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Tuesday, 30 May 1972
Page: 2228

Senator WRIEDT (TASMANIA) - I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of a statement issued at the week-end by the French Minister for Overseas Territories in which he stated that the impending French nuclear tests in the Pacific would be. useful for the defence of the. Pacific region against possible Chinese threats and that 'Australia now seemed convinced of this'. Does this mean a tacit acceptance by the Australian Government of the tests? If not, will the Government convey to the French Government its concern that any such statement implying Australia's acceptance of the test should have been issued by the French Minister?

Senator WRIGHT (TASMANIA) (Minister for Works) - I noticed the statement to which the honourable senator referred. The Australian Government has in the past consistently expressed its opposition to the conduct of atmospheric nuclear tests by France in the Pacific area. The Government's opposition is based on the belief that the partial nuclear test, ban to which Australia is a party should be universally applied and accepted and 'oh Australia's shared concern with the people of the Pacific over the holding qf atmospheric tests in the region. Australia has made clear its opposition to the French Government on numerous occasions. As recently as 29th March an official protest note was delivered to the French Embassy in Canberra and a public statement was issued 'by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. On- 9th May, in response to a question in another place, the Minister for Foreign Affairs reiterated the Government's opposition to this proposal.

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