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Wednesday, 20 August 1980
Page: 561

Mr Hayden asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 2 April 1 980:

(1)   Did he say in a statement issued on 12 September 1977 that Australia would only export uranium to those nonnuclear weapon states where all nuclear material attracts International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

(2)   Do all the bilateral nuclear safeguards agreements (a) negotiated to date or (b) currently under negotiation by the Government require the application of IAEA safeguards to all nuclear material in countries importing Australian uranium; if so, in each concluded agreement, which Article provides for this requirement.

(3)   If this requirement is not stipulated, has the Government failed to fulfil its stated nuclear safeguards policy; if so, why.

Mr Peacock - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The statement referred to was issued on 12 September 1977. In addition to the sentence referred to in the question, the statement also said, inter alia, that 'there will be no deliveries of Australian uranium under future contracts until the stringent safeguards required under Australia's policy are firmly in place and embodied in international agreements'. The requirements of Australia's comprehensive nuclear safeguards policy were set out in the Prime Minister's statement in the House of 24 May 1977 (Hansard pp 1700-1705).

(2)   (a) and (b) Australia has signed five nuclear safeguards agreements. All of the agreements fulfil the stringent requirements of Australia's nuclear safeguards policy, including the obligation to make any nuclear material supplied under the agreements subject to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

Bilateral nuclear safeguards agreements have been negotiated with nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states. Nuclear weapon states are not obliged under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to renounce nuclear weapons or accept international safeguards. The two agreements so far negotiated with nuclear weapon states (the United States and the United Kingdom), do not therefore require the application of IAEA safeguards to all nuclear material in these countries. Nonetheless Australia's agreements with the United States and the United Kingdom require that nuclear material of Australian origin supplied under these agreements will not be used for military or explosive purposes, and that such material will be covered by IAEA safeguards.

The three agreements signed so far with non-nuclear weapon states are with Finland, the Philippines and the Republic of Korea, all of which are parties of the NPT and have placed their entire civil nuclear industries under IAEA safeguards pursuant to their obligations under the NPT.

The text of all five of these agreements have been presented to Parliament. It is necessary to read each agreement as a whole in order to see the way in which Australia's requirements, including the application of IAEA safeguards, are fulfilled.

Negotiations on further nuclear safeguards agreements are being conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Government's nuclear safeguards policy. The texts of such safeguards agreements will be tabled in Parliament as soon as practicable after signature in accordance with the Government's practice.

(3)   See (2) above.

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