National party platform:
http://www.alp.org.au/national_platform (December 2011)
Labor recognises that the production of uranium and its use in the nuclear fuel cycle present unique and unprecedented hazards and risks, including:
● Threats to human health and the local environment in the mining and milling of uranium, which demand the enforcement of very strict safety procedures.
● The generation of products that are usable as the raw materials for nuclear weapons manufacture, which demands the enforcement of effective controls against diversion.
● The generation of highly toxic radioactive waste by-products that demand permanently safe disposal methods.
Labor accordingly will only allow the mining and export of uranium under the most stringent conditions.
In relation to mining and milling, Labor will:
● Ensure the safety of workers in the uranium industry is given priority. Labor has established a compulsory register for workers in the uranium industry that includes regular health checks and ongoing monitoring. The register is held by an independent agency and will be subject to privacy provisions.
● Ensure that Australian uranium mining, milling and rehabilitation is based on world best practice standards, extensive continuing research on environmental impacts and the health and safety of employees and affected communities, particularly Indigenous communities
● Ensure, through public accountability mechanisms, that the Australian public is informed about the quality of the environmental performance of uranium mines.
● Foster a constructive relationship between mining companies and Indigenous communities affected by uranium mining.
● Prohibit the mining of uranium within national parks under International Union for Conservation of Nature protected area category 1A, category 1B, and category 2, and listed world heritage areas.
In relation to exports other than to India, Labor will allow the export of uranium only to those countries that observe the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), are committed to non-proliferation policies, have ratified international and bilateral nuclear safeguards agreements and maintain strict safeguards and security controls over their nuclear power industries.
In relation to India, an important strategic partner for Australia, commitments and responsible actions in support of nuclear non-proliferation, consistent with international guidelines on nuclear supply, will provide an acceptable basis for peaceful nuclear cooperation, including the export of uranium, subject to the application of strong safeguards.
In addition, Labor will work towards:
● Strengthening export control regimes and the rights and authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
● Appropriate international responses to violations of existing safeguard commitments.
● Limiting the processing of weapon usable material (separation of plutonium and high enriched uranium in civilian programs).
● Tightening controls over the export of nuclear material and technology.
● Universalising of the IAEA additional protocol making it mandatory for all states and members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to adhere to the additional protocol as a condition of supply to all their transfers.
● Criminalising actions of individuals and companies that assist in nuclear proliferation.
● The development of an international guarantee of nuclear fuel supply to states foregoing sensitive nuclear technologies.
● Revising the NPT to prevent countries from withdrawing from the NPT and passing a new resolution in the United Nations Security Council addressing the penalties for withdrawal from the NPT.
● Encouraging all nuclear states to join the NPT.
● Reserving the right to withhold supplies of uranium permanently, indefinitely or for a specified period from any country that ceases to observe the non-proliferation safeguards and security conditions applied to Australian uranium exports to that country, or which adopts nuclear practices or policies that do not further advance the cause of nuclear non-proliferation.
● Supporting the maintenance and enhancement of international and Australian safeguards to ensure that uranium mined in Australia, and nuclear products derived from it, are used only for civil purposes by approved instrumentalities in approved countries that are signatories to the NPT (with the exception of India) and with whom Australia has safeguard arrangements.
● Seeking adequate international resourcing of the IAEA to ensure its effectiveness in undertaking its charter.
Labor will progress these commitments through diplomatic means including the re-establishment of the Canberra Commission to re-invigorate Australia’s tradition of middle power, multilateral diplomacy. In doing so, Labor believes that as a non nuclear armed nation and a good international citizen, Australia can make a significant contribution to promoting disarmament, the reduction of nuclear stockpiles, and the responsible use of nuclear technology.
In addition, Labor will:
● Vigorously oppose the ocean dumping of radioactive waste.
● Prohibit the establishment of nuclear power plants and all other stages of the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia.
● Fully meet all our obligations as a party to the NPT.
● Remain strongly opposed to the importation and storage of nuclear waste that is sourced from overseas in Australia.
Labor Achievements – Foreign Affairs –Chapter 11
We have established, with Japan, the ten-nation Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative to make practical progress towards a nuclear free world
Labor is equally committed to tackling global security challenges posed by terrorism and the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
● Labor has renewed Australia’s efforts towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
● Labor welcomed the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and the important contribution made by the Commission’s report in informing debate and outcomes of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Labor also supports the ten-nation Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative set up by Australia and Japan to advance these outcomes in practical ways.
● Labor will actively encourage the pursuit of further substantial reductions of nuclear arsenals and the development of processes, including examining the need for a nuclear weapons convention, for bringing all nuclear armed states into the disarmament process.
● Labor is also committed to strengthening the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency and compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (including universalisation of the Additional Protocol), and other nuclear treaties and agreements.
● Labor’s nuclear disarmament agenda also includes support for “no first use” obligations, deep, verifiable, and irreversible cuts in all categories of nuclear weapons and a continuing reduction of their roles in national security policies.
● Labor affirms its unequivocal commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons. Labor will continue its support for nuclear weapon free zones.
The Pine Gap Joint Facility makes an important contribution to the Australia–US Alliance as well as to the deterrence and avoidance of conflict. Labor will require that this facility continue to be managed and operated on a joint basis and only with the Australian Government’s full knowledge of and concurrence with the facility’s activities. Labor will ensure the operations of the Joint Facility are consistent with Australia’s national security, disarmament and non-proliferation objectives. Labor will require that this facility continue to be managed and operated as a joint Australian–US facility within Full Knowledge and Concurrence arrangements to ensure the protection of Australian sovereignty.
Ballistic Missile Defence
Labor considers that the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and ballistic missile delivery systems is one of the most serious international security issues confronting the world today. Labor considers effective efforts to combat these developments require sustained multilateral, diplomatic and defence cooperation and action.
Labor is concerned that as a unilateral response to the problem of ballistic missile proliferation, national missile defence is disproportionate, technically questionable, costly and likely to be counter- productive. It also has the potential to undermine non-proliferation and derail world progress towards nuclear disarmament. Labor also notes that national missile defence would impact on the security situation in the Asia–Pacific region, and that this could have serious consequences for Australia’s strategic circumstances and national security.
Note on Labor Party policies: the following articles provide critical analysis of the Labor government’s approach to nuclear issues:
A global abolition treaty: getting us to zero
20 October 2009
Trashing nuclear promises (US – India nuclear deal)
Online Opinion, 21 August 2008
Trust us (critique of nuclear ‘safeguards’)
Online Opinion, 17 November 2006
Getting serious about zero
Online Opinion. 30 July 2008 (also published in Australasian Science)
A nuclear challenge to the world
Online Opinion, 30 September 2009
Offensive defence (Defence Review White Paper)
Online Opinion, 15 May 2009
The terror of Hiroshima
Online Opinion, 6 August 2009
Talisman sabre military exercises, war and the environment
Online Opinion, 10 July 2009
Online Opinion, 28 July 2009
ICNND report welcome but doesn’t go far enough
Media release: December 15, 2009