Rainbow Warrior . . Page.. 801 ..
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr De Domenico will have an opportunity to explain himself.
MR CONNOLLY: So, he has his forum. Mr Speaker, we are making a simple point in this motion. The Australian community is, in an almost unprecedented way, united about this issue. That has not been the case before, as has been pointed out in the Federal Parliament. It is regrettable that it has slipped into standard partisan slanging matches up there; but, as has been pointed out in the Federal Parliament, when there was a debate about French nuclear testing in the 1980s, there was not unanimity. In the early 1980s, when the South Pacific nuclear-free zone treaty was being developed and when there was a lot of community opposition to French testing - which, admittedly, had moved underground by that stage; it was no longer the atmospheric testing of the 1970s - Liberal spokespersons were getting up in the Federal Parliament and saying, “No, you cannot attack the French for nuclear testing because it is part of the Western deterrent; it is part of the Western alliance”. Those quotes of Alexander Downer's, I think, were bandied about up on the hill yesterday. So, the last time there was major Australian community concern about French nuclear testing - French underground nuclear testing - there was not bipartisan support.
There was bipartisan opposition to the act of terrorism in blowing up the Rainbow Warrior. Certainly, the Liberals joined with Labor at all levels of government to condemn that, but there was not condemnation across the board of the principle of nuclear testing in the South Pacific. Now there is, and that is a very positive thing. But what an extraordinary message we send to the people of Australia if it is reported that the ACT Assembly has decided that it is appropriate to sign and reaffirm a sister city arrangement with the French!
Mrs Carnell: We have done that.
MR CONNOLLY: Mrs Carnell did that on Tuesday, the day before the announcement was made. She may well have had grounds to expect that an announcement would be made. We have only to look at the French election campaign and see Chirac's return to bombast. There was broad speculation for a week that the French were moving in this direction; but Mrs Carnell signed that agreement in good faith. As the Leader of the Opposition pointed out, it was a decision in good faith. It was something that we supported when it was clear that it was to happen. Representatives of the Labor Party attended that function. It was, at that stage, something that was capable of bipartisan support, and properly so. But the decision of the French Government to resume nuclear testing in our part of the world must put that sister city arrangement on ice. It must require us to say, “No. Much as we like it, cancel it and resume it when the French Government comes to its senses”.
We are not talking about a neutral, status quo situation here. We are talking about a situation where a sister city arrangement has just been formalised and where you are urging that this Assembly send a clear message to the rest of the Australian community and to the French community that we think, at a time when the French Government is resuming nuclear testing in the South Pacific, that it is an appropriate time to resume