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Nuclear submarines not welcome in Western Australia

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 31 Jan 2012

Plans to host American nuclear submarines at Garden Island should be rejected, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said today.

Senator Ludlam said the Australian Defence Force posture review - an inquiry into Australian defence bases - was off target with the suggestion that US nuclear submarines should be serviced at Garden Island.

"The risks of routinely floating nuclear reactors in and out of Cockburn sound shouldn't be underestimated. Western Australian police and emergency services personnel are completely under-resourced to cope with even a minor reactor leak."

"While we assume the authors of this report were referring to nuclear powered attack submarines, what of the fleet of nuclear armed ballistic missile submarines? Do we want to be active partners in maintaining a fleet carrying weapons of mass destruction? Would submarines for deploying nuclear weapons be serviced and perhaps even based in Western Australia? And are we prepared for the social and environmental impacts of an expanded foreign military presence in our communities and ports?"

"Labor seems giddy with excitement over the prospect of a base hosting 2,500 US marines on a rotating basis in Darwin and appears hell-bent on locking in a 25-year deal with Washington over the North West Cape base. The role of that base in supporting the American nuclear-armed submarine fleet is already a cause of grave concern and in conflict with our commitments to nuclear disarmament."

"Long after the end of the Cold War, the North West base still facilitates nuclear ballistic missile submarines. The credibility of Australia's efforts to push for nuclear disarmament on the global level is virtually erased when we lend ports, infrastructure and personnel to legitimising the retention and deployment of nuclear weapons. Offering Garden Island for the same purpose does even more damage to our standing amongst nations and to worldwide efforts towards nuclear disarmament."

"So long as Australia continues lend credence to the notion that nuclear weapons bring security by allowing bases on our soil to facilitate the nuclear weapons apparatus, we are missing an opportunity to demonstrate that reducing and ultimately eliminating the role of nuclear weapons is practically achievable."

Media Contact: Giovanni Torre - 0417 174 302


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