Doubts about impartiality of South Australia’s Nuclear Citizens’ Jury

Citizens' Jury scrutiny

I have not been watching today’s  Citizens’ Jury Two Livestreaming and Video.  However, these a-cat-CANsessions are available for viewing. I saw at the agenda – See the agenda here – that the gathering was to be opened by Premier Jay Weatherill, and Kevin Scarce, former chief of the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission.

Unlike may other critics of the nuclear industry, I have some faith in the process. I did think that DemocracyCo ran the first Citizens’ Jury meetings well, and the jury members asked intelligent questions.  The problems were:

  1. The whole premise was not really a jury situation in any sense. The jury were told that they were not to make a decision (the essential brief of any real jury). They were told to produce a ‘Summary of the Nuclear Fuel cycle Royal Commission’s Report.
  2. The witnesses were not always well informed, and some were both ignorant and biased. They were chosen at an early stage by the jury members, who clearly did not then have access to  impartial and well informed experts.
  3.  Members of the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission were far too prominently present and vocal. Greg War and Chad Jacobi made sure to dazzle all with their pro nuclear knowledge, whenever it looked as if criticism of the nuclear industry was coming up.

This new Citizens’ Jury has been given a loaded question to consider:

“Under what circumstances, if any, could South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries?”

So – much as I admire DemocracyCo’s the group management efforts, and real attempts at fairness, I am not optimistic about the outcome of this Citizens’ Jury 2.  I think it will boil down to another delaying tactic by the Weatherill government, to keep the State guessing – while behind the scenes, the nuclear lobby gets on with its preparations for nuclear waste importing to south Australia.

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