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Tuesday, 30 November 1976

Mr CHIPP -I thank the House. The report states that high level wastes, as distinct from lower level wastes, will remain radio-active for several hundreds of thousands of years. On page 148, the Fox report states:

We conclude that nuclear material should be supplied to a state only on the basis that its entire nuclear industry is subject to back-up safeguards that cannot be terminated by unilateral withdrawal.

Can the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Peacock) assure this House that those kinds of safeguards are realistic? But is there any such thing as back-up safeguards? The Fox report goes on to say at page 149:

There is widespread disinclination amongst states to accept regular inspections.

With regard to safeguards from international terrorism, the report makes this devastating remark:

An attempt by even a small, well trained and armed group to take over a nuclear installation could have a good chance of success.

The Fox report states, using double negatives, that there is no reason to stop mining provided it is properly regulated and controlled. Before any responsible government proceeds with the mining and milling of uranium it must, I suggest, after the warnings and constraints of the Fox Commission completely satisfy the conditions of proper regulations and control, particularly in the light of the following sentences contained on page 152 of the report: . . The Commission does not feel confident that nuclear facilities would currently withstand determined assaults by terrorist organisations.

I remind the House that the Flowers Commission in the United Kingdom reached almost identical conclusions. If this sentence is read literally and acted upon sincerely it means that no uranium, if we are genuine about this matter, could be or should be sold under the present conditions. The Fox report says:

There is widespread disinclination among states to accept regular inspections . . .

Another threat was sabotage of nuclear plants causing destruction, a radiation hazard to surrounding populations and costly disruption of power systems ... an event which has already occurred in Argentina.

Sir, Iconclude on this note: Frankly, I have not been impressed by many of the arguments put forward by the pro-nuclear lobby. One of these is that nuclear energy will help the developing nations. The Fox report at page 56 clearly illustrates that nuclear energy will not help developing nations to any significant degree because it needs large power stations and large investments which developing nations do not have.

Sir PhilipBaxter says that Australia's most obvious customers are Japan, West Germany and the United States of America. I pause by respectfully asking the House to contemplate the military track record of at least two of that select trio of nations or, for that matter, the whole trio. Sir Philip Baxter says of the pro-nuclear lobby: Let us sell to those nations, knowing that the safeguards in such a sale are, according to Fox, an illusion. Sir Philip Baxter goes on: Let us sell to Japan, let us also reprocess nuclear fuel from other countries. I quote Sir Philip direct:

Over the next 10-15 years the world could become a lawless place with the United States alliance breaking down and conflict between Russia and America with China being dragged in.

It is quite possible that Australia might find itself enemies with Japan. We could only defend ourselves with the most sophisticated weapons possible, of which nuclear bombs should be an option.

What a perfect catch 22. Sir Philip Baxter says: Let us sell uranium to Japan; let it make nuclear bombs; therefore, because we might be enemies with Japan one day, we must also make nuclear bombs to protect ourselves from Japan. Sir, the communists will support the banning of uranium. They will do this for devious reasons. They will ask Australia not to mine uranium, while preserving a thunderous silence about Russia and China doing it. What I plead tonight is that this will not be a politically polarised debate but that this debate might be considered by the people of Australia with its true implications understood.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order!The honourable member's time has expired. Is the amendment seconded?

Mr Bryant - Yes. I second the amendment. I reserve my right to speak at a later hour.

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