8 August 1995
NEW ZEALAND CHALLENGE TO NUCLEAR TESTS IN INTERNATIONAL COURT
We have already made clear that the legal advice available to us is that there is no prospect of success for any attempt by Australia to reopen its own 1973 case - and no other credible avenue available for commencing a new action.
There is however a difference in the way the two 1973 applications were framed which may give the New Zealand case a better chance of success: Australia's 1973 case was entirely concerned with atmospheric testing, whereas New Zealand's was more broadly drafted, relating to contamination from nuclear testing generally.
There still remain formidable procedural and substantive hurdles for any such action to jump, but we are happy to support the New Zealand initiative in any way we usefully can.
As a Prime Ministerial spokesman has already said today, in welcoming the New Zealand initiative, our particular focus in the International Court will continue to be on mounting oral argument on the tests issue in the forthcoming hearings on the Advisory Opinions sought by the World Health organisation and UN General Assembly on the legality of use of nuclear weapons.