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Wednesday, 26 November 1986
Page: 2794

Senator SANDERS(4.38) —In a previous debate I observed that the report of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence is a preservation of the status quo. I will amplify. It is a catalogue of existing policies. Nothing new has been created in this report. It has gone through existing policies, the disarmament politics of the warm inner glow and has adopted all the policies that would allow us to mine uranium, ship it and invite nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed ships into our ports. It has turned no new ground. This is the major and massive failing of this report.

As politicians, we owe it to our constituents not to merely follow public opinion but to lead it and perhaps to make some unpopular decisions in so doing. This report does nothing along those lines. Furthermore, it is full of internal inconsistencies. On page 648 some of the recommendations are that we should prohibit certain destabilising technologies including the further development and deployment of anti-satellite weapons. At another place in the document it says that we should maintain the presence of United States bases-North West Cape, Pine Gap and Nurrungar. But Nurrungar is the first detection stage in Star Wars. So the report welcomes the presence of the Nurrungar base. In fact, it goes further than welcoming it. It states that Australia should take it over when it is no longer useful to the United States in 10 years time. Yet the same report states that we should not help in the development of anti-satellite weapons.

Another recommendation of the report stresses that we should not welcome or support in any way the deployment of the cruise missile. This is amplified at page 627, which states:

The Committee considers that there should be a verifiable freeze on the production and further deployment of cruise missiles. At present, this could be achieved by negotiating a ban on flight-testing-which would prevent the Soviet Union from deploying large numbers of cruise missiles-and incorporating current U.S. and the more limited Soviet stocks into a mutual arms reduction agreements.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Giles) —Order! The time for consideration of committee reports, pursuant to sessional orders, has expired.