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Thursday, 9 February 2012
Page: 671


Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (10:58): Madam Deputy Speaker Burke, I am not sure I have had a chance to congratulate you on your ascension back to that role. Anyhow, congratulations. I rise to support these amendments to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation (Safeguards) Act 1987 and the Extradition Act 1988. They are designed to correct a peculiarity in the current Australian law where certain illegal acts relating to acts by Australians against Australians within Australia involving nuclear terrorism are at this moment not covered by the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism to which Australia is a signatory. The current amendments have my full support. I have remembered that just a couple of years ago, nearby to Australia, some totally irresponsible person was arrested with several kilograms of caesium 137 in Bangkok. So the danger marches closer to us. I cannot believe that a person, for commercial purposes or for greed for money, would enter into such a prospect. But, apparently, there are such people in this world and that is why this kind of legislation is necessary. Nuclear terrorism, the prospect of which I have spoken about in this House, is potentially the gravest threat at the moment in the Middle East and, by inevitable extension, to the world, whether it is the development of nuclear weapons or, God forbid, a nuclear exchange or, as many people in this House have spoken about, the smuggling of dirty bombs and the use of them by terrorists within Australia. I refer to the most recent findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency in its report of November 2011, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, wherein the agency, in the exquisite language of international diplomacy, states that:

This report focuses on those areas where Iran has not fully implemented its binding obligations, as the full implementation of these obligations is needed to establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

In this most recent report, in summary, the IAEA says that Iran has not suspended its nuclear enrichment related activities in, amongst others, the Natanz fuel enrichment plant and the Fordow fuel enrichment plant, located near the city of Qom, or suspended work in heavy water related projects. Iran has declared to the agency 15 nuclear facilities in nine locations outside nuclear facilities where nuclear material is customarily used and the United Nations agency responsible for monitoring these kinds of things still awaits a substantive response in relation to announcements made by Iran concerning the construction of a further 10 new uranium enrichment facilities.

Most disturbingly, the agency reports it has become concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organisations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the agency has regularly received new information. Information that also serves as a basis for the agency's analysis and concerns comes from a variety of independent sources, including IAEA member states, the agency's own efforts and information provided by Iran itself. The information indicates Iran has carried out activities that are relevant to the development of nuclear weapons. This is not a peaceful nuclear program. The official international UN agency is looking at issues beyond what would otherwise be a legitimate Bushehr nuclear reactor provided by the Russians to the Iranians apparently for nuclear power.

The IAEA has identified the following military related activities of Iran on nuclear power: efforts to procure nuclear related and dual-use equipment and materials by related individuals and entities—and I am very proud that the Australian government has on four occasions intercepted, as then Minister for Defence Faulkner revealed, dual-use items sought by Tehran for its program; efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material; acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network; and work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon, including the testing of components. While some of these activities identified by the agency have civil as well as military applications, others, most disturbingly and threateningly, are specific to nuclear weapons.

The President of the United States' adviser Matthew Kroenig senior in last weekend's Financial Review said that the IAEA has identified that Iran was testing nuclear triggering devices and redesigning its missiles to carry nuclear payloads. That is very ominous advice from Matthew Kroenig, who has just retired as an adviser to the President of United States. He was the President's adviser from July 2010 to July 2011 and so he has the latest information. I commend his very alarming article in the centre pages of the Financial Review to members of the House. In summary, the International Atomic Energy Agency now reports that it will not be in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, specifically to nuclear weapons, unless and until Iran provides the necessary cooperation with the agency. Recently I had the opportunity to sit down for an extensive period of time with Russia's very cosmopolitan foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in Sydney. While I do not agree with many of his country's policy prescriptions on Syria and Iran, he did make the very sound point that the international community must at all costs keep the IAEA inspectors in Iran. The moment they are forced to leave is the moment for the international community to go to DEFCON 1, as the Iranians will be able to take their 20 per cent enriched uranium to 90 per cent within a very short period of time. I commend Mr Putin's and Russia's responsible posture in refusing to supply advanced missile defence to the Iranians.

One of the key things in understanding the possibility of nuclear proliferation and the possible provision of dirty bombs, even if not in the form of a nuclear weapon or a nuclear missile, is the nature of the Iranian regime. We all know that Persia was a great civilisation and that the Persian culture is a great civilisation. We all know that that regime stole an election from its own people more than just a year ago. The Iranian regime has a defence minister who has an indictment against him by the Argentinean Attorney-General for blowing up a civilian centre in Buenos Aires in the 1980s where more than 70 people were killed. It has recently been accused by the government of the United States of trying to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.

I want to draw attention today to the latest of its grave behaviour, given the heightened tensions in that part of the world. It shows you the kind of people we are dealing with and the outlaw nature of this regime that would, in my view, provide dirty bombs to terrorists if it thought it could get away with it, even into a place like Australia. The conservative Alef site, just yesterday, in Tehran published a doctrine detailing why the destruction of a nation and the slaughter of all of its people would be legally and morally justified. The site gave jurisprudential justification for Iran's Islamic government to take the helm on these kinds of issues and to prosecute such a policy. The article was written by Khamenei's strategy specialist, Alireza Forghani, and is now being run, as we speak, on most state owned websites in Iran indicating the regime's support. My goodness me; what kind of a country is it where the government officially says that on its own websites? It indicates the nature of the people whom we are dealing with. Of course, this demeans and humiliates the great civilisation of Persia, which all of us are familiar with. When we meet Persians overseas they shake their heads with embarrassment at the kind of regime that is running things there at the moment.

It informs me—and I think it should inform all members of the House—about the nature of regimes. It does not disturb me at all that Australia provides uranium to India, China—with whom I certainly disagree on its foreign policy—or Japan, because these countries are essentially peaceful. They do not threaten anyone. We realise, of course, that there are grave issues with nuclear safety, which arose out of Fukushima. But it is the nature of regimes that we should look at—regimes that have these materials and have the possibility of providing dirty bombs to people with nuclear material. They are a threat to our citizens as well.

I also draw the attention of this House to the article, which I think all members should read, in the December issue of the Atlantic, which points out that, in order to prevent American surveillance of where its nuclear weapons are, the government of Pakistan is now driving these weapons around in delivery trucks through the crowded streets of Lahore, Rawalpindi and other cities in Pakistan. However crazy that policy sounds, it is a danger to citizens of the world. Surely one of the bad guys in Waziristan could drive one of their pickup trucks down to Rawalpindi, Dhaka or some place like that and intercept one of these government delivery trucks that are not safeguarded by the Pakistani military or supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency. They could just pick one of them up. What a danger that would be to the people of the world. The provision of dirty bombs to terrorists is a real issue. It is brought very closely to mind by the incident that I cited at the beginning of my speech, in which a man was arrested in Bangkok several years ago carrying several kilograms of polonium. This is timely legislation. Both sides of parliament are showing their responsibility to the Australian people by supporting it.