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MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (12.31): Mr Speaker, there were a couple of points in the body of the debate that I would like to address in closing the debate.

MR SPEAKER: It is an amendment. We have to vote on the amendment.

MS FOLLETT: I might speak on it anyway, Mr Speaker, and I will speak on the amendment as well. The point Mr Berry has made about this amendment is a valid one. Whilst the Opposition has no great objection to it, we do object to the fact that it is the Government's view on this very serious matter that somebody else should take all the action. As a government, they have no interest whatsoever in doing anything other than writing a couple of letters. The situation is more serious than that, and I think action should occur at all levels of government.

It is absolute nonsense that Mrs Carnell has spouted there. It is mere empty rhetoric to talk about keeping communications open and at the same time to have her colleague moving a motion to recall the Australian ambassador. That is an absolute nonsense, and I think it indicates just how much confusion there is in the Liberal ranks on this issue. They cannot decide how best to get out of a difficult situation. And it is a difficult situation, Mr Speaker. I make no bones about the fact that it is a difficult situation. The fact of the matter is that the timing of the twinning arrangement between Canberra and Versailles was not checked with President Chirac. Even if it had been, I doubt if he would have said, “Hang on a minute. I am about to announce nuclear testing in your area; you had better hold back”. The timing of those two events is extremely unfortunate, and we cannot allow that timing issue to prevent our taking proper and appropriate action on the matter on behalf of the Territory, and not, as Mr Humphries's amendment suggests, merely leave it all to the Federal Government.

Mr Humphries, in his comments on the body of the motion before us today, has sought to ignore a couple of very important facts. One of those is the end of the Cold War; the other is the consistent action that has been taken towards nuclear non-proliferation and the goal of world harmony. That has occurred only in recent times, and I would urge Mr Humphries, if he has not done so already, to examine what has occurred. It is most instructive and it certainly points much more clearly to the danger that is posed by this present action of the French Government. In fact, the action of the French Government in resuming nuclear testing in the South Pacific undermines all of the work that has gone on internationally. Mr Humphries, in talking about previous activities, has sought to underplay, or in fact deny, all of that work towards nuclear non-proliferation.

We also heard a great deal from the Liberals about other sister city relationships, and in particular Canberra's relationship with Nara. There is a big difference here between my approach on that matter and the Liberals' approach on the Versailles matter. It is my memory that I brought the question of the sister city relationship with Nara to the Assembly before it was promulgated. If the Liberal members now have a problem with that sister city relationship, they should bring it back to the Assembly for proper debate.

Mrs Carnell: You are setting a standard here, not us.

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