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I urge members to think of not just the short-term emotional response but also the long-term logical and rational response, whereby we may have some more impact to ensure that we reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

MR WOOD (11.56): Mr Speaker, it is entirely necessary that every Australian, I think every human, object to the actions of the French. We have heard in this chamber of the experiences of two members, who have spoken about their personal abhorrence of atomic bombing. Mr Kaine was perhaps being kind to me when he mentioned only you, Mr Speaker, as a person who may have remembered those first two explosions. I have very vivid memories of those two explosions, albeit I was somewhat younger than Mr Kaine. That memory was more deeply etched upon my brain when a year or two ago I went to Japan, to Hiroshima, and saw there the memorial, if that is the word, of that horrible attack.

Like Ms Horodny's relatives, I have been affected by atomic explosions. I suppose that every citizen in the world has been; but I physically have been affected, although nowhere near as seriously as some, I would expect. I was resident in North Queensland in the 1970s when the French were doing their atmospheric testing. It emerged that the milk I was drinking and feeding to my children, the butter and the cheese coming from the Malanda dairy factory, contained strontium 90 to such an extent that the Japanese who found it out when they did some testing would not take it. I was affected. I do not see any of those ill effects; perhaps you do. I suppose that there is not a person on this earth who has not had some minor effect from nuclear fallout, given the extensive nature of testing over 50 years now.

We must react with the greatest vigour against the French and against China, although we do not have a sister city relationship with China and it is in the Northern Hemisphere, so its effect is not as immediate. But we should object to it. We should object to any other nation that seeks to engage in such a program. In the 1970s I was in the Queensland Parliament and I raised that issue then, but nothing much was done. The French some time later ceased their atmospheric testing; but there was not a sufficient response, I believe, from any authority in those times. As time goes by, we realise anew just how disgraceful it is to have anything to do with atomic weapons.

I think Mr Humphries’s response, in particular, was entirely inadequate. He was altogether too defensive of the Government's position. Let me speculate just a little. The Chief Minister obviously has a very busy timetable and people who want to arrange functions and the like have to fit it in. What would have happened if the circumstances had been that she had set the signing for two days later? I have little doubt that the Chief Minister, the day after Chirac's announcement, would not have dared to sign that document. Why is there the hesitancy to pull back from something that has been signed? It is a view of the Government that I simply cannot understand. I do not believe that she would have proceeded with the signing in the face of that action. It is now appropriate that she pull back, and she would have support; we would not be contesting that point of view. Very few citizens of Canberra would argue if that was what she did. She does not have to be as dramatic about it, perhaps, as the mayor of Brisbane; but she would have the support of this community because this community, like all others, cannot abide this form of testing.

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