Labor National Conference. Three words that could put an elephant to sleep. From a broad distance.
So we’ll make this as informative yet pain-free as possible. When Labor isn’t busy being either in Opposition or Government, the members and factions are deciding just what it is they believe in. That happens every two years, giving issues just enough time to reveal themselves. It’s a cliche, but two years is an eternity in modern politics and a lot has changed since last time when Rudd was leader. For instance, there’s going to be a lot more fired-up debate and possibly dissent.
And it all begins today. In a few minutes, in fact.
Let’s check out the battlegrounds in no particular order:
This one came out of left-field, announced just a few weeks ago by the Prime Minister. India has both nuclear power and weapons but has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Labor’s policy has previously been to not sell uranium to countries that refuse to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Ms Gillard argued that nuclear power was a cleaner source of energy and would help the world’s second largest country be greener. She also said it did not make sense to sell uranium to Japan, China and the US but not to India. The Opposition has been calling for a reversal in policy for years. The left faction of Labor plans to fight the move tooth and nail, but aren’t likely to be successful.
2. Malaysia Solution and Refugees
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen wants to take the Malaysia Solution back to a vote in parliament next year, now Labor has marginally better numbers on the floor. He’s also wants to lift the number of refugees Australia takes in from almost 14,000 to 20,000 – but not using boat arrivals, who would be sent back to regional ‘transit’ centres around Australia. Labor’s left faction are also opposed to the Malaysia solution.
3. Live exports