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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 2577

Senator SINGH (Tasmania) (12:17): I move:

That the Senate—

   (a)   affirms its support for:

      (i)   the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, and

      (ii)   the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the essential foundation for the achievement of nuclear disarmament and the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime;

   (b)   notes:

      (i)   ratification by the United States and Russia of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms [New START] on 5 February 2011,

      (ii)   unilateral nuclear arsenal reductions announced by France and the United Kingdom,

      (iii)   the strong working relationship between Australia and Japan on issues of non-proliferation and disarmament, including more recently by establishing the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative to take forward the 2010 NPT Review Conference outcomes, and

      (iv)   the unanimous views presented by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties in Report 106: Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament; and

   (c)   calls for:

      (i)   further cuts in all categories of nuclear weapons and a continuing reduction of their roles in national security policies,

      (ii)   states outside the NPT to join the treaty as non-nuclear weapon states,

      (iii)   ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty by all states yet to do so,

      (iv)   the immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations for a verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for weapons purposes,

      (v)   stronger international measures to address serious NPT non-compliance issues,

      (vi)   Iran, Syria and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions,

      (vii)   political and financial support for a strengthened IAEA safeguards regime, including universalisation of the Additional Protocol,

      (viii)   further investigation of the merits and risks of nuclear fuel cycle multilateralisation,

      (ix)   exploration of legal frameworks for the abolition of nuclear weapons, including the possibility of a nuclear weapons convention, as prospects for multilateral disarmament improve,

      (x)   efforts to establish a Middle East zone free from weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, freely arrived at by all regional states, and

      (xi)   efforts to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism within the framework of the IAEA and the Nuclear Security Summits.

I seek leave to make a brief statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator SINGH: This motion was moved by the Prime Minister yesterday in the other place, reflecting the importance of this issue and its place in the architecture of Australian foreign policy. This motion flows from the work of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, particularly report No. 106. I thank my colleagues and predecessors for their efforts in recognising the consensus view on this matter. I also had the honour this week of meeting the Director of the Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, Prof. Ramesh Thakur, as part of the United Nations parliamentary group. Prof. Thakur clearly articulated that if we want to deal with the issue of nuclear proliferation we must pursue disarmament. The only way to liberate the world from the terrible potential of nuclear conflict is to disarm, reduce and eventually abolish nuclear weapons.

This motion recognises a number of efforts by Australia and by other nations to contribute to the disarmament regime and to aid its principal instrument, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In 1972 Australia joined New Zealand at the International Court of Justice in actions against nuclear testing in the Pacific. In 1995 we established the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and in 2008 joined with Japan to establish the independent International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. In 2010 we partnered with Japan to establish the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative. But if we are one day to realise the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world, a goal I believe is shared by all parties in the Senate, we must continue the campaign against nuclear weapons as a priority in Australia's international agenda. We must redouble our efforts and constantly recommit to a world without the fear of nuclear weapons. I commend the motion.