Canberra trip an important journey for Sue

Sue Haseldine joined a group of about 100 fellow ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) members in Canberra recently for their peace ride.

The journey saw ICAN members ride from Melbourne to Canberra parading the Nobel Peace Prize which the group was awarded last year.

They also are urging the federal government to sign United Nations (UN) nuclear weapons ban treaty, which 50 countries have so far signed.

Ms Haseldine, who met with the riders in Canberra after their 18-day trip, said the Parliament House journey was important.

“I am carrying on the work I have been doing with ICAN and want to see it finish,” she said.

“I want Australia to sign the treaty, which will hopefully see other countries sign on too.”

A Kokatha Elder, Ms Haseldine was one of the speakers on the day outside Parliament House and told of her experience growing up in Koonibba in the 1950s, in the shadow of nuclear testing at Maralinga.

“I am watching people dying from cancer who grew up at Koonibba and while I can’t prove it, for me it’s from radiation dust in the area,” she said.

“My speech was about growing up on the mission when the silent killer was falling on us.

“Nobody knew what was happening, we were all innocent.”

She said they were met by some senators, however no promises were made.

“I want the federal government to take responsibility for what happened in the past, so it won’t happen in the future,” Ms Haseldine said.

“Everybody in the West Coast was in the fallout area, it doesn’t matter what colour your skin is.”

Ms Haseldine has been involved with the group for a long time and was present at the ICAN Nobel Prize ceremony in Norway last year, and has spoken about her experience growing up at a UN conference in New York City aimed at banning nuclear weapons.