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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3221


Mr Hayden asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 2 April 1980:

(   1 ) Did he say (a) in a statement issued on 1 8 July 1 979 that the Government had decided that the export of uranium would be permitted from Australia without a requirement that Australian ownership be retained until it was converted to a form suitable for fuel fabrication or enrichment and (b) that this change of policy had resulted from a judgment in the Westinghouse anti-trust case in the United States of America.

(2)   If so, was this change of policy announced after the bilateral safeguards agreement with the USA had been signed.

(3)   Does the changed policy invalidate or modify the bilateral safeguards agreement, its interpretation or implementation; if so, in what respects.


Mr Peacock - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   (a) Yes. See also my statement of 23 August 1979 (Hansard pages 536-40).

(b)   My statements of 18 July and 23 August 1979 said that:

The Government's decision was taken before an antitrust suit by Westinghouse Electric Corporation for treble damages had proceeded to judgment in the United States against certain Australian companies. As a result of the judgment, the requirement that Australian uranium remain in Australian ownership would have placed shipments of uranium overseas by those Australian companies at risk of seizure in execution of the judgment. This requirement of the Government's safeguards policy had therefore created unnecessary difficulties unrelated to the field of safeguards.

(2)   Yes. The agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United States of America Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy was signed in Canberra on 5 July 1 979.

(3)   No. As stated in my reply to I (b), the decision to remove the requirement that Australian ownership of uranium concentrates- yellowcake be retained until converted to a form suitable for fuel fabrication or enrichment, had created unnecessary difficulties unrelated to the field of safeguards.







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