Australia is on the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency and has served as its Chair on four occasions. As one of the founding signatories, the Statute of the IAEA has been a part of Australian law since it was ratified in 1957. It signed the Additional Protocols in 1998.
From the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons of 1995 to the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons which was founded here, Australia has played a significant role in calling for a nuclear weapons free world… despite our being the third largest miner of Uranium in the world and hosting the nuclear war fighting base of Pine Gap.
All safeguard agreements in place between the IAEA and non-nuclear states are based on IAEA Circular 153. There is a legal loophole in this Circular that exempts Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) used for naval nuclear propulsion from reporting protocols. Australia acquiring HEU fuelled submarines will be the first time that this legal loophole has been exploited and analysts are concerned that this may open the door to other nations; thus fuelling the proliferation of HEU.
HEU sitting outside of the safeguards could well lead to states using nuclear propulsion to disguise a nuclear weapons program.