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Home Articles Flashpoints 14 Nov 2022 Letter to Albo re TPNW

14 Nov 2022 Letter to Albo re TPNW

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Dear Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, and Defence Minister Richard Marles:

First of all let me apologise for having taken my time to write to you on this topic.

You will already be aware of responses from both ICAN, and IPAN, to the recent outrageous statement of the US embassy on Australian signature of the TPNW.


PND/Human Survival Project fully supports both these responses.

Your attention is also drawn to a recent statement of ours on the stationing of B-52 bombers in the NT.'Painting a target on Australia's backside'.



It goes almost without saying that PND thinks that the signature, ratification and active promotion of the TPNW and of risk reduction measures such as No First Use is the very best thing that can be done for Australia's security and national interest.


It is important to phrase it this way, because although there are excellent arguments that the uncritical prioritisation of national security is in fact contrary to said national security,(i.e. it is vital to be a good international citizen) involvement in closer relationships of extended deterrence, and identification with the nuclear weapons complexes of other nations (i.e. the US) is, indeed, directly CONTRARY to Australia's National Interest, and to our National Security.


This is so because it makes Australia into a nuclear target (which we already are) and into MORE of a nuclear target than we already are, without any countervailing improvement in Australia's security from conventional threats.


Indeed, our existing involvement in US nuclear command and control via Northwest Cape and Pine Gap in particular, constitutes the greatest single threat to Australia's security as it -potentially at least – holds at risk not merely Pine Gap and NWC themselves, but also, potentially, Australian cities.


In a nuclear war in which our opponent has a relatively limited number of warheads, (e.g. DPRK or China), it is NWC and Pine Gap that will be targeted. If our opponent happens to have the worlds largest nuclear arsenal, more attention might be given to targeting Perth, Melbourne and the city from which I write, Sydney.


Closer identification with the defence posture of the US (e.g. support of the US nuclear 'deterrent') would tend to produce greater attention to 'soft' Australian targets (i.e. cities) as opposed to strategic military targets.


A known opposition to nuclear weapons (e.g., signature/ratification of the TPNW, and strong advocacy for nuclear disarmament and/or risk reduction) would have the opposite effect.


The stationing of B-52 bombers close to Darwin, looked at this way, degrades rather than improves, Australia's national security.


In advocating for nuclear disarmament (support for the TPNW) and nuclear risk reduction (support for No First Use, de-alerting and other commonsense measures), Australia will be both being 'idealistic' (advocating for measures that benefit the entire planet and make human survival and the survival of civilisation more likely) – and 'realistic' – undertaking policies that benefit Australia’s own national security.


It is falsely argued that in the current situation of extreme nuclear risk Australia needs to 'benefit' from extended deterrence.


Exactly the opposite is the case. As you, Prime Minister Albanese have yourself rightly pointed out, the current situation in which the risk of nuclear war is as great or greater than it has ever been, ever, simply underlines the need for the elimination of nuclear weapons.


It underlines the absolute necessity of acting to get rid of nuclear weapons altogether and in the immediate term of acting to reduce the risk of an apocalypse (accidental or otherwise), in the next very short timeframe.


The need to reduce IMMEDIATE risks of nuclear war has never been more dire.


Viewed in this context, the making of extended deterrence 'impossible' (it does nothing of the kind) would be a 'feature not a bug'.


Australia should urge its great and powerful ally and others, to do as it will do and sign and ratify the TPNW 'yesterday'. This must be regarded as an urgent foreign policy and national security priority.


John Hallam

Nuclear Disarmament Campaigner

People for Nuclear Disarmament

Human Survival Project

Co-Convenor, Abolition 2000 Working Group on Nuclear Risk Reduction

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