/ 24 June 2024

The nuclear showdown comes to Canberra


The Squiz 

With sittings resuming for both houses of the federal parliament today, the Coalition’s nuclear power plans are set to be the major talking point… The debate was full steam ahead over the weekend with questions over the cost dominating. Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said estimates have given the policy a $387 billion price tag, but renewable energy body the Smart Energy Council reckons it could cost anywhere from $116-$600 billion for about 3.7% of the national energy supply by 2050. 

That sounds a lot for not much… 

Well, the Coalition’s Energy spokesman Ted O’Brien doesn’t agree with that assessment of the scheme. Yesterday, he said each of the 7 sites named last week could host multiple reactors, which would increase the output. “One of the lessons we learned from overseas, in order to get prices down, you need multi-unit sites,” O’Brien said. But Plibersek pointed out that countries like Germany are closing nuclear power plants over cost and safety concerns. “On every analysis internationally, renewables are cheaper” she said. And while simmering over the weekend, the debate turned personal… On Saturday, Coalition leader Peter Dutton said Labor ministers posting memes/cartoons about the plan shows PM Anthony Albanese is “a child in a man’s body”. So get ready for some robust words as our pollies return to Canberra today… 

What else will they be talking about? 

Umm, it’s more about what’s missing from it… Back in March, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said they were seeking extra powers to make it easier to deport non-citizens. They said the legislation was urgently needed after the government was ordered to release hundreds of immigration detainees – many of whom were criminals. That legislation was widely criticised at the time for being “incredibly undemocratic” and “far-reaching”, and last month, Labor delayed debate in the Senate – until this week. Now, reports say it’s quietly stepping away from them altogether, along with its proposal for new religious discrimination laws – both proposals the Coalition has been pushing for action on. Sometimes it’s what’s not being said that’s the real talking point. So let that bit of wisdom sink in for your Monday… 

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