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Today I will speak at Hobart’s ‘Ban the Bomb’ vigil, joining with community members united in our uncompromising rejection of nuclear weapons.

The protest has been organised by the Tasmanian branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), in conjunction with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

We are protesting against Australia's decision to boycott these historic treaty negotiations.

Hobart’s event, along with others in seven Australian cities, is being held in solidarity with the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb rallying outside UN headquarters in New York later today.

Within hours, more than 130 nations will take their seats at the United Nations in New York to resume work on prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons.

But as the only government within a nuclear weapons free-zone to have voted against the ban negotiations – because it is not in our “national interest” – Australia’s seat at the negotiating table will be empty.

During my questioning at the recent Senate Estimates hearings, government officials revealed Australia’s settled position; ‘we are not going to participate.

This is in spite of Australia’s historical support of proactive global disarmament and the reduction of nuclear weapons arsenals.

Indeed, officials at the Senate Estimates revealed to me that, ‘Australia has never failed to participate’ in a multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiation.

Australia has categorically rejected other inherently inhumane and indiscriminate weapons like anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions and chemical weapons, by establishing or joining conventions that outlaw them.

Labor’s national platform affirms our party’s unequivocal support for the negotiation of a global treaty banning nuclear weapons.

We are fully committed to pursuing this goal as an urgent humanitarian imperative of the highest order.

However, the Turnbull government’s rejection of the most important nuclear disarmament initiative to emerge in decades mocks Australia’s commitments.

This is why I will not stop holding the Turnbull government to account for its reluctance to help rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Hobart’s ‘Ban the Bomb’ rally will be held from 11am to 12pm today at Parliament House Gardens.


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