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The Fraser Government's “Uranium Decision” and the Foundations of Australian Non-Proliferation Policy: A Reappraisal


  • The author would like to acknowledge that research for this article was conducted under an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, LP0883246 – Australia's Nuclear Choices.


The Fraser era represents a defining moment in Australia's approach to the issues of uranium exports and non-proliferation policy. In contrast to some well-established positions in the literature, this essay argues that the Fraser government's August 1977 decision to approve the export of uranium was framed not only by domestic political considerations stemming from the Ranger Environmental Inquiry but also by important international factors. In particular, I argue that the non-proliferation initiatives of the Carter administration presented the Fraser government with an opportunity to portray the export of Australian uranium as means to strengthen the non-proliferation regime and enhance Australia's influence.