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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 2048 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Mr Speaker, it is appropriate at this stage, however, to draw one other comment to members' attention, and that is Australia's own participation in the nuclear arms cycle, particularly the Federal Government's recent decision to open the Jabiluka mine in Kakadu. This mine could potentially end up supplying uranium in an enriched form to countries that build and test nuclear weapons, like Pakistan.

Mr Humphries: But you guys sold uranium as well.

Mr Hird: You were going to do it too.

Mr Humphries: You had three uranium mines operating.

MR CORBELL: It is regrettable that our Federal Government is participating in a nuclear arms cycle by continuing to open up new mines in the Northern Territory. The Labor Party has put very clearly on the record that if elected we will not go ahead with the opening of that new Jabiluka mine in Kakadu. I hear the taunts opposite, and I am sure that Ms Tucker will stand up shortly and beat me around the head for the Labor Party's position on nuclear weapons. I am very proud to say, Mr Speaker, that the position of the ACT branch of the Australian Labor Party has always been to oppose absolutely and completely uranium mining in the Northern Territory, particularly in areas of world heritage. That remains our position and the position of the rank and file members of our branch. It is a position I am proud to support - - -

Mr Humphries: Well, criticise the Federal Labor Government as well. Do not just criticise the Liberal Government.

MR CORBELL: Mr Humphries says I should criticise the Federal Labor Government. Yes, I will. They made the wrong decision. It was wrong, Mr Humphries, and I stand by that because uranium mining, to perpetuate the nuclear arms cycle, is immoral. It should be a process which Australia has no part of. On that, Mr Speaker, I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MS TUCKER (10.56): This motion has been on the notice paper for a long time, but I am always happy to speak on these matters. It is very important that we continue to raise the issues. There is a Federal election campaign at the moment so it is obviously a good topic of debate. The motion is about Pakistan, but any nuclear tests have to be condemned. We condemned India as well. We have condemned China. The Greens certainly have condemned China and France. I know we condemned France in this place as well.

One of the really important issues that also have to be raised in these discussions is that, while the nuclear states have not moved to establish a timetable to eliminate their existing arsenal, other countries will demand the right to have their own weapons. I remind members that, of the 2,040 nuclear tests which have been conducted since 1945, the United States has conducted 1,030 and the Soviet Union has conducted 715. That does not leave a lot more that other countries have undertaken. It is understandable why these countries do not take the protestations of countries such as the United States seriously when they continue to demand the right to keep their arsenals.

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