The Book of Commonsense: Chapter One

27 June, 2024

Today I open a new book, a new gospel. I'm going to read a verse from the gospel of Adam: Adam Creighton of the Australian, with a new book called a new book called 'The Book of Common Sense'. For this nation and nations around the world, with regard to the arguments that you and everybody in this room have heard about whether we use nuclear power or we don't use nuclear power—thousands of words written over the last six to eight weeks in newspapers across this land. So I open the new book today: the book of common sense. One of the profits and watch keepers of this book of common sense that I open today is Adam Creighton. There are others, but there is Adam Creighton particularly in an article in the Australian today which to me says it all.

For a start, he talked about how the electoral fortunes of those in Europe, who have voted recently, seem to be changing in dramatic ways. In a biblical reflection, their voting trends are changing, and they're changing because they are people who are thinking and using the book of common sense. In France, the support for the great green movement has halved to 5.5 per cent. In Germany, support for the Greens collapsed 50 per cent, to 12 per cent from 24. In the US, support for nuclear energy for domestic power surged from 43 per cent in 2020 to 57 per cent in 2023. The number of nuclear reactors in the US, which provide around 20 per cent of the country's electricity, declined from a peak of 111 in the eighties to 93 today, but nuclear power is being embraced by the current Biden administration as the only realistic way to achieve net zero.

I am enjoying this book of common sense. France has announced it's building at least six and up to 14 new nuclear power stations in the coming years. India is building how many—18 nuclear stations by 2030. China is planning at least 100 new reactors by 2035. Yes, nuclear power stations will be expensive until the speed of production increases and local industry adjusts. State and federal governments in Australia spent around $400 billion of borrowed money during COVID for an excess deaths outcome which was scarcely different from Sweden, who spent barely anything in comparison.

Yes, this book of common sense. Since 1997, fossil fuel consumption in absolute terms around the world has increased 55 per cent. Its share of the total has declined from 86 per cent to 82, down four per cent. We haven't been able to achieve that much in the grand scheme of the global energy transition. For affluent nations like ours to achieve net-zero carbon goals in international treaties that they've signed up to, they are required to commit to an annual expenditure of at least 20 per cent of GDP for decades. More than 80 million kilometres of new transmission lines across the world—the equivalent of redoing the entire global grid—would need to be built by 2040. I put to you that I have opened the book of common sense; it's not the first time you'll hear this gospel from me. I'm glad that the minister is in the room, and I hope she and her department take good account of this opening of the book of common sense.

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Russell Broadbent MP
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