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Tuesday, 1 November 1983
Page: 2100


Mr BRAITHWAITE —I address my question to the Prime Minister. I preface it by saying that the Opposition welcomes today's news about Roxby Downs, although I understand that the Northern Territory Labor Party is not so happy about it--


Mr SPEAKER —Order! I invite the honourable member to get on with his question.


Mr BRAITHWAITE —I ask the Prime Minister whether he can inform the House of the special qualities of uranium at Roxby Downs which make it safe to mine and export, unlike the uranium from other deposits. Will he admit that Cabinet's proposal has nothing to do with rational common sense but reflects the fact that the State Labor Government of South Australia would be defeated if Roxby were halted? Can the Prime Minister give an assurance to the Northern Territory Assembly and the Queensland Government that this Government's decision on uranium will not discriminate against the Northern Territory and Queensland, both of which also have major uranium projects planned? Will the Prime Minister give an assurance that, whatever decision the Government reaches on uranium, it will not be overturned at the next Federal Conference of the Australian Labor Party?


Mr HAWKE —In respect of the first part of the question, if one is talking about Roxby one is not talking about the special qualities of uranium there; one is referring to the nature of the mine and the incidentality, if I can coin that word, of uranium to other deposits. The question of the Government's policy in regard to uranium will proceed. What has happened to this point is that the Cabinet has met and considered the matter. There will be a special meeting of the Caucus of the Party next Monday where that recommendation of the Cabinet will be considered. As distinct from the constitution of those parties on the other side, there is a democratic process within the Australian Labor Party that has served this Party well. It will continue to do so. The people of Australia, as they have increasingly done around Australia in the last two years, will, I am sure, continue to adjudge those processes of our Party to be infinitely superior to the dog's breakfast which characterises the policies and processes of the Opposition.