Another day in Canberra.
Coalition rules out nuclear waste dump for the mainland
PM - Thursday, 30 September , 2004 18:38:00SOURCE: http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2004/s1210748.htm
Reporter: Anne Barker
IAN CAMPBELL: The only options that we're pursuing are on offshore islands. I think the reality of this is that there's no one on the mainland who particularly wants a nuclear waste dump in their backyard, and that is why we're pursuing the practical option of going to an offshore island, so the Northern Territorians can take that as an absolute categorical assurance.
IAN CAMPBELL: It's going to be an Australian offshore island. I'm not going to get into the business of ruling out every one of the thousand Australian islands, we're going to get the very best scientific advice which makes it a safe, secure environment on an offshore island for the future of Australia.
When a senior Government Minister promises that the only options being investigated are on offshore islands, and offers it as a categorical assurance (his words, not mine) to voters, you would think that the waste dump would end up being built on as offshore island, right? Fast forward to Friday, the 15th of July:
NT chosen as site of new waste dump
The World Today - Friday, 15 July , 2005 12:10:00SOURCE: http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2005/s1415026.htm
Reporter: Samantha Hawley
After months of speculation, the Federal Government has this morning announced that the nation's new nuclear waste dump will be located in the Northern Territory.
BRENDAN NELSON: The Keating Labor Government in the early 90s did look at a range of sites and chose the Woomera site. We spent specifically eight years building up that site. The parochialism and the efforts undertaken by the South Australian Government were such that in the end we had to abandon that site last year.
Whether these sites were considered in the early process, I'm not able to tell you. After the decision to move away from Woomera, we did examine very closely an offshore site. We looked specifically at Christmas Island, which we considered to be unsuitable for security, geological, environmental, and other reasons.
We have concurrently been looking at several sites in the Northern Territory, and we have chosen these three.
It's abundantly clear that, as well as the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, this is another massive lie from the Federal Government. It is a lie on two counts - first, the "categorical assurance" that "It's going to be an Australian offshore island". The second lie is the one about "The only options that we're pursuing are on offshore islands", and this is clearly contradicted by Brendan Nelson's announcement that "We have concurrently been looking at several sites in the Northern Territory, and we have chosen these three." And if the only options the Government really was persuing were on offshore island, then Nelson would have no problem saying so now. In other words, at the very moment that Ian Campbell was making those promises, his department was concurrently, actively investigating 3 sites in the Northern Territory. If Campbell, the responcibile minister, didn't know what his own department was doing in concurrently investigating the NT sites, then that in itself is sheer utter incompetance for which he deserves the sack. On the other hand, if (as I suspect) he knowingly lied to the public, then that's even worse, and he must be held accountable.
Meanwhile, John Howard has stated that "This country has enormous supplies of uranium and it would strike a lot of people as an odd contradiction that we would not allow a debate on nuclear power in Australia yet we would be quite happy under appropriate safeguards to export large amounts of uranium." (SOURCE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?c_id=2&ObjectID=10334951) Okay, how's about we start the debate with this: which offshore island will we dump the waste from these powerplants on? And if there is no island chosen for this nuclear waste dump, then we really need to debate exactly how many votes the Government - especially the likes of Campbell - deserve at the next Federal election.
According to a Press Release from the Greens, I'm not the only one angry at these liars:
Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today accused the federal government of cynical political manipulation by promising Northern Territorians during last years election campaign that there would be no nuclear waste dump in the NT but today announcing that there will.
"This is another election promise back flip that underlines the untrustworthiness of this government," Senator Nettle said.
"The Minister for the Environment Senator Ian Campbell told ABC Radio on the 30th of September 2004 that 'the only options that we're pursuing are on offshore islands. I think the reality of this is that there's no one on the mainland who particularly wants a nuclear waste dump in their backyard, and that is why we're pursuing the practical option of going to an offshore island, so the Northern Territorians can take that as 'an absolute categorical assurance' .
"Dr Nelson has made a liar of Senator Campbell.
"Territorians should be very concerned about this dump at a time when the federal government is talking up the development of nuclear power in Australia, building a new nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights and pushing for an expansion of nuclear power worldwide to boost Australian uranium
"The Greens are concerned that establishment of a dump will encourage an expansion of the nuclear industry in Australia. The nuclear industry produces the most dangerous pollution on earth and facilitates nuclear weaponary proliferation and should be wound down not expanded."
Which raises the question: why do these lying pollies, like Ian Campbell, get away with it? In many cases, because we let them. In fact, in some cases we reward the liars with bigger majorities and more seats. We, as voters, need to make it clear to these liars that their lies will not be tollerated any longer; that the liars will be voted out of power. The message to the pollies if this happens will be simple: You lie and you're fired.
Look, I can understand that sometimes things don't always go to plan. But even in such cases, politicians shouldn't make such outlandish promises about things that they know they won't be able to deliver on, and the person responcible at the very least should appologise, and then possibly step aside. That isn't the case here. As we can seen, by Brendan Nelson's own admissions, Campbell lied. And we will continue to have a lying Federal Government until they are held accountable for their lies.