BALLARAT will play host to arguably the most important symbol for peace in the world this week when the Nobel Peace Prize visits the city on Thursday.
The prize, won in 2017 by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), is being brought to Ballarat for an evening with ICAN Australia co-chair Dr Margaret Beavis, who is speaking at Trades Hall.
ICAN, which had its genesis in Melbourne, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its role in achieving the nuclear weapon ban treaty which has been signed by 101 nations and 468 organisations, but not Australia.
The movement began when the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW), which Dr Beavis currently holds the role of secretary, recognised that nuclear weapons were still "legitimate".
This contrasted with a range of weapons including chemical weapons, biological weapons, cluster munitions and land mines which all have been made illegal by UN treaty.
Dr Beavis said despite having joined the treaties prohibiting landmines, cluster munitions, chemical and biological weapons, the Australian Government has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
"Australia's government is refusing to sign the treaty, but both the ALP and the Greens support a nuclear weapons ban," Dr Beavis said.
"Australians strongly support it too. Both ALP and Liberal voters are more than 70 per cent in favour in a poll taken in late 2017.
"We're inviting the Ballarat community to learn more about this inspiring movement, view the Nobel Peace Prize medal and discuss the role Ballarat can play in creating a world without nuclear weapons."
Dr Beavis said local councils could also play a role in making the movement a reality in this country.
"Councils' first responsibility is looking after their citizens and investing in nuclear weapons contributes to the chance they will be used," Dr Beavis said.
"By joining with other cities globally, The City of Ballarat can show it is protecting and representing their residents.
"In 2018 an IPSOS survey found 79 per cent of people think Australia should sign and ratify the United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons."
"Anyone can get involved in the campaign to abolish nuclear weapons and help build awareness and support the treaty.
Dr Beavis will appear at Trades Hall on Thursday night from 6.30pm.
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