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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2334

Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK(11.33) —I wish to speak on a related item-division 315, subdivision 4, item 34, which deals with the working group on the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone. I invite the Government to look at the title of that undertaking and consider whether it should be changed to the South Pacific Nuclear Non-Proliferation Zone. I do this in good faith because I do not think the Government would want, any more than we do, to misrepresent to the people of Australia or the world what is happening. The Minister will know and the people of Australia will know, on thinking about this matter, that there is no way of having a nuclear-free zone anywhere in the world and specifically in the Pacific while there are nuclear-powered nations operating freely in international air and sea space. The result is that the title itself of the zone gives an absolutely false assurance and perspective. I would support to my back teeth the concept of a South Pacific nuclear non-proliferation zone, and I would attempt to move it, step by step, throughout the world.

I do not want to delay the Committee on this because I do not want to use up time unnecessarily, but I believe it is fundamental that we should not misrepresent to the people of Australia the concept of a nuclear-free zone. While there is a capacity for nuclear powers in this world to move freely around the world or to use nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, wherever they are targeted, no part of the world can be nuclear free. Radioactivity, the debris and the effect of the nuclear winter will ensure that in the cosmic mix everybody suffers. I raise that not as a trivial thing at all, but in the firm belief that we are doing a disservice to the people of the world, particularly Australia, in falsely putting up a concept. It is like some municipal council putting up a sign saying `This is a nuclear free zone'. The world knows that that is not so.

The Government has acknowledged the concept of the nuclear winter and the fact that the world itself could be destroyed or vitally damaged in any nuclear onslaught, whether or not Australia were free of any kind of installations or nuclear weaponry. Whilst applauding the concept that throughout the world we should extend nuclear non-proliferation zones, I seriously invite the Government to consider altering the title or, at the very least, when explaining this concept-a concept which, incidentally, the former Prime Minister, Mr Fraser, helped to initiate and develop-to explain that in effect it means a non-proliferation zone and not a nuclear-free zone.