Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Bishop and Garrett dance over nuclear

Julie Bishop has posted a blog entry supporting nuclear power and Peter Garrett [apparently, a skilled and trusted nuclear policy back-flip identifier - Link 1 Link 2 Link 3] has come out with the dreaded back-flip call again [I saw his statement on the AAP - sorry no publicly accessible link, but just give it some time]. The context of the back-flip accusation comes from Nelson's February comments rejecting nuclear power following the Labor party victory late last year vs. Bishop's blog post linked above.

So the Coalition supported nuclear, then rejected it and now may support it again? Do two back-flips make a right? The Nationals came on board some time ago with a pro-nuclear position vote in June. But there's no need to go that far afield, Australian nuclear power deployment has received encouraging support from within the Labor Party, from Paul Howes of the AWU in February 2008 [repeated more recently] and high profile Labor leaders [Carr, Hawke]. Flip through the blog to see others. I did not list all that I could have.

But at least those linked above and cited elsewhere in this blog are trying to move the discussion toward some specific technology or technologies.

I would like to think the Coalition is sincerely promoting nuclear power again, but the cynic in me sees this as a means to force Kevin Rudd and Labor's hand; to push for more detail on the costs and other impacts of a nuclear-free ETS and possibly paint a picture [whether deserved or not] that what is really going on is a Great Green stall [constructed from seemingly endless reports, studies, papers and soon to come economic models - aka paralysis by analysis] that, when combined, will do little if anything tangible to cut emissions, but keep Labor comfortably in power through the next election. [I certainly hope Rudd does not point to a stack of reports in 2010 and say, "Look what we have done." It will be too easy to point to emissions trends and ask, "But what have we accomplished?"]

That cynical argument however can not be made for the likes of Bob Hawke, Bob Carr or Paul Howes among others. I believe they and others like them represent a genuine and growing nuclear push within Australia today - and it's coming from within Labor. They are aware of the links between nuclear power, emission reduction targets and Australian economic health [industry and jobs]; and they have the courage to state their case. I expect this is giving Kevin Rudd plenty more to think about than the ongoing gymnastics within the Coalition. There are rumours that numerous Labor MPs feel like Carr and Hawke. Rudd may not be able to hold his ranks if many more speak out positively about nuclear [or conversely acknowledge the potential strife associated with a nuclear-free ETS].

Maybe we are getting close to a bi-partisan call [rogue MPs from all camps and other interested stakeholders] for a 'serious' discussion of nuclear power?

Na, now I'm dreamin'.

No comments:

Post a Comment