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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 106

Senator PUPLICK(9.14) —I indicate that the Opposition will not support this amendment. The explanation that has been given by the Minister for Resources and Energy (Senator Gareth Evans)-in particular, the way in which he has drawn the distinction between the role to be played by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation advisory council and the existing liaison forum-is one which we accept. In any event, the nature of the Australian Democrats' amendment would not commend itself to us. If the real concern were with those persons who are workers at the nuclear establishment at Lucas Heights, there is no reason that the nomination should be in the hands of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. The idea that a person who is representative of the interests of persons residing in the vicinity of nuclear reactors can be found is intriguing. Senator Mason has said that he can produce books of Press cuttings by interest groups relating to the establishment at Lucas Heights. I have no doubt that he can. I am more interested in whether he is prepared to provide books of Press cuttings prepared by the overwhelming majority of the residents of the area who are not members of organised interest and lobby groups but who support the continuation of the establishment at Lucas Heights. He went on to talk about one member of a local government body. He did not say whether he meant a council or electricity authority or whatever it happens to be. I can assure him that if he gets down to the local politics of Sutherland Shire he will find-Senator Gietzelt ought to be in the chamber this evening to give us the benefit of his undoubted wisdom on the way in which the politics of Sutherland Shire operate-that is a fairly tenuous way to draw such an amendment.

I am sure the Minister will be mindful of the necessity to have a close working relationship with the people who are responsible for the provision of emergency services should they ever be required. The inclusion of proposed sub-clause (d) in the amendment seems to me to be simply another attempt by the Democrats to raise the whole spectre of emergency services as being necessary and the way in which they have attempted to frighten people about the nuclear industry in Australia. I reject the premise upon which the Democrats' amendment is drawn. I accept the clear assurances which have been given by the Minister about the nature of the representative persons whom he intends to appoint to the various bodies which he will have the responsibility to appoint once this legislation is passed. I accept his assurances about the different roles that the liaison forum and the advisory council will play. For those reasons, the Opposition will not support the Democrats' amendment.