Peter Dutton vows premiers won’t stop his nuclear energy plan if he becomes PM, labelling Albanese ‘a child’

Joe Spagnolo
The Nightly
Federal Liberal Leader Peter Dutton has warned that he will override State laws if needed to build seven nuclear power stations across the nation.
Federal Liberal Leader Peter Dutton has warned that he will override State laws if needed to build seven nuclear power stations across the nation. Credit: KTSDesign/SCIENCEPHOTOLIBRARY/Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF

Federal Liberal Leader Peter Dutton has warned that he will override State laws if needed to build seven nuclear power stations across the nation — saying that he will not answer to premiers who oppose his plan.

Addressing the Liberal Party Federal Council in Sydney on Saturday, Mr Dutton said that he would not kowtow to State leaders who tried to stand in his way to bring nuclear power to Australia.

And he got personal with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, labelling him “a child in a man’s body” because of his attacks on the federal Liberal leader’s nuclear plan.

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Departing from written notes distributed to media outlets ahead of his speech, Mr Dutton said cartoon memes about the safety risks of nuclear posted on social media by senior Labor politicians in recent days — including of three-eyed fish and koalas — showed “the juvenile nature of our prime minister”.

“He’s a man with a mind still captured in his university years; he’s a child in a man’s body,” he said, declaring “we need a mature conversation in this country” on nuclear power.

Mr Dutton’s comments came as WA Premier Roger Cook joined the chorus of Labor state leaders and federal colleagues opposing his energy plan, warning households across WA could have their rooftop solar switched off to avoid blackouts if a nuclear reactor ever eventuated in Collie.

“In Government, I will work respectfully and collaboratively with State Premiers – but I don’t answer to them,” Mr Dutton said in his speech to the party faithful.

“The decisions I make will be in our national interest to the benefit of the Australian people.

“Commonwealth laws override state laws even to the level of the inconsistency.

“So, support or opposition at a state level won’t stop us rolling out our new energy system.”

With the next Federal Election due by May next year, Mr Dutton has made it clear debate over nuclear power will be a major part of the battle for office.

Mr Dutton said he wants seven Commonwealth-owned atomic generators by 2050.

Labor has so far blasted the plan, saying it was devoid of any real details — in particular costings.

On Saturday, an analysis by the Smart Energy Council revealed the cost of building the seven nuclear reactors would be between $116-$600 billion of taxpayers’ dollars, whilst only providing 3.7 pr cent of Australia’s energy mix in 2050.

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