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Friday, 7 September 1984
Page: 674

Senator CHANEY —My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Resources and Energy, relates to a matter I mentioned on the adjournment the other day to which I indicated I would be asking the Minister to respond. I ask the Minister whether it is a fact that uranium sales to France are contractually due to be delivered in October? Does the Government intend to allow those exports to proceed or will it be preventing them, in line with the Federal Labor Party Conference decision of a month or so ago? If the Government does intend to prevent the export of uranium and to breach contracts in that way, what arrangements is it making to compensate those companies which will thereby suffer loss? What arrangements are being made to protect Australia from retaliation in other areas of our exports to the European Economic Community?

Senator WALSH —It is correct, as Senator Chaney stated, that a shipment of 100 tonnes of uranium from Queensland Mines Ltd is scheduled for delivery in October to Electricite de France. That shipment will not be made, in accordance with Government policy that uranium will not be supplied to France while it continues to test nuclear weapons at Muroroa. I do not know whether there was criticism implicit in Senator Chaney's question of the Government's policy that uranium should not be supplied to France while that country continues, in my view in an arrogant and irresponsible manner, to test nuclear weapons at Muroroa. However, I am confident that it is the belief of a significant majority of Australians that the French behaviour is below the standards that ought to be expected from a country with many centuries of civilisation behind it such as France. Whether Senator Chaney approves or not, the shipment will not be made.

On the other points that Senator Chaney raised-I think it would be imprudent for me at this stage to make any definitive statements-discussions have been held between QML and the Government and, although the Government has not been involved in these, I understand that discussions have also been held between QML and Electricite de France. I hope that within the next, say, two weeks I will be able to make a definitive statement about the outcome of those discussions. I do not believe it would be wise to speculate about them at this stage.