ALP national conference: the uranium issue is a long way from dead - despite Labor’s U-turn

The ALP conference was held in Sydney last weekend. The uranium policy has been a major issue. Check here for details on this issue and debate on climate change and climate refugees.

There are four releases on this topic:

  • The uranium issue is a long way from dead - despite Labor’s U-turn [April 28]
  • national environment groups call on Labor to retain 'no new mines policy' [April 27]
  • ALP urged to recognise climate refugees [April 27]
  • community presence at ALP conference

FoE media contacts on nuclear issues are:

Jim Green 0417 318 368
Michaela Stubbs 0429 136 935
Holly Creenaune 0417 682 541


Media Release

Saturday 28 April 

The uranium issue is a long way from dead - despite Labor’s U-turn

Environment organisations are committed to stopping uranium mines anywhere in Australia, despite the disappointing outcome of the uranium policy vote at the ALP conference today.

In a very close vote (190:205), Labor members standing up for environmental and social responsibility were out numbered – but only just.

“It was fantastic to hear the strong, clear arguments presented by those wanting to maintain the policy.  But sadly logic and commonsense were thrown out the back door along with the wishes of most Australians” said Michaela Stubbs spokesperson from Friends of the Earth.

Speakers in support of the change failed to address the key issues of nuclear weapons proliferation and waste management.   The lack of coherence in their arguments clearly demonstrated that this decision was based on politics rather than principles.

“While the negative impacts of uranium mining on indigenous communities was raised in the debate, those voting to change the policy obviously didn’t see this as important” said Emma King, Beyond Nuclear Initiative uranium campaigner from the Environment Centre of the NT.  “We will continue working closely with indigenous communities to make sure their voices are heard and their concerns are addressed.”
For comment:

Michaela Stubbs – Friends of the Earth                     0429 136 935
Emma King – Environment Centre of the NT            0428 818 109






National environment groups will stage a protest outside the ALP national conference at the Darling Harbour Convention Centre this Saturday, April 28 from 12-2pm, calling on the ALP not to overturn its policy of opposition to new uranium mines.


Protest organiser Holly Creenaune from Friends of the Earth said: "The best-case scenario is that uranium will end up as high-level nuclear waste, for which there is not a single permanent repository anywhere in the world. The worst-case scenario is that Australian uranium finds its way into nuclear weapons – the most destructive weapons ever devised."

Kevin Rudd has pointed to the proliferation risks, stating in a Sydney Institute address on September 19, 2006: “The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty disintegrates before our very eyes ... the current non-proliferation regime is fundamentally fracturing. The consequences of the collapse of this regime for Australia are acute, including the outbreak of regional nuclear arms races in South Asia, North East Asia and possibly even South East Asia.”

Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation said: "Expansion of the uranium mining industry will worsen the already serious legacy of environmental pollution. While the ALP debates uranium policy from April 27-29, the Roxby Downs uranium mine in SA will produce another 82,000 tonnes of radioactive tailings waste – with no long-term plans for managing this toxic legacy other than to off-load responsibility for it onto the Australian public."

Alec Marr from the Wilderness Society said: "A decision from the ALP to support new uranium mines will encourage Hugh Morgan from Australian Nuclear Energy Pty Ltd, John White from the Nuclear Fuel Leasing Group, and others who want to turn Australia into the world's high-level nuclear waste dump. ALP conference delegates ought to reflect the opposition to new uranium mines of 66% of Australians and 78% of ALP voters."



* Holly Creenaune - Friends of the Earth - 0417 6...

* Dave Sweeney - Australian Conservation Foundation - 0408 3...

* Alec Marr - Wilderness Society - 0417 2...

April 27th 2007

ALP urged to recognise climate refugees

On the first day of the Labor Party’s national conference, Friends of the Earth Australia calls on ALP delegates to put in place their policy proposals to accept climate refugees in Australia.

The ALP discussion paper ‘Our Drowning Neighbours’, released last year by Federal MPs Bob Sercombe and Anthony Albanese, proposes that Australia establish an international coalition to accept climate refugees and work at the UN to recognise climate refugees in new or existing conventions. The strategy outlined in the paper includes providing assistance for adaptation and emergency response efforts.

“By implementing these policy proposals, Australia would be leading the way in climate change policy that acknowledges and responds to the protection of human rights” said Friends of the Earth Australia Climate Justice spokesperson, Emma Brindal.

“As one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emitters, Australia is disproportionately responsible for climate change. Therefore, Australia needs to take responsibility for the impacts of this by creating a separate category for climate refugees, and establishing a quota system to
allow a set number of climate refugees to come to Australia each year” said Ms Brindal.

“The ALP’s discussion paper also proposes that Australia provide assistance with intra-country relocations. This is an essential part of a broad climate change response, as some Pacific Islanders are already being displaced from their homes and lack adequate support to relocate” said Ms Brindal.

“When it's high tide in Tuvalu, roads are covered with sea water and people have water all through their houses up to knee height” says Fatima Hakaoro, Chairperson of the Tuvaluan Association of Brisbane.

“In Tuvalu, there have already been two particularly high tides this year, one only two weeks ago. The most recent high tide forced some people from their homes who had to seek shelter at the Red Cross. If sea levels continue to rise, so too will the number of high tides and the number of people needing to leave their homes and communities” said Ms Brindal.

“Australia must do all that it can to minimise the number of people forced from their homes. It is therefore our responsibility to make deep cuts to our greenhouse emissions. Labor’s promise to cut emissions by 60% by 2050 falls short of the necessary cuts” said Ms Brindal.

“We need to see a commitment to reducing emissions by 95% by 2050, with short term cuts in line with this target. If the ALP is to demonstrate an adequate response to climate change, they will need to commit more funding to renewable energy and signal a shift away from coal” said Ms Brindal.

The ALP discussion paper is available at:

More information: Emma Brindal: (07) 3846 5793 ; 0411 084 727

1 At the time of the release of the ALP discussion paper, Bob Sercombe was the Shadow Minister for Overseas Aid and Pacific Island Affairs and Anthony Albanese was the Shadow Minister for the Environment.


No U-Turn: No expansion of uranium mining

community presence at ALP conference

The ALP's No New Mines policy recognises uranium is a unique mineral with drastic implications and risks. After fifty years in the global nuclear industry, there is still no safe way to store radioactive waste. Uranium deserves special status. The current policy recognises this and should be retained.

The vast majority of Australians do not want Australia to go further down the nuclear path. 66% of Australians believe there should be no new uranium mines opened in Australia, and 78% of ALP voters don't want new uranium mines in Australia or want uranium mining stopped altogether (Newspoll, 30 May 2006).

Uranium directly leads to radioactive waste and nuclear weapons. It is not clean, safe or needed. Leave it in the ground!

Uranium: No Solution to Climate Change

Australian people deserve a genuine alternative and strong leadership in the face of climate change. The argument put forward by the Howard Government that we need to expand Australia's nuclear industry to combat climate change is not credible. Nuclear power is too slow, too expensive and too dangerous to be an answer to climate change.

The ALP should continue to be part of the broad opposition to Howard's nuclear push. Any changes in this policy would create more similarities, rather then alternatives between the Coalition Government and the ALP.

Join the action to lobby the ALP Conference

Join community members from environment, community, peace and union groups to retain the ALP's uranium policy.

Join us Friday, April 27th, 8-10am for lobbying and leafleting delegates as they enter the Conference, and and Saturday, April 28th, 12-2pm for the Rally, Speakers and Public Lobby.

At Darling Harbour Convention Centre, front entrance (map attached).

For more information contact:
Holly Creenaune
Friends of the Earth
[email protected]
0417 682 541

Organised by a coalition of environment, faith, peace, student, unions, conference delegates and party members.