30 April 2017 in the Age newspaper Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull might have missed it, but the US tested a nuclear […]

Silence is Deafening | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Letter by Sue Wareham, MAPW Vice President and ACT branch convenor, published Sunday 30 April 2017 in the Age newspaper

Letter by Sue Wareham, MAPW Vice President and ACT branch convenor, published Sunday 30 April 2017 in the Age newspaper

Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull might have missed it, but the US tested a nuclear launch missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California last Wednesday. It was a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, of which the US has about 400 armed with nuclear warheads, in addition to their thousands of other nuclear weapons.  The test was worthy of some of that outrage  directed to North Korea, but Australia was silent, as befits our status as a clanging echo of Washington.

If Bishop and Turnbull were genuinely concerned about peace, they would be urging diplomatic talks with North Korea, and de-escalation of this crisis. Australia would also be joining, rather than opposing, UN talks to prohibit all nuclear weapons.

Sue Wareham, Cook, ACT

 

Silence is Deafening | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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North Korea: By opposing UN we have increased insecurity – letter by Tim Wright, Director ICAN https://www.mapw.org.au/news/north-korea-by-opposing-un-we-have-increased-insecurity-letter-by-tim-wright-director-ican/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:45:52 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/north-korea-by-opposing-un-we-have-increased-insecurity-letter-by-tim-wright-director-ican/ Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has excoriated Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has excoriated North Korea for squandering vast resources on weapons of mass destruction instead of meeting the basic needs of its citizens. Yet in recent years, Ms Bishop has argued stridently against the global prohibition on nuclear weapons, believing that US nuclear forces are essential […]

North Korea: By opposing UN we have increased insecurity – letter by Tim Wright, Director ICAN | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has excoriated

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has excoriated North Korea for squandering vast resources on weapons of mass destruction instead of meeting the basic needs of its citizens. Yet in recent years, Ms Bishop has argued stridently against the global prohibition on nuclear weapons, believing that US nuclear forces are essential for Australia’s security and prosperity. It is on this basis that she decided to boycott a major UN nuclear disarmament process that began in March – potentially violating Australia’s obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. More than 130 nations are part of these historic negotiations, the success of which is vital to our collective security. While this process will not result immediately in a denuclearised Korean Peninsula, that goal will be more readily achieved in a world moving towards disarmament. By opposing this UN effort and encouraging the US to bolster its nuclear arsenal, Australia has very much contributed to the global insecurity we now face.

Tim Wright, Asia-Pacific director, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

The Age 26 April 2017

 

North Korea: By opposing UN we have increased insecurity – letter by Tim Wright, Director ICAN | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Copying Donald Trump and engaging in hostile exchanges with North Korea is hardly statesmanlike https://www.mapw.org.au/news/copying-donald-trump-and-engaging-in-hostile-exchanges-with-north-korea-is-hardly-statesmanlike/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:42:09 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/copying-donald-trump-and-engaging-in-hostile-exchanges-with-north-korea-is-hardly-statesmanlike/ This letter by MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis was published in the Sydney Morning Hearald and The Age on 25th April 2017 This letter by MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis was published in the Sydney Morning Hearald and The Age on 25th April 2017 “Julie Bishop’s lecture to North Korea’s government to invest in the […]

Copying Donald Trump and engaging in hostile exchanges with North Korea is hardly statesmanlike | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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This letter by MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis was published in the Sydney Morning Hearald and The Age on 25th April 2017


This letter by MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis was published in the Sydney Morning Hearald and The Age on 25th April 2017


“Julie Bishop’s lecture to North Korea’s government to invest in the welfare of its citizens, rather than in weapons of mass destruction, smacks of hypocrisy. Australia is currently rapidly escalating our military expenditure while stripping foreign aid, not funding Gonski reforms, and slowly killing off Medicare by freezing rebates.

Furthermore, Australia has very actively undermined current UN negotiations to make nuclear weapons illegal.

Finally, copying Donald Trump and engaging in hostile exchanges with North Korea is hardly statesmanlike. Increasing diplomatic work with China would be a more mature and useful focus.”

 

Copying Donald Trump and engaging in hostile exchanges with North Korea is hardly statesmanlike | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Nuclear war humanity’s big health risk https://www.mapw.org.au/news/nuclear-war-humanitys-big-health-risk/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:19:26 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/nuclear-war-humanitys-big-health-risk/ The following letter was published in the Mercury Newspaper, Tasmainia on 25 April 2017 The following letter was published in the Mercury Newspaper, Tasmainia on 25 April 2017 Today we commemorate Anzac Day again and the sacrifices made by many Australians during war. Most veterans I have met are strong advocates for peace, and  striving […]

Nuclear war humanity’s big health risk | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The following letter was published in the Mercury Newspaper, Tasmainia on 25 April 2017

The following letter was published in the Mercury Newspaper, Tasmainia on 25 April 2017

Today we commemorate Anzac Day again and the sacrifices made by many Australians during war. Most veterans I have met are strong advocates for peace, and  striving to reduce the threat of war seems a very appropriate way to honour them. I suspect many Australians are alarmed that our country declined to participate in recent Nuclear Disarmament talks held by the United Nations.This conference was supported by over 120 nations, including all other ASEAN countries, but not by the US, Britain or France and others in possession of nuclear weapons.

The health consequences of nuclear war are dire, and the level of threat is now at its highest since the Cold War, with North Korea threatening to use nuclear weapons, and the US also posturing. Our politicians should be supporting nuclear abolition. To say that these weapons enhance international safety is  analogous to claiming that the right to carry a gun increases personal safety. Nuclear warfare represents one of the greatest threats to international health.

Dr Sally Attrill  Bellerive
(Medical Association for Prevention of War)  

Nuclear war humanity’s big health risk | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Syria: Diplomacy, de-escalation and genuine humanitarian assistance needed https://www.mapw.org.au/news/syria-diplomacy-de-escalation-and-genuine-humanitarian-assistance-needed/ Tue, 11 Apr 2017 04:39:57 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/syria-diplomacy-de-escalation-and-genuine-humanitarian-assistance-needed/ In the wake of the horrific chemical weapons attacks in Syria, Australian health professionals have called for an end to the war in that country and far greater humanitarian aid for its victims. In the wake of the horrific chemical weapons attacks in Syria, Australian health professionals have called for an end to the war […]

Syria: Diplomacy, de-escalation and genuine humanitarian assistance needed | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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In the wake of the horrific chemical weapons attacks in Syria, Australian health professionals have called for an end to the war in that country and far greater humanitarian aid for its victims.

In the wake of the horrific chemical weapons attacks in Syria, Australian health professionals have called for an end to the war in that country and far greater humanitarian aid for its victims. The President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War, Dr Margaret Beavis, said that Australia needs to dramatically increase assistance for refugees and work to urgently reinvigorate diplomatic efforts.


Both the civil war and the conflict with IS continue to destroy lives. The US is now effectively fighting on two sides- both against IS and the Syrian government, which is also fighting IS. MAPW notes that while American missile strikes are said to be for the protection of civilians, massive cuts to US aid programs assisting Syrian refugees are proposed. There has been extensive Russian involvement in war crimes in Syria, and the Assad regime has an appalling human rights and war crimes record. Over 500,000 civilians have died.


“Australia needs to dramatically increase assistance for refugees and work to urgently reinvigorate diplomatic efforts,” said MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis.

Other possible steps include:

  • working toward an arms moratorium on all sides
  • an international peace conference which includes both state and non-state actors
  • pushing the International Criminal Court to indict all those accused of committing atrocities

“Domestic political considerations, which we now know led Australia into Iraq in 2003, should not drive wars in foreign countries.” said Dr Beavis. “Escalating the violence will perpetuate it, not prevent it. Our government has an ethical responsibility to do what we can to de-escalate this conflict and to provide help for Syrian people fleeing this appalling war.” said Dr Beavis.

 

For media  comment please contact:

Dr Margaret Beavis (President) 0401 995 699


Dr Sue Wareham (Vice President)  0407 924 152

Syria: Diplomacy, de-escalation and genuine humanitarian assistance needed | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Banning Nuclear Weapons – International negotiations begin in New York https://www.mapw.org.au/news/banning-nuclear-weapons-international-negotiations-begin-in-new-york/ Mon, 27 Mar 2017 13:25:22 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/banning-nuclear-weapons-international-negotiations-begin-in-new-york/ March 27, 2017 March 27, 2017 On Monday, negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons in international law began in New York. The treaty is being negotiated based on the recognition that the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapon use is morally unacceptable and that the weapons themselves represent a significant risk to human security. […]

Banning Nuclear Weapons – International negotiations begin in New York | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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March 27, 2017

March 27, 2017
On Monday, negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons in international law began in New York. The treaty is being negotiated based on the recognition that the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapon use is morally unacceptable and that the weapons themselves represent a significant risk to human security. As the conference opened, ICAN’s executive director, Beatrice Fihn, said: “The treaty will finally ban weapons designed to indiscriminately kill civilians, completing the prohibition of weapons of mass destruction.”
 
 
With the support of more than 120 countries, the UN General Assembly approved the negotiation of a treaty banning nuclear weapons in October 2016. The UN action followed a series of fact-finding conferences on the unacceptable humanitarian cost of any nuclear weapons use and the role a prohibition on nuclear weapons would have in strengthening international humanitarian law. It was the conclusion of the General Assembly that every state has security interest in preventing nuclear weapons use.
 
 
It is expected that the treaty will legally bind parties from using, possessing and developing nuclear weapons, and assisting others in those activities. It is expected to work in concert with the existing regime of non-proliferation and disarmament agreements, strengthening the norm against indiscriminate weapons and providing countries a method to meet disarmament obligations.
 
 
“The treaty will have an impact even on countries which fail to participate, by setting international norms of behaviour and removing the political prestige associated with nuclear weapons,” Fihn added. With the risk of nuclear detonation higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War, this treaty is an urgent priority for all countries that believe in a future free of nuclear weapons.
 
 
Past disarmament efforts demonstrate that the most effective step towards the elimination of a class of weapons is prohibiting them under international law. The complete elimination of nuclear weapons by the states that posses them will not happen immediately, but the increasingly complex international security environment and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction highlights the need to bring an end to the nuclear age.
 

 

Banning Nuclear Weapons – International negotiations begin in New York | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

]]> Flinders Ranges group holds nuclear meetings https://www.mapw.org.au/news/flinders-ranges-group-holds-nuclear-meetings/ Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:27:45 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/flinders-ranges-group-holds-nuclear-meetings/ Residents of the Flinders Ranges gathered at the Hawker Sports Club on Sunday, March 19, for the third of a series of public meetings about the federal government’s proposed Barndioota nuclear waste facility. The meetings, organised by the Flinders Local Action Group (FLAG), explored the risks and ‘unknowns’ surrounding a proposal to store Australia’s intermediate […]

Flinders Ranges group holds nuclear meetings | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Residents of the Flinders Ranges gathered at the Hawker Sports Club on Sunday, March 19, for the third of a series of public meetings about the federal government’s proposed Barndioota nuclear waste facility.

The meetings, organised by the Flinders Local Action Group (FLAG), explored the risks and ‘unknowns’ surrounding a proposal to store Australia’s intermediate and low level waste.

Residents of the Flinders Ranges gathered at the Hawker Sports Club on Sunday, March 19, for the third of a series of public meetings about the federal government’s proposed Barndioota nuclear waste facility.

The meetings, organised by the Flinders Local Action Group (FLAG), explored the risks and ‘unknowns’ surrounding a proposal to store Australia’s intermediate and low level waste.

FLAG oppose the proposed facility on a range of concerns including environmental, health and Aboriginal heritage.

There was a particular focus on nuclear medicine and the history of radioactive waste management in Australia.

Speakers included Melbourne GP, President of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War and a lecturer in public health at Melbourne University, Dr Margaret Beavis.

She told the crowd that nuclear medicine is not ‘adversely affected’ if this facility does not go ahead.

“The intermediate level waste has to be kept safe for 10-100,000 years,” she said.

“The proposed store for the Intermediate Level Waste is substandard and a quick fix – well below world’s best practice.”

The proposed site,130 kilometres north of Port Augusta, will store low-level and some intermediate-level nuclear waste.

The low level purpose-built repository would be about the size of four Olympic size swimming pools with a 100 hectare buffer on the 25,000 hectare property.

Designs have not been prepared for the national repository but it will be modelled on above-ground storage and disposal facilities overseas.

Another key process will be an independent and comprehensive indigenous heritage survey in collaboration with the traditional owners, to identify the location and full extent of culturally sensitive areas on the nominated land.

A final site will only be selected if there is broad community support and it meets Australia’s environmental and radiation protection regulatory requirements.

Also speaking was Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation who was on the national nuclear waste Independent Advisory Panel.

Mr Sweeney outlined national civil society groups call for a new approach to waste management.

The approach is based on extended interim storage at the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney, coupled with a detailed national examination of the full range of options available for the future.

The Hawker meeting was the last stop of a regional visit that saw the team visit Port Augusta on Thursday, March 16, and Kimba on March 17 where over one hundred people attended.

by Matt Carcich

Published by Transcontinental Port Augusta

21 March 2017

 

Flinders Ranges group holds nuclear meetings | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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End the Avalon Air Show Arms Fair – MAPW concerns presented to Victorian Legislative Council – March 8 2017 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/end-the-avalon-air-show-arms-fair-mapw-concerns-presented-to-victorian-legislative-council-march-8-2017/ Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:00:24 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/end-the-avalon-air-show-arms-fair-mapw-concerns-presented-to-victorian-legislative-council-march-8-2017/ MAPW is calling for the Avalon International Airshow to no longer promote the sale of weapons. Over 400 people signed a petition calling on the State Government of Victoria to no long support the airshow financially. The Petition has been presented to Daniel Andrews office. We are grateful to Sue Pennicuik MLC, for raising the […]

End the Avalon Air Show Arms Fair – MAPW concerns presented to Victorian Legislative Council – March 8 2017 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW is calling for the Avalon International Airshow to no longer promote the sale of weapons. Over 400 people signed a petition calling on the State Government of Victoria to no long support the airshow financially. The Petition has been presented to Daniel Andrews office.

We are grateful to Sue Pennicuik MLC, for raising the issue in the Parliament.

MAPW is calling for the Avalon International Airshow to no longer promote the sale of weapons. Over 400 people signed a petition calling on the State Government of Victoria to no long support the airshow financially. The Petition has been presented to Daniel Andrews office.

We are grateful to Sue Pennicuik MLC, for raising the issue in the Parliament.

Statement by Ms Sue Pennicuik – Members Statements, 8 March 2017

Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) — The Australian International Airshow was held at Avalon from 3 to 5 March. The air show has been around for years and is very popular. Many people in the community though are becoming concerned that it is promoting military might and arms dealing in addition to the thrilling aerobatics that have always been a part of it. The international air show website advertises it as the ‘ultimate family adventure’, marvelling at the latest military jet fighters, bombers and attack helicopters.

The Medical Association for the Prevention of War asks:

Is it wise to encourage our children to delight in our ability to harm others? An ability we should ideally use reluctantly, and as a last resort? Secondly, the international arms trade, which is larger and more corrupt than ever before, has become a scourge in other parts of the world.

The flooding of the Middle East and Africa with weapons has contributed to the scale of armed violence there, with disastrous humanitarian consequences, as well as diverting funds from health and education —

and other public purposes —

and restricting development.

Our region has been largely spared this, except in the case of Papua and New Guinea where tribal battles and criminal raids now use military assault weapons …

Almost 500 Victorians have signed a petition drawn up by the Medical Association for the Prevention of War calling on the state government to stop the arms trade event that is being held in conjunction with the Avalon air show. The petition reads:

Avalon air show used to be just an air show, and now it promotes military might and weapons dealing. An expanding arms trade ultimately harms communities and nations. Please return it to just an air show, and stop the arms trade being promoted at this event.

It is time to withdraw government sponsorship and stop the weapons dealing at the Avalon air show in 2019.

End the Avalon Air Show Arms Fair – MAPW concerns presented to Victorian Legislative Council – March 8 2017 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Parliament Needs to Decide If We Go to War – letter published by Dr Sally Attrill, MAPW Branch Convenor, Tasmania https://www.mapw.org.au/news/parliament-needs-to-decide-if-we-go-to-war-letter-published-by-dr-sally-attrill-mapw-branch-convenor-tasmania/ Mon, 20 Mar 2017 19:12:41 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/parliament-needs-to-decide-if-we-go-to-war-letter-published-by-dr-sally-attrill-mapw-branch-convenor-tasmania/ I agree strongly with Lorraine Davie’s letter. It is time Australian legislation is changed so that our Cabinet does not have the power to join us in a war, without approval by parliament, except perhaps in very exceptional circumstances such as a direct attack on Australia. I agree strongly with Lorraine Davie’s letter. It is […]

Parliament Needs to Decide If We Go to War – letter published by Dr Sally Attrill, MAPW Branch Convenor, Tasmania | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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I agree strongly with Lorraine Davie’s letter. It is time Australian legislation is changed so that our Cabinet does not have the power to join us in a war, without approval by parliament, except perhaps in very exceptional circumstances such as a direct attack on Australia.

I agree strongly with Lorraine Davie’s letter. It is time Australian legislation is changed so that our Cabinet does not have the power to join us in a war, without approval by parliament, except perhaps in very exceptional circumstances such as a direct attack on Australia.
Most would agree that Australia’s involvement in wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are difficult to justify.

These wars have cost Australian lives and caused on-going health issues for veterans and their families. Many civilians including children have died in those countries. The financial cost to Australia has been high-money which could have been spent on health, education, social services. The threat of terrorism in Australia is increased.

Discussion of possible involvement in war by parliament would allow consideration of the evidence and reasons for going to war,the outcome sought,cost, and the nature and duration of Australian involvement. It is time we make such decisions rationally, particularly with Donald Trump in power.At present it is seems much easier to join a war, than to withdraw once the truths become more clear.

Dr Sally Attrill
Bellerive

Published in the Mercury,  Tasmania – 20 March 2017

Parliament Needs to Decide If We Go to War – letter published by Dr Sally Attrill, MAPW Branch Convenor, Tasmania | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Read the MAPW submission to the Foreign Affairs & Trade White Paper on Foreign Policy – submitted February 28 2017 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/read-the-mapw-submission-to-the-foreign-affairs-trade-white-paper-on-foreign-policy-submitted-february-28-2017/ Mon, 20 Mar 2017 18:47:18 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/read-the-mapw-submission-to-the-foreign-affairs-trade-white-paper-on-foreign-policy-submitted-february-28-2017/ On 28th February 2017, MAPW made a submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade white paper on Australian Foreign Pollicy. (Click here to read the submission in full). The key recommentations are as follows, On 28th February 2017, MAPW made a submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade white paper on […]

Read the MAPW submission to the Foreign Affairs & Trade White Paper on Foreign Policy – submitted February 28 2017 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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On 28th February 2017, MAPW made a submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade white paper on Australian Foreign Pollicy.

(Click here to read the submission in full).

The key recommentations are as follows,

On 28th February 2017, MAPW made a submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade white paper on Australian Foreign Pollicy.

(Click here to read the submission in full).

The key recommentations are as follows,

• Australia participate constructively in the UN negotiations in March and June/July this year for a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons

• Australia’s approach to a rules-based international order be applied impartially in all instances

• Australia develop approaches to global security issues that are independent of those of our major ally the US and that promote:
o Peace rather than war as a response to conflict
o Our own and the wider global interests rather than US interests
o Increased ongoing funding (legislated as a percentage of GDP) for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade enabling greater             active diplomacy and diplomatic posts commensurate with our position in the OECD

• The Australian Parliament legislates to provide foreign aid at the OECD recommended level of 0.7% of GNI, and that this aid is           explicitly used to further the UN Sustainability Development Goals

• War powers be reformed so that any decision to deploy the ADF into armed conflict can be made only by parliament (with adequate       provision for a genuine emergency), and after expert legal and strategic advice

• Any proposal to deploy the ADF into armed conflict be accompanied by estimates of the likely civilian costs in the region concerned,   and how the needs of civilians in or fleeing conflict zones will be met

• Civilian deaths, injuries and displacements as a result of military action supported by Australia be officially recorded in all instances

• Australia acts on its commitments to protect health workers and facilities in conflict zones, and supports independent investigation       of all such attacks in a non-partisan fashion

• Australia observes the provisions of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees

• A high-level independent inquiry is held into the decision-making process that involved Australia in the 2003 invasion of Iraq

• Australian troops be withdrawn from the Middle East

• Australia adopt a non-partisan approach to the conflict between Israel and Palestine and work with other nations to ensure a     just and sustainable settlement

• Australia develops a well-funded national strategy to promote peacemaking, drawing on the experience of past interventions both   within DFAT and internationally

• Australia increases DFAT funding to increase peacemaking capacity, staff and missions. Non-government expertise should be       identified and used as needed

• Australia establishes a unit for improving capacity and training in mediation conflict resolution skills both here and overseas

• Australia increases engagement with and support for multilateral organisations, non-government organisations and experts     that support peace processes

• Australia negotiates in good faith on a fair and permanent maritime border with East Timor

• Australia prioritizes working with other countries through economic relationships and treaties to contribute as much as possible     to preventing climate change.

• Australia works with our neighbours by offering assistance with sustainable energy practices, renewable energy technology,      land rehabilitation, agricultural methods and water security.

• Australia recognises and takes measures to help prevent the threat of land inundation in many countries in our region.

Read the MAPW submission to the Foreign Affairs & Trade White Paper on Foreign Policy – submitted February 28 2017 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Australian Strategic Policy Institute and the Arms Makers : Letter by Dr Sue Wareham Canberra Times March 12 2017 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/australian-strategic-policy-institute-and-the-arms-makers-letter-by-dr-sue-wareham-canberra-times-march-12-2017/ Mon, 13 Mar 2017 16:38:18 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/australian-strategic-policy-institute-and-the-arms-makers-letter-by-dr-sue-wareham-canberra-times-march-12-2017/ David Wroe’s article “The RAAF revolution: Drones” (CT, 5 March) is interesting for what it doesn’t say rather than for what it does. Wroe gave significant space to the views from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), but did not disclose a significant conflict of interest, in that ASPI is part funded by the very […]

Australian Strategic Policy Institute and the Arms Makers : Letter by Dr Sue Wareham Canberra Times March 12 2017 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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David Wroe’s article “The RAAF revolution: Drones” (CT, 5 March) is interesting for what it doesn’t say rather than for what it does. Wroe gave significant space to the views from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), but did not disclose a significant conflict of interest, in that ASPI is part funded by the very industry whose products it was spruiking.

David Wroe’s article “The RAAF revolution: Drones” (CT, 5 March) is interesting for what it doesn’t say rather than for what it does. Wroe gave significant space to the views from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), but did not disclose a significant conflict of interest, in that ASPI is part funded by the very industry whose products it was spruiking.

The organisation’s corporate sponsors for 2015 – 2016 included BAE Systems Australia, Northrop Grumman, Boeing Defence Australia, Lockheed Martin Australia, Raytheon and other global weapons leaders. Between them, they (or their parent company) are either responsible for, or have a strong financial interest in, several of the boys’ own weapons that the article was reviewing.

What Wroe euphemistically calls a “technology race” with other nations, others would call simply an arms race. He refers to our targeting of “the Chinese threat”, thereby talking up threat perceptions, while our 2016 Defence White Paper said that there is no more than a remote prospect of any other nation attacking Australia in the foreseeable future.

The clear message is that Australia is preparing for war against China. That being the case, it would be more helpful to examine whether this is in Australia’s interests, who stands to gain from these preparations (with a particular eye on ASPI’s sponsors), and ways of actually preventing warfare with our biggest trading partner rather than sleepwalking into it. The weapons industry and those they fund are not the most reliable commentators on this.

By Dr Sue Wareham

Published in the Canberra Times 12 March 2017

 

Australian Strategic Policy Institute and the Arms Makers : Letter by Dr Sue Wareham Canberra Times March 12 2017 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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PRESS RELEASE : Health Professionals urge Australia to join UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty talks https://www.mapw.org.au/news/press-release-health-professionals-urge-australia-to-join-un-nuclear-weapons-ban-treaty-talks/ Thu, 09 Feb 2017 13:04:19 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/press-release-health-professionals-urge-australia-to-join-un-nuclear-weapons-ban-treaty-talks/ MEDIA RELEASE  MEDIA RELEASE  Sydney : Friday 10 February 2017: Over one hundred health professionals have signed an open letter calling on the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ensure Australia participates in the impending UN negotiations for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. There negotiations will being in late March in New York, and so […]

PRESS RELEASE : Health Professionals urge Australia to join UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty talks | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MEDIA RELEASE 

MEDIA RELEASE 

Sydney : Friday 10 February 2017: Over one hundred health professionals have signed an open letter calling on the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ensure Australia participates in the impending UN negotiations for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

There negotiations will being in late March in New York, and so far the government has not committed to whether Australia will be represented or not.

The letter was initiated by the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW). “If Australia fails to send a delegation it calls into question their commitment to the United Nations.” Said MAPW Vice President Dr Sue Wareham, who will deliver the letter to the PM. “Australia has been an active contributor at other weapons treaty negotiations, and these are the very worst weapons of mass destruction.”

A Neilson poll in 2014 showed 84% of of Australians thought nuclear weapons should be banned. Given the overwhelming support for a ban, Australia should be at the forefront of global efforts to outlaw and eliminate nuclear weapons.

MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis said, “With Donald Trump now in possession of the nuclear codes, the risk of nuclear weapons use has significantly increased. We have bans on biological weapons, chemical weapons, cluster munitions and landmines – nuclear weapons are worse than all of these. A global ban is a powerful factor in delegitimising whole weapons systems.”

“Any use of nuclear weapons would be a humanitarian disaster, with appalling initial destruction followed by possible nuclear winter and global famine. Australia’s failutre thus far to pull its weight in getting rid of nuclear weapons is a matter of deep shame for our nation.”

ENDS

For comment, please contact;

Dr Sue Wareham 0407 924 152

Dr Margaret Beavis   0401 995 699

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The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP

Prime Minister

Parliament House, Canberra

Friday 10 February 2017

 

Dear Prime Minister,

We, the undersigned, call on the Australian government to support the banning of nuclear weapons, the world’s most destructive and inhumane weapons, and to participate constructively in ban treaty negotiations in 2017.

As health professionals, we recognise the catastrophic effects that any use of nuclear weapons would have on human populations and the environment. Our professions would have very little to offer any survivors of such an event; no meaningful medical or disaster relief response would be possible.  No other weapons can cause as much death, suffering and destruction as quickly, or leave such widespread and persisting toxicity in the environment.

We join with health professionals around the world in declaring that the only way to prevent these horrific devices ever being used again is to abolish them.  We therefore strongly support the global efforts of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the World Medical Association, the World Federation of Public Health Associations, the International Council of Nurses, the Red Cross/Crescent movement and many other bodies that call for a new treaty to explicitly prohibit nuclear weapons, just as chemical and biological weapons have been prohibited. 

Thus far Australia has actively opposed current UN resolutions supporting negotiations for a nuclear weapons ban treaty. This places Australia out of step with rapidly growing global momentum to achieve such a treaty, with 123 nations supporting this at the UN First Committee of the UN General Assembly.

Australia is ignoring the overwhelming evidence that these weapons will be used again, with catastrophic consequences, unless they are abolished.  It places us on the wrong side of history.  As health professionals we regard such opposition as irresponsible in the extreme.

We ask you to ensure that the Australian government works constructively towards the negotiation of a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

Your sincerely,

 

Dr Margaret Beavis

National President 

PRESS RELEASE : Health Professionals urge Australia to join UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty talks | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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With Donald Trump in power, Australia urgently needs to re-evaluate its US bases – Sydney Morning Herald 2 February 2017 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/with-donald-trump-in-power-australia-urgently-needs-to-re-evaluate-its-us-bases-sydney-morning-herald-2-february-2017/ Wed, 01 Feb 2017 12:16:34 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/with-donald-trump-in-power-australia-urgently-needs-to-re-evaluate-its-us-bases-sydney-morning-herald-2-february-2017/ Recent changes to the US National Security Council (NSC) should be ringing loud alarm bells in Canberra. Recent changes to the US National Security Council (NSC) should be ringing loud alarm bells in Canberra. By demoting the highest ranking military officer and the highest ranking intelligence officer, and appointing  political adviser  Stephen Bannon as a […]

With Donald Trump in power, Australia urgently needs to re-evaluate its US bases – Sydney Morning Herald 2 February 2017 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Recent changes to the US National Security Council (NSC) should be ringing loud alarm bells in Canberra.

Recent changes to the US National Security Council (NSC) should be ringing loud alarm bells in Canberra. By demoting the highest ranking military officer and the highest ranking intelligence officer, and appointing  political adviser  Stephen Bannon as a permanent member of the NSC, Donald Trump has seriously escalated the risk of the US launching into ill-advised conflicts. Stephen Bannon comes from a role as chairman of the racist, Islamophobic website Breitbart.com, and is reported as having been in charge of writing the recent executive order that has banned US entry for refugees and citizens from seven Muslim majority nations.

It is no secret that Australian foreign policy and defence forces are very closely enmeshed with the US.  Since Donald Trump has taken office he has loudly proclaimed an “America First” foreign policy, and his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talks of denying China access to artificial islands in the South China Sea. Any such blockade is likely to be seen by the Chinese as an act of war.

Malcolm Turnbull’s meek response to the immigration executive order does not inspire confidence that he will stand up to the US.  Historically Australia’s foreign policy has also leaned towards “America first”, with little differentiation between our ally’s interests and our own. In rushing to join the coalition going into Iraq, the thought that Australia may be better off not invading another country on the basis of dubious intelligence was overlooked. Indeed, in the Vietnam War, the CIA knew the war was unwinnable, even before Australia sent troops. Malcolm Fraser, defence minister at the time, was livid when he found this out many years later. 521 Australian troops died in Vietnam and about 3,000 were wounded.

Since WWII, Australia has joined in more US wars than any other ally. With Canberra’s current “business-as-usual” agenda, Australia is at high risk of joining further US wars that again create humanitarian disasters and undermine our security. Simultaneously there is talk of expanding US bases in the region. What is Australia going to say when the US asks to increase their bases on our soil? Are we willing to make Australia a target? For example CIA documents from the 1980s released this month revealed authorities expected the Pine Gap spy base near Alice Springs to be attacked in the event of a US-Soviet nuclear fight.

Australia has US marines based in Darwin, multiple surveillance bases and around forty senior Australian Army officers working in US Pacific Command. This includes an Australian Army Major General serving as the Deputy Commanding General Operations, US Army Pacific. This intense enmeshment reinforces Australia’s past behaviour – when the US goes to war, we have little option but to follow. With the US building up its military bases around China, American threats of blockades in the South China Sea are reckless and provocative.  A war between China and the US is not in Australia’s interests or anyone’s interests.

Another example of US influence has been Australia’s behaviour at recent UN talks regarding the nuclear weapons ban treaty. Australia has acted as US proxy in trying to thwart these negotiations. So much so that the Australian delegation was dubbed the chief of the “Weasel states”. Despite Australia’s efforts, negotiations for a nuclear weapons ban treaty will be going ahead later this year. Australia has not yet committed to participating, which calls into question our government’s commitment to the UN.

Australia urgently needs to re-evaluate our American bases, and promote steps that defuse rather than intensify regional tensions.  Having senior Australian defence personnel integrated into the US defence force hinders Australia acting independently. Do we want Australia to be capable of making strategic decisions in the national interest? New Zealand clearly acts in its own interest and remains an ally.

With Donald Trump now the new US commander in chief, is it wise that we allow ourselves to be so automatically tied to American foreign policy? War in our region would be a humanitarian catastrophe for all countries involved.

Margaret Beavis is a Melbourne GP and President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War



 

With Donald Trump in power, Australia urgently needs to re-evaluate its US bases – Sydney Morning Herald 2 February 2017 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Ten more questions about Australia’s nuclear waste – February 2017 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/ten-more-questions-about-australias-nuclear-waste-february-2017/ Tue, 31 Jan 2017 13:01:36 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/ten-more-questions-about-australias-nuclear-waste-february-2017/ 1. Is the waste dump needed for nuclear medicine to continue? No. The government is confusing the nuclear waste we have now with nuclear waste they are planning to make in the future. 1. Is the waste dump needed for nuclear medicine to continue? No. The government is confusing the nuclear waste we have now […]

Ten more questions about Australia’s nuclear waste – February 2017 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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1. Is the waste dump needed for nuclear medicine to continue?

No. The government is confusing the nuclear waste we have now with nuclear waste they are planning to make in the future.

1. Is the waste dump needed for nuclear medicine to continue?

No. The government is confusing the nuclear waste we have now with nuclear waste they are planning to make in the future.

The waste we have now: Much less than 1% is from nuclear medicine use, virtually all from legacy radium waste (which is not used anymore). Most countries do not have a nuclear reactor and import their isotopes. For example the USA, the world’s largest market, imports nearly all its reactor produced nuclear isotopes. We import isotopes when our reactor is down (4-6 weeks a year).

The waste in the future: The government plans to massively increase production of the most commonly used nuclear isotope – Technetium 99m. Traditionally Lucas Heights reactor has produced 1% of the world’s supply- enough for Australia. The government plans to make 25% (up to 30%) of the world market. This will massively increase the amount of long lived intermediate level waste in the future, going to a waste site in Australia.

2. What is the first principle of toxic waste management?

To stop producing the toxic material as soon as feasible.

3. What should Australia be doing?

Australia should continue to produce enough isotopes for Australia’s needs, aiming to close the reactor in the next few years. This will massively reduce the amount of nuclear waste in the future.  It should be partnering with the world’s leaders in Canada to make isotopes using cyclotrons, which do not produce long lived nuclear waste.

4. What about world shortages?

Europe, South Africa and Russia are expanding their supply capacities. Canada’s reactor has stopped routine production but will not finally shut down until 2018. In the meantime if there is a major shortage the Canadian reactor will restart temporarily. New reactor and non-reactor based projects are coming on line in the 2015-2020 period in Europe, North and South America and the Far East.

Relying on just a handful of reactors has led to major shortages in the past when one breaks down.  Supply chain failures are inherent in reactor production of medical isotopes which has led to great supply disruption especially over the last decade worldwide. Any interim Canadian domestic shortages due to Canada’s reactor closing can be temporarily overcome through import substitution, however, once established, cyclotron production of isotopes will be in multiple sites, reducing the risk of shortages and making supply more reliable.

5. Are there alternatives to reactor based nuclear medicine?

PET scanning is the fastest growth segment in nuclear medicine. Overwhelmingly this is used in cancer diagnosis and increasingly in therapy, and relies only on cyclotrons for supply.

6. Does cyclotron manufacture work?

Cyclotron manufacture of Technetium 99m has been approved last year by Health Canada and a clinical trial (routine with new manufacturing techniques) is underway. The technology was commercially licensed late last year. The Canadians have demonstrated a reliable commercial scale process for producing Technetium 99m.

7. Why is Canada switching to Cyclotrons?

Canada had a major inquiry into the reactor production of isotopes in 2009[1]. They found it was expensive, unreliable and left them with a lot of nuclear waste from other countries’ nuclear medicine. Cyclotrons will provide a more stable, secure and reliable supply, with no long term nuclear waste.

8. What about Australia developing an export industry and making money?

There has been no transparent costed business case for developing an export industry, nor any consultation about whether massively increasing nuclear waste production is what the community wants. 

It is highly unlikely the business case includes the cost of building and running the reactor, the cost of insurance and the cost of storing the waste. The 2009 Canadian enquiry1 found that sales of isotopes repaid only 10-15% of the genuine total cost of manufacture, and in 2010 an extensive OECD/ Nuclear Energy Agency[2] report found

“In many cases the full impact of Mo-99/Tc-99m provision was not transparent to or appreciated by governments who were financially supporting research reactors’ 99Mo production. The full costs of waste management, reactor operations, fuel consumption, etc. were not included in the price structure, thus providing a significant deficiency in the pricing mechanism. This is a subsidisation by one country’s taxpayers of another country’s health care system.”

The facilities at Lucas Heights rely heavily on taxpayer subsidies.

9. Is MAPW opposed to all things nuclear, as the government claims?

MAPW  members are doctors,( including nuclear medicine specialists), nurses etc.  who use nuclear medicine when it is in the best interests of their patients. We are clearly not opposed to all things nuclear.

The medical claims made by the department have been frequently wrong and/or misleading, and MAPW has been pointing out their mistakes. It is important to provide accurate information to communities if you are genuinely looking for informed consent.

10. Should the Barndioota site go ahead?

The current process has had a lot of misleading information, and the plans for the site are a long way from world’s best practice. MAPW believes the government needs to carefully review future nuclear waste production, and start afresh on planning and establishing best practice for this highly toxic waste. 

Dr Margaret Beavis and Dr Peter Karamoskos       February 2017

Click here to download a copy of this fact sheet


[1] Report of the Expert Review Panel on Medical Isotope Production 2009 Presented to the Minister of Natural Resources Canada

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Canadian+review+nuclear+isoptope+production&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=SE-XVvHLFMbA0gSL4YrAAw

[2]https://www.google.com.au/search?q=The+supply+of+medical+isotopes+An+economic+study+of+the+Molybdenum+supply+chain&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=d2yYVr-uE8zP0ATX_KegBQ

Ten more questions about Australia’s nuclear waste – February 2017 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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STOP the ARMS TRADE at AVALON Air Show https://www.mapw.org.au/news/stop-the-arms-trade-at-avalon-air-show/ Tue, 31 Jan 2017 12:35:19 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/stop-the-arms-trade-at-avalon-air-show/ Avalon Air Show used to be just an air show, and now it promotes military might and weapons dealing. An expanding arms trade ultimately harms communities and nations. Please return it to just an air show, and stop the arms trade being promoted at this event. Avalon Air Show used to be just an air […]

STOP the ARMS TRADE at AVALON Air Show | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Avalon Air Show used to be just an air show, and now it promotes military might and weapons dealing. An expanding arms trade ultimately harms communities and nations. Please return it to just an air show, and stop the arms trade being promoted at this event.

Avalon Air Show used to be just an air show, and now it promotes military might and weapons dealing. An expanding arms trade ultimately harms communities and nations. Please return it to just an air show, and stop the arms trade being promoted at this event.

Click here NOW to sign our petition 

Why is this important?

Is it wise to encourage our children to delight in our ability to harm others? An ability we should ideally use reluctantly, and as a last resort? Secondly, the international arms trade, which is larger and more corrupt than ever before, has become a scourge in other parts of the world.

The flooding of the Middle East and Africa with weapons has contributed to the scale of armed violence there, with disastrous humanitarian consequences, as well as diverting funds from health and education, and restricting development.

Our region has been largely spared this, except in the case of Papua New Guinea where tribal battles and criminal raids now use military assault weapons, making that country one of the most dangerous on earth. Should the rest of the Pacific go the same way?

STOP the ARMS TRADE at AVALON Air Show | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Turnbull government must keep Australia out of US wars https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-turnbull-government-must-keep-australia-out-of-us-wars/ Mon, 30 Jan 2017 18:25:57 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-turnbull-government-must-keep-australia-out-of-us-wars/ Australian foreign policy and defence forces are too closely enmeshed with the US, according to a group of health professionals. Australian foreign policy and defence forces are too closely enmeshed with the US, according to a group of health professionals. Dr Margaret Beavis, President of MAPW noted that, while President Trump has affirmed an “America […]

The Turnbull government must keep Australia out of US wars | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Australian foreign policy and defence forces are too closely enmeshed with the US, according to a group of health professionals.

Australian foreign policy and defence forces are too closely enmeshed with the US, according to a group of health professionals.

Dr Margaret Beavis, President of MAPW noted that, while President Trump has affirmed an “America First” foreign policy, Australia’s foreign policy also appears to be “America first”, with little differentiation between our ally’s interests and our own.  In this “business-as-usual” agenda, Australia is at high risk of joining further US wars that – like the previous ones – create humanitarian disasters and undermine our security.

Australia has US marines based in Darwin, multiple surveillance bases (most notably Pine Gap) and over forty senior Australian Army officers working in US Pacific Command. This includes an Australian Army Major General serving as the Deputy Commanding General – Operations, US Army Pacific.

“Having marine and surveillance bases here, and senior Australian officers in the chain of command of the US army means that currently Australia is tied to US foreign policy decisions. When the US goes to war, we have little option but to follow.” said Dr Margaret Beavis.

“With the US building up its military bases around China, US threats of blockades in the South China Sea are reckless and provocative.  A war between China and the US is not in Australia’s interests or anyone’s interests.”

“Australia urgently needs to re-evaluate our US marine and surveillance bases, and promote steps that defuse rather than intensify regional tensions.  Senior Australian defence personnel should not be part of the US defence force. Australia needs to be capable of making strategic decisions in our own national interest. War in our region would be a humanitarian catastrophe for all countries involved.” said Dr Beavis

For comment please contact:

MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis 0401 99 56 99

MAPW Vice-President, Dr Sue Wareham  02 6253 1117 or 0407 924 152

The Turnbull government must keep Australia out of US wars | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Why is Australia not fully behind efforts to prohibit nuclear weapons? https://www.mapw.org.au/news/why-is-australia-not-fully-behind-efforts-to-prohibit-nuclear-weapons/ Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:55:07 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/why-is-australia-not-fully-behind-efforts-to-prohibit-nuclear-weapons/ Opinion article by Dr Sue Wareham, Canberra Times,  published December 29th 2016 Opinion article by Dr Sue Wareham, Canberra Times,  published December 29th 2016 It’s about time for some good news. Heaven knows, we need it after 2016’s litany of human failures to find peace between ourselves and with our struggling planet. But as a […]

Why is Australia not fully behind efforts to prohibit nuclear weapons? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Opinion article by Dr Sue Wareham, Canberra Times,  published December 29th 2016

Opinion article by Dr Sue Wareham, Canberra Times,  published December 29th 2016

It’s about time for some good news. Heaven knows, we need it after 2016’s litany of human failures to find peace between ourselves and with our struggling planet. But as a Christmas gift of historic proportions, the UN – which is to say its member states – has taken the most promising action in decades to lead us towards the elimination of the world’s worst weapons. Late on December 23 in New York, the UN General Assembly resolved by a strong majority to begin talks in March on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.

To realise the full significance of this, consider the fact that other weapons of mass destruction – chemical weapons, biological weapons, landmines, cluster bombs – have all been prohibited by their respective treaties, and the threats posed by these weapons dramatically reduced as a result. But for nuclear weapons, which literally threaten life on Earth, there is currently no equivalent.

One might have expected that our Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, who likes spruiking Australia’s commitment to a “rules-based international order”, would welcome the imminent closure of this legal anomaly. On the contrary, however, Australia has been leading the charge to undermine the process.

Australia claims that the ban treaty process has not taken into account the security needs of “all nations” (for which read the US), a curious claim given that our ally stands out as more vulnerable than most to a nuclear weapons attack. In any event, is she really suggesting that the security needs claimed by the nine nuclear-armed nations outweigh the right of the other 187 of us to be rid of this diabolical threat?

That’s a bit like cutting President Bashar al-Assad some slack over his alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria because he has “security needs”. Weapons of mass destruction are not somehow more acceptable because a handful of nations claim that they, and only they, must have them. But, the ban treaty critics say, nuclear weapons are different, and the countries with the weapons will just thumb their collective noses at it.

Not according to a letter in October from the US mission to NATO to its European allies, urging that they oppose the treaty. With an air of desperation to sabotage the whole thing, the US stated that efforts to delegitimise nuclear weapons are at odds with its policy of nuclear deterrence, including extended deterrence for its allies (such as NATO members and Australia). Further, horror of horrors, it “could make it impossible to undertake nuclear planning or training”. Well, yes, that’s the general idea, to delegitimise every aspect of nuclear weapons possession and planning; and all indications are that that goal will be achieved, regardless of who signs the treaty. So much for the toothless tiger notion.

Nevertheless, Australia presses on with its defence of US nuclear weapons, including their possible use on our behalf, not veering from its chosen “progressive” approach to disarmament. This consists of a number of steps that have progressed more slowly over decades than a drunken snail.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has languished since it was completed in 1996, with little prospect of ever coming into force, and the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty has been moribund for even longer. In other words, we are told that a stagnant business-as-usual agenda is the way to go, even as 15,000-plus nuclear weapons – 1800 of them still on hair-trigger alert – continue to threaten human suffering of the most grotesque proportions, and all warnings point to increasing risk of their use.Australia’s position takes on even greater significance following a tweet on December 22 from US President-elect Donald Trump that stated, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has made a similar call for his country.

Australia will have to decide very quickly whether we support the majority of nations that have come to their senses and are about to outlaw nuclear weapons, or the Trumps and Putins of this world with their chilling Cold War-style ravings. For a nation that boasts commitment to a “rules-based international order”, the choice hardly seems difficult.

The reality of moving one big step closer to stigmatising, prohibiting and eliminating the most destructive, inhumane, indiscriminate devices ever created is cause for celebration. However, there is another cause for celebration, and that is the capacity of civil society – without which the nuclear weapons ban would not be happening – to mobilise, organise, work with supportive governments and set the agenda for a better world. As the politics of violence, division and hatred loom large on many fronts, such capacity is desperately needed for the huge challenges ahead.

Dr Sue Wareham is a board member of ICAN (Australia), the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons & the Medical Association for Prevention of War.

 

Why is Australia not fully behind efforts to prohibit nuclear weapons? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Despite Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the world is closer to banning nuclear weapons – by Dr Margaret Beavis https://www.mapw.org.au/news/despite-donald-trump-and-vladimir-putin-the-world-is-closer-to-banning-nuclear-weapons-by-dr-margaret-beavis/ Tue, 10 Jan 2017 15:22:57 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/despite-donald-trump-and-vladimir-putin-the-world-is-closer-to-banning-nuclear-weapons-by-dr-margaret-beavis/ Despite Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the world is closer to banning nuclear weapons Despite Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump’s posturing on nuclear weapons, we are suddenly as close as we have ever been to making these weapons of mass destruction illegal. Despite Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the world is closer to banning nuclear […]

Despite Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the world is closer to banning nuclear weapons – by Dr Margaret Beavis | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Despite Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the world is closer to banning nuclear weapons

Despite Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump’s posturing on nuclear weapons, we are suddenly as close as we have ever been to making these weapons of mass destruction illegal.

Despite Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the world is closer to banning nuclear weapons

Despite Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump’s posturing on nuclear weapons, we are suddenly as close as we have ever been to making these weapons of mass destruction illegal.

In a historic vote just before Christmas, the United Nations overwhelmingly passed a resolution to start negotiations on an internationally binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons. This is a momentous step. It comes at a time when the world faces a choice: do we get rid of these weapons, or do we let them multiply in the US, Russia, the Middle East, South Korea and Japan? 

We have bans for biological and chemical weapons, cluster munitions and land mines. For these, prohibition was the essential first step leading towards their elimination. Many said the relatively recent landmines treaty would make no difference, but it has had a huge impact.

Stigmatising nuclear weapons will result in loss of funding. Many companies (including, shamefully, Australia’s Future Fund, the CBA, Westpac, ANZ and  Macquarie Group) will be forced to no longer profit from illegal trade in these the worst weapons of mass destruction. Along with massive divestment there will be identification and verification of stockpiles, and then a decade or more dismantling weapons systems.

The first and biggest hurdle for this treaty has been mobilising nations to stand up to the nuclear bullies. Putin and Trump may both call for greater arsenals (an endless world of “mine is bigger than yours”), but there are already more than 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, with more than 14,000 controlled by Russia and the US.  There are clear risks from these existing stockpiles. For example in southern Turkey there are 50 nuclear weapons only 110 kilometres from Syria. And of course Trump can, on his own, order a nuclear weapons strike. 

Many civil society organisations have worked long and hard for the UN vote to come about. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was launched in Melbourne in 2007, and has worked internationally to bring together more than 400 organisations in more than 100 countries. For example, the

International Red Cross Movement has declared there is no possible humanitarian response to a nuclear explosion. In an attack, doctors, nurses and hospitals are destroyed. As a result the Red Cross actively advocates for the only possible approach, elimination of all nuclear weapons.

In 2013 and 2014 three international governmental conferences were held, outlining the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons. Detailed modelling has shown that even a limited nuclear exchange, say between India and Pakistan, would not only cause terrible death and destruction in those countries, but also create vast amounts of atmospheric particulate matter, resulting in a decade long nuclear winter. This in turn would reduce rice, maize and wheat crop yields by 10-15 per cent, creating a global famine that would put up to two billion lives at risk. As a result of these conferences, 127 countries signed the Humanitarian Pledge, supporting a ban treaty.

So where does Australia sit in all this? It would be nice to say we were one of the 127 pledge countries, but instead Australia has been acting as a proxy for the US, actively undermining the process. This is despite a 2014 Nielsen poll, which found 84 per cent of Australians support nuclear disarmament. Both the ALP and the Greens support a ban treaty.

We are at a turning point internationally. South Africa, the only country to relinquish nuclear weapons, talks of global apartheid, where nuclear weapons states hold the rest of the world to ransom.  Now these smaller nations have united to get rid of this existential threat.

As with all treaty documents, the devil will be in the detail. Given the overwhelming public support, our government should participate in these negotiations, and act in Australia’s interests to produce a strong and effective treaty. Boycotting these negotiations would bring into question Australia’s commitment to the UN.

These negotiations are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the future. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has said, “there are no right hands for the wrong weapons“.

Here’s to a new year where nuclear weapons are made illegal once and for all, and the world moves a step closer to becoming a safer place.

Dr Margaret Beavis is a Melbourne GP and on the board of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Australia.

Sydney Morning Herald – 29th December 2016

Despite Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the world is closer to banning nuclear weapons – by Dr Margaret Beavis | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Health Workers Under Fire – Minister for Defence, Hon Marise Payne responds to MAPW letter of concern https://www.mapw.org.au/news/health-workers-under-fire-minister-for-defence-hon-marise-payne-responds-to-mapw-letter-of-concern/ Tue, 10 Jan 2017 14:58:27 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/health-workers-under-fire-minister-for-defence-hon-marise-payne-responds-to-mapw-letter-of-concern/ On December 4th 2016, MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis wrote to the Minister for The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Julie Bishop MP and the Minister for Defence, Hon Marise Payne, regarding the implementation of UN Resolution 2286, adopted on May 3rd 2016, relating to the protection of medical care in armed conflict On December 4th […]

Health Workers Under Fire – Minister for Defence, Hon Marise Payne responds to MAPW letter of concern | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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On December 4th 2016, MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis wrote to the Minister for The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Julie Bishop MP and the Minister for Defence, Hon Marise Payne, regarding the implementation of UN Resolution 2286, adopted on May 3rd 2016, relating to the protection of medical care in armed conflict

On December 4th 2016, MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis wrote to the Minister for The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Julie Bishop MP and the Minister for Defence, Hon Marise Payne, regarding the implementation of UN Resolution 2286, adopted on May 3rd 2016, relating to the protection of medical care in armed conflict

In particular we asked what the government’s response will be to the following recommendations:

  • Recommendation 2. Reinforcing national legislative frameworks,
  • Recommendation 8. Reporting on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2286 (2016)
  • Recommendation 9. Adopting, reviewing, revising and implementing operational precautionary measures
  • Recommendation 11. Ensuring full, prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigations into serious violations of international law relating to the protection of medical care in armed conflict
  • Recommendation 12. Ensuring that individuals suspected of perpetrating serious violations of international law relating to the protection of medical care in armed conflict are prosecuted.

We have received this response on behalf of Hon Marise Payne from JJ Frewen AM, Major General – Head Military Strategic Commitments.

Click here to read the letter from MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis

Health Workers Under Fire – Minister for Defence, Hon Marise Payne responds to MAPW letter of concern | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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No Airport Arms Adverts – Read the latest campaign bulletins https://www.mapw.org.au/news/no-airport-arms-adverts-read-the-latest-campaign-bulletins/ Tue, 10 Jan 2017 13:35:31 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/no-airport-arms-adverts-read-the-latest-campaign-bulletins/ The No Airport Arms Adverts campaign has published five campaign bulletins covering different aspects of the arms trade. NAAA Campaign Bulletin 1 – the Global Arms Trade  – and the wars it fuels (Aug 2016) NAAA Campaign Bulletin 2 – Arms Promotions – a history of controvercy (Sept 2016) NAAA Campaign Bulletin 3 – Who’s […]

No Airport Arms Adverts – Read the latest campaign bulletins | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The No Airport Arms Adverts campaign has published five campaign bulletins covering different aspects of the arms trade.

NAAA Campaign Bulletin 1 – the Global Arms Trade  – and the wars it fuels (Aug 2016)

NAAA Campaign Bulletin 2 – Arms Promotions – a history of controvercy (Sept 2016)

NAAA Campaign Bulletin 3 – Who’s profiting in the Middle East ? (Oct 2016)

NAAA Campaign Bulletin 4 – Nuclear Weapons – who makes these horrific devices? (Nov 2016)

NAAA Campaign Bulletin 5 – US Election Result… good news for the weapons industry (Dec 2016)

 

You can keep up to date with campaign news and updates via the campaign facebook page.

You can contact the campaign by emailing naaa@mapw.org.au

The No Airport Arms Adverts campaign has published five campaign bulletins covering different aspects of the arms trade.

NAAA Campaign Bulletin 1 – the Global Arms Trade  – and the wars it fuels (Aug 2016)

NAAA Campaign Bulletin 2 – Arms Promotions – a history of controvercy (Sept 2016)

NAAA Campaign Bulletin 3 – Who’s profiting in the Middle East ? (Oct 2016)

NAAA Campaign Bulletin 4 – Nuclear Weapons – who makes these horrific devices? (Nov 2016)

NAAA Campaign Bulletin 5 – US Election Result… good news for the weapons industry (Dec 2016)

 

You can keep up to date with campaign news and updates via the campaign facebook page.

You can contact the campaign by emailing naaa@mapw.org.au

                                           

 

                                            Why we need a No Airport Arms Adverts campaign

Canberra’s identity

When visitors first arrive at Canberra Airport, one of the main gateways to our nation’s capital, one of their first images is large display advertising at the baggage carousel for some of the world’s biggest weapons manufacturers, such as Raytheon, BAE, and ThyssenKrupp.

Prominent weapons industry promotion is inappropriate at one of the major gateways to our national capital. It is inappropriate for Canberrans returning home, inappropriate for families, inappropriate for visitors from other parts of Australia and inappropriate for international visitors. Canberra’s identity is not as a military-industrial hub, but as a beautiful city with unique cultural, historical and natural attractions.

Canberra Airport’s website reminds us of the words of travel author Pico Iyer: “Airports say a lot about a place because they are both a city’s business card and its handshake: they tell us what a community yearns to be as well as what it really is.” Preparations for warfare do not represent what most Canberrans yearn for. The weapons industry is not the essence of Canberra life.

Normalisation of warfare

Weapons systems are not a commodity to be traded like any other. They can and do cause catastrophic effects. They are not bought and sold by ordinary citizens. Why then advertise them to us? Are the subliminal messages that weapons equal security, and that war is a normal part of our national life ? Meanwhile, as Australia spends more on fighting wars, we are becoming less secure.

Arms ads are sanitised and bear no resemblance to the reality of what the advertised products enable. The capacity to wage war is sold in terms such as “leading edge products”, “systems integration”, “logistics support systems”, and “innovative capability solutions”.

Offensive?

The airport management say that they reject any ads that are “offensive”. Offensive to whom? Arms advertising might not be offensive to businessmen sitting in Brindabella Park, but to refugees and others from war zones they could appear very different. In June this year Canberra was declared a “Refugee welcome zone”. This is particularly difficult to reconcile with Austal’s proud claim and image of their vessels “Delivering Australia’s border patrol capability”.

Canberra Airport’s “green” credentials

Canberra Airport claims, with good reason, to be a national leader in the area of environmental management. However its “green” credentials are undermined by the prominent signage promoting an industry that is one of the greatest destroyers of the built and natural environments. Nuclear weapons Arms manufacturers at Canberra Airport (or their parent companies) are involved in nuclear weapons manufacture. Nuclear weapons are the single greatest threat to life on earth. There is a strong global campaign, involving civil society and governments, to ban these worst of all weapons of mass destruction. The promotion of companies that produce them is offensive.

 

No Airport Arms Adverts – Read the latest campaign bulletins | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Health Workers Under Fire – letter to Australia Foreign Minister from MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis https://www.mapw.org.au/news/health-workers-under-fire-letter-to-australia-foreign-minister-from-mapw-president-dr-margaret-beavis/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 13:10:24 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/health-workers-under-fire-letter-to-australia-foreign-minister-from-mapw-president-dr-margaret-beavis/ The Hon Julie Bishop MP Minister for Foreign Affairs Parliament House, Canberra 30th November, 2016   Dear Minister, The Hon Julie Bishop MP Minister for Foreign Affairs Parliament House, Canberra 30th November, 2016   Dear Minister, Re: Australia’s response to ongoing attacks on health facilities and health workers in conflict zones As health professionals we […]

Health Workers Under Fire – letter to Australia Foreign Minister from MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Hon Julie Bishop MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Parliament House, Canberra

30th November, 2016

 

Dear Minister,

The Hon Julie Bishop MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Parliament House, Canberra

30th November, 2016

 

Dear Minister,

Re: Australia’s response to ongoing attacks on health facilities and health workers in conflict zones

As health professionals we are deeply troubled by the ongoing attacks on medical facilities in conflict zones. Internationally there has been little attempt to either prevent these attacks or to instigate independent investigations after they occur. The pattern of health facilities and workers becoming deliberate targets in war zones is totally unacceptable, and must be addressed.

Recently the Secretary General of United Nations presented his recommendations to the UN Security Council on the operationalisation of UNSC Resolution 2286, adopted on May 3rd 2016, which relates to the protection of medical care in armed conflict. These recommendations present practical measure that could have significant positive humanitarian outcomes if adopted.

We see the Resolution 2286 and the related recommendations as a positive development in the international community’s attempts to turn this appalling trend around.

In particular we are interested to know what the government’s response will be to the following recommendations:

  • Recommendation 2. Reinforcing national legislative frameworks,
  • Recommendation 8. Reporting on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2286 (2016)
  • Recommendation 9. Adopting, reviewing, revising and implementing operational precautionary measures
  • Recommendation 11. Ensuring full, prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigations into serious violations of international law relating to the protection of medical care in armed conflict
  • Recommendation 12. Ensuring that individuals suspected of perpetrating serious violations of international law relating to the protection of medical care in armed conflict are prosecuted.

We ask that Australia actively endorses these resolutions, and that your government will implement all of them.

Could you advise what measures, policies or other directives currently ensure that the Australian Defence Forces meet best practice in terms of humanitarian protection?

Could you please also advise what specific measures are taken to protect health facilities, patients and staff in the conflicts where ADF is active?

Yours sincerely,

 

Dr Margaret Beavis MBBS, FRACGP,MPH

National President

 

Cc  Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Defence 

Health Workers Under Fire – letter to Australia Foreign Minister from MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Radioactive Waste MAPW submissions, factsheets & media interviews all on one page https://www.mapw.org.au/news/radioactive-waste-mapw-submissions-factsheets-media-interviews-all-on-one-page/ Wed, 02 Nov 2016 17:16:57 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/radioactive-waste-mapw-submissions-factsheets-media-interviews-all-on-one-page/ Over the last two years, MAPW has made a number of submissions to both the South Australia Royal Commission on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle and the National Radioactive Waste Project Below you will find MAPW’s submissions, media comments and factsheets. Over the last two years, MAPW has made a number of submissions to both the […]

Radioactive Waste MAPW submissions, factsheets & media interviews all on one page | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Over the last two years, MAPW has made a number of submissions to both the South Australia Royal Commission on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle and the National Radioactive Waste Project

Below you will find MAPW’s submissions, media comments and factsheets.

Over the last two years, MAPW has made a number of submissions to both the South Australia Royal Commission on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle and the National Radioactive Waste Project

Below you will find MAPW’s submissions, media comments and factsheets.

Submissions, presentations and media about the South Australian Royal Commission: Nuclear Fuel Cycle


Latest powerpoint presentation by Dr Margaret Beavis to members of the South Australian Parliament

November 2016


Is Australia becoming the world’s nuclear waste dump by stealth? – by Margaret Beavis published by the Age & SHM

Dec 2nd 2015


Opinion articles by Dr Margaret Beavis

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/margaret-beavis-claims-south-australia-will-make-a-fortune-out-of-nuclear-waste-are-just-an-illusion/news-story/de432ce34d9deac7cfbfab406ec32c71

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/sas-nuclear-debate-its-not-worth-taking-an-enormous-risk-for-uncertain-rewards-says-dr-margaret-beavis/news-story/166052b19792f19e469f5f6ef576a227


MAPW and Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) joint submission to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (AUG 2015)


Response from MAPW and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) to the Tentative Findings of the South Australian Royal Commission on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (March 2016)

Letter to Dr Alan Finkel AO, Chief Scientist, from MAPW and PHAA regarding Nuclear Power and nuclear waste

February 2016


Submissions, presentations and media about National Radioactive Waste Project

MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis features in a new video that explores the myths around the use of nuclear medicine and the need for a national radioactive waste dump.


MAPW briefing paper: Medical Isotope Production in Australia

Should we be using reactor based or cyclotron technology?

March 2016


 Radioactive waste in Australia – MAPW Factsheet (Jan 2016)

https://www.mapw.org.au/files/downloads/Radioactive%20waste%20in%20Australia%20colour%20FINAL.pdf


10 Questions about Radioactive Waste – MAPW Factsheet Aug

2016

https://www.mapw.org.au/files/downloads/TEN%20QUESTIONS%20ABOUT%20NUCLEAR%20WASTE%20August%202016.pdf


National Radioactive Waste Project MAPW & PHAA joint submission

March 2016

MAPW PHAA SUBMISSION TO THE NATIONAL RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT PROJECT march 2016


Submission from Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, regarding the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Waste Management Facilities’ Extension and Upgrade.

March 2016

https://www.mapw.org.au/files/downloads/ANSTO%20SUB%20to%20PUBLIC%20WORKS%20COMMITTEE_0.pdf


 

 

Radioactive Waste MAPW submissions, factsheets & media interviews all on one page | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Health professionals welcome historic UN vote to ban nuclear weapons https://www.mapw.org.au/news/health-professionals-welcome-historic-un-vote-to-ban-nuclear-weapons/ Thu, 27 Oct 2016 12:18:00 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/health-professionals-welcome-historic-un-vote-to-ban-nuclear-weapons/  MEDIA RELEASE  MEDIA RELEASE Friday 28 October 2016 Health professionals welcome historic UN vote to ban nuclear weapons The Medical Association for Prevention of War strongly endorses the vote today to support negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban treaty starting in 2017. This happened in New York, with the First Committee of the UN General […]

Health professionals welcome historic UN vote to ban nuclear weapons | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 MEDIA RELEASE

 MEDIA RELEASE

Friday 28 October 2016

Health professionals welcome historic UN vote to ban nuclear weapons

The Medical Association for Prevention of War strongly endorses the vote today to support negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban treaty starting in 2017. This happened in New York, with the First Committee of the UN General Assembly voting 123 in favour, 38 against and 16 abstentions.

This historic vote is the first step of many to rid the world of the very worst weapons of mass destruction.  Next the vote will go to the UN General Assembly in December.

This comes after a decade of consistent action by civil society, involving health professionals and many other groups. We particularly congratulate ICAN, the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear weapons, who have gathered together a coalition of over 440 partner organisations in 98 countries.

ICAN was launched by MAPW  in Melbourne in 2006. By highlighting the appalling humanitarian impacts of any nuclear weapons use, 126 countries signed on to the humanitarian pledge to abolish nuclear weapons.

 “Health professionals around the world have united in demanding a ban on these weapons.”  said Dr Margaret Beavis, President of MAPW.

“Any nuclear war is a humanitarian disaster, and if just 1 % were detonated the subsequent nuclear winter and famine would put two billion lives at risk.”

“It is particularly shameful that Australia chose to vote against this resolution. This goes against bipartisan parliamentary resolutions, and  the clear support for disarmament in the community, as shown in 2014 a Nielsen poll where 84% of Australians want nuclear disarmament”

For comment please contact  :   Dr Margaret Beavis President 0401 99 56 99

             Dr Sue Wareham Vice President  0407 924 152 

Health professionals welcome historic UN vote to ban nuclear weapons | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Australian Health Professionals Call on Australian Government to Support a Nuclear Weapons Ban at the United Nations https://www.mapw.org.au/news/australian-health-professionals-call-on-australian-government-to-support-a-nuclear-weapons-ban-at-the-united-nations/ Sun, 23 Oct 2016 19:53:24 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/australian-health-professionals-call-on-australian-government-to-support-a-nuclear-weapons-ban-at-the-united-nations/ MAPW and health professionals from across Australia today sent an open letter the Minister for Foregin Affairs, Julie Bishop MP,  calling on the government to support the growing global push to prohibit and eliminate n MAPW and health professionals from across Australia today sent an open letter the Minister for Foregin Affairs, Julie Bishop MP,  calling on the […]

Australian Health Professionals Call on Australian Government to Support a Nuclear Weapons Ban at the United Nations | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW and health professionals from across Australia today sent an open letter the Minister for Foregin Affairs, Julie Bishop MP,  calling on the government to support the growing global push to prohibit and eliminate n

MAPW and health professionals from across Australia today sent an open letter the Minister for Foregin Affairs, Julie Bishop MP,  calling on the government to support the growing global push to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

In the letter, sent ahead ahead of a vote expected in the UN this week, health professionals urged the Australian government to support a ban on nuclear weapons because of the unacceptable humanitarian damage they inflict and to support a UN conference in 2017 to ‘negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons’.

The Australian Government’s opposition to a ban on nuclear weapons is increasingly at odds with the majority of nations, including in our region where ASEAN nations and Pacific Island states have joined New Zealand in strongly supporting moves for a ban.

A 2014 Neilsen poll showed over eighty percent of Australians support a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Signatories to the open letter comprise of indivdual health professionals from across Australia.

 Click here to read letter

Australian Health Professionals Call on Australian Government to Support a Nuclear Weapons Ban at the United Nations | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW National Conference -Free Registration now open https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-national-conference-free-registration-now-open/ Mon, 10 Oct 2016 13:44:06 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-national-conference-free-registration-now-open/ It’s all about war… It’s all about war… MAPW National Conference All Welcome Saturday  29th October 2016 9.30am -5.30pm Glebe Town Hall  Sydney Panels include: Australia’s approach to refugees, attacks on health workers in conflict zones, progress banning nuclear weapons, nuclear waste in Australia, foreign aid and diplomacy and aspects of Australian foreign policy. FREE EVENT. […]

MAPW National Conference -Free Registration now open | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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It’s all about war…

It’s all about war…

MAPW National Conference

All Welcome

Saturday  29th October 2016 9.30am -5.30pm

Glebe Town Hall  Sydney

Panels include: Australia’s approach to refugees, attacks on health workers in conflict zones, progress banning nuclear weapons, nuclear waste in Australia, foreign aid and diplomacy and aspects of Australian foreign policy.

FREE EVENT.

RSVP essential at  www.trybooking.com/NGXH  or eo@mapw.org.au .

 

 

MAPW National Conference -Free Registration now open | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Farewell Dr Bill Williams https://www.mapw.org.au/news/farewell-dr-bill-williams/ Wed, 21 Sep 2016 14:21:11 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/farewell-dr-bill-williams/ Dear Friends, Dear Friends,   The amazing Dr Bill Williams, former President of MAPW  and for many years a driving force in our organisation, died in his sleep overnight on Monday 12th September 2016. He inspired so many of us with his passionate, clear and often humorous speeches on war and all aspects on the […]

Farewell Dr Bill Williams | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Dear Friends,

Dear Friends,

 
The amazing Dr Bill Williams, former President of MAPW  and for many years a driving force in our organisation, died in his sleep overnight on Monday 12th September 2016.

He inspired so many of us with his passionate, clear and often humorous speeches on war and all aspects on the nuclear fuel chain. He has been extremely active as chair of ICAN, which was launched by MAPW in 2006. Below is the tribute that has been written by the ICAN board, which I think encapsulates so much about him.

He will be terribly missed. His contribution has been enormous in many areas for MAPW, and the current progress towards a nuclear weapons ban in no small part due to his efforts.

Vale Bill

Dr Margie Beavis  
National President – MAPW

———————————————————————————————————–

It is with immense regret and profound sorrow that we share the news that our dear friend and colleague Dr Bill Williams died in his sleep on Monday, most likely of a heart attack. Bill was a co-founder of ICAN and had served as the chair of the campaign in Australia over the past few years.
 
For decades, he spoke out passionately against nuclear weapons, nuclear power and uranium mining. He cared deeply for those in Australia, the Pacific and elsewhere in the world who have suffered from these horrific weapons and toxic industries.
 
We will all miss Bill enormously. He was a man of great vision, passion and compassion. His belief in a world free of nuclear weapons and untethered from the nuclear fuel chain fired our work. His energy, intelligence, humanity and humour inspired all his friends, colleagues and fellow travellers.
 
In addition to co-founding ICAN, he was a leading figure in the 
Medical Association for Prevention of War and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for helping bridge the Cold War divide, and educating decision-makers and the public about the medical consequences of nuclear war and the imperative to eradicate these weapons.
 
Amongst all this he was also a general practitioner in his beloved Torquay, on the Victorian surf coast, with ongoing regular work in the remote Aboriginal communities in the Western desert region of the Northern Territory. He loved life, he loved a good wave, he loved his family and friends and the work.
 
His conviction and clarity on things from land rights to gender equity to solidarity activism have lit up the world. It will be a darker place for the loss of his voice, his laughter, his vision, care and love, but our lives will forever be the richer for having known him.
 
We encourage you to read about Bill’s 
personal story and work on his website, launched last year with his book Bleed – a work of great love about his partner, Gisela. And we share with you this quote from one of his many articles on the unparalleled danger of nuclear weapons:
 
“We need a determined worldwide movement to outlaw and abolish nukes. To get there in this generation, we need to build the wave of public opinion into a mighty crescendo: a massive, surging, irresistible force which carries us all the way to absolutely zero nukes. Without it, even the most inspirational of leaders will falter on the way.”
 
His leadership has been vital to the success and vision of our work. His friendship, guidance and kindness have been vital in the lives of many who are engaged in the peace and anti-nuclear movement. In Australia and around the world, Bill touched many as a visionary and inspiring leader.
 
Earlier this year, he joined a historic UN working group meeting on nuclear disarmament in Geneva, and was thrilled by the progress made towards a nuclear-weapon-ban treaty, which he helped propel. He was as passionate and committed and energetic as ever to seize the tremendous opportunity that lies before us.
 
Our love and thoughts are with Bill’s family and friends at this difficult time. We will gladly pass on any messages of condolence. Please email them to this address (
info@icanw.org) or post them to PO Box 1379, Carlton VIC 3053.

The most fitting tribute to Bill will be to redouble our efforts to ban and eradicate nuclear weapons.
 
With great sorrow,
 
The Board and Staff of ICAN Australia

Farewell Dr Bill Williams | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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No Airport Arms Advertisements Campaign – Bulletins https://www.mapw.org.au/news/no-airport-arms-advertisements-campaign-bulletins/ Sun, 14 Aug 2016 17:10:34 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/no-airport-arms-advertisements-campaign-bulletins/ This new series of bulletins explores many aspects of the global arms trade, including its participants, its promotion, its victims, and some of the lessons of history. The information is very relevent to Canberra and its identity. This new series of bulletins explores many aspects of the global arms trade, including its participants, its promotion, […]

No Airport Arms Advertisements Campaign – Bulletins | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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This new series of bulletins explores many aspects of the global arms trade, including its participants, its promotion, its victims, and some of the lessons of history. The information is very relevent to Canberra and its identity.

This new series of bulletins explores many aspects of the global arms trade, including its participants, its promotion, its victims, and some of the lessons of history. The information is very relevent to Canberra and its identity. Despite very welcome recent additions to the advertisements at Canberra Airport that promote some positive features of our beautiful city, significant weapons advertisements remain. They are inappropriate for a gateway to our national capital.

Click here to read bulletin 1

Click here to read bulletin 2

Click here to read bulletin 3

No Airport Arms Advertisements Campaign – Bulletins | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Hiroshima & Nagasaki remembered : call for a nuclear weapons ban https://www.mapw.org.au/news/hiroshima-nagasaki-remembered-call-for-a-nuclear-weapons-ban/ Mon, 08 Aug 2016 15:48:22 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/hiroshima-nagasaki-remembered-call-for-a-nuclear-weapons-ban/ MEDIA RELEASE TUESDAY, 9 AUGUST 2016 MEDIA RELEASE TUESDAY, 9 AUGUST 2016 HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI REMEMBERED: CALLS FOR A NUCLEAR WEAPONS BAN On Tuesday morning, members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) will protest outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, at the government’s opposition to a ban on nuclear weapons. The event […]

Hiroshima & Nagasaki remembered : call for a nuclear weapons ban | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MEDIA RELEASE

TUESDAY, 9 AUGUST 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

TUESDAY, 9 AUGUST 2016

HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI REMEMBERED: CALLS FOR A NUCLEAR WEAPONS BAN

On Tuesday morning, members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) will protest outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, at the government’s opposition to a ban on nuclear weapons. The event will involve depictions of nuclear missiles.

August 9 marks the 71st anniversary of the nuclear bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki, 3 days after the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6. Both cities were virtually destroyed. Currently there are over 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, in the hands of just nine nations. Australia gives strong support to US nuclear weapons policies, and has refused to state that the weapons should never be used again.

There is a strong global movement for a nuclear weapons ban treaty, to delegitimise and stigmatise the weapons in the same way that both chemical and biological weapons are banned by treaty. Civil society groups, including ICAN, are working with a large number of governments to achieve such a treaty.

From August 5 to 19, a UN Open-Ended Working Group is meeting in Geneva to discuss legal measures for a nuclear weapons free world, and the group is expected to recommend to the UN General Assembly negotiations for a nuclear weapons ban treaty. Australia has been in the forefront of trying to undermine this process.

ICAN spokesperson Dr Sue Wareham said, “It is appalling that as most of the world is doing everything possible to outlaw these most terrible of all weapons, Australia is doing the bidding of the nations with the weapons. Once again, we will be on the wrong side of history.”

A series of intergovernmental conferences since 2013 have concluded that the humanitarian damage from a nuclear weapon explosion would be catastrophic, and relief agencies could offer any survivors very little. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has also been prominent in advocating the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

For further information, or interview, please call:
Dr Sue Wareham, board member, ICAN Australia, Ph 02 6253 1117, or 0407 924 152
 

Hiroshima & Nagasaki remembered : call for a nuclear weapons ban | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW supports Doctors4Refugees High Court Action https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-supports-doctors4refugees-high-court-action/ Tue, 02 Aug 2016 18:24:05 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-supports-doctors4refugees-high-court-action/ 3rd August 2016 The Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) strongly endorses the High Court challenge to the secrecy provisions of the Border Force Act launched last week by the organisation Doctors for Refugees. 3rd August 2016 The Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) strongly endorses the High Court challenge to the secrecy […]

MAPW supports Doctors4Refugees High Court Action | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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3rd August 2016

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) strongly endorses the High Court challenge to the secrecy provisions of the Border Force Act launched last week by the organisation Doctors for Refugees.

3rd August 2016

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) strongly endorses the High Court challenge to the secrecy provisions of the Border Force Act launched last week by the organisation Doctors for Refugees.

It is an important part of health care that doctors and other health workers are free to speak out when health care provision is not adequate. The conditions in the offshore detention centres have been reported as actively detrimental to the people held in these facilities. Federal government arguments that no individual has yet been charged under these provisions are not sufficient. These laws will actively deter open disclosure of the conditions in the facilities. Health workers have a duty of care, and it is not acceptable that they are silenced by secrecy laws.

“ Many of these asylum seekers have fled their homes due to conflicts in countries where Australia has been part of the attacking forces. The government has a responsibility,  at the very least, to  provide adequate health care. ” said MAPW president Dr Margaret Beavis.

“Secrecy provisions in the Border Force Act are unacceptable. Health workers at the detention centres must be able to advocate on behalf of their patients. “

For Comment

Margaret Beavis 0401 99 56 99

 

Information for Editors

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) is a professional not-for-profit organisation that works to promote peace and disarmament. MAPW aims to reduce the physical and psychological impact, as well as environmental effect of wars throughout the world. MAPW has branches in every State and Territory in Australia.

MAPW is the Australian affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNWi). This international federation has affiliates in 58 countries and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. In 1986, during the International Year of Peace, MAPW was chosen by the Government to receive one of the Australian Peace Awards, presented by then Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Since its foundation in 1981, MAPW has been a strong voice in the work to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, promoting the use of resources for human and environmental well-being rather than the acquisition of armaments. We promote solutions through research, consultation, advocacy, education and partnerships.

MAPW is independent of all political parties. MAPW’s core funding comes from its members, who determine its policies. 

MAPW supports Doctors4Refugees High Court Action | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Push to Ban Weapons Advertising at Canberra Airport – op’ed by Dr Sue Wareham https://www.mapw.org.au/news/push-to-ban-weapons-advertising-at-canberra-airport-oped-by-dr-sue-wareham/ Mon, 25 Jul 2016 18:17:35 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/push-to-ban-weapons-advertising-at-canberra-airport-oped-by-dr-sue-wareham/ Monday 25 July 2016 : Opinion Piece – Canberra Times Monday 25 July 2016 : Opinion Piece – Canberra Times Push to Ban Weapons Advertising at Canberra Airport Have you been to Canberra Airport lately?  If not, you would not yet have seen the very welcome images promoting our city – specifically our 100 per […]

Push to Ban Weapons Advertising at Canberra Airport – op’ed by Dr Sue Wareham | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Monday 25 July 2016 : Opinion Piece – Canberra Times

Monday 25 July 2016 : Opinion Piece – Canberra Times

Push to Ban Weapons Advertising at Canberra Airport

Have you been to Canberra Airport lately?  If not, you would not yet have seen the very welcome images promoting our city – specifically our 100 per cent renewable energy target and our leading educational institutions – that have replaced some of the advertisements depicting Australia’s readiness to go to war. A much better welcome home or welcome to visitors.

The airport must be congratulated, but unfortunately not yet in the “full marks” category. Significant weapons promotions remain, inside and outside the terminal, and with them the question: just who are advertisements for fighter jets, armed drones and submarines aimed at? Most travellers are not really in the market for any of them.

Some argue that the ads are targeted at the defence bureaucracy, to help them choose the best equipment to keep our troops and our nation safe. However, the notion that a glossy advertisement at an airport, placed by a company that wants tens of billions of our dollars, will help deliver us the best security is absurd. It raises serious questions about the decision-making process by which our military purchases are made.

Setting aside for a moment the issue of who these weapons ads are really targeted at, one is also struck by their “misleading and deceptive” nature. The purpose for which weapons are built – to kill or aid in killing – is hidden behind the slick sophistication that epitomises modern advertising. When weapons are used, however, there is no glamour or prestige; it is simply messy and ruthless. The results are invariably brutal for someone, and that someone is generally a civilian. 

Over the course of the 20th century, the major impacts of warfare shifted. Unlike the situation in World War I, where a majority of those killed were combatants, most victims of conflict today are civilians. Millions of individual lives are destroyed, communities are shattered and environments polluted.

In the “war on terror”, we do not know how many civilians have died; they are ignored in official statistics. However, the total death toll (including civilians) from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan was estimated in the 2015 report Body Count, by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War affiliates, to be about 1.3 million people. Destruction of this magnitude instantly makes weapons radically different from normal commodities being advertised to consumers.  

And yet while the airport, to its credit, declines to advertise activities such as gambling because of the enormous social harm it causes, the promotion of large weapons systems remains. It would also be unthinkable to advertise small arms in the same way. As a society, and particularly since the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, we have decided that guns must not become part of our culture as it is so disastrously in the US; we are much the better for it.

Why then would we want to normalise, by advertising in public places, weapons systems that are associated with death and destruction on a far larger scale? Why would we want to allow images of fighter pilots portrayed as cute little children, as BAE Systems have displayed at the airport, or Northrop-Grumman’s armed drones that enable illegal killings in countries with whom Australia is not at war?

To return to the key question: Just who is being persuaded to buy big-ticket military items? As the vast majority of us are guaranteed not in that market, the message appears to be that spending huge amounts of our taxes on weapons is good for us; they deter war and provide “security”. But do they? Did all those Dreadnoughts before World War I bring peace and security, or simply help fuel a global conflagration?

This is not to argue against the place of weapons in defending Australia against invasion – a prospect that this year’s Defence White Paper rated as “no more than remote”. It is to argue against the normalisation, by inappropriate advertising at a major gateway to our national capital, of a world awash in weapons.  

Australia has been constantly at war since 2001. While Australians pay deep respect to those killed in battle, for many people there is a profound sense of grief that we forget the lessons from one war to the next, even as we solemnly utter “Lest we forget”. Lest we forget who really profits from wars and from endless preparations for them.  

Many Canberrans know that the Snow Foundation, co-founded by the airport’s executive director, Terry Snow, provides valuable funding for a range of important health, social welfare, educational and other community initiatives. Unfortunately, there is a huge disconnect between these good works and the destruction of whole communities wrought by the weapons industry whose advertising the airport still accepts. 

 Dr Sue Wareham is convenor of No Airport Arms Ads and Branch Coordinator of MAPW Canberra

 

Push to Ban Weapons Advertising at Canberra Airport – op’ed by Dr Sue Wareham | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Chilcot – the costs of war & silence by Dr Sue Wareham https://www.mapw.org.au/news/chilcot-the-costs-of-war-silence-by-dr-sue-wareham/ Wed, 13 Jul 2016 19:44:48 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/chilcot-the-costs-of-war-silence-by-dr-sue-wareham/     The long-awaited Chilcot inquiry report into the British government’s involvement in the Iraq War was handed down last week, an exhaustive and damning indictment of the Blair administration’s ill-conceived decision to join the US-led invasion. Among key findings, apart from a litany of intelligence abuses, was that British Prime Minister Tony Blair ignored […]

Chilcot – the costs of war & silence by Dr Sue Wareham | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The long-awaited Chilcot inquiry report into the British government’s involvement in the Iraq War was handed down last week, an exhaustive and damning indictment of the Blair administration’s ill-conceived decision to join the US-led invasion.

Among key findings, apart from a litany of intelligence abuses, was that British Prime Minister Tony Blair ignored warnings on what would happen in Iraq post-invasion, and had no strategy to manage this period, nor tried hard enough to keep a tally of Iraqi civilian casualties.

The report also found the British government risked the mental health of thousands of troops by breaching guidelines designed to avoid excessive deployment and overstretch.

An editorial published this week in the BMJ warns that the long-term consequences for UK service personnel remain unknown, especially for those they term ‘unexpected survivors’ — injured troops who may previously have died from their wounds but were able to be saved due to advances in battlefield treatment. The authors write:

No matter how good the short term care, nothing will remove the enduring effects of the deaths and the physical and psychological injuries. The true legacy of the conflict for individuals and wider society in both the UK and Iraq may not be evident for many years to come.

The report has renewed calls for a similar inquiry in Australia, where Prime Minister John Howard followed the US into Iraq on a similarly flawed basis to Britain and with the same disastrous outcomes.

Activists have banded together under the banner Chilcot Oz to demand a Royal Commission into Australia’s decision to go to war in Iraq and have planned a rally this Sunday, July 17 in Adelaide.

In a new piece for Croakey Dr Sue Wareham OAM, vice president of Medical Association for the Prevention of War (Australia), writes that one of the greatest tragedies of the Iraq conflict was that its devastating consequences for civilians and stability in the Middle East were both foreseen and ignored.

Now more than ever, she argues, health professionals must recognise their vital advocacy role for those most vulnerable to the ravages of war.


Dr Sue Wareham OAM writes:

The Chilcot report into the UK’s involvement in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was long overdue when it finally saw the light of day last week. Even so, the UK is streets ahead of Australia; we have had no such in-depth examination of the process by which our nation helped launch this catastrophic war, and none is on the horizon. Accountability is virtually zero, there are no lessons learnt, grave errors are repeated, and countless lives are destroyed as a result.

The fact that the human cost of the war was huge is rarely disputed, although estimates of the numbers of dead or maimed, or lives otherwise ruined, vary. This is not surprising given the enormous obstacles to collecting such data in a war zone, and the fact that the “coalition of the willing” doesn’t even try.

The 2015 report “Body Count”, by affiliates of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, estimated that the “war on terror” has killed, directly or indirectly, around a million people in Iraq (and 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan).

The Costs of War project at Brown University in the US estimated that, from 2001 to April 2015, the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq caused the deaths of 370,000 people – fighters, civilians, aid workers and others – due to direct war violence. However, the report said, it is likely that many times more than this number have died indirectly, as a result of malnutrition, damaged health infrastructure and environmental degradation as a result of the wars.

Australia has unquestioningly supported all of these wars, including by the role of the Pine Gap facility in the NT in facilitating drone attacks in Pakistan.

The problem of refugees also cannot be separated from the problem of war. On 20 June this year, UNHCR reported that an unprecedented 65.3 million people globally were displaced as a result of conflict and persecution.

Devastation foreseen

Part of the tragedy of the 2003 Iraq War was that the humanitarian impacts were all predicted before the war started, but the predictions were ignored. Among many such warnings was the November 2002 report, Collateral Damage: the health and environmental costs of war on Iraq, which was published by Medact in the UK and had its Australian launch by the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) in Parliament House on November 12. The introduction to the report stated:

The threatened war on Iraq could have disastrous short, medium and long-term consequences not only for the Iraqi population and its neighbours, but also further afield.

These dire predictions were based partly on the much-degraded state of Iraqi infrastructure as a result of the 1991 war and the most comprehensive economic sanctions in history.

To justify a war after the event, as former PMs Blair and Howard have attempted to do, those who led the charge need to be able to look into the eyes of every maimed or orphaned child, every grieving parent, every family whose house is a heap of rubble, every breadwinner who can no longer work, and assure them that it was all worth it, there was no other way.

A refusal to even acknowledge the extent of human suffering simply compounds the lies and blinkered vision of 2003.

A role for health

Health care professionals have an essential advocacy role to play in exposing the costs of war, especially for civilians, for it is the civilian suffering that is – apart from low levels of humanitarian aid that are dwarfed by the amounts spent on fighting – ignored by governments.

War is not just a matter for prime ministers to decide, and generals to implement. And despite the importance of the law and the monumental folly of Bush, Blair and Howard in ignoring the almost universally agreed “illegal” verdict in 2003, nor is war just a matter for the lawyers.

Not everything that is lawful is wise, as many would argue the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan demonstrates.

Warfare is about destruction, often on a colossal scale. It threatens whole populations, whose welfare must be an absolutely key consideration before any armed intervention.

If we are to learn anything from the invasion of Iraq – a huge “if” in the case of Australia, as we continue to send troops to unwinnable wars in the Middle East – the need for humanitarian concerns to be central to any such decision is a lesson sorely needed.

There are many questions that must be asked and answered, such as the expected civilian deaths and injuries, the likely impact on health care facilities and personnel and on clean water supply, the provisions that will be made for injured civilians, the number of refugees expected and the resources that will be available to care for them.

War is full of unintended negative consequences. This is precisely the reason that the likely or certain consequences – such as widespread civilian suffering – must be part of the debate before hostilities commence, in the knowledge that things will usually turn out worse than expected.

And finally, the issue of debate.  Generally there is none in Australia before we go to war.

In 2003, PM Howard made the decision; there was no opportunity for questions in parliament about the military strategy, expected human and economic costs, likely duration, post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, regional consequences, the likely environmental destruction, or any other critical issue.

Going to war is the most important decision that a country can make. We should treat it as such, with full parliamentary debate and vote, and with the human impacts taking their rightful place among the key issues on which the decision is made. Health care professionals have a vital role in demanding nothing less.

Dr Sue Wareham OAM is the vice president of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) and secretary of Australians for War Powers Reform

  

Chilcot – the costs of war & silence by Dr Sue Wareham | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Australia needs an inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq https://www.mapw.org.au/news/australia-needs-an-inquiry-into-the-decision-to-invade-iraq/ Wed, 06 Jul 2016 11:55:33 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/australia-needs-an-inquiry-into-the-decision-to-invade-iraq/ 7th July 2016 Australia needs an inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq Australia urgently needs war powers reform, so that the decision to go to war is no longer the prerogative of the prime minister. 7th July 2016 Australia needs an inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq Australia urgently needs war powers reform, […]

Australia needs an inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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7th July 2016

Australia needs an inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq

Australia urgently needs war powers reform, so that the decision to go to war is no longer the prerogative of the prime minister.

7th July 2016

Australia needs an inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq

Australia urgently needs war powers reform, so that the decision to go to war is no longer the prerogative of the prime minister.

The UK Chilcot Inquiry into the invasion of Iraq raises many issues that Australia needs to address. It highlights Tony Blair’s decision to invade before the peaceful options had been exhausted, presenting intelligence information  “with a certainty that was not justified”.  This was a disastrous choice, and the consequences were predicted.

In November 2002, at Parliament House, MAPW (Australia)  launched the report “Collateral Damage: the health and environmental costs of war on Iraq”, published by our UK affiliate Medact.  This report warned:

“The threatened war on Iraq could have disastrous short, medium and long-term consequences not only for the Iraqi population and its neighbours, but also further afield.”  This was partly because Iraqi infrastructure was already so degraded by the 1991 war and the most comprehensive economic sanctions in history.  The report referred to the possibilities of civil war, regional destabilisation and further terrorist attacks.

The 2015 report “Body Count” by Physicians for Social Responsibility found that approximately one million Iraqi civilians died, due to conflict, displacement and the destruction of their health system. A generation of children remain unvaccinated and ill-educated as a result of the flight of the middle class and subsequent breakdown of society. The resulting destabilisation contributed to the rise of ISIS and the spreading conflict in neighbouring countries.  Last month the UN reports an unprecedented number of refugees worldwide and internally displaced people – 65.3 million at last count.

MAPW calls for an inquiry into John Howard’s decision to join the invasion. “A review of the political processes used when Australia goes to war and the military campaign is urgently needed” said Dr Beavis. “Putting military and civilian lives at risk is serious business, and without analysis we will never learn from our mistakes.  Blindly following our allies is not good enough.”

Any decision to deploy troops into overseas conflict zones should no longer be a “captain’s call”, but require parliamentary debate and approval and its legality supported by  independent legal advice. All military campaigns should be subject to detailed strategic review after the event. 

For Comment:

Dr Margaret Beavis 0401 99 56 99

President MAPW

 

Dr Sue Wareham 0407 924 152

Vice president MAPW 

Australia needs an inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Preparing for war isn’t a suitable economic boost https://www.mapw.org.au/news/preparing-for-war-isnt-a-suitable-economic-boost/ Wed, 18 May 2016 21:49:13 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/preparing-for-war-isnt-a-suitable-economic-boost/ As a society, do we want the government to focus on using military spending as a way of creating jobs?  Defence spending has been “decoupled” from the fiscal restraint of the rest of the Australian economy, with generous increases in funding. It is now on target to reach 2 per cent of GDP by 2021, significantly […]

Preparing for war isn’t a suitable economic boost | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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As a society, do we want the government to focus on using military spending as a way of creating jobs?  Defence spending has been “decoupled” from the fiscal restraint of the rest of the Australian economy, with generous increases in funding. It is now on target to reach 2 per cent of GDP by 2021, significantly earlier than initially planned.

As a society, do we want the government to focus on using military spending as a way of creating jobs?  Defence spending has been “decoupled” from the fiscal restraint of the rest of the Australian economy, with generous increases in funding. It is now on target to reach 2 per cent of GDP by 2021, significantly earlier than initially planned.

Preparing for war should not be regarded as a job-creation scheme. The consequences of building massive weapons systems that could only conceivably be used in a major war go far beyond the jobs they create. They undermine peace in our region as nations compete for bigger and more costly weapons systems. It is in no one’s interest to have a regional arms race.

The increases in our military spending are all the more remarkable in light of this year’s Defence White Paper which reported that “there is no more than a remote prospect of a military attack by another country on Australian territory in the foreseeable future”.  Why then are we spending many tens of billions of dollars on submarines and on the even more controversial Joint Strike Fighter planes? Could it have something to do with President Obama urging allies to spend at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence?

There are more jobs in health, education and renewable energies, for the same amount of investment, than there are in the military sector. Professor Hugh Gusterson of George Washington University, writing in 2011, found that “$1 million spent on the military creates 8.3 jobs, whereas $1 million spent on education creates 15.5 jobs, and $1 million spent on healthcare creates 14.3 jobs”.

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study at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2011 reported similarly. It concluded that $1 billion spent on clean energy, health care or education would create substantially more jobs than $1 billion spent on military projects. The additional jobs in clean energy, health care or education were across all pay ranges.

While these studies were conducted in the US, there is no reason to believe that the situation in Australia would be greatly different. Unlike other jobs, military jobs are generally in large identifiable locations that can be directly linked to a parliamentary decision. Other jobs are less visible and more widely dispersed, and their advocates lack the huge lobbying resources of a large weapons manufacturer. South Australia’s high unemployment rate combined with some marginal electorates should not skew spending to defence at the expense of other sectors

Meanwhile, health care for Australians was a very low-key concern in the Treasurer’s vision for our nation. With Medicare rebates frozen for three years, health care in Australia will become more and more a two-tier system. Public hospitals are struggling with long waiting lists and reductions in many services. The $54 billion cuts to hospitals from the Abbott era remain.

The federal government is more concerned with threats abroad than addressing the family violence which kills an average of one Australian woman every week. Critical specialist domestic violence services, community legal centres and primary prevention initiatives continue to be inadequately funded and resourced.

On the international scene, the Treasurer’s budget speech was totally silent on Australia’s shameful slashing of overseas aid, which is now set to reach its lowest levels ever. A further $224 million is gone from the aid budget, meaning that $11.3 billion has now been cut over the last two years. Aid is now 23 cents in every $100. This contrasts with the UN recommended levels of 70 cents per $100 (0.7 per cent of GDP), a level that the UK, for example, has reached and enshrined into law. While spending huge sums on building weapons, we are devastating previous aid programs that boost international goodwill towards Australia and stabilise societies. We also need to improve diplomatic mission funding, instead of ramping up weapons expenditure. Prevention of conflict is very cost effective, and saves many lives.

And one of the biggest of all economic threats – climate change – was totally ignored in the budget. The government seems oblivious to the huge threats to our economy and our security that climate change represents. This is a significant strategic error.

In this World War I commemorative period, the primary lesson of that cataclysmic failure of policy – that arms races do not deter warfare or achieve security – is stark, but ignored.  At the end of the war, Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary in 1914, concluded: “The moral is obvious: it is that great armaments lead inevitably to war.”  A century on, our misplaced faith in weapons to deter wars persists.

As our healthcare system and many other critical services are struggling with inadequate resources, and our overseas aid has dropped to shameful levels, we need to be clear what we want  as a society. Do we want to prioritise preparing for war, or prioritise keeping our community healthy and building good relations with other nations? Actions speak louder than words.

Dr Margaret Beavis is president of the Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia.

Sydney Morning Herald, 16 May 2016

Preparing for war isn’t a suitable economic boost | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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SA groups launch No Dump Alliance in response to nuclear Royal Commission findings https://www.mapw.org.au/news/sa-groups-launch-no-dump-alliance-in-response-to-nuclear-royal-commission-findings/ Sun, 15 May 2016 18:33:39 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/sa-groups-launch-no-dump-alliance-in-response-to-nuclear-royal-commission-findings/ Monday 16th May 2016 – Following the recommendation of the Nuclear Royal Commission to pursue a high level nuclear waste dump in SA, Traditional Owners and representatives from health, union, faith, and conservation groups, and other prominent South Australians have responded by launching the ‘No Dump Alliance.’ Monday 16th May 2016 – Following the recommendation of the […]

SA groups launch No Dump Alliance in response to nuclear Royal Commission findings | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Monday 16th May 2016 – Following the recommendation of the Nuclear Royal Commission to pursue a high level nuclear waste dump in SA, Traditional Owners and representatives from health, union, faith, and conservation groups, and other prominent South Australians have responded by launching the ‘No Dump Alliance.’

Monday 16th May 2016 – Following the recommendation of the Nuclear Royal Commission to pursue a high level nuclear waste dump in SA, Traditional Owners and representatives from health, union, faith, and conservation groups, and other prominent South Australians have responded by launching the ‘No Dump Alliance.’

These Groups have signed a Statement of Concern that focuses on the following key issues:

·         Lack of respect for Traditional Owners

·         The legacy for future generations

·         Public health and environment impact

·         Financial risks

For a copy of the statement and further information about the Alliance, go to: www.nodumpalliance.org.au

Rose Lester, a Yankunytjatjara Traditional Owner from the states far north and daughter of the Alliance’s patron Yami Lester, said: “If you’re involved in the pastoral industry, tourism industry, agricultural or aquaculture industries a nuclear waste dump could ruin everything good that hard working South Australians have worked so hard to achieve. The South Australian Government should expect fierce resistance from Aboriginal people in the firing line from plans to dump high-level nuclear waste here.”

Dr Robert Hall, SA Coordinator, Medical Association for Prevention of War outlined concerns for public health said: “Development of a site for the disposal of nuclear waste brings risks to the South Australian community. There are risks to the environment and risks to health, which persist for very long periods of time. There are economic risks and security risks, and there is the risk of weapons proliferation. We do not need to face these risks. We do not need nuclear waste.”  

Jamie Newlyn of the Maritime Union of Australia SA branch spoke on workers’ safety:“The MUA have a long history of opposing expansion of the nuclear industry including nuclear waste dumps. We fear that the economic assumptions pale in insignificance to the unknown safety & environmental implications of such plans. MUA members work in critical points of the logistics cycle and therefore the safe handling and above ground storage for decades is of great concern to the MUA for the reasons outlined above.”

Speakers at today’s launch included:

Karina Lester, Yankunytjatjara Native Title Aboriginal Corporation Chairperson

Tauto Sansbury, Narungga Elder, SA Aboriginal Congress Chairperson

Jamie Newlyn, Maritime Union of Australia

Dr Robert Hall, Medical Association for the Prevention of War

Dr Christobel Mattingly AM, prominent South Australian author

Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive Conservation SA

Release Ends

Contact: Cat Beaton on 0434 257 359

SA groups launch No Dump Alliance in response to nuclear Royal Commission findings | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Attacks on health facilities in war zones must cease – Independent investigation of all attacks is essential. https://www.mapw.org.au/news/attacks-on-health-facilities-in-war-zones-must-cease-independent-investigation-of-all-attacks-is-essential/ Sun, 08 May 2016 18:33:36 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/attacks-on-health-facilities-in-war-zones-must-cease-independent-investigation-of-all-attacks-is-essential/ Attacks on health facilities in war zones must cease. Independent investigation of all attacks is essential. May 9th 2016 Attacks on health facilities in war zones must cease. Independent investigation of all attacks is essential. May 9th 2016 MAPW welcomes the United Nations Security Council resolution 2286 regarding attacks on health workers in conflict zones, […]

Attacks on health facilities in war zones must cease – Independent investigation of all attacks is essential. | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Attacks on health facilities in war zones must cease.

Independent investigation of all attacks is essential.

May 9th 2016

Attacks on health facilities in war zones must cease.

Independent investigation of all attacks is essential.

May 9th 2016

MAPW welcomes the United Nations Security Council resolution 2286 regarding attacks on health workers in conflict zones, which was unanimously adopted on May 3rd. This will strengthen protection in war zones for health care workers, the sick and wounded, hospitals and clinics.

Attacks on health facilities are totally unacceptable. Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, Physicians for Human Rights have documented more than 360 attacks on some 250 medical facilities. More than 730 medical personnel have been killed. A similar pattern of systematic destruction of health facilities is evident in Yemen, with more than 600 medical facilities having closed because of damage sustained in the conflict and shortages of supplies and medical workers.

These attacks are coming from all sides. In January this year, Coalition air strikes hit the Shiara Hospital, which serves around 120,000 people in Sa’ada Governorate. Last October in Kunduz, Afghanistan, bombing by United States military destroyed another MSF hospital and killed dozens, as patients were burned alive in their beds. Aleppo was recently hit by an air strike, by all accounts by the Government of Syria. It destroyed a hospital and killed at least 20 people, including three children and the area’s one and only paediatrician, Dr. Mohammad Wassim Maaz.

This pattern of attacking health facilities is also seen in other conflicts such as Iraq and South Sudan, where violence destroying places of care is massively worsening the problems of health systems that are already struggling.

This UN resolution will only be of value if governments take measures to prevent future attacks, and accept the need for independent investigation. It is critical that armed forces are held to account and there is universal acknowledgement that attacking health facilities is totally unacceptable.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged all Member States, parties to conflict and other relevant actors to heed the Council’s demands by:

Facilitating humanitarian access

Developing domestic legal frameworks that protect health facilities and medical workers  

Training armed forces so they understand their obligations

Prosecuting those responsible for such attacks and other violations

Investigation of these events needs to be by an independent tribunal under the Geneva Conventions. As an illustration of why this is essential, one only needs to examine the US response to the bombings in Kunduz.  The United States military recently released a report regarding these attacks. This predictably exonerates itself from all guilt saying it was a terribly tragic mistake.

This finding lacks credibility. A report in the Intercept noted the following:  (1) MSF repeatedly told the U.S. military about the precise coordinates of its hospital, which had been operating for years; (2) the Pentagon’s story about what happened kept changing, radically, literally on a daily basis; (3) the exact same MSF hospital had been invaded by Afghan security forces three months earlier, demonstrating hostility toward the facility;  (4) the attack lasted more than 30 minutes and involved multiple AC-130 gunship flyovers, even as MSF officials frantically pleaded with the U.S. military to stop; and, most compellingly of all, (5) Afghan officials from the start said explicitly that the hospital was a valid and intended target due to the presence of Taliban fighters as patients.

MAPW condemns all attacks on health care workers. In October last year MAPW wrote to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop urging her to support an independent inquiry into the Kunduz attacks. Given the highly doubtful findings of the US investigation, the need for unbiased investigations is all the more critical. Attacks on civilian infrastructure, including health care facilities, are one of the many consequences for innocent people of modern wars. They strengthen the imperative to prevent warfare and to greatly augment diplomatic and other tools with which conflicts can be addressed.

MAPW has written today Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to urge the Australian government to strongly support this UN resolution and work to ensure all Australia’s allies also commit to acting on this critical issue. 

Attacks on health facilities in war zones must cease – Independent investigation of all attacks is essential. | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Majority of the world’s government want to negotiate a new treaty that would prohibit nuclear weapons. https://www.mapw.org.au/news/majority-of-the-worlds-government-want-to-negotiate-a-new-treaty-that-would-prohibit-nuclear-weapons/ Wed, 04 May 2016 14:50:06 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/majority-of-the-worlds-government-want-to-negotiate-a-new-treaty-that-would-prohibit-nuclear-weapons/  Majority of the world’s government want to negotiate a new treaty that would prohibit nuclear weapons  Majority of the world’s government want to negotiate a new treaty that would prohibit nuclear weapons Wednesday 4 May 2016 : Geneva, Switzerland: At the beginning of the second session of the UN Open Ended Working Group, several proposals […]

Majority of the world’s government want to negotiate a new treaty that would prohibit nuclear weapons. | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 Majority of the world’s government want to negotiate a new treaty that would prohibit nuclear weapons

 Majority of the world’s government want to negotiate a new treaty that would prohibit nuclear weapons

Wednesday 4 May 2016 : Geneva, Switzerland: At the beginning of the second session of the UN Open Ended Working Group, several proposals for starting negotiations of a new international treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons have been put forward.

Nine states from Nuclear Weapons Free Zones – Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, and Zambia – submitted a proposal to convene a negotiating conference in 2017 for a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

“This is a very exciting development and shows that governments are getting ready to start a process banning nuclear weapons,” says Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN.

Another proposal, from the 127 endorsers of the Humanitarian Pledge, also calls for the urgent pursuit of a new treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

This is the first time the Pledge group has come together to contribute substantively to a UN meeting to make recommendations on how to move the pledge forward.

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) have also submitted a proposal calling for the start of “a multilateral diplomatic process for the negotiation of a legally binding instrument for the prohibition of nuclear weapons”.

Additional proposals calling for a treaty banning nuclear weapons have come from individual delegations such as Mexico and Nicaragua, while others nations have endorsed the call for a ban through their interventions from the floor.

Five Pacific island states – Fiji, Nauru, Palau, Samoa and Tuvalu – submitted a working paper that sets out possible elements to be included in a treaty banning nuclear weapons. It calls for negotiations to begin in the latter part of this year.

As more proposals are expected to be made during the second week of the UN working group, it’s clear that the majority of the world’s government want to negotiate a new treaty that would prohibit nuclear weapons.  “A minority of governments still opposes a treaty banning nuclear weapons, but the majority of the world are getting ready to take action on the last weapons of mass destruction not yet comprehensively prohibited by a treaty”, says Beatrice Fihn.

For more information contact :

Phyllis Campbell-Mcrae

Tel: 03 9023 1958 or 0431 475 465

 

E:eo@mapw.org.au

Majority of the world’s government want to negotiate a new treaty that would prohibit nuclear weapons. | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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IPPNW – Chernobyl effects suppressed and downplayed https://www.mapw.org.au/news/ippnw-chernobyl-effects-suppressed-and-downplayed/ Mon, 25 Apr 2016 14:24:13 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/ippnw-chernobyl-effects-suppressed-and-downplayed/ IPPNW/PSR Press release 21.4.2016 30 years since Chernobyl IPPNW/PSR Press release 21.4.2016 30 years since Chernobyl Marking the commemorations of  the nuclear disasters in Chernobyl and Fukushima, IPPNW Germany  is calling on the German government to work towards a speedy closure and decommissioning of all nuclear reactors in Europe. One early morning thirty years ago, […]

IPPNW – Chernobyl effects suppressed and downplayed | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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IPPNW/PSR Press release 21.4.2016

30 years since Chernobyl

IPPNW/PSR Press release 21.4.2016

30 years since Chernobyl

Marking the commemorations of  the nuclear disasters in Chernobyl and Fukushima, IPPNW Germany  is calling on the German government to work towards a speedy closure and decommissioning of all nuclear reactors in Europe. One early morning thirty years ago, humankind was made painfully aware of the dangers of nuclear energy when reactor 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded. For weeks afterwards, radioactive clouds spread harmful contamination across the whole of Europe. Germany was also affected, particularly the states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg.

In the first months following the nuclear disaster, more than 800,000 clean-up workers worked  in the destroyed plant and were exposed to very high radiation doses,  suffering substantial harm to their health as a result. It is estimated that between 112,000 and 125,000 of these “liquidators” have died, the main cause of death being stroke and heart attack.

More than 350,000 people had to be evacuated from the 30 km zone around Chernobyl and other heavily contaminated regions. Approximately 8.3 million citizens of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia were exposed to high levels of radiation. An estimated 100 million people in the Soviet Union and 500 million in the rest of Europe were exposed to increased levels of radiation than normal. About 36% of radioactive cesium was dispersed across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine , 53% over the rest of Europe and 11%  around the rest of the globe. In Germany, millions of people incorporated radioactive isotopes such as 131Iodine or 137Cesium by breathing contaminated air or by ingesting contaminated food and drinks. Even today, harmful levels of radioactive cesium can be found in Bavarian game, mushrooms and wild berries.

The most well-known effect of the nuclear disaster is the massive increase in thyroid cancer, particularly in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, but also to a lesser extent in all other radioactively contaminated regions of Europe. This pronounced focus on thyroid cancer has overshadowed other, possibly more problematic, health effects of Chernobyl. For instance, the clean-up workers and inhabitants of the heavily-contaminated areas show a significant increase in the incidence of leukemia and lymphomas, as well as malignant tumours in the prostate gland, the skin, kidneys, the intestine and  breasts.

The occurrence of radiation-induced non-malignant diseases such as heart attack, stroke, cataracts or hormonal imbalance is only now beginning to be understood and the rates of occurrence are most probably similar to the incidence of cancer. Already in the first few years following the disaster, birth defects, chromosome aberrations, such as Down Syndrome, and the increase of perinatal mortality were registered in people exposed to 137Cesium.

the nuclear industry continues even today to downplay the Chernobyl catastrophe, for example by limiting their studies to the most heavily-contaminated regions. The IAEA – whose charter calls for the global promotion of nuclear energy – assumes a collective dosis of 55,000 person-sievert, which is still enough to cause about 5,000-9,000 additional cancers in the population. However, the Soviet authorities estimated a collective dosis of 2.4 million person-sievert, enough for around 190,000 – 730,000 additional cancer cases, of which about half would be fatal. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

The IPPNW/PSR Report “30 years living with Chernobyl – 5 years living with Fukushima” can be found here: https://ippnw.de/commonFiles/pdfs/Atomenergie/Tschernobyl/Report_TF_3005_en_17_screen.pdf

Requests for interviews with Dr. Alex Rosen, deputy chair and one of the report’s authors, are welcome.

Contact: Angelika Wilmen, IPPNW press officer, Tel. +49-30-69 80 74-15, German affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), Koertestr. 10, 10967 Berlin, wilmen@ippnw.de, www.ippnw.de

 

 

 

IPPNW – Chernobyl effects suppressed and downplayed | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Thirty years after Chernobyl, and five years post Fukushima: Time to phase out nuclear power https://www.mapw.org.au/news/thirty-years-after-chernobyl-and-five-years-post-fukushima-time-to-phase-out-nuclear-power/ Mon, 25 Apr 2016 13:53:45 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/thirty-years-after-chernobyl-and-five-years-post-fukushima-time-to-phase-out-nuclear-power/ Melbourne: Monday 25th April 2016 : 30 years ago on April 26, two explosions tore off the roof of the reactor core of the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine. Melbourne: Monday 25th April 2016 : 30 years ago on April 26, two explosions tore off the roof of the reactor core of the Chernobyl […]

Thirty years after Chernobyl, and five years post Fukushima: Time to phase out nuclear power | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Melbourne: Monday 25th April 2016 : 30 years ago on April 26, two explosions tore off the roof of the reactor core of the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine.

Melbourne: Monday 25th April 2016 : 30 years ago on April 26, two explosions tore off the roof of the reactor core of the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine. The explosions and subsequent fire released an estimated 12 trillion Becquerel of radioactive particles into the atmosphere – 200 times greater than the fallout from Nagasaki and Hiroshima combined. The contamination spread over many countries, with Belarus, Ukraine and Russia the worst affected (37% of total), and Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and the Balkans also suffering substantial fallout (53%).

While the official response to the accident was unconscionably slow, 346,000 people from the vicinity were eventually evacuated.  Health studies and estimates of doses sustained took years to commence, and there was no centralised death registry in 1986.

Today the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War have released a report compiling a large number of studies that look at the health impacts of the Chernobyl catastrophe. This report finds wide ranging health effects with cancers, non-cancerous illnesses and genetic impacts.

“Recent research has shown radiation increases rates of non cancer diseases as much or more than it increases rates of malignancies, with significantly increased rates of heart attack and stroke.” said Dr Beavis. “This means we find markedly increased overall harm from radiation.”

The simplest lesson we should draw from this, and from Fukushima 5 years ago, is that radioactive contamination from nuclear power plant accidents is so extensive that there is no adequate public health response to them. Accidents cannot be absolutely prevented because human error is always a possibility and deliberate harm is also an ever present possibility; therefore nuclear power plants present an unacceptable human health risk.

Less catastrophic sources of energy exist, and are not only safer but also cheaper. Our own Royal Commission in South Australia acknowledged earlier this year that building nuclear power plants was not commercially viable.

“The ultimate public health risk is in the form of nuclear weapons, and the most common way for countries to acquire nuclear weapons is via a nuclear power program. For these and other reasons, it is time to phase out nuclear power”

For more information contact Dr Margaret Beavis: 0401 99 56 99 Dr Bill Williams: 0428 616 245 

Thirty years after Chernobyl, and five years post Fukushima: Time to phase out nuclear power | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Thoughts on the commemoration of ANZAC day https://www.mapw.org.au/news/thoughts-on-the-commemoration-of-anzac-day/ Thu, 21 Apr 2016 19:18:47 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/thoughts-on-the-commemoration-of-anzac-day/ MAPW Vic Branch Coordinator, Dr Peter Wigg, shares his thoughts on how Australia remembers ANZAC day and how we talk about war. Thoughts on the commemoration of ANZAC day By Dr Peter Wigg MAPW Vic Branch Coordinator, Dr Peter Wigg, shares his thoughts on how Australia remembers ANZAC day and how we talk about war. […]

Thoughts on the commemoration of ANZAC day | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW Vic Branch Coordinator, Dr Peter Wigg, shares his thoughts on how Australia remembers ANZAC day and how we talk about war.

Thoughts on the commemoration of ANZAC day

By Dr Peter Wigg

MAPW Vic Branch Coordinator, Dr Peter Wigg, shares his thoughts on how Australia remembers ANZAC day and how we talk about war.

Thoughts on the commemoration of ANZAC day

By Dr Peter Wigg

The First World War left a huge amount of bereavement in Australia, and a day of remembrance and solidarity with the bereaved was highly appropriate in its aftermath. With the passage of time, this function has become less important, however, and I wish to question the current relevance of the commemoration, not wanting it to be an empty spectacle, or a celebration of war itself.

In initial solidarity with the bereaved, a selectively positive account of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli had been constructed, despite the loss of young lives. It was seen as an occasion when many ordinary, anonymous Australians participated bravely in a dramatic enterprise of international significance. Australians were ‘defending our freedom’, it was said, though it is hard to justify this description. Also that Australia ‘came of age’ in the Gallipoli campaign, forcing the mother country, England, to acknowledge our worth in our own right and not simply as a British colony. Also that our participation gained a reputation for Australians internationally as a distinct type, with particular characteristics and qualities. Many have since questioned the truth or the wisdom of any of this, yet these ideas have persisted as the version preferred and promoted by our politicians today.

The Gallipoli campaign represented an attack on another sovereign state, in fact, rather than a ‘defence of freedom’. It failed in its intent of taking possession of Turkish waterways, but that made no difference anyway to the progress of the war in Europe. It was followed by a war of conquest and territorial acquisition in the Middle East by Britain and France. Our troops were used recklessly by Britain, many now acknowledge, with much pointless loss of life, rather than that Australia was especially respected. Viewing the campaign as a ‘coming of age for young Australia’, is also likely to have been popular only in Australia, rather than in England, or any other country involved, where they had their own suffering and misgivings to deal with.

A distorted, selectively positive account may have been important to Australians at the time, and again after the Second World War. To those who had remained at home, to some of the bereaved, and to some returned servicemen, it may have provided comfort. For others, however, it may have increased their suffering. My father, for example, found such sentiments a painful mockery of his experiences as servicemen, as do others. 

 Since a period of serious questioning in the 1960’s , when ANZAC Day lost much of its popularity for a time, it has undergone a revival in the past two decades, both as a day of remembrance and reflection on young lives lost, and as an occasion for national pride. This has been one aspect of a general increase in expressions of nationalism and militarism in Australia, I think, meeting some popular needs perhaps, but also subverting others. Celebration of the myth is now encouraged by some politicians, for example, apparently as a means to gain favour with the electorate, and by some in the corporate world, apparently as a marketing strategy.

How authentic are these current expressions of sorrow and respect for the young men who died, if we fail to acknowledge the fear, anger, horror, and sense of betrayal they may have felt, as described by many, and as continues to be described by servicemen returning from current conflicts? Not at all if we pretend, for our own reasons, that they died gladly as a gift to us.

How authentic is the other traditional view of the ANZAC campaign as a declaration of a distinct Australia to be proud of? Not at all if we fail to acknowledge that our servicemen were lackeys of the British, meekly serving Britain’s expansionist ambitions at times, and that Britain went on to command our troops and to treat us, as a nation, with similar indifference in the Second World War, not informing our government where our troops were to be deployed, nor even when and why it suited Britain to surrender Singapore to the Japanese? Surely we had done much else to be proud of before Gallipoli, of greater worth to ourselves and the world, and have done much else to be proud of since.

And do we notice that we often take a similar role militarily nowadays, as American lackeys, serving American expansionist interests and calling it the ‘defence of our way of life’? Do we notice that our purchase of defence equipment is designed mainly to assist America in its military enterprises rather than geared to the defence of Australia?

So the commemoration of ANZAC Day can have good and bad consequences. On the one hand, it can be a contribution to our public life, encouraging honest reflection and support of rational debate, encouraging pride in how we may be seen by others, and also in our capacity for independent thought and action in international affairs. On the other hand, it can be an exercise in propaganda, encouraging mindless support for our participation in controversial contemporary wars, merely appealing to the irrational and emotive in the gullible and uninformed among us.

War is a way of getting people to do what we want by killing or injuring them or their loved ones, by destroying their property or infrastructure or means of livelihood, by making them homeless or depriving them of their liberty, or by torturing them. Those who perpetrate acts of war also risk their own lives, their physical and mental health, and their liberty.  They also risk creating for their country new, or greater, enemies than it had before. These inhumane and destructive outcomes, and the personal and national risks, are justified under some circumstances, as when we, or our allies, are under direct organised attack, or threat of attack, that cannot be countered in any other way. But let’s not glorify war in any way, and let’s not support it as an act of revenge for an attack already suffered, or as a means to gain territory or commodities, or to eliminate competitors in trade and international influence, or to change regimes that do not cooperate with our aims.

 

 ends

Thoughts on the commemoration of ANZAC day | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Doctors call on the PM to increase Australian international aid budget https://www.mapw.org.au/news/doctors-call-on-the-pm-to-increase-australian-international-aid-budget/ Mon, 18 Apr 2016 14:09:25 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/doctors-call-on-the-pm-to-increase-australian-international-aid-budget/ The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP Prime Minister The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP Prime Minister Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600   19th April 2016   Dear Prime Minister, The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) shares the very serious concerns of many Australians that our country’s overseas development aid is dropping to its lowest ever level.  There […]

Doctors call on the PM to increase Australian international aid budget | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP


Prime Minister

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP


Prime Minister


Parliament House


CANBERRA ACT 2600

 

19th April 2016

 

Dear Prime Minister,

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) shares the very serious concerns of many Australians that our country’s overseas development aid is dropping to its lowest ever level.  There has been sustained and severe criticism of the spending cuts from the major aid organisations that see the direct impacts of the withdrawal of funding.   As an organisation that promotes the use of human, financial and technical resources for human well-being, MAPW also deplores the reduction in our country’s aid program. We regard the cutting of aid as an unacceptable undermining of the real security needs of millions of people.

The cuts in overseas aid that were announced two years ago in the 2014 budget were disproportionately severe compared to all other sectors of government spending.  In December of that year, then Treasurer Joe Hockey acknowledged that aid was the hardest hit in the mid-year fiscal budget, and it was being used to “offset” defence and national security commitments of $1.3 billion.  The cuts, which are continuing each year until 2017-18, will see Australia’s foreign aid relative to income fall to the lowest levels ever in our 40-plus years of formal overseas aid.

The government’s failure in December 2015, in the mid-year budget update, to reverse the drastic cuts to Australian aid reinforced a mean-spirited approach to some of the world’s poorest people.  MAPW strongly urges the Australian government to reverse the cuts in the 2016 budget.

The reductions in our aid budget occur while our expenditures on war and its preparation continue to increase.   The 2016 Defence White Paper indicated that an additional $29.9 billion would be provided to Australia’s military over the next 10 years, and that our spending on war and its preparation will increase to 2% GDP.

This increase was announced despite the White Paper’s recognition of the fact that “there is no more than a remote prospect of a military attack by another country on Australian territory in the foreseeable future”.   When we are told that Australia can no longer afford to give even the very modest levels of overseas aid that previously were in place, and that we must instead increase our war-fighting capacity against an enemy that does not exist, Australia’s priorities appear aggressive and militaristic.  They suggest a misplaced faith in armed force to bring us “security” and a disregard for overseas aid’s capacity to enhance goodwill between peoples and nations, which is in the interests of everyone except those who profit from warfare.

In 2010 the World Bank produced a Policy Research Working Paper, “In Aid We Trust: Hearts and Minds and the Pakistan Earthquake of 2005[1].  The paper noted the importance to US foreign policy (and we could extend that to Australian foreign policy) of winning “hearts and minds” in the Muslim world and the increasing recognition of bilateral aid as a vehicle with which to achieve this.  It reported that, four years after the 2005 earthquake, humanitarian assistance by foreigners and foreign organisations had left a lasting imprint on population attitudes. The writers stated that “The results provide a compelling case that trust in foreigners is malleable, responds to humanitarian actions by foreigners and is not a deep-rooted function of local preferences”.  The fact that people remember who provided help when they needed it should hardly surprise us.

MAPW believes that Australia’s security would be far better served by focussing on those factors that improve human wellbeing for our neighbours and beyond.  Australians cannot be secure unless our neighbours and others also feel secure.  The 2016 Defence White Paper’s call for the ADF’s fighting capacity to be “regionally superior”, with all the economic cost that entails, overlooks the fact that  other nations will seek military superiority also, setting up the conditions for regional arms races which will be in no-one’s interests.  Least of all will they be in the interests of the millions of people who will continue to lack basic human needs as military budgets rise and our aid budget falls.

A far greater budgetary emphasis on foreign aid and less emphasis on Australia as a fighting nation is not simply a matter of acting responsibly towards some of the poorest people on earth. Even if one accepts the very limited notion of “security” as guarding against the threat of external attack (whether by a nation-state or non-state actors), there is little doubt that Australians would be more secure if we went to war less often.  We are more at risk from terrorism as a result of our nation’s military actions in the Middle East, commencing with the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the formation of ISIS in its wake. 

MAPW notes two of the most outstanding and short-sighted casualties of our slashed aid budget:

·         Australian aid to the Middle East 

In an act of unparalleled irony, in September 2014 the then Prime Minister Abbott called for further military intervention in Iraq on behalf of the suffering civilian population of that country. This occurred just months after the government ceased all humanitarian aid to the country.  Then in 2015, aid cuts of 82% to the Middle East and North Africa were announced. This is the part of the world that Australia helped to grossly destabilise, as an unintended – but predicted – consequence of the 2003 invasion of Iraq in which Australia took part. 

To reduce aid to the very people whose lives and security have been destroyed by that invasion and its aftermath lacks any sense of moral responsibility. 

 If our goal is to improve human well-being, then the approximately $750 million we are reported to be spending on the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East in the current year would almost certainly be far more effectively spent in increasing rather than slashing our aid budget to those regions. Supporting reputable aid agencies is a key component to improve social and political stability in these regions.

 

·       Climate change mitigation

In addition to Australia’s grossly inadequate response, as a heavy carbon emitter, to the need to drastically reduce carbon emissions, our contributions to adaptation and mitigation efforts are also far short of what is required. 

 

The injustice of climate change is well recognised, as a problem created largely by wealthy countries, but whose effects are felt disproportionately by poorer countries. Also well recognised is the fact that climate change is a major security risk, with the likelihood of huge movements of people whose land is either underwater or no longer productive. However Australia’s moral responsibility to help mitigate the problem is ignored in our current and future aid budgets. 

 

At the COP21 Climate Change summit in Paris in December 2015 you pledged an amount of A$1 billion over the next five years for climate change mitigation, but this was to be drawn from our existing aid program. In other words, our assistance to help mitigate the impacts of climate change will be at the expense of aid elsewhere. This is deceptive and shameful.

Australia can do far better.  Our aid budget stands in stark contrast to that of other nations.  The UK, for example, in 2013, reached the OECD’s 0.7% of GNI target, and it has since passed a bill enshrining this 0.7% commitment into law.  

MAPW calls for Australia to restore our development aid budget, not only to the pre-2014 levels, but to the target set by the UN for developed countries of 0.7% GDP.  This could be readily achieved by reducing the proposed massive increases in our military budget.

If Australia’s goal in its dealings overseas genuinely is to provide humanitarian assistance, then foreign aid needs to be a priority. It is time Australia placed greater reliance on real humanitarian initiatives and the fostering of goodwill instead of frequently, and often ill-advisedly, going to war to “keep us secure”. Ongoing cuts reducing our aid to 0.21% of GDP represent Australia shirking its international responsibilities, when compared with other first world nations. Please consider significantly increasing foreign aid funding allocations in the forthcoming budget.

Yours sincerely,

 

Dr Margaret Beavis  MBBS FRACGP MPH

President

MAPW – health professionals promoting peace

 



[1] Policy Research Working Paper 5440.  The World Bank Development Research Group.  Human Development and Public Services Team. October 2010

 

Doctors call on the PM to increase Australian international aid budget | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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DOCTORS CALL FOR BUDGET TO REDUCE MILITARY SPEND & INCREASE FOREIGN AID https://www.mapw.org.au/news/doctors-call-for-budget-to-reduce-military-spend-increase-foreign-aid/ Sun, 17 Apr 2016 15:12:20 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/doctors-call-for-budget-to-reduce-military-spend-increase-foreign-aid/  GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION ON MILITARY SPENDING, APRIL 18  GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION ON MILITARY SPENDING, APRIL 18 The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) calls on Prime Minister Turnbull to restore Australia’s development aid budget which dropped to all-time low levels under his predecessor. This could be readily achieved by reducing our military […]

DOCTORS CALL FOR BUDGET TO REDUCE MILITARY SPEND & INCREASE FOREIGN AID | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION ON MILITARY SPENDING, APRIL 18

 GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION ON MILITARY SPENDING, APRIL 18

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) calls on Prime Minister Turnbull to restore Australia’s development aid budget which dropped to all-time low levels under his predecessor. This could be readily achieved by reducing our military budget. 

The slashing of our aid budget is occurring while Australia’s expenditures on war and its preparation continue to massively increase. The 2016 Defence White Paper indicated that an additional $29.9 billion would be provided to Australia’s military over the next 10 years, despite stating that “there is no more than a remote prospect of a military attack by another country on Australian territory in the foreseeable future”.  

MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis said, “A far greater emphasis on foreign aid and less on Australia as a fighting nation is not only acting responsibly towards some of the poorest people on earth, but also less polarising. Our nation’s military actions in the Middle East have resulted in greater risk from terrorism, with the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the formation of ISIS in its wake.”

Dr Beavis said that our overseas aid should be restored not only to the pre-2014 levels, but to the target set by the UN for developed countries of 0.7% GDP. “The UK reached aid levels of 0.7% GNI in 2013, and has passed a bill enshrining this commitment long term. Australia is shirking its international responsibilities”. 

She noted two particularly short-sighted and irresponsible examples of grossly inadequate aid from Australia: “Our aid to the Middle East and North Africa, the very areas where the winning of “hearts and minds” is critical, has been slashed in recent budgets. And even the $1 billion recently pledged for climate change mitigation at the COP21 Paris Summit will be at the expense of other aid projects. This is deceptive and shameful.”

FOR INTERVIEW:

Dr Margaret Beavis 0401 99 56 99

Dr Sue Wareham landline (02) 6253 1117 mobile 0407 924 152

DOCTORS CALL FOR BUDGET TO REDUCE MILITARY SPEND & INCREASE FOREIGN AID | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The country that fuelled Fukushima to sell uranium to the country that gave us Chernobyl https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-country-that-fuelled-fukushima-to-sell-uranium-to-the-country-that-gave-us-chernobyl/ Sun, 03 Apr 2016 21:38:52 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-country-that-fuelled-fukushima-to-sell-uranium-to-the-country-that-gave-us-chernobyl/ The Foreign Minister’s plan to sell Australian uranium to Ukraine is a dangerous retreat from responsibility, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced she will sign an agreement this week with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to supply Australian uranium to Ukraine. The Foreign Minister’s plan to sell Australian uranium to […]

The country that fuelled Fukushima to sell uranium to the country that gave us Chernobyl | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Foreign Minister’s plan to sell Australian uranium to Ukraine is a dangerous retreat from responsibility, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced she will sign an agreement this week with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to supply Australian uranium to Ukraine.

The Foreign Minister’s plan to sell Australian uranium to Ukraine is a dangerous retreat from responsibility, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced she will sign an agreement this week with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to supply Australian uranium to Ukraine.

“Australia, the country that directly fuelled Fukushima plans to sell uranium to Ukraine, the country that gave the world Chernobyl – this is hardly a match made in heaven,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“Thirty years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster five million people still live in contaminated areas in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. 

“There remain serious containment and waste management issues at Chernobyl and there are very real security concerns about Ukrainian nuclear facilities being targeted in the current conflict with Russia.

“Australia has properly suspended uranium sales to Russia – it makes no sense to start selling uranium to Ukraine now.

“There can be no nuclear business-as-usual in the shadow of Fukushima – a disaster that was fuelled by Australian uranium.

“Following Fukushima the UN Secretary-General called for Australia to have a dedicated risk analysis of the impacts of the uranium sector – this has not happened and needs to.

“This deal and the recent deal with India – which was signed despite a recommendation by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) that Australia not supply uranium to India at this time or on these terms – are a dangerous retreat from responsibility.”

Ends 

The country that fuelled Fukushima to sell uranium to the country that gave us Chernobyl | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Debunking the myths around medicine and a nuclear waste dump – video presentation by Dr Margaret Beavis https://www.mapw.org.au/news/debunking-the-myths-around-medicine-and-a-nuclear-waste-dump-video-presentation-by-dr-margaret-beavis/ Mon, 07 Mar 2016 17:38:56 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/debunking-the-myths-around-medicine-and-a-nuclear-waste-dump-video-presentation-by-dr-margaret-beavis/  MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis features in a new video that explores the myths around the use of nuclear medicine and the nead for a national radioactive waste dump. Click here now to watch  MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis features in a new video that explores the myths around the use of nuclear medicine and […]

Debunking the myths around medicine and a nuclear waste dump – video presentation by Dr Margaret Beavis | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis features in a new video that explores the myths around the use of nuclear medicine and the nead for a national radioactive waste dump.

Click here now to watch

 MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis features in a new video that explores the myths around the use of nuclear medicine and the nead for a national radioactive waste dump.

Click here now to watch

Debunking the myths around medicine and a nuclear waste dump – video presentation by Dr Margaret Beavis | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Submission to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee Inquiry in to the acquisition of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter https://www.mapw.org.au/news/submission-to-the-senate-foreign-affairs-defence-and-trade-references-committee-inquiry-in-to-the-acquisition-of-f-35-joint-strike-fighter/ Thu, 25 Feb 2016 17:31:11 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/submission-to-the-senate-foreign-affairs-defence-and-trade-references-committee-inquiry-in-to-the-acquisition-of-f-35-joint-strike-fighter/  To read the submission click here  To read the submission click here

Submission to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee Inquiry in to the acquisition of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 To read the submission click here

 To read the submission click here

Submission to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee Inquiry in to the acquisition of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Failure of informed consent? Government information on nuclear waste is misleading and omits important facts. https://www.mapw.org.au/news/failure-of-informed-consent-government-information-on-nuclear-waste-is-misleading-and-omits-important-facts/ Sun, 21 Feb 2016 13:06:39 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/failure-of-informed-consent-government-information-on-nuclear-waste-is-misleading-and-omits-important-facts/  MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis made the following statement today regarding the misinformation being distributed by the government implying that because of nuclear medicine there is a need for a National Radioactive Waste Repository.   MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis made the following statement today regarding the misinformation being distributed by the government implying that because […]

Failure of informed consent? Government information on nuclear waste is misleading and omits important facts. | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis made the following statement today regarding the misinformation being distributed by the government implying that because of nuclear medicine there is a need for a National Radioactive Waste Repository. 

 MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis made the following statement today regarding the misinformation being distributed by the government implying that because of nuclear medicine there is a need for a National Radioactive Waste Repository. 

Failure of informed consent?

                        Government information on nuclear waste is misleading and omits important facts.

Monday 22 February 2016 – MELBOURNE:  Nuclear medicine has been highlighted as a key reason to have a nuclear waste repository. MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis observes that ‘The Commonwealth government fact sheet: Information for communities- Key questions answered is a gross misrepresentation and reads more like a puff-piece for the nuclear industry. The recently released brochure states “One in two Australians – everyone who has ever had a broken bone, heart scan or cancer diagnosis – will need nuclear medicine at some point in their lifetime.

“This is very clearly misleading in all three areas” said Dr Beavis .  “X Rays for a broken bone rarely require nuclear medicine, the vast majority of heart scans are done by ultrasound, and most cancers are treated by surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, none of which use radioisotopes. Even the assertion the half the population needs nuclear medicine is not credible.”

In addition ANSTO continues to insist that using reactors to produce radioisotopes is the only option. In January 2015 Canada – the world leader in radioisotope commerce – had a successful pilot project for commercial cyclotron production. Current regulatory testing and expansion will likely make Canada self-sufficient through cyclotron generation in 3-5 years. “Cyclotrons are a more reliable, safer and cheaper source of radioisotopes than nuclear reactors, and produce no long term waste, but ANSTO has not mentioned this” said Dr Beavis

Nor is mention made of ANSTO’s plans to increase reactor production (from previously 1%) to supply 25-30% of world markets, vastly increasing Australia’s waste from the generation of medical radioisotopes for international sales. “We already have more waste than we know what to do with” said Dr Beavis “We need community debate before massively increasing radioactive waste production.”

Earlier this month it was reported that ANSTO would stop making radioisotopes next year if a waste repository site was not found. Subsequently in Senate Estimates hearings it emerged this was sourced from a previous document and was not the case. These alarming claims have yet to be widely rebuffed by ANSTO, despite requests to do so.

Finally, the telephone information hotline for communities has been very poor. “Comments such as suggesting televisions and microwaves are radioactive when used are clearly wrong.” said Dr Beavis.

If the government is sincere about informed consent it needs to do much better than this.

 

Failure of informed consent? Government information on nuclear waste is misleading and omits important facts. | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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10 Questions about Nuclear Waste – updated August 2016 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/10-questions-about-nuclear-waste-updated-august-2016/ Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:08:26 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/10-questions-about-nuclear-waste-updated-august-2016/ Given the high level of public concern about radioactive/nuclear waste, the team at MAPW has put together a factsheet answering the 10 questions we are regularly asked about this type of waste. If you wish to download a copy of this leaflet click here Given the high level of public concern about radioactive/nuclear waste, the […]

10 Questions about Nuclear Waste – updated August 2016 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Given the high level of public concern about radioactive/nuclear waste, the team at MAPW has put together a factsheet answering the 10 questions we are regularly asked about this type of waste.

If you wish to download a copy of this leaflet click here

Given the high level of public concern about radioactive/nuclear waste, the team at MAPW has put together a factsheet answering the 10 questions we are regularly asked about this type of waste.

If you wish to download a copy of this leaflet click here


1) Why do we need a radioactive waste dump?

To dispose of Australian nuclear waste permanently and look after the safety of people and the environment for as long as it poses a threat. 

2) What happens if we don’t build a dump?

The waste will stay where it is, including at Lucas Heights (31 km south west of Sydney) where there is a nuclear reactor.

3) Is a dump needed to provide medical care?

No. Less than 1 % of the waste is from old medical tests and treatments. This 1% is waste is from radium left over from the 1970s and some disused radiation sources. Most states and territories have a few cubic metres of this old waste that have been safely stored for decades in medical facilities. 

4) So what happens to new radioactive medical waste these days?

Nuclear scans/tests. These produce most medical nuclear waste. This is short-lived and the radioactivity drops fairly quickly. This waste is held at the medical facility until its activity is has all but gone. It then is disposed of safely and appropriately in the usual manner of most waste (sewers, incineration, landfill tips etc.).

Cancer treatment radiotherapy. Most radiotherapy uses X-rays or electromagnetic radiation which do not make waste at all. Very few cancer treatments rely on radioactive materials, and these also don’t last long. Longer lived treatments used in some cancer therapy must be returned overseas when used up so they do not create waste here.

It would be very misleading to claim that a new radioactive waste dump in the bush (or anywhere) is needed for this medical waste.

5) What about reactor waste from making medical isotopes at Lucas Heights?

Australia chooses to make its own isotopes at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney – most countries import them. Canada – currently the world’s largest producer – is starting to make isotopes using electrical machines called cyclotrons which do not create any radioactive waste requiring long term management.

6) How much waste is there?

As of 2014 there was 4,906 cubic metres (= almost two 50 metre swimming pools) – most of it (87%) low level waste. There is 656 cubic metres of intermediate level waste, which needs complete isolation for tens of thousands of years.  Current scientific modelling cannot predict the behaviour of underground rock formations this far ahead.

7) Will we be taking in international high level waste?

Who knows? Some very influential people are promoting Australia as a good location for the nuclear waste of other countries. This high level waste has to be isolated for hundreds of thousands of years.

8) What will the dump look like?

The low level waste will be compressed in metal drums and placed in concrete for transport, and each container will be placed in a larger concrete vault below ground level. The nuclear fuel waste, which is intermediate level waste, is too hazardous to be stored in this manner, so will be placed above ground in a purpose-built store. At some stage in the future it is supposed to be permanently placed several hundred metres underground.

9) Are we going to be increasing the amount of waste we make?

There are current plans for Australia to start making and selling medical isotopes to 25-30% of the world market. This would greatly increase Australia’s radioactive waste. Canada decided a few years ago that it wanted to stop making isotopes using a reactor. We could instead be developing non – reactor (nuclear waste free ) methods like Canada. Canada is planning to close its reactor in 2018, and reduce nuclear waste production.

10) So what is the right answer to dealing with this waste?

There is no easy answer. Nuclear waste is very difficult to deal with because it stays harmful for such a long time, and we do not know what underground rock formations will do over such a long time.

Low Level Waste is hazardous for 300 years. It can be disposed of in covered shallow trenches.

Intermediate Level and High Level waste needs disposal for at least tens of thousands of years. Burying waste deep in rock formations many hundreds of metres below the surface is best, although no sites yet exist anywhere in the world. Again, we do not know what underground rock formations will do over such a long time.

Choices include:

1) reducing/stop making nuclear waste,

2) not taking waste from other countries and

3) finding the safest possible way of dealing with Australia’s own waste.

Dr Margaret Beavis and Dr Peter Karamoskos. Updated  August 2016

10 Questions about Nuclear Waste – updated August 2016 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Open Letter to Dr Alan Finkel AO, newly appointed Chief Scientist https://www.mapw.org.au/news/open-letter-to-dr-alan-finkel-ao-newly-appointed-chief-scientist/ Tue, 09 Feb 2016 12:58:48 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/open-letter-to-dr-alan-finkel-ao-newly-appointed-chief-scientist/ Today MAPW and the Public Health Association of Australia delivered an open letter to Dr Alan Finkel AO welcoming his recent appointment as Chief Scientist while highlighting the problems associated with pursuing nuclear power as a solution to climate change. Click here to read the letter in full Today MAPW and the Public Health Association […]

Open Letter to Dr Alan Finkel AO, newly appointed Chief Scientist | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Today MAPW and the Public Health Association of Australia delivered an open letter to Dr Alan Finkel AO welcoming his recent appointment as Chief Scientist while highlighting the problems associated with pursuing nuclear power as a solution to climate change.

Click here to read the letter in full

Today MAPW and the Public Health Association of Australia delivered an open letter to Dr Alan Finkel AO welcoming his recent appointment as Chief Scientist while highlighting the problems associated with pursuing nuclear power as a solution to climate change.

Click here to read the letter in full

Open Letter to Dr Alan Finkel AO, newly appointed Chief Scientist | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Calm heads and clear information needed on nuclear medicine and waste claims https://www.mapw.org.au/news/calm-heads-and-clear-information-needed-on-nuclear-medicine-and-waste-claims/ Sun, 07 Feb 2016 10:18:51 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/calm-heads-and-clear-information-needed-on-nuclear-medicine-and-waste-claims/ Calm heads and clear information needed on nuclear medicine and waste claims   Monday 8th February 2016: Media reports linking continued access to nuclear medicine to the development of a new national nuclear waste facility do not correctly reflect the situation or advance considered discussion of these issues, according to leading national public health group […]

Calm heads and clear information needed on nuclear medicine and waste claims | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Calm heads and clear information needed on nuclear medicine and waste claims

 

Monday 8th February 2016: Media reports linking continued access to nuclear medicine to the development of a new national nuclear waste facility do not correctly reflect the situation or advance considered discussion of these issues, according to leading national public health group the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW).

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), which runs the Lucas Heights reactor, has increased pressure on the waste dump selection process by saying it will run out of storage capacity by early 2017, and will have to stop making medical isotopes for nuclear medicine use. This statement omits many facts.

ANSTO has quietly decided to develop a reactor based export industry for medical isotopes, to supply 30% of the world market. This plan, made with no public debate or inquiry, would very significantly increase waste from reactor use. In contrast, Canada had an extensive public review of its reactor production in 2009, and decided it did not wish to continue using a reactor to produce isotopes. Reasons included lack of reliable supply (reactors only operate 80% of the year, and do break down from time to time), expense to the taxpayer of the production, and the burden of nuclear waste left in Canada due to international use.

The Canadians have developed proven methods of isotope production using cyclotrons (which does not generate reactor waste), with a successful pilot in January 2015. They are now in the process of scaling up and getting regulatory approvals for this, and look to be able to supply Canada in the next 3-5 years.

It should be noted that using medical isotope produces extremely little waste. It is reactor production of isotopes that needs public debate and scrutiny.

Australia has a choice – and the wider community needs a voice:

We can continue with ANSTO’s business plan, and export to supply the world market. This will leave Australia with vastly increased burden of nuclear waste from international nuclear medicine use, and is the more expensive option.

We can return to business as usual supplying Australia, which means we produce isotopes less than one day a week (not five days a week), with a subsequent major decrease in radioactive waste. This would enable all parties to plan world’s best practice storage in a rational and calm manner. We could further partner with Canada and work to develop cyclotron production of isotopes at commercial scale in Australia.

This is cheaper and more reliable than reactor production, and does not leave communities, taxpayers and future generations with a nuclear waste burden that will last for millennia. And unlike a nuclear reactor, it poses almost no accident, proliferation or terrorist risks. We do not need to choose between access to nuclear medicine and the time and processes needed to advance responsible radioactive waste management.

 For comment please contact Dr Margaret Beavis President 0401 99 56 99

 

Calm heads and clear information needed on nuclear medicine and waste claims | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Medical Isotope Production in Australia – should we be using nuclear reactor or cyclotron based technology? https://www.mapw.org.au/news/medical-isotope-production-in-australia-should-we-be-using-nuclear-reactor-or-cyclotron-based-technology/ Mon, 18 Jan 2016 19:04:26 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/medical-isotope-production-in-australia-should-we-be-using-nuclear-reactor-or-cyclotron-based-technology/ This newly produced fact sheet sets out the case for producing medical isotopes in cyclotrons instead of nuclear reactors. Click here to read in full. This newly produced fact sheet sets out the case for producing medical isotopes in cyclotrons instead of nuclear reactors. Click here to read in full.

Medical Isotope Production in Australia – should we be using nuclear reactor or cyclotron based technology? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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This newly produced fact sheet sets out the case for producing medical isotopes in cyclotrons instead of nuclear reactors. Click here to read in full.

This newly produced fact sheet sets out the case for producing medical isotopes in cyclotrons instead of nuclear reactors. Click here to read in full.

Medical Isotope Production in Australia – should we be using nuclear reactor or cyclotron based technology? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Radioactive Waste in Australia – New Updated Fact Sheet https://www.mapw.org.au/news/radioactive-waste-in-australia-new-updated-fact-sheet/ Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:31:21 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/radioactive-waste-in-australia-new-updated-fact-sheet/ MAPW has published an updated factsheet entitled, Radioactive Waste in Australia. The factsheet provides accessible information for individuals and communities wanting to know the facts about the amount of radioactive waste produced from medical sources in Australia.  MAPW has published an updated factsheet entitled, Radioactive Waste in Australia. The factsheet provides accessible information for individuals […]

Radioactive Waste in Australia – New Updated Fact Sheet | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW has published an updated factsheet entitled, Radioactive Waste in Australia. The factsheet provides accessible information for individuals and communities wanting to know the facts about the amount of radioactive waste produced from medical sources in Australia. 

MAPW has published an updated factsheet entitled, Radioactive Waste in Australia. The factsheet provides accessible information for individuals and communities wanting to know the facts about the amount of radioactive waste produced from medical sources in Australia. 

Radioactive Waste in Australia – New Updated Fact Sheet | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The War to End All Wars – All twelve chapters now available https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-war-to-end-all-wars-all-twelve-chapters-now-available/ Sun, 13 Dec 2015 18:46:09 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-war-to-end-all-wars-all-twelve-chapters-now-available/  The “war to end all wars” ushered in a century of violence on an unprecedented scale. A hundred years on, the lessons to be learned appear buried beneath a barrage of commemorative activities. MAPW believes that Australia could best honor those who died by learning from the past.  The “war to end all wars” ushered in […]

The War to End All Wars – All twelve chapters now available | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 The “war to end all wars” ushered in a century of violence on an unprecedented scale. A hundred years on, the lessons to be learned appear buried beneath a barrage of commemorative activities. MAPW believes that Australia could best honor those who died by learning from the past.

 The “war to end all wars” ushered in a century of violence on an unprecedented scale. A hundred years on, the lessons to be learned appear buried beneath a barrage of commemorative activities. MAPW believes that Australia could best honor those who died by learning from the past.

MAPW has commissioned a series of twelve papers from prominent historians, academics, former diplomats and health professional to highlight the ways in which our military and community has been affected by war. All the papers are now available below, just click the appropriate links.  Our sincere thanks to the authors.

Click here for chapters 1 & 2

Chapter 1. Australia in World War 1: Grieving and Divided by Professor Joan Beaumont

Click here to watch Joan’s video

Chapter 2. Devastating Aftermath : Australia’s War Legacy by Dr. Ross McMullin

Click here to watch Ross’s video

Click here for chapters 3 & 4

Chapter 3, The War Profiteers, WW1, by Dr Douglas Newton

Click here to watch Douglas’s video

Chapter 4. The International Arms Trade Now, by Dr Peter Wigg

Click here to watch Peter’s video

Click here to read chapters 5 & 6

Chapter 5. Civilians and War – Then and Now by Sue Wareham & Amanda Ruler

Chapter 6. From Gas to Nukes : Banning the Worlds Worst Weapons by Tim Wright, Director ICANi

Click here to read chapters 7 & 8

Chapter 7. We’ll be there: How Australia goes to war by Paul Barratt

Chapter 8. Australia & War – the US’s Quiet Accomplice by Richard Tanter

Click here to read chapters 9 & 10 

Chapter 9. Lost opportunities for Peace by Daryl Le Cornu

Chapter 10. The Illusion of Victory by Ian Bickerton

Click here for chapters 11 & 12

Chapter 11. Commemoration and the “Normalising” of War by David Stephens

Chapter 12. A Century on, Seizing the Opportunities for Peace by John Langmore

Note: Our new website is under construction, as a result we are not able to host all the video presentation here but they will appear when our new website is launched.

The War to End All Wars – All twelve chapters now available | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Is Australia becoming the world’s nuclear waste dump by stealth? – by Margaret Beavis published by the Age & SHM Dec 2nd 2015 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/is-australia-becoming-the-worlds-nuclear-waste-dump-by-stealth-by-margaret-beavis-published-by-the-age-shm-dec-2nd-2015/ Wed, 02 Dec 2015 14:36:14 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/is-australia-becoming-the-worlds-nuclear-waste-dump-by-stealth-by-margaret-beavis-published-by-the-age-shm-dec-2nd-2015/ Is Australia becoming the world’s nuclear waste dump by stealth? By Dr Margaret Beavis,The Age & Sydney Morning Herald December 2nd 2015 Is Australia becoming the world’s nuclear waste dump by stealth? By Dr Margaret Beavis,The Age & Sydney Morning Herald December 2nd 2015 When it comes to justifying new nuclear waste storage, a lot […]

Is Australia becoming the world’s nuclear waste dump by stealth? – by Margaret Beavis published by the Age & SHM Dec 2nd 2015 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Is Australia becoming the world’s nuclear waste dump by stealth?

By Dr Margaret Beavis,
The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
December 2nd 2015

Is Australia becoming the world’s nuclear waste dump by stealth?

By Dr Margaret Beavis,
The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
December 2nd 2015

When it comes to justifying new nuclear waste storage, a lot has been said about it being essential for medical diagnostics and cancer treatment. This is misleading. It blurs two distinct components of nuclear medicine – the production of isotopes and the use of isotopes.

Australia’s medical use of isotopes creates very little waste. In contrast, reactor production of isotopes generates considerable amounts, and ANSTO (the Australian national nuclear research and development organisation) is very quietly proposing to dramatically increase production to supply 30 per cent of the world market. This will significantly increase Australia’s nuclear waste problems.

On the “use” side, the vast majority of isotopes used for medical tests are very short-lived. They decay on the medical facilities’ premises until their radioactivity is negligible. They can then be disposed of in the normal waste stream (sewers, landfill etc) according to set standards. There is no need for a new nuclear waste facility for these isotopes. Most cancer radiotherapy uses X-rays, which does not produce any waste at all. A very small proportion of cancer treatments need radioactive materials, which also are too short-lived to require a remote repository, or are legally required to be sent back to the (overseas) supplier once used up. There is a very small amount of legacy radium relating to cancer therapy in the past, however, this has not been used in Australia since 1975.

On the other hand, using a nuclear reactor to manufacture radio isotopes creates a significant amount of intermediate and low-level waste. ANSTO has recently unilaterally decided it will dramatically increase its production of medical isotopes at the Lucas Heights reactor to supply 30 per cent of the world’s needs. This business decision assumes it will not have to pay for the disposal of the waste produced, even though it will need securing for many thousands of years.
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This decision ignores the reality of technology that enables isotopes to now be produced using accelerators and cyclotrons; i.e. without using a reactor and without generating large quantities of radioactive waste. This is fast approaching commercial scale and economic viability. ANSTO’s decision contrasts with that of the Canadian nuclear authorities, who have for some years been actively phasing out reactor production, and pouring money into developing non-reactor technologies.

Canada, the world’s single largest producer of medical isotopes, independently reviewed its nuclear industry in 2009 and decided not to build a new reactor. Several reasons stood out: investment in reactor production of medical isotopes would crowd out investment in innovative alternative production technologies both domestically and internationally, Canada did not want to continue being the radioactive waste site for other countries’ nuclear medicine industries, it created supply vulnerabilities, and at no stage was it commercially viable without massive taxpayer subsidies.

The ANSTO decision represents vested interests entrenching a reactor-based model and crowding out development of other options. In many ways it is like the coal industry boosting production to stop wind and solar development. Like coal, the business model relies on not being responsible (financially or socially) for the waste it leaves behind.

We urgently need an open conversation about whether we want to pick up the world’s waste tab when it comes to producing medical isotopes. This is a policy choice that will leave Australia storing waste from isotopes produced for international markets. The market price for these isotopes does not factor in the price of storing this waste, which falls to the taxpayer and the community unlucky enough to be landed with it. It is taking Australia down a path that Canada has rejected.

The bottom line is that storage of nuclear waste from reactors is difficult, requiring long-term isolation and security.

We need transparent, informed and clear discussion of what our choices are. We have an obligation to future generations to minimise the waste we produce. There needs to be a considered and open debate about where existing waste is most safely stored in Australia. And it needs to be absolutely clear to ANSTO that we do not want to be left holding the world’s radioactive waste by default.

The Australian community is far from convinced about taking on more radioactive material on behalf of the international community. ANSTO needs to be much more explicit about what it is planning. As a government-owned entity it has a responsibility to be upfront and consult with the community.

When it comes to such long-term decisions about radioactive materials, sleight of hand is not good enough.

Margaret Beavis is a GP and national president of the Medical Association for Prevention of War

 

 

Is Australia becoming the world’s nuclear waste dump by stealth? – by Margaret Beavis published by the Age & SHM Dec 2nd 2015 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW CONDEMNS GOVERNMENTS DECISION TO EXPORT URANIUM TO INDIA AND UNITED ARAB EMIRATES https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-condemns-governments-decision-to-export-uranium-to-india-and-united-arab-emirates/ Wed, 25 Nov 2015 13:47:16 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-condemns-governments-decision-to-export-uranium-to-india-and-united-arab-emirates/ Melbourne : Thursday 26 November 2015 – The Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) today condemned the Australia Government for risking the proliferation of nuclear weapons by confirming the sale of Australian uranium to nuclear-armed India, ignoring its own committees advice. Melbourne : Thursday 26 November 2015 – The Medical Association for Prevention of […]

MAPW CONDEMNS GOVERNMENTS DECISION TO EXPORT URANIUM TO INDIA AND UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Melbourne : Thursday 26 November 2015 – The Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) today condemned the Australia Government for risking the proliferation of nuclear weapons by confirming the sale of Australian uranium to nuclear-armed India, ignoring its own committees advice.

Melbourne : Thursday 26 November 2015 – The Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) today condemned the Australia Government for risking the proliferation of nuclear weapons by confirming the sale of Australian uranium to nuclear-armed India, ignoring its own committees advice. Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop also confirmed the sale of uranium to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) is responsible for advising the government on all treaties including uranium sales to Indian and the UAE. JSCOT’s recent report advised that while the federal government can ratify the deal, it must not advance uranium sales or supply to India before key checks and balances are put into practice and proven to work. The decision totally disregards this advice.

India does not have enough domestic uranium for both its weapons and energy programs. Australian uranium used in power generation frees up Indian uranium to make weapons, as senior Indian officials have publicly stated. Therefore any “safeguards” aiming to ensure civilian use, even if they could be enforced, have very little meaning.

MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis said,

“Australia cannot guarantee the “peaceful use” of uranium sold to India. India developed its existing nuclear weapons by violating its pledge to use Canadian nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. India is currently involved in a nuclear arms race with Pakistan. A nuclear war between these countries would be a human and an environmental disaster. In the case of the UAE, selling uranium is ill advised given the instability of the region. We clearly do not need more fissile material or nuclear weapons in the Middle East.”

For further information please contact Dr Margaret Beavis 0401 99 56 99

MAPW CONDEMNS GOVERNMENTS DECISION TO EXPORT URANIUM TO INDIA AND UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Change what we can change… by Dr Margaret Beavis https://www.mapw.org.au/news/change-what-we-can-change-by-dr-margaret-beavis/ Wed, 25 Nov 2015 13:36:18 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/change-what-we-can-change-by-dr-margaret-beavis/ What can we actually do to improve outcomes, when there is an increasing sense of chaos? Working to prevent conflict is hard to sell. Yet there are many positive and effective things we can do here in Australia in response to the horrific events overseas. We need to play a long game, and embrace and […]

Change what we can change… by Dr Margaret Beavis | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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What can we actually do to improve outcomes, when there is an increasing sense of chaos? Working to prevent conflict is hard to sell. Yet there are many positive and effective things we can do here in Australia in response to the horrific events overseas.

We need to play a long game, and embrace and revitalise our strengths.


What can we actually do to improve outcomes, when there is an increasing sense of chaos? Working to prevent conflict is hard to sell. Yet there are many positive and effective things we can do here in Australia in response to the horrific events overseas.

We need to play a long game, and embrace and revitalise our strengths.

Australia has a proud history of multiculturalism, and bringing together leaders and communities from differing ethnic and religious groups has worked in the past. Whether it is a Vietnamese Governor, an Aboriginal football player or an articulate Muslim media commentator we have much to be thankful for. We need to send clear messages that trolls, hateful ex politicians and abusive shock jocks do not represent the majority of Australians. Festivals, shared events and celebrations bring our communities together.

We also need to analyse and learn from the past. The US “War on Terror” and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have resulted in the deaths of an estimated one million Iraqis, the destabilisation of an already challenged region and are likely to have been a factor in the “radicalisation” of many. The French “War on Terror”, with its reflex bombing of IS positions in Syria is politically and emotionally understandable. But until the civil war in Syria is diplomatically resolved, the availability of a cohesive long term force to take on and replace IS is very limited and the outlook grim. Right now diplomacy is the key to a lasting outcome.

Apart from bombing and invasion, what are our options? To quote Mary Robinson, the former UN Commissioner for Human Rights: “you cannot fight a war on terror without also fighting a war on disadvantage, discrimination and despair. Security, development and human rights are inextricably linked.” We need to build on the edges of Iraqi society that are functional. In August the WHO closed health centres in 10 of 18 regions in Iraq due to both lack of funds and security concerns. This means 3 million Iraqis now have no access to healthcare, and will create a generation of unvaccinated children.

Providing adequate funds for reputable aid organisations to work in regions where it is safe to do so will help stabilise those societies, reducing both political instability and the need for people to leave their homes. Australia had been slowly building its foreign aid towards a promised 0.75% of GNI. But savage cuts in 2014 mean instead we are heading for 0.21% of GNI- the lowest since foreign aid budgets began. This will contribute to instability in many other regions. As one of the world’s wealthiest countries, we can use our foreign aid to build stability.

We need to strengthen our gun laws, which have saved so many lives. Our gun deaths are a twentieth of those in the US, yet far right politicians perpetually call for greater availability. Earlier this year concessions in legislation regarding lever action shotgun imports were traded off to gain David Leyonhjelm’s critical vote in the Senate. Gun violence is increasing in our community. Gun numbers are back to what they were before Port Arthur. We need to look again at strategies to stop imports and get guns out of our community.

Great steps have been taken this year towards finally getting rid of nuclear weapons. Since January 121 nations have signed up to the Humanitarian Pledge, committing to banning and eliminating nuclear weapons. Last week, the UN General Assembly’s First Committee adopted four ground-breaking resolutions on the humanitarian consequences, the ethical aspects of nuclear disarmament, and for commencing discussions of new legal instruments and legal norms that can lead to the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. The

Australian government is playing a spoiler role in these negotiations, despite 84% of the population supporting a ban in a 2014 Nielsen survey. We need to lobby our Liberal/National party MPs to follow up on their commitments to disarmament, rather than continuing to act as a proxy for United States interests. The ALP now has effective policies firmly supporting the development of a nuclear weapons ban.

We need to look again at our criminal justice system. Locking people up for minor crimes has a radicalised many. We do not need to encourage home grown terrorists. A few years ago Victoria, using diversion programs and other innovative solutions, had been a leader in reducing rates of recidivism. This has been lost in the populist “tough on crime” agenda of the last few years. We are locking people up more than ever, and our rates of reoffending are rising fast. Jailing so many is very expensive, and the cost in ruined lives is incalculable.

Finally we need to go back to treating asylum seekers in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. The current camps imprison people who have committed no crime. For many years we processed asylum seekers in the community after an initial set of checks. And the regional processing used for the Vietnamese “Boat people” has resulted in a strong well integrated Vietnamese community contributing much to our society. Investing in a serious regional protective framework would make getting on boats a much less attractive option. And the people who came would not be scarred for life by the appalling treatment we currently hide on Nauru, Manus and Christmas Island.

Preventing conflict is very cost effective and saves many lives. It takes a long time, and is difficult to measure. With greater division the terrorists win. We can wage peace – it is just so much harder to sell.

Change what we can change… by Dr Margaret Beavis | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Making the case to increase foreign aid – recent MAPW letter in the Age https://www.mapw.org.au/news/making-the-case-to-increase-foreign-aid-recent-mapw-letter-in-the-age/ Sun, 08 Nov 2015 12:54:37 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/making-the-case-to-increase-foreign-aid-recent-mapw-letter-in-the-age/ by MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis published in The Age, Letters to the Editor, Thursday 5th November 2015 by MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis published in The Age, Letters to the Editor, Thursday 5th November 2015 Visiting refugee camps is all very well, but we still have savage cuts to foreign aid. Our aid will fall to […]

Making the case to increase foreign aid – recent MAPW letter in the Age | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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by MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis published in The Age, Letters to the Editor, Thursday 5th November 2015

by MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis published in The Age, Letters to the Editor, Thursday 5th November 2015

Visiting refugee camps is all very well, but we still have savage cuts to foreign aid. Our aid will fall to the lowest levels (0.21% GNI) since the creation of a formal aid program more than 40 years ago. Over the next 5 years $7.6 billion has been removed. 

What does this mean? For example, Unicef has said cuts in Australian aid mean that a hugely successful  program in Africa, helping 750,000  people access water, sanitation and  vaccination, is now off the table. Destabilising regions increases the risk of armed conflict.

The emperor  (this government) has very few clothes when it comes to compassion. And no amount of photo opportunities in Jordan will change that.

 

Ends

Making the case to increase foreign aid – recent MAPW letter in the Age | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis on Banning nuclear weapons : why does it matter and what can we do about it? https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-president-dr-margaret-beavis-on-banning-nuclear-weapons-why-does-it-matter-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/ Sun, 08 Nov 2015 12:31:11 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-president-dr-margaret-beavis-on-banning-nuclear-weapons-why-does-it-matter-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/ Writing in the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Victorian monthly vicdoc, MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis, sets out why banning nuclear weapons is important and how a ban will be achieved.  Banning nuclear weapons: Writing in the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Victorian monthly vicdoc, MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis, sets out why banning nuclear weapons is important and […]

MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis on Banning nuclear weapons : why does it matter and what can we do about it? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Writing in the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Victorian monthly vicdoc, MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis, sets out why banning nuclear weapons is important and how a ban will be achieved. 

Banning nuclear weapons:

Writing in the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Victorian monthly vicdoc, MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis, sets out why banning nuclear weapons is important and how a ban will be achieved. 

Banning nuclear weapons:

Why does it matter and what can we do about it?
 
As doctors, a major cornerstone of our work involves preventing death and disability. Earlier this year the AMA Federal Council unanimously voted on a resolution to encourage our government to ban and abolish nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons have long been the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, and with almost 16,000 remaining in the world it is only a matter of time before they are used – either by a nation, a rogue group or an individual.
 
 
 
We have bans on chemical and biological weapons, cluster munitions and landmines. Yet nuclear weapons remain legal.
Nuclear weapons obliterate whole cities in a moment.  Less known is their potential for devastating impact on our climate, and subsequent mass starvation.  Even a limited nuclear war – perhaps a breakdown in the tense standoff between Pakistan and India – would create a particulate cloud resulting in a decade-long worldwide nuclear winter[1]. Detailed modelling of corn, rice and wheat crop yields finds lasting reductions, putting up to 2 billion people at risk of death by starvation[2].
The International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement (IRCRC) has declared there is no possible humanitarian response to a nuclear attack. The doctors, nurses and hospitals are destroyed. As a result the IRCRC supports the only possible approach, which is to work for their elimination.  A ban would be a two-step process. Once made illegal, countries would then work out the nuts and bolts of stockpile destruction and verification.
 
 
 
The nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) has long promised the elimination of nuclear weapons. And over several decades the world’s nuclear arsenal has shrunk from over 50,000 warheads to 16,000.  But in reality the weapons we have now are many times more powerful. This year’s round of NPT negotiations again failed to produce any concrete steps to disarm.
 
 
 
Existing measures have steadily lost credibility. After US President Obama and then Russian President Medvedev signed the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the US congress only ratified the Treaty when US$85 billion was allocated to nuclear weapons modernisation. This subsequently more than quadrupled to US$355 billon to be spent in the coming decade[3].  Not only is this a complete failure of disarmament, just imagine what these vast funds could achieve in healthcare, education and foreign aid.
 
 
 
Given the failure of the NPT, a new process was needed. In 2007 the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) launched ICAN – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons. This has been an amazing success story, with ICAN now having over 400 partner organisations in 95 countries. Over the last 2 years ICAN has been instrumental in three government level conferences outlining the appalling humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons- held in Norway, Mexico and Austria. 158 governments attended the most recent in December last year. This year 121 nations (and counting) have signed on to the Humanitarian Pledge, which commits to the creation of a legal ban.
 
 
 
As mentioned earlier, in March the Federal Council of the AMA unanimously endorsed a resolution calling for government to support the banning and elimination of nuclear weapons. In October this very strong resolution was taken to the World Medical Association conference in Moscow and again endorsed unanimously. This meeting included representatives from National Medical Associations in the USA, Russia, France, China and the UK – all countries with extensive nuclear weapons arsenals. 
Outlawing nuclear weapons is not a radical proposition: it enjoys widespread support among nations and humanitarian movements like the IRCRC. Indeed, a 2014 Neilson survey found 84% of Australians were supportive or strongly supportive of Australia’s government joining international efforts to ban nuclear weapons. Yet the Australian government has not supported the current process.
 
 
 
Since the WMA resolution, very recently there have been further positive developments.
In early November, the disarmament and international security committee of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Humanitarian Pledge in the form of a resolution. Of the 157 nations that cast a vote, 128 (77%) were in favour. This encouraging development is the next step towards an international working group developing wording for a ban.
The AMA has taken a powerful stand on this critical issue. We now need to ensure the Australian government takes concrete action to support disarmament. Please consider contacting your local MP to urge that Australia signs on to the Humanitarian Pledge. And please consider joining MAPW. In this world of conflict, death and ever increasing numbers of refugees, we can use our expertise as credible advocates about the health impacts of war, and continue to work to produce effective outcomes.


1. Toon, O. B., Turco, R.P., Robock, A., Bardeen, C., Oman, L., Stenchikov, G.L.,2007: Atmospheric effects and societal consequences of regional scale nuclear conflicts and acts on individual nuclear terrorism. Atm.Chem.Phys., 7, 1973-2002.
 
2. Helfand, I. 2013: Nuclear Famine: Two billion people at risk.  Physicians for Social Responsibility.
 
3. Sanger D.G., Broad W.J.  2014 U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms New York Times 21 September 2014 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/us/us-ramping-up-major-renewal-in-nuclear-arms.html accessed 3/8/2105

MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis on Banning nuclear weapons : why does it matter and what can we do about it? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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World Medical Association Calls for Nuclear Weapons to be Banned https://www.mapw.org.au/news/world-medical-association-calls-for-nuclear-weapons-to-be-banned/ Sat, 17 Oct 2015 11:50:09 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/world-medical-association-calls-for-nuclear-weapons-to-be-banned/  Sunday 19th October 2015 – for immediate release  Sunday 19th October 2015 – for immediate release The World Medical Association has unanimously passed a resolution (at 9 am Moscow time) calling on all governments to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. This includes representatives from National Medical Associations in the USA, Russia, France, China and the […]

World Medical Association Calls for Nuclear Weapons to be Banned | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 Sunday 19th October 2015 – for immediate release

 Sunday 19th October 2015 – for immediate release

The World Medical Association has unanimously passed a resolution (at 9 am Moscow time) calling on all governments to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. This includes representatives from National Medical Associations in the USA, Russia, France, China and the UK –  all countries with extensive nuclear weapons arsenals. 

“We are on the brink of an historic moment when these appalling weapons are finally banned. The humanitarian consequences are just too catastrophic, and it is clearly time the world is no longer held hostage by a handful of nations” said Dr Margaret Beavis, President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War. 

“The deaths and injury caused by these weapons are so massive that there is no possible way to respond to the massive casualties in an attack. In addition we know even a limited nuclear exchange would create a decade long nuclear winter. This would result in major reductions in crop yields.  Detailed modelling shows that the subsequent famine would put the lives of two billion people in the world’s poorest nations at risk. We must ban and then eliminate these appalling weapons.”

“There is no ethical or moral alternative other than to prevent their use” said Dr Beavis.

Since the beginning of the year 119 nations have signed on to the Humanitarian Pledge, which commits to filling the legal gap to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.

For more information contact Dr Margaret Beavis 0401 99 56 99

ENDS

World Medical Association Calls for Nuclear Weapons to be Banned | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW supports MSF call for an independent inquiry in to hospital attack in Kunduz https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-supports-msf-call-for-an-independent-inquiry-in-to-hospital-attack-in-kunduz/ Thu, 08 Oct 2015 09:16:38 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-supports-msf-call-for-an-independent-inquiry-in-to-hospital-attack-in-kunduz/ MEDIA  RELEASE Friday, 9 October 2015 MEDICAL  BODY  SUPPORTS  MSF  CALL  FOR  INDEPENDENT  INQUIRY  INTO HOSPITAL  ATTACK The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) has expressed its outrage at the recent bombing of an MSF hospital in Kunduz in Afghanistan.  The fact that such an attack occured after ample warning of the hospital’s location […]

MAPW supports MSF call for an independent inquiry in to hospital attack in Kunduz | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MEDIA  RELEASE

Friday, 9 October 2015

MEDICAL  BODY  SUPPORTS  MSF  CALL  FOR  INDEPENDENT  INQUIRY  INTO HOSPITAL  ATTACK

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) has expressed its outrage at the recent bombing of an MSF hospital in Kunduz in Afghanistan.  The fact that such an attack occured after ample warning of the hospital’s location was given demands an impartial investigation at the highest possible level.  MAPW urges the Australian Government to call for such an investigation.

MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis said, “We express our solidarity with the courageous and selfless medical and other aid workers who bring medical and surgical treatments to war-torn communities who would otherwise have none.  We commend them, grieve for all those who have died, and express grave concerns for those Afghan people whose only health care service has been destroyed.”

MAPW gives full support to MSF’s call for an investigation into this attack by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission, which was set up under the Additional Protocols of the Geneva Conventions to investigate violations of international humanitarian law.

Dr Beavis also stated, “The notion of the Pentagon investigating itself over such a grave crime as this is nothing but laughable. This situation demands independence.  Attacks on health care facilities are forbidden under the Geneva Conventions, and we call on the Australian Government to uphold and protect the law by demanding an independent inquiry into this attack.”

If Foreign Minister Julie Bishop believes that Australia is a leading contender for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, she could help that cause by demonstrating that the investigation of alleged war crimes does not depend on the identity of the perpetrator.

For further information:

MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis 0401 995 699

MAPW supports MSF call for an independent inquiry in to hospital attack in Kunduz | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Letter from MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop – expressing concern about the bombing of Syria https://www.mapw.org.au/news/letter-from-mapw-president-dr-margaret-beavis-to-minister-for-foreign-affairs-julie-bishop-expressing-concern-about-the-bombing-of-syria/ Wed, 07 Oct 2015 18:46:23 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/letter-from-mapw-president-dr-margaret-beavis-to-minister-for-foreign-affairs-julie-bishop-expressing-concern-about-the-bombing-of-syria/ The Hon Julie Bishop MP Minister for Foreign Affairs Parliament House Canberra, ACT 2600 4th October 2015   Dear Minister Bishop, Members of MAPW (Australia) share the deep concern of most other Australians that the appalling plight of the people of Iraq and Syria must be alleviated as a matter of urgency.  I am writing […]

Letter from MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop – expressing concern about the bombing of Syria | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Hon Julie Bishop MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Parliament House

Canberra, ACT 2600

4th October 2015

 

Dear Minister Bishop,

Members of MAPW (Australia) share the deep concern of most other Australians that the appalling plight of the people of Iraq and Syria must be alleviated as a matter of urgency.  I am writing to urge you to re-focus Australia’s efforts in the Middle East, from military to humanitarian actions that are much more likely to have positive outcomes for the millions of innocent people whose lives are at risk.

The situation in Syria is increasingly complex and continues to escalate.  Australia’s bombings in Syria, which have been justified as acting to help Iraq defend itself, have been  criticised as legally tenuous, and the likely effectiveness of our current  involvement there has been a matter for debate.  MAPW shares the concern of very many Australians, including senior strategic thinkers, that aerial bombing simply adds to the violence that is forcing a mass exodus from Syria, as it did from Iraq.

A just published report in the British Medical Journal highlighted the number of children dying as a direct result of violence, including bombing.[1]  An excerpt states:

“ High proportion of children are dying

Over 16% of the civilians who died violently in non-state armed groups  (NSAG) controlled areas and over 23% of those who died in government controlled areas were children. Children in NSAG controlled areas were largely victims of shelling and air bombardments (75% of total, n=9368)—mainly by the government. By contrast, no child deaths from air bombardments (potentially from NSAG) were reported in government controlled areas, where nearly two thirds of children died from shells alone (n=175). The proportion of deaths of children caused by ground level explosives in NSAG controlled areas was small—3.2% (n=395) compared with 25.7% (n=69) in government controlled areas.

The government and rebel factions in Syria typically claim that the targets of their bombs and shells are enemy combatant strongholds, but our findings indicate that for Syrian children these are the weapons most likely to cause death.”

Last month the World Health Organisation, which is facing a multi-million dollar shortfall, closed 184 health clinics across 10 of Iraq’s 18 districts. This will leave three million people without access to healthcare, and a generation of children without vaccinations. This has occurred in the areas that have seen severe fighting and massive internal displacement.  It came as a matter of deep shock and incredulity to many Australians that our official government aid to Iraq, a country we had helped invade in 2003, was totally abolished in early 2014 (although we believe a very small amount has since been reinstated).

MAPW (Australia) is proposing a dramatic increase in both diplomatic efforts and foreign aid levels to these areas to provide increased access to health and other essential services. The withdrawal of our defence forces from Iraq would be estimated to reduce expenditures by over A$400 million, which could be directed to reputable aid agencies. 

This humanitarian approach with a focus on the health and wellbeing of civilians would be in keeping with our stated commitment to help the people of Iraq and Syria. It could also help stabilise and eventually reduce levels of internal displacement and reduce the ability of terrorist forces to gain support in these regions.  

With no long-term political solutions currently in sight, the medical dictum ‘First, do no harm” seems paramount.  Australia must take every opportunity to provide aid for the people of a region that has suffered greatly as a result of the catastrophic 2003 invasion, and we must avoid at all costs adding to further devastating military actions.  We would be happy to meet with you to discuss this critical issue further. The painstaking work of diplomacy must be given all the support and resources that it demands.

Yours sincerely

 

 

Margaret Beavis

MBBS FRACGP MPH

President, Medical Association for Prevention of War.

 

Copied to:

Prime Minister The Hon.Malcolm Turnbull MP, Defence Minister The Hon Marise Payne MP,

Leader Australian Labor Party The Hon Bill Shorten MP, Shadow Foreign Minister The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Shadow Defence Minister The Hon Chris Bowen MP,

Leader Australian Greens The Hon Richard Di Natale MP.

 

 



[1]Civilian deaths from weapons used in the Syrian conflict D Guha-Sapir J M Rodriguez-Llanes et al. September 29 2015  http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4736

 

Letter from MAPW President, Dr Margaret Beavis to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop – expressing concern about the bombing of Syria | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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War – a global health problem – a one day conference organised by MAPW https://www.mapw.org.au/news/war-a-global-health-problem-a-one-day-conference-organised-by-mapw/ Mon, 05 Oct 2015 18:26:05 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/war-a-global-health-problem-a-one-day-conference-organised-by-mapw/  On Saturday the 31st of October MAPW is holding a one day conference in Melbourne: “War – a global health problem”. We have a great line up of speakers, including,   On Saturday the 31st of October MAPW is holding a one day conference in Melbourne: “War – a global health problem”. We have a great line up […]

War – a global health problem – a one day conference organised by MAPW | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 On Saturday the 31st of October MAPW is holding a one day conference in Melbourne: “War – a global health problem”. We have a great line up of speakers, including, 

 On Saturday the 31st of October MAPW is holding a one day conference in Melbourne: “War – a global health problem”. We have a great line up of speakers, including, 

  • Julian Burnside SC: “Australia’s approach to asylum seekers- we must do something but what?”
  • Vince Emanuele, US Veterans for peace: “Resisting wars of choice”
  • Dr Richard Di Natale, Leader Australian Greens: “The politics of war and peace”
  • Dr Phoebe Wynn Pope, Humanitarian Law expert: “Banning the bomb- achievements and next steps”
  • Prof John Langmore: “Australia’s place as a peacemaker- past and future”
  • Nic Maclellan Journalist : “Peace and conflict in the Pacific Islands- future trends & opportunities”
  • Dr Andrea Phelps, Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health: “PTSD and moral injury in veterans”.

It will be a really thought provoking day kicking off with a concise roundup of MAPW, ICAN and IPPNW achievements this year, and close with a workshop on potential issues and projects for the coming year, followed by a brief AGM.

Please bring a friend if you can, the event is free and lunch will be provided. 

The conference will be held at Trades Hall, Corner Victoria St and Lygon St in Carlton (enter Victoria St).
 
RSVP please as below. Please note RSVPs for the Saturday night dinner will close the week before for catering purposes. The dinner is $60.00. The dinner will take place at the North Fitzroy Star,  32-36 St Georges Road South, North Fitzroy 3068.

RSVP Phyllis at eo@mapw.org.au or call the MAPW office 03 9023 1958 
If you RSVP by email, please indicate if you wish to attend the dinner.
 
 
Hope to see you there,


 

War – a global health problem – a one day conference organised by MAPW | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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War to End all Wars – honouring the dead by learning the lessons – chapters 7 & 8 now available https://www.mapw.org.au/news/war-to-end-all-wars-honouring-the-dead-by-learning-the-lessons-chapters-7-8-now-available/ Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:06:30 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/war-to-end-all-wars-honouring-the-dead-by-learning-the-lessons-chapters-7-8-now-available/ The War to End all Wars, honouring the dead by learning the lessons, is a series of papers written by a wide range of experts. The War to End all Wars, honouring the dead by learning the lessons, is a series of papers written by a wide range of experts. MAPW believes that Australia could […]

War to End all Wars – honouring the dead by learning the lessons – chapters 7 & 8 now available | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The War to End all Wars, honouring the dead by learning the lessons, is a series of papers written by a wide range of experts.

The War to End all Wars, honouring the dead by learning the lessons, is a series of papers written by a wide range of experts.

MAPW believes that Australia could best honour those who died by learning from the past. This series of papers outlines our failure to do so and some ways forward.

Paper 7: We’ll be there: how Australia decides to go to war by Paul Barratt makes the case for the Australian Parliament to debate and decide whether or not Australia commit troops in conflicts and not the executive.

Paper 8: Australia, the Quite Accomplice by Prof. Richard Tanter outlines the expansion of Australian/American “joint facilities” including Pine Gap, Kojarena and North West Cape as well as the deployment of a large US marine force in the Northern Territory.

Click here to read the new papers

War to End all Wars – honouring the dead by learning the lessons – chapters 7 & 8 now available | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Sending Australian forces into Syria is illegal – this decision should not be a “captains pick” https://www.mapw.org.au/news/sending-australian-forces-into-syria-is-illegal-this-decision-should-not-be-a-captains-pick/ Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:04:49 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/sending-australian-forces-into-syria-is-illegal-this-decision-should-not-be-a-captains-pick/ Sending Australian forces into Syria is illegal. This decision should not be a “captains pick” Sending Australian forces into Syria is illegal. This decision should not be a “captains pick” Thursday 3rd September 2015 – Melbourne Australia— Today MAPW called on the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, not to send the RAAF into Syria as Australia’s involvement in the […]

Sending Australian forces into Syria is illegal – this decision should not be a “captains pick” | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Sending Australian forces into Syria is illegal. This decision should not be a “captains pick”

Sending Australian forces into Syria is illegal. This decision should not be a “captains pick”

Thursday 3rd September 2015 – Melbourne Australia— Today MAPW called on the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, not to send the RAAF into Syria as Australia’s involvement in the region is in contravention of international law. MAPW believes that a considered debate should take place in our parliament before we engage in any conflict. Even the Defence Minister Kevin Andrews has stated that “Syria’s future is a complex question beyond what we are considering at the present time”.

MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis said, “Going to war is a deadly business, and Australia should be debating this in our houses of parliament.   Australia urgently needs reform of the War Powers Act.  In both the US and the UK it is required that elected representatives debate and then vote before committing forces to war. The same should happen in Australia – This should not be a Captain’s pick”.

 “We need to carefully examine what constructive role Australia can take to actually help the Syrian people.” said Dr Beavis “The alliances in this war are very complex.  Australia’s bombing would inevitably cause deaths and injuries to civilians, and increase the number of people fleeing their homes, with many ultimately becoming refugees.  There is a big discrepancy between civilian deaths reported and what the coalition concedes.”

Cuts in foreign aid to the region belie stated concerns for humanitarian needs. Instead of joining the war currently tearing Syria apart, Australia could assist refugees, work towards a UN backed embargo to stop the flood of weapons into the region and support the first steps to negotiations. Currently the main winners in this conflict are the arms dealers, and those who further their political aims. The clear losers are the dead, the injured, the 7.6 million Syrians internally displaced and the 4 million so far who have fled their country.  

For Comment:   Dr Margaret Beavis         MAPW President             0401 99 56 99

                      Dr Sue Wareham            MAPW Vice President       0407 92 41 52

ENDS

Sending Australian forces into Syria is illegal – this decision should not be a “captains pick” | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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NO AIRPORTS ARMS ADS: NEW CAMPAIGN SAYS CANBERRA’S MESSAGE SHOULD BE ‘OPEN ARMS, NOT LETHAL ARMS’ https://www.mapw.org.au/news/no-airports-arms-ads-new-campaign-says-canberras-message-should-be-open-arms-not-lethal-arms/ Sun, 23 Aug 2015 22:24:51 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/no-airports-arms-ads-new-campaign-says-canberras-message-should-be-open-arms-not-lethal-arms/ NO AIRPORTS ARMS ADS: NEW CAMPAIGN SAYS CANBERRA’S MESSAGE SHOULD BE ‘OPEN ARMS, NOT LETHAL ARMS’ NO AIRPORTS ARMS ADS: NEW CAMPAIGN SAYS CANBERRA’S MESSAGE SHOULD BE ‘OPEN ARMS, NOT LETHAL ARMS’ A new community campaign, No Airport Arms Ads (NAAA), believes Canberra is badly-served, as the national capital and as a congenial place to […]

NO AIRPORTS ARMS ADS: NEW CAMPAIGN SAYS CANBERRA’S MESSAGE SHOULD BE ‘OPEN ARMS, NOT LETHAL ARMS’ | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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NO AIRPORTS ARMS ADS: NEW CAMPAIGN SAYS CANBERRA’S MESSAGE SHOULD BE ‘OPEN ARMS, NOT LETHAL ARMS’

NO AIRPORTS ARMS ADS: NEW CAMPAIGN SAYS CANBERRA’S MESSAGE SHOULD BE ‘OPEN ARMS, NOT LETHAL ARMS’

A new community campaign, No Airport Arms Ads (NAAA), believes Canberra is badly-served, as the national capital and as a congenial place to live, by the placement at Canberra Airport of advertisements for arms companies. NAAA says ‘open arms, not lethal arms’ should be Canberra’s message.

NAAA believes these advertisements could be offensive to many people, particularly refugees from countries which have been torn apart by heavily-armed warring parties. The advertisements also distort the image that Canberra presents to visitors and returning residents. Their prominence at the airport reflects the wealth of the companies concerned, not their importance to the Canberra community.

NAAA has approached Canberra Airport management, which says it sees weapons industry airport advertising in purely commercial terms. NAAA disagrees. ‘Weapons are in a totally different category from other commodities that are bought and sold,’ said NAAA convenor Dr Sue Wareham.  ‘They cause untold human suffering, and their promotion distracts us from more peaceful means of addressing disputes.  For our national capital airport, this is unacceptable.’

Some of the companies advertising at the airport are:

·       Austal (manufacturers of patrol boats on watch for refugees);

·       Raytheon (the world’s largest producer of guided missiles);

·       Lockheed Martin (maker of drones and the massively expensive and troubled F-35 fighter – to which Australia is committed though it is described as ‘a disaster’ by the              Washington Post); and

·       BAE Systems (Australia’s largest arms manufacturer, whose parent company was fined $US400 million in 2010 under US anti-bribery legislation).

Raytheon, BAE and Thyssen Krupp (another of the featured companies) are all involved in the production of nuclear-equipped ships and planes, when most of the world is trying to get rid of nuclear arms.

NAAA’s Dr David Stephens said, ‘these are the sort of ads you would see in a backwoods Southern US town whose economy relies on building parts for jet fighters. They are incongruous in a vibrant, diverse national capital.’

To sign the petition click here

For more informaiton click here

 

Campaign launch

NAAA launches its campaign in Civic Square, Canberra, at 10.30 am on Saturday, 29 August. The speakers will be (ret’d) Bishop George Browning, Sue Salthouse (Canberra Citizen of the Year) and Diana Abdel-Rahman (President, Australian Muslim Voice).

Contact: David Stephens 0413 867 972 or Sue Wareham 6253 1117 or 0407 924 152.

www.mapw.org.au

 

 

 

NO AIRPORTS ARMS ADS: NEW CAMPAIGN SAYS CANBERRA’S MESSAGE SHOULD BE ‘OPEN ARMS, NOT LETHAL ARMS’ | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Hiroshima and the bomb – what now? https://www.mapw.org.au/news/hiroshima-and-the-bomb-what-now/ Tue, 18 Aug 2015 15:16:46 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/hiroshima-and-the-bomb-what-now/ MAPW National President Dr Margaret Beavis has written the following article for Australian Doctor. The article was published on Friday 14th August 2015.  Hiroshima and the bomb- what now? MAPW National President Dr Margaret Beavis has written the following article for Australian Doctor. The article was published on Friday 14th August 2015.  Hiroshima and the […]

Hiroshima and the bomb – what now? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW National President Dr Margaret Beavis has written the following article for Australian Doctor. The article was published on Friday 14th August 2015. 

Hiroshima and the bomb- what now?

MAPW National President Dr Margaret Beavis has written the following article for Australian Doctor. The article was published on Friday 14th August 2015. 

Hiroshima and the bomb- what now?

Why is it, 70 years after the appalling destruction wrought on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we still have a nuclear threat hanging over us? The human cost of these weapons was clearly illustrated last week in Australian Doctor. More than 200,000 people were killed, the vast majority of them civilians. Many more were injured, and many lives destroyed by the long term impacts.

Decades of promises to disarm have failed, but now there is new momentum for an effective ban.

The nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) has long promised the elimination of nuclear weapons. Indeed, the world’s nuclear arsenal has shrunk from over 50,000 warheads to 16,000, but in reality the weapons we have now are many times more powerful. This year’s round of NPT negotiations again failed to produce any concrete steps to disarm.

Existing disarmament measures have steadily lost credibility. After US President Obama and then Russian President Medvedev signed the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the US congress only ratified the Treaty when US$85 billion was allocated to nuclear weapons modernisation. This subsequently more than quadrupled to US$355 billon to be spent in the coming decade1.  Just imagine what these vast funds could achieve in healthcare, education and foreign aid.

Nuclear weapons are the ultimate “weapon of mass destruction”. They obliterate whole cities in a moment.  Less known is their potential for devastating impact on our climate, and subsequent mass starvation.  Even a limited nuclear war – perhaps a breakdown in the tense standoff between Pakistan and India – would create a particulate cloud resulting in a decade-long worldwide nuclear winter2. Detailed modelling of corn, rice and wheat crop yields find lasting reductions, putting up to 2 billion people at risk of death by starvation3.

The International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has declared there is no possible humanitarian response. The doctors, nurses and hospitals are destroyed. As a result they support the only possible approach, which is to work for their elimination.  A ban would be a two-step process. Once made illegal, countries would then work out the nuts and bolts of stockpile destruction and verification.

There is new momentum for a ban. We Australians can feel very proud that ICAN (the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) started in Melbourne, conceived by the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) and launched in 2007. Prompted by ICAN, three international conferences in the last 2 years have highlighted the appalling human impacts of nuclear weapons. At the most recent conference in December, the South African delegation likened the current situation to that of apartheid; where a minority (the 9 nuclear weapons states) are dominating the majority (the 185 nuclear weapons-free states), and creating global oppression. So far this year 113 countries (and counting) have signed a pledge to ban these weapons.

Also encouraging is the AMA federal council’s support for nuclear weapons abolition. Recently they unanimously supported a resolution for the World Medical Association conference in Russia later this year. Medical advocacy on this important issue is very important.

We have had many, many near misses. Accidents and human errors have been legion. In 1962 there was the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1983 a computer failure signalled a major nuclear attack on the USSR, and only the cool composure of the officer in charge, Stanislav Petrov, delayed retaliation and potentially averted the start of world war three. In 2012 three pacifists, including an 82 yo nun, demonstrated the risks of nuclear weapons theft, by breaking  into the new heavily protected Oak Ridge atomic complex in the US, which stores highly enriched uranium sufficient for thousands of weapons4.

Regardless of arguments as to whether atomic bombs were the only way to stop the Japanese in 1945, the current rise of extremism highlights nuclear weapons’ folly. The aptly named doctrine of MAD (mutually assured destruction) is premised on both sides having some sense of rationality. For suicide bombers and rogue states deterrence makes no sense. Failure to disarm heightens the risk that other countries will acquire nuclear weapons.

As doctors we need to support this movement. We need to “immunise” the world against nuclear war, and the only way is disarmament. We were told we would never get a ban on cluster munitions or land mines, but we did. Please consider supporting ICAN’s work- the next two years are critical. http://www.icanw.org/australia/  Or join us at MAPW.  

As in many areas of medicine, prevention is the best option; in this case it is the only option.

References

1. Sanger D.G., Broad W.J.  2014 U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms New York Times 21 September 2014 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/us/us-ramping-up-major-renewal-in-nuclear-arms.html accessed 3/8/2105

 2. Toon, O. B., Turco, R.P., Robock, A., Bardeen, C., Oman, L., Stenchikov, G.L.,2007: Atmospheric effects and societal consequences of regional scale nuclear conflicts and acts on individual nuclear terrorism. Atm.Chem.Phys., 7, 1973-2002.

3. Helfand, I. 2013: Nuclear Famine: Two billion people at risk.  Physicians for Social Responsibility.

4. Broad, W.J. 2012 The nun who broke into the nuclear sanctum. August 10 2012 New York Times https://www.google.com/search?q=The+nun+who+broke+into+the+nuclear+sanctum&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8 accessed 3/8/2105

  

Hiroshima and the bomb – what now? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Ban the Bomb : 70 years on, the nuclear threat looms as large as ever by Tilman Ruff https://www.mapw.org.au/news/ban-the-bomb-70-years-on-the-nuclear-threat-looms-as-large-as-ever-by-tilman-ruff/ Wed, 05 Aug 2015 16:18:56 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/ban-the-bomb-70-years-on-the-nuclear-threat-looms-as-large-as-ever-by-tilman-ruff/ On this day 70 years ago, the world and the preconditions for its health and survival changed forever. A crude bomb containing 60 kilograms of highly enriched uranium exploded 580 metres above Hiroshima. On this day 70 years ago, the world and the preconditions for its health and survival changed forever. A crude bomb containing […]

Ban the Bomb : 70 years on, the nuclear threat looms as large as ever by Tilman Ruff | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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On this day 70 years ago, the world and the preconditions for its health and survival changed forever. A crude bomb containing 60 kilograms of highly enriched uranium exploded 580 metres above Hiroshima.

On this day 70 years ago, the world and the preconditions for its health and survival changed forever. A crude bomb containing 60 kilograms of highly enriched uranium exploded 580 metres above Hiroshima. Equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT, it was 2000 times more powerful than the British Grand Slam bomb, the largest produced until then.

The moral threshold of catastrophic attacks with indiscriminate weapons had already been crossed, with poison gas killing 90,000 and maiming or blinding one million men in the European killing fields of the first world war. This was followed by indiscriminate aerial bombing of cities during the second world war.

Nowhere was the bombing more extensive than in Japan. Between March and August 1945, 66 Japanese cities, with populations down to 30,000 inhabitants, were systematically bombed by an average of 500 bombers carrying 4000-5000 tons of bombs per city. In Tokyo on March 9-10, an estimated 120,000 civilians died in the bombing and subsequent fires.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Rumours had been circulating in Hiroshima that the city was being saved for something special. It was. The burst of ionising radiation, blast, heat and subsequent firestorm that engulfed the city on August 6 killed 140,000 people by the end of 1945. Many were incinerated or dismembered instantly; others succumbed over hours, days, weeks and months from cruel combinations of traumatic injury, burns and radiation sickness.

Three days later, another B-29 carrying a bomb equivalent to 21,000 tons of TNT headed for Kokura. Because of clouds blocking visibility, its cargo was dropped over Nagasaki instead, raining similar radioactive ruin and killing 90,000 people by the end of 1945.

In both cities, ground temperatures reached about 7000° Celsius. Radioactive black rain poured down after the explosions.

In both weapons, less than one kilogram of material was fissioned. The physics of the Hiroshima bomb were so simple and predictable that the bomb was not tested prior to use. The Nagasaki plutonium bomb required a more sophisticated design. A prototype was exploded at Alamogordo in New Mexico on July 16, 1945, detonated by Australian nuclear physicist Ernest Titterton.

The survivors of the two bombings bore the legacy of terrible injuries and scars on top of the cataclysmic trauma of what they witnessed. They also faced discrimination and ostracism, reduced opportunities for employment and marriage, and increased risks of cancer and chronic disease, which stalk them, even 70 years later, for the rest of their days.

Over the past 30 years I have had the privilege of visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki on a number of occasions. What never ceases to amaze me is the extraordinary compassion, wisdom and humbling humanity of hibakusha. Never have I heard even the slightest hint of an understandable desire for revenge or retribution.

An unfulfilled quest

The constant yearning of hibakusha is that no-one else should ever suffer as they have suffered: nuclear weapons must be removed from the face of the earth.

In the newly established United Nations, there was the same understanding. The first resolution passed at the first meeting of the UN General Assembly in London in January 1946 established a commission to draw up a plan “for the elimination of national armaments of atomic weapons”.

Today, there is ample cause for existential despair and a poor prognosis for human custodianship of the biosphere. No nuclear disarmament negotiations are in train. Even reduced from their Cold War peak, massively bloated nuclear arsenals of 15,650 weapons jeopardise not only the living but those yet to be born.

Were one Hiroshima bomb to be detonated every two hours from the end of 1945, the global arsenal would not yet be consumed. All the nuclear-armed states continue to invest massively in development and modernisation of their arsenals. In the Conference on Disarmament, it has not been possible to agree even on an agenda for 19 years.

The five-yearly review conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the principal treaty regulating nuclear weapons and legally binding nuclear-armed states to disarm, recently ended in failure. Britain, Canada and the US (acting for Israel, not even a party to the treaty), refused to accept a March 2016 deadline for a conference, promised for 20 years, to discuss a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, conflict in Ukraine and Crimea has re-inflamed Cold War risks of armed confrontation and nuclear war between NATO and Russia.

However, there are grounds to be hopeful about decisive progress on a circuit-breaker. The first ever intergovernmental conferences on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons have been held – three in the past two years. These have led to 113 nations signing a humanitarian pledge committing them to work to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

In a welcome development, the recent ALP national conference adopted a policy that recognises that eliminating nuclear weapons is a humanitarian imperative. The policy commits Labor to support negotiation of a global treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Other treaties show the way

States without nuclear weapons cannot eliminate them. But the dictates of common humanity, democracy, common interest and common sense, based on all people everywhere being vulnerable to the catastrophic impacts of nuclear weapons, can lead to disarmament.

As happened with landmines and cluster munitions, like biological and chemical weapons before them, unacceptable weapons can be prohibited as a necessary condition for their elimination. In the face of recalcitrant nuclear-armed states claiming a unique right to cling determinedly to their weapons of terror, concluding a ban treaty is the most practical next step the rest of the world can take.

In 1969, President Richard Nixon surprised many when he ordered an end to the US biological weapons program. The US Defence Department, which had previously declared that biological weapons lacked military usefulness, supported this.

As the then-UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, said last year: “How many states today boast that they are “biological-weapon states” or “chemical-weapon states? Who is arguing now that bubonic plague or polio are legitimate to use as weapons under any circumstance, whether in an attack or in retaliation? Who speaks of a bioweapon umbrella?”

Yet all these things and more are claimed regarding nuclear weapons, far more destructive and indiscriminate than these other weapons.

In appealing to the 1982 UN Second Special Session on Disarmament, Hiroshima Mayor Takeshi Araki said: “Hiroshima is not merely a witness of history. Hiroshima is an endless warning for the future of humankind. If Hiroshima is ever forgotten, it is evident that the mistake will be repeated and bring human history to an end”.

Nagasaki Mayor Hitoshi Motoshima added: “Nagasaki has to be forever the last city in the world bombed by nuclear weapons!”

On the 70th anniversary of the bombings, banning nuclear weapons is long overdue. The remaining survivors should see negotiations on a ban treaty underway by the time a new year dawns.

This article was written by Prof. Tilman Ruff, published by the Conversation on 6th August 2015

Click here to open the article on line 

Ban the Bomb : 70 years on, the nuclear threat looms as large as ever by Tilman Ruff | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The War to End All Wars – chapters 5&6 now available https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-war-to-end-all-wars-chapters-56-now-available/ Tue, 04 Aug 2015 20:43:54 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-war-to-end-all-wars-chapters-56-now-available/     Chapters 5 and 6 in MAPW’s War to End All Wars series look at the dramatic changes in wars’ direct impacts over the last century, from being primarliy on combatants to being primarily  on civilians.  Warfare reached its peak of destructive capacity with the use of nuclear weapons in 1945, and these weapons […]

The War to End All Wars – chapters 5&6 now available | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Chapters 5 and 6 in MAPW’s War to End All Wars series look at the dramatic changes in wars’ direct impacts over the last century, from being primarliy on combatants to being primarily  on civilians.  Warfare reached its peak of destructive capacity with the use of nuclear weapons in 1945, and these weapons still threaten nations with mass destruction. There are strong global calls for a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

Click here to read chapters 5&6

The War to End All Wars – chapters 5&6 now available | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW & PHAA make joint submission to the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-phaa-make-joint-submission-to-the-sa-nuclear-fuel-cycle-royal-commission/ Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:05:51 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-phaa-make-joint-submission-to-the-sa-nuclear-fuel-cycle-royal-commission/ MAPW in partnership with the Public Health Association of Australia have lodged a joint submission addressing the terms of reference of the South Australia Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. MAPW in partnership with the Public Health Association of Australia have lodged a joint submission addressing the terms of reference of the South Australia Nuclear Fuel […]

MAPW & PHAA make joint submission to the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW in partnership with the Public Health Association of Australia have lodged a joint submission addressing the terms of reference of the South Australia Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

MAPW in partnership with the Public Health Association of Australia have lodged a joint submission addressing the terms of reference of the South Australia Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

MAPW would like to thank everyone who contributed to the submission and would welcome the opportunity to provide evidence in person to the commission if required.

For further information please contact Phyllis Campbell-McRae on 03 9023 1958 

Click here to read the executive summary 

Click here to read the full submission

If you would like any further information about the submission please contact Phyllis Campbell-McRae 03 9023 7958

MAPW & PHAA make joint submission to the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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IPPNW Statement on the Nuclear Agreement with Iran https://www.mapw.org.au/news/ippnw-statement-on-the-nuclear-agreement-with-iran/ Mon, 20 Jul 2015 16:03:35 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/ippnw-statement-on-the-nuclear-agreement-with-iran/ IPPNW Statement on the Nuclear Agreement with Iran IPPNW Statement on the Nuclear Agreement with Iran July 14, 2015 The agreement on Iran’s nuclear programs announced today by Iran and the United States is welcome news for a number of reasons. The terms of the deal, negotiated over a 20-month period by diplomats from Iran […]

IPPNW Statement on the Nuclear Agreement with Iran | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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IPPNW Statement on the Nuclear Agreement with Iran

IPPNW Statement on the Nuclear Agreement with Iran

July 14, 2015

The agreement on Iran’s nuclear programs announced today by Iran and the United States is welcome news for a number of reasons. The terms of the deal, negotiated over a 20-month period by diplomats from Iran and six other States, should assure the international community that Iran will continue to abide by its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). There are no nuclear weapons in Iran today, and compliance with the agreement will make it far less likely that Iran can acquire nuclear weapons in the future. The US Senate, which has insisted upon its right to ratify the agreement, must now act responsibly and do so without delay or partisan bickering.

The agreement is also an important victory for diplomacy over military confrontation. Lifting economic sanctions against Iran and ending the policy of isolation that has imposed terrible hardships on the Iranian people can go a long way toward restoring peace and stability in the region.

For at least 10 years now, concerns over Iran’s intentions with regard to the acquisition of nuclear weapons and the development of weapons-capable technologies and materials, while understandable, have diverted attention from the world’s most serious and immediate nuclear threat. There are still more than 15,000 nuclear weapons in the hands of nine states: the United States, Russia, China, the UK, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. While the US and Russia have the vast majority of those weapons, most of these countries have the ability to kill hundreds of millions of people in a matter of moments and to induce a global climate disaster that would bring a nuclear famine to as many as two billion. The US and Russian arsenals—relics of the Cold War—are still large enough to destroy life on Earth several times over.

While insisting that Iran not become the next country to acquire the capacity to unleash such a humanitarian catastrophe upon the world, the existing nuclear-armed states have failed to fulfill their disarmament obligations under the NPT, have declared their intention to retain nuclear weapons into some indefinite future, and are spending trillions of dollars on modernization programs that assume a role for nuclear weapons for the rest of this century.

What is good for Iran—and for the other 185 nuclear-weapon-free NPT member states—is good for the nine nuclear-armed states and for the world as a whole. A treaty banning nuclear weapons, negotiated and adopted by non-nuclear states, would send an unmistakable signal to the US, Russia, China, the UK, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and the DPRK that continuing to possess nuclear weapons is the act of an international outlaw, and that eliminating those arsenals is an obligation that can no longer be deferred.

ENDS

 

IPPNW Statement on the Nuclear Agreement with Iran | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The War to End All Wars: honoring the dead by learning the lessons – chapters 1 to 12 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-war-to-end-all-wars-honoring-the-dead-by-learning-the-lessons-chapters-1-to-12/ Mon, 13 Jul 2015 11:49:48 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-war-to-end-all-wars-honoring-the-dead-by-learning-the-lessons-chapters-1-to-12/ The “war to end all wars” ushered in a century of violence on an unprecedented scale. A hundred years on, the lessons to be learned appear buried beneath a barrage of commemorative activities. MAPW believes that Australia could best honor those who died by learning from the past. The “war to end all wars” ushered in […]

The War to End All Wars: honoring the dead by learning the lessons – chapters 1 to 12 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The “war to end all wars” ushered in a century of violence on an unprecedented scale. A hundred years on, the lessons to be learned appear buried beneath a barrage of commemorative activities. MAPW believes that Australia could best honor those who died by learning from the past.

The “war to end all wars” ushered in a century of violence on an unprecedented scale. A hundred years on, the lessons to be learned appear buried beneath a barrage of commemorative activities. MAPW believes that Australia could best honor those who died by learning from the past.

MAPW has commissioned a series of twelve papers from prominent historians, academics, former diplomats and health professional to highlight the ways in which our military and community has been affected by war. Our sincere thanks to the authors.

Click here for chapters 1 & 2

Chapter 1. Australia in World War 1: Grieving and Divided by Professor Joan Beaumont

Click here to watch Joan’s video

Chapter 2. Devastating Aftermath : Australia’s War Legacy by Dr. Ross McMullin

Click here to watch Ross’s video

Click here for chapters 3 & 4

Chapter 3, The War Profiteers, WW1, by Dr Douglas Newton

Click here to watch Douglas’s video

Chapter 4. The International Arms Trade Now, by Dr Peter Wigg

Click here to watch Peter’s video

Click here to read chapters 5 & 6

Chapter 5. Civilians and War – Then and Now by Sue Wareham & Amanda Ruler

Chapter 6. From Gas to Nukes : Banning the Worlds Worst Weapons by Tim Wright, Director ICAN

Click here to read chapters 7 & 8

Chapter 7. We’ll be there: How Australia goes to war by Paul Barratt

Chapter 8. Australia & War – the US’s Quiet Accomplice by Richard Tanter

Click here to read chapters 9 & 10 

Chapter 9. Lost opportunities for Peace by Daryl Le Cornu

Chapter 10. The Illusion of Victory

Click here for chapters 11 & 12

Chapter 11. Commemoration and the “Normalising” of War by David Stephens

Chapter 12. A Century on, Seizing the Opportunities for Peace by John Langmore

 

 

 

The War to End All Wars: honoring the dead by learning the lessons – chapters 1 to 12 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW Policy on Radioactive Waste https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-policy-on-radioactive-waste/ Wed, 08 Jul 2015 13:40:36 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-policy-on-radioactive-waste/ At MAPW we have recently updated our policy on radioactive waste. Click here to read the policy or to download it and share with your networks At MAPW we have recently updated our policy on radioactive waste. Click here to read the policy or to download it and share with your networks

MAPW Policy on Radioactive Waste | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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At MAPW we have recently updated our policy on radioactive waste. Click here to read the policy or to download it and share with your networks

At MAPW we have recently updated our policy on radioactive waste. Click here to read the policy or to download it and share with your networks

MAPW Policy on Radioactive Waste | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW – Conventions on chemical, biological and environmental warfare – 2014 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-conventions-on-chemical-biological-and-environmental-warfare-2014/ Tue, 23 Jun 2015 14:55:00 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-conventions-on-chemical-biological-and-environmental-warfare-2014/ Some means of waging war are so inhumane, or represent such a violation of human rights, that their use is considered a war crime. Chemical and biological weapons, and environmental warfare, are all illegal under international law, on these grounds. This fact sheet gives a brief history and account of the international conventions concerned.

MAPW – Conventions on chemical, biological and environmental warfare – 2014 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Some means of waging war are so inhumane, or represent such a violation of human rights, that their use is considered a war crime. Chemical and biological weapons, and environmental warfare, are all illegal under international law, on these grounds.

This fact sheet gives a brief history and account of the international conventions concerned.

MAPW – Conventions on chemical, biological and environmental warfare – 2014 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW International law and treaties Dr Peter Wigg 2014 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-international-law-and-treaties-dr-peter-wigg-2014/ Wed, 10 Jun 2015 00:07:29 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-international-law-and-treaties-dr-peter-wigg-2014/     The international nuclear non proliferation treaty has failed over several decades to bring about its stated eventual aim of eliminating nuclear weapons. MAPW offshoot ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons) has made remarkable progress, however, towards the establishment of an international treaty simply banning the possession and use of nuclear weapons, similar to those for […]

MAPW International law and treaties Dr Peter Wigg 2014 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The international nuclear non proliferation treaty has failed over several decades to bring about its stated eventual aim of eliminating nuclear weapons. MAPW offshoot ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons) has made remarkable progress, however, towards the establishment of an international treaty simply banning the possession and use of nuclear weapons, similar to those for other weapons of mass destruction. The nuclear weapons possessing countries are unlikely to subscribe to such a treaty initially, but it may gain the support of almost every other state, bringing pressure to bear on those who do not sign.

This MAPW fact sheet gives an outline of the establishment and function of international law and treaties, as a useful background to this unfolding drama.

MAPW International law and treaties Dr Peter Wigg 2014 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Update on the health effects of French nuclear testing in the Pacific https://www.mapw.org.au/news/update-on-the-health-effects-of-french-nuclear-testing-in-the-pacific/ Mon, 08 Jun 2015 21:58:07 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/update-on-the-health-effects-of-french-nuclear-testing-in-the-pacific/ France conducted atmospheric and underground nuclear bomb tests at Mururoa atoll in the Pacific between 1960 and 1996. The official position is that these were particularly clean. France conducted atmospheric and underground nuclear bomb tests at Mururoa atoll in the Pacific between 1960 and 1996. The official position is that these were particularly clean. Organisations […]

Update on the health effects of French nuclear testing in the Pacific | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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France conducted atmospheric and underground nuclear bomb tests at Mururoa atoll in the Pacific between 1960 and 1996. The official position is that these were particularly clean.

France conducted atmospheric and underground nuclear bomb tests at Mururoa atoll in the Pacific between 1960 and 1996. The official position is that these were particularly clean. Organisations of test victims have collected testimonies that strongly contradict this and also suggest that the lack of scientific data regarding health effects is a cover-up, rather than that no data was obtained.

Click here to read an update on the ongoing health effects.

Update on the health effects of French nuclear testing in the Pacific | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The War to End All Wars: honoring the dead by learning the lessons https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-war-to-end-all-wars-honoring-the-dead-by-learning-the-lessons/ Tue, 02 Jun 2015 16:29:35 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-war-to-end-all-wars-honoring-the-dead-by-learning-the-lessons/  The “war to end all wars” ushered in a century of violence on an unprecedented scale. A hundred years on, the lessons to be learned appear buried beneath a barrage of commemorative activities. MAPW believes that Australia could best honour those who died by learning from the past.  The “war to end all wars” ushered in […]

The War to End All Wars: honoring the dead by learning the lessons | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 The “war to end all wars” ushered in a century of violence on an unprecedented scale. A hundred years on, the lessons to be learned appear buried beneath a barrage of commemorative activities. MAPW believes that Australia could best honour those who died by learning from the past.

 The “war to end all wars” ushered in a century of violence on an unprecedented scale. A hundred years on, the lessons to be learned appear buried beneath a barrage of commemorative activities. MAPW believes that Australia could best honour those who died by learning from the past.

MAPW has commissioned a series of twelve papers from prominent historians, academics, former diplomats and health professional to highlight the ways in which our military and community has been affected by war.

The first two of these papers has now been published. Our thanks to Prof. Joan Beaumont for her paper entitled Australia in WW1 : Grieving and Divided and Dr. Ross McMullin for his paper, Devastating Aftermath: Australia’s War Legacyclick here to read them in full.

To view a short video of Prof. Joan Beaumont discussing the key themes of her paper please click here.

The War to End All Wars: honoring the dead by learning the lessons | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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107 states endorse the humanitarian pledge as NPT Review Conference ends https://www.mapw.org.au/news/107-states-endorse-the-humanitarian-pledge-as-npt-review-conference-ends/ Sun, 24 May 2015 17:53:45 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/107-states-endorse-the-humanitarian-pledge-as-npt-review-conference-ends/  May 23, 2015  NEW YORK , USA  May 23, 2015  NEW YORK , USA As the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference ended, over 100 governments have committed to work for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons by endorsing the “Humanitarian Pledge.” [Editor’s note: Alexander Kmentt of Austria confirmed that 107 States had […]

107 states endorse the humanitarian pledge as NPT Review Conference ends | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 May 23, 2015  NEW YORK , USA

 May 23, 2015  NEW YORK , USA

As the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference ended, over 100 governments have committed to work for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons by endorsing the “Humanitarian Pledge.” [Editor’s note: Alexander Kmentt of Austria confirmed that 107 States had joined the Pledge in his closing remarks Friday.]

While the United States and the United Kingdom declared failure over the Middle East,  the draft outcome document was deeply flawed on disarmament. It contained no meaningful commitments on nuclear disarmament, rolls back on previous agreements and was not negotiated amongst states parties. A wide range of governments from all regions admitted that the text fell dramatically short of making credible progress.

Based on the evidence of the humanitarian impacts from any nuclear weapon detonation and an acknowledgment of the increasing risk of use of nuclear weapons, the humanitarian pledge reflects a fundamental shift in the international discourse on nuclear disarmament over the past five years. It is the latest indication that governments are preparing for diplomatic action after the Review Conference.

The wide and growing international support for this historic pledge sends a signal that a majority of the world’s governments are ready to move forward with the prohibition of nuclear weapons, even if the nuclear weapon states are not ready to participate.

“Regardless of what has happened here today, the humanitarian pledge must be the basis for the negotiations of a new treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons”, says Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN. “It has been made clear that the nuclear weapon states are not interested in making any new commitments to disarmament, so now it is up to the rest of the world to start a process to prohibit nuclear weapons by the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

ENDS

107 states endorse the humanitarian pledge as NPT Review Conference ends | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Speech by Dr Amanda Ruler for Le Fevre HIgh School, December 2014 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/speech-by-dr-amanda-ruler-for-le-fevre-high-school-december-2014/ Sun, 17 May 2015 14:54:29 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/speech-by-dr-amanda-ruler-for-le-fevre-high-school-december-2014/ Dr Amanda Ruler. RN , PhD. National Vice President , Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia. Dr Amanda Ruler. RN , PhD. National Vice President , Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia. There are currently about 16,400 nuclear weapons in the world, with several thousand on hair trigger alert. If wars continue to […]

Speech by Dr Amanda Ruler for Le Fevre HIgh School, December 2014 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Dr Amanda Ruler. RN , PhD. National Vice President , Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia.

Dr Amanda Ruler. RN , PhD. National Vice President , Medical Association for Prevention of War, Australia.

There are currently about 16,400 nuclear weapons in the world, with several thousand on hair trigger alert. If wars continue to be fought as they have done in the past with nuclear weapons, we are now likely to destroy the world and all life on it. There are no winners in a nuclear war. Because of this fact, for our very survival, it is now necessary for us to examine how and why we fight wars and to develop ways of making peaceful resolutions to conflict in our troubled world .

It follows that aspects of human nature are necessary, but not sufficient causes of war: Frustration caused by clashes of interest, spurred on by aggression fuelled by fear are central ingredients to making war. The degree of fear of the enemy depends on each nations perception of both the others ability to harm it and the firmness of its intent to do so. Economic , ideological, dynastic, political and other sources of international conflict can all mobilize a fever for war, resulting in people slaughtering each other. For example, estimates of the number of dead in the First World War range from 5 million to 13 million and a staggering 50 million people died during World War II.

Fortunately , self importance and the potential for violence are counterbalanced by equally strong forces in the desire to be loved, concern with others welfare, joy in co-operative enterprises and interdependent bonds with each other.It is powerful to recognise that humans would generally rather love than hate and feel more fulfilled by acts of affiliation rather than hostility.

Survival today depends on reducing , controlling, channelling and redirecting the drive for power and the impulse to violence and fostering fellowship and community values. The world spends approximately US $ 105 Billion on nuclear weapons every year , but only $  40-60 billion  or roughly half of this,  would be enough to meet the the Millennium Development Goals on poverty alleviation by the target date of 2015.  

An ethos of peace consists of the beliefs that empathy, perspective taking and trust are essential in maintaining and fostering harmonious relationships and that non-violence is valued over violence, thereby making non violence a moral mandate that needs to be acted on.

Peace is the converse of war, and is essential for all growth and life to flourish. Finding peace starts within ourselves, then expands outwards  to allow us to form peaceful connections with our families, communities and nations.

Let us all make a peaceful future together. 

Speech by Dr Amanda Ruler for Le Fevre HIgh School, December 2014 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Carolyn Holbrook: Remembering WW1: 2015 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/carolyn-holbrook-remembering-ww1-2015/ Mon, 11 May 2015 20:54:20 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/carolyn-holbrook-remembering-ww1-2015/ Historian Carolyn Holbrook spoke in March, 2015, at an MAPW forum in Fremantle on Australia’s commemoration of World War One. She argued that the way we remember past wars influences, for good or ill, our attitude to current and future wars. Historian Carolyn Holbrook spoke in March, 2015, at an MAPW forum in Fremantle on […]

Carolyn Holbrook: Remembering WW1: 2015 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Historian Carolyn Holbrook spoke in March, 2015, at an MAPW forum in Fremantle on Australia’s commemoration of World War One. She argued that the way we remember past wars influences, for good or ill, our attitude to current and future wars.

Historian Carolyn Holbrook spoke in March, 2015, at an MAPW forum in Fremantle on Australia’s commemoration of World War One. She argued that the way we remember past wars influences, for good or ill, our attitude to current and future wars.

www.mapw.org.au/files/downloads/Carolyn%20Holbrook%208%20March%2015.pdf

Carolyn Holbrook: Remembering WW1: 2015 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Melissa Parkes: Preventing war: 2015 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/melissa-parkes-preventing-war-2015/ Mon, 11 May 2015 20:26:56 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/melissa-parkes-preventing-war-2015/ Melissa Parkes, Federal member for Fremantle, spoke in March, 2015, at an MAPW forum organised by the Western Australian branch on Australia’s commemoration of the centenary of World War 1. She described the tendency to romanticise war in this commemoration, and the important alternative of thinking in terms of prevention.   Melissa Parkes, Federal member for […]

Melissa Parkes: Preventing war: 2015 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Melissa Parkes, Federal member for Fremantle, spoke in March, 2015, at an MAPW forum organised by the Western Australian branch on Australia’s commemoration of the centenary of World War 1. She described the tendency to romanticise war in this commemoration, and the important alternative of thinking in terms of prevention.

 

Melissa Parkes, Federal member for Fremantle, spoke in March, 2015, at an MAPW forum organised by the Western Australian branch on Australia’s commemoration of the centenary of World War 1. She described the tendency to romanticise war in this commemoration, and the important alternative of thinking in terms of prevention.

 

www.mapw.org.au/files/downloads/Melissa%20Parkes%208%20March%2015.pdf

Melissa Parkes: Preventing war: 2015 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Civilian toll is enormous – The AGE letters page, Wednesday 29th April 2015 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/civilian-toll-is-enormous-the-age-letters-page-wednesday-29th-april-2015/ Wed, 29 Apr 2015 15:22:05 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/civilian-toll-is-enormous-the-age-letters-page-wednesday-29th-april-2015/ The AGE  letters page,  Wednesday 29th April 2015 Civilian toll is enormous The AGE  letters page,  Wednesday 29th April 2015 Civilian toll is enormous Now that Anzac Day is over, one hopes (probably in vain) that we might as a nation take a more honest look at warfare and what it does to all its […]

Civilian toll is enormous – The AGE letters page, Wednesday 29th April 2015 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The AGE  letters page,  Wednesday 29th April 2015

Civilian toll is enormous

The AGE  letters page,  Wednesday 29th April 2015

Civilian toll is enormous

Now that Anzac Day is over, one hopes (probably in vain) that we might as a nation take a more honest look at warfare and what it does to all its victims, the vast majority of whom are civilians.  We’ve had non-stop accounts of the emotional impact of those who have stood in modern-day Turkey and imagined their brave forbears a century ago.  Where are the emotional accounts of civilians caught in the more recent wars that Australia has supported; civilians terrorised by aerial bombing; civilians disfigured by inhumane weapons; and civilians fleeing with nothing, their communities and livelihoods destroyed?

Not that the civilian toll of Australia’s wars has ever been much of a priority in our official accounting. In Afghanistan, for example, systematic collection of data about civilian casualties did not even begin until 2007, six years after the war started.

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War recently issued a report, Body Count, which estimated that the “war on terror” has killed, directly or indirectly, 1.3million people.  Whatever the civilian component, it is almost certainly a staggering figure. It’s time to remember war’s unwilling participants. 

Dr Sue Wareham, Medical Association for Prevention of War

  

Civilian toll is enormous – The AGE letters page, Wednesday 29th April 2015 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW Statement in Commemoration of World War 1 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-statement-in-commemoration-of-world-war-1/ Sun, 26 Apr 2015 13:51:54 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-statement-in-commemoration-of-world-war-1/                 MAPW  STATEMENT  IN  COMMEMORATION  OF   WORLD  WAR  1                 MAPW  STATEMENT  IN  COMMEMORATION  OF   WORLD  WAR  1 The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) commemorates World War 1, including the Gallipoli landings of 25 April 1915, with a deep sense of […]

MAPW Statement in Commemoration of World War 1 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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                MAPW  STATEMENT  IN  COMMEMORATION  OF   WORLD  WAR  1

                MAPW  STATEMENT  IN  COMMEMORATION  OF   WORLD  WAR  1

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) commemorates World War 1, including the Gallipoli landings of 25 April 1915, with a deep sense of the futility of the suffering endured and human losses incurred in that four-year long human catastrophe.

We see a different narrative from that of military strategies, political grand schemes and the shallow notion that war is a noble venture.  We see a narrative of the individuals whose lives were considered expendable, of the cruel deaths repeated millions of times over, the mutilated bodies that no doctor could mend, the minds forever tortured by the sights and sounds of battle, the families grieving as the dreaded message came, and of each individual story of loss reverberating decades later. 

The real stories of the war were not seen in the parliamentary chambers and the halls of power, but in the cemeteries, hospitals, asylums, and behind closed doors as damaged men returned home. They are the stories seen only by loved ones and health professionals left caring for the shattered minds and bodies that would never heal.

“The war to end all wars” brought no glory.  Military “victory” and military “defeat” blurred into one long saga of death and destruction. There were no real winners, apart from the merchants of death, many of whom supplied weapons to both sides as their profits soared.  There was simply human wastage on a colossal scale, landscapes scarred with the remains of battle, and the setting for a greater conflagration to follow. 

We recognise the very many diplomatic and other lost opportunities to bring to an end the senseless slaughter as it unfolded, including the gathering in April 1915 of over 1,000 women in The Hague to urge measures for a lasting peace.  We recognise the heroic figures on every side who refused to fight.

As our nation commemorates, let us see the real face, the human face, of war, and let us resolve to learn.  We urge that peace be pursued with even greater commitment, resources and patience than those that we devote to war, and that collectively we develop our tools for making peace with greater determination than we develop tools for going to war. 

In commemorating, we also urge attention and action on indiscriminate weaponry that kills civilians and combatants alike.  Warfare’s barbarity plummeted to new depths in World War 1 with the use of chemical weapons.  A century later, we are threatened by weapons with infinitely greater capacity to destroy, nuclear weapons.  The use of a small percentage of them could end civilisation as we know it. Just as chemical weapons are banned by treaty, nuclear weapons must be banned and eliminated.

Let us resolve to never again forget our common humanity. There could be no more worthy  form of commemoration. 

 


MAPW Statement in Commemoration of World War 1 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC CH (1930-2015) https://www.mapw.org.au/news/rt-hon-malcolm-fraser-ac-ch-1930-2015/ Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:26:51 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/rt-hon-malcolm-fraser-ac-ch-1930-2015/ The National Council and staff of MAPW were very saddened to hear of the death this morning of Malcolm Fraser. We wish to pass on our sincere condolences to his family. The National Council and staff of MAPW were very saddened to hear of the death this morning of Malcolm Fraser. We wish to pass […]

Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC CH (1930-2015) | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The National Council and staff of MAPW were very saddened to hear of the death this morning of Malcolm Fraser. We wish to pass on our sincere condolences to his family.

The National Council and staff of MAPW were very saddened to hear of the death this morning of Malcolm Fraser. We wish to pass on our sincere condolences to his family.

Mr Fraser has been a clear and compassionate voice on many issues, including calling for humanitarian treatment for asylum seekers, independence in Australia’s foreign policy and the abolition of nuclear weapons. In 2007, with Judge Christopher Weeramantry, he launched the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in Melbourne. His support for this campaign has been steadfast and contributed significantly to ICAN’s achievements.

We valued his wise and clear counsel on so many issues. He will be much missed in the public debate to make Australia a more humane and just society. His contribution to Australian public life has been enormous.

Vale, Mr Fraser.

Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC CH (1930-2015) | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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SA Royal Commission Draft Terms of Reference Ignore Health Impacts of Nuclear Industry https://www.mapw.org.au/news/sa-royal-commission-draft-terms-of-reference-ignore-health-impacts-of-nuclear-industry/ Mon, 09 Mar 2015 17:02:40 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/sa-royal-commission-draft-terms-of-reference-ignore-health-impacts-of-nuclear-industry/   Press Release by MAPW & Public Health Association of Australia   Press Release by MAPW & Public Health Association of Australia March 10 2015 SA Royal Commission Draft Terms of Reference Ignore Health Impacts of Nuclear Industry The Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) are deeply […]

SA Royal Commission Draft Terms of Reference Ignore Health Impacts of Nuclear Industry | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Press Release by MAPW & Public Health Association of Australia

 

Press Release by MAPW & Public Health Association of Australia

March 10 2015

SA Royal Commission Draft Terms of Reference Ignore Health Impacts of Nuclear Industry

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) are deeply concerned that the Royal Commission’s draft terms of reference are too narrow and do not protect the health of South Australians.

 “The draft terms of reference do not address health impacts at all, for either industry workers or the general public,” said Dr Margaret Beavis, President of MAPW. “Nuclear   reactors are associated with increased rates of childhood leukemia in surrounding areas, and there are already legacy health issues in South Australia resulting from previous nuclear activities and uranium mining,” she added.

 “In addition, the large government subsidies reactors require may reduce funds available for public institutions like hospitals and health services in  South Australia,” Dr Beavis added.

 The MAPW and PHAA are calling for a comprehensive examination of the entire nuclear industry, including uranium mining and security risks.

 “There are health threats associated with every step of the nuclear fuel cycle and ample scientific evidence regarding the hazards of low dose radiation exposure,” said PHAA spokesperson Dr

Michael Fonda. “There needs to be a genuine and scientific assessment of the health impacts of the nuclear industry both from the past and for the future,” he added.

This Royal Commission provides an opportunity to explore energy solutions for South Australia. “Uranium is a non-renewable resource and Australia needs a 21st century Energy Policy that hastens the transition of our economy toward one powered by renewables, not one that ties us down in outmoded and potentially dangerous technologies,” Dr Beavis said.

Both organisations have offered to assist the Royal Commission in its inquiry.

Issues not addressed by the Draft Terms of Reference include:

The major subsidies needed for nuclear reactors.  Effective regulation, insurance, long term waste management and decommissioning are costly.

Financial conflicts of interest.  The uranium/nuclear industry has strong financial links with a number of individuals, universities, researchers and academics, particularly in South Australia.  It is essential in any inquiry that potential financial conflicts of interest are explicitly declared by all witnesses and commission staff.

Water resources. Where will the water needed for reactors come from? What impact will this have on the local, regional, state water supplies, and will it impact on below ground water sources?  What will be done to protect the SA waterways from radioactive contamination?

Risk management.  What are the security implications for reprocessing / power generation? What are the hazard implications in the event of natural disaster, accident or deliberate damage?  How will the hazards of transporting radioactive materials be addressed?

Specifically, what is the state’s preparedness and ability to cope with a nuclear accident along the lines of Fukushima (including economic impacts)? The Japanese Diet inquiry into the Fukushima disaster described it as a “man-made disaster”, where a cosy relationship between the industry and levels of government, poor regulation and cost cutting resulted in failure of the “fail safe” mechanisms.

Mining. Given export of uranium produces either nuclear weapons or waste that has no safe long term storage, and the production of uranium creates serious long term environmental problems (radioactive tailings, accidents in nuclear power stations like Fukushima, managing radioactive waste), examination of the advisability of continuing to mine uranium should also be included in the terms of reference.

Justification for waste storage.  The use of medical isotopes is often used to justify a waste facility. A waste dump is not required for Australia to continue to provide world-class nuclear medicine procedures. The “medical necessity” claim is deliberately misleading.  The majority of waste produced from medical radioisotopes decays almost entirely in a few days and is then classified as exempt waste (EW) which can be disposed of in the existing general environmental waste systems. An extremely small amount of medical waste is designated ‘intermediate level waste’ (ILW) and is presently safely stored at hospitals and research facilities.

Justification for reactor.  Similarly, the creation of medical isotopes has been used to justify the need for a reactor. Overseas practice shows that it is feasible for radioactive isotopes to be supplied through non-reactor sources.  The Canadian Government has developed non-reactor based isotope production (using particle accelerators) after deciding that the development of a new reactor could not be justified on the grounds of isotope production.

Legacy Issues.  There are a number of contaminated sites in SA that have never been (and probably never will be) decontaminated.  This is a very significant health and social issue for those people affected.

 ENDS

 

SA Royal Commission Draft Terms of Reference Ignore Health Impacts of Nuclear Industry | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

]]> A Nuclear Free Snap Shot of 2014 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/a-nuclear-free-snap-shot-of-2014/ Sun, 04 Jan 2015 14:06:58 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/a-nuclear-free-snap-shot-of-2014/ The following article has been compiled by Dave Sweeney, Nuclear Free Campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation. It’s a timely reminder to us all of what has been achieved over the last year.  A nuclear free snapshot The following article has been compiled by Dave Sweeney, Nuclear Free Campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation. It’s […]

A Nuclear Free Snap Shot of 2014 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The following article has been compiled by Dave Sweeney, Nuclear Free Campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation. It’s a timely reminder to us all of what has been achieved over the last year. 

A nuclear free snapshot

The following article has been compiled by Dave Sweeney, Nuclear Free Campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation. It’s a timely reminder to us all of what has been achieved over the last year. 

A nuclear free snapshot

January 2014 started with Top End storms washing out a section of the Ghan rail line and further highlighting transport risks with hazardous materials, concerns over the spectacular December 2013 uranium slurry spill at Ranger mine remained high and around 4000 people gathered in Redfern for the opening of John Pilger’s film Utopia

In February the Muckaty Federal Court case had detailed directions hearing in Melbourne, a delegation of MP’s from Greenland heard directly about the impacts of uranium mining on country and culture when they were briefed by ACF, FoE and Gundjeihmi while on a fact finding mission, mid-month saw activists from WA and beyond meet in Perth for an effective planning session aimed at keeping the West uranium free, the CCWA led a series of workshops to facilitate public engagement with the Kintyre mine approvals process and also drove a detailed response from national groups while Scott Ludlum took time off from electioneering to join a nuke free session at Melbourne’s Sustainable Living festival, Paladin put the Kayelekera mine in Malawi on care and maintenance, Uranium Free NSW activists lodged formal objections to the Dubbo Zirconia project and after making the Black Mist publication possible and reminding Peter Costello and the Future Fund that there is no future in nuclear weapons ICAN reps took the nuclear weapons abolition message further with a successful conference in Nayarit (Mexico)

March saw the annual national nuke free strategy and planning gathering with crew from around the country converging on Trades Hall in Melbourne for productive days of plotting, tens of thousands joined the March in March initiative and took to the streets around the nation, The Fukushima anniversary was marked with a range of actions and events nationally, ACF’s Yellowcake Fever report landed on the desks of politicians around the country, MAPW condemned Cameco’s approach to radiation as ‘junk science’, the Townsville City Council voted unanimously to oppose uranium mining, Deloitte Access Economics launched a new report with an old agenda – that Australia become the global radioactive waste dump, Dianne Stokes joined with John Pilger and Marianne McKay for a powerhouse public meeting in Sydney, increased uranium levels in NSW csg operations led to renewed calls for a uranium ban, military adventurism in Crimea led to calls to end uranium sales to Putin’s Russia, the Queensland government moved to limit community right to object to mining in order to circumvent ‘extreme green groups in Melbourne’ and others

April saw ERA and Rio Tinto announce a joint uranium marketing deal and concerns over ERA’s capacity to rehabilitate the Ranger site dominate the Alligator Rivers Region Advisory Committee forum and the ERA annual meeting in Darwin, much hard work and many hopes were rewarded with the clear re-election of Senator Scott Ludlam in the WA election re-run, a frenzy of WW1 commemorations (a taster for 2015 and Gallipoli) also saw the Independent and Peaceful Australia Networks national peace convergence in Canberra which included monster efforts from Jacob Greech and others to hold the most actions at the most venues on the one day, Four Mile uranium mine was opened in SA, FoE continued its long and proud Rad Tour tradition and took people from Melbourne to Muckaty, Trade Minister Andrew Robb inks a uranium deal with the United Arab Emirates even though JSCOT urges caution, Foreign Minister Bishop gets pressured at aconference in Hiroshima over Australia’s poor nuclear record, the Chernobyl anniversary is used to highlight just how for how long this industry is, ACF, MAPW and Keep Queensland Nuclear Free take the anti-uranium story on the road through north and n-w Queensland

In May Rio Tinto were the target of annual meeting attention, the Walkatjutta Walkabout set off, MAPW released a plain language guide to radiation and health, after arguing against uranium on his pastoral property Twiggy Forrest put $12 mill into Energy Metals Australia, David Bradbury and others showcased Australian issues at the 4th International uranium film festival in Rio (not Tinto) while nuclear issues featured at the Human Right art and film festival in Melbourne, a radioactive waste transport petition was launched, there were reports of crop circles at Muckaty and a ventilation shaft collapsed during construction at ERA’s R3D project, the federal budget saw more money for ANSTO – radioactive waste and Rum Jungle, submissions were made over EPBC protections and ARPANSA transport codes and people gathered in Tennant Creek for the inaugural meeting of the NT chapter of ANFA – the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance – and to join a bright and bouncy protest to mark the anniversary of the contested Muckaty site nomination

June saw ECNT inaugural Ochre Green conference with Yvonne Margarula and Jeffrey Lee recognised for successful nuclear resistance, the Muckaty federal court case started in Melbourne and World Environment Day saw a powerful radwaste public meeting while the Feds approved the restart of operations at Ranger that had been suspended since the December 2013 tank collapse, nuclear industry advocates and spruikers gather in Perth for an international uranium conference while activists outside offered counselling sessions to delegates over the sorry state of the industry and have better things to do with a series of events showcasing how our energy future is renewable not radioactive, ERA’s operations are questioned in NT Estimates, the Ukraine crisis raises Australian uranium concerns, Alliance Resources moves to sell its stake in the Four Mile project in SA, ICAN holds a roundtable in Melbourne, Nat Lowrey is arrested and detained for six days after a protest against the Lynas rare earths plant in Malaysia and Bill Williams and Gisela Gardener represent Australia at a series of anti-nuke gatherings in Germany. And the big news for June: after years of struggle the Muckaty dump plan is pulled on June 19 – No dump!! massive congrats to the Muckaty TO’s and to so many – especially Nat Wasley.

July: Japanese PM Abe visits Australia amidst calls for more attention and follow up to fuelling Fukushima, talk grows of radioactive waste storage in WA, Townsville marches against uranium mining, Mia and MPI put forward the case for a better approach to mine rehabilitation at an industry conference in Brisbane, the WA EPA recommends approval of Kintyre despite Fairfax medias high profile story on mining approval irregularities with the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation, BHP seeks approval for heap leaching at Olympic Dam, various reports trickle in on what went wrong at Ranger and people gather for a Muckaty victory party in Tennant Creek.

In August Tony Abbott flags nuclear power, visiting activists from Taiwan’s Green Citizens Action Alliance make links, Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemoration events take place nationally, FoE Melbourne has a Muckaty  celebration, ERA posts a record half year loss of over $130 mill, Bob Hawke spruiks international radioactive waste storage as the solution to Aboriginal disadvantage while NT Chief Minister Adam Giles ducks for cover, the Pacific Islands Forum calls for wider adherence to the South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty, Minister Macfarlane visits Tennant and calls the abandoned Muckaty process a disaster as a push starts for a new dump site in the Tanami, Australian reps attend the IPPNW Congress in Kazakhstan, ENGOs formally appeal the WA EPA’s Kintyre decision, Australian officials finalise a uranium deal with India as ENGO’s call for an inquiry into the uranium trade, the Facing the Fallout tour takes place with former Japanese PM Kan touring Australia with media/political and public appearances in the NT/WA/ACT/Qld and Vic – a powerful and positive initiative.

September and ICANs Don’t Bank on the Bomb report is launched, BHPs heap leach plan is approved without further assessment, there is a strong nuke free presence at climate rallies around the country, NSW announces that six companies will be invited to explore for uranium, Abbott inks the India deal with Modi, Mayors for Peace hold a major gathering in Fremantle with cabaret quizzes and a host of related activities, Minister Macfarlane flags a national radioactive waste site nomination and Leonora Shire blinks, Central Australian Aboriginal leaders issue a statement against the dump as Tanami regional meetings take place, the first international day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons sees the launch of ICANs nuclear umbrella clip and Australia suspends uranium sales to Russia.

October sees the crew assemble for the annual ANFA gathering in Alice Springs – days of good folk/talk and planning, ERA applies for approval of its R3D underground mine at Ranger against a backdrop of an international day of action against Rio Tinto, ENGO’s write to Macfarlane urging to move beyond Muckaty and hold an independent Inquiry into responsible radioactive waste management, Toro Energy move to expand the stalled Wiluna project, nuclear issues feature in Senate Estimates, ICAN responds to the Defence White Paper with a call for no bomb and no bomb fuel, another report into ERA finds its operations ‘did not meet expected standards’

November and ENGO’s comment on radioactive waste plans, AgM season heats up with actions and attendance at BHP/Paladin Energy and Toro Energy meetings with powerful related public events and messaging, the NT department of Mines seeks a further $200 million federal dollars to help clean up Rum Jungle, as PM Modi addresses federal parliament JSCOT opens public comment on the India deal and the former ASNO boss John Carlson is highly critical of the sales plan, the G20 Summit and related Peoples Forum takes place in Brisbane with Robin Taubenfeld coordinating a solid nuke free and peace theme, GAC and Jeffrey Lee make important presentations at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, ENGO’s contest Cameco’s move for mining at Yeelirrie, Julie Bishop calls for domestic nuclear power as the Central Land Council confirms there will be no waste dump in its region.

December sees action in the Top End with spirited protests over uranium and fracking concerns outside the MCA’s NT mining conference and 4000 formal public submissions opposing the R3D plan, ICAN holds a successful set of gatherings on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear war in Vienna – including a presentation from Sue Coleman Haseldine and an open letter from ENGO’s to Julie Bishop, Energy Metals Australia move to seek approval to mine Mulga Rocks – but Mia Pepper is in the way, the long waited for Olkala land handover in Cape York see’s further constraints put on Areva’s plans to dig, PM Abbott flags uranium sales to Ukraine – from the land that fuelled Fukushima to the country that is home to Chernobyl, Barry Brook leads a call for nuclear power to be accepted by ENGO’s, Minister Macfarlane accepts that the push through approach to dump siting has failed and announces modest public input into a new model.

Which brings us to a new year…..

Thanks to all behind the news, making the news and especially to those documenting and collating the news including Jim Green at WISE, the Radioactive and Understorey crews, Maelor and Josh at ACF, Mia and Marcus and Judy at ANAWA, GAC, Christina Macpherson and more…..

by Dave Sweeney, ACF

A Nuclear Free Snap Shot of 2014 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Austria pledges to work for a ban on nuclear weapons https://www.mapw.org.au/news/austria-pledges-to-work-for-a-ban-on-nuclear-weapons/ Sun, 14 Dec 2014 15:03:19 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/austria-pledges-to-work-for-a-ban-on-nuclear-weapons/ Humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons must initiate treaty process in 2015 Humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons must initiate treaty process in 2015 (9 December 2014, Vienna)  After 44 states called for a prohibition on nuclear weapons at a conference in Vienna on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, Austria delivered the “Austrian pledge” in which […]

Austria pledges to work for a ban on nuclear weapons | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons must initiate treaty process in 2015

Humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons must initiate treaty process in 2015

(9 December 2014, Vienna)  After 44 states called for a prohibition on nuclear weapons at a conference in Vienna on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, Austria delivered the “Austrian pledge” in which it committed to work to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” and pledged “to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve this goal”.

 “All states committed to nuclear disarmament must join the Austrian pledge to work towards a treaty to ban nuclear weapons”, said Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

“Next year is the 70 year anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and that will be a fitting time for negotiations to start on a treaty banning nuclear weapons”, Fihn added.

 States that expressed support for a ban treaty at the Vienna Conference include: Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Holy See, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

 These announcements were given at a two-day international conference convened in Vienna to examine the consequences of nuclear weapon use, whether international or accidental.

Survivors of the nuclear bombings in Japan and of nuclear testing in Australia, Kazakhstan, the Marshall Islands, and the United States, gave powerful testimonies of the horrific effects of nuclear weapons. Their evidence complemented other presentations presenting data and research.

 “The consequences of any nuclear weapon use would be devastating, long-lasting, and unacceptable. Governments simply cannot listen to this evidence and hear these human stories without acting”, said Akira Kawasaki, from Japanese NGO Peaceboat.  “The only solution is to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons and we need to start now,” Kawasaki added.

For decades, discussions on nuclear weapons have been dominated by the few nuclear-armed states – states that continue to stockpile and maintain over 16,000 warheads. The humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons has prompted a fundamental change in this conversation, with non-nuclear armed states leading the way in a discussion on the actual effects of the weapons.

Unlike the other weapons of mass destruction – chemical and biological – nuclear weapons are not yet prohibited by an international legal treaty. Discussions in Vienna illustrated that the international community is determined to address this.

In a statement to the conference, Pope Francis called for nuclear weapons to be “banned once and for all”.

The host of the previous conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, Mexico, called for the commencement of a diplomatic process, and South Africa said it was considering its role in future meetings.

“Anyone in Vienna can tell that something new is happening on nuclear weapons. We have had three conferences examining their humanitarian impact, and now with the Austrian pledge we have everything we need for a diplomatic process to start”, said Thomas Nash of UK NGO Article 36.

ENDS 

Austria pledges to work for a ban on nuclear weapons | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates calls for action to ban nuclear weapons https://www.mapw.org.au/news/world-summit-of-nobel-peace-laureates-calls-for-action-to-ban-nuclear-weapons/ Sun, 14 Dec 2014 14:56:40 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/world-summit-of-nobel-peace-laureates-calls-for-action-to-ban-nuclear-weapons/ The 14th meeting of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates took place in Rome from December 12 to 14 2014. The initiative attracts Nobel Peace Prize laureates, high-profile leaders and organizations from around the globe. This year’s edition is dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela and is entitled: “Peace. The 14th meeting of […]

World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates calls for action to ban nuclear weapons | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The 14th meeting of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates took place in Rome from December 12 to 14 2014. The initiative attracts Nobel Peace Prize laureates, high-profile leaders and organizations from around the globe. This year’s edition is dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela and is entitled: “Peace.

The 14th meeting of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates took place in Rome from December 12 to 14 2014. The initiative attracts Nobel Peace Prize laureates, high-profile leaders and organizations from around the globe. This year’s edition is dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela and is entitled: “Peace. Living It” At the summit, Nobel laureates called for actions in a number of key areas with the aim to transform a growing cult of violence into the building of a culture of peace. They indicated some areas of grave concern global wide which include a resurgent arms race, disrespect for international law, and the failure of the world’s governments to address adequately the challenges of poverty and environmental degradation.

IPPNW was represented at the meeting by Ira Helfand and Tilman Ruff. The final communiqué released by the meeting contained the following statement in regard to the need to ban nuclear weapons.

Nuclear Disarmament

There are over 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. As the recent 3rd International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons concluded: the impact of the use of just one is unacceptable. A mere 100 would lower the earth’s temperature by over 1 degree Celsius for at least ten years, causing massive disruption of global food production and putting 2 billion people at risk of starvation. If we fail to prevent nuclear war, all of our other efforts to secure peace and justice will be for naught.  We need to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

Meeting in Rome, we commend Pope Francis’ recent call for nuclear weapons to be “banned once and for all”. We welcome the pledge by the Austrian government “to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” and “to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve this goal”.

 We urge all states to commence negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons at the earliest possible time, and subsequently to conclude the negotiations within two years. This will fulfil existing obligations enshrined in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which will be reviewed in May of 2015, and the unanimous ruling of the International Court of Justice.  Negotiations should be open to all states and blockable by none. The 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2015 highlights the urgency of ending the threat of these weapons.

 

World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates calls for action to ban nuclear weapons | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Comments to the National Radioactive Waste Management Project submitted by Medical Association for Prevention of War & Public Health Association of Australia https://www.mapw.org.au/news/comments-to-the-national-radioactive-waste-management-project-submitted-by-medical-association-for-prevention-of-war-public-health-association-of-australia/ Sun, 09 Nov 2014 16:17:43 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/comments-to-the-national-radioactive-waste-management-project-submitted-by-medical-association-for-prevention-of-war-public-health-association-of-australia/ Joint submission from the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) – (Authors: Dr Bill Williams (MAPW) and Dr Joint submission from the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) – (Authors: Dr Bill Williams (MAPW) and Dr Michael […]

Comments to the National Radioactive Waste Management Project submitted by Medical Association for Prevention of War & Public Health Association of Australia | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Joint submission from the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) – (Authors: Dr Bill Williams (MAPW) and Dr

Joint submission from the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) – (Authors: Dr Bill Williams (MAPW) and Dr Michael Fonda (PHAA). Reviewed by Dr Peter Tait (PHAA) and Dr Peter Karamoskos(MAPW))

INTRODUCTION

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) is an organization of Australian medical and other health practitioners, formed in 1981, which addresses the health consequences of warfare and associated social and industrial aspects of modern warfare. Although the majority of Australia’s radioactive waste had its origin in research, medical and civil industrial processes, its potential for diversion into terrorist activities makes its future management highly relevant to our cause. 

The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) is recognised as the principal non-government organisation for public health in Australia and works to promote the health and well-being of all Australians.  The Association seeks better population health outcomes based on prevention, the ecological and social determinants of health and equity principles.  This includes, but goes beyond the treatment of individuals to encompass health promotion, prevention of disease and disability, recovery and rehabilitation, and disability support. This framework, together with attention to the social, economic and environmental determinants of health, provides particular relevance to, and expertly informs the Association’s role.

Both the MAPW and the PHAA have a long and sustained history of advocacy in relation to issues relating to radioactivity and the nuclear fuel chain. In 2011, along with other peak health organisations, we released a Joint Health Sector Position Statement into Nuclear Medicine in Australia which addressed the issues relating to Australia’s nuclear medicine industry and storage of its waste. For many years we, along with other health, scientific, environmental, Indigenous and community groups have been calling for a comprehensive independent inquiry into Australia’s nuclear industry and waste storage options to take place before any new waste repository development is embarked upon.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the National Radioactive Waste Management Project. As organisations of health professionals we are acutely aware of the importance of stringent management of radioactive materials and the need for best practice in the production, storage, transport, use and long-term stewardship of radioactive materials.

Australia’s radioactive waste inventory consists of several thousand cubic metres of low level waste and approximately 500m3 of intermediate level waste, presently stored at numerous locations across the country. A small volume of intermediate level reprocessed nuclear fuel rods from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor is scheduled to return to Australia in the coming years. 

Nuclear medicine involves the use of radioisotopes for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. Nuclear medicine is actually only responsible for a small proportion of the overall waste burden. Nearly all radioactive medical waste is sufficiently short-lived to enable ‘delay and decay’ whereby local storage is utilised until its activity is reduced to enable it to be classified as ‘exempt waste’ and thus enabling subsequent safe disposal in the conventional waste disposal streams. An exception is the significant stockpiles of radium, not used medically since 1976 but constituting intermediate level waste sitting at various sites (including hospitals) around the country and requiring long term safe disposal. An approximately equal amount of the total radium burden was also used for industrial and defence purposes. Significant concerns exist within the Australian community and amongst health professionals and scientific experts regarding current research reactor-based production of medical isotopes and the Commonwealth Government’s position regarding the disposal of reactor and processing waste derived in their production.

Risk

There is no level of radioactive waste that is regarded as risk-free, hence the need for appropriate management. Even low-level exposure poses a small but finite risk of harm, especially the development of cancers. The 2005 report of the National Academy of Sciences in the US, BEIR (Biological Effects of Ionising Radiation) VII, stated “A comprehensive review of available biological and biophysical data supports a “linear-no-threshold” risk model – that the risk of cancer proceeds in a linear fashion at lower doses without a threshold and that the smallest dose has the potential to cause a small increase in risk to humans.” This risk is greater for children than for adults, and greater for females than for males. There are also risks of genetic damage to humans and other life forms.

Minimisation

Australia’s current radioactive waste management plan fails to address the clear need for waste minimisation. Most of Australia’s accumulated and future nuclear waste derives from the past (HIFAR) and existing (OPAL) nuclear reactors in Sydney.
The best strategy regarding radioactive waste is to produce as little as possible. The best form of waste management is for the Federal Government to ‘turn off the tap’ – reduction at source.

Transport

Transport of nuclear waste to centralised storage or disposal facilities increases the risk of accidents, sabotage and contamination. It is the phase during which it is most difficult to secure the material, and the risk of terrorist access is greatest.  The manufacture of a “dirty bomb” (radioactive material dispersed by conventional explosive) would be a relatively easy task for a terrorist organisation as long as there is less secure access to the radioactive material.  Therefore transport must be minimised.  

There are ongoing concerns about the preparedness of local emergency service to respond in the event of an accident. Questions have been raised in various jurisdictions about the capacity of local authorities to manage accidents involving radioactive waste. There is confusion between the relevant jurisdictions and combat agencies with regard to appropriate responses and respective areas of responsibility. 

Transportation of radioactive waste through key agricultural regions and across major river systems could have negative impacts on key Australian agriculture, food, wine and tourism industries.

Storage/Disposal/Stewardship

Radioactive waste management necessitates particular scrutiny because of its long-term threat to human and other organisms’ health. We cannot be certain how robust a waste facility will be over such an extended period of time, let alone how robust political oversight and management will be.  While nuclear proponents generally downplay or deny the risks of unexpected consequences, evidence indicates that, even in the short term, plans and predictions can go awry. 

Current international best practice dictates that low-level waste can be buried at a depth of about 30 metres, while intermediate-level waste should be buried in geologically stable ground well away from groundwater, at a depth from 30 to 300 metres. However current plans in Australia are for above-ground storage of intermediate level waste with institutional controls required indefinitely.

The overall picture of international best practice is that countries should have a policy and strategy for management of radioactive waste, in which storage has a legitimate temporary role provided there is a further strategy for ultimate disposal of the waste. Australia’s current policy of indefinite storage for intermediate level waste is inconsistent with international best practice.

Furthermore, in developing a national strategy it is necessary to ensure an appropriate infrastructure is in place to manage radioactive waste. Unlike the case in Australia, some countries have achieved this by establishing a radioactive waste management organisation. A national strategy of this standard would include elements such as:

• Analysis of present and likely situations regarding radioactive waste;

• Options for managing radioactive waste;

• Responsibility and funding;

• Radioactive waste management system;

• Legal framework;

• Return to supplier;

• Discharge/disposal;

• Security.

It is important that Government policy and strategy for radioactive waste management should consider developments in international best practice, and in particular the guidance published in safety standards published by the IAEA. One important concept to consider in regard to disposal solutions is that of ‘retrievability’: better ways to deal with the waste are likely to emerge in the future.

This understanding is implicit in the IAEA ‘Safety Standards’:
1.8. The term ‘disposal’ refers to the emplacement of radioactive waste into a facility or a location with no intention of retrieving the waste. 
Disposal options are designed to contain the waste by means of passive engineered and natural features and to isolate it from the accessible biosphere to the extent necessitated by the associated hazard. The term disposal implies that retrieval is not intended; it does not mean that retrieval is not possible.” [http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1449_web.pdf]

Whatever transpires in terms of Australia’s long-term radioactive waste management, all facilities generating such wastes need to be as secure and safe as possible.  Even if we bury radioactive waste in a remote centralised location, the producers of waste will continue to need on-site storage. Such institutions – hospitals and industrial facilities – generally have (or ought to have) the expertise to manage their waste safely. Where storage facilities are inadequate they need to be remedied, pending longer-term management processes.

Under the current radioactive waste management proposals, waste would be transported to the centralised facility only every few years anyway, so the interim storage has to be secure, i.e., its security needs to be every bit as rigorous as that of any centralised facility. There is no point having a fortified, impenetrable centralised facility if the radioactive materials at sites of generation or interim storage are any less secure.  So if current storage facilities for Australian radioactive waste are in some way inadequate or flawed – as proponents of the centralised facility have suggested – this should be a loud wake up call to rectify that situation, not a justification for building a remote centralised facility. 

Impacts on Indigenous Peoples

We note with concern the strongly expressed rejection by local Aboriginal representatives (the Kungka Tjuta in South Australia, leaders from Muckaty, and more recently from the Tanami region) of the location of the proposed repository on their country.

Population health studies in other communities around the world suggest likely deleterious impacts on health if their right to control their lives is further eroded. The imposition of a national radioactive Waste Repository against the wishes of the Traditional Owners is likely to cause further deterioration in health parameters via influence on the social determinants of their health. Given the well-documented current poor health status of Australian Aboriginal peoples, this potential health effect should be a critical determinant in radioactive waste management planning.

It should be noted that indigenous Australians in particular have already suffered from imposition of nuclear contamination.  The British nuclear bomb tests at Maralinga in the 1950s were conducted with scant regard for their welfare, and the “clean-up” of their lands left plutonium-contaminated debris in shallow burial trenches.

 

Application of radioisotopes in medicine

Nuclear medicine relies on the ionising radiation released by radioisotopes. Ionising radiation is harmful to living organisms, and its use should be minimized, balancing potential benefits and risks in every application.

The overwhelming majority of nuclear medicine procedures performed are for diagnostic purposes.

Radioisotope production

The radioisotopes used in nuclear medicine are produced either by nuclear reactors or by particle accelerators such as cyclotrons. Australia presently utilises both technologies. Australia also draws on the international market through importation. There is an efficient and reliable global supply and distribution network that could supply Australia with most of its medical radioisotopes, including technetium-99m in the form of molybdenum generators.

Reactor-derived radioisotopes require uranium – and therefore the uranium industry – for their manufacture. Reactor and uranium-based nuclear medicine engenders significant problems − namely, long-term public health and environmental risks, and the repeatedly-demonstrated connection between the use of ‘research’ reactors and weapons programs.

Cyclotron derived radioisotopes do not require uranium and have substantially lower adverse health implications associated with their production and disposal, including a much-reduced waste stream.

Overseas practice shows that it is feasible for radioactive isotopes to be supplied through non-reactor sources. The Canadian Government has recently decided to support research and development in expanding non-reactor based isotope production (using particle accelerators) and that the development of a new research reactor could not be justified on the grounds of isotope production. By diversifying the sources of isotope production, greater certainty in access to isotopes will be achieved whilst simultaneously reducing the health risks associated with the operation of nuclear research reactors.

The production of radioactive isotopes for nuclear medicine comprises a small percentage of the output of research reactors. The majority of the waste that is produced in these facilities occurs regardless of the nuclear medicine isotope production.

Linking the need for a centralized radioactive waste storage facility with the production of isotopes for nuclear medicine is misleading.

Waste incurred from medical radioisotopes

Despite claims of numerous senior Commonwealth Ministers, a Commonwealth waste dump is not required for Australia to continue to provide world-class nuclear medicine procedures. The “medical necessity” claim is worse than fallacious: it is deliberately misleading. It is a particularly disturbing manipulation of the emotions of the sick and the dying – and their carers. The majority of waste produced from medical radioisotopes decays almost entirely in a few days and is then classified as exempt waste (EW) which can be disposed of in the existing general environmental waste systems. The vast bulk of the remainder is ‘very low level waste’ (VLLW) which similarly does not require a specific waste repository and usually can be disposed of by the user in landfill. Only a small fraction of the balance is ‘low level waste’ (LLW) requiring only specific shallow burial, and does not require dedicated storage at a Commonwealth repository.  An extremely small amount of medical waste is designated ‘intermediate level waste’ (ILW) and is presently safely stored at hospitals and research facilities.

A nuclear reactor creates highly radioactive spent fuel rods as waste. The nuclear reactor at Lucas

Heights (OPAL) is predominantly a research reactor. Radioisotope production therefore only accounts for a small proportion of its waste.

The production of radioisotopes by particle accelerators does not produce waste that would require storage at a specific repository.

 Dialogue and transparency

For decades now Commonwealth governments – both Labor and Liberal – have been committed to the development of a centralised radioactive waste facility at a variety of sites across Australia. When attempts to locate such a facility in South Australia failed due to local opposition, the project shifted to the Northern Territory, initially focusing  on three Department of Defence sites – Harts Range, Mt Everard and Fisher’s Ridge and then to Muckaty Station. When the latter project failed – again due to local opposition – the Minister launched a new, nation-wide search for a volunteered site.

The principle of “community acceptance” is a core feature of international ‘best-practice’ in radioactive waste management systems (according to the principles promoted by the International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA). This does not simply mean post hoc “consultation”: the community must give informed consent to the facility. The concept is well-illustrated in the following account of Sweden’s advanced nuclear waste program:

“The special character of the nuclear waste issue will by necessity lead to a need for local understanding and support for the project in order to be able to construct and operate a repository … It was judged necessary to create a participatory and voluntary process in order to achieve such understanding … Dialogue and transparency is essential for a fair and successful decision process. This can be as much of an important and difficult task as the questions concerning geology and technology.”  Claes Thegerström, President of SKB, the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co. (1)

By contrast the ‘fast-track’ approach of the Australian government to date has been characterized by deception and authoritarianism. The over-arching theme of imposition was highlighted by the Minister with carriage of the radioactive waste portfolio in 2005, when he asked:

 “Why on Earth can’t people in the middle of nowhere have low level and intermediate level waste?” – Liberal MP Brendan Nelson, Minister for Science ABC TV, 15th July 2005

The advice of Canada’s senior authority on nuclear waste management is poignant:

“How we approach this challenging public policy issue will say a lot about our values and priorities as a society”.  Elizabeth Dowdeswell, President of Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (2)

Canada and Sweden are world leaders in the field of radioactive waste management and whilst their programs are far from flawless, their emphasis on community acceptance reflects very badly on Australia’s radioactive waste management approach to date.

CONCLUSION

It is disturbing that the proposed facility is planned to serve as an indefinite store for ILW with no final disposal solution, in contravention of international best practice. Indeed, Australia has come under significant criticism for its failure to address this.

 

The proposals for management of Australia’s waste have failed: technically failing to ensure an acceptable long-term management pathway for the most serious intermediate level waste – in contravention of international best practice and IAEA requirements – even if it is able to meet the needs of low level waste disposal. And failing procedurally: the discredited “Decide, Announce, Defend” method of imposing a government’s will whilst attempting to stifle all means of redress.

Australia needs to dispose of this radioactive waste legacy appropriately and minimise further waste burdens on future generations and the environment. As a society we need therefore to move towards a sense of pro-active stewardship and “harm-minimisation” with “disposal” being the final option. A fundamental principle must be that no new activities involving radioactive materials should be introduced without a full life-cycle waste management plan, with exploration of alternatives, minimisation of waste, and a proper disposal plan: the so-called ‘cradle-to-grave’ strategy. A crucial aspect of this approach is to find alternatives to nuclear power and medicine to minimise the future production of radioactive waste.

What is needed is an independent public inquiry, honest and transparent policy bodies, regulation that is based on world’s best practice and adequate funding through an independent body to handle our radioactive waste. We also need the government to stop misrepresenting the medical profession.

And we need to reassess the need for a nuclear reactor, now, not in 40 years time when the OPAL reactor has reached its usable life. We need to be planning and actively researching, perhaps jointly with Canada, the non-reactor production of predominantly technetium-99m with a view to transitioning to a non-nuclear source of radiopharmaceuticals.  The vested interests at ANSTO should not have sole carriage of this process. The interests of human health and the biosphere need representation as well.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1.    Reduction at source (waste minimisation) is the fundamental principle in reducing the risks of environmental contamination from nuclear waste:

a.       phase out of the nuclear reactor program at Lucas Heights. Australia’s world-class nuclear medicine capability can be sustained by a combination of importation and local isotope generation – as occurs during shutdown periods at the current OPAL reactor without any adverse medical consequences.

b.      The use of reactor-produced isotopes in medicine should be minimised in favour of those techniques and imaging modalities that do not rely on them. 

c.       promotion of safer imaging technologies including MRI, advanced CT, ultrasound and positron emission tomography

d.      Increased research and development of non-reactor technologies for the production of medical isotopes

2.    An Australian national radioactive waste management policy should be developed, informed by experts and members of the public through a comprehensive independent inquiry.  An inquiry would assess:

a.       all options for radioactive waste management

b.      current activities in international best practice

c.       radioisotope production

                                                               i.      assessing non-reactor based isotope production of medical radioisotopes

                                                             ii.      exploring Australia’s capacity to utilize current facilities to research, develop and produce our isotopes in particle accelerators; and

                                                            iii.      assessing necessary infrastructure requirements to ensure economic viability of a non-reactor based isotope industry.

d.      nuclear medicine waste disposal

                                                               i.      establishing the number and type of nuclear medicine procedures being performed annually and

                                                             ii.      the number of Australians on whom these procedures were performed

                                                            iii.      quantifying the true volume and nature of medical waste presently in storage and the expected volume in the future

                                                           iv.      investigating capacity of hospitals and research institutions to continue to store this waste indefinitely, especially if Australia shifts away from                   reactor derived radioisotopes; and

                                                             v.      establishing the importance of the nuclear medicine waste stream to the proposal to establish a centralized Commonwealth waste storage                         facility.

3.    As part of this process it will be necessary to develop and publish a full inventory of radioactive waste in Australia – what it is, where it is, and who has jurisdiction.

4.    Pending the development of a policy, all radioactive waste must remain accessible for monitoring.  It should be stored in a dry, monitored and retrievable fashion at or near the site of production.  In the case of the intermediate level reprocessed fuel rods set to return to Australia soon, it is most appropriate that they be stored for the time being at their place of production, Lucas Heights. Lucas Heights is the best equipped facility in Australia to store such waste at present.

5.    Should it be decided to embark on deep geological disposal in Australia then the issues of access and retrievability need to be considered in the planning and implementation processes, in the event of advances in disposal technologies.

6.    Transportation of radioactive material should be minimised.  There must also be consultation with all those communities along the proposed route, including emergency, police, health and environmental protection services.

7.    Radioactive waste transport or storage should not be imposed on unwilling communities.

8.    Radioactive waste storage facilities and practices should be subject to regular independent audits and public review to increase transparency and ensure compliance with Australia’s policy.

 

ENDS

 

To download a copy of the submission please click here  

Comments to the National Radioactive Waste Management Project submitted by Medical Association for Prevention of War & Public Health Association of Australia | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Democracy is missing in action as we rush to war https://www.mapw.org.au/news/democracy-is-missing-in-action-as-we-rush-to-war/ Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:52:37 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/democracy-is-missing-in-action-as-we-rush-to-war/  For a society which believes that power flows from the people to the state rather than the reverse, the spectacle of prime ministers clinging to the ancient privileges of the sovereign to decide on matters of war and peace is both an anomaly and an anachronism. When it comes to the grave decision to commit […]

Democracy is missing in action as we rush to war | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 For a society which believes that power flows from the people to the state rather than the reverse, the spectacle of prime ministers clinging to the ancient privileges of the sovereign to decide on matters of war and peace is both an anomaly and an anachronism. When it comes to the grave decision to commit Australian troops to war, our government needs to move with the times.

 For a society which believes that power flows from the people to the state rather than the reverse, the spectacle of prime ministers clinging to the ancient privileges of the sovereign to decide on matters of war and peace is both an anomaly and an anachronism. When it comes to the grave decision to commit Australian troops to war, our government needs to move with the times.

Within the space of three weeks in August and September, Tony Abbott, on his own authority, was able to take Australia from dropping biscuits and bottled water for fleeing Yazidi civilians to landing arms and munitions for one party to the conflict – under the rubric of alleviating “the humanitarian situation in Iraq”. Remarkably, these deliveries of arms and munitions to unnamed forces were at the request of the United States, not at that stage the government of Iraq.

The usual self-serving arguments the major parties advance against Parliamentary involvement are without merit. Parliament can be consulted within the time it takes to mount any major deployment. Parliament will not prevent timely action when the nation is genuinely under threat, because in those circumstances government and the opposition (and I would expect the Greens) will support taking action.

Government claims to be in possession of secret intelligence which it cannot share, but that won’t cut it with the public after the fabrications of 2003 – and I do not believe it can be assumed that everyone will vote on party lines if Parliament were to become the forum for these decisions.

Accordingly, what Australians should expect is a legislated requirement for deployments – in situations short of an emergency which place Australia under direct threat – to require prior authorisation by both Houses of Parliament.  Before any vote, the government should table an opinion by the Solicitor-General as to the legality of the war, including a full statement of the reasoning, so that Parliament can make a properly informed decision and we do not have a repeat of the situation of 2003 where we deployed our troops in circumstances which the overwhelming weight of legal opinion said made the invasion illegal.

A recent poll conducted by Roy Morgan on behalf of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry bears out the fact that Australia’s major political parties are completely out of step with the voters on the question of Parliamentary involvement in authorising deployment of the Australian Defence Force into armed conflict abroad.

When asked whether they believe the Parliament should be required to approve decisions to commit Australian troops to war, three out of four Australians surveyed responded that, unless there is immediate danger to Australia, Parliament should be required to approve a decision to send Australian troops into armed conflict abroad. Nearly one in three believe that Parliament should be required to approve that decision even when there is immediate danger to Australia.

This is an issue close to Australians’ hearts and one that politicians should heed – if not out of genuine concern for Australia’s military operations and accountability to the public then surely for the sake of their own political survival. Interestingly, for people surveyed who voted ALP at the last election, 87.4 per cent of respondents said that in the absence of immediate danger to Australia, Parliament should be required to authorise; that was the position of 74.7 per cent of people who voted for the Nationals, and 62.5 per cent of people who voted Liberal.

The same question was put to every federal parliamentarian. The response rate was, with very notable exceptions, appallingly low. On the issue of parliamentary authorisation of deployment, which is routinely referred to as “the most momentous decision a country can make”, and which three quarters of Australians want decided in Parliament, our elected representatives have mostly been silent.

The office of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop responded that the Minister is unable to participate in any surveys, a rule that is enforced by the Chief Government Whip. This ludicrous and non-transparent rule apparently now applies to all Liberal parliamentarians. We are told that our troops fight to preserve our democracy. That democracy appears to be missing in action when the nation goes to war.

The Labor Party has some particular soul searching to do on this issue. Labor, to its credit, opposed our participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has chosen to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the government on the latest adventure. He has stated four conditions for Labor’s support: not deploying ground combat units, confining Australian operations to Iraq, continuing involvement only until the Iraqi government can take full responsibility, and withdrawing if Iraqi forces engage in unacceptable conduct.

These conditions are interesting but they have no force or effect, as any decision to widen our participation in the conflict is entirely in the hands of the Prime Minister, so Tony Abbott can throw “bipartisanship” overboard any time it suits him to allow the mission to creep, a time which will surely come. If, on the other hand, deployment required authorisation by Parliament, as almost nine in 10 Labor voters would wish, those conditions could have been enshrined in the necessary Parliamentary resolution and thus become binding on the government until such time as the government could persuade the Parliament to relax the conditions.

This is the procedure now followed by the country with the most similar political system to our own, the United Kingdom. Prime Minister David Cameron took the proposed deployment of UK troops to the House of Commons; the Commons authorised deployment to operations in Iraq but ruled out operations in Syria.

Australians expect the parliament to act in the interests of the public who have elected them. Such an expectation is only magnified when it comes to such serious and grave circumstances as those requiring a decision to commit troops to foreign theatres of war. Enshrining full parliamentary approval as a necessary precursor to such decisions is a vital step toward strengthening the democratic integrity of our country.

Paul Barratt is a former Secretary to the Department of Defence and president of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry, a body which is campaigning for the reform of “war powers”.

The Age, 29th October 2014

Democracy is missing in action as we rush to war | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Poor sick Iraq https://www.mapw.org.au/news/poor-sick-iraq/ Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:50:54 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/poor-sick-iraq/ Poor sick Iraq by Dr Peter Wigg, October 2014 Preamble: Poor sick Iraq by Dr Peter Wigg, October 2014 Preamble: Among other things, MAPW  attempts to bring a thoughtful ‘medical’ perspective to any discussion of the use of military intervention as an aspect of Australian foreign policy, balancing good intentions against harm inflicted, encouraging both […]

Poor sick Iraq | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Poor sick Iraq by Dr Peter Wigg, October 2014

Preamble:

Poor sick Iraq by Dr Peter Wigg, October 2014

Preamble:

Among other things, MAPW  attempts to bring a thoughtful ‘medical’ perspective to any discussion of the use of military intervention as an aspect of Australian foreign policy, balancing good intentions against harm inflicted, encouraging both peaceful conflict resolution and the avoidance of unnecessary suffering.

In this article about what our response should be to the recent development of ISIL in Iraq and Syria, I have confined myself to discussing what is best for the sick country of Iraq, as if that country was my patient, perhaps. The debate could also be about what is best for the Middle East as a whole, or for Western interests there, or for the American people, or the standing of the American president, or the finances of various vested interests there, or about what is best for Australia, or the popularity of the Australian government, and so on. But what is best for the people of Iraq is complex enough for a start.

Apart from being a member of MAPW, I have recently spent two years working for Medecins Sans Frontiers on various health projects in the Middle East, including in Iraq, and have taken a prolonged interest in what is happening there. So I bring to this a first-hand knowledge of Iraq itself that may be missing for many Australians, as well as my perspective as a doctor and as a psychiatrist.  

The Iraqi Sickness:

The US did not press to remove Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War in 1990-91 because it feared another Lebanon – a failed state torn by ethnic and sectarian rivalries. This is what has now occurred since the 2003 US-led invasion and has proven to be its longest-lasting and most significant legacy. There were plenty of commentators warning against these effects at the time, and plenty saying Saddam’s regime did not pose a genuine threat to the West. Even if Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, which he did not, there was little indication he would use them against the West. Yet we made this mistake and are in danger of now making matters worse.

Subsequent to this 2003 invasion, the insurgency in Iraq, opposed to what had happened and to the continuing occupation of their country by the West, was largely Sunni. The US worked with Shiites in brutal counterinsurgency measures against them. These included a regime of wide spread torture of Sunnis, often of individuals against whom there was little more than hearsay evidence from Shia rivals. This was not generally known about in the West at the time, but has become public in recent years. Beheadings were also common. People disappeared and turned up headless on the streets. This intimidation and torture-based aspect of the US counterinsurgency encouraged extreme hostility between these two major components of the population of Iraq, who had previously lived side by side for the most part, in an uneasy peace. The hugely exacerbated sectarian rivalry then grew out of US control and has continued ever since, with atrocities committed by both sides.

The US then supported the further divisive Shiite Nouri al-Maliki government in running the new Iraq with cruelty, comparable to that of Saddam Hussein, plus extraordinary incompetence, and debilitating corruption. The once-good infra structure and health services in Iraq are now prohibitively expensive and appallingly bad, business cannot thrive, and the police, prisons and judiciary concern themselves with extorting money from innocent people rather than promoting the rule of law. Comment, criticism and opposition from the more-educated, and previously more competent, Sunnis has been brutally suppressed with a continuing regime of intimidation by government-supported death squads, imprisonment and torture. I am not sure if this includes continued beheadings or not. Car bombs, particularly in the market places of various cities in Iraq, continue generally unreported in our press. Twenty people were killed by suicide bombers in Baghdad at the same time as we have been distressed by the recent activities of ISIL. Many times more would have been permanently disabled or disfigured by these bombs. Huge numbers have had this happen to them throughout Iraq over recent years, while the government in Baghdad encourages the sectarian divide for its own ends. Try as we might to dismiss suicide bombers as simply mad, they are surely symptomatic of a distressed society. Suicide bombers have often experienced gross injustices to themselves of their families against which there is no redress and no future protection. 

Now an extremist oppositional Sunni group has arisen, not surprisingly, and something we think is worse than anything that came before in its brutality, being more ideological and less merely opportunist, having quickly gained power, money and territory, and having deliberately provoked our dismay with internet beheadings of Westerners. The Iraqi army was highly-equipped, and said to be well-trained, by the US before departure, but showed little interest in fighting them, however. Our media has blamed the Iraqi army for being ‘weak’ or ‘unmotivated’, but I do not think that there is any question Iraqi soldiers can be extremely brave when they want to be. So the more useful questions to ask might be: ‘Why do they not want to fight ISIL?’  Maybe they do not want to support their own government as we imagine they would. The tribal leaders of Anbar Province have not opposed ISIL and have allowed them to within a few kilometers of Baghdad. Maybe they do not want their current government either.

What are we doing to help?

Years too late, the US recently withdrew support for the much-disliked al-Maliki, once ISIL had appeared on the scene, and encouraged his replacement in Baghdad with Haider al-Abadi, on the grounds that any military assistance in dealing with ISIL should be accompanied by the Baghdad government mending its ways and working to re-unite the country and run it as a whole. Obama claimed to be impressed by Abadi’s political vision in this regard. A few days later, however, Abadi surprised everyone by telling reporters at the UN general Assembly that Iraq had ‘credible’ evidence that ISIL was planning to bomb subways in Paris and New York. No-one else had any evidence of this, and the citizens of the two cities were quickly reassured by their own leaders. The reliability of the new Iraqi leader was called into question, however, along with his so-called ‘vision’, as everyone wonders what game he is playing at.

Hopes for re-uniting the country under this new leader remain low. Nevertheless, he is the one whose fight we wish to take up. And maybe he does not even want us there himself, unless he can turn it to his advantage, although we are said to have been invited. Tony Abbot had offered on-the-ground Australian military advisors in Baghdad, but time has passed and the new Abadi government continues to delay processing the offer.

The role of the Kurds:

Meanwhile, in the north of Iraq the US after their 2003 invasion had championed the creation of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. The Kurdish government, also supported by the US since then, has run that part of Iraq slightly better, but elections were of dubious legitimacy, criticism was suppressed with political imprisonments, and government members were also corrupt, self-serving and neglectful of the needs of the people despite the large amounts of oil-money at their disposal. They also harbour ambitions to secede from the rest of Iraq taking most of the oil-rich territory with them. Their army, the Pesh Merga, with a traditional hatred of the Arabs, has been willing to fight ISIL, but has already committed atrocities against non-combatant Arabs in the areas where they have been doing so. They have also acquired new territory for the Kurds that they did not previously have, further disuniting Iraq as a whole.

How to help?

What the people of Iraq need is a healing of wounds and eventual recovery from the debilitating effect of ethnic and sectarian conflict. Maybe they will do this eventually by forming three separate countries, or maybe by eventually working together for the common good. It would be in everyone’s best interest long-term, and theirs in particular, to encourage such healing.

But will it help for the West to take sides and intervene again with military force? ISIL is no doubt brutal in its methods, and the people of Iraq need to protect themselves against this, but should we be supporting militarily one lot of bullies in power against other bullies seeking power? Will this kind of support for the appalling government in Baghdad improve the country long-term or make sectarian divisions worse? Will this kind of support for the suspect Kurds help or make things worse? Will Western military opposition to ISIL weaken it or strengthen its numbers by encouraging recruits by having them see the West as their enemy as well?

Add to this that our bombs, and perhaps eventual on-the-ground intervention, will kill and injure large numbers more of Iraqi noncombatants, and displace many more from their homes.

Maybe we have made too many mistakes already by taking sides in Iraq’s internal struggles. Maybe doing so again remains counterproductive. Maybe there is nothing to be done militarily. Perhaps the best we can do is offer humanitarian assistance to those displaced or injured, and encourage the Iraqis to deal with their problems their own way. This may not sound like much, considering how provoked we are by ISIL’s gestures towards us, but to do something just for the sake of doing something, when nothing will work, and when doing something may well make matters worse, is ridiculous. Maybe we have already made such a mess through military intervention in Iraq our only option is to stop before we cause more suffering? This happens in medical practice sometimes. Sometimes further surgery is only going to aggravate the pain.  END

Poor sick Iraq | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Don’t rush through unnecessary counter-terror laws that erode democratic rights and freedoms https://www.mapw.org.au/news/dont-rush-through-unnecessary-counter-terror-laws-that-erode-democratic-rights-and-freedoms/ Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:30:09 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/dont-rush-through-unnecessary-counter-terror-laws-that-erode-democratic-rights-and-freedoms/ The Australian Government has an important duty to protect the community from terrorism. At times, laws can legitimately limit the rights of individuals for the purpose of countering this threat, provided the limitations are necessary and proportionate. In fact, national security laws and the protection of human rights share complementary goals; both are concerned with protecting […]

Don’t rush through unnecessary counter-terror laws that erode democratic rights and freedoms | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Australian Government has an important duty to protect the community from terrorism. At times, laws can legitimately limit the rights of individuals for the purpose of countering this threat, provided the limitations are necessary and proportionate. In fact, national security laws and the protection of human rights share complementary goals; both are concerned with protecting Australians from haThe Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 currently before the Senate proposes many significant changes to Australia’s counter-terrorism laws. The stated aim is to improve the Government’s ability to respond to the threat posed by Australians who return from overseas after fighting in conflicts or training with terrorist organisations.

The Government is seeking to rush this law through Parliament by the end of this month. Doing so will deny our elected representatives and the community the opportunity to fully debate the proposed changes.

The Government must explain why all of these changes are needed. Australia already has laws to meet the threat posed by foreign fighters. Indeed, the Government and its agencies have formidable powers to combat terrorism. In light of this, it is not clear why some of the changes in the Bill are necessary, particularly where they could have a major impact on the human rights of every Australian.

Additionally, aspects of the Bill are not urgent and do not address the threat posed by foreign fighters. The Bill extends the sunset clauses for existing counter-terrorism regimes relating to control orders, preventative detention orders and ASIO detention and questioning warrants. These regimes risk encroaching on rights to freedom from arbitrary detention, free speech, movement and association, without specifically addressing the threat posed by foreign fighters. In any event, none of these regimes is due to expire until the end of 2015.

The aspects of the Bill that specifically target foreign fighters contain new offences, such as the offence of travelling to declared areas, which effectively reverse the onus of proof and threaten the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. Another new offence of advocating terrorism threatens the right to a fair trial and the right to freedom of expression.

Given the extraordinary nature of this Bill, the undersigned call on the Australian Parliament to not pass the Bill without a more comprehensive public consultation on the necessity of the laws and their compliance with domestic and international human rights obligations.

This statement has been endorsed by the following academics and religious, community, legal and human rights organisations:

1.   Afghan Australian Development Organisation

2.   Amnesty International Australia

3.   Assoc Professor Greg Carne, University of New England

4.   Asylum Seekers Resource Centre

5.   Australian National Imams Council

6.   Australian Privacy Foundation

7.   Australian Tamil Congress

8.   Castan Centre for Human Rights Law

9.   Civil Liberties Australia

10. Dr Nesam McMillan, University of Melbourne

11. Dr Nicola McGarrity, University of New South Wales

12. Federation of Community Legal Centres (Victoria) Inc

13. Human Rights Law Centre

14. International Commission of Jurists Victoria

15. Islamic Council of NSW

16. Islamic Council of Western Australia

17. Islamic Egyptian Society of New South Wales

18. Lebanese Muslim Association

19. Liberty Victoria

20. Mahboba’s Promise

21. Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance

22. Medical Association for Prevention of War

23. Mohamad Tabbaa, University of Melbourne

24. Muslim Legal Network (NSW)

25. Muslim Legal Network (Vic)

26. Muslim Legal Network (WA)

27. National Association of Community Legal Centres

28. National Foundation for Australian Women

29. New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties

30. Professor George Williams AO, University of New South Wales

31. Professor Ben Saul, The University of Sydney

32. Professor Hilary Charlesworth, The Australian National University

33. Queensland Association of Independent Legal Services Inc

34. Queensland Council for Civil Liberties

35. Right Now Inc

36. RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees

37. South Australian Council for Civil Liberties

38. Tamil Refugee Council

39. The Australian Lawyers Alliance

40. United Muslim Women Association Inc

41. Uniting Justice Australia, Uniting Church

42. Western Australian Muslim Lawyers Association

43. Women’s Electoral Lobby Australia 

Don’t rush through unnecessary counter-terror laws that erode democratic rights and freedoms | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

]]> More Australian Government Action Needed on Ebola https://www.mapw.org.au/news/more-australian-government-action-needed-on-ebola/ Sun, 12 Oct 2014 16:25:33 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/more-australian-government-action-needed-on-ebola/ The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) & the Australian Healtcare & Hospitals Association have called on the Australian Government to do more to help stem the spread of ebola across West Africa. Speaking at a press conference Michael Moore, CEO of the PHAA said, The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) & the Australian […]

More Australian Government Action Needed on Ebola | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) & the Australian Healtcare & Hospitals Association have called on the Australian Government to do more to help stem the spread of ebola across West Africa. Speaking at a press conference Michael Moore, CEO of the PHAA said,

The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) & the Australian Healtcare & Hospitals Association have called on the Australian Government to do more to help stem the spread of ebola across West Africa. Speaking at a press conference Michael Moore, CEO of the PHAA said,

“Australia is lagging behind the US and UK after further commitments from these countries to provide funding and resources to stem the outbreak. The Australian Government’s response has been the provision of an initial $1million to the World Health Organisation in the early stages of the outbreak, followed by an additional $7 million last week. While this investment is welcomed, it is a drop in the bucket compared to the $750 million from the US (as well as military personnel) and £100 million from the UK. Funding needs to include provision for treatment centres, direct medical support, personal protective equipment, training for volunteers and non-profit health workers and  health personnel, a logistics hub and emergency supplies,” 

To read the PHAA briefing on the current situation click here
 
To read the press statement in full click here
 

More Australian Government Action Needed on Ebola | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Parliament denied a role in our most important decision, says campaign group https://www.mapw.org.au/news/parliament-denied-a-role-in-our-most-important-decision-says-campaign-group/ Wed, 01 Oct 2014 21:02:38 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/parliament-denied-a-role-in-our-most-important-decision-says-campaign-group/  Parliament denied a role in our most important decision, says Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry group  Parliament denied a role in our most important decision, says Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry group Thursday, October 2nd 2014 – Serious concerns continue to be expressed about the Australian Government’s refusal to allow parliamentary debate before […]

Parliament denied a role in our most important decision, says campaign group | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 Parliament denied a role in our most important decision, says Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry group

 Parliament denied a role in our most important decision, says Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry group

Thursday, October 2nd 2014 – Serious concerns continue to be expressed about the Australian Government’s refusal to allow parliamentary debate before Australia goes to war again.  The Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry, which has raised awareness of the lessons that should have been learnt from the 2003 invasion of Iraq, strongly supports the Greens’ call for such debate and the courageous stance also taken by parliamentarians such as Melissa Parke and Andrew Wilkie.  A decision to send the ADF abroad into armed combat should have full parliamentary debate and approval not only to authorise it, but to define the duration and geographical particulars of that deployment.

Australia should fall into line with the practice now adopted by the UK, where Parliament debates and authorises any deployment into armed conflict abroad.  In the US, it is Congress that authorises the use of military force.

In addition, it is ironic that the commencement of Australia’s military role in Iraq can be held up for the completion of a Status of Forces agreement with the Iraqi Government, but cannot be brought to Australian lawmakers at any stage.

CIWI President, former Defence Department head Paul Barratt, said, “ADF personnel deserve the greatest possible scrutiny of decisions that put them in harm’s way, as do the people of Iraq, Syria and the region which Australia helped to destabilise so disastrously in 2003.  This is too important a matter to be left to the vagaries of small group decision making, in which a dominant  Prime Minister will always get his/her way, and it is too easy to ignore the reservations of some of the participants and/or be swept up by faulty intelligence assessments fed to us by our allies.”

There are a host of questions that remain unanswered about the deployments, such as the specific goals and end points that are being sought, their anticipated duration, the likely civilian casualties, the economic cost to Australians, the legality of any actions in or over Syria, and the likelihood of ground troops being needed.  Without parliamentary debate, the Australian people are denied information on these most crucial questions. 

 

For interviews:

CIWI President, Paul Barratt  0411 276 996

For further information: CIWI Secretary  Dr Sue Wareham 02 6257 4086 (Tues –Thurs), 02 6253 1117 (other days)

Parliament denied a role in our most important decision, says campaign group | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Doctors Prescribe NO URANIUM deal with India https://www.mapw.org.au/news/doctors-prescribe-no-uranium-deal-with-india/ Tue, 02 Sep 2014 17:20:14 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/doctors-prescribe-no-uranium-deal-with-india/ Doctors prescribe no uranium deal with India

Doctors Prescribe NO URANIUM deal with India | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Doctors prescribe no uranium deal with India

Doctors prescribe no uranium deal with India

 

Melbourne, Australia: Wednesday 03 September 2014:    Australian and Indian medical doctors have urged a re-think on planned uranium sales ahead of Prime Minister Abbott’s visit to India on Thursday 4th September 2014. The doctors recently met on 27 -29 August at the congress of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in Astana, Kazakhstan and represent Indian Doctors for Peace and Development and the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia).

The doctors have called on PM Abbott to not formalise the uranium sales deal because of the following critical issues:

1.    The negative impact the proposed sale would have on the already tense security situation between nuclear-armed neighbours and rivals India and Pakistan;

2.    India’s growing nuclear arsenal and continued production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, the materials for nuclear weapons, especially given that many Indian nuclear facilities are not subject to safeguards inspections;

3.    Current nuclear reactor safety concerns in India, as highlighted in a 2012 Indian Auditor-General’s report that was highly critical of the sector’s safety and regulatory record.

The IPPNW doctors are concerned that selling uranium to India, a nuclear armed state that is not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), would weaken efforts to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Indian officials have previously indicated that with imported uranium they can reserve their own uranium for their weapons program.  The doctors also dismissed recent comments by the Indian and Australian governments that nuclear power will provide electricity to India’s poorest citizens. Despite decades of investment and grand claims, nuclear power provides only 2% of India’s electricity, and India’s poor have severely limited access to electricity.

 “Nuclear power is definitely not the answer to poverty in India or even part of it; there needs instead to be far greater and faster implementation of renewable energy resources, and the Indian government should focus on this”, said Dr Arun Mitra of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development.  “The health impacts of nuclear power are too great and the Indian government pays too little concern to nuclear safety generally”. 

Dr Mitra cited the Indian governments lack of action over persistent concerns that the Jadugoda uranium mine in Jharkhand state is associated with severe health problems for the local people and the clear need for independent health studies of the region.  Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 plans for nuclear power in India have been fiercely contested with many Indians protesting against proposed nuclear facilities.

“Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima and we can’t afford to fuel the next nuclear conflict or nuclear accident,” said Australian radiologist and nuclear adviser Dr Peter Karamoskos. “As doctors we know that prevention is better than cure and Australia should reconsider its uranium supply deal with India”.

ENDS

Call Phyllis Campbell-McRae on 0431 475 465

Dr Peter Karamoskos on 0403 125 507 

Doctors Prescribe NO URANIUM deal with India | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Federal Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie is joined by Greens in call for Parliamentary debate before Australia joins international supply mission to Iraq https://www.mapw.org.au/news/federal-independent-mp-andrew-wilkie-is-joined-by-greens-in-call-for-parliamentary-debate-before-australia-joins-international-supply-mission-to-iraq/ Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:16:52 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/federal-independent-mp-andrew-wilkie-is-joined-by-greens-in-call-for-parliamentary-debate-before-australia-joins-international-supply-mission-to-iraq/ Federal Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie is joined by the Greens in call for a Parliamentary debate before Australia joins international supply mission to Iraq Federal Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie is joined by the Greens in call for a Parliamentary debate before Australia joins international supply mission to Iraq Monday 1st September 2014 Melbourne : Australia’s […]

Federal Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie is joined by Greens in call for Parliamentary debate before Australia joins international supply mission to Iraq | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Federal Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie is joined by the Greens in call for a Parliamentary debate before Australia joins international supply mission to Iraq

Federal Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie is joined by the Greens in call for a Parliamentary debate before Australia joins international supply mission to Iraq

Monday 1st September 2014 Melbourne : Australia’s latest military intervention in Iraq may have the support of the Labor Party – but the Greens and independent MP Andrew Wilkie say the international supply mission should have been debated by the Parliament.

In an article in the Australian news last week, Mr Wilkie said that Australia must not send troops to Iraq without the approval of parliament. He said Tony Abbott was at “real risk” of repeating the mistake made in 2003 when Australia joined the invasion of Iraq.

Mr Wilkie who resigned from his position as an intelligence analyst with the Office of National Assessments in 2003 because he believed information stating Iraq as a risk was overblown, said the problem 11 and a half years later was “of our own making”.

“Eleven years ago we helped start a war that has run for 11 and a half years that has created the circumstances in which these so-called jihadists are now running riot across the country and committing terrible atrocities,” he said in Hobart.

“The other regrettable dimension is that the government is at real risk of repeating the mistake of 11 and a half years ago of a prime minister, virtually alone, declaring war in another country.

“If Australia is to recommit combat troops to Iraq it must be, it must be, with the approval of the federal parliament.”

Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt also expressed concerned that Mr Abbott was engaging in possible “mission creep’’ in Iraq and said openness and transparency was needed.

“We could have that bill debated tomorrow if Tony Abbott and Labor would allow it to be brought to the floor of parliament, so far they’ve stood in the way of that bill being debated,’’ Mr Bandt said.

“Australia needs to join other democracies that say some form of parliamentary debate and approval is needed before we deploy our troops overseas including to Iraq.’’

Mr Bandt said the Greens had grave concerns that Australian troops could be sent overseas.

“We’ve seen what has happened in the past in Iraq, it has made the problem worse,’’ he said.

“We were told last time that military intervention would prevent these kinds of atrocities from happening in the first place and that’s clearly not the case.

“And the Greens are worried that the Prime Minister might be engaging in a bit of mission creep of having troops first there doing one job and then extending to another and that’s why we need some openness and transparency and a full parliamentary debate,’’ Mr Bandt said.

Today on ABC Radio National Mr Wilkie again made the request of the government to allow a full debate before committing Australian Defence Force staff. To hear the interview please click here

Federal Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie is joined by Greens in call for Parliamentary debate before Australia joins international supply mission to Iraq | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW announces a “very special evening with Naoto Kan, former Prime Minister of Japan https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-announces-a-very-special-evening-with-naoto-kan-former-prime-minister-of-japan/ Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:30:32 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-announces-a-very-special-evening-with-naoto-kan-former-prime-minister-of-japan/ The Medical Association for Prevention of War, in partnership with the Australian Conservation Foundation, is pleased to announce that Mr Naoto Kan will be their guest at a very special evening in Melbourne on Friday 29th August at 7.30pm at the City of Melbourne Bowls Club, Flagstaff Gardens, Dudley Street, West Melbourne. The Medical Association […]

MAPW announces a “very special evening with Naoto Kan, former Prime Minister of Japan | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Medical Association for Prevention of War, in partnership with the Australian Conservation Foundation, is pleased to announce that Mr Naoto Kan will be their guest at a very special evening in Melbourne on Friday 29th August at 7.30pm at the City of Melbourne Bowls Club, Flagstaff Gardens, Dudley Street, West Melbourne.

The Medical Association for Prevention of War, in partnership with the Australian Conservation Foundation, is pleased to announce that Mr Naoto Kan will be their guest at a very special evening in Melbourne on Friday 29th August at 7.30pm at the City of Melbourne Bowls Club, Flagstaff Gardens, Dudley Street, West Melbourne.

Mr Kan was the Prime Minister of Japan when the Fukushima nuclear reactor crisis began in March 2011. Since the meltdown Mr Kan has become an advocate for a future that is renewable, not radioactive.

We are pleased to have the unique opportunity to welcome Mr Kan to Melbourne for a just a few hours at the very end of his Australian tour.

Please join us to hear Mr Kan speak on his experience of the Fukushima crisis. There will be the opportunity for mingling and discussion surrounded by the beautiful Flagstaff Gardens.

The is a ticket only event. Tickets are $60 per head and includes a finger food buffet and drinks at bar prices.

All funds raised will be dedicated towards funding Mr Kan’s Australian speaking tour.

RSVP by Wednesday 27th August.

Further information: Kirsten Blair 0412 853 641 or click here to book 

 

MAPW announces a “very special evening with Naoto Kan, former Prime Minister of Japan | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW President calls on Australia’s Foreign Minister to take action on war in Gaza https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-president-calls-on-australias-foreign-minister-to-take-action-on-war-in-gaza/ Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:56:04 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-president-calls-on-australias-foreign-minister-to-take-action-on-war-in-gaza/ July 31st, 2014 Hon Julie BishopMinister for Foreign Affairs,Parliament House,Canberra. Dear Minister, July 31st, 2014 Hon Julie BishopMinister for Foreign Affairs,Parliament House,Canberra. Dear Minister, MAPW is deeply concerned about the increasing civilian deaths and injuries being caused through the indiscriminate use of force and armed conflict in Israel and Palestine. The MAPW condemns the conduct […]

MAPW President calls on Australia’s Foreign Minister to take action on war in Gaza | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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July 31st, 2014

Hon Julie Bishop
Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Parliament House,
Canberra.

Dear Minister,

July 31st, 2014

Hon Julie Bishop
Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Parliament House,
Canberra.

Dear Minister,

MAPW is deeply concerned about the increasing civilian deaths and injuries being caused through the indiscriminate use of force and armed conflict in Israel and Palestine.

The MAPW condemns the conduct of both the Israeli government and Hamas. Every single casualty in this three week long conflict is a tragedy. However there can be no doubt that Palestinian civilians in Gaza have borne the brunt of this war.

Despite the ongoing oppression of Palestinians and illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel, Hamas cannot be supported in its attacks on Israel. But Israel has responded with massive, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force, resulting in the death and injury of over one thousand innocent men, women and children. The current situation of attack and counter attack, and the resulting human suffering is unacceptable.

MAPW condemns flagrant breaches of international humanitarian law including indiscriminate and disproportionate use of lethal force, indiscriminate targeting of civilians, civilian infrastructure and locations where there is a high likelihood of civilian casualties. The humanitarian needs of the civilian population are paramount in international law and must always be respected and provided for irrespective of military arguments. Anything less constitutes a war crime.

International law also demands that medical professionals providing treatment to the victims of this war are able to work without the threat of violence and are able to access the essential medical supplies they require at all times. This includes medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, clean water, power & food.

We urge you, and the Australian government to reconsider your overt and tacit support of Israel in the current conflict with the Palestinian people.

We would encourage the Australian government to emulate its courage and clarity of action surrounding the MH 17 disaster, and apply it to the current Israeli / Hamas conflict. As a nation we, have an opportunity to use our position on the security council to call for an immediate cessation of the conflict and demand forensic scrutiny of conduct of the warring parties.

We must all recognise that injury and killings will not contribute to resolution and peace, but only to ongoing conflict.

Dr Jenny Grounds | President
Medical Association for Prevention of War,
Australia
PO Box 1379 Carlton Vic 3053
 

 

MAPW President calls on Australia’s Foreign Minister to take action on war in Gaza | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW & PHAA statement on the worsening security situation in Iraq https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-phaa-statement-on-the-worsening-security-situation-in-iraq/ Tue, 17 Jun 2014 15:37:54 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-phaa-statement-on-the-worsening-security-situation-in-iraq/   18th June 2014 by,   Dr Jenny Grounds, President, MAPW & Mr Michael Moore, CEO Public Health Association Australia   18th June 2014 by,   Dr Jenny Grounds, President, MAPW & Mr Michael Moore, CEO Public Health Association Australia The current situation in Iraq is critical. Already at least half a million people have […]

MAPW & PHAA statement on the worsening security situation in Iraq | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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18th June 2014

by,   Dr Jenny Grounds, President, MAPW & Mr Michael Moore, CEO Public Health Association Australia

 
18th June 2014

by,   Dr Jenny Grounds, President, MAPW & Mr Michael Moore, CEO Public Health Association Australia

The current situation in Iraq is critical. Already at least half a million people have fled their homes in the current push by ISIS to take over the major cities of Iraq’s North. We can anticipate worsening of the humanitarian crisis in the region, including spread of disease, mental health issues and physical trauma on a scale which will totally overwhelm UN and other aid organisations.

The destabilization in Iraq which is rapidly unfolding should not come as a surprise. Even before 2003, there were warnings of just such an eventuality as a result of the illegal invasion in that year by the British-U.S.-Australia coalition, an invasion that was opposed by millions of people in those countries. The U.S. imposed a top-down democratic process, and installed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has proved to be an ineffective leader.

Since that time, there have been calls for an inquiry in Australia into the decision-making process that led to Australia’s involvement in that catastrophic war.

Many groups and individuals, including former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, have also expressed great concern about our increasing fusion with the United States military including and specifically the Asia Pacific Pivot

Now Prime Minister Abbott is repeating the mistake made by Prime Minister Howard in 2003 by promising our forces to support the United States in whatever action they decide to take in response to the Iraq crisis. Our government clearly has not learned from Australia’s past mistakes.

Many key questions remain unanswered, such as: How can “the enemy” be attacked without intensifying the risks to civilians? How would further military action help bring peace and stability to Iraq and the region, when it has thus far merely intensified hatreds? What form would Australian involvement take and how would “success” be defined? What would be the likely humanitarian impact and what plans does Australia have to alleviate the suffering? What impact would Australian involvement have on our own security? What plan does Australia have for reconstruction in Iraq? Would military action be legal?

MAPW calls on the Australian government to:
• provide maximal humanitarian aid to support the increasing numbers of refugees who are seeking to escape the violence
• Refrain from committing Australian forces to further military action against Iraq without the most rigorous examination and debate in parliament, and without the approval of parliament
• encourage and allow the United Nations to perform its proper role in this crisis,
• initiate a Royal Commission into the processes that led to and our involvement in the 2003 Iraq invasion, and
• support the passage of a new War Powers Bill to ensure proper parliamentary debate and approval before any current or future decision to send the Australian Defence Forces to war.

ENDS

For comment and further information contact:
Phyllis Campbell-McRae, Executive Officer
tel: 03 9023 1958 mb: 0431 475 465
The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) works for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction and the prevention of armed conflict. We promote peace through research, advocacy, peace education and partnerships. Please use our many resources on nuclear weapons, power and waste, peace and conflicts.
Our professional not-for-profit organisation has branches across Australia, and works globally through the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.
 

 

MAPW & PHAA statement on the worsening security situation in Iraq | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

]]> MAPW makes a Submission on Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-makes-a-submission-on-environment-protection-and-biodiversity-conservation-amendment-bilateral-agreement-implementation-bill-2014/ Mon, 02 Jun 2014 20:08:59 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-makes-a-submission-on-environment-protection-and-biodiversity-conservation-amendment-bilateral-agreement-implementation-bill-2014/ The Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) is under immediate attack and there was only a small window of opportunity to make our views heard to the Inquiry pannel regarding the planned changes. 

MAPW makes a Submission on Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) is under immediate attack and there was only a small window of opportunity to make our views heard to the Inquiry pannel regarding the planned changes. 

The Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) is under immediate attack and there was only a small window of opportunity to make our views heard to the Inquiry pannel regarding the planned changes. One of the government’s key pushes is to devolve power for decisions, re uranium mining, to the states/territories. In the process of doing som any weakening of the legislation would see a significant reduction in protection and process – a recent example highlighting this can be seen with Toro Energy’s uranium proposal at Wiluna in WA where the WA authorities gave the all clear while the Feds imposed 35 conditions that need to be addressed before the project can advance. Click here to read our submission in full

MAPW makes a Submission on Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Doctor’s to rally against nuclear waste dump at Muckaty https://www.mapw.org.au/news/doctors-to-rally-against-nuclear-waste-dump-at-muckaty/ Wed, 21 May 2014 20:59:21 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/doctors-to-rally-against-nuclear-waste-dump-at-muckaty/ The Northern Territory (NT) branch of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) is calling on concerned medical professionals and the public to attend the public rally against the proposed radioactive was The Northern Territory (NT) branch of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) is calling on concerned medical professionals and the […]

Doctor’s to rally against nuclear waste dump at Muckaty | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Northern Territory (NT) branch of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) is calling on concerned medical professionals and the public to attend the public rally against the proposed radioactive was

The Northern Territory (NT) branch of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) is calling on concerned medical professionals and the public to attend the public rally against the proposed radioactive waste dump at Muckaty, in Tennant Creek, Central Australia, on Sunday 25th May 2014.

MAPW NT member, Dr Hilary Tyler said, “This rally is an opportunity for people to voice their strong opposition to the proposed Muckaty radioactive waste dump. MAPW will be at the rally because we believe there is no reason for this proposed dump to be built.” 

Click here to read the statement in full.

Doctor’s to rally against nuclear waste dump at Muckaty | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Enduring Effects of War – NEW FLYER AVAILABLE https://www.mapw.org.au/news/enduring-effects-of-war-new-flyer-available/ Mon, 28 Apr 2014 17:00:41 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/enduring-effects-of-war-new-flyer-available/ MAPW has produced a new flyer outlining briefly the lesson plans available as part of the Enduring Effcts of War Education Project. Click here to read the flyer MAPW has produced a new flyer outlining briefly the lesson plans available as part of the Enduring Effcts of War Education Project. Click here to read the […]

Enduring Effects of War – NEW FLYER AVAILABLE | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW has produced a new flyer outlining briefly the lesson plans available as part of the Enduring Effcts of War Education Project.

Click here to read the flyer

MAPW has produced a new flyer outlining briefly the lesson plans available as part of the Enduring Effcts of War Education Project.

Click here to read the flyer

Enduring Effects of War – NEW FLYER AVAILABLE | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Marshall Islands challenges nine nuclear-armed states in lawsuits before the world court https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-marshall-islands-challenges-nine-nuclear-armed-states-in-lawsuits-before-the-world-court/ Sun, 27 Apr 2014 19:26:15 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-marshall-islands-challenges-nine-nuclear-armed-states-in-lawsuits-before-the-world-court/ The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) today filed unprecedented lawsuits in the International Court of Justice to hold the nine nuclear-armed states accountable for flagrant violations of international law with respect to their nuclear disarmament obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law. The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) […]

The Marshall Islands challenges nine nuclear-armed states in lawsuits before the world court | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) today filed unprecedented lawsuits in the International Court of Justice to hold the nine nuclear-armed states accountable for flagrant violations of international law with respect to their nuclear disarmament obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) today filed unprecedented lawsuits in the International Court of Justice to hold the nine nuclear-armed states accountable for flagrant violations of international law with respect to their nuclear disarmament obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law.

To read the full article click here 

The Marshall Islands challenges nine nuclear-armed states in lawsuits before the world court | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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The Enduring Effects of War https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-enduring-effects-of-war/ Thu, 10 Apr 2014 17:30:33 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/the-enduring-effects-of-war/ Out of concern about the simplistic and sometimes misleading messaging about war and in particular the Anzac story, which is increasing as we approach its 100th anniversary, MAPW wanted to do something to promote among young people an understanding and appreciation of the real eff Out of concern about the simplistic and sometimes misleading messaging […]

The Enduring Effects of War | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Out of concern about the simplistic and sometimes misleading messaging about war and in particular the Anzac story, which is increasing as we approach its 100th anniversary, MAPW wanted to do something to promote among young people an understanding and appreciation of the real eff

Out of concern about the simplistic and sometimes misleading messaging about war and in particular the Anzac story, which is increasing as we approach its 100th anniversary, MAPW wanted to do something to promote among young people an understanding and appreciation of the real effects that war leaves behind.  
 
We are a national organisation of health workers concerned about the devastating and enduring effects that war has on people’s health, mental and physical as well as the public health of whole communities.
 
We joined with Act for Peace, the international agency for the Council of Australian Churches, and contracted the History Teachers Association of Victoria to produce some lessons, 11 in all, in a unit called the Enduring Effects of War  After a lot of research, interviewing, writing and checking and rechecking by the HTAV staff, especially Jo Clyne and Richard Smith, we have a great set of lessons available to be used in year 9,10, and 11.  They are completely compatible with the National Curriculum, full of factual information including some primary resources and designed to get students thinking critically about the subject matter. To view the lesson plans and resources availabe please click here.

  

The Enduring Effects of War | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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After the War is Over…..Anzac Eve Event back by popular demand https://www.mapw.org.au/news/after-the-war-is-over-anzac-eve-event-back-by-popular-demand/ Thu, 10 Apr 2014 17:23:24 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/after-the-war-is-over-anzac-eve-event-back-by-popular-demand/ Popular Anzac eve event makes a return, thanks to the Victoria Branch of MAPW & Brunswick Secondary College. Popular Anzac eve event makes a return, thanks to the Victoria Branch of MAPW & Brunswick Secondary College. The Victorian Branch of MAPW will be hosting another of its popular Anzac eve events this year entitled, After […]

After the War is Over…..Anzac Eve Event back by popular demand | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Popular Anzac eve event makes a return, thanks to the Victoria Branch of MAPW & Brunswick Secondary College.

Popular Anzac eve event makes a return, thanks to the Victoria Branch of MAPW & Brunswick Secondary College.

The Victorian Branch of MAPW will be hosting another of its popular Anzac eve events this year entitled, After the War is Over…taking place at Brunswick Secondary College, at 7pm on Thursday 24th April 2014. Students from the school will also be involved in the evening’s entertainment and discussion. Presentation will be made by Kevin Foster, Nouria Salehi and Peter Wigg. Music will be from the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre band, Brice Wilson and the students of Brunswick Secondary College. There will also be poetry readings performed by the students. The event is free and tickets are limited so book now to avoid missing out. A light supper will also be provided. To find out more details and how to book please click here

After the War is Over…..Anzac Eve Event back by popular demand | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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CAMECO – Stop Promoting Radiation Junk Science https://www.mapw.org.au/news/cameco-stop-promoting-radiation-junk-science/ Tue, 11 Mar 2014 13:23:05 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/cameco-stop-promoting-radiation-junk-science/  MARCH 12 2014 : Canadian-based Cameco Corporation is the world’s second largest uranium mining company, with 27 uraniu  MARCH 12 2014 : Canadian-based Cameco Corporation is the world’s second largest uranium mining company, with 27 uranium exploration programs in Australia. It has one active proposal to mine uranium − at Kintyre, an area excised from […]

CAMECO – Stop Promoting Radiation Junk Science | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 MARCH 12 2014 : Canadian-based Cameco Corporation is the world’s second largest uranium mining company, with 27 uraniu

 MARCH 12 2014 : Canadian-based Cameco Corporation is the world’s second largest uranium mining company, with 27 uranium exploration programs in Australia. It has one active proposal to mine uranium − at Kintyre, an area excised from the Karlamilyi National Park in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

 Cameco has consistently promoted the fringe scientific view that exposure to low-level radiation is harmless.

 Cameco has sponsored speaking events by Canadian scientist Dr Doug Boreham, who argues that low-level radiation is actually beneficial to human health. (Dr Boreham has also travelled to Australia to promote these views in 2007 and 2010.)

 Those views are at odds with mainstream scientific evidence and expert assessment. For example:

·         A 2010 report by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation states that “the current balance of available evidence tends to favour a non-threshold response for the mutational component of radiation-associated cancer induction at low doses and low dose rates.” (www.unscear.org/docs/reports/2010/UNSCEAR_2010_Report_M.pdf)

·         The 2006 report of the Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionising Radiation (BEIR) of the US National Academy of Sciences states that “the risk of cancer proceeds in a linear fashion at lower doses without a threshold and … the smallest dose has the potential to cause a small increase in risk to humans.” The report also concludes that claims that low-level radiation exposure may be beneficial to human health are “unwarrranted”. (www.nap.edu/books/030909156X/html)

·         An expert review published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (US) in 2003 concluded that: “Given that it is supported by experimentally grounded, quantifiable, biophysical arguments, a linear extrapolation of cancer risks from intermediate to very low doses currently appears to be the most appropriate methodology.” (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14610281)

 It is irresponsible for Cameco to consistently promote fringe scientific views regarding the health effects of ionising radiation. Even more alarming is that Cameco has actively promoted this view through its newsletters to Aboriginal communities about the Kintyre project.)

Recent scientific research has heightened concern about exposure to radon, the main source of radiation doses to uranium industry workers. In 2009, the International Commission on Radiological Protection concluded that radon gas delivers almost twice the radiation dose to humans as originally thought and the Commission is in the process of reassessing permissible levels. Previous dose estimates to miners need to be approximately doubled to accurately reflect the lung cancer hazard.

 We call on Cameco to stop promoting fringe scientific views to uranium industry workers and to the public at large.

Signatories (all medical doctors working in Australia):

1.      Jason Garrood MBBS, FACRRM

2.      Bill Williams MBBS

3.      Margaret Beavis MBBS FRACGP

4.      Peter Karamoskos MBBS, FRANZCR

5.      Hilary Tyler MBChB, FACEM

6.      Jenny Grounds MBBS, DRANZCOG, Grad Dip Med Acup.

7.      Jane Ralls MBBS MRCGP (UK)

8.      Catherine Silsbury MBBS, MHSc, FAChAM

9.      Simon Leslie MBBS

10.  Peter Shannon, MBBS, DPM, FRANZCP

11.  George Crisp MBBS, MRCGP

12.  Brendan Leslie BSc(Chem)Adv(Dist) MBBS EM Cert. (ACEM)

13.  Marion Carey MBBS (Hons.), MPH, FAFPHM, FRSPH

14.  Tom Keaney MBBS

15.  Ben Bartlett MBBS, MPH, FAFOEM, FAFPHM, MRACGP

16.  Sue Wareham OAM, MBBS

17.  Ken Harvey MBBS, FRCPA

18.  Michael Fonda MBBS, B.Med.Sci, FRACGP

19.  James Rossiter AM, DU Deakin Honoris Causa, FRACP, FRCP Ed, MRCS, LRCP, MMSA, DCH, DObstRCOG

20.  Linda Selvey MBBS(Hon), PhD

21.  Peter Tait MBBS, DipRACOG, FRACGP, MClimChng, MPHAA

22.  Vicky Tee MBBS, DRANZCOG, FRACGP

23.  Kingsley Faulkner MBBS, FRACS, AM

24.  Kristen Pearson MBBS, FRACP

25.  David King MBBS, MPH, FRACGP

26.  Dimity Williams MBBS (Hons) FRACGP

27.  Emeritus Prof.  David Shearman, MB Ch.B Ph.D FRACP FRCPE

28.  Sallie Forrest MBBS (Hons.) MScPH(LSHTM)(Dist.)

29.  Richard Yin MBBS

30.  Louise E. Sparrow MB.BS PhD FRACGP

31.  Sally Attrill MBBS FRACGP

32.  Mary Belfrage MBBS DRANZCOG MRACGP

33.  Niall Quiery MBBS DRCOG MRACGP DTM

34.  Tilman A Ruff MB,BS (Hons), FRACP, AM

35.   Alf Liebhold MBBS DCH FRACGP

36.   David Legge MD FRACP

37.  Janet Bodycomb BSc, MBBS, FRACGP

38.  Kate Jackson MBBS, DTM+H, FRCA, FAChPM (RACP), FFPMANZCA

39.  Harry Cohen AM, MBBS, FRACOG

 ENDS

CAMECO – Stop Promoting Radiation Junk Science | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Fukushima Three Years Later – a photo essay https://www.mapw.org.au/news/fukushima-three-years-later-a-photo-essay-2/ Mon, 10 Mar 2014 19:18:29 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/fukushima-three-years-later-a-photo-essay-2/  Kristian Laemmle-Ruff was recently in Fukushima, where he took hundreds of photos documenting the continuing health and environmental costs of the nuclear power plant disaster that devastated a city and its people and shook the world three yea  Kristian Laemmle-Ruff was recently in Fukushima, where he took hundreds of photos documenting the continuing health and […]

Fukushima Three Years Later – a photo essay | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 Kristian Laemmle-Ruff was recently in Fukushima, where he took hundreds of photos documenting the continuing health and environmental costs of the nuclear power plant disaster that devastated a city and its people and shook the world three yea

 Kristian Laemmle-Ruff was recently in Fukushima, where he took hundreds of photos documenting the continuing health and environmental costs of the nuclear power plant disaster that devastated a city and its people and shook the world three years ago today. A selection of Kristian’s photos and his commentary are below. His father—IPPNW co-president Tilman Ruff— has also written about the ongoing public health issues that challenge Japan and the international community today as a result of the Fukushima. Click here to read the article in full.

Fukushima Three Years Later – a photo essay | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Fukushima Three Years Later – a photo essay https://www.mapw.org.au/news/fukushima-three-years-later-a-photo-essay/ Mon, 10 Mar 2014 19:17:37 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/fukushima-three-years-later-a-photo-essay/  Kristian Laemmle-Ruff was recently in Fukushima, where he took hundreds of photos documenting the continuing health and environmental costs of the nuclear power plant disaster that devastated a city and its people and shook the world three yea  Kristian Laemmle-Ruff was recently in Fukushima, where he took hundreds of photos documenting the continuing health and […]

Fukushima Three Years Later – a photo essay | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 Kristian Laemmle-Ruff was recently in Fukushima, where he took hundreds of photos documenting the continuing health and environmental costs of the nuclear power plant disaster that devastated a city and its people and shook the world three yea

 Kristian Laemmle-Ruff was recently in Fukushima, where he took hundreds of photos documenting the continuing health and environmental costs of the nuclear power plant disaster that devastated a city and its people and shook the world three years ago today. A selection of Kristian’s photos and his commentary are below. His father—IPPNW co-president Tilman Ruff— has also written about the ongoing public health issues that challenge Japan and the international community today as a result of the Fukushima. Click here to read the article in full.

Fukushima Three Years Later – a photo essay | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Fukushima – Three Years On https://www.mapw.org.au/news/fukushima-three-years-on/ Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:47:03 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/fukushima-three-years-on/  Tuesday 11 March 2014 marks the third anniversary since the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. As thousands of people around the world gather to hold vigals to remember the people affected by the accident, the Japanese government is hoping to send residents back to the region.  Tuesday […]

Fukushima – Three Years On | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 Tuesday 11 March 2014 marks the third anniversary since the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. As thousands of people around the world gather to hold vigals to remember the people affected by the accident, the Japanese government is hoping to send residents back to the region.

 Tuesday 11 March 2014 marks the third anniversary since the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. As thousands of people around the world gather to hold vigals to remember the people affected by the accident, the Japanese government is hoping to send residents back to the region. Click here to read the selection of articles published by Fukushima Update. Please check the events section of this website to find your nearest vigal.

 

 

Fukushima – Three Years On | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Sad to Announce the passing of Michael Denborough, founder of the Nuclear Disarmament Party https://www.mapw.org.au/news/sad-to-announce-the-passing-of-michael-denborough-founder-of-the-nuclear-disarmament-party/ Wed, 12 Feb 2014 16:23:49 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/sad-to-announce-the-passing-of-michael-denborough-founder-of-the-nuclear-disarmament-party/ Sadly on Saturday 8th February 2014 Michael Denborough, founder of the Nuclear Disarmament Party, passed away. Sadly on Saturday 8th February 2014 Michael Denborough, founder of the Nuclear Disarmament Party, passed away. Michael was 84 years old. A memorial service to celebrate the life of Michael Denborough will be held at 11am on FridayFebruary 14 2014 in […]

Sad to Announce the passing of Michael Denborough, founder of the Nuclear Disarmament Party | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Sadly on Saturday 8th February 2014 Michael Denborough, founder of the Nuclear Disarmament Party, passed away.

Sadly on Saturday 8th February 2014 Michael Denborough, founder of the Nuclear Disarmament Party, passed away. Michael was 84 years old.

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Michael Denborough will be held at 11am on FridayFebruary 14 2014 in the Rosina Function Space, Abbotsford Convent, 1st Heliers Street, Melbourne VIC 3067, Melways Ref 44 G5. Off street parking available. 

No flowers by request.

Messages are very welcome care of: messages@dulwichcentre.com.au 

Sad to Announce the passing of Michael Denborough, founder of the Nuclear Disarmament Party | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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John Pilger: The media’s act of hypnosis that keeps the crimes of our leaders out of sight https://www.mapw.org.au/news/john-pilger-the-medias-act-of-hypnosis-that-keeps-the-crimes-of-our-leaders-out-of-sight/ Wed, 29 Jan 2014 15:51:17 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/john-pilger-the-medias-act-of-hypnosis-that-keeps-the-crimes-of-our-leaders-out-of-sight/     Today liberal democracy is being replaced by a system in which people are accountable to a corporate state – not the other way round as it should be, says John Pilger. Click here to read the opinion piece in full.  

John Pilger: The media’s act of hypnosis that keeps the crimes of our leaders out of sight | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Today liberal democracy is being replaced by a system in which people are accountable to a corporate state – not the other way round as it should be, says John Pilger. Click here to read the opinion piece in full.

 

John Pilger: The media’s act of hypnosis that keeps the crimes of our leaders out of sight | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Nobel Laureate Warns Two Billion at Risk from Nuclear Famine https://www.mapw.org.au/news/nobel-laureate-warns-two-billion-at-risk-from-nuclear-famine/ Mon, 09 Dec 2013 17:36:42 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/nobel-laureate-warns-two-billion-at-risk-from-nuclear-famine/ International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the 1985 Nobel Peace Laureate, and its Australian affiliate Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) today released a new report concluding that more than two billion people—a quarter of the world’s population—would be at risk of starvatio International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear […]

Nobel Laureate Warns Two Billion at Risk from Nuclear Famine | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the 1985 Nobel Peace Laureate, and its Australian affiliate Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) today released a new report concluding that more than two billion people—a quarter of the world’s population—would be at risk of starvatio

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the 1985 Nobel Peace Laureate, and its Australian affiliate Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) today released a new report concluding that more than two billion people—a quarter of the world’s population—would be at risk of starvation in the event of a limited nuclear exchange, such as one that could occur between India and Pakistan, or by the use of even a small number of the nuclear weapons held by the US and Russia.

A nuclear war using only a fraction of existing arsenals would produce massive casualties on a global scale—far more than we had previously believed,” said the report’s author, IPPNW co-president Ira Helfand. 

Nuclear Famine: Two Billion People at Risk? updates a study originally written by Dr. Helfand in 2012. Like the previous edition, the report released today is based upon research published by climate scientists who have assessed the impact of nuclear explosions on the Earth’s atmosphere and other ecosystems.

The report comes as momentum builds internationally to reframe disarmament efforts around a renewed understanding of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. In October, 125 nations issued a joint statement at the UN calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons as a humanitarian imperative. Next February, more than 100 nations will convene in Mexico to discuss the humanitarian consequences posed by nuclear war and the need to act on that knowledge.

“Countries around the world—those who are nuclear-armed and those who are not—must work together to eliminate the threat and consequences of nuclear war,” Dr. Helfand said. “In order to eliminate this threat, we must eliminate nuclear weapons.”

Dr Jenny Grounds, President of MAPW said “This report shows that more than 25% of people on this planet would be at risk of death by starvation from the climate effects of even a relatively small nuclear exchange.  The impact on the world economy would make the recent GFC look like a Sunday school picnic”.  

“ We call on the Australian government to make a renewed, urgent and genuine commitment, rising above it’s fear of offending the nuclear weapons states, or of relinquishing the so-called security of nuclear deterrence, for nothing less than a complete abolition of all nuclear weapons”  said Dr Grounds

 Former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev has said the nuclear famine findings underscore that, “we must discard Cold War-style plans for the possible use of these weapons and move rapidly to eliminating them from the world’s arsenals.”

 ICAN—the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons—was launched by IPPNW in 2007 and now comprises more than 300 partner organizations in 80 countries campaigning for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons and to mandate their elimination. The report published today lends added weight to ICAN’s call to convene negotiations on such a treaty without further delay.

 

Nobel Laureate Warns Two Billion at Risk from Nuclear Famine | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Investigation as radioactive leak leaves Ranger uranium mine under a cloud https://www.mapw.org.au/news/investigation-as-radioactive-leak-leaves-ranger-uranium-mine-under-a-cloud/ Sun, 08 Dec 2013 14:38:44 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/investigation-as-radioactive-leak-leaves-ranger-uranium-mine-under-a-cloud/  www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/investigation-as-radioactive-leak-leaves-ranger-uranium-mine-under-a-cloud-20131208-2yzeo.html  www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/investigation-as-radioactive-leak-leaves-ranger-uranium-mine-under-a-cloud-20131208-2yzeo.html

Investigation as radioactive leak leaves Ranger uranium mine under a cloud | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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 www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/investigation-as-radioactive-leak-leaves-ranger-uranium-mine-under-a-cloud-20131208-2yzeo.html

 www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/investigation-as-radioactive-leak-leaves-ranger-uranium-mine-under-a-cloud-20131208-2yzeo.html

Investigation as radioactive leak leaves Ranger uranium mine under a cloud | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Fukushima nuclear disaster is warning to the world, says power company boss https://www.mapw.org.au/news/fukushima-nuclear-disaster-is-warning-to-the-world-says-power-company-boss/ Tue, 19 Nov 2013 16:03:12 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/fukushima-nuclear-disaster-is-warning-to-the-world-says-power-company-boss/     UK government must learn from Japan’s catastrophe as it plans a new generation of plant, nuclear chief claims.www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/19/uk-government-new-plant-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-warning

Fukushima nuclear disaster is warning to the world, says power company boss | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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UK government must learn from Japan’s catastrophe as it plans a new generation of plant, nuclear chief claims.www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/19/uk-government-new-plant-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-warning

Fukushima nuclear disaster is warning to the world, says power company boss | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Red Cross Committed to Working Towards Nuclear Disarmament https://www.mapw.org.au/news/red-cross-committed-to-working-towards-nuclear-disarmament/ Sun, 17 Nov 2013 13:54:23 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/red-cross-committed-to-working-towards-nuclear-disarmament/ Today Red Cross Red Crescent made a commitment to work globally towards establishing an international agreement to ensure nuclear weapons are never used again, and are ultimately eliminated. Today Red Cross Red Crescent made a commitment to work globally towards establishing an international agreement to ensure nuclear weapons are never used again, and are ultimately […]

Red Cross Committed to Working Towards Nuclear Disarmament | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Today Red Cross Red Crescent made a commitment to work globally towards establishing an international agreement to ensure nuclear weapons are never used again, and are ultimately eliminated.

Today Red Cross Red Crescent made a commitment to work globally towards establishing an international agreement to ensure nuclear weapons are never used again, and are ultimately eliminated.

The commitment, spearheaded by Australian Red Cross in partnership with the Norwegian and Japanese Red Cross societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, was signed off in Sydney today.

Australian Red Cross’ CEO, Robert Tickner, said much more needed to be done to raise awareness about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and to ensure they are never used again.

“Sometimes we become involved in humanitarian issues which make us very humble when we realise the power of our Movement to effect change through mobilising global public opinion. The nuclear weapons issue is one such campaign.”

Ensuring governments around the world achieve a legally binding international agreement has never been more urgent. An estimated 17,000 warheads remain in existence. The use of even one of these nuclear weapons would have devastating consequences for generations.

Modelling shows that even a limited nuclear war could affect the environment for decades, rendering agriculture impossible in vast areas and leading to the disruption of global food distribution and mass starvation.

Speaking to the Movement, Mr Tickner said, “Now is the time to decisively deal with these weapons. This is a truly an idea whose time has come and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is dedicated to working globally to make this happen.”

A number of National Societies took the opportunity to make statements of support. Filipe Nainoca, Director General of Fiji Red Cross Society, represented Pacific Island Red Cross Societies. The issue of nuclear weapons is pressing for Pacific Islands nations who have experienced first-hand the devastating effects of nuclear testing.

Next year the Pacific will mark the 60th anniversary of the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated, close to Bikini Atoll, In the Marshall Islands. Mr. Nainoca told the Movement, “though the bombs may have been detonated many years ago, their effects live on in our hearts, our minds and our homes forever.”

Red Cross Committed to Working Towards Nuclear Disarmament | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Can Australia claim to be a sovereign nation? https://www.mapw.org.au/news/can-australia-claim-to-be-a-sovereign-nation/ Sun, 20 Oct 2013 16:38:04 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/can-australia-claim-to-be-a-sovereign-nation/ Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser asks us to consider our independence given America’s continued military interest in this region. In an article published today in The Age, Mr Fraser reminds us that if we have a sense of pride in being an independent nation then we should think again about our military ties with […]

Can Australia claim to be a sovereign nation? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser asks us to consider our independence given America’s continued military interest in this region. In an article published today in The Age, Mr Fraser reminds us that if we have a sense of pride in being an independent nation then we should think again about our military ties with the USA.

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser asks us to consider our independence given America’s continued military interest in this region. In an article published today in The Age, Mr Fraser reminds us that if we have a sense of pride in being an independent nation then we should think again about our military ties with the USA. Read the full article here.

Can Australia claim to be a sovereign nation? | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW letter to the Age calls on Australia to Act on Arms Trade https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-letter-to-the-age-calls-on-australia-to-act-on-arms-trade/ Sun, 20 Oct 2013 16:28:17 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/mapw-letter-to-the-age-calls-on-australia-to-act-on-arms-trade/     Put words into action – The Age October 19 2013 The shooting of four people by drunken youths in New Caledonia was reported this week by Radio New Zealand International. Noumea’s public prosecutor noted the recent proliferation of firearms and the loosening of gun laws, fuelling reckless violence. There are about 50,000 weapons […]

MAPW letter to the Age calls on Australia to Act on Arms Trade | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Put words into action – The Age October 19 2013

The shooting of four people by drunken youths in New Caledonia was reported this week by Radio New Zealand International. Noumea’s public prosecutor noted the recent proliferation of firearms and the loosening of gun laws, fuelling reckless violence. There are about 50,000 weapons in New Caledonia, one for every three adults. Meanwhile, Australian arms manufacturers sell guns throughout the Pacific. Our government has encouraged this with taxpayers’ money, promoting the rising demand in the region as a market opportunity.

Should humanitarian concerns limit what we sell and to whom? The international Arms Trade Treaty says it should. Australia signed this treaty in June, but the present government has not referred to, ratified, or implemented it. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop did propose that Australia use its position as chair of the UN Security Council to dissuade others from flooding developing countries with small arms. Perhaps she should consider Australia cleaning up its own act – perhaps by ratifying the treaty we have signed and passing effective legislation to further the treaty’s humanitarian aims?

Dr Peter Wigg,

Medical Association for Prevention of War, Eltham

 

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-letters/best-response-to-fires-20131018-2vsfs.html#ixzz2iK4nCRoB

MAPW letter to the Age calls on Australia to Act on Arms Trade | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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President of MAPW, Dr Jenny Grounds points to win for diplomacy https://www.mapw.org.au/news/president-of-mapw-dr-jenny-grounds-points-to-win-for-diplomacy/ Mon, 14 Oct 2013 16:26:35 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/president-of-mapw-dr-jenny-grounds-points-to-win-for-diplomacy/ MAPW President Dr Jenny Grounds, in her letter published in The Age today, congratulates the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to UN weapons inspectors but reminds us all that now its time for the US and Russia to distroy their chemical weapons .  Click Here

President of MAPW, Dr Jenny Grounds points to win for diplomacy | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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MAPW President Dr Jenny Grounds, in her letter published in The Age today, congratulates the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to UN weapons inspectors but reminds us all that now its time for the US and Russia to distroy their chemical weapons .  Click Here

MAPW President Dr Jenny Grounds, in her letter published in The Age today, congratulates the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to UN weapons inspectors but reminds us all that now its time for the US and Russia to distroy their chemical weapons .  Click Here to read the letter in full

President of MAPW, Dr Jenny Grounds points to win for diplomacy | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Arms trade too secret https://www.mapw.org.au/news/arms-trade-too-secret/ Mon, 14 Oct 2013 16:20:08 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/arms-trade-too-secret/ Dr Peter Wigg’s letter to the Age, Saturday 12th October 2013 pointing out that the arms trade is too secret and as a result very corrupt. Click here to read the letter in full   Dr Peter Wigg’s letter to the Age, Saturday 12th October 2013 pointing out that the arms trade is too secret […]

Arms trade too secret | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Dr Peter Wigg’s letter to the Age, Saturday 12th October 2013 pointing out that the arms trade is too secret and as a result very corrupt. Click here to read the letter in full

 

Dr Peter Wigg’s letter to the Age, Saturday 12th October 2013 pointing out that the arms trade is too secret and as a result very corrupt. Click here to read the letter in full

 

Arms trade too secret | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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Nuclear Dump back on NT Table https://www.mapw.org.au/news/nuclear-dump-back-on-nt-table-2/ Sun, 06 Oct 2013 14:39:21 +0000 https://www.mapw.org.au/news/nuclear-dump-back-on-nt-table-2/ CONTROVERSIAL plans for a nuclear waste dump are back on the agenda, with the Abbott government commissioning a business case that would allow federal cabinet to consider the project next year and potentially have a facility built by 2019. CONTROVERSIAL plans for a nuclear waste dump are back on the agenda, with the Abbott government […]

Nuclear Dump back on NT Table | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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CONTROVERSIAL plans for a nuclear waste dump are back on the agenda, with the Abbott government commissioning a business case that would allow federal cabinet to consider the project next year and potentially have a facility built by 2019.

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a nuclear waste dump are back on the agenda, with the Abbott government commissioning a business case that would allow federal cabinet to consider the project next year and potentially have a facility built by 2019.

Officials in the Department of Industry now have concept designs for a $150 million facility, prepared by experts from Spain’s radioactive waste management agency, to be built at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory pending the outcome of a Federal Court challenge.

Shortly after the federal Coalition took power, the department also alerted contractors and consultants that it needed a full analysis of options for the long-term management of radioactive waste – including the alternatives of a “do nothing” approach, the expansion of existing facilities, and shipping waste overseas. The department said it was particularly interested in seeing evidence of capital and maintenance costs, funding sources, a cost-benefit analysis and, given the sensitivities around all nuclear issues, a thorough socio-political analysis.

Australia has international obligations to safely and securely manage its radioactive waste, preferably on home soil, and the Senate last year passed legislation allowing the construction and operation of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility on a site volunteered for the storage of domestic waste.

But pushing ahead with those plans in the Coalition’s first term could cause tensions with and within the Northern Territory government – new Chief Minister Adam Giles has yet to fully articulate his position – along with the Greens, some environmental organisations and indigenous groups. Labor also fractured on the potential use of Muckaty Station, with local MPs and incoming senator Nova Peris voicing their concerns while the former federal Labor government remained cautiously supportive, pending the outcome of the Federal Court case.

Muckaty Station, 110km north of Tennant Creek, was chosen by the Howard government in 2007 after being volunteered by the Northern Land Council, in a deal that was estimated to deliver the NLC $11m, and the NT government an initial $10m plus about $2m a year from other governments once the facility was operational. However, some indigenous people complained they were not consulted and took action in the Federal Court in a bid to block the project, even though the NLC has other potential sites available at Muckaty Station should this particular site be ruled out.

The government expects to have an initial business case in April, after a period of consultation and fine-tuning by key agencies and stakeholders and ahead of the court hearings set down for June.

The Australian has learned the department last week briefed the private sector on its request for the development of a business case – which neither favours nor precludes the use of Muckaty Station – and the prospect the nuclear waste dump could be constructed and managed under a public-private partnership.

The private sector was told the concept plans delivered by the Spanish agency ENRESA involved a $150m, co-located low-level waste disposal and intermediate-level waste storage facility, which could be up and running by 2019.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane could not be contacted yesterday. If the government approves construction, it would likely reignite the debate over the use of nuclear power in Australia, particularly after the former Labor government expanded uranium mining and began negotiations for its export to India.

While there had been rising support for the use of nuclear power before the Fukushima disaster in 2011, Mr Macfarlane said earlier this year it had dissipated and a Coalition government would not be proposing a nuclear power plant in its first term.

– See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/nuclear-dump-back-on-nt-table/story-fn59niix-1226733887067#sthash.ITwZUP3o.dpuf

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a nuclear waste dump are back on the agenda, with the Abbott government commissioning a business case that would allow federal cabinet to consider the project next year and potentially have a facility built by 2019.

Officials in the Department of Industry now have concept designs for a $150 million facility, prepared by experts from Spain’s radioactive waste management agency, to be built at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory pending the outcome of a Federal Court challenge.

Shortly after the federal Coalition took power, the department also alerted contractors and consultants that it needed a full analysis of options for the long-term management of radioactive waste – including the alternatives of a “do nothing” approach, the expansion of existing facilities, and shipping waste overseas. The department said it was particularly interested in seeing evidence of capital and maintenance costs, funding sources, a cost-benefit analysis and, given the sensitivities around all nuclear issues, a thorough socio-political analysis.

Australia has international obligations to safely and securely manage its radioactive waste, preferably on home soil, and the Senate last year passed legislation allowing the construction and operation of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility on a site volunteered for the storage of domestic waste.

But pushing ahead with those plans in the Coalition’s first term could cause tensions with and within the Northern Territory government – new Chief Minister Adam Giles has yet to fully articulate his position – along with the Greens, some environmental organisations and indigenous groups. Labor also fractured on the potential use of Muckaty Station, with local MPs and incoming senator Nova Peris voicing their concerns while the former federal Labor government remained cautiously supportive, pending the outcome of the Federal Court case.

Muckaty Station, 110km north of Tennant Creek, was chosen by the Howard government in 2007 after being volunteered by the Northern Land Council, in a deal that was estimated to deliver the NLC $11m, and the NT government an initial $10m plus about $2m a year from other governments once the facility was operational. However, some indigenous people complained they were not consulted and took action in the Federal Court in a bid to block the project, even though the NLC has other potential sites available at Muckaty Station should this particular site be ruled out.

The government expects to have an initial business case in April, after a period of consultation and fine-tuning by key agencies and stakeholders and ahead of the court hearings set down for June.

The Australian has learned the department last week briefed the private sector on its request for the development of a business case – which neither favours nor precludes the use of Muckaty Station – and the prospect the nuclear waste dump could be constructed and managed under a public-private partnership.

The private sector was told the concept plans delivered by the Spanish agency ENRESA involved a $150m, co-located low-level waste disposal and intermediate-level waste storage facility, which could be up and running by 2019.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane could not be contacted yesterday. If the government approves construction, it would likely reignite the debate over the use of nuclear power in Australia, particularly after the former Labor government expanded uranium mining and began negotiations for its export to India.

While there had been rising support for the use of nuclear power before the Fukushima disaster in 2011, Mr Macfarlane said earlier this year it had dissipated and a Coalition government would not be proposing a nuclear power plant in its first term.

– See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/nuclear-dump-back-on-nt-table/story-fn59niix-1226733887067#sthash.ITwZUP3o.dpuf

The Australian – Monday October 7th 2013

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a nuclear waste dump are back on the agenda, with the Abbott government commissioning a business case that would allow federal cabinet to consider the project next year and potentially have a facility built by 2019.

Officials in the Department of Industry now have concept designs for a $150 million facility, prepared by experts from Spain’s radioactive waste management agency, to be built at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory pending the outcome of a Federal Court challenge.

Shortly after the federal Coalition took power, the department also alerted contractors and consultants that it needed a full analysis of options for the long-term management of radioactive waste – including the alternatives of a “do nothing” approach, the expansion of existing facilities, and shipping waste overseas. The department said it was particularly interested in seeing evidence of capital and maintenance costs, funding sources, a cost-benefit analysis and, given the sensitivities around all nuclear issues, a thorough socio-political analysis.

Australia has international obligations to safely and securely manage its radioactive waste, preferably on home soil, and the Senate last year passed legislation allowing the construction and operation of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility on a site volunteered for the storage of domestic waste.

But pushing ahead with those plans in the Coalition’s first term could cause tensions with and within the Northern Territory government – new Chief Minister Adam Giles has yet to fully articulate his position – along with the Greens, some environmental organisations and indigenous groups. Labor also fractured on the potential use of Muckaty Station, with local MPs and incoming senator Nova Peris voicing their concerns while the former federal Labor government remained cautiously supportive, pending the outcome of the Federal Court case.

Muckaty Station, 110km north of Tennant Creek, was chosen by the Howard government in 2007 after being volunteered by the Northern Land Council, in a deal that was estimated to deliver the NLC $11m, and the NT government an initial $10m plus about $2m a year from other governments once the facility was operational. However, some indigenous people complained they were not consulted and took action in the Federal Court in a bid to block the project, even though the NLC has other potential sites available at Muckaty Station should this particular site be ruled out.

The government expects to have an initial business case in April, after a period of consultation and fine-tuning by key agencies and stakeholders and ahead of the court hearings set down for June.

The Australian has learned the department last week briefed the private sector on its request for the development of a business case – which neither favours nor precludes the use of Muckaty Station – and the prospect the nuclear waste dump could be constructed and managed under a public-private partnership.

The private sector was told the concept plans delivered by the Spanish agency ENRESA involved a $150m, co-located low-level waste disposal and intermediate-level waste storage facility, which could be up and running by 2019.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane could not be contacted yesterday. If the government approves construction, it would likely reignite the debate over the use of nuclear power in Australia, particularly after the former Labor government expanded uranium mining and began negotiations for its export to India.

While there had been rising support for the use of nuclear power before the Fukushima disaster in 2011, Mr Macfarlane said earlier this year it had dissipated and a Coalition government would not be proposing a nuclear power plant in its first term.

– See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/nuclear-dump-back-on-nt-table/story-fn59niix-1226733887067#sthash.YSYN3gEe.dpuf

 

Nuclear Dump back on NT Table | Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

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