Protest at Australian government 'weasel' act on nuclear bomb ban

Issue 
A protest against the Australian government's opposition to a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, in Sydney on June 20. Photo: ICAN/T

Protesters gathered outside the Lowy Institute building on June 20 to condemn the federal government's refusal to support a proposed international treaty to ban nuclear weapons. At recent United Nations meetings to discuss a new legal instrument to prohibit nuclear bombs, the Australian government was part of a loose group of "weasel" nations opposing a ban treaty.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop addressed a Lowy Institute forum that day. Among the demonstrators was a "giant weasel" handing out leaflets exposing the government's stand to passersby.

Gem Romuld of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said: "We are urging Julie Bishop to change Australia's weasel status and join 128 nations that are ready to ban nuclear weapons.

"It is likely that negotiations for a ban treaty will begin in 2017. We want the Australian government to move beyond the Cold War ideology that is preventing meaningful action on nuclear disarmament. A ban treaty is the vital next step for the elimination of these weapons of ultimate horror."

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