IT WAS a government destined to be swept from power at the 1996 election. Prime Minister Paul Keating was focused on the Working Nation program to kickstart the economy and negotiating a defence treaty with Indonesia. Other issues — including public outrage over French nuclear testing in the South Pacific — became thorns in the Government’s side.
THE FRENCH NUCLEAR TESTING
KANGAROO meat and other exports to Europe could be jeopardised if Australia took a hard line against French nuclear testing in the South Pacific, the Keating cabinet feared in 1995. A ban on uranium exports to France could also have put at risk a potential $1 billion expansion of South Australia’s Olympic Dam.
The resumption of underground nuclear testing in French Polynesia sparked boycotts of French businesses in Australia and plunged the Labor government into a diplomatic and political crisis. Continue Reading →