Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 18:56 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 18:56 | SYDNEY

Principles and the NPT


Andrew Carr


13 October 2011 12:35

I admire Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, but he has just put out a press release on uranium sales to India that rather artfully backfires:

Labor's own policy bans the sale of nuclear fuel to countries that have refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), yet there is a danger the Government will yield to one man’s nuclear obsession and drop that principled stand...The Government has been prepared to cut uranium deals with Russia, an authoritarian state which is assisting Iran's nuclear program, and the United Arab Emirates, a dictatorship with a disturbing human rights record; Will they expand their rogue's gallery of customers to include a country with a nuclear arsenal which has refused to sign the NPT?....Senator Ludlam will move a motion in the Senate today expressing support for the current ban on uranium sales to non-signatory countries.

Got that? Labor must maintain its 'principled' stand of selling uranium to countries with authoritarian regimes and poor proliferation records, but shouldn't sell to India, a democracy with an excellent non-proliferation record.

The NPT is a big and unwieldy club. It has played an important role (as has Australia) in promoting non-proliferation world-wide. But to overcome current proliferation challenges, and to ensure Australia's prosperity and security, we need new thinking and new approaches. Supporting the NPT as the sole arbitrar of which countries we should or shouldn't sell uranium to is not, as Ludlam's press release helpfully demonstrates, a principled position.