Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (19 May) . . Page.. 310 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
I notice that Mr Clinton, in his attempts to encourage the Senate to support the comprehensive test ban treaty, offered a sweetener to the nuclear weapons laboratories. It was called the stockpile stewardship and management program, whereby the laboratories would maintain and expand the United States arsenal at a cost of $40 billion over 10 years. While we can encourage India and Pakistan to sign the comprehensive test ban treaty, it is absolutely essential that we actually have a commitment to Abolition 2000 from these nuclear states which already have such an incredible capacity to wreak havoc on the earth. I think you need to understand that, when you are calling on India to be very much a part of Abolition 2000, we should get a commitment from all those states.
On the question of sanctions: There is, obviously, always a concern that it will be just the poor and disadvantaged people who will suffer as a result of sanctions. I note Mr Stanhope has put in here "appropriate international sanctions". That is a bit of a worry, because I would like to have seen more clearly described what was meant by that if this is a letter that is going to the Federal Government. I would want to get it on the record that my view of "appropriate" would be sanctions which would not in fact impact in a detrimental way on the poor and disadvantaged people in India, because that is not going to achieve anything in terms of justice out of this whole dilemma about nuclear weapons. But we will be supporting the motion with the amendments to the motion, with those reservations.
MR RUGENDYKE (11.43): I am somewhat bemused by this motion, as my understanding of the Constitution is that the States ceded power to chart Australia's foreign affairs to the Federal Government at Federation. The Assembly's role, as I understand the self-government Act, is to make laws for the peace and good governance of the Australian Capital Territory. So, why is it that during Executive business we are not doing just that? But I will leave that point aside for the moment, Mr Speaker.
At the outset, let me say that I consider nuclear weapons to be an obscenity. But, if there were a genuine comprehensive nuclear ban, then that would mean all states would be scrapping their weapons. We all know that is not the case. If there really were a comprehensive ban, that would also include the computer modelling of actual explosions by the five nuclear-declared states that now takes place. But what we have, in effect, is five declared nuclear powers saying that they will be keeping their nuclear weapons and no-one but them is responsible enough to have them.
Mr Speaker, I do not excuse India's use of nuclear weapons and I condemn the Hindu-nationalist BJP Government for pushing ahead with it, but I will say that most of us cannot begin to imagine the region in which India has to live. Canberra is a comfortable place; New Delhi is not. On its border is a declared nuclear state, China, a state that has already been at war with India, in 1962. It is strongly suspected that China has been supplying Pakistan with nuclear technology for years. If Pakistan now proceeds with a nuclear test of its own, this will go part of the way to confirming that collaboration. If you were in government in India, you could honestly say that you would not be developing nuclear weapons. Those weapons have been there since at least 1975.