Gillard’s move on lifting uranium export ban hailed

PTI Melbourne | Updated on March 12, 2018

Australian Opposition leader, Mr Tony Abbott, today welcomed the Prime Minister, Ms Julia Gillard’s decision to lift a ban on uranium exports to India, but criticised her for keeping the foreign minister in dark about the move.

“On selling uranium to India, President (Barack) Obama had the good sense never to change President (George) Bush’s policy,” Mr Abbott said.

“In this country, on this policy, the transition from the former government to the current one has been — how shall I say, Speaker — less seamless, but I welcome the government’s conversion on this subject,” he was quoted as saying by local media here.

However, Mr Abbott criticised Ms Gillard for not consulting her Foreign Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd, on the decision.

“The foreign minister was in India and the prime minister decides that we are going to resume a willingness to sell uranium to India,” he said.

“You’d think this was almost a deliberate snub to Kevin Rudd as well as crook way to run government,” he added.

Mr Abbott said it was further evidence of a divided government and the animosity between Ms Gillard and the man she ousted as prime minister.

His reaction came after Mr Rudd confirmed that the Prime Minister had failed to consult him before announcing Labor plan to change its uranium exports policy.

“I was not consulted,” Mr Rudd said, adding that Ms Gillard did not speak to all her ministers before declaring her position.

But he added: “The Prime Minister has said very clearly she is taking this to the national conference as her own personal initiative. Under those circumstances, it would be unrealistic to be consulted on every matter.”

Mr Rudd said given the party’s Right supported the change, Ms Gillard’s position was likely to be endorsed by the national conference.

The foreign minister indicated he supported the policy change — but he raised a significant question mark over whether India would agree to conditions required by Australia and the international community in terms of proliferation safeguards.

“I will be exercising very strong oversight over those negotiations,” Mr Rudd added.

Published on November 18, 2011

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