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Commitment to Non-Proliferation Policy



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Commitment to Non-Proliferation Treaty 24 N ovem ber 1977 — In a statem ent today the Minis- ‘ ter for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Andrew Peacock, said: j

It is pure fantasy to suggest, as Mr Keating has done, that \ the possible construction of a uranium enrichment plant in Australia indicates that a future coalition Government ; plans to exercise a nuclear weapons option and develop : nuclear power stations. Australia renounced the nuclear ' weapons option when it ratified the Non-Proliferation ; Treaty. Such a renunciation is firm and unequivocal. Over and above the Government’s determination to restrain proliferation, the economics of the situation would dictate : against the construction of nuclear power stations. j

Australia has enormous reserves of steaming coal which j it can utilise to generate electricity. We have no plans to undertake the huge investment necessary to generate elec­ tricity by means of nuclear power. Mr Keating is therefore deliberately misleading in choosing to ignore the Govern­

ment’s firm commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. But he is worse than that: he is hypocritical-on 2 June 1975 Mr Keating made the following statement inter alia:

Japan is interested in moving into nuclear power and enriched fuel. We are prepared to give the Japanese any amount of fuel that they need, enriched if we can do so. The only thing is that we would like to do the enriching.

Instead of sending just yellowcake at bargain basement prices, we want to get the profit that comes from enrichment.

The Government is playing a leading role in the current ; session of the United Nations General Assembly on nu­ clear arms control and safeguards issues. Australia intends to co-sponsor a resolution on non-proliferation, is leading ·

efforts to have the General Assembly adopt a single . resolution on the urgent need for a comprehensive nuclear test ban agreement, and will co-sponsor a resolution on .

SALT negotiations. The Government’s line is therefore I totally consistent. This is certainly more than Mr Keating can claim about his own position.