David Marler

David Marler

Queensland reporter at No Fibs
David is a full time Queensland carer for his son and in quiet times contributes to NoFibs.
David Marler

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David Marler

It seems a hell of a way to win an Australian election but Peter Dutton and David Littleproud believe nuclear energy is their path to government and they have no qualms about using the constitution to forcibly acquire the sites necessary.

Their state Liberal National Party (LNP) colleagues at home in Queensland remain unconvinced about it all. Opposition leader David Crisafulli spent the week wandering the state denying it was the party’s plan. He refused to elaborate on what actions he’d take against it if he became premier in October. Yet state legislation would need to be changed to remove the nuclear ban and public-owned power generators would need to be handed over to a new federal based nuclear corporation.

Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Steven Miles declared a full-on legal war with the LNP over it all. Dutton initially responded to the what-if question of premiers refusing to cooperate by indicating they could be bought off with buckets of money.

By Friday, Dutton was talking more stridently about extreme measures of forcible acquisitions of the sites needed, be they public owned as in Queensland or privately owned in other states.

Constitutional legal expert, Professor Anne Twomey, spoke to the ABC about the power the federal government has over state-based laws. While the legalities around this in relation to nuclear energy would be complex and largely untested, the Commonwealth can use various existing pieces of legislation to establish a new government organisation to manage nuclear energy and to forcibly acquire property for those purposes.

Back home, Crisafulli is facing increasing pressure within his own party to publicly back the Dutton Littleproud nuclear plan. Federal MP for Hinkler, Keith Pitt, explained on ABC Radio National that the Qld LNP members have already voted for the policy multiple times.

Federal MP for Flynn, Colin Boyce, was harsher in urging Crisafulli to take nuclear policy to the state election, telling the opposition leader publicly to get his “big girl pants on”.

Crisafulli will have to face the party elders, Dutton, Littleproud and the members at next month’s state LNP conference. At last year’s gathering he faced a backlash for supporting the Qld government’s Indigenous treaty legislation – Uneasy Path To Treaty For Qld LNP – and eventually publicly reneged, pledging to repeal it.

Littleproud has touched on the term “mandate” during several interviews. To the LNP the word carries a unique interpretation that Queenslanders encountered during the Campbell Newman state government era 2012-2015. The term was broadly used to justify the public servant sackings and cuts to services, essentially meaning that after an election a government can do as it wishes without the need for further consultation.

Australians must make a choice now on nuclear energy, the time for fence sitting is over. If it’s not wanted then the only way to be sure is to stop the Qld LNP at both the state election in October and again at the federal one in 2025. Not everyone will be able to vote in the Queensland election but given the resistance-is-futile rhetoric we’ve seen so far it will be of national democratic importance for free-thinking Australians everywhere. If the Qld LNP would force reactors on communities that don’t want them what other policies might they be tempted to enforce on people if in government?

Even if no nuclear reactors are ever built in Australia, the Qld LNP plan will disrupt the renewables investment chain. It will wreck Australia’s Paris Agreement progress by increasing emissions through the life extension of coal power stations and through the construction of new gas generators. Expert analysis suggests Australia’s power bills are likely to rise because of it all – the very thing a Dutton Littleproud government are promising won’t happen.