Skip to main content


Umbrella state (bilateral arrangement with the United States)

In the First Committee of the UN General Assembly in October 2022, Australia abstained from voting on the annual resolution calling upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to the TPNW ‘at the earliest possible date’.[1] From 2018 to 2021, it had voted against the resolution. This shift in position brought an end to five years of Australian opposition to the Treaty.

TPNW Status

TPNW Article 1(1) prohibitions: Compatibility in 2022
(a) Develop, produce, manufacture, acquire Compatible
Test Compatible
Possess or stockpile Compatible
(b) Transfer Compatible
(c) Receive transfer or control Compatible
(d) Use Compatible
Threaten to use Compatible
(e) Assist, encourage or induce Not compatible
(f) Seek or receive assistance Compatible
(g) Allow stationing, installation, deployment Compatible
TPNW voting and participation
UNGA resolution on TPNW (latest vote) Abstained (2023)
Participated in 1MSP (2022) Observer
1MSP delegation size (% women) 3 (100%)
Adoption of TPNW (7 July 2017) N/A
Participated in TPNW negotiations (2017) No
Negotiation mandate (A/RES/71/258) Voted no
Other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) treaties
Party to an NWFZ Yes (Ratified 1986, Rarotonga)
Party to the NPT Yes (Ratified 1973)
Ratified the CTBT Yes (Ratified 1998, Annex 2 state)
Party to the BWC Yes (Ratified 1977)
Party to the CWC Yes (Ratified 1994)
IAEA safeguards and fissile material
Safeguards agreement Yes (10 Jul 1974)
TPNW Art 3(2) deadline N/A
Small Quantities Protocol No
Additional Protocol Yes
Enrichment facilities/reprocessing plants No
HEU stocks 1–10 kg
Plutonium stocks No

Latest developments

Ahead of the vote in the UN, the Australian government indicated that it is assessing its position on the TPNW ‘taking account of the need to ensure an effective verification and enforcement architecture, interaction of the Treaty with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and achieving universal support’. It added that it is engaging constructively with the Treaty.2

The Australian Labor Party, which formed government in May 2022, adopted a resolution in 2018 committing it to sign and ratify the TPNW in government, after taking account of the above-mentioned factors. The resolution was moved by Anthony Albanese, who now serves as Prime Minister and has been a vocal supporter of the TPNW.3 Labor reaffirmed this position at its national conference in 2021.

Australia attended as an observer the First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW (1MSP) in Vienna in June 2022. A Labor parliamentarian headed the delegation. According to the Australian government, its decision to observe the 1MSP demonstrated ‘the constructive engagement with the Treaty during the current phase of assessment [of its position]’.4


  • Australia should renounce the possession and potential use of nuclear weapons on its behalf, and ensure that nuclear weapons do not have a role in its defence posture.

  • Australia should comply with its existing obligation under Article VI of the NPT and pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament.

  • Australia should urgently adhere to the TPNW. Until it is in a position to do so it should welcome the TPNW as a valuable component in the global disarmament and non-proliferation architecture, work with the Treaty's states parties on practical steps towards disarmament, and attend the meetings of states parties as an observer.

Can you help us update this state profile? Send e-mail
Did you find this interesting?
Print state profile