The Victorian Labor Party has gone on a propaganda offensive against the Greens, accusing them of selling out on nuclear issues and taking away Victorians' right to protest against nuclear reactors. Large posters have been put up and pamphlets will be sent to households in the four lower-house seats where the Greens pose the most direct challenge to the ALP.
Last month the Greens, in conjunction with the Liberals, the National Party and the Democratic Labor Party, defeated a bill in the upper house that would have allowed the Victorian government to call a referendum if the federal government announced intentions to build a nuclear reactor in Victoria.
Greens MLC Greg Barber told Green Left Weekly that the government refused to back Greens amendments that aimed to empower parliament rather than a single minister to frame the question of the referendum and to decide the most appropriate timing for it.
"The ALP was not prepared to accept our very simple and basic amendments but rather trash the entire bill. This is an indication to us that they were never really serious about this issue in the first place, and their vote at the ALP national conference in favour of open-slather uranium mining further confirms this", Barber said.
According to Barber, the Greens are looking to put up a private members bill with the aim of amending the Victorian constitution to ensure the state's nuclear-free status.
Barber called on the government to "entrench the prohibitions from the Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act into the Victorian constitution. Then no future state government could go down the nuclear path without a referendum supported by Victorian voters. That's as strong a protection as we can possibly have under Victorian law."