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motion on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation

Senator LUDLAM: This motion arose from the work of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties which is chaired by Mr Kelvin Thomson. The report that reflects this motion was a unanimous one. I thank all members of the committee for their work. Australia's advocacy for nuclear disarmament, which I think is agreed by everyone in this place, would have a lot more credibility but for two factors. One is that we include nuclear weapons in our security policy under the US nuclear umbrella. I believe that should be reviewed. We lend our infrastructure and our foreign policy to the idea that nuclear weapons have security utility when of course they do not. The second factor is that Australia exports bomb fuel to nuclear-weapon states around the world, and that is something that we cannot hide from. We sell the precursor material for nuclear fuel and nuclear weapons, and it is the policy of the government and the coalition to expand that trade. We cannot pretend that the safeguards regime under which we export uranium to nuclear-weapon states in any way prevents that material from being used in nuclear weapons programs. I would also note that a matter of only a week or two ago, as Senator Brown has reminded me, the entire chamber apart from the Greens and the Independents voted in favour of leasing nuclear submarines from the United States Navy, before reversing that position.
I would like to acknowledge that in this resolution we see the government taking the advice of the treaties committee to support a nuclear weapons convention. To date Australia has not had this policy, and so this shift is extremely welcome. I expect now that the government will join the majority of countries on the planet in the General Assembly of the United Nations by supporting the resolution calling for the commencement of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention. Like the landmines, biological and chemical weapons conventions, we need a systematic global framework for abolishing these weapons once and for all.

Nuclear Nonproliferation
Senator SINGH (Tasmania) (12:17): I move:
That the Senate-
(a) affirms its support for:
(i) the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, and
(ii) the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the essential foundation for the achievement of nuclear disarmament and the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime;
(b) notes:
(i) ratification by the United States and Russia of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms [New START] on 5 February 2011,
(ii) unilateral nuclear arsenal reductions announced by France and the United Kingdom,
(iii) the strong working relationship between Australia and Japan on issues of non-proliferation and disarmament, including more recently by establishing the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative to take forward the 2010 NPT Review Conference outcomes, and
(iv) the unanimous views presented by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties in Report 106: Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament; and
(c) calls for:
(i) further cuts in all categories of nuclear weapons and a continuing reduction of their roles in national security policies,
(ii) states outside the NPT to join the treaty as non-nuclear weapon states,
(iii) ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty by all states yet to do so, (iv) the immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations for a verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for weapons purposes,
(v) stronger international measures to address serious NPT non-compliance issues,
(vi) Iran, Syria and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions,
(vii) political and financial support for a strengthened IAEA safeguards regime, including universalisation of the Additional Protocol,
(viii) further investigation of the merits and risks of nuclear fuel cycle multilateralisation,
(ix) exploration of legal frameworks for the abolition of nuclear weapons, including the possibility of a nuclear weapons convention, as prospects for multilateral disarmament improve,
(x) efforts to establish a Middle East zone free from weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, freely arrived at by all regional states, and
(xi) efforts to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism within the framework of the IAEA and the Nuclear Security Summits.

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