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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3686


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (09:09): The coalition does support the proposed resolution now before the House. Nuclear weapons cannot be uninvented but they can be, and should be, controlled and reduced and it is good, as the Prime Minister has said, that the United States, Britain, France and Russia have unilaterally reduced their nuclear stockpiles since the end of the Cold War. The nuclear non-proliferation treaty has been very important in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons, which looked almost unstoppable in the 1960s when the treaty came into place. It is important to rein in the nuclear ambitions of countries such as North Korea and Iran, and that is why the Prime Minister's trip to Seoul next week is worth while. It is also important to reduce tensions on the subcontinent between two nuclear armed neighbours.

The last coalition government, in line with other Western countries, urged India, Pakistan and Israel ultimately to accede to the non-proliferation treaty as non-nuclear-weapon states. It is important that we are realistic on these matters. There does need to be a creative solution to India's current status in relation to the non-proliferation treaty. India has an impeccable non-proliferation record and wants to join the treaty but, due to tensions with China and Pakistan, will not destroy its nuclear weapons.

This motion also supports the goal of a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East. The coalition understands—and it is important to put this on the record—that Israel will not choose to disarm, indeed should not disarm, as long as Iran persists with its nuclear weapons program coupled with threats to wipe Israel off the map. It would be unrealistic, and indeed it would be utopian, to expect Israel to consider such disarmament before a broader peace settlement is in place in the region. So with these reservations the coalition is happy to support the government's motion.

Debate adjourned.