Matters of Public Importance – Nuclear Energy, Monday December 4th, 2023

Senator BABET (Victoria—United Australia Party Whip) (17:30): I rise here today in support of Senator Cadell’s MPI. I agree that we must adopt a technology-neutral approach to energy generation. That’s obvious. But my motivation is certainly not driven by COP28 or our nation’s commitment to net zero ideology. I’m motivated by ensuring the Australian people have access to the cheapest and most reliable forms of energy generation in the world. We are, after all, an energy resource superpower. It is shameful that we are deliberately blowing out our stable baseload power generators. Minister Bowen knows that he has about as much chance of reaching net zero as I have of realising my $275 power bill saving—and that’s Buckleys and none!

Minister Bowen’s stubborn opposition to nuclear power puts him at odds with all our key allies. USA, Canada, France, Japan and the UK are all pursuing nuclear power as the answer to reaching net zero whilst also keeping the lights on, but not Minister Bowen. He knows better than the rest of the world, you see. Never mind that he’s proving technology, never mind that he can power our nation and plug straight into our existing electricity grid and never mind that South Australia is literally sitting on top of one of the largest uranium deposits in the world. Despite all of these things, Minister Bowen refuses to have a conversation around nuclear power for Australia. That is how we know the minister’s opposition is ideological and not based on any rational argument.

Australia cannot afford an ideologically driven energy policy. We just don’t have the luxury. Australia looked silly at COP28 this week. Imagine how we’ll look when all the lights go out—even worse.