Australia's dangerous nuclear double standard

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop wasted no time in joining the chorus of international condemnation of North Korea's latest nuclear weapon test.

"North Korea's actions fly in the face of international non-proliferation norms, and challenge the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," Bishop said.

But behind Bishop's ready condemnation lies an awkward contradiction. Like North Korea, Australia believes that nuclear weapons really do make it safer.

Of course, Australia claims that it supports nuclear disarmament and is working for a world free of nuclear weapons. But our actions say something different: Australia relies on extended nuclear deterrence for its security, has no plans to change that, and has been actively opposing and resisting international steps to stigmatise and prohibit nuclear weapons on humanitarian grounds.

Defying moves towards a new treaty banning nuclear weapons, Bishop stated that "the stark reality today remains that as long as nuclear weapons exist, many countries, including Australia, will continue to rely on nuclear deterrence to help prevent nuclear attack or coercion".