PREMIER Jay Weatherill faces a tense showdown over his Government’s nuclear strategy at a state Labor meeting this weekend.
Three motions have been listed for a vote that essentially call on the Government to abandon the proposed nuclear waste dump while others call for further consultation or a referendum. A joint motion from the Maritime and Rail, Tram and Bus unions demands the State Government “immediately cease and desist any further action or consideration” of any type of nuclear dump.
Among its concerns are a weak economic case, high upfront cost, political damage to Labor, safety risks to workers and the public, and ignoring the rights of Aboriginal people.
The moves make good on threats of a heated fight from powerful union figures who have publicly backed anti-dump campaigners. The Advertiser revealed last month that some within Labor were talking about a repeat of the union campaign against Mike Rann, which boiled over in 2010 when he needed a police escort through protesters at Labor’s state convention.
Anti-dump protesters are expected at the West Adelaide Football Club, which is the venue for Saturday’s meeting. Mr Weatherill declined to comment on the meeting.
The Government is pinning its hopes on an alternative motion that would buy time on a vote to overturn the longstanding party policy to oppose nuclear reactors and imported waste storage.
It instead calls for a Special State ALP Convention on the matter to be held at the conclusion of community consultation but before a decision was made on whether to develop a dump.
Labor MP Tom Kenyon said he hoped the convention would show there was support within the party to continue investigating the $445 billion project, which he called a “tremendous opportunity” for SA.
Mr Kenyon, also a member of a parliamentary committee considering the project, said making it easier for other countries to have nuclear power could potentially do more to address climate change than efforts toward renewables.
He said while the party always “finds something to be excited about” at conventions this issue was unique.
“This is unusual because since the ‘70s, the Labor Party has had a very strong anti-nuclear position. It’s almost an article of faith,” Mr Kenyon said.
“At some point the party will have to grapple with this deeply and consider its position at the state and federal level.”
Health Services Union state secretary Jorge Navas, who also put forward a motion to reaffirm the existing policy of opposition to a dump said safety risks remained a significant concern.
He likened pursuit of the nuclear industry to asbestos.
“It was profitable but the consequences are devastating,” he said.
This entry was posted on October 28, 2016 at 2:31 am and is filed under politics, South Australia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.