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Thursday, 27 November 1986
Page: 2888


Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK(3.31) —I rise on this matter because what the Minister has said could influence commerce. My understanding is quite different from what the Minister has just said about the technology on enrichment. The Minister has suggested that the centrifuge system the Atomic Energy Commission has been developing would be out of step with the future. I ask the Minister specifically not to give an answer off the top of his head now, and I mean no disrespect in that, but is it not a fact that Urenco-Centec, the big potential co-partner and the company that is likely to assist Australia in this, has firmed on the idea of middle sized centrifuge as distinct from diffusion, that laser technology is not at the moment being contemplated and that in fact for ordinary commercial reasons the middle sized centrifuge, the European centrifuge, as distinct from the big American one, is still basically the kind of technology that is being considered for the next few decades and it is not, indeed, as the Minister has said? I ask him to look at that because it would be utterly wrong if that is not so.

I also ask him: Is it not a fact that the Uranium Enrichment Group of Australia exists, if inert, at this moment, and would he consider asking UEGA to look at the matter and give the Government a report and let the Opposition know?