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Friday, 28 November 2003
Page: 18384


Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) (12:42 PM) —I will start by saying that the government will not be supporting these amendments. The second reading speech explained why the government will not be supporting them. There have been some recent statements that the government has a hidden agenda contrary to its nuclear non-proliferation obligations, and they are entirely false. Silex Systems Ltd is a publicly listed company; there is no government ownership of it. Uranium enrichment research is funded entirely by the private sector. I am advised that the sole aim of Silex has always and only been for low, enriched uranium for nuclear power. Silex is restricted to laboratory scale research and does not involve an enrichment plant. The technology is classified accordingly. Information about all the company's activities is publicly available and would not be curtailed by the Non-Proliferation Legislation Amendment Bill 2003 if enacted.