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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 10 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 2913 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the factor which I think has changed the complexion of this matter since that motion was originally carried, of course, is the signing on 25 March this year by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and, most particularly, France of a protocol to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, the Rarotonga Treaty. The protocol prohibits them from conducting nuclear tests in the Pacific, storing and stationing nuclear devices or manufacturing nuclear devices or weapons in the region. That is a considerable advance which does establish very clearly the South Pacific zone, of which we are part, as an area in which those weapons will not play a role in the security of any of those nations and, hopefully, any other nation as well.

I personally welcome that decision and also the signing by France of the Pelindaba Treaty on 11 April this year, which established denuclearised zones throughout the South Pacific and Africa. They are fairly significant steps, Mr Speaker, which I have no doubt were partly brought about by the public reaction to the French tests in the South Pacific. By the same token, it is now appropriate to recognise that the fact that there has been this decision to sign those treaties means that the motion we passed previously does not have a great point and ought to be rescinded.

If I might briefly anticipate the amendment which is to be moved by the Greens, let me say very briefly that I think it does not add significantly to the content of the motion. It restates, in the first paragraph, the opposition of the Assembly to the testing. That point has already been made, with respect. I do not know whether you can make it again, but I suppose it is their prerogative to move the amendment. The second part of the amendment is a little silly, might I suggest. Quite apart from the fact that the French Prime Minister's name is Mr Juppe, not Mr Chirac, there is also the question of whether it is really wise for the Government to be writing to the French Government deploring and condemning a nuclear testing program which has, in fact, already ended and which that Government, for whatever reason, has decided to discontinue. Clearly, they accept that people believe it is deplorable and worthy of condemnation. The point of our writing and saying, "We condemn a program which you have, in fact, already dumped" is a little lost on me; but, if our colleagues the Greens believe there is some value in doing so, I suppose it is their prerogative to do that.

Mr Speaker, I commend this motion to the Assembly. I hope it will allow us to resume a number of important relations that the people of this Territory profit from. I think it must be said that what is perhaps most regrettable about the motion that was originally carried is the consequence that the relationship with the people of Versailles was lost. I sincerely hope that if this motion is carried today we can proceed to re-establish some link with the people of Versailles. Whatever we may feel about the actions of the French Government, it is most unfortunate that people-to-people links should be placed at risk by this process. I personally hope that we can move quickly to deal with that. It may not be important to people like Mr Berry that we have those sorts of relationships, but I think, personally, it is of great value to the people of Canberra and to those who worked hard to establish those relationships in the first place and to maintain them. I hope we can take some step towards restoring them as a result of this motion.

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