Australia resists nuclear disarmament push because it relies on US deterrent

Exclusive: Diplomatic cables reveal prospects for nuclear disarmament are ‘bleak’ as Australia becomes increasingly lonely in opposing 116-nation push for a global ban on nuclear WMDs.

Prospects for nuclear disarmament are “bleak” under the current non-proliferation treaty, Australian diplomats have conceded in cables back to Canberra, but the country will resist growing global support for a new treaty banning nuclear weapons because of a dependence on the nuclear deterrent capability of the USA.

Emails released under freedom of information, reveal Australia is increasingly worried about an Austrian-led push for a treaty to ban all nuclear weapons.

The Austrian pledge, which 116 countries – most of the world’s nations – have endorsed, proposes to “fill the legal gap of the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons”.

The Australian government’s argument that it required the protection of a foreign power’s nuclear weapons is “a long-held belief that has gone unchallenged”. “Nuclear weapons undermine safety, they do not enhance it.”