AM - Tuesday, 27 September ,
Reporter: Michael Vincent
PETER CAVE: Former prime minister, Bob
Hawke, says Australia has the "environmental responsibility"
to become the world's nuclear waste dump.
prime minister told a gathering of Oxford University alumni in
Sydney last night that Labor should abandon its three mines
policy on uranium, promote Australia as a safe place for the
world's nuclear waste and use the money gained for local
And Federal Health Minister, Tony
Abbott another Oxford graduate who was present says it's a
MICHAEL VINCENT: Bob Hawke may not have
written a diary dumping on his party colleagues, but his idea
for making Australia a nuclear waste dump may be just as
BOB HAWKE: Australia has the geologically
safest places in the world for the storage of waste. What
Australia should do in my judgement as an act of economic
ALUMNI: is bury at all.
and environmental responsibility, say we will take the
world's nuclear waste.
MICHAEL VINCENT: Such a
proposition would have been political heresy when Mr Hawke was
But the 75-year-old says he still
considers himself a greenie and his proposal would be
BOB HAWKE: If we were to do that, we
would have a source of income forget about current account
deficit we would have a source of income which we could
hypothecate to environmental issues in this country, salinity,
also to Aborigines because this would be in an area where the
Aboriginal people would be, and I have reason to believe that
we could negotiate with them. We can revolutionise the
economics of Australia if we did this.
But revolution didn't appear to be on the mind of another
Oxford graduate sharing the stage, current Labor leader, Kim
KIM BEAZLEY: Look Bob Is the father figure of
the Labor Party, that's well outside the
(sound of raucous laughter from
MICHAEL VINCENT: But sitting between the
Labor figures, Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott appeared
TONY ABBOTT: I think Bob does make a very
ALUMNI: I agree. I agree.
ABBOTT: It is a visionary suggestion, but
BOB HAWKE: Always buts
ABBOTT: There are a lot of politics in this. Now right at the
moment we can't even get agreement on where to put a nuclear
repository for Australia's waste, let alone a repository for
the world's waste.
Now that is the kind of parochialism
that would need to be overcome if Bob's suggestion were
BOB HAWKE: That's right, but look this is, I mean
this is revolutionary, I started off saying it's
revolutionary, but it's the sort of thing, you sit down, there
are intelligent I've talked with some of the Greens. And
there's one of them, I'm not going to talk about his name, but
his initial reaction Alan was "oh shit", and then when I went
through these things and what it could mean, he said this
should be talked about.
Now I know in our party, in the
Labor Party, there'll be people just, who'd be horrified. But
they were horrified about some of the things I proposed with
my colleagues in '83, '84, tariffs and so on.
them through, I mean, politics is not about decibel democracy,
you know, all the people that make the loudest noise and
that's what determines your decision. The responsibility of
leadership is to lead.
Go in and say look, this is
what it means for Australia, this is what it means for the
world. And I genuinely believe that if we'd sat down your mob
would be the least difficult
(sound of laughter from
TONY ABBOTT: As always, as always
HAWKE: The Greens although you've got some mugs who'd be
(sound of laughter from
but basically the problem would be the
Greens and the Labor Party, but these people are not
un-Australian, you sit down and talk with 'em.
CAVE: Former Labor prime minister and self-confessed
revolutionary, Bob Hawke.