For a hundred years, humans have had the capacity to attack each other with devastating chemical weapons. Seven decades ago, mankind unlocked the secret of the nuclear bomb. In the 21st century, we also fear biological attack, robotic drones and, increasingly, cyber warfare as potential weapons of mass destruction. Australia, like all nations, has an over-riding national interest in the development and enforcement of robust international regimes that restrict the creation, deployment and export of weapons of mass destruction. For decades, Australia has been a strong, dedicated contributor to the evolution of control regimes like the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the chemical and biological weapons conventions and the 2014 Arms Trade Treaty.
In his 2015 John Gee Memorial Lecture, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Varghese speaks about the critical work of arms control in the 21st century.