PEOPLE FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT NSW
HUMAN SURVIVAL PROJECT
The Hon. Julie Bishop,
Minister for Foreign Affairs 6273-4112
Joe Hockey, Treasurer
RE:AID CUT TO REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
People for Nuclear Disarmament/Human Survival Project
Dear Foreign Minister Julie Bishop:
I was more than a little shocked yesterday to see that the Australian Government in an exercise of 're-prioritising' has significantly cut aid to the Marshall Islands.
As you will know, the Marshall Islands has courageously taken the step of taking to court the US, Russia, China, the UK, France, India, Pakistan, Israel and the DPRK over their failure to fulfil their clear and unambiguous obligation under article VI of the NPT to have eliminated their nuclear arsenals 'at an early date'.
Australia really should be actively joining with the RMI in this action, and your governments should be cooperating with each other to achieve a positive result in the International Court of Justice and in the US district court in California in which the RMI's actions have been filed.
Most certainly, this government should be doing nothing that in any way hinders the RMI in its brave attempt to secure the survival of the planet as a whole.
Whatever intention your government may have had in re-prioritising Australia's aid to the RMI, and whatever you may say about it, your action sends a terrible signal to the RMI: Take on the worlds largest governments on a matter of planetary and human survival, and expect your aid budget to be cut. Expect to be done over.
The RMI has the moral support of the entire world in its action on nuclear weapons. I was present when the RMI foreign minister Tony De Brum announced his action at the last NPT prepcom. His announcement was greeted by prolonged applause, a reaction that no other government got. I was also present when he received the Sean Mc Bride award for the RMI's action, and there is no doubt that the RMI has the heartfelt support of the entire NGO community worldwide for what it is doing.
The RMI has taken a step that benefits all humanity, indeed, all living things. Every effort must be taken to assure and maximise the likelihood of success in what they are doing. Nuclear weapons continue to constitute an existential threat to everyone and everything, and their elimination on an urgent basis must be a topmost Australian Government priority.
Anything that smacks of 'punishment' or that could possibly ever be interpreted as such correctly or otherwise, should be avoided. Rather, the RMI should be assured of Australia’s unstinting support in their action. This means that the RMI should amongst other things be clearly quarantined from all cuts in aid, BECAUSE of its actions.
Far from cutting aid to the RMI Australia must join them in their case against the nuclear weapons states and the nuclear -capable states and spare no effort to assure their success because the success of the RMI in this action helps assure the survival of all of us.
The government must immediately reconsider its re-prioritisation of aid to the RMI.