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Tuesday, 26 October 1971
Page: 2476

Mr HUGHES (BEROWRA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament asembled. The humble petition of 10 electors of the Commonwealth of Australia respectfully showeth:

1.   That the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2603 XXIVA (December 1969) declares that the Geneva Protocol of 1925, which Australia has ratified, prohibits the use in international armed conflict of any chemical agents of warfare - chemical substances whether gaseous, liquid or solid - employed for their direct toxic effects on man, animals or plants.

2.   That the World Health Organisation Report (January 1970) confirms the above definition of chemical agents of warfare.

3.   That the Australian Government does not accept this definition, but holds that the Geneva Protocol does not prevent the use in war of certain toxic chemical substances in the form of herbicides, defoliants and riot-control' agents.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray:

1.   That the Parliament take note of the consensus of international political, scientific and humanitarian opinion; and

2.   That Honourable Members urge upon the Government the desirability of revising its interpretation of the Geneva Protocol, and declaring that it regards all chemical substances employed for their toxic effects on man, animals or plants as being included in the prohibitions laid down by that Protocol.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.

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