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Tuesday, 17 October 1972
Page: 1561

Senator O'BYRNE (TASMANIA) - My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In view of the interest and concern of our Pacific Islands neighbours about the Australian Government's protest to France about its intention of testing further nuclear devices in the Pacific next year, I ask: Has the Government considered the imposition of economic sanctions to prevent these nuclear tests from going ahead, such as warning that it will scrap its plans to purchase Mirage F1 fighters from France? If the Government will not consider some action as a form of protest, how can the Australian public and Australia's neighbours be expected to believe that the Government is trying to persuade the French to stop the tests?

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON As I recall, Senator Bishop reflected on this aspect last week. I read out last week the line of response which the Australian Government has made. This made it abundantly clear that Australia had used the normal procedures to register its protest. The honourable senator has suggested that the Australian Government should impose some economic sanctions on France. I should have thought that the whole question of trade with France would have been involved in such a proposition because it would not be possible to pick the eyes out of trade in that sense. I have great reservations about the proposals contained in the honourable senator's question. However, those proposals have been put in good faith and I do not think it is for me to reflect upon them at question time. They concern matters of Government policy. I will have them directed to the attention of the responsible Minister, as is my duty when such a question is posed to me.

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