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Tuesday, 10 September 1985
Page: 380

(Question No. 336)

Senator Mason asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 30 May 1985:

(1) Does the Government consider the signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have adequately complied with their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty.

(2) Has the Government decided on its position with regard to the review of Article VI to be undertaken at the Third Review Conference of the Treaty.

(3) Has the Government attempted to determine how those signatories to the Treaty who possess nuclear weapons intend to fulfil their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty; if so, how will these obligations be fulfilled; if not, will representations be made to the Review Conference.

(4) When the policy line Australia will take at the Review Conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is decided, will input be invited from non-government organisations and parliamentarians; if so, what form will this input take.

(5) Will Australia be sending a delegation to the Review Conference; if so, will provision be made for parliamentary and/or non-Government organisation participation on the delegation.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answers to the honourable senator's questions:

(1) In Australia's view the nuclear weapon states parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have not met the expectations of the non-nuclear weapon states parties as regards the implementation of Article VI of the Treaty.

(2) Yes. Australia will be seeking an honest and balanced appraisal of the implementation of Article VI of the Treaty. In this regard we will argue for due recognition of the importance of the resumption of bilateral talks between the United States and the Soviet Union in Geneva on nuclear and outer space issues. However, while registering our strong concern over the lack of substantive results since 1980 in regard to Article VI issues we will be seeking to avoid anything that will endanger the success of the Conference and the well-being of the NPT.

(3) Australia's concerns about the implementation of Article VI have been expressed directly to the three powers in unequivocal terms. They also permeate our day to day discussions with the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union on disarmament issues and on the NPT. These concerns include the question of how the three depository powers intend to fulfil their obligations under Article VI. The resumption of the US/Soviet bilatetals in Geneva is a step in this direction. As is widely known Australia's persistent advocacy of immediate resumption of work towards a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, including direct representations to the three NPT depositary States, relates directly to our view of how progress would be made towards the implementation of Article VI. We intend to reiterate these views to the Review Conference.

(4) The Government welcomes the interest in the NPT Review Conference from Members of Parliament and non-governmental organisations. It receives views on the Conference from a variety of non-official sources including Parliamentary Committees and individual Members and senators and members of the public in writing and orally at the numberous community meetings and seminars in which the Minister for Foreign Affairs and officials of his Department participate.

(5) Yes. Australia will send a delegation. A decision on the final composition of the Australian delegation to the Third NPT Review Conference has not yet been made.