Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Take a look at Hansard on nuke plebiscite

As I suspected, Hansard disproves the propaganda being put out by the ALP regarding the Greens vote against the plebiscite on nuclear power in Victoria (see original post). In support of the Bill, the Greens moved two amendments to provide a clearer trigger for when the plebiscite would be called, and to ensure a say for Parliament in the framing of the plebiscite question. Those amendments were rejected by the ALP in the Upper House, and the Greens voted the Bill down.

Their rejection of the Bill should be seen in the context that nuclear activities are already prohibited by Victorian legislation, and the plebiscite would not have been binding on the State or the Commonwealth in any case – that is to say, it would have had little impact beyond taking the pulse of public opinion on the issue. That being the case, the Greens were committed to an appropriate process to deliver a question framed by Parliament and not the State Resources Minister of the day – a commitment not matched by the ALP.

The Hansard coverage is also notable for highlighting the hypocrisy of the State Labor Government in criticising moves to amend the Bill given their own pro-uranium Fedral position. It makes interesting reading, but few people have the time to wade through the pages of Hansard, and so some of the ALP's messages unfortunately stick.

So where does that leave the ALP's Gotcha campaign? The website's masthead leaves little doubt that it is claiming complicity between the Liberals and the Greens in a pro-nuclear position – it includes an image of a nuclear smoke-stack with the Greens and Liberals logo. Yet anyone who reads Greg Barber's Upper House speeches in Hansard can be left in no doubt of the Greens' oposition to nuclear power in Australia, or anywhere for that matter.

The problem is that the ALP needs to be held to account within the timeframe in which voters make their electoral decisions. That didn't happen in the State election with regard to the Liberals misinformation campaign in Northcote and elsewhere, and the question is whether it will happen in time for the Federal election. Yes, I want Howard out and Rudd in, but Labor has to be better, not just relatively better than the Liberals. And if Rudd's power is checked by Greens and principled independents, that's fine by me.

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