Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Page: 13052


Ms JULIE BISHOP (2:19 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the recent decision of the Canadian government to allow uranium sales to India and to overnight reports that the President of the United States will implement a clean energy initiative with India that involves nuclear energy cooperation.

An incident having occurred in the gallery—


The SPEAKER —Order! The gallery yet again will come to order. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition.


Ms JULIE BISHOP —I will start again. My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the recent decision of the Canadian government to allow uranium sales to India and to overnight reports that the President of the United States will implement a clean energy initiative with India that involves nuclear energy cooperation. Given India’s energy needs, will the Prime Minister now adopt the coalition’s policy of allowing Australian sales of uranium to India with appropriate safeguards to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions?


Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —The government was clear-cut about the policies on this question when it went to the last election. Our policies concern the importance of the non-proliferation treaty. The government intends no disrespect whatsoever to the government and the people of India, given that the government of India’s history on non-proliferation is very good. What I would say is that the particular representations that we received both from the Bush administration and from the government of India in recent years have concerned the changes which occurred through the deliberations of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the provision of nuclear materials to India by a range of countries around the world. As the honourable member will be aware if she has read her briefs on this subject, the Australian government was exceptionally supportive and constructive in the negotiation of that process through the Nuclear Suppliers Group when a range of additional countries in fact were not. This has also been reflected in the responses which the government has received from the Indian government as a result of our positive approach adopted in those negotiations.

That is the approach we have adopted on these matters. Obviously we value our relationship with India. We will continue to work with India in terms of their overall energy needs. The joint declaration, which was signed by Prime Minister Singh and me when I was in New Delhi only a couple of weeks ago, reflects indeed the expanded scope and potential for energy cooperation in a whole range of areas in the future. This is a very good relationship between Australia and India. It is one to which this government attaches the highest priority and we will continue to work on that relationship in the future. India is one of the economic superpowers of the 21st century, and we intend to invest every level of resource we can in ensuring that relationship is elevated at the political level, the security level and the economic level. I would draw the honourable member’s attention to the contents of the joint declaration, which was signed when I was in New Delhi with Prime Minister Singh only a few weeks ago.