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No ethical framework considered for uranium export deal with Russia; profits only motive, says Greens Senator

Posted by gmarkets on 28 September, 2007

It was foolhardy in the extreme for Australia to put profits from uranium sales ahead of global security, and that was precisely what was going on with the Australia-Russia Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, said Greens Senator Christine Milne in the Commonwealth Senate on 17 September 200 . Conditions desirable: Milne pointed out that at the same time Russia was joining in military exercises under the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Russian bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, were resuming their long-range flights. “Nothing in this agreement talks about human rights, the rule of law, freedom of speech or guaranteeing any of those things,” said Milne. “There is no reason why all of those things ought not to have been in conditionality clauses,” she said.

No ethical examination: Milne would be very interested to hear what the opposition had to say because it was likely to be in government and dealing with the joint house assessment of the process. “I would hope that the opposition would take the issues of human rights more seriously than the government does,” said Milne. “There is no ethical framework within which this agreement with Russia has been assessed. There has been no discussion of it except in the context of maximising profits from the export of Australian uranium. That is the only context. BHP and Rio Tinto have been in there all the way.”

Profit only value considered: Milne said input from academics and the human rights and civil society groups in relation to the agreement had been excluded from the process. The values that were behind the agreement were putting profits ahead of principle and it would be to Australia’s detriment, Milne said.

Reference: Christine Milne, Senator for Tasmania, Australian Greens, Commonwealth Senate, 17 Sepetember 2007 (on Committees: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee Reference).

Erisk Net, 17/9/2007

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