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Tuesday, 17 November 1959

Mr HULME (PETRIE, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Supply) - I was myself a little concerned about the alleged statement of the Right Honorable David Ormsby-Gore in relation to this matter which appeared in the press a few days ago. Quite a number of honorable members have consulted me about it. In 1957 the Prime Minister gave an assurance to the Parliament, and to the people of Australia, that only atomic tests would be held in this country, and I can assure honorable members that that, in fact, has been the situation. However, because of the confusion in the minds of the people, I have obtained the actual statement that was made by Mr. 'Ormsby-Gore at the United Nations General Assembly in New

York on 5th November last, and I should like to read it to the House. It is in these terms -

Mr. Mochhas made it clear that the French experiments will be concerned with what is commonly called the atomic or A' bomb.

Great as is the force of such a weapon, it is a mere fraction of the force of a thermo-nuclear weapon, commonly called an H bomb. An H bomb is something which projects a large quantity of radio-active matter high into the stratosphere. We are not concerned with that here. We are dealing with the A bomb. This makes profound differences.

As the committee is aware, my country effected a number of nuclear weapon tests at Maralinga in Australia. We can therefore furnish some information which will perhaps help to put the extent of any danger there may be into proper perspective.

I would point out to honorable members that a thermo-nuclear bomb is a hydrogen bomb, and a nuclear bomb is an atom bomb. The United Kingdom Government did, in fact, explode a hydrogen bomb at Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean, which is British territory and not to be confused with Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, which is Australian territory.

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