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Disarmament "not exclusive concern of left"



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■ Senator Tony Messner

P R E S S RE LE A S E Jn ^iy/Γ Shadow Minister for Community Services --------------------------------------

THE SENATE 25/85

DISARMAMENT 'NOT EXCLUSIVE CONCERN OF LEFT'

Concerns about the issues of peace and nuclear disarmament were not the exclusive prerogative of the Labor Party or other left- of-centre political groups but were of paramount importance to all Australians.

South Australian Liberal frontbencher, Senator Tony Messner, was commenting after releasing a letter sent to Adelaide religious leaders coinciding with peace and disarmament activities planned ... for Palm Sunday. (Copy of letter attached)

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"For too long these groups have attempted to set themselves up as the exclusive keepers of the public conscience on these issues and have denied the validity - and at times even the existence - of concern amongst other sections of the community, including the Liberal Party."

"The Liberal Party is deeply conscious of its over-riding obligation to offer sound leadership in this matter."

"The seriousness with which we view this matter was demonstrated last year when we produced a separate policy on disarmament , and arms control."

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"In that statement we unequivocally stated that the prevention of war - both nuclear and conventional - and the maintenance of a just world peace are of central importance to Liberals."

Senator Messner - who included a copy of the Liberal policy with his letter - warned that talk and unilateral action were not enough.

"Such activity is likely to be counterproductive unless backed by effective policy mechanisms and national and international initiatives."

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"Similarly, whilst the vision of a nuclear-free Australia devoid of all military installations and alliances may be superficially attractive, the concept is tragically wrong. Solution lies in multilateral disarmament - not unilateral action."

"What Australians should be striving for today is to create an awareness amongst the whole community that we all must work towards multilateral disarmament through vehicles like the current Geneva talks."

ADELAIDE 31 MARCH 1985

For Comment: Senator Tony Messner (08) 271 1029