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Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Page: 11529

Australian Red Cross

(Question No. 488)

Mr Oakeshott asked the Attorney-General, in writing, on 16 August 2011:

Is the Government aware that the Australian Red Cross has approved a proposal to undertake a leading role within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, to publicly support an international convention rendering the use of nuclear weapons clearly illegal under international law; if so, will the Government consider supporting the development of such a convention and undertake to become a signatory to such an instrument.

Mr McClelland: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Australian Government is aware of the Australian Red Cross' proposal to publicly support and advocate for an international convention to prohibit the use of nuclear weapons.

Australia is a steadfast supporter of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, including through support for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the multilateral United Nations disarmament machinery. The Government is firmly committed to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. The international community may need to explore possible legal frameworks for the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons, such as the convention proposed by the Australian Red Cross, as prospects for multilateral disarmament improve. The Government places priority on promoting: an immediate start to negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty; entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; stronger international nuclear safeguards, particularly through universalisation of the International Atomic Energy Agency Additional Protocol; and greater transparency in nuclear disarmament reporting. The Government sees these measures as collectively contributing to nuclear non-proliferation and to achieving the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.