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Australian Govt misses disarmament opportunity.



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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Lyn Allison Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Victoria Australian Democrats spokesperson for Energy and Resources

Dated: 27 May 2005

Press Release Number: 05/284 Portfolio: Defence & Veterans Related: Energy and Resources

Australian Govt Misses Disarmament Opportunity

As the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Review winds up in New York and prospects for consensus on a document mapping the path towards disarmament diminish, the Australian Democrats have lamented a lost opportunity for the Australian Government.

Senator Lyn Allison, Leader of the Australian Democrats who this month attended the review conference in New York, said Australia was once a strong voice for nuclear disarmament but has now been silenced by its unlimited ties to the Bush Administration.

"After four weeks of meetings, we are no closer to strengthening the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and for that we can lay blame with the nuclear-weapons states, particularly the US Government who are not taking the process seriously while they maintain a massive stockpile of their own nuclear weapons.

"Meanwhile the Australian Government aligns itself with a nation intent on blaming Iran and Egypt for the failures of the NPT Review while the US itself harbours plans for more weapons.

"The Australian Government's contribution was for Minister Downer to claim the greatest threats to the NPT are Al Qaeda and North Korea and Iran's possible development of weapons grade material, ignoring that the US and Russia have between them possess 96% of the world's arsenal at 28,000 nuclear weapons."

Senator Allison said one of the positive outcomes of the NPT Review was that the Australian Government will continue to press for the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Australian delegation supports measures to lower the operational status of nuclear weapons.

"But, the Australian Government has failed to endorse calls by the Mayors from around the world for the total abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020," Senator Allison said.

"There are almost as many nuclear missiles now as there were when the NPT came into force and the US has 2000 on alert which can be triggered within minutes of the President's say-so."

"The Australian Government has missed its opportunity to push for the nuclear powers to live up to their commitments and call for systematic, progressive and practical steps to achieve the total and irreversible destruction of these dangerous weapons," Senator Allison concluded.