Home Advocate Peter Dutton says he’s ‘not afraid’ of nuclear debate after defender named shadow energy minister | Energy

Peter Dutton says he’s ‘not afraid’ of nuclear debate after defender named shadow energy minister | Energy


Peter Dutton has confirmed that his top pick for the opposition climate and energy portfolio signals he is ready for a debate on nuclear power in Australia.

In Sunday’s reshuffle, Liberal MP and nuclear power advocate Ted O’Brien was named to the shadow cabinet in the crucial portfolio.

On Monday, Dutton told ABC Radio National he was “not afraid to have a nuclear discussion,” confirming that he had taken O’Brien’s support for the form of power into account when deciding to fight Labor on electricity prices and cutting emissions.

In December 2019, O’Brien chaired a parliamentary committee that recommended partial lifting of the moratorium on nuclear power to allow for “new and emerging nuclear technologies”.

The report won applause from some other liberals in the party hall and from nationals in the Senate, although O’Brien reportedly said the ban should not be lifted without bipartisan support.

Dutton said O’Brien was a “highly regarded person”, praising his work on the latest generation of nuclear power – “the small modular nuclear generation that can power up to 100,000 homes”.

“If we want to have a legitimate reduction in emissions, if we want to reduce the reduction of emissions, this is exactly the path that President Macron has taken in France, this is what Prime Minister Johnson is talking about in the Kingdom. United,” he told Radio National.

“I don’t think we should be afraid to talk about any technology that will have the ability to reduce emissions and electricity prices. This is something we can consider over time. I don’t think we should exclude things just because it’s not fashionable to talk about them.

Labor has long called on the Coalition to push aside the ‘fancy’ of nuclear power and has threatened to campaign against it in communities where plants have been proposed, such as Townsville.

A nuclear reactor should take at least 15 years to build. Although small “modular” reactors show promise, science agency CSIRO has suggested they won’t be affordable until 2050.

Ted O'Brien has been named Opposition Critic for <a class=Climate Change and Energy.” src=”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/3dff8d21f431badcb1d85521a2e3a6450891d1f7/0_203_3687_2212/master/3687.jpg?width=445&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=ef9c46d5140a11ad6bc85bfa547d7cb2″ height=”2212″ width=”3687″ loading=”lazy” class=”dcr-1989ovb”/>
Ted O’Brien has been named Opposition Critic for Climate Change and Energy. Photography: Albert Perez/Getty Images

The Australian Nuclear Association said nuclear power would only be cost-competitive with gas and coal generation if Australia adopted a price on carbon emissions, anathema to the Coalition since its repeal of the Labour’s provisional carbon price.

The conservative Institute of Public Affairs think tank published a poll, taken in April, finding that most Australians (53%) agreed with the proposition that “Australia should build nuclear power stations to provide energy”. electricity and reduce carbon emissions”. About a quarter (23%) disagreed and 24% neither agreed nor disagreed.

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On Monday, Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes, the shadow deputy minister for climate change and energy, said she was “not personally supportive” of extending carbon reduction targets.

Hughes told ABC News Breakfast that Australia “could shut down everything tomorrow and all go live in the trees” and the impact on total global emissions would be negligible. She suggested that Australia consider small modular nuclear power.

The coalition reshuffle also saw Julian Leeser, an advocate for an indigenous voice in parliament, appointed to the post of shadow attorney general and minister for indigenous affairs.

Dutton said the Coalition was “very open to discussion and to what the government has to say” about the voice. “In principle, do we support anything that will improve the situation of Indigenous Australians? Absolutely.”

But he warned that “there are things that can be done now in these communities that don’t need to wait for a referendum, and I would like to see those actions”.

“Every government I’ve been in, that I’ve witnessed… Liberal or Labour, has had the good intention… to close the gap.

“There have been some successes and we should celebrate those successes, but the fact that we are still talking about sexual assaults against women and children now and the incidences of domestic violence at an all-time high is completely and utterly deplorable. “

Dutton also pointed to increased efforts to recruit women into the Liberal party, but ruled out the use of quotas.

The shadow cabinet now contains 10 women, three in the Nationals and seven in the Liberals, with Sarah Henderson joining as shadow communications minister but Marise Payne stepping back into the role of cabinet secretary.

Dutton said the Liberals were at a “disadvantage” because women in the labor movement could run for office and then work for unions or industry super funds if they lost.

“Corporations won’t do this for the Liberal Party. A small businesswoman juggling an overdraft and trying to get her business started can’t afford to take six weeks off for a campaign because her business is going bankrupt.

“So we have to come up with a different model, and that in my mind is the biggest inhibitor.”