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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2335

Senator VALLENTINE(11.43) —I have several points I want to make briefly. I will start with the last point first, about the ANZUS Treaty. There is no guarantee whatsoever of American intervention to support Australian or New Zealand in a time of regional conflict. The update on Dean Rusk's statement can be found in the Guam Doctrine, which says that the allies need to be prepared to defend themselves; they cannot rely on the United States to come to their defence in times of need. The United States has many allies in the region, including Indonesia. We have only to look at one recent example in history to disprove what Senator Sir John Carrick has just said. That is the case of the Falklands crisis. The United States had extreme difficulty in deciding which ally to support in that crisis and came down on the side of neither.

The South Pacific non-proliferation zone is called at the moment the South Pacific nuclear free zone. I agree with Senator Sir John Carrick that it should not be called a nuclear weapons free zone, because the treaty allows 13 out of 20 possible nuclear activities to be carried out in the region. More nuclear activities are allowed in the region than are banned by that Treaty, so it is true that the Australian people need to have that situation clarified for them. To call the South Pacific a nuclear free zone is ludicrous. It may be called a nuclear weapons free zone, if we were able to prevent the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from traipsing through the oceans of the region without any nuclear weapons on board. We have no assurances about that, either.

Senator Walters asked a question about Soviet tests in the South Pacific. No Soviet tests have taken place south of the Equator since 1977. It is true that tests do take place in the northern region and many United States tests take place in the central and southern Pacific region. It is indeed amazing that there seems to be a lot of criticism of Soviet testing at the moment, when we are in a period of a six-month moratorium on Soviet testing. The Soviet Union has guaranteed not to make any tests whatsoever from 6 August-the fortieth anniversary of the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima-until the new year. It is waiting for a response from America to the same effect. The peace movement in Australia is very opposed to all nuclear testing by all nations and we are supporting the Australian Government in its move to put in place a comprehensive test ban treaty. That is essential and it cannot happen quickly enough.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has a twofold task, about which I wish to ask the Minister a question. The first task of the IAEA is to monitor nuclear activities and it needs full support to carry out that task. The second and contradictory part of its platform is to promote the use of nuclear energy. It is very contradictory for an agency which is meant to control the use of nuclear energy and explosives actually to promote the use of nuclear energy for nuclear-powered generation when many problems are associated with that industry; the main problem being that no adequate disposal of radioactive leftovers has been devised so far.

I ask the Minister whether the Australian Government should not be placing a lot of emphasis in the Australian context on the dangers of nuclear weapons coming into Australian ports. The safeguards which are in place at the moment are totally inadequate for the possible damage and accidents that could result from nuclear-powered generators on board nuclear warships which come into our ports frequently and also the problem with nuclear weapons on board. I submit to the Minister that the Australian Government should be placing a lot of its attention on nuclear monitoring. What happens in the Australian context is that nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered generators are coming into our ports and the environmental protection safeguards in place at the moment are totally ludicrous.