By Steve Painter
With the WA Inc and other slush funds well and truly dried up, the Labor Party hierarchy is on the run over the uranium issue. Realising that big-dollar campaigns will be beyond the party for the foreseeable future, and that some ranks might once more be needed for traditional electoral work, Bob Hawke recently assured backbenchers that he will not pursue a change in the three-mine uranium policy at the national conference in June.
Right-wing machine man Graham Richardson has signalled that the issue probably won't even get on the agenda: "No-one knows yet whether there'll even be a debate on this at our conference". The Tasmanian ALP recently voted against a policy change.
Anti-nuclear groups are planning to press their advantage in the lead-up to the June conference. The Movement Against Uranium Mining and Friends of the Earth "do not intend to let the uranium issue drop", said the two organisations in a May 15 statement.
"Rather we plan to redouble our efforts to get the ALP to adopt clear and unambiguous policies to end uranium mining" and clean up the mess made by existing mines.
The groups, together with the recently formed Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Australia, are planning to raise the issue in parliament, lobby national conference delegates and organise actions around the time of the conference. n