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Beazley response to nukes summit -

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KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Australia's ambassador to the US, the former Labor leader Kim Beazley,
has been attending the summit with Defence Minister John Faulkner and I spoke with him here in
Washington tonight.

Kim Beazley, what's your take on the summit?

KIM BEAZLEY, AUSTRALIAN AMBASSADOR TO US: Very effectively organised. A very good outcome. It shows
that the President at the moment on the top of his game. Focused on some of the - all the security
issues that Americans are concerned about, but dealing with it in manageable slices; one thing
after another. And the slice today was the threat of nuclear terrorism. He came up with a very good
work program, a very forward-leaning statement at the conclusion of the conference. And a lot of
people from around the world reporting in good things they are doing to secure nuclear materials,
making sure they don't fall into the hands of terrorists.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So what are some of the indications, some of the examples of that?

KIM BEAZLEY: Well, you had for example the Ukraine saying it was giving up all its highly enriched
uranium. You had the Americans and the Russians agreeing on getting rid of large stocks of the
same. The Russians saying they're gonna shut down the one reactor which is producing weapons grade
plutonium. You've got the Pakistanis coming out talking about really doing things to secure their
port facilities. You've got the Indians coming out talking about creating global research centres
to improve governance in this area. So, just one after another, everybody came - brought something
to the table. It was quite impressive.

And even more impressive than that - and that was impressive enough - was the preparedness to
accept the American suggestion of what was a principal terrorist threat at face value; not to
nibble around the edges, but say, "Fair enough. Whether you agree it's immediate or long term, no
question at all, if a nuclear weapon fell into the hands of a terrorist, they would use it and
massive devastation would result." So it is a fair enough thing for us to come to the table
prepared to accept a level of international governance here and comply with it in our internal

KERRY O'BRIEN: Is there a practical role for Australia in all this?

KIM BEAZLEY: We have already played a substantial role in this. The work that was done by Gareth
Evans and the Japanese commission set up by Kevin Rudd has in many ways laid a lot of the
groundwork, if you like, of things which must be considered in nuclear disarmament policy or
nuclear control policy. And then more recently the American nuclear posture review came out for the
first time with an ultimate objective of disarmament and for the first time without secret codices,
and so you know what the United States thinks officially about nuclear weapons. And there's a lot
of coincidence in language and propositions and directions between the exercise that Australia set
running, if you like, or the Australian Government set running, and what has transpired in that
review and things that were discussed today.

KERRY O'BRIEN: The President can claim a win of sorts, with countries agreeing to this four-year
timetable, but I wonder what the agreement is worth when you look at the individual countries and
break it down. What you just outlined on the surface sounds impressive, but you take a country like
China that's criticised for a lack of transparency. So whatever China says it's going to do has to
be taken with a degree of trust.

KIM BEAZLEY: Look, in this area I would take countries on trust. This is not the most complex part
of the disarmament agenda, or the most complex part of the anti-terrorism agenda. Nobody in their
right mind is going to get out there and say, "No, I'm not gonna secure my nuclear materials. No I
don't think that they ought to be subject to inspection. No, I don't think it oughta conform to
sort of international obligations in this regard. I think I'd be a really good thing if a terrorist
got their hand on a nuclear weapon." I mean, in one sense this is a no-brainer, but somebody has to
bell the cat and somebody has to say, "Well, OK, we all say it's a no-brainer, but what do you
actually do about it?" And this has come as close to saying sensible things about what needs to be
done about it and proposing a course of action that is achievable. And you'd have to say that
politicians are good at hyperbole, but when Obama said that he wanted these things secured within
four years and he said it a year ago, if you take a look at the working plan and you take a look at
the response to the various countries, he'll probably achieve it.

KERRY O'BRIEN: This is the biggest summit hosted by an American President in more than 60 years.
President Hu from China, President Medvedev from Russia were there, amongst many other world
leaders. Should Kevin Rudd have been there?

KIM BEAZLEY: I must say for me being there from the point of view of being an ambassador it was
sort of a little awesome, I have to say. I've got out of the habits of international arrangements.
I don't think that you'd get Kevin Rudd saying he wouldn't want to be there. Kevin Rudd would have
loved to have been there and the Americans would have loved to have had him. As it turns out, the
role that he needed to play on this he probably had already played. We didn't know that a week or
two ago, but you know it now.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Defence Minister John Faulkner met US Defense Secretary Robert Gates yesterday. I
assume Afghanistan was canvassed and are the Americans still keen for a bigger Australian troop
commitment or a more combat-focused role for Australian troops?

KIM BEAZLEY: Firstly, I think that John Faulkner's the right person to replace the Prime Minister.
Nuclear weapons, our relationship with the US deterrent, enforcement, if you like, of nuclear
regulations; that actually resides in Australia in the Department of Defence. Foreign Affairs
handles arms control matters, but there's a lot more that was practical about this particular
conference. So he was the right man. He also was in the right place at the right time because he
needed a conversation with Defense Secretary Gates on where we're going in Afghanistan. Clearly,
the Dutch, if you take a look at what's going on in their election campaign, they are going to
reach a position whereby the end of the year they're going to be gone. It gave John Faulkner an
opportunity, I think, to lay out to the United States the very considerable changes that have been
made in the Australian posture for fixing up the consequences of that from our end. So the
additional candex that - we're training one now, we're gonna end up training the three.


KIM BEAZLEY: That's battalions. We're training one, we're gonna end up training three. We're gonna
end up training the brigade headquarters, we're gonna end up training the combat support elements,
that's the artillery and the like.

KERRY O'BRIEN: In Afghanistan?

KIM BEAZLEY: In Afghanistan, in this group. This group, as announced by Senator Fawkner a couple of
weeks ago, is going to be capable of defending itself out to where it needs to defend itself,
whether that's immediately within the boundaries or just over them. So that's - the Americans are
completely cheerful about all of this. And in addition, the Dutch are doing an absolutely fabulous
work with liaison with the tribes in Uruzgan and coordination of the aid effort. We're already
substantial contributors to the aid effort, particularly our military engineers and the like.
Australia has announced that it's going to increase the civilian component and substantially
increase the police component. And that in part makes up for what may be lost in regard to the
Dutch winding down their engagement.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But are you saying that the Americans - when you say they're cheerful, you're saying
that there is no sense of an American mood that feels Australia could do more?

KIM BEAZLEY: No. They've - Australia's done a fair bit more. They fully comprehend that we're
engaged elsewhere, and that the heavy focus in Australian Defence spending in the long term is sort
of maritime, not counter-insurgency. And so the Americans understand that we're contributing
heavily. The ball's really in their court. They've gotta work out how they are just to deal if the
Dutch ultimately go down the road they're apparently going down, how they adjust to provide the
sorts of enablers that the Dutch had been providing so the Australian effort can continue.

KERRY O'BRIEN: When President Obama does visit Australia, what are the issues that you would
isolate that are the trickiest issue for the relationship, the issues that need the most work?

KIM BEAZLEY: They're not too many, to be frank. We're - on the major commitments like Afghanistan
we're seeing eye to eye. The - it would be a question of: how do we properly reflect the character
of the relationship as it is now in the sorts of agreements that are struck? And I think there'd be
areas of education, environment, things like clean coal - all these sorts of issues which are
issues out there which we're both dealing with, given that there's quite a coincidence of
perspectives between the way Kevin Rudd sees the world and the way President Obama sees the world.
Well how do you put flesh on that? I think the challenge is to put flesh on those - that type of
common approach, which goes beyond the attitudinal into the practical.

KERRY O'BRIEN: On a personal note, I notice that you've broken free of the clutches of the
wheelchair. This must have been an incredibly painful introduction to diplomacy for you?

KIM BEAZLEY: Very painful. Very useful for representational purposes, I've gotta say. When I got
out of the wheelchair, the deputy chief of mission says you've gotta get back in. We've never had
access like we've had in Congress. They feel they gotta see you! So back into it!

KERRY O'BRIEN: Kim Beazley, thanks for talking with us.

KIM BEAZLEY: Good to be with you.