Thursday, 22 March 2012
I have brought this matter to the Senate because I suspect that the chamber is unaware that in India more than 20,000 people are demonstrating at a small fishing village, Koodankulam, in Tamil Nadu, and that their democratic right to peaceful protest has been severely curtailed by some 6,000 police. There have been hundreds of arrests and thousands of people are conducting an ongoing hunger strike. We may soon have direct responsibility and linkage to this. This is a nuclear power project being built by the Russian nuclear industry against the strong wishes of the local community. It is exactly what would happen if somebody tried to build a nuclear power station near anybody in Australia. There is a huge movement against it.
If we sell uranium to India we will shoulder the same kind of responsibility that we have from the wreckage of the Fukushima plants in Japan. I want to acknowledge, before this is put to the vote, the strength of the Indian antinuclear movement and to let them know that we are with them no matter the outcome of this vote. Our thoughts are with them this afternoon.