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Thursday, 29 March 1984
Page: 883

Senator COLEMAN(3.12) —I put forward this matter as one of public importance because I consider the Senate an appropriate forum for such a discussion. I hope that it will not be the last and I hope also that discussion is not confined to these hallowed halls. I firmly believe that if Australia and other world powers do not become involved in that constructive discussion of international nuclear disarmament now, it may well be too late. I believe that the most important, relevant and overwhelming fact is that, unless moves are made to control and eventually halt the arms race, our planet will experience a nuclear war. It is no longer a matter of choice. I believe that if we do not act soon nuclear war is not only possible but inevitable.

We have now lived with nuclear weapons for some 40 years and perhaps we have become accustomed to having them around. In the first instance one country had two bombs. Now, nine countries have a total capacity in excess of 47,000 bombs with about one million times the explosive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Those figures are pretty awe inspiring. It is not simply a matter of the number of weapons available or the strident rhetoric of world leaders that are the real causes for concern. The problems include the fact that agreements are being made and disregarded, that people are sitting down to talk and not saying anything, or are getting angry and walking out of disarmament talks when things do not go their way. The problems also include the fact that we are reaching the stage where the decision about what button to press, and when, is being taken away from human beings. It is being passed over to computers.

I sometimes wonder whether there is an appreciation of the amounts of money spent on defence. I quote from a paper by Desmond Ball of the Australian National University headed 'Management of the Superpower Balance'. The paper was written for the Conference on International Security in the Southeast Asian and Southwest Pacific Region in July 1982. As that document relates to 1982, in all probability the figures are understated, but the important point made by Dr Ball was this:

Over the next five years the United States plans to spend some $1.3 trillion on defence and the Soviet Union will undoubtedly spend something similar-equivalent in sum to more than $1m a day for the last 7,000 years!

To most people those figures are absolutely incomprehensible. I think I can handle figures up to seven digits. I can recognise the possibility and probability of millions of dollars, but figures such as $1.3 trillion create tremendous confusion and the majority of people find them incomprehensible. Certainly to those people who are dying as a result of abject poverty and disease, those amounts of money spent on 'defence' are incomprehensible.

It would be true to say that disarmament moves have been a crucial component of world peace since the cold war, but in the 1980s I believe it has taken on a greater urgency as more and more countries have become involved in the nuclear arms race. The stockpiles of nuclear weapons have reached such proportions that the potential for mass destruction has become an overwhelming reality. Later, I shall ask leave to incorporate three tables in Hansard. They relate to the arms race, the situation as at 1983, who has got what and where; what they are; the types of materials that are available; the tests that have been done, and, in addition, the arms control and disarmament agreements that apply to nuclear weapons. I shall read from those in a moment.

It would also be true to say that in the 1970s the general move to detente was at least receiving a little encouragement from most of the world leaders. It is in the 1980s that we have found those negotiations reaching a stalemate. With trillions of dollars being poured into defence budgets, there are people in the Third World and developing countries, and even in developed countries, who are dying of starvation, poverty and disease. If that money were transferred into those areas, those problems could, in the main, be cured next week, next month or perhaps, at the outside, next year. What is required is a transference of funds.

In some of those developed and developing countries there are people who are uneducated, unfed, unclothed, not properly housed and without access to proper medical care. We are talking about an expenditure of $1.3 trillion within five years. I believe that the need for a nuclear disarmament program is clear enough , but it is always easy to lay down programs to instigate world action. It is not so easy to put them into operation. Therefore, I appreciate the opportunity to raise this as a matter of public importance. I hope that we shall have more of these discussions and that more members of parliament will become involved. It is interesting to note from the list of speakers, which to a large extent is pre-arranged, that four speakers are co-conveners of the newly formed parliamentary Disarmament Group, and that a fifth is the secretary of that group which encompasses all parties. It includes Senator Teague from the Liberal Party , Senator Boswell from the National Party, Senator Mason from the Australian Democrats, myself, and Senator Hearn who is the secretary of the organisation.

I believe that in any program for international nuclear disarmament discussion, Australia has a great role to play. The program itself would require the end of research, development, manufacture and sale of nuclear weapons, including those space-based initiatives we now hear so much about-the laser beam technology which frightens the daylights out of many people. It would also require the destruction of existing nuclear stockpiles and an end to military blocs based on nuclear weaponry and the establishment of international security checks on clandestine military nuclear activity. I repeat that it is easy to lay down programs, but not so easy to put them into operation. To put them into operation we must have consultation of thinking around the world, with people agreeing that disarmament is necessary at present.

In most regions we find that there is already a vicious circle. The most typical example is what is currently happening in Iraq and Iran. Money is spent on arms, for instance in Iraq, and Iran has to have provided to it or has to purchase weapons that are a little more technologically advanced. Iraq then purchases something that is a little better. No country makes an appreciable gain while the barons of the arms manufacturing area are making millions of dollars, keeping us poised on the edge of destruction. Horizontal nuclear proliferation is a dramatic threat to world peace and the world as we know it. It is also taking away from people their right to survive with dignity. I have mentioned already those people who are dying of poverty, starvation and disease.

I believe the potential for world destruction is a reality we must all face. Australians cannot consider themselves safely hidden away just because they happen to reside in the southern hemisphere. Scientists have already confirmed the fear held and spoken about by a number of us over many years that whatever happens in the northern hemisphere will affect us too. We cannot simply say that if there were a limited nuclear war in the northern hemisphere we would not be involved. That is fiction, not fact. For those honourable senators who may not have been aware of it, within the last two weeks in Western Australia a Nationwide segment showed that the United States, one of the super-powers, has not only fought and won a third world war but is already arming and planning for a fourth world war. The United States was shown in the program as seeing a third world war as a nuclear war of limited duration, an exchange lasting perhaps two months. What the program did no show and what it is not possible to show is the utter devastation of any nuclear exchange. That is precisely why there has not been a nuclear exchange. If there is, there will be utter and complete devastation at the point of contact and a certain amount of devastation in the immediate surrounding areas. If it occurs in Europe, with the prevailing winds Australia will be affected.

Despite all the attempts at political detente about which I have spoken, there has been no progress in the area of disarmament. There have been many arms control and disarmament treaties. We have, for instance, the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, the Hot Line and Modernisation Agreements of 1963, the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, the Outer Space Treaty, the Latin American Nuclear-free Zone Treaty, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Seabed Treaty, the Accidents Measures Agreement, the Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement, the Threshold Test Ban Treaty, the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty , plus a plethora of other talks and conferences, including the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks Nos I, II and III.

I raise the question at this time of how these agreements can be secured. To use the buzz words of today, how can consensus be achieved? The answer, of course, is not simple. It is a very complex question and involves consideration of the social, economic and political climate as well as consideration of the perceptions, understandings and values of individuals. I believe that individual changes are interwoven with social, political and economic changes. They are mutually dependent. One cannot be achieved without the other. Basically, an international order of co-operation, understanding and peaceful co-existence is needed. That situation can be achieved only if there is a greater degree of universal equality, economic, social and political, because disarmament measures will be universally accepted only if they are of equal benefit to all. One super -power will not make a move if the other super-power is advantaged. A figure of $350 billion is being spent annually on military arms. That figure could be a little higher now, but it is the latest in the SIPRI Yearbook. If that money were deployed into other more humanitarian areas we would see a reduction in that polarisation of poverty on the one hand and wealth on the other, and political security would be enhanced by that social security.

Expenditure on nuclear arms is senseless, immoral, and an irresponsible waste of human, technological and financial resources. Military expenditure throughout the world exceeds that for health services by two and a half times and that for education by one and a half times. Forecasters see the world population doubling by the year 2019. They also forecast that the poor will constitute 90 per cent of the world population at that time. If we continue to spend in excess of $350 billion a year on nuclear arms and armaments-weapons of destruction-even greater problems will exist in the future time than exist today. I believe there would be greater economic independence with the advent of nuclear disarmament. The free flow trade would be enhanced by nuclear disarmament. The economic independence of countries would be enhanced, and that is an element essential to what we are talking about. Wealthy countries would have to spend a certain percentage of their gross national product on foreign aid to bring up the levels of the underdeveloped countries to those of the developed countries. It would mean the international co-operation of all scientific, technical and technological resources, the end of the colonialism and neo-colonialism that still exists in its various forms throughout the world, the removal of foreign bases from all countries, and the abolition of arms sales. That is a big program .

Today, because time is limited and I want as many people as possible to join in this debate, I will just talk for a moment about discussions I had this morning with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Hayden. He was most supportive of the Parliamentary Disarmament Group and what it is endeavouring to do and of the fact that we are having this debate in the Senate today. The year 1986 is the United Nations International Year of Peace. In my discussions with Mr Hayden this morning he was most supportive of a number of proposals that will be put forward and given due consideration for a build-up to 1986. These may include a number of forums such as this, but not, as I said before, inside these hallowed halls.

Given that that year has already been declared as one of peace, there is a proposal that Australia could perhaps play a much more significant role than it has in the past or than it is playing now. We have got to the stage of appointing an ambassador for disarmament, Mr Richard Butler, but that in itself is not enough. It is very nice to have Mr Richard Butler, an extremely competent and capable person, wandering around the world talking about disarmament, but it is not enough. Australia is a force on the world scene. There are some who would say we are a small voice. Believe me, we are recognised on the world scene as a powerful force. Not only should we instigate discussions of this nature and bring together people from other countries, possibly in our own region, to debate the issues that are required for nuclear disarmament, but we should look further. Perhaps we should be looking at acting in the role of mediator or conciliator. I know that those are more of those 'buzz' words, but is there any reason why Australia could not be the conciliator between the two super-powers, which are having such difficulty at the moment in sitting down and having a comprehensive discussion about the very real problems we here today see in nuclear disarmament? Is there anything wrong with our putting forward the proposal that we will go to the Geneva talks and act as chairman in those discussions, and God help either one of the super-powers if they decide to move out of those places.

Let me just say this in the short time remaining: I believe the role that the media has to play is a most important one. I have noticed with interest-and I am sure other honourable senators who have a concern in this area have noticed also -the prominence that is being given to recent stories about nuclear weaponry and nuclear disarmament. Educational-type stories are being placed where people now read them. They are no longer being consigned to the back pages of the newspapers but are appearing on the front pages. They express concern at articles such as the one in the Age on Thursday 16 February entitled 'Soviets have moved subs to Atlantic', according to the United States. That is cause for concern. People read those articles and that gives them the ability to go out and discuss competently with other people, who express the same concern, what they have read.

I believe there are a great number of things we can do. The speakers this afternoon all come from the Parliamentary Disarmament Group-or the majority of them, as I recognise that Senator Sir John Carrick is not one of the co- convenors of that committee. He and I crossed swords many times in this chamber on matters relevant to the discussion but never, ever on this subject. We are always totally in agreement that Australia has a tremendous role--

Senator Teague —Could we put our swords down?

Senator COLEMAN —Yes, we could indeed. With the budgeting of funds for the establishment of the institute of peace and research development, we perhaps will have a greater input-once that institute is established at, I understand, the Australian National University-from this chamber into what that institute is doing, just as I hope it will be putting into these hallowed halls what it is doing over there.

As my time has nearly expired and because others have very important matters to raise in this debate on this matter of public importance, I seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard documents relating to the present situation with nuclear warheads and bombs, the strategic nuclear forces of the superpowers, an article on nuclear weapons testing, and, finally, the arms control and disarmament agreements on nuclear weapons that I spoke about earlier.

Leave granted.

The documents read as follows-



The Arms Race: Present situation (1983)


Strategic Intermediate Tactical Total

U.S. 10,000 1,300 17,000 29,000 U.S.S.R. 7,400 3,500 6,500 17,400 U.K. 192 96 158 446 France 80 18 165 263 China 4 200 100 304

Total 17,676 5,114 24,413 47,413

Notes: Strategic-capable of intercontinental distances and/or intended for use against the enemy's homeland. Intermediate-range or combat radius of 1,500 miles or more. Tactical-all other weapons with range less than 1,500 miles including land mines and artillery shells.








Number Number %Total Number %Total Land-based 1,047 2,147 21 1,398 5,496 74 Sea -based 544 4,960 50 904 1,592 22 Bombers 241 2,892 29 150 300 4

Total 1,832 9,999 100 2,452 7,388 100


Strategic Intermediate Tactical Total

NATO: Launchers 144 222 2,400 2,766 Warheads 272 426 5,450 6,148 WARSAW PACT: Launchers - 1,748 2,676 4,424 Warheads - 3,663 2,676 6,339

Note: Nato figures include France.

(Source: 'World military and social expenditures 1983'-Ruth Leger Sivard)

Comment: Land based nuclear weapons are the most vulnerable to attack, bombers less so and submarines least so. The U.S. is therefore at a definite advantage over the Soviet Union in the way its nuclear forces are deployed. U.S. missiles are technically more advanced than Soviet missiles and are therefore smaller and more accurate. This accuracy means megaton yields can be smaller to achieve similar results. Soviet nuclear weapons do have a greater total megatonnage yield than the U.S. total.

ALP federal platform reference: P 73-74, p. 88.



*Atomic bomb-In 1945 the U.S. exploded the first atomic bomb. The U.S.S.R. followed in 1949.

*Intercontinental bomber-In 1948 the U.S. started to replace its World War II propellor bombers with jets. These intercontinental (strategic) bombers needed refuelling between continents. In 1955 the U.S. started deployment of an all-jet bomber force and the U.S.S.R. followed suit the same year.

*Thermonuclear bomb-The U.S. exploded the first H-bomb in 1954. The yield was 15,000,000 tons TNT (15 megatons), about 1,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. In 1955 the U.S.S.R. tested a 1 megaton thermonuclear device.

*Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-The U.S.S.R. successfully tested an ICBM in 1957 and the U.S. did it in 1958. By 1962, both countries could deliver 5 to 10 megaton payloads over 6,000 miles by ICBMs.

*Satellite in orbit-In 1957 the U.S.S.R. launched Sputnik 1 and the U.S. followed in 1958. More than half the U.S. and Soviet satellites launched have been for military purposes.

*Submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM)-In 1960 the U.S. introduced the third leg of its nuclear triad, the long range missile fired from a submerged nuclear submarine. The Polaris submarine carried missiles with a range of 1,200 nautical miles. The U.S.S.R. had developed a similar capability by 1968.

*Multiple warhead (MRV)-The U.S. developed MRV'd missiles with three warheads in 1966. The U.S.S.R. developed them by 1968.

*Anti-ballistic missile (ABM)-In 1968 the U.S.S.R. deployed 64 defensive missiles around Moscow. The U.S. began the Safeguard system in 1969 but a treaty in 1972 restricted each country to one site each. The missiles were not considered effective and the U.S. site was closed.

*Multiple independently-targeted warhead (MIRV)-The MIRV missile carried three to ten individually targetable warheads capable of hitting targets 100 miles apart. The U.S. deployment began in 1970 and Soviet deployment in 1975.

*Long-range Cruise missile-The U.S. developed the small, relatively inexpensive , highly accurate and low flight profile Cruise missile with a range of 1,500 miles in 1982. The missile can be launched from air, sea or land and can use natural ground cover to escape detection. U.S.S.R. technology is reportedly 7-8 years behind in this area.

*Neutron bomb-The U.S. developed the 'enhanced radiation yield' neutron bomb and announced it was producing and stockpiling the bomb in 1981. The U.S.S.R. announced it was deferring production but possessed the productive capability.

*Anti-satellite weapons-The U.S.S.R. began testing anti-satellite weapons in 1968. Both countries are developing laser and particle beam anti-satellite weapons.

(Source: SIVARD, 1978)

Comment: It can be seen that the U.S. has been the initiator of most new weapons developments. It can also be seen that none of these new weapons has increased global stability or security, and has always led to a new weapons development. It is evident that once a weapon is developed, it is a matter of only a small-time interval till it is acquired by the opposition. It is apparent that the arms race will only end through mutual disarmament or mutual, and global, destruction.

ALP Federal Platform Reference: P81, P83, P73-75, P88, P33


Between 1945 and end 1982, 1,375 nuclear tests were carried out.

Nuclear tests U.S. 700; U.S.S.R. 500; U.K. 35; France 113; China 26; India 1.

In 1983, 48 nuclear tests were carried out. The U.S. carried out 12 tests, France seven and the U.S.S.R. 27, 13 of which were ''peaceful'' explosions for excavating underground reservoirs. China resumed atmospheric testing after a break of three years.

(Source: ''World Military and Social Expenditures, 1983'', by Ruth Leger Sivard .)

Comment: In 1963 the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed by 111 states which banned nuclear testing in the atmosphere, outer space and underwater. This ban was largely achieved by the efforts of some radiation experts who questioned the effects of fallout from such tests on local populations. China, however, resumed atmospheric testing in 1983.

French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll, in contravention of the expressed view of regional governments has been a continual problem. Reports persist of increased cancer and other health problems in the area caused by the tests and the atoll itself is said to be breaking up from the effects of the tests.

In Australia, the long term effects of British atomic tests on Australian personnel involved in the tests and people in surrounding areas is still in contention. Tests were carried out at the Monte Bellos islands off the W.A. coast and Emu Field and Maralinga in South Australia.

South Africa may have exploded two nuclear devices already. It is likely, however, that that country has the capability to produce nuclear weapons when wanted, as does Israel and Pakistan, but does not actually test them.

ALP Federal Platform Reference: P73-74, P81, P83, P136.


*World military spending $618,744,000,000 (1982)-Increase of 4% per year 1979- 83.

*U.S. Military spending: $169,691,000,000 (1982)-Increase of 7% per year 1979- 83.

*Nato military spending: $285,747,000,000 (1982)

*Soviet military spending: $135,500,000,000, (1982)-Increase of 2% per year 1979-83

*Warsaw pact military spending: $148,280,000,000 (1982)

(Source: Sipri Yearbook, 1983)

*Between 1960 and 1981, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. spent $3,100,000,000,000 on military power, well over the figure for all other countries combined. Their combined population is less than one eighth the global total.

*The U.S. ranks 9th out of 142 countries in economic-social standing (i.e. quality of life) and the U.S.S.R. 25th.

*Worldwide, 2,000,000,000 people have incomes below $500 per year. One person in five lives in abject poverty. In the U.S. 34 million people are classified as poor.

*Worldwide, 600,000,000, are unemployed and less than fully employed. In the Third World, one in three can't find regular work.

*Worldwide, 11,000,000 babies die before their first birthday and 5,000,000 children die of common diseases annually.

*Worldwide, 2,000,000,000 do not have a regular supply of safe drinking water and three quarters of the Third World has no sanitary facilities. Most Third World sickness is attributable to these two problems.

*Worldwide, 450,000,000 people suffer from hunger and malnutrition.

*Worldwide, 120,000,000 school age children get no education.

*Between 1960 and 1982, military spending by developed countries rose by over $ 400 billion. Foreign economic aid rose by $25 billion.

In 1982, military spending was 17 times greater than aid spending.

Source: ''World Military and Social Expenditures 1983''.

Comment: The problem with the arms race is not just its probable conclusion in nuclear war, but also the sheer waste of resources, material and human, consumed by the weapons industry, which should be solving global environmental, health and poverty problems.

As the Brandt Report pointed out, it is not simply our moral obligation to ease global wealth inequality, but the key to economic progress as well. However, the rich and powerful countries not only waste their own money, resources and people on the arms race, they also suck the poor countries into it. Weapons sales to underdeveloped countries are booming with the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. the bigger merchants. In 1980, the U.S. sold $18 billion worth of arms and the U.S.S.R. $15 billion worth, mainly to Third World countries.

The reality regarding the arms race and its social cost was stated clearly over twenty years ago by the then U.S.President, Dwight Eisenhower when he said:

'Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in a final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed and from those who are cold and are not clothed'.

ALP Federal Platform Reference: PPS 69-73




Antarctic Treaty, 1959-26 states

Bans any military uses of Antarctica and specifically prohibits nuclear tests and nuclear waste.

Outer Space Treaty, 1967-83 states

Bans nuclear weapons in earth orbit and their stationing in outer space.

Latin American Nuclear-free Zone Treaty, 1967-22 states

Bans testing, possession, deployment, of nuclear weapons and requires safeguards on facilities. All Latin American states except Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, are parties to the Treaty.

Non-Proliferation Treaty, 1968-119 states

Bans transfer of weapons or weapons technology to non-nuclear-weapons states. Requires safeguards on their facilities. Commits nuclear-weapon states to negotiations to halt the arms race.

Seabed Treaty, 1971-71 states

Bans nuclear weapons on the seabed beyond a 12-mile coastal limit.


Hot Line and Modernization Agreements, 1963-US-USSR

Establishes direct radio and wire-telegraph links between Moscow and Washington to ensure communication between Heads of Government in times of crisis. A second agreement in 1971 provided for satellite communication circuits.

Accidents Measures Agreement, 1971-US-USSR

Pledges US and USSR to improve safeguards against accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons.

Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement, 1973-US-USSR

Requires consultation between the two countries if there is a danger of nuclear war.


Limited Test Ban Treaty, 1963-111 states

Bans nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere, outer space, or underwater. Bans underground explosions which cause release of radioactive debris beyond the state's borders.

Threshold Test Ban Treaty, 1974-US-USSR*

Bans underground tests having a yield above 150 kilotons (150,000 tons of TNT equivalent).

Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty, 1974-US-USSR*

Bans 'group explosions' with aggregate yield over 1,500 kilotons and requires on-site observers of group explosions with yield over 150 kilotons.


ABM Treaty (Salt I) and Protocol, 1972-US-USSR

Limits anti-ballistic missile systems to two deployment areas on each side. Subsequently, in protocol of 1974, each side restricted to one deployment area.

Salt I Interim Agreement, 1972-US-USSR

Freezes the number of strategic ballistic missile launchers, and permits an increase in SLBM launchers up to an agreed level only with equivalent dismantling of older ICBM or SLBM launchers.

Salt II, 1979-US-USSR*

Limits numbers of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles, launchers or mirv'd missiles, bombers with long-range cruise missiles, warheads on existing ICBM's, etc. Bans testing or deploying new ICBM's.

*Not ratified

ALP Federal platform reference: P81, P83, P73-74, P75, P88