Labor MPs want nuclear debate on the agenda

“It is more important for the country’s future than gay marriage and it affects a lot more people,” he said.

FEDERAL Labor MPs are calling for Australia to embrace nuclear power, leaving Julia Gillard facing another damaging split in her Government.

Ms Gillard is under pressure to put the divisive issue on next year’s ALP national conference agenda – with MPs claiming voters care more about power bills than gay marriage.

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson last night said those advocating nuclear power had as much right to have the issue debated at the showcase event as those backing changes to gay marriage laws.

Defying Labor’s official ban on nuclear power, a number of MPs have gone public in their support for the low-carbon energy source.

“My view is that all forms of energy supply should be under active consideration,” former frontbencher Mark Bishop said.

Senator Bishop said the “Government should give more active consideration to putting nuclear into the equation of all forms of energy supply, particularly those that are subsidised”.

NSW Senator Steve Hutchins also wants nuclear power debated after Ms Gillard this week argued that a price on carbon would be a high priority for her Government.

“In my opinion it should be part of the [energy] debate if we want to have a clean future,” he said.

2 thoughts on “Labor MPs want nuclear debate on the agenda

  1. I cannot claim to know much about Australian party politics, however what is showing up in the general press that I have access to, is a clear illustration, (at least to me) of why top-down implementation of a positive nuclear energy policy in any democracy is bound to fail. Even when public opinion polls are positive, as is claimed in this case, the lack of an organized lobby with a broad backing from the electorate means that the idea will have little traction in the halls of power. Just to underline this, I read that the PM, Julia Gillard and deputy PM Wayne Swan have made it clear Labor won’t be changing its opposition to nuclear power for Australia.

    The idea that if only we could sway some key politicians to back nuclear power, it would make a difference is a fantasy that has not served the pronuclear community at all. We need feet on the ground, just as the opposition has, and until this is recognized, we are just going to continue to spin our wheels. Occasional signs of support from individual politicians are as meaningless as most other pronouncements made by them on sticky issues, and should be given the same weight – none at all.

  2. We need feet on the ground, just as the opposition has, and until this is recognized, we are just going to continue to spin our wheels.

    Very well said. I am seeing an excellent illustration of your points here in Hobart. At three key CBD street corners there are pairs of young Greenpeacers collaring anyone they can subdue. Meanwhile you know that the Greenpeace Canberra office is constantly phoning, meeting and lunching the MPs, giving them the latest talking points and asking “how can we help you Mr. Minister”.

    My frustration is figuring out how to create a similarly effective lobby absent a lot of funding. Aside from Bill Gates the big private money all seems to be in the hands of such as the Heinz family — who are mostly Greenpeace backers.

    One germ of an idea to exploit viral Internet activity: if you have time take a look at The Dragonfly Effect – listen to the ETL lecture if possible. But I’ve not been able to translate their viral campaign concepts to apply to nuclear electricity. What I am missing is the emotional heat. The “find a bone marrow match” campaign had a hot emotional center.

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