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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (19 May) . . Page.. 305 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Why does India need nuclear arms? India has, as the Chief Minister said, over the years fought a number of wars with Pakistan; but can anyone seriously say that India's existence has ever been threatened by that state? To the contrary. My recollection of history is that India has emerged victorious in most of those wars; or, at best, they have ended in stalemates on the border. What India is doing is a case of total overreaction, even when you look at it in a military sense. India will probably say they are threatened by China, but has China done anything in recent times to indicate that it is a real or potential threat to India? The world has shrunk considerably in the last few years and, as technology advances apace, will continue to do so. We all have to learn to live together. We have to be very mindful as technology does advance apace - be it nuclear weapons or some other horrendous invention that might be a weapon of mass destruction - that if it does get into the wrong hands it is goodbye planet earth.

There are some very real issues here, and I do not think the unilateral action taken by the Indian Government in recent days assists a more peaceful world. I do not see the need for it. When I look at the recent history of India, the subcontinent and that part of Asia generally, I cannot see any real justification, which would stand up anywhere, of legitimate national defence which would condone what India has done over the last couple of days. Accordingly, I am very supportive of the Chief Minister's motion.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (11.20): Mr Speaker, I rise to support this motion. It seems to me that it is a very sad thing that we have to rise in this Assembly yet again to condemn the actions of governments in conducting nuclear tests. It seems to me that there is always great opportunity for certain governments to decide that the way to proceed to get people onside is to make themselves appear tough. I suppose there is no tougher way to act, there is no stronger way to act, than to show that you have the biggest and most destructive weapons. Unfortunately, it is often the most highly educated nations in the world, those who ought to know better, that are responsible for the conducting of such nuclear tests.

It was interesting when we had debate on the French nuclear tests not so long ago - and I was representing the local branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association at our meeting in Sri Lanka - to see the reluctance of some members of the United Kingdom delegation to support a motion condemning the French nuclear tests at that time and also the reluctance of some Indian members to support that motion. It is becoming very clear now why, of course. I will clarify that. Certainly, the Labour delegation from the United Kingdom was very keen and very enthusiastic to support the motion condemning the French. The Tories at the time were very reluctant, to say the least. It is only when we get united condemnation of this sort of action that we have a reasonable chance of ensuring that the globe goes into the next millennium with a sense of security; that our children and our grandchildren can grow up feeling that they do not have to live under the shadow of the possibility of nuclear war.

The reason why I supported the Abolition 2000 campaign the last time and the reason why I am prepared to support it again is that I am committed to see what I can do, in whatever small way, to ensure that people who are involved in nuclear testing, who are involved in nuclear arms, understand that there is a growing number of people around the world who find this sort of conduct appalling. To get a united view by this parliament

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