Sometime over the next month or so, maybe as early as next week, Scott Morrison, will be forced to announce the Federal election but I suspect right now he’s waiting for there to be a change in public sentiment as reflected in the polls.
But in life and in politics, timing is everything and the government is running out of runway to turn that sentiment around.
Working against the government is the fact that perception and attitudes by now are pretty much baked in. That’s why the polls are what they are.
And it’s not necessarily that given Covid for most of this term, the government has done anything particularly wrong. It’s that they just seem to be in a holding pattern.
The perception is rightly or wrongly, that the Morrison government is drifting and without purpose. Going through the motions, out of ideas and just holding onto the wheel, always reacting to events rather than shaping events. In other words leading from behind.
To say the Libs are taking on water is an understatement and another conversation on marginal tax rates, superannuation or the latest defence acquisition is simply not going to cut through around the kitchen table in the suburbs and inspire anyone enough to dig the government out from under.
People want to be engaged and what the government needs to understand and accept is that only an inspiring, visionary and dramatic announcement can galvanise the electorate and sling shot the coalition, roller derby style, to the front of the pack and at least get them some attention and make them competitive.
That announcement must be about nuclear energy and a proposed plebiscite or referendum ahead of repealing the 1998 law prohibiting the development of nuclear energy and then setting out to do exactly that.
The idea is with the focus on energy, it’s cost and reliability into the future, to test public opinion.
Up until recent years and particularly at the time nuclear energy was banned in Australia it was of no particular interest to the average citizen because energy was abundant and its cost and reliability wasn’t an issue.
It wasn’t front of mind. Most people, even today, are probably unaware that there is a law banning nuclear energy in Australia
Now it is an issue and all alternatives must be explored and explained.
Apart from the knee jerk reaction and the drive by opinion about Fukushima and Chernobyl, very few people would have a clue why nuclear energy was banned in the first place, (It was part of a horse trade in 1998 to get consensus on other legislation) but at the time it was political kryptonite. It was the other N word.
No one even in the political class foresaw energy as the issue that it is today.
People weren’t tuned into climate matters or particularly savvy or knew or understood the politics of climate change and how the various climate policies would impact their daily lives but now they see it every few months when the postman drops their latest bill in the letter box.
People who were never interested in the politics of energy or where it came from and just flicked the switch are now fully engaged.
They deserve to know about ALL the alternatives and not just a few and it’s impossible to see the harm in putting nuclear energy to a referendum unless of course you’d rather not not know or care what the public thinks.
A no response will put us exactly where we are today. A yes response will give the government the courage to take it further.
We need to create a nuclear energy industry to unshackle and free the nation from our infantile, undergraduate anti-nuclear mindset.
This is one of those Shakespearean, Brutus, “tides in the affairs of men” moments.
Labor the Greens and the renewable energy rent seekers will go all out with a scare campaign but when power bills are through the roof and going higher, what can they say?
Politically, the added bonus is that nuclear is emissions free so to argue against its use for base-load power opens protagonists up to accusations of hypocrisy and not being serious about climate and co2 and weaponising it for political purposes.
There was a time in recent years when the niche and boutique issue of same sex marriage was unthinkable and well outside the Overton Window of what was politically acceptable and do-able. The same applied over the imposition of the GST.
If there is one thing recent events and the war between Russia and Ukraine have underscored and demonstrated, particularly in Germany and Europe more broadly, it is that depending on unreliable and unaffordable renewables for base-load power, driven by the vagaries of the weather or other forces outside of your control, was always a foolish and idiotic idea.
With pretty much cloudy weather since January how well would solar energy be doing as a source for base-load energy?
To borrow a couple of lines from Gough Whitlam, just as with SSM and the GST “it’s time” for Morrison to fire up the conversation and lead. Time to “crash through or crash”.
With Albanese and Labor, who should be easy beats, we know what’s coming.
It’ll be boats, it’ll be signing onto the global reset and Chinas Belt and Road and it’ll be all things identity by compulsion and woke ideology and a belief that men can have babies.
The Democrats in the US will be their lodestar and their operating model.
This is a pivotal moment in the nations history and if you’re going to die on a hill, nuclear energy has got to be a good place to start.