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Mr Humphries, in his entirely inadequate defence of the arrangement, seemed to suggest that the Versailles twinning agreement was doing wonderful things for Canberra, that it had been worked out rigorously over the years and was of great importance. As I understand it, it has drifted along with little support, with people pushing now and then. It has taken 10 years for anything to happen, because there has not been a great amount of interest. There is not widespread support for it. I still wait for Mr Humphries or others to point out just what the benefits are. What has happened over these 10 years that we should not sink? I cannot see it.

Mr Moore has moved amendments. I think he has got the message that they will not be supported; nor should they be. Mr Moore has made it clear that he will make a lot of noise in Canberra on this issue, but he is not concerned about the amount of noise that might be felt in France on the issue. That is not acceptable to me. Noise is made here, but it does not make an impact across the world. I think that on that ground the amendments should fail. Ms Follett's proposal is the one that should be carried.

MS TUCKER (12.02): I should like to start by saying that, as an environmentalist, I am a little concerned when I hear the word “emotional” being directed at what are actually strong arguments and strong feelings. It is a word that has been used against environmentalists for a long time. On the issue of wildlife, for instance, we have often been accused of being emotional. It has to be clearly understood that if you have strong feelings you require strong actions, and that is in no way necessarily something irrational.

The point is that the French have been carrying out nuclear tests since 1960, initially in Algeria and, after that country became independent and the French were thrown out, they went to French Polynesia. The first French nuclear test in Polynesia was in July 1966, and from the beginning these tests were surrounded by controversy. According to the French at that time, not a single particle of radioactive fallout would ever reach an inhabited island. Nobel Laureate Dr Albert Schweitzer remained unconvinced. A letter written in April 1964 to the deputy of the Tahitian territorial assembly read:

Long before I received your letter I was worried about the fate of the Polynesian people. I have been fighting against all atomic weapons and nuclear tests since 1955. It is sad to learn that they have been forced upon the inhabitants of your islands. Yet I knew the French parliament would not come to your assistance ... Those who claim these tests are harmless are liars. Who could have imagined that France would be willing to deliver its own citizens to the military in this manner.

Indeed, who could have imagined that France would continue testing even though there was clear evidence of the dangers of such tests. France has conducted 172 nuclear tests since 1960. By joining China in ignoring the moratorium on nuclear testing, France has endangered the negotiation of the comprehensive test ban treaty. Just when it appeared that there was real hope for disarmament, and 50 years after Hiroshima, the Government of France has chosen, in a totally misguided and anachronistic notion of nationhood, to assert itself. How absurd it is!

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