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Monday, 27 February 2012
Page: 862


Senator McLUCAS (QueenslandParliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers) (18:24): I would like to thank senators for their contribution to the debate on the bill. Australia takes the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons and related materials seriously and actively participates in a range of international activities and forums designed to reduce proliferation and improve nuclear safety arrangements. Australia is a longtime supporter of the international legal framework for the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, including as a state party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone Treaty. Australia also participates in the Proliferation Security Initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to prevent illicit trafficking in weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials.

The Nuclear Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 will make a contribution to Australia's fight against terrorism and misuse of weapons of mass destruction. Importantly, it will also demonstrate to the international community that Australia is serious about cooperating with other nations to defeat threats to international peace and security. Nuclear terrorism is a horrifying thought. A nuclear terrorist attack could kill millions, lay waste to cities and the environment for decades, and cause grave social and economic dislocation. We hope that the world never sees this day. While our hope is that the probability of this happening is low, we should never discount that possibility. The bill will put in place offences that will allow Australia to more easily prosecute nuclear terrorists. It would also facilitate cooperation with other nations in the fight against nuclear terrorism. The bill forms part of a broad effort by the international community to fight nuclear terrorism. It will allow Australia to ratify the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. It is a significant piece of legislation which sends a strong message to the international community and would-be nuclear terrorists. I commend the bill to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.