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Thursday, 12 September 1985
Page: 499


Senator COLSTON —I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer to reports that a certain French newspaper has remarked that the visit to Mururoa by the President of France, Mr Mitterrand, is a `message to Australia and New Zealand to mind their own business'. Is it not so that nuclear testing anywhere, and especially in the Pacific, is the business of Australia and New Zealand? Also, if newspapers such as the one referred to, and the French Government, do not see anything wrong with testing nuclear devices in the Pacific, will the Australian Government urge them to carry out their testing in France?


Senator GARETH EVANS —Of course the question of French testing in the Pacific is Australia's and New Zealand's business, of course it is the business of the other Pacific nations, and of course it is the business of the whole world, which stands continually appalled at the behaviour of the French in continuing, in utter disregard of world opinion and certainly regional opinion, to conduct these test series. It is the case, as Senator Colston and the Senate will be well aware, that this Government has repeatedly stated its strong opposition to and, indeed, condemnation of French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. That opposition is shared by all members of the South Pacific Forum and was reiterated at the recent Raratonga meeting, which, of course, resulted in the adoption and signing of a South Pacific nuclear free zone treaty which expresses the deep and abiding wish of all members that no nuclear tests be conducted anywhere in the region.

It is the Government's position that if France is as genuine as it claims to be in its assertions that no damage in terms of radioactive pollution will follow from the carrying out of those tests, it ought to put its money where its mouth is and conduct those tests on metropolitan French soil. So to that extent I do endorse the comment made by Senator Colston in the last part of his question.