PETER VAN ONSELEN: Deformed pets, three-eyed fish and even Lara Bingle in a bikini: Anthony Albanese’s anti-nuclear power campaign is an insult to Aussie voters

It’s taken less than 24 hours for the childish scare campaign around Peter Dutton’s nuclear energy policy to flood social media.  

I’m not talking about posts by the average user. Federal and state Labor leaders and the union movement quickly began posting improbable and downright ridiculous ways to try and undermine nuclear power. 

Deformed pets, references to The Simpsons, toxic spills causing three-eyed fish and images suggesting the sites might be located near iconic natural wonders such as Victoria’s Twelve Apostles were just some of the immature games being played by parliamentarians. 

I did say yesterday that the mother of all scare campaigns would soon start but I didn’t think it would be quite this pathetic.

The Australian Union movement suggested the family dog would become deformed as a result of Peter Dutton’s nuclear power proposal 

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan's team produced this Simpsons-inspired meme - with Ms Allan slamming nuclear power as 'toxic'

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan’s team produced this Simpsons-inspired meme – with Ms Allan slamming nuclear power as ‘toxic’ 

Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Dr Andrew Leigh shared a photoshopped image of Blinky Bill with three eyes

Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Dr Andrew Leigh shared a photoshopped image of Blinky Bill with three eyes 

It isn’t as though there aren’t serious problems with Dutton’s announcement – I’ll come to those shortly. 

Victoria’s new premier Jacinta Allan, no less, posted mocked up images of three-eyed cartoon fish leaping out of the water in Gippsland, writing: ‘The Liberal Party want a toxic and expensive nuclear reactor in Gippsland.’ 

Anthony Albanese’s contribution wasn’t much better: ‘Instead of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, this is Peter Dutton and the seven nuclear reactors’. 

I wonder how long it took the PM’s taxpayer funded team of 11 media advisers to come up with that one. Or did Albo proudly think it up all on his own? 

Poll

Do you think Australia should embrace a nuclear power future?

  • Yes, nuclear energy is the way forward 121 votes
  • No, I prefer renewables 10 votes
  • We need a mix of both nuclear and renewables 25 votes

Seizing upon The Simpsons theme, Victorian federal MP Josh Burns tweeted images of nuclear reactors with the Liberal Party logo on them, writing ‘under Peter Dutton Australians will glow green’. 

Clever stuff. 

Dr Andrew Leigh – one of Labor’s brainiacs, having completed his PhD at Harvard – shared a Photoshopped image of Blinky Bill with three eyes. 

The guy used to be a professor. Does serving in parliament lower one’s IQ? 

At 62 years of age Labor MP for the Victorian seat of Corangamite, Libby Cocker,  wasn’t too mature to take a similar dig, days before Dutton’s announcement. 

The federal Victorian MP riffed off the ‘where the bloody hell are you’ tourism campaign of yesteryear spearheaded by Lara Bingle. 

Cocker, who was a school teacher before entering politics, tweeted a mock up of a bikini-clad Bingle standing in front of the 12 Apostles on the Victorian coastline with three nuclear reactors billowing smoke behind her. 

There really must be something in the water in Victoria – before the nuclear waste arrives as is being alleged. 

The Simpsons references were running thick and fast

The Simpsons references were running thick and fast

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union shared an image of a Chernobyl-style dystopia

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union shared an image of a Chernobyl-style dystopia

The Australian union movement’s official X page posted an image of a deformed something or another, it was hard to tell, above the headline ‘this will be your family dog’. 

Scare campaigns are rarely rooted in accuracy, and that is a bipartisan problem. But they are rarely this childish in nature. 

It will be interesting to see if these callow MPs and vested interests continue to act this way, or sharpen up their attacks in the weeks and months ahead. 

History tells us that scare campaigns work, especially against big bold policy ideas raised by Oppositions. But do they work when they are this low brow?  

As mentioned earlier on, if anyone wants to seriously critique Dutton’s policy there is plenty to dig into without having to resort to juvenile antics. 

For example, Dutton says he plans to use existing coal fired power sites and the government will pay for and own the operations. 

But most of the private owners of these sites have already ruled out relinquishing them to a Coalition government, and they weren’t consulted before the policy was announced.

Before Dutton revealed where the reactors would be placed, Labor MP Libby Coker shared this meme, inspired by Lara Bingle's famous Tourism Australia ad

Before Dutton revealed where the reactors would be placed, Labor MP Libby Coker shared this meme, inspired by Lara Bingle’s famous Tourism Australia ad

Most of the sites Dutton has announced are in states that have legislatively banned nuclear power, and a number of these Premiers have already ruled out changing that. 

The policy hasn’t been costed, much less modelled to ascertain what taxpayers might be up for if or when construction was to begin. 

We don’t even know who the Coalition engaged to produce this policy. Is it rooted in any scholarly research beyond a superficial thought bubble announcement?

We’re also still in the dark about which types of nuclear reactors the Opposition is proposing to build: the new smaller modules or the more established larger varieties used in other parts of the world? 

It is a pretty basic choice – and it was not included in a major policy announcement. 

So yes, there are serious questions for serious people to raise requiring serious answers before Team Dutton can expect Australians to get behind his proposal. 

Unfortunately the Labor government and its union mates seem largely incapable of reaching high and properly challenging the policy announcement. 

Instead they choose to play in the sandpit on social media. 

No wonder the public has such a dim view of the political class.  

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