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I foreshadow an amendment that will beef up the level of people response, which I believe is entirely appropriate in these circumstances. These are the sorts of things the Australian community needs to be doing to send the message to the people of France, particularly to the French Government. These are the sorts of things that need to be happening. Military cooperation with France is surely much more important to the French than the outrage and tub-thumping of the ACT Legislative Assembly.
Ms McRae: Nonsense!
MR HUMPHRIES: “Nonsense!”, says Ms McRae. What a brave person. I am sure that they would be very happy to see their flights cancelled and will be shaking in their boots when the ACT Assembly sends its condemnation! Further, Mr Speaker, I am suggesting that we should urge the Australian Government to cease the refuelling of all French military transit flights. That will make a difference to the French Government. I am also suggesting the ultimate step of recalling Australia's Ambassador to France. Communication at that symbolic highest level between the governments of France and Australia ought to be suspended, because that is a government-to-government communication. The communication we are talking about in this substantive motion is people-to-people communication, and that is very different.
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (12.15): Very briefly, Mr Speaker, the debate here is about how best to express our displeasure at what the French Government is doing. It is not an argument about whether or not we support the French Government’s absolutely unacceptable approach on Mururoa Atoll. The issue is: What approach will best influence the French Government? Certainly, our view on that is somewhat different from the Opposition's. The issue is not whether this Assembly supports nuclear testing. It would be very tragic if, in whatever comes out of the debate later on this morning, we do not make it very clear to everybody that this Assembly totally supports the first part of Ms Follett's motion that we abhor the French Government's actions. The arguments that have been put are about how best to express our displeasure.
We are willing to support Mr Moore's amendments because that really puts the Mayor of Versailles on the spot. It says categorically, “Do you or do you not support the policy of the government of the day in France?”. That does toughen it up from our position, and we are willing to support that toughening up, simply because we believe strongly that we must continue this, not just today but for the foreseeable future. Do you remember for how long the French tested nuclear weapons last time they started? It was not a week; it was not a flash in the pan. This is going to be something we have to continue - our comments, our statements, our displeasure, our abhorrence of the French Government’s actions - potentially for a quite long period of time, unfortunately. The approach Mr Moore takes does give us an opportunity to put the Mayor of Versailles on the spot by asking, “Do you or do you not support nuclear testing?”. If he says that he does, I will be more than happy to rip up the agreement. If he says that he does not, then we will have an ally to lobby the French Government. As I have said before, I believe that keeping communications open is important on this. If we can possibly get an ally in the Mayor of Versailles from Les Yvelines, then we have a person of enormous importance - the mayor himself, potentially - doing our job, putting what the Assembly wants said to the French Government.