While the Liberal-National Coalition
and Labor fiddle around trying to see if there is a policy on nuclear power and
uranium that might be a vote winner for them, the Australian Greens are getting
straight to the point. For them there are no ifs, buts and maybes.
The button they have produced has a
clear and simple message. No Weapons. No Uranium and No
We will see plenty of it from now
till the next election. And we will see plenty of votes for the Greens when that
election finally comes.
There are two Green Senators up for
re-election – Bob Brown in Tasmania and Kerry
Nettle in New South Wales. Brown is
as close to a certainty as a minor party candidate can get. Nettle, with the aid
of strong support for her party’s principled position on nuclear power, must be
a short priced favourite as well.
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The Greens have excellent chances in
the other states as well. Their principal rivals, the Democrats, are in disarray.
Only Natasha Stott Despoja in South Australia looks
likely to outpoll the number one Green candidate.
The election of five Green Senators
to go with the two not up for re-election in 2011 is quite
The issues around uranium mining and
nuclear power give the Greens a second emotive issue to attract support. Until
now, while they have a raft of policies on many issues, protection of forests
has been the thing that attracts votes to the Greens. Being the only political
party (apart from the Democrats, but they won’t count unless there’s some
amazing change) unequivocally opposed to all things nuclear will be attractive
to a significant minority of Australians.
Labor will continue to look like a
party of hypocrites. It will support the mining and export of uranium from three
or more mines but oppose nuclear power being generated here.
The Liberals seem to be edging
towards becoming advocates of Australia fully
entering the nuclear business – mining, enrichment and use. If that is where
they end up they will at least be consistent but they risk losing more support
from such a position than they can hope to gain.
The way this debate is going the
next election might even result in the Liberal and National parties losing
control of the Senate. That’s still an outside chance but a growing