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SENATOR WONG ENDORSEMENT OF NO FIRST USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS WELCOMED

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 TUES OCT 16 2018
PEOPLE FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
HUMAN SURVIVAL PROJECT
www.pndnsw.org.au
https://www.facebook.com/Human-Survival-Project-388802504634024/?eid=ARDS9jLQDyqmGLmLEAyli8qmePfhAa1jtWSOvAT8Nn1nCuzTFTytHIHDNbbZzlOELj4JTJzACkDLGpgK
SENATOR WONG ENDORSEMENT OF NO FIRST USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS WELCOMED: NUCLEAR RISK REDUCTION AN 'EXISTENTIAL' ISSUE.
Senator Penny Wong's endorsement of 'No First Use' as a nuclear risk reduction measure at a conference of the AIIA yesterday has been welcomed by PND and the Human Survival Project's John Hallam, who is also co-convener of the Abolition 2000 working group on nuclear risk reduction.
http://www.abolition2000.org/en/nuclear-risk-reduction/

Senator Wong's full address can be found at:
http://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/resource/senator-the-hon-penny-wong-shadow-minister-for-foreign-affairs-address-the-disarmament-challenge-in-a-time-of-disruption-at-aiia-national-conference-2018/

Senator Penny Wong's statement read in part:
“....First, a Shorten Labor Government will seek to muster wide international support, including from the states that possess nuclear weapons, for a “No First Use” declaration. While we do not underestimate the complexity of this task, given the increasingly blurred boundaries between conventional and nuclear forces in armed conflict, such a collective declaration would be a significant confidence building measure and welcomed by people of all nations. ‘No First Use’ would limit the potential use of nuclear weapons to deter against the use of nuclear weapons. For states with nuclear weapons to adopt a ‘No First Use’ policy would constitute a major step forward in reducing tensions and risks of accidental or mistaken use. It would contribute to other critical minimization measures including de-alerting nuclear weapons, reducing deployments and decreasing stockpiles.....”

According to Mr Hallam:
“Senator Wong's move is absolutely timely, given the elevated state of nuclear war risks. A number of us within the international nuclear disarmament movement have been pressing for policies of No First Use for quite some time, along with de-alerting, improved mil-to-mil communication, and other measures that might serve to make fingers above nuclear buttons less itchy, take temperatures down and build confidence”
“For a number of years now, it has been a commonplace – a commonplace that unfortunately is repeatedly ignored – that the risk of nuclear war is as great now as it has ever been. Senator Wong's initiative helps to address precisely that problem, providing we actually survive that long.”

“The complete abolition of nuclear weapons is a matter of existential urgency, no matter whether the TPNW is or is not absolutely perfect. As a negotiated instrument it was never going to have been perfect.”

“The only thing that is still MORE urgent than nuclear abolition is the lowering of nuclear risks. Even in the last week, we have had dark warnings from Russia, coupled with major exercises of nuclear forces – and we have had the Russian foreign minister almost begging for dialogue on nuclear risk reduction. We have the Doomsday Clock at 2 mins to midnight. We have had insanely dangerous statements from the US ambassador to NATO threatening to 'take out' Russian nuclear forces that the US thinks violate the INF, only to have a labored explanation the following day (via twitter) that she did not mean a pre-emptive strike, which would have started WW-III, and ended civilization.”

“Penny Wong has it seems, grasped just how important it is to lower nuclear risks. This is welcome, both because risk reduction measures are so vital in themselves and because they prepare the way for complete nuclear abolition.”

“We hope that a Labor Government (or for that matter the existing Government – any Government)- will take urgent concrete action to reduce the risk of an inadvertent apocalypse, both by pressing for a wide spectrum of risk reduction measures including NFU, and by agreeing to sign, ratify, and vigorously encourage others including especially nuclear weapons states to sign and ratify, the TPNW.”

“The elevated risk of nuclear war- something that could end civilization – should, along with climate change, be the topmost issue in every legislature in the world including Australia's. It's only the end of the world after all.”

John Hallam
UN Nuclear Disarmament Campaigner
People for Nuclear Disarmament
Human Survival Project
Co-Convener, Abolition-2000 Nuclear Risk Reduction Working Group,
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