The truth about Australia's nuclear ambitions

by Richard Broinowski

Richard Broinowki's unsettling history of nuclear energy in Australia is, amongst other things, a history of our foreign relations. Given the author's long diplomatic career this is not wholly surprising, but the extent to which nuclear policy and foreign affairs intersect remains startling & Broinowski covers the debates and history with energetic research and crisp prose. Now we simply echo American views, a position Broinowski laments. Ultimately, the author is pessimistic about our nuclear future. Perhaps this book will get the sleeper issue of nuclear energy and weaponry back on the agenda.
Mike Shuttleworth, The Age [Pick of the Week]

Australia used to be prominent in trying to stop nuclear weapons testing and proliferation. Since 1996, however, such activities by Australian diplomats are almost unheard of. In Canberra, an uncritical acceptance of Washingtons nuclear and war-fighting policies encourages the very things that Australia once so vigorously and moralistically opposed.

Based on previously unclassified files, and interviews with some of Australias prominent diplomats, this fascinating book reveals how Australian policy has evolved. It shows that the non-proliferation credentials that Australia embraced in the 1970s were a ploy by Labor leaders to disempower anti-nuclear groups both within the party and in the community. It provides evidence that mining companies substantially compromised safeguards controlling Australian uranium exports. As a result, Australian uranium has probably found its way, in one form or another, into clandestine nuclear weapons.

All Australian governments since 1945 have shaped their nuclear policies according to what they believed or knew Washington wanted. But the Howard government has gone further, unquestioningly supporting American policies that threaten the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and encourage further nuclear weapons proliferation. Such outcomes, this book argues, would profoundly endanger Australias own security.

Richard Broinowski has been an Australian diplomat and ambassador. He became general manager of Radio Australia in 1990 and, on his retirement in 1997, became an honorary professor, first at the University of Canberra and then at the University of Sydney. Richard and his wife Alison live in Sydney.

Extent: 336pp
Format: 234 x 153mm pb
ISBN: 1 920769 03 X
Price: $35.00
Release: October 2003

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