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Rainbow Warrior . . Page.. 789 ..

Tuesday, 20 June 1995


MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.


MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (10.31): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move a motion, which has been circulated in my name, relating to the decision of the French Government to conduct nuclear tests in the South Pacific.

Leave granted.

MS FOLLETT: I thank members for granting me leave. Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Assembly deplores the actions of the French Government in moving to conduct more nuclear tests in the South Pacific.

The Assembly believes that we must send the strongest message possible to the French Government and for this reason we believe that continuing the twinning arrangement with Versailles is inappropriate.

The Assembly urges the ACT Government to withdraw support for this arrangement as a direct consequence of the irresponsible attitude of the French Government to the environment and to nuclear arms; further, the Assembly encourages the boycott of French goods by the ACT community.

Mr Speaker, the history of the ACT's twinning arrangement with the district of Les Yvelines and Versailles is long and somewhat tortuous. The idea was first mooted well before self-government - in about 1985 or 1986 - and obviously attracted quite a degree of community support. In fact, it has been that community support which has kept the idea alive through all those years. The twinning was opposed by the Labor members of the pre-self-government Legislative Assembly because of the then current situation, in which the French had bombed the Rainbow Warrior, the Greenpeace ship, in New Zealand and had, in fact, murdered a photographer who was on that ship. The Labor Party opposed the twinning at the time; but we did not have a majority in the pre-self-government Assembly, and the then Federal Minister responsible, who I think was Mr Scholes, left it to the Assembly itself to decide whether or not the twinning should proceed. In the event, the twinning did proceed, but not in perhaps the most formal of fashions. It was a people-to-people or community-to-community arrangement.

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