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Tuesday, 13 March 1973
Page: 462

Dr KLUGMAN (PROSPECT, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. In view of the re-election , of a French Government pledged to perform further nuclear tests, can the Minister confirm reports that the French Government has invited Australian experts to check on safety precautions? If so, will the Government accept the invitation? In view of the Minister's previous representations to the -Peking Government when he was Leader of the Opposition, will he ask the new Australian ambassador in Peking to raise at the earliest opportunity the question of Chinese nuclear tests? Finally, will he ask the Chinese Government at least to allow foreign experts to check on safety precautions in relation to its tests which, admittedly, are performed inside its own territory?

Mr WHITLAM - The Australian Government received an invitation from the French Government to send some scientists to check on the safety precautions at Mururoa. Three scientists went there, and they have returned. The Australian Government's attitude towards nuclear testing in the atmosphere by all nations is the same as it was when the Party constituting the Government was in Opposition. For years the Australian Labor Party has made it plain that it objects to the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere. It did so when tests were carried out by Britain, by the United States and by the Soviet Union, and it continues to do so now that it is carried out by China and France alone. We deplore the fact that China and France have not joined the treaty banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere to which America, the Soviet and Britain long since subscribed. The Australian Government believes that it has the option of going to the International Court of Justice to gain an injunction against France carrying out these tests in our atmosphere. The physical features which give Australia that option of approaching the International Court of Justice against the French tests are not applicable against the Chinese tests.

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