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May 26, 2024

Dr Bill Williams and his nuclear-free dream

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A fond farewell to Dr Bill Williams, who passed away peacefully in his sleep, at home in Torquay, coastal Victoria, on 12 September 2016. The world will miss Bill, but his spirit and determination as a human being, will inspire generations to come.
He was a keen surfer, GP and passionate advocate for the rights and health of First Nation Peoples.
We first met Bill and his partner Gisela, and their two daughters Daisy and Lily in Melbourne 1983, when we were all active for the vision of a ‘Nuclear Free World’.
Our relationship grew, whilst planning a trip into the South Australian desert, home of the Kokatha people, and site of the British nuclear weapons testing (Maralinga 1956-1963), to join them in their opposition to the proposed uranium mine (Roxby Downs/Olympic Dam).
It was a huge learning experience, while working in the months preceding our trip, with Bill, Gisela and a small number of other passionate souls, to build a strong affinity group, with a commitment to trust, which truly paid off, as we were confronted[ with many extreme situations, on our two week ‘blockade’, while we challenged the mining interests of BP and Western Mining.
Thirty three years later, Bill was still passionate on the ‘No Nukes’ campaign. Bill was co-founder and chairman of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a past president of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War and former councillor of the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Physicians for the prevention of Nuclear War.
Early in 2016, he joined a historic United Nations working group meeting, on nuclear disarmament in Geneva, and was thrilled by the progress made towards a nuclear weapons ban treaty, which he helped propel.
Sadly, Bill didn’t live to see the world free from nuclear weapons, in fact there are more being built as we speak, but the progress continues.
Early April negotiations began at the UN with 132 countries participating, including community members from the Kokatha people of Roxby Downs. A number of countries opposed the meeting, and the idea of a ban, Australia and the US. included.
In Australia 52 faith-based organisations gave their support. The Senate supports Australian involvement in the negotiations. And, now that the Pope has given his voice to a complete ban, can we now hope, that the Prime Minister and his fellow colleagues, and possibly all Catholics, raise their voices in support of same?
The negotiations will continue at the UN from June 15-July 7, 2017, thanks to the courageous efforts of beautiful human beings like Bill Williams.
For information: www.ICANW.org.
Deborah and Mick Stacey, Ocean Shores

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  1. Thanks so much for this wonderful testimony to Bill Williams, Mick & Deb. Maxine and I met Bill during our anti-nuclear campaigning and join with you in celebrating his life and dedication to the aint-nuclear cause which is synonymous with human survival. Lawrence Krause reminded us on Monday’s Q&A that there are now 1,000 nuclear missiles on hair trigger alert. The US is spending $1 trillion on upgrading its arsenal which will include further miniaturisation to make them more usable. No doubt Russia is doing the same. Dr Krause insisted that the nuclear threat is the greatest menace to human survival even more so than climate change. It’s well passed the time when all our media should re-broadcast Helen Caldicott’s “If You Love This Planet”


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