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Tuesday, 2 December 1986
Page: 3135


Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK(12.04) —The Committee is debating amendments moved by the Australian Democrats to prevent the sale of uranium to France. Those amendments are as much an illusion, as much of a confidence trick, as the title of the Bill we are debating, the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty Bill 1986, just as it is a superb confidence trick to pretend that we can have a South Pacific nuclear free zone-and that has been exposed. So there is a confidence trick underlying these amendments. The suggestion is that if the export of uranium to France is denied, somehow or other that will punish France for what it has done on Mururoa Atoll, somehow or other France will not be able to get uranium and somehow or other that uranium will not be used to make bombs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) had to admit, when he reversed Australian Labor Party policy on the export of uranium to France, that it was never a policy that had any teeth in it, that it was only a shop window, a front. That was the Prime Minister's own statement a few months ago at the time of the Budget.

The truth is that the whole world is capable of producing uranium and that if France does not get uranium from Australia it can get it anywhere else. The great danger is that if it gets it from a country that is not a member of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, it can in fact put that uranium, if it wants to, into a nuclear weapons project. Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, uranium from Australia can be used only for peacetime purposes. Its use is monitored the whole way through and there is no capacity whatsoever for it to get into weaponry. So quite contrary to this absolute confidence trick, the best way to stop France using uranium for weapons is for Australia to sell it to France and to monitor its use all the way through. But that is never disclosed.

There is also a nonsense trick. The Democrats are trying to frighten the people of the world by saying that our uranium is somehow going to be turned into plutonium. The Democrats know, as the rest of the world must know, that the nuclear weapons states are awash with plutonium and the one thing they do not want any more of is plutonium. There is an attempt, which I support, to set up an international plutonium bank to retire from the world the excess plutonium, yet the threat runs.

Let me state the principles that ought to be here instead of these confidence tricks. Every right thinking person in this world wants to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and wants to eliminate them. Every right thinking person wants, as one of the main steps towards that, to stop nuclear tests, in other words, to support the nuclear test ban which Australia supports in Geneva and in the United Nations. Five nations are undertaking underground nuclear tests. If we want to stop France doing that, we also want to stop the other four nations doing that. Are we simply saying that the only reason we want to stop France is that we do not like it doing this in our region or that we do not like it doing this in one of its provinces instead of on its own territory? What are we saying? The key situation ought to be that we should stand up here and be counted and say that we are opposed to nuclear testing, whether it is in China, Russia, France, Great Britain or the United States of America. We are opposed to it, and we will work for a nuclear test ban.

The situation is that some kind of selective propaganda is going on. I thoroughly oppose the testing of nuclear weapons, wherever they may be and specifically at Mururoa. There has been this spreading of a belief that the testing at Mururoa has had adverse effects upon the health of the people in the Pacific, especially Australia. Although I do not support the tests at all, I think I am right-I invite the Minister to tell me-that all the monitoring so far fails to reveal radioactivity of any magnitude that would have adverse effects upon human health. I do not say that to encourage it; I say it simply to try to put another one of these propaganda weapons aside. In any case, when I was talking last night on the Bill I pointed out that wherever radioactivity occurs it is spread uniformly throughout the world by the cosmic mix.


Senator Sanders —The cosmic mix!


Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —I remind the chamber and the people of Australia that this brain fever bird comes in here using the grossest distortions to give the people of Australia utterly wrong values. This honourable senator who has interjected represents a party that is pledged to destroy the ANZUS Treaty. Let us get that quite clear. The Australian Democrats want to get rid of the ANZUS Treaty; they want Australia to be rid of the Western alliance; they want Australia to be isolated and defenceless in terms of friends. That is their policy. This party to which Senator Sanders belongs wants to destroy the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is a party that says that the 134 nations which regard this Treaty as the most significant weapon in the prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons are wrong and that Senator Sanders and his party are right. All his shouting will not stop me from reminding the Australian people that this party, the Australian Democrats, wants Australia to be isolated and friendless. That is what it wants to do, and it is performing a major confidence trick. It is pretending to the people that if we can be isolated we can be nuclear free, that somehow or other there can be a nuclear free zone.

I believe that the real traitors to Australia are those who, advertently or inadvertently, are pretending that we can create a nuclear free zone other than in a world that is nuclear free. Anybody who creates the illusion of a nuclear free zone by saying `Let us get rid of the alliance; let us get rid of the ANZUS Treaty; let us be isolated and therefore we will be protected in our isolation' is perpetrating upon the Australian people one of the ugliest tricks there can be. Ask the people of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Scotland about Chernobyl, when the radioactivity went over nuclear free zones, whether or not they were nuclear free.


Senator Sanders —You are in favour of nuclear energy.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator MacGibbon) —Order! Senator Sanders, you will cease interjecting or I will name you.


Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —I wear it as a badge of pride, Mr Temporary Chairman, every time Senator Sanders interjects because he shows how much he and his party are using as a form of corrupt propaganda a very dangerous pretence. If he is saying to the people of Australia that it is safe to get rid of the ANZUS Treaty, he is doing something to destroy the defence of Australia but, more than that, he is doing something to weaken the deterrent which the Western alliance maintains and which is universally regarded as the reason why we maintain peace. On both sides of this chamber there is recognition that, for want of something better at this moment, the deterrent is the reason why we have had 40 years of peace in nuclear terms. He wants to break the deterrent. He wants to destroy the deterrent as far as Australia is concerned. He wants to get the peacekeeping installations removed. I remind the chamber that in Geneva there is a continuous attempt to set up a treaty called an anti-satellite weapon treaty. What would that do? It would try to stop people using weapons to destroy satellites. Why? Because universally nations agree that satellites are the best peacekeepers as they can see what the other fellow is doing.


Senator Georges —Oh!


Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —Indeed, Mr Hayden-Senator Georges interjects-said when I was in Geneva: `Yes, that is right. This Government agrees'. Therefore this Government would agree that we should protect the base installations that receive the signals from the satellites. Pine Gap and Nurrungar are such installations, which the Democrats and the left wing of the Australian Labor Party want to destroy. They are pledged to destroy the best peacekeepers we can have, with the surveillance and the verification signals. These are the people who have the nerve to get up here and misrepresent. The Democrats and the Labor left wing are saying that we must stop the export of uranium to France. Why should we not stop the export of uranium to the United Kingdom, America, China and Russia? They are being selective in the first place. They are pretending that the prevention of the export of uranium to France will punish France, but Mr Hawke said that it did not do anything of the sort, that it was only a shop window, that it was only a gesture. It was, of course, a hollow gesture because it meant that France could go anywhere else and buy uranium that then need not be monitored at all.

What a monstrosity it is. They are advocating that France should be able to buy uranium which need not be monitored and which may go into weapons. They are putting before us a corruption of the truth. In any case, when they get up would we not expect them to say, not selectively: `Look here, we, like most decent people, are opposed to nuclear tests. We would like to see a nuclear test ban throughout the world. We are not just being selective about Mururoa because it is near us, although we would like to frighten you about it. We want a nuclear ban throughout the world. We do not want nuclear tests in the United Kingdom, America, Russia, China or France at all'? There is none of that. With the Democrats there have to be scare tactics; there has to be propaganda. All the time there has to be the pretence that this Bill has, the pretence that we have a nuclear free zone.

I remind the Senate of what we are talking about. We are talking about the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty Bill. What is a zone? It is a total area which contains within it the particular territories and waters about which we are talking. Everything within that zone shall be nuclear free. By its definition it purports to say that to the Australian people, yet the Government knows quite clearly that it has no say at all over international waters or international air space. What a nonsense! What a corruption of the truth it is that the Government and the Democrats should come here with that and then try another trick. We know that the countries within the Treaty are, first of all, non-nuclear weapon countries and, secondly, that they are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is all cosmetic. This whole argument of peace and disarmament has been bedevilled by a pretence, by cosmetics, by a kidding of the Australian people that we can get peace by mouthing peace, that we can get peace by a nuclear free zone. Nothing could be more wrong. No one can create a nuclear free zone in this world until the world is a nuclear free zone. That is what this Liberal and National Party coalition is for.