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Monday, 2 April 1984
Page: 1014


Senator CHANEY —My question is addressed to the Minister for Resources and Energy in his own capacity and as Minister representing the Minister for Trade. Is it true as reported in today's Australian Financial Review that the Minister has asked his Department for information on the trade implications of a ban on the supply of uranium to France while that country continues nuclear tests in the Pacific? Does the Minister agree that Government disruption of otherwise legally binding contracts for the supply of uranium would have an adverse impact , and indeed could have an extremely adverse impact, on Australia's reputation as a reliable supplier of raw materials? Is he, as reported, reconsidering the ban on the supply to France under present conditions which is contained in the Government's draft policy proposals because of those adverse effects on Australian export industries?


Senator WALSH —I frequently ask my Department for advice, both factual information and departmental opinions, about a wide variety of matters. There is nothing unusual in that. I will continue to do so. The second part of the question related to the intervention by a government to prevent the delivery of any material for which delivery has been contracted. It certainly could be argued that that would adversely affect the reputation of countries as suppliers of materials. But I might add that it would not be without precedent. The action of the previous Government, for example, in terminating sand mining on Fraser Island had precisely the same consequences.