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Thursday, 1 December 1983
Page: 3175


Mr CAMPBELL(3.10) —It is on record that Darwin, one of the great scientists of the world, was once confronted with two small children who presented him with an insect-I think it was a little beetle to which they had glued wings-and who said: 'We have found this new insect. What sort of insect is it?' The good professor looked at it and said: 'I am inclined to think it is a humbug'. I submit that those children could equally have presented the Liberal- National Party for the professor's inspection. Never have I heard in this place the humbug that I have heard today from the right honourable member opposite. I am quite happy to address myself to that humbug. This man parades as a guardian of Aboriginal interests. Do honourable members think any Aboriginals in this country believe that? There is no doubt the right honourable member simply does not understand how the free market works. I had to mention this yesterday. Honourable members opposite really are slow learners. The right honourable member, who I think represents New England or one of the more obscure places-


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Les Johnson) —The right honourable member for Richmond is being referred to.


Mr CAMPBELL —Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. He said that if the mines at Jabiluka and Koongarra go ahead, the Aboriginals will get $100m. That is simply not true. Under the terms negotiated by those Aboriginal people, they will get the money only if the uranium is sold. I would have thought that even the right honourable member would have understood that. Surely he will not deny that that is a fact. There is no doubt that in today's market Jabiluka and Roxby Downs are mutually exclusive. It may not always be so, but at this time that is probably the case. The Government has to make a decision. In Liberal Party parlance, the Roxby Downs mine is supposed to employ 30,000 people. In typical Liberal Party style that figure has probably been exaggerated dramatically and the correct figure is probably somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000. I will use the figure of 30,000 people. I will also use the Liberal Party figures for Jabiluka of from 400 to 500. I ask the right honourable gentleman: Which of those is in the best interests of Australia? His assertion is nonsense, and he knows it. It is humbug of the highest order, and he knows that too. Yesterday in this House he spoke in the most obsequious terms about how we ought to have co-operation and how the Government ought to consult all the parties. Today in this House he adopted a totally opposite attitude. He is a Liberal chameleon, another creature, and another humbug too, I might add.

The right honourable gentleman, when the responsible Minister, refused to give Jabiluka a licence to sell because he said the price was not high enough. He said that there was no facility to negotiate prices on a forward basis. That was a very wise decision. I applaud him; he makes the right decisions very occasionally, as he did then. Today he is trying to ignore that decision in this place. Why should Jabiluka have more priority than Yeelirrie? Yeelirrie is a mine that is ready to go. The studies have all been done; it is an excellent mine. Why should the right honourable gentleman go into bat in this House for Jabiluka? It would not have anything to do with the Northern Territory election! I am sure nobody in this country would believe it had any relevance to that! You , sir, are a humbug.


Mr Anthony —Why don't you tell us about Yeelirrie? You are supposed to be the local member, but you have sold out on Yeelirrie.


Mr CAMPBELL —With all respect, my views on the subject are well known. The Western Mining Corporation would be more grateful to me than to the right honourable gentleman. I am concerned about the plight of Aboriginals in the Northern Territory. I am also concerned about the fact that when I visit some of these places in the Northern Territory there seems to be a big disparity of wealth between those who have mineral rights and those who do not. I say that as an unabashed socialist. Let us remember that all of us in this House are socialists. Honourable members are rural socialists and national socialists. We, of course, are democratic socialists. If the people of Australia have to choose, they will choose democratic socialists rather than national socialists. That is a very real choice that the people of Australia will have to make in years to come. As a socialist I am concerned about mineral rights. I have a deep and very profound concern about individuals owning mineral rights. I believe mineral rights belong to the whole nation. I believe we should be taking back mineral rights from those people, including people in my own State, who own them, because as a socialist I believe mineral rights belong to individuals. You, sir, are on record and you parade in here as a great champion of Aboriginal rights. You must think Aboriginal people are completely stupid.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Les Johnson) —Order! The honourable gentleman is not referring to the Chair, I am sure, but I ask him to address his remarks through the Chair. It would save a great deal of confusion.


Mr CAMPBELL —I will certainly try to avoid that confusion. The right honourable member for Richmond (Mr Anthony) has said that there is some confusion in the Government's policy. The Government's policy on uranium was enunciated on 7 November 1983. I will read it very slowly:

If a commercial decision were to be made by the joint ventures in the Roxby Downs project to proceed with development, the Government would permit the development of that project subject to whatever safeguards requirements apply generally to uranium at the time of export from that mine.

That is very reasonable. I am sure honourable members opposite will agree. To continue:

With the exception of Roxby Downs, if commercially feasible, the Government will not permit the development of any new mines.

I do not think even the right honourable member opposite will argue with that so far. It is by no means sure that Roxby Downs is commercially feasible. I read a recent statement in the Senate by a colleague of those opposite, Senator Kilgariff, who asserted that Roxby Downs is viable in gold alone. That shows the depth of understanding of those opposite. It is very superficial and they certainly know very little about mining. They are the people who think high technology is butter. Our policy goes on:

An inquiry will be conducted by the Australian Science and Technology Council under the direction of its Chairman to inquire into Australia's role in the nuclear fuel cycle and is to report to the Government no later than mid-May 1984 . Its examination will include Australia's nuclear safeguards arrangements--

that is very sensible, I am sure honourable members will agree--

the opportunities for Australia through the conditions of its involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle to further advance the cause of nuclear non-proliferation--

That is very laudable, I am sure honourable members will agree. The cause of nuclear non-proliferation is very important and I do not think too much attention can ever be given to it. I am on record as saying that the danger to the world today is 60,000 nuclear weapons, not 300 nuclear power stations. My views on that are quite clear. The Government's policy goes on:

. . . the adequacy of existing technology for the handling and disposal of waste products by consuming countries.

That also is a very important matter to be addressed. This Government has a clear cut policy. It is easy for those opposite to have a clear cut policy because it is so broad and blanket that it means anything. I remember one of my constituents showing me a double page spread of the National Party platform on defence. He said: 'This is the straightforward policy we want on defence', and he showed it to me. It was a double page spread. It showed tanks leaping off hills, soldiers with bayonets and planes everywhere. It stated: 'The National Party believes in defence.' That is the sort of policy the National Party enunciates. It is true that the Labor Party tends to get into trouble because it tries to give too much detail. We are a democratic party. We try to have policies into which everyone has an input. There is no doubt that there will be an element of confusion, but it is confusion that in the name of democracy I am prepared to live with. What else did the Government say on 7 November? It said:

All future exports of Australian uranium will be subject to the most stringent supply conditions which will be determined by the Government following the Inquiry.

I would not argue with that. I cannot see how any reasonable person would. It seems to be to be eminently suitable. The Government continued:

A permanent Commission will be established to examine on an ongoing basis the full range of issues relating to the nuclear fuel cycle and will report regularly to the Government.

That seems a very reasonable and sensible proposition. I am surprised that the right honourable member for Richmond takes umbrage at it. We also said:

No new contracts will be approved from existing mines until after the Inquiry with the exception of two contracts negotiated for the supply from the Ranger mine to US utilities. The conditions attached to exports under these contracts will be determined after the Inquiry.

If we are to have an inquiry it would be the height of stupidity to allow uranium to be sold until we have received the results of that inquiry and the benefit of that study. To reasonable, rational people that would seem a very responsible attitude to take, but the right honourable member for Richmond and his camp followers are not interested in a rational debate. They come into the House to score petty points. Yesterday the right honourable member for Richmond in a speech in the House asked us all to get together and co-operate. He asked the Government to talk to people. Now he is saying we should do quite the opposite. He has a consistently inconsistent approach to these matters. We also said:

The existing suspension on uranium exports to France will be further considered in the light of the report of the Inquiry or on any progress towards cessation of French nuclear testing in the Pacific.

Many people in the right honourable member's own Party wish the French would not drop bombs in the Pacific. That is not limited to us dreadful socialists. It is a response which I think the overwhelming number of the Australian community appreciates. I do not think that even the right honourable member for Richmond's most red-necked members endorse the dropping of French bombs in the Pacific. We say that we will consider the suspension on uranium exports when the report comes in or when the French stop nuclear testing. That seems to me to be a course of action which would be applauded by the great bulk of Australians.

The right honourable member for Richmond also kept reiterating his view about the dreadful left wing of the Party. I have come to my position on uranium after careful study, and I have come to it from the other side of the spectrum. I know that uranium is not a left wing issue. For the Opposition to come into the House and try to say that there is some sort of plot or clandestine position of the Left to stop uranium mining is an absurd notion. The right honourable member for Richmond knows it is. In the affluent electorates in Australia he will find the greatest opposition to uranium mining. I have figures available and I know the information is available to the right honourable member as well.

I would like to give some definite information on marketing, if I have time, because this is an aspect which I think is very important. It has become abundantly plain that the right honourable member does not understand the free enterprise system and how it works. I will give some details so that, hopefully, he will have some idea of where the real potential lies. I think there is an argument that some companies in Australia will be able to gain markets that are not readily available to other companies. For instance, the Total Oil Company has-


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Les Johnson) —Order! The honourable member's time has expired. The discussion is concluded.