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Monday, 1 December 1986
Page: 3086

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK(6.14) —The Senate has before it two Bills. One Bill is entitled the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Amendment Bill 1986. The Opposition-the Liberal and National parties, of which I am a member-fully supports that Bill. We have before us another Bill entitled the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty Bill 1986. The title is such that one is minded to say that one would have to support it; it sounds so important, and every right-minded person wants a nuclear free zone. I must tell the Senate that, on examination, one can see that not only is the title of the Bill incorrect, but the Bill itself does nothing to add to the security of the area, and can do much to destabilise. In saying that-speaking both personally and for the coalition parties-we fervently want to see nuclear weapons removed from this world. We believe that the goal must be the total eradication of all nuclear weapons. We support the attempts to get nuclear powers progressively to reduce their nuclear stockpiles to nil and put in non-nuclear defensive systems. I say that as one who fervently, throughout the world, has sought to find solutions to this problem. But it is very wrong for a government or any person to seduce the public into believing that a measure will do something to add to its security, when it may well do the reverse.

Let me refer first to these words in the Bill's title: `Nuclear free zone'. The fact is that my colleagues and I emphatically want the world to be a nuclear free zone. Unless the whole world is a nuclear free zone, not one tiny part of the world can be nuclear free. If there is one message from Chernobyl, the nuclear power disasters near Kiev in the Soviet Union last year, it is that there can be no nuclear free zones. It involved, compared with a missile blast, a minor emission of radioactivity which swept not only over that part of Russia, but on through western and southern Europe, over areas which had been wrongly and perversely called nuclear free zones. The fact that parts of Scandinavia, Scotland, Italy and Greece were called nuclear free zones did not stop the radioactive material spreading over those areas.

It is an illusion to believe that one can create such a zone. If one wanted to present the true picture, one would say not only that we are out to make this world nuclear free, but also that the main objective of any government, any party and any member of parliament is to see that every nation in this world is a signatory to and an observer of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Nothing in the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty does anything to add to the real benefits that lie in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That Treaty applies to the South Pacific states. The fact is that no country in the South Pacific at the moment is a nuclear weapons country. So there is no need to move away from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The fact is that if we want to stop horizontal or vertical proliferation in this world, we in Australia are committed, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to get behind that Treaty and get every country in the world to sign it. Some 130-odd countries are signatories to that Treaty now. In September last year a meeting of those countries revealed a fascinating thing-that the progress of observance of the Treaty had been good, that there was no evidence of breaches of the Treaty, and there was evidence that more nations were working towards that Treaty. Australia is a signatory to that Treaty. It is an active member of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

One should not have to go further than the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the text of which I have in my hand, to see that nothing further is to be gained in the South Pacific, bearing in mind in the first place that there are no weapons states in the area at the moment. Article II of the United Nations Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons states:

Each non-nuclear weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Australia, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Samoa are signatories to that article. They are committed to this already. They are committed further in that any non-nuclear weapon state party to the Treaty undertakes to accept the safeguards as laid down in the International Atomic Energy Agency and also to see that any transfer of peaceable fissile material shall be done with total safeguards. It also says in Article IV of which Australia is in breach that it is the duty of signatories to the Treaty to help other countries with peacetime usage of fissile material with strict safeguards. Clause 2 of Article IV states:

All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also co-operate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organisations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapons States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration to the needs of the developing areas of the world.

In other words, the great bulk of the nations of this world are already signatories to what the world recognises as the most significant treaty in the world, the most significant instrument in the world, for stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The countries of the South Pacific are signatories to it. There are no nuclear weapons states there. One would say that our duty is to get amongst those 13 states to ensure that they are active in working within the Treaty. If one or two of the smaller islands are not already members of the Treaty it is our bounden duty to get them to join that Treaty. It is recognised by every country of the Western world that their prime task is to ensure horizontal and vertical non-proliferation of weapons. That ought to be our task.

If the Treaty were to be based on nuclear non-proliferation it would have an honest and a non-seductive title. It would say to people: `These nations that are non-weapon states are signing a treaty to undertake not to have weapons themselves, not to manufacture them, and not to station them on their soil, et cetera'. One would understand that. But it gives the impression from the word `zone' that we can draw some circle on this earth and within that circle make that part nuclear free. I have referred to Chernobyl. Sadly, no matter where a nuclear device explodes in this world it will spread throughout the world. Let me give an example to show the nature of that statement. If one is at sea level in Australia the amount of radioactivity that comes from the cosmic rays, from the rocks, from the food we eat, from our own bones, is measured at about 100 millirads. All the atomic explosives that have happened in this world since Hiroshima and Nagasaki have added two millirads to that. In the cosmic mix they have been distributed throughout the world. A Muroroa explosion going eastwards in the first place will spread whatever radioactivity it has throughout the world. If we elect to come to Canberra, as we have today, we would be adding, because of the altitude, two more millirads. The higher one goes the higher the millirads.

We have to accept that the ordinary cosmic mix of this world will ensure that, wherever an explosion is, it will ultimately spread throughout the world. Our task is to stop any missile ever being exploded anywhere in this world, no matter from where it is to be exploded or whatever its target may be. There cannot be in this world a limited nuclear war. No one can win a nuclear war. Once a nuclear war starts the aggressor must make the attack so enormous that he limits or even stops any kind of retaliation. That would be of such a magnitude as to be worldwide destructive. That is accepted by both sides of this chamber.

Fundamentally our job is to get a nuclear free world. The best way is through the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and alongside that Treaty, the best way is to support the deterrent inside the Western alliance. The Government admits that for the time being there is no substitute to the deterrent; that is the ability of the Western world if it were attacked by nuclear means to respond. One hopes that ability will never be used but will simply be a deterrent. No aggressor would attempt to attack because the dispersal of nuclear weapons throughout the world would be such that the aggressor could not wipe them out and there would be significant retaliation. It would be an ugly situation. It would be mutually assured destruction, as it is called. There is no substitute as yet, unless, of course, the strategic defence initiative, the so-called star wars, proves to be effective and we can get a non-nuclear defence system in this world.

The situation is that there cannot be such a zone because wherever an explosion happened in this world the South Pacific zone would be affected just as much as the rest of the world would be. This Treaty gives the illusion that the international waters and the international air space are part of the zone. There are only two elements to this zone: The nation states themselves, their territories, territorial waters and air- space, and the international waters and the international airspace. We know that through the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty we can get a total answer by the signatories observing that Treaty. We know that they are non-nuclear weapon states at this moment, so we can solve the territorial situation by working for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and working for the strengthening of the International Atomic Energy Agency, of which we are a member. This Bill gives the illusion that international waters and international airspace are somehow nuclear free. There is no way to stop the movement backwards and forwards throughout the whole of the South Pacific zone of nuclear powered, nuclear armed vessels and, of course, aircraft carrying nuclear weapons.

So it is an illusion, an ugly illusion, to pretend to people through a title of a Bill, through the title of a treaty, that we are doing something that we cannot do. It is surely the ugliest and most corrupt of illusions. We want a world that is totally nuclear free. The Democrats are opposed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Do not forget that the Australian Democrats stand for two devastating negatives: It is opposed to the ANZUS alliance-it wants us to become neutral, to opt out, to simply be isolated without friends to defend us-and it wants us to get out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We would be lonely indeed in doing that. Do not ask me why the Democrats create the illusion that we can somehow in isolation be safe when we know that there can be no safety in isolation, no protection for anyone in this so-called nuclear free zone. That is an ugly illusion. There is safety in a growing world of decent nations and people wanting to work together to create nuclear non-proliferation areas further and further out until we have a world that is nuclear free. That in itself is the essence of what it is all about.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.

South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Bill

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —Before the suspension of the sitting for dinner I said that the title of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty Bill is bad illusion. It gives the illusion that one can create a nuclear free zone in the South Pacific. The illusion is that there is a zone which contains the territories, the territorial waters, the territorial airspace, the international waters and the international airspace of the South Pacific which could be made nuclear free. Even the Government admits that this is nonsense. The Government admits that no such treaty could bind the international waters or the international airspace. It knows that nuclear powered and nuclear armed vessels and nuclear equipped aircraft can use international space at any time. It knows, as I pointed out, that radioactivity can spread from any point in the world throughout the world and that no declaration of a nuclear free zone can stop it. It knows-I make this very important point-that the only nuclear free zone that we must all strive for is a world that is wholly nuclear free.

I pointed out that the important safeguards against the proliferation of weapons in this world lie in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Not only is Australia a signatory to that Treaty, as are 130 nations, most of the nations of the world, but also the nations of the South Pacific zone-Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Samoa-are signatories to it. I read the terms of the Treaty to show that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty imposes great responsibilities and sanctions upon these countries, greater than this proposed Treaty can possibly do. I pointed out that the International Atomic Energy Agency ought to be given far more powers so that it can deal with any suggested proliferation.

If we are to test how we can achieve a world that is nuclear free we have to look at the realities. The first reality is that nuclear knowledge is universal, growing and irreversible. One cannot wipe out knowledge. Any country with reasonable technology can make a nuclear weapon and delivery system. Weapon technology cannot be frozen; it will mirror the advancing technology of society. With the knowledge there, we have to find ways of stopping people using that knowledge for bad purposes. But I go one step further and say that uranium and thorium, the two main fissile materials, are universally distributed throughout the whole earth's crust and its oceans. The absence of any world trade in them-whether or not a country mined, milled and exported them-would have no effect at all. Any ban on Australia's export of them would have no effect at all if a country wanted to get fissile materials for nuclear purposes. Indeed, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty makes the salient point that by joining the Treaty, becoming a member nation and carrying out responsibilities and by trading uranium freely and fully to those who are signatories to the Treaty so that they observe all the sanctions, responsibilities and safeguards is the best way to stop fissile material going astray for nuclear purposes. The onus is on Australia to make absolutely sure that we are good suppliers of uranium to the world and that we supply it to those nations that are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Senator Sanders —Shall we sell heroin as well? Shall we push dope as well?

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —That is a treaty that Senator Sanders rejects, incidentally. Let me again make it clear that Senator Sanders, a member of the Australian Democrats, like his Democrat partners, rejects the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Indeed, Senator Chipp has said that the Democrats reject it, as they reject the ANZUS Treaty and any Western alliance. So I say again that it is Australia's task to observe the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Australia, being one of the largest possessors of uranium in the world, ought to export to partners to that Treaty, observe the safeguards and monitor all those fissile materials through their cycle. Not just one or two nations but virtually every nation in the world agrees with that. Some 130 nations are now signatories to the Treaty, and the only people out of step in the regiment now are Senator Sanders and the Australian Democrats. They are out of step with 99 per cent of the world's population. Of course a handful of nations are not parties to the Treaty, and our job is to get alongside those countries and see whether we can get more members. In the last few years even more nations have come in.

We may fundamentally want the world to be a nuclear free zone but we cannot wipe out knowledge and we cannot prevent people from getting fissile materials. We cannot turn back the clock in terms of the peaceful use of nuclear materials. This Parliament of Australia has had before it the report of the Australian Science and Technology Council, the main scientific body in Australia, which says quite clearly that during the next 30 years there will be no substitute for increased nuclear power generation; that renewable energy, whether it is solar, biomass or water, is marginal; that oil is diminishing; and that coal is a serious pollutant. In fact coal-fired power stations have more radioactive fallout than nuclear power stations. What a strange thing it is that those who inveigh against nuclear power stations forget to tell the world two things: That coal-fired power stations throw radioactive material into the air and distribute it widely, and that coal-fired and oil-fired power stations around the world are creating acid rain which is destroying the ecosystem, particularly in Canada, in the Black Forest and in Scandinavia. The very people who pretend that they have a monopoly on the ecology and a monopoly on conservation never open their mouths about the damage to flora, fauna and human health that is occurring. The American Medical Association has said that 50,000 Americans each year become seriously ill or die as a result of acid rain. We do not talk about that.

Senator Sanders —Right; you did read my book.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bjelke-Petersen) —Senator Sanders!

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —I do not mind when Senator Sanders interjects because it is important for the world outside to understand that he and the Democrats are fighting to destroy the great safeguards of this nation and the free world. They are fighting to destroy the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that 130-odd nations want, and they are fighting to destroy the Western alliance, including the ANZUS Treaty, which all but the Democrats in this Parliament believe is the one great safeguard for Australia. Happily, the belief that the Western alliance forms a deterrent is shared by both the Government and the Opposition, and by the recent report of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. So the people of Australia should understand that the one group in this Parliament threatening the very safety of the free world, the Western alliance, is the group that puts forward these arrant nonsenses, that mouths the theory that there can be a nuclear free zone.

I make it perfectly clear to Senator Walsh, who is in the chamber, or to anybody else, that both America and his Government say that there must be no nuclear war, no one can win a nuclear war; there can be no limited nuclear war. In a nuclear war there can be no winners, no escape for neutral nations, and yet the Democrats want us to be neutral. There can be no protection in nuclear free zones and no protection in isolation. The fact is that in any kind of major nuclear situation everybody would be affected. No nation can opt out. The absence of a primary target, of bases and installations, gives no protection at all to a country. The cosmic mix has an effect on the total situation.

The Bill before us is concerned with a treaty which does not do as much as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, to which we are already a signatory. The South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty is not as stringent as that Treaty. It does not have 130-odd nations bound to it, and it pretends that such South Pacific zone can be created. However, it can have no influence at all on airspace or sea space in international waters. The Treaty creates an illusion. I would support it fully if it had only gone as far as being cosmetic. I would say that it was unnecessary, but that would be that. But the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty goes further than that. The wording of the Treaty can, in fact, threaten the ability of Australia to perform within the Western alliance and within the ANZUS Treaty should there be a critical situation. Should there be a situation in which Australia finds itself in some kind of peril, in which it wants support from its Western partners and from the Western alliance itself, there is quite a danger that this Treaty will make impossible the type of deployment and association that would safeguard Australia or the region. It would be nonsense for us to let ourselves into a situation in which we could not in a crisis co-operate fully with the Western alliance or fulfil our obligations under the ANZUS Treaty.

That really is the nub of the situation. The Treaty in itself is an illusion and is basically unnecessary because of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The nations which are signatories to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty are non-nuclear, non-nuclear weapon countries. Australia is pledged to do certain things under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We are regarded in the world as very good neighbours in the nuclear sense. We enforce all of the safeguards when we export our uranium. We trace and monitor what happens to it around the world. We do what 130-odd nations say are the right things to do. The tragedy is that the Hawke Government does some of it but does not do all of it. It says that it is good to export some uranium for peaceful purposes but that it is not good to supply uranium, no matter what might be the demand, to those countries that observe the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The danger is that, if we do not supply the countries that want it, they will find it from elsewhere and the same kind of safeguards may not be applied.

So we have a major problem. We have to move towards a world that is nuclear weapons free. That is our task; that is our goal. The way to do that, of course, is to bring about nuclear disarmament and major conventional disarmament. We have to move down to verifiable and equivalent levels step by step until we get, hopefully, to the abandonment of all nuclear weapons. The only way we can do this is to see the nuclear free concept as a world that is nuclear free. The way to do that is through the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, by giving more muscle to the International Atomic Energy Agency and for Australia to be a good neighbour in our zone, certainly working within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but also working under the Western alliance and the ANZUS Treaty to maintain a sensible deterrent so nobody ever in this world uses an atomic weapon or, indeed, a major weapon of conventional warfare. That is the way to achieve a nuclear free and war free area.

Any other way is nothing but an illusion. I am sorry that this should be so. It is a great pity. I have fought in the past to get the words `nuclear free zone' in the Treaty changed to `nuclear non-proliferation'. I would understand a treaty that contained such words. The words `nuclear free' are simply a confidence trick on the Australian people. I find the use of these words an ugly and corrupt kind of trick because they pretend to do something that this Bill can never do. The use of those words creates an illusion of safety which does very great harm to the Government and the people of Australia.