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Memento : Issue 16
january 2001 memento 5 On the defence front, the government agreed not to replace the battalion due to return from South Vietnam in November. It continued to wrestle with two issues thrown up by the Vietnam conflict. First, it tried -- and failed -- to find a workable civilian alternative to National Service, thereby avoiding sending draft resisters to jail. Second, it sought to formulate legislation to deal with violent demonstrations through the Demonstrations Bill. Cabinet liked neither the Bill's title nor its timing, and further consideration was postponed until early 1971. Cabinet decided to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty but, fearing that the treaty might be ineffective in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and too effective in restricting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, agreed to withhold ratification. At home, there were public concerns about the secrecy surrounding the planned nuclear power station at Jervis Bay, while the head of the Atomic Energy Commission said that the power station could produce enough plutonium to build nuclear bombs and that Australia should keep its options open. The government considered creating a tourist facility and a national park alongside the power station to allay public fears about environmental damage. U PS AND DOWNS It was the year when seat belts became compulsory in Victoria, the new international terminal at Sydney and the Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne opened, the first woodchips left Eden for Japan, Margaret Court became only the second woman to win all four tennis majors in the same year, and 35 workers died when a section of the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne collapsed. NAA: A8763, KN26326 A royal barbecue in honour of Her Majesty's visit to Australia. NAA: A1200, L91080 Prime Minister Gorton hosted a visit by the Pope. Henry Bolte, Premier of Victoria, named Jim Cairns and Bob Hawke as two causes of the permissive society and said he was as opposed to legalising homosexuality as he was to introducing poker machines. Robert Askin declared that 'of course' a few police 'don't do the right thing'. Prince Charles likened the water off Elwood Beach in Melbourne to 'diluted sewage', prompting a local Mayor to say he needed 'a good thump under the ear '. Billy Snedden described the organisers of the moratorium as 'political bikies pack-raping democracy'. A NSW State Liberal MP declared that the film Easy Rider served the cause of Communist subversion. And the female Deputy Secretary of the University of Sydney Appointments Board, in the same year Germaine Greer wrote The Female Eunuch, said that women graduates in economics 'make very good assistants to male economists'. To enjoy the full flavour of Ian Hancock's briefing about the 1970 Cabinet papers, look under Cabinet in The Collection section of our website at www.naa.gov.au. S PEAKING OUT A T HOME AND ABROAD