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Tuesday, 2 December 1986
Page: 3133


Senator SANDERS(11.52) —by leave-I move:

(1) Page 1, add the following preamble:

`WHEREAS it is desirable that the Parliament give effect to certain obligations that Australia has as a party to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and make provision for related matters:

``AND WHEREAS it is the intention of the Parliament to give effect to the policy whereby Australia will refuse to allow the supply of Australian uranium to France until France ceases testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific region:'.

(2) Page 1, clause 2, leave out the clause, insert the following clause:

2. (1) Sections 1 to 7 (inclusive) shall come into operation on the day on which the Customs Amendment (Prohibition of the Exportation of Uranium to France) Act 1986 comes into operation.

(2) The remaining provisions of this Act shall come into operation on such day as is, or on such respective days as are, fixed by Proclamation, being a day or days, as the case may be, later than the day referred to in sub-section (1).

(3) Page 7, after clause 18, insert the following clause:

Prohibition of exportation of uranium to France

18a. (1) Provision for Australia's refusal to allow the supply of Australian uranium to France until France ceases testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific region is made in the Customs Amendment (Prohibition of the Exportation of Uranium to France) Act 1986.

(2) Sub-section (1) does not derogate from the operation of the Customs Amendment (Prohibition of the Exportation of Uranium to France) Act 1986.

One of the main goals of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty Bill 1986 is the halting of French nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific at Muroroa Atoll. However, the Government is furnishing potential material for the bombs by selling uranium to France. So I have framed three amendments. The most important and operative amendment is to add the following preamble:

. . . it is the intention of the Parliament to give effect to the policy whereby Australia will refuse to allow the supply of Australian uranium to France until France ceases testing nuclear weapons in the south Pacific region.

The other two amendments are basically enabling provisions to allow the preamble to be added to the Bill. They refer to the Customs Amendment (Prohibition of the Exportation of Uranium to France) Act 1986, which is necessary to make it possible in parliamentary and legal terms to introduce these amendments. The basic thrust of the amendments is to implement the policy of not shipping uranium to France. This policy is, of course, Australian Labor Party policy. As recently as July 1986 in Hobart the Australian Labor Party issued a publication called `Australian Labor Party Platform, Resolutions and Rules as approved by the 37th National Conference, Hobart'. On page 224 paragraph No. 94 states:

. . . refuse to allow the supply of Australian uranium to France until France ceases testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific region.

It is a good policy, spelt out loud and clear. However, immediately thereafter, before the ink was even dry, Prime Minister Bob Hawke announced that he was going to sell uranium to France-in violation of ALP policy, a policy which many people in Australia took at its face value and they allocated their votes to the Labor Party on that basis. It was a good policy. But the Hawke hubris, the hubris of extreme arrogance and pride, has struck again. He thought he could roll over the people in his Party and the people of Australia. What has he already done? He has already gone back on the overall policy on the shipment of uranium. He has rolled over on his policy of environmental protection in terms of Daintree. He has gone against the policy and the wishes of his Party on Aboriginal land rights. At this very moment the chainsaws are at Jackeys Marsh. He said that he would save Jackeys Marsh, in Tasmania, from the woodchippers. He has not done anything there. He has not done anything in the Lemonthyme area. He has not done anything in East Gippsland. The man has abandoned the principles of the Labor Party.

I have put up a mechanism so that the Labor Party in the Senate can implement its own policy of not shipping uranium to France. Last night I heard a lot of opposition to this from the Labor Party people. They are good people, people I respected, but they said: `Look, I would like to vote for this amendment, but I cannot because it would delay the passage of the Bill'. Therefore this morning I moved a motion which in fact would have allowed us to consider my Bill, the Customs Amendment (Prohibition of the Exportation of Uranium to France) Bill 1986, which would have enabled these amendments to come on to the Notice Paper as an order of business right after the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty Bill was passed, so there would be no delay whatsoever. But these people who last night were criticising me and saying that I was going to delay the procedures voted against my motion to bring on the Bill to hasten the procedures. So it is obvious that they are not opposing my amendments because of their stated reasons; they are opposing the amendments because they are afraid. I think that is a pity. They are good people but they are afraid of what their own Party will do to them. They are abandoning their constituents. They are forgetting that they were not elected by the Party; they were elected by the people of Australia. They work for the people of Australia; they do not work for that Party. They owe their final allegiance to the people of Australia, yet they will not vote-I hope I am wrong-for their own policy; they will not vote for the promise that they made to the people of Australia.

There are three major consequences. First, this shows a complete lack of morality. Secondly, it foreshadows open slather in uranium mining. No matter how much the Minister-he is frowning and moaning and rolling around and giving a great histrionic demonstration over there-doth protest, it is obvious that the Australian Government wants to open up more and more sales to France. Thirdly, the Labor Party has abandoned our friends in the Pacific. If we ship uranium-the material for the bombs-to France, how can we expect our friends in the Pacific to believe anything we say?

Over and over again we have found that the Labor Party has abandoned its own policies. The Democrats have brought up in this chamber a series of Bills, all of which used to be part of the Labor Party platform. We brought in a Bill for an Act to prohibit the passage of nuclear-powered ships and vessels carrying nuclear weapons in Australian waters or Australian air space, and it was opposed by the Labor Party; a Bill for an Act to prohibit the passage of ships carrying nuclear weapons through Australian waters, which was opposed by the Labor Party; a Bill for an Act to prohibit the passage of aircraft carrying nuclear weapons through Australian air space, which was opposed by the Labor Party; a Bill for an Act to prohibit the manufacture of nuclear weapons in, and the introduction of nuclear weapons into, Australia, which was opposed by the Labor Party; a Bill for an Act to prohibit the importation of nuclear hardware and for purposes connected therewith, which was opposed by the Labor Party; and a Bill for an Act to prohibit the exportation of nuclear materials and purposes connected therewith, which was also opposed by the Labor Party.

So we find that this Party, which used to be a party of conscience, a party of great ideals, and which was in fact the Party which was led by Gough Whitlam to power, has changed. The appointment of Gough Whitlam as Prime Minister is the reason I came to Australia. When Mr Whitlam was Prime Minister I felt: `There is a man, there is a government I can relate to'. I came here, and what happened? He unfortunately got kicked out. Honourable senators on the Government side have abandoned every policy and every promise that he made.


Senator Crichton-Browne —He is no longer here. Why don't you go, too?


Senator SANDERS —There is a statement! Because this honourable senator does not like what I am saying, he says I should leave. That is the Opposition's approach to things; it is just a muzzle, and it is not a very well expressed muzzle. We find that the Opposition is even more culpable in this than is the Labor Party. At least the Labor Party does go through some agony over these issues. The Opposition goes through no agony at all; it has one set purpose, and that is to oppose whatever comes along. We see that the Opposition, which would oppose these amendments, because it does wish to send uranium to France or any place else, therefore wants open slather in terms of any mineral or other exploitation of the resource. But the Labor Party, the party of hope for many Australians, is now going against the wishes of its own people. I urge the people in the Labor Party to have a good think about this.


Senator McIntosh —We have.


Senator SANDERS —I am sure they have. I do not want to cause them agony, I really do not. If they were doing their job I would not have to be here. If the Labor Party was living up to all of its policies I would not have to be here, and I am here because it is not.


Senator Robert Ray —I promise that we will put our shoulders to the wheel.


Senator SANDERS —The honourable senator says that he will put his shoulder to the wheel, and an ample shoulder it is. With that shoulder to the wheel I am sure that the Labor Party will move, and I urge that it move. Its members have to stand up on their hind legs and fight for their principles. It is not for me to fight for them. If they vote for my amendments, it will be a vote for common sense and for Australian Labor Party policy. They will be voting for their own policy. What is the point of having policies if they cannot support and vote for those policies? If they vote against the amendments it will be a cringing vote for expediency; they will be knuckling under to those who have the power in their Party. They have to start fighting as they are losing on all fronts. If they do not take a stand on this, where will they end up? This is not the Labor Party any more; it is a Liberal Party. There are two Liberal parties. Members of the Labor Party have to take a stand, and this is their chance. They must obey the wishes of their constituents and vote for the cessation of the shipment of nuclear materials to France.