Friday, December 29, 2006


The Australian prime minister, John Howard, has announced that he would be quite happy to live right next door to a nuclear power plant.

"I wouldn't have any objection," he told reporters today when asked if he would mind a nuclear power plant being located in his neighbourhood. "No objections....None whatsoever."

When journalists snickered and shook their heads in disbelief, Howard pursed his lips and affected his trademarked hurt look.

"I'm serious," he said, and then paused. "...quite serious."

Howard didn't reveal whether or not he had consulted his neighbours about the installation of Australia's first nuclear power plant in their street, just to prove his point that nuclear energy is safe.

But then, he's the prime minister, and he doesn't allow the objections of any Australians to change his mind, or views, regardless of whether the issue is Australia's involvement in the 'War On Iraq' or the establishment of some two dozen nuclear power plants up and down the east coast of Australia.

Howard wants Australia to become the biggest exporter of uranium in the world, and he's using the debate over Australia's energy future to ram through a change in the public mind, from anti-uranium mining and energy, to pro, on both issues.

He's got a hell of a fight ahead of him.

Most Australians believe that alternative energy sources are the key to Australia's "energy security" (to use a Howard pitch).

Poll after poll reveals that Australians would rather see the mass roll-out of solar power and wind farms, and more focus on energy efficiency, than putting massive potential terrorist targets in dozens of Australian towns and cities.

Howard seems quite keen to have Our Nuclear Future become a key election issue.

Of course he is.

Even if a site was chosen tomorrow, Australia wouldn't have its first nuclear energy power station until 2020, at the earliest.

The prime minister wants to cram the 2007 election issue grinder with controversies of his own choosing, rather than issues that actually concern Australians.

Like why average families will be paying almost half their income to meet their mortgages, and why Australia is still involved in the Iraq War, and why an Australian citizen named David Hicks can be detained by the United States for five years, tortured, psychologically destroyed and still not be put on trial as the most basic tenets of western democracy demands, and why young Australians can't afford to go to university. Issues like those.

Howard is already claiming that the opposition Labor Party is going to run a "fear campaign" surrounding nuclear energy.

But the fear of a nuclear power station down the road is already well entrenched. Australians are not necessarily fearful of Three Mile Island-like meltdowns, but they are fearful that the value of their homes will suffer a meltdown once it becomes public knowledge exactly where these plants are going to be built.

If they are ever built at all, that is. And Howard has made no promise yet that nuclear energy will be a part of Australia's future. He just wants to fuel the debate.

Of course he does. Howard's political mastery has long been controlling the issues in the arena of public debate, and in the media. He'd rather be pilloried for pursuing nuclear energy than face involved public debates about why and how Australia became involved in the Iraq War.

Create the issues, fuel the debates, control the national agenda.

And turn Australia into a massive uranium mine and nuclear waste dump along the way.

Howard Wants Nuclear Power In His Own Backyard

Good Luck : Prime Minister Tries To Energise Nuclear Energy As An Election Issue

Lift Bans On Uranium Mining, Demands Howard

Tell Australians Where Nuclear Plants Will Be Built, And Where The Waste Will Be Buried

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