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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 2046 ..


MR HIRD (10.46): Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) strongly condemns the actions of the Pakistan Government in conducting nuclear tests in response to India's testing;

(2) calls on the Pakistan Government to heed international opinion and announce the end of nuclear testing by signing the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty;

(3) views the actions of the Pakistan Government as divisive as they further impact on the maintenance of harmonious relations between the Pakistan and Indian communities in Canberra; and

(4) urges Pakistan's neighbours not to be drawn into a dangerous escalation of nuclear brinkmanship and encourages them to renew their commitment to world peace.

Further, the Assembly urges the Chief Minister to write to the Prime Minister requesting that he inform, in the strongest possible terms, Pakistan's High Commissioner in Australia of this resolution.

It has taken some time for this motion to come on because of the busy schedule of the house, but I am delighted to have the opportunity to move it this morning. Mr Speaker, you will recall that on 19 May this year the parliament passed a motion strongly condemning the Indian Government for its recent nuclear testing program. The Chief Minister subsequently wrote to the Prime Minister requesting that he inform the Indian High Commissioner of that resolution. Regrettably, I have to inform members that since then there has been further nuclear testing on the Indian subcontinent.

On 28 May and 30 May this year the Government of Pakistan conducted underground nuclear explosions in south-western Pakistan in reply to earlier Indian tests. Like the Indian tests, the Pakistani explosions have attracted international criticism, and the Australian Government has applied a series of measures against Pakistan, similar to those applied to India. The recent Pakistani action ignores international non-proliferation norms and raises serious concerns about world security and peace in our region. I find it disappointing that Pakistan has seen fit to turn its back on the pleas of Australia and others who had urged restraint by Pakistan in face of India's action. Pakistan, like India, is now being condemned by the rest of the international community because of these tests.

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