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(06/25/07) -

Australians Reject Nuclear Energy

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in Australia would like to see their government focusing its energy policy on renewable rather than nuclear sources, according to a poll by Pollinate for The Australian Institute. 74 per cent of respondents would support a national strategy based on energy efficiency and renewable sources.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in Australia would like to see their government focusing its energy policy on renewable rather than nuclear sources, according to a poll by Pollinate for The Australian Institute. 74 per cent of respondents would support a national strategy based on energy efficiency and renewable sources.

Conversely, 19 per cent of respondents would back an approach focused on nuclear power and clean coal technologies.

In the October 2004 election, Australian prime minister John Howard was rewarded with a fourth term in office, as his Coalition of Liberals and Nationals secured 87 seats in the House of Representatives. The Australian Labor Party (ALP)—led by Mark Latham—elected 60 lawmakers. In December 2006, foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd became the new leader of the ALP, defeating Kim Beazley in an internal caucus ballot.

On Jun. 5, Howard discussed his plans to curb global warming, saying, “Implementing an emissions trading scheme and setting a long-term goal for reducing emissions will be the most momentous economic decision Australia will take in the next decade. If we get this wrong it will do enormous damage to the economy, to jobs and to the economic well-being of ordinary Australians, especially low-income households.”

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Australian government is looking into the possibility of enriching uranium in the country as a way to further exploit cleaner sources of energy. This practice is currently outlawed, so the administration would have to amend legislation. Howard discussed the matter with reporters, saying, “Nuclear enrichment is something that should be examined. (…) In the end (nuclear plants) will only occur if there is an economic justification for them and they would then only occur in circumstances where the government were completely satisfied on environmental and safety grounds and it was a good thing to go ahead.”

There are currently three operating uranium mines in the country: the Olympic Dam and Beverley in South Australia, and Ranger in the Northern Territory. Since 1984, the ALP—which is in opposition at the federal level, but holds office in all states and territories—has restricted the number of uranium mines in the country.

Polling Data

Which of these energy strategies would you prefer?

A greenhouse strategy based mainly on
energy efficiency and renewable energy

74%

An approach that focuses mainly on
nuclear power and clean coal technologies

19%

Not sure

7%

Source: Pollinate / The Australia Institute
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,034 Australian adults, conducted from Apr. 30 to May 3, 2007. No margin of error was provided.