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Beazley's uranium push dividing the party -

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Beazley's uranium push dividing the party

Reporter: Dana Robertson

TONY JONES: Well, back to Australian politics now. Kim Beazley insists his push to change Labor's
uranium mining policy won't divide the party, but, it appears, members are far from united on the
issue. Mr Beazley's own environment spokesman says his leader's stance is neither good policy nor
good politics, and he'll fight it all the way to the floor of the ALP's national conference next
year. From Canberra, Dana Robertson reports.

DANA ROBERTSON: It's the internal brawl Kim Beazley knew was coming. After announcing his intention
to overturn Labor's decades-old ban on new uranium mines, those opposed to his stance have come out
swinging.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, OPPOSITION SPOKESMAN (SYDNEY): This is not good policy, but it is also not good
politics.

DANA ROBERTSON: Labor's environment spokesman believes the economic rewards of uranium exports are
being oversold and there's not an extra vote in it for the party.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I think it is very hard to argue that there are people out there in marginal
electorates, who voted for John Howard and the Liberal Party at the last election, who will change
their vote to Labor if Labor changes our anti-uranium policy.

DANA ROBERTSON: But Kim Beazley's confident that before long, the focus of the debate will change
and that votes will too.

KIM BEAZLEY, OPPOSITION LEADER: The real debate here is emerging clearer and clearer, and that is
between the Australian Labor Party, who does not believe, we do not believe, there ought to be
nuclear power and enrichment in this country, and John Howard who believes there should be.

DANA ROBERTSON: Although the Labor leader's resolved to a drawn-out internal stoush over the
potential policy change.

KIM BEAZLEY: Well, there won't be blood on the walls but there will be a serious argument.

DANA ROBERTSON: He's confident he'll ultimately get his way. John Howard thinks so too.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER (MELBOURNE): They surely won't roll him on this... I can't believe they
would. No, I predict it will get carried, but all it does is bring them limping towards basic
common sense.

DANA ROBERTSON: And the Prime Minister's taken aim at Kim Beazley's statement that nuclear power is
the policy of an idiot.

JOHN HOWARD: There are 31 countries in the world that have nuclear power. Nuclear power produces 16
per cent of the world's electricity. Lots of idiots and lots of idiotic prime minister and idiotic
presidents.

DANA ROBERTSON: Anthony Albanese maintains he'll stick to his guns right up until the final vote at
the Labor national conference in April but he denies his stance is influenced by the strong Green
vote in his own electorate.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I don't think the Greens are a viable proposition at all to win Lower House seats
anywhere.

DANA ROBERTSON: While Federal Labor is at odds over the merits of an expanded uranium industry so
too are the state and territory leaders. Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria are happy with
the status quo. But those who oversee the nation's existing mines are thrilled at the prospect of
more.

CLARE MARTIN, NT CHIEF MINISTER (DARWIN): I would like to see a uranium mine judged on the same
basis as a gold mine or a manganese mine, with all the criteria that you apply there, and certainly
done on a case by case basis.

KEVIN FOLEY, SA DEPUTY PREMIER: This is a great leadership decision by Kim Beazley.

DANA ROBERTSON: But another premier with control over rich uranium deposits is adamant it should
stay in the ground.

ALAN CARPENTER, WA PREMIER (PERTH): We do not want to go down the uranium mining path because it
will inevitably lead to us becoming the world's nuclear waste dump.

DANA ROBERTSON: Nonetheless, the WA Premier says he supports Kim Beazley's stance: because whether
or not to mine should be a decision for the states alone. Dana Robertson, Lateline.