Australian news, and some related international items

Election 2022: Anthony Albanese says John Howard is wrong about Australia’s nuclear future


Anthony Albanese has labelled the view of one former prime minister as “wrong” – and he has support from an unlikely corner. Ashleigh Gleeson @ashleighgleeson, May 9, 2022

NCA NewsWire   Anthony Albanese has labelled John Howard’s view that the AUKUS pact means it is “inevitable” Australia will develop a civil nuclear industry as “wrong”.

The Labor leader shared the view of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who also rejected Mr Howard’s prediction on the nation’s nuclear future at an American Australian Association function in Sydney on Sunday night.

There, the former prime minister said the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal with the US and Britain “will make inevitable the arrival of a nuclear power industry in Australia”.

But Mr Albanese said Labor stood by its position to only support the AUKUS agreement if there was no requirement of a domestic civil nuclear industry and there was no acquisition of nuclear weapons.

He spoke alongside South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas at Flinders Medical Centre in the marginal Adelaide seat of Boothby, held by the Liberals by just 1.4 per cent.

There he was announcing $400m to upgrade the facility but did not give a straight answer on whether a federal Labor government would increase the commonwealth’s share of public hospital funding.

No, I think Mr Howard’s wrong,” Mr Albanese said.

“And, indeed, the advice and part of the decision-making process in the briefings that we had about AUKUS were that you didn’t need a domestic civil nuclear industry in order to support the nuclear submarines.

“We made very clear our support for nuclear subs. We made that on the basis of the advice that we received. And we stand by it.”

Mr Morrison had earlier said he didn’t’ agree with Mr Howard.

“The fact we were able to go forward with nuclear-powered submarines without having a civil nuclear industry was one of the key changes that enabled us to go forward with the agreement itself,” he said.

Mr Morrison said he therefore saw the issues as separate

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong labelled reports in The Australian about a draft maritime co-operation agreement between the Solomon Islands and Beijing outlining plans for China to build wharves, shipyards and submarine cables as “serious”.

“If it’s true, it demonstrates the seriousness of what has occurred on Mr Morrison’s watch,” she said.

“It also demonstrates that the sort of tough words he’s talking about, or trying to use about red lines, don’t appear … to be the way forward or appear to have much affect.

“This is a very serious problem which has occurred on Mr Morrison’s watch. It will take, if we are elected, it will take a lot of work to address it.”


May 10, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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