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As the world pushes for a ban on nuclear weapons, Australia votes to stay on the wrong side of history

Tilman Ruff writes in The Conversation (16.11.16) about a likely resolution of the United Nations to ban the production of nuclear weapons, a resolution which Australia’s delegation voted against.

‘In early December, the nations of the world are poised to take an historic step forward on nuclear weapons. Yet most Australians still haven’t heard about what’s happening, even though Australia is an important part of this story – which is set to get even bigger in the months ahead.

‘On October 27 2016, I watched as countries from around the world met in New York and resolved through the United Nations’ General Assembly First Committee to negotiate a new legally binding treaty to “prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. It was carried by a majority of 123 to 38, with 16 abstentions. Australia was among the minority to vote “no”.

‘Given that overwhelming majority, it is almost certain that resolution will be formally ratified in early December at a full UN general assembly meeting.

‘… In October 2016, our government let us down by voting to be counted on the wrong side of history. Thankfully, we can still expect to see the United Nations ratify the move towards a new treaty banning nuclear weapons in December, with negotiations set to begin in March 2017 in New York. It’s still not too late for Australia to change its vote, and participate constructively in the negotiations next year.’

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