Barnaby Joyce demands Australia to invest in nuclear energy NOW – as Anthony Albanese commits to net zero emissions by 2050
- Barnaby Joyce has called for Australia to introduce nuclear power to the grid
- He joins other opposition politicians in calling for nuclear energy in Australia
- Australia is under a Howard-era moratorium on the use of nuclear power
- The current and previous Prime Ministers have been reluctant to lift the ban
Barnaby Joyce expressed his fear Australia could become a ‘dumb country’ as he called on the government to introduce nuclear reactors to Australia’s power grid, despite a long-standing ban on the energy source.
The spotlight has been on the future of Australia’s energy grid with Labor’s bill to enshrine emissions reductions targets for 2030 through 2050, passing through the lower house on Thursday.
‘If you want to get to zero emissions, then listen to what they’re doing in the UK where they’re building new nuclear reactors, listen to what they’re doing in France, listen to what they’re doing in Asia,’ said Mr Joyce.
‘Even Japan they talk about Fukushima they’re building more nuclear reactors and China building massive amounts of nuclear reactors, America is building more.
Barnaby Joyce (pictured in parliament on Monday) has called for Australia to turn to nuclear energy to address gaps in Australian electricity supply
‘What, we’re the wisest one on the planet are we?
‘Or are we once more going to leave ourselves in the previous century as the whole world moves on with the technology, with the jobs, with all that is before them in a new opening industry of small modular nuclear energy reactors.’
‘Australia wants to be the clever country and part of it, not the dumb country for which the only thing that we do exports the rocks to them,’ he said.
‘The world has changed and Australia’s got to move on, it’s so ridiculous. For so long we talked about exporting our iron ore and our coal and why didn’t we have a major steel industry or car industry? I don’t know but we’re about to repeat this.’
Labor’s Industry Minister Ed Husic snubbed Mr Joyce’s calls, suggesting his plans were vague and questioned why the nuclear push was coming only after the party spent years in power.
‘Now that they are no care, no responsibility in opposition, they want to be able to lean towards one of the most expensive forms of power that will take too long to come online,’ Mr Husic told ABC Radio National.
Mr Joyce said people would want to live near nuclear reactors (pictured) if they were offered free energy
Mr Joyce was asked how he would address concerns regarding nuclear waste disposal.
He said ‘proper studies’ would be conducted to ensure toxic materials were thrown away properly.
Mr Joyce also claimed residents of towns would prefer to live near nuclear reactors than wind and solar farm setups.
He said wind turbines were plaguing Nationals’ seats and ‘dividing communities’.
Mr Joyce also offered that residents would welcome nuclear reactors into their communities if those who could see them were offered free power.
Independent MP Zali Steggall, who was involved in an inquiry into whether the moratorium on nuclear power should be lifted, said they had found there was ‘no case for it’.
The independent claimed the energy source was ‘too expensive’.
‘I think the Coalition at the moment are making themselves really irrelevant,’ she said during an ABC TV appearance.
The government are still acting under the moratorium on nuclear energy, introduced in 1999, which both Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese have expressed a reluctance to lift.
Peter Dutton’s Liberals are considering pushing to end Australia’s ban on nuclear power ahead of the next election.
Anthony Albanese’s new laws forcing Australia to cut carbon emissions by 43 per cent pass through the lower house – amid calls for coal, oil and gas to be phased out COMPLETELY
Anthony Albanese’s new laws forcing Australia to cut carbon emissions by 43 per cent have passed the lower house with support from the Greens and teal independents.
The laws set a carbon emissions cut target of 43 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
Coalition members opposed the bill except for Liberal MP Bridget Archer who crossed the floor to see it pass by 89 votes to 55.
The bill is being assessed by a Senate inquiry which is due to report on August 31, after which it will be debated and is expected to pass with support of the Greens and Independent David Pocock.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra
Greens leader Adam Bandt is seen leaving Kensington Primary school with his partner after voting on Federal Election day
Mr Albanese celebrated the passing of the bill, telling reporters: ‘Today is a good day for business and a good day for workers and a good day for our environment.
‘I am very pleased that the climate legislation has passed the House of Representatives. This is a fulfilment of a core promise that we met at the election of 43 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.’
Greens leader Adam Bandt – whose party holds the balance of power in the senate – made a deal with Mr Albanese to support the bill but vowed to push for a complete ban on new coal and gas projects.
He wants to insert a climate barrier in environmental regulations to make new mines harder to approve, saying: ‘The fight begins now to get Labor to stop opening coal and gas mines.’
The Greens wanted faster action on climate change, calling for a 2030 emissions reduction target of 75 per cent during the election campaign.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton opposed the 43 per cent emissions reduction target
The 2030 commitment is a step up from the former coalition government’s unlegislated 26 to 28 per cent target. The Coalition supports the net zero 2050 target.
Independent MP Zali Steggall said the ‘next step’ of Australia’s response to climate change had to be phasing out oil, coal, and gas.
She and other independents told reporters in Canberra they wanted to see greater cooperation with the government, but praised the approach Labor had taken.
‘We’re still seeing in question time old-style politics play out,’ Ms Steggall said.
‘I don’t think it impresses many of us and it certainly doesn’t impress the Australian public.’
Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen declared the passage of the bill ‘a good day for Australia’ and thanked the crossbenchers for working collaboratively with the government.
‘Renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy, renewable energy is the key to reducing emissions and seizing the jobs opportunity that is the climate emergency,’ he told parliament on Thursday.
Following consultations with the Greens, the government agreed to ensure the emissions target could only go up in future, with a mechanism in place to increase its ambition.
There will also be greater transparency and strengthened requirements on the Climate Change Authority, the body charged with advising on climate targets and policies.
Multiple amendments proposed by independent MPs were supported by the government, including for regional Australia to be explicitly considered in new laws.
The coalition did not support the amendment moved by independent MP Helen Haines to ensure the authority considers economic, employment and social benefits for rural and regional Australia.
The government also agreed to ensure the bill clearly states its intention is to drive climate action and is linked to science.
But the government and opposition voted against amendments to lift the emissions reduction target to 75 per cent by 2030 and net zero by 2035 proposed by the Greens and independent MP Andrew Wilkie.
Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi said her party had helped improve the bill
‘We went into the process in good faith, always with the intention of improving this bill, which was really weak,’ she told ABC radio.
‘But let’s be clear – coal and gas will blow this target pretty quickly. And that fight will continue.’
ACT independent senator David Pocock said the 43 per cent target enshrined in the legislation was not high enough, but having certainty was important.
Senator Pocock said he would not be ‘rubber stamping’ the bill until it was properly assessed.
‘My job is to work with the crossbench, work with the government, to ensure that whatever we do legislate come September does have integrity,’ he said.
Independent Dai Le (pictured on Wednesday) has refused to support Labor’s climate change bill over fears it will increase the cost of living
Independent Dai Le has refused to support Labor’s climate change bill over fears it will increase the cost of living.
The new MP for Fowler, who unexpectedly beat Kristina Keneally to win the formerly safe Labor seat in western Sydney , said the bill lacks detail on how it will impact poor Aussies.
Senior Liberals have branded it pointless virtue signalling and Ms Le – the first refugee to become an MP – has also refused to support it, fearing it could make cost of living pressures worse by increasing power bills.
‘I have decided to abstain from voting on the Climate Change Bill until there are more details on how its implementation will affect low-income families in Fowler,’ she said on Wednesday.
‘I do not consider the current Climate Change Bill to be an emergency. Right now, Australian families have a real emergency, and we need to focus on low-income families who are struggling with high food, fuel and energy prices,’ she said.
Labor has insisted that transitioning to renewable energy will reduce power prices over time – but has already scrapped its election pledge to bring bills down by $275 a year by 2025 amid soaring energy costs this winter.
Ms Le, who is pushing for the 22 cents-a-litre fuel tax cut to be extended beyond September 28, said her priority is to reduce the cost of living for hard-up Aussies as inflation hit 6.1 per cent in the June quarter, the highest level since 2001.