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Notice given 27 June 2011

714  Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence—In regard to the Nuclear Posture Review Report released by the United States of America (US) in April 2010:

(1) What is the Australian Government’s understanding of the circumstances in which the US would be willing to use its nuclear forces in Australia’s defence.


 (2) Is it the Australian Government’s understanding that the US would be prepared to use its nuclear forces both pre-emptively and responsively in relation to both nuclear and non-nuclear (chemical, biological, conventional) threats to Australia.

(3) What specific nuclear and non-nuclear threats does Australia face that could be countered or addressed by the use of US nuclear weapons.

(4) Does Australia consider the policies outlined in the report to be in conformity with Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and international humanitarian law.

(5) On what basis does the department assert, in paragraph 6.34 of the Defence White Paper 2009 , that Australia is ‘able to rely on the nuclear forces of the United States to deter nuclear attack on Australia’.

(6) Has the US Government ever offered an explicit guarantee directly to Australia that it would be prepared to use its nuclear forces in Australia’s defence; if so, when and in what form was such a guarantee made.

(7) What practical steps, if any, has Australia taken since 2007 to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in its defence doctrines.

(8) What role do the US military bases situated in Australia, including the joint facility at Pine Gap, play in supporting US extended nuclear deterrence.

(9) Aside from hosting US military bases, in what other ways, if any, does Australia provide support to US extended nuclear deterrence.

(10) How many and what class of US submarines will be involved in the Talisman Sabre 2011 military exercises in July, and will they be armed with nuclear weapons.

(11) Does the presence of nuclear-armed vessels in Australian waters pose a security risk to the Australian public.

(12) Will the Talisman Sabre 2011 military exercises include preparations for joint military activities involving the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

(13) What information, if any, does the department offer its personnel in relation to the lawfulness or otherwise of using or threatening to use nuclear weapons in armed conflict.

(14) Has the Australian Government offered any advice or other information to the Future Fund Management Agency in relation to nuclear weapons, cluster munitions or anti-personnel land mines; if so, what was the content of such advice.