Saturday, April 28, 2007

Day2: The Intelligent Houso's Guide to Labor's Great Uranium Debate

Today the conference voted on Kevin Rudd/ Mike Rann's amendment to Labor's platform on Uranium.

What the debate was NOT about:

Whether we should have more Uranium Mining or No Uranium Mining at all.

What it was about

We're already on the slippery slope to nuclear proliferation hell. Should we enjoy the strawberries on the way as we slide to eternal perdition .. er .. eternal pollution? Oh alright, DH is such a drama queen ... only 120,000 years max.

We already have the 4 of the largest mines in the world. Should Labor allow open slather for more mines, but with the strictest possible guidelines? Should Labor court the "Responsible Economic Management" vote and prevent a Howard Wedgie, or should we stick to our abiding values?

It's a sense vs sensibility question. And it's a brave person who really knows the answer. Who wants to risk another 4 years of Howard on a matter of a principle that is already betrayed by the existence of 4 mines? Yet who wants to increase the risk of creating more dangerous nuclear waste, when we still have no satisfactory storage solutions, when we increases the risk from nuclear terrorists and rogue states.

DH is so glad she was not called upon to vote.

In the end, Rudd's amendment squeaked in by a surprisingly narrow margin.

Though the actual vote was not counted, a related issue by Albanese/Garrett was lost 190 to 205, a possible indicator of how close it was. DH suspects that many of the left were relieved that the motion went through, thus safeguarding their moral purity, while making Rudd look strong enough to win the next election. Certainly nobody from the left was game to risk unpopularity by standing up to demand a count.

DH wishes you could have all been there. It was heady, exciting stuff. A great day for those who love oratory, who want to see history being made and the characters who make it. Some of the loudest applause went to Rudd of course, Steven Smith on the Right, and Anthony Albanese and Dave Kelly on the left. Martin Ferguson and Bill Shorten were the least sympathetic, and Shorten was the only speaker who attracted widescale hostility, being booed for trying to lay a guilt trip on those present, suggesting that a vote against Rudd was a vote for "rolling the leader". However, all is forgiven for his quip about the "Borat Option": leaving uranium mining safety standards to be managed by the likes of Khazakhstan...

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