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Wednesday, 16 May 1973
Page: 2167

Mr SNEDDEN (BRUCE, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister will be aware that I have made a statement in this House condemning French atmospheric nuclear tests and that in that view we were bipartisan. The honourable gentleman went to the South Pacific Forum and there he was a signatory to, as I understand it, or at least concurred in, a statement which said that all protests about the tests should be reasonable and practicable. The honourable gentleman agrees with that and so do I. He has today spoken about his concern that Australia should honour international agreements. In particular, he pointed to consular agreements and postal agreements. On that there is a bipartisan attitude. I believe it is most important that Australia should honour its obligations in any field. Therefore I ask: Will the honourable gentleman introduce legislation into the Parliament to make it an offence not only to act in such a way that Australia's international agreements cannot be honoured by the Government but also to incite that action?

Mr WHITLAM - I must confess that I could not quite get the intention of the honourable gentleman on this matter. I appreciate the fact that the opposition to French nuclear testing in the atmosphere is bipartisan and that he has contributed personally to that view being made known to the French Government. The Government is contemplating legislation - it cannot introduce it this session - which will make it an offence for persons to break international agreements to which Australia is or becomes a party or to incite such breaches. The particular legislation I have in mind is in the racial discrimination field, where it would appear to be necessary for us to use the external affairs power in order to override offensive State legislation. I hope that will be introduced next session. We are anxious to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - I think it is to be on 10th December next - by having Australia comply fully with all international conventions in that field.

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