Bomber Beazley goes it alone

July 25, 2006

Kim Beazley’s back flip on uranium mines is out of step not only with Labor party policy but the Australian public and Labor voters as well, Friends of the Earth said today.

A May 2006 News poll found that 78 % of ALP voters do not want an expansion of uranium mining, while 66% of the general public are also against any more uranium mining.

Louise Morris from Friends of the Earth said ‘Beazley has made a gross error of judgement in thinking Australians will sit quietly by and let our country become a bigger dealer in this most deadly of substances.’

“We successfully stopped the Jabiluka uranium mine, and we will fight any other mine, every step of the way. New uranium mines would be dogged by protests and negative media coverage,” said Ms. Morris.

‘Uranium mining is where the cycle of nuclear proliferation starts. Safeguards are weak and ineffective, and former Soviet President Mikael Gorbechev warned just yesterday the signs we are entering a new arms race. If we export uranium we also export nuclear weapons proliferation risk.

“Uranium mining also leaves us with a legacy of toxic, radioactive waste on Australian soil. Rather than starting a new mess, uranium miners should clean up the current toxic nightmare they have created,” said Ms. Morris.

‘For Beazley to say that he is confident in his ability to increase safeguards is naive. IAEA head Dr Muhammad El Baradei has said the safeguards system is “half hearted at best and operates on a shoestring budget.” It is dangerously irresponsible for Australia to put more uranium into a global arena of limited safeguards and escalating conflict.’

‘Australians will not allow one man who, like Howard, has been seduced with visions of entering the global nuclear cartel and damning future generations to a landscape of nuclear mines, weapons and waste,’ said Ms. Morris

‘If Beazley is serious about engaging with an informed debate on the nuclear issue he will accept the invitation that has been extended to him to attend the Beyond Nuclear Initiative  National Symposium in Melbourne on September 15,’said Ms. Morris.

Experts such as Dr Richard Broinowski, Assoc Proff Tilman Ruff, Prof Jim Falk and Dr Mark Diesendorf will be discussing the implications and realities of the nuclear industry.’

For Comment ; Louise Morris Friends of the Earth Melbourne 0408667100