The six words from The Voice referendum that could come back to haunt Peter Dutton’s nuclear dream

The campaign against the Indigenous Voice to Parliament was won on the back of a catchy slogan which destroyed Anthony Albanese’s hopes that Australians would vote with their hearts: If you don’t know, vote No.

Campaign managers and analysts within the Yes camp couldn’t compete, because they didn’t have the detail that Peter Dutton convinced the Australian public they would need to form an educated decision.

That detail, Mr Albanese said, would have come after the Yes vote.

Now, the PM and his Labor government have an opportunity to flip that very phrase back on the Opposition leader.

Mr Dutton unveiled his vision for a future Australia powered by nuclear reactors on Wednesday.

He made his pitch to the voting public, going so far as to say he’d be happy for the next election to become a ‘referendum on energy’.

The campaign against the Indigenous Voice to Parliament was won on the back of a catchy slogan which destroyed Anthony Albanese ‘s hopes that Australians would vote with their hearts: If you don’t know, vote No

Mr Dutton unveiled his vision for a future Australia powered by nuclear reactors on Wednesday

Mr Dutton unveiled his vision for a future Australia powered by nuclear reactors on Wednesday

Campaign managers and analysts within the Yes camp couldn't compete, because they didn't have the detail that Peter Dutton convinced the Australian public they would need to form an educated decision

Campaign managers and analysts within the Yes camp couldn’t compete, because they didn’t have the detail that Peter Dutton convinced the Australian public they would need to form an educated decision

The Voice referendum’s six-word slogan is once again trending on X, with hundreds of Australians arguing Mr Dutton has not provided enough detail to warrant a mandate to shift to nuclear.

‘Somewhere in Australia there is a warehouse full of ”if you don’t know, vote No” merchandise. Happy to take that off your hands, I believe there might be a market,’ one critic said.

‘No information? If you don’t know, vote No,’ another said.

During the Voice campaign, that phrase was constantly used by Coalition politicians during interviews, shared on Liberal party social media pages and even turned into merchandise by the official No campaign.

The Voice referendum's six-word slogan is once again trending on X, with hundreds of Australians arguing Mr Dutton has not provided enough detail to warrant a mandate to shift to nuclear

The Voice referendum’s six-word slogan is once again trending on X, with hundreds of Australians arguing Mr Dutton has not provided enough detail to warrant a mandate to shift to nuclear

The Yes camp attempted to defuse the sting of the slogan with their own, telling the public ‘if you don’t know, find out’.

But Mr Dutton and the No camp argued there was no detail available to ‘find out’, given many of the specifics weren’t to be established until after the referendum result.

Now, Mr Dutton has walked right into a similar trap, failing to provide sufficient answers to several key questions in the nuclear debate. 

Mr Dutton spoke at length on Wednesday about his plan to open seven nuclear reactors across Australia if he’s elected at the next election.

Lithgow and the Hunter Valley are the proposed NSW sites, Mount Murchison and Tarong in Queensland and Traralgon in Victoria. Mr Dutton proposes one site in South Australia in Port Augusta, and another in Collie in WA.

Each of the locations are sites of current coal plants due to be shut down or decommissioned.

Critics are now encouraging Aussies to vote against Mr Dutton's plan due to a lack of detail

Critics are now encouraging Aussies to vote against Mr Dutton’s plan due to a lack of detail

Labor have already come out swinging against Mr Dutton's proposal, describing it as 'economic insanity' and 'ideological stupidity'

Labor have already come out swinging against Mr Dutton’s proposal, describing it as ‘economic insanity’ and ‘ideological stupidity’

Mr Dutton said these would be owned and operated by the government, but he had no answers as to how the government would go about acquiring them, given they’re all currently privately owned and some have already been identified as future renewables sites.

But the primary concern amongst critics and the government is that Mr Dutton did not reveal any costings for the ambitious project.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen said: ‘The reason Mr Dutton didn’t release the costs of his nuclear fantasy yesterday is that he knows it would drive up bills. Nuclear is the most expensive form of energy available.’ 

And Labor MP Julian Hill added: ‘The biggest con in decades! Peter Dutton wants Australians to pay for his nuclear reactors, and pay more for electricity. 

‘Nuclear energy is the MOST expensive form of power. He won’t even say how many hundreds of billions of your dollars this fantasy would cost.’

The slogan was a highly effective tool throughout the campaign

The slogan was a highly effective tool throughout the campaign

The Yes camp struggled to win over Australians who felt there wasn't enough detail in the proposal

The Yes camp struggled to win over Australians who felt there wasn’t enough detail in the proposal

Mr Dutton also failed to go into detail about how he intends to win over state Premiers who remain staunchly opposed to nuclear in their backyards.

Nuclear reactors are banned in NSW, Queensland and Victoria, and each of the Labor premiers in those states have categorically ruled out overturning that for Mr Dutton.

When asked about that hurdle, the Opposition Leader said: ‘We’ll work with the state premiers, some debate about that I see, as you know, somebody famously said I would not stand between the Premier and a bucket of money.’

Finally, the government of the day would need a majority in the Senate – or a policy supported by the crossbench – to pass any legislation.

The Greens are opposed to nuclear energy and will not make any concessions to aid the passage through the chamber.

Labor have already come out swinging against Mr Dutton’s proposal, describing it as ‘economic insanity’ and ‘ideological stupidity’.

Labor’s Julian Hill became the first Labor MP to utilise Mr Dutton’s famous phrase, sharing a picture of a nuclear reactor overlaid with the message, ‘don’t know? Vote no’. 

The Opposition Leader is already bracing for ‘the mother of all scare campaigns’ on the back of his announcement.

We know the Prime Minister and his Government will mount the mother-of-all scare campaigns on zero-emissions nuclear energy,’ he said.

‘But we believe Australians are up for this discussion and are open-minded about including zero-emissions nuclear technology as part of a balanced energy mix.’

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