Transcript of doorstop interview – Retravision Marrickville
Friday, 24 August 2007
E & OE – PROOF ONLY
Subject: Labor’s Anti Nuclear Ad launch
ALBANESE: Today Federal Labor is launching our TV advertising, anti nuclear campaign. This is a national campaign, the first stage of which will be in Queensland. Labor will be advertising the fact that if John Howard is re elected there’ll be 25 nuclear power stations and they’ll be right up and down the Queensland coast, including Townsville, Gladstone, Cairns, Bribie Island and also Bundaberg.
The Howard Government is absolutely committed to imposing 25 nuclear reactors on Australians. They know that this is a deeply unpopular proposal, so this week have pretended that they’re going to actually consult Australians on where these nuclear reactors will go. We know however, that John Howard will impose these 25 nuclear reactors because he’s told us so. In Parliament just last week the Prime Minister said that where these nuclear reactors go will be a matter essentially for market forces, that the Government would not play a role. In April and again in May the Prime Minister committed the Howard Government to introducing special legislation to override the current Commonwealth ban on nuclear reactors and to override the State bans which exist on nuclear reactors.
John Howard is determined to pursue his nuclear fantasy rather than pursue clean coal technology and renewables such as solar and wind. Labor will be letting each and every community know of the prospect of what a nuclear reactor in their backyard means for them. That’s what this advertising campaign is about and that’s why we’ll be launching it on Queensland regional and Brisbane TV tonight. It will be followed up by further advertisements right around the nation.
JOURNALIST: You just said you’d be letting people know what it would mean to have a nuclear reactor in their backyard, what will it mean?
ALBANESE: What it will mean firstly is the extremely damaging environmental impact of building these nuclear reactors. Australians don’t want them in their backyard because they know they’re not only high cost, they’re high risk. When you build a nuclear reactor it also means highly toxic nuclear waste dumps. They come hand in hand with the nuclear reactors. John Howard refuses to say where his 25 nuclear reactors will go and where his highly toxic nuclear waste dumps will go.
The Prime Minister must come clean before the election, rather than what he is trying to do which is to stand up in Parliament and commit the Government to these 25 nuclear reactors and try to tip toe through to election day without saying where they’ll go.
JOURNALIST: Do you think this is one of the key election issues that could make or break the Government?
ALBANESE: Australians are very concerned that the Howard Government, having done nothing about climate change and the water crisis for 11 years, has come up with this ideological commitment to his nuclear fantasy which he is determined to pursue, regardless of what Australians in suburbs and towns think of these proposals.
JOURNALIST: When the Deputy Prime Minister announced the plebiscites and the following day the PM said that there would be plebiscites for local communities, was this Vaile spilling the beans or was this always on the cards or policy on the run?
ALBANESE: Well they said the exact opposite of course last week, but what they won’t say is where the plebiscites will be, because they’re trying to avoid at all cost, the fact that you can’t support 25 nuclear reactors for the nation without them being located somewhere. It’s as if John Howard would have us believe he’s committed to his nuclear fantasy, but it’s a virtual nuclear fantasy, it’s one where we’ll have nuclear energy in Australia which he says must be part of the solution, but without reactors anywhere and without waste dumps anywhere. It’s simply not credible.
JOURNALIST: Are you saying you there will only be plebiscites in some areas not others?
ALBANESE: I’m saying that if John Howard is re elected I don’t believe there will be plebiscites. John Howard has maintained his absolute commitment to imposing these 25 nuclear reactors. It’s quite clear from the fact that at least 28 federal Coalition MPs have ruled out a reactor in their electorate that they know that when it comes to the crunch they know it is a deeply unpopular proposal.
What we know about John Howard is whether it’s his Workchoices legislation, whether it’s his commitment to the GST or in this case, his commitment to nuclear power. John Howard and the Coalition are determined to impose their solutions on the Australian community. It will be pursued and it will be supported by the Howard Government. We know this because they’ve told us so.
JOURNALIST: Do you think it’s a fair analysis to describe John Howard as a Montgomery Burns, the owner of Springfield’s nuclear power plant?
ALBANESE: Well he certainly is in many ways, certainly in his meanness of spirit resembling Montgomery Burns. I think it’s pretty clear that Australians don’t want Bribie Island or anywhere else to resemble Springfield. That’s why they’re opposed to nuclear energy and that’s why the Howard Government is trying to walk both sides of the street – saying on the one hand that they’re going to impose these 25 nuclear reactors, but on the other hand avoid saying where they will go.