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Canberra Times, . . Page.. 802 ..

a sister city arrangement with Versailles. The Australian community is at one in its condemnation of French nuclear testing and should be at one in saying that it is utterly inappropriate to cement a sister city arrangement with Versailles when the French are resuming their nuclear testing. The signal that would be sent, if this motion were defeated, would be a signal in France, to French propagandists who are looking for propaganda weapons to use in this debate, that the Australian Capital Territory parliament thinks that this is all right and that it is a minor, little glitch, and resumes the sister city arrangement. What an appalling signal to send!

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training) (11.22): Mr Speaker, before I make a couple of comments in relation to points made by some of the Opposition speakers, let me say that I, like everyone else in the house, abhor the French Government's decision to resume testing at Mururoa Atoll. I do not think it has been pointed out today, but the French have been particularly arrogant in the way they have used their colony in the South Pacific. Back in 1970, when they had atmospheric testing there, I can recall, as a first-year university student, writing a letter to the Canberra Times, suggesting somewhat stronger action than anyone has suggested here today.

As Mr Connolly said, the tests have gone underground; but the French have continued to test in the South Pacific, far away from the French homeland. As I think several people have said here today, the United States does test, although it has not for a while; but at least it has always tested in continental United States. The United Kingdom, which also has not tested for a while but which is another of the five main nuclear powers, also does its testing in the United States.

Mr Connolly: They used to test in Australia.

MR STEFANIAK: Apart from the 1950s - and we have all seen the problems with that. But since then, at least, they have tested in a secure environment, not in someone else's backyard, and with the agreement of the host country. Even the Soviet Union, in more recent times, before it disintegrated, tested in its own territory. It is only the French who have continued to test in the South Pacific. So, the argument is: Why on earth, if they insist on testing, should they not do it in their own territory like everyone else? We have yet to see the environmental damage that will come from the underground tests at Mururoa Atoll.

However, simply getting rid of the sister city arrangement with Versailles is not going to be particularly effective. If members opposite think that it would send a very strong message to the French Government and that the French Government would be even remotely interested, I think they are having themselves on. There are some far more effective ways of handling the problem, as the Chief Minister has quite correctly said. Indeed, it seems that even the Labor Party realises that there are some effective ways, such as boycotts. I will come to them shortly. There are some very good historical analogies in terms of how effective boycotts are, as opposed to symbolic gestures.

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