Television Interview with Monique Wright – Sunrise – Friday 21 June 2024

FRIDAY, 21 JUNE 2024

SUBJECTS: Liberal Party nuclear reactor policy

MONIQUE WRIGHT: Well, for their take, let’s bring in Education Minister Jason Clare and Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley. Welcome to you both.

Susan, that doesn’t sound too good, does it, from the State leaders? What’s the chance that this is actually going to get up?

SUSSAN LEY: Mon, Australia is already a nuclear nation. We’ve got a nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights which underpins nuclear medicine that saves lives. We will have AUKUS submarines. Our sailors will be sleeping next to nuclear reactors going through both South Australia and Western Australia. And we will seek a mandate when we go to the next election. And we’ve talked about how we will do that. This is so important. Your headlines this morning on the gas crisis. It’s winter, it’s cold. People are choosing between heating and eating this winter. And meanwhile, this government’s energy policy is a train wreck.

So, what we need is to bring down the cost of energy, to have cheap, affordable electricity, to bring down emissions, to play our part globally and to really generate manufacturing opportunities in this country instead of having them closed down three times the rate that they were under our government, under Jason’s government.

WRIGHT: How much is it actually going to lower power prices, though? That’s what we really need to see. I feel like people need to almost see it like you look at solar. We put solar in because we see that this is how much we save, but we just don’t know that.

LEY: The cost of the renewable energy grid, Mon, is about a trillion dollars. 19 of the 20 developed economies in the world are either nuclear or going to nuclear. And what we’re seeing in those countries is that the cost of electricity is cheaper, but most importantly, it’s reliable. This unreliability that you’re seeing in the gas crisis this morning is what is really concerning manufacturers. So, everyone’s electricity bill has gone up by about $1,000, even though Labor said it would come down by $275. There are so many things wrong with the government’s energy policy and 28,000 kilometres of expensive addition to the grid. We want renewables, we want nuclear and we want gas. We have to have all three in the mix.

WRIGHT: All right, let’s talk about this other controversy that’s come from this. It’s being called Blinky Bill Gate. We’re seeing members of your government, Jason, that have been posting these kind of pictures, a three-eyed koala, three-eyed fish and so on. Are you trying to scare the electorate? And if so, what use is it to scare us?​

JASON CLARE, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION: It’s hard to debate the substance of this when there is no substance. You know, Susan still won’t tell us how much this will cost.

WRIGHT: Hang on. But the substance of those, of those memes that have been put out there, it feels like that there is some kind of sustained decided campaign that the government is doing here by posting these kinds of photos telling us that our wildlife are going to end up with three eyes if we don’t.

CLARE: This is serious. The problem is this is not a serious policy. You asked about cost. There’s a report out today that says if Peter Dutton does this, electricity prices for everyone will go up by about $1,000 a year. This is economic insanity. Everybody looking at their bill on the fridge today needs to know that if you vote for Peter Dutton, your bills will go up, not down. They’ll go up by about $1,000 a year. Sussan, why would you pick the most expensive form of energy here? We want bills to go down, not up. And you’re picking a policy here that would mean potential blackouts, job losses and bills going up, not down.

LEY: A great sidestepping of the question, Jason, but the question is, will you call out these ridiculous, childish memes that we’ve seen, including from a Labor Premier, on a subject that is far too important and far too significant and that overlooks the fact that we have and will have nuclear in our defence. What are we saying?

CLARE: Just on that.

WRIGHT: We’re running out of time. But, Jason, I’ll let you respond.

CLARE: Just quickly. Number one, I’m not going to take lectures from the Liberal Party who told us at the last election that electric cars were going to end the weekend. More seriously here, if you’re going to release a policy, the Australian people deserve to know how much it will cost, how much to build and how much their bills are going to go up. We got all the detail that you would see in a fortune cookie this week and Australians deserve to know the truth here. Otherwise, why would you trust Peter Dutton?

WRIGHT: Yep, there’s lots of questions to answer.

LEY: We deserve to have an adult conversation, too.

WRIGHT: Thank you, Sussan. Thank you, Jason.