NUCLEAR POWER INQUIRY:
Energy Minister Angus Taylor has used the announcement of a parliamentary inquiry into nuclear power generation in Australia to issue a pre-emptive denial of any wrongdoing on his part.
“I have complied totally with my ministerial responsibilities when handling this issue and I categorically deny any wrongdoing,” Mr Taylor emphatically told puzzled and startled reporters attending a Parliament House news conference in Canberra.
When quizzed on why he had made the vigorous defence of his integrity and ministerial decision-making, Mr Taylor said he was “simply saving time”.
“Look, we all know that everything I touch as Minister ends up in a quagmire of questions about what I did or didn’t do that may or may not have breached expected standards of ministerial behaviour,” he said.
“Somewhere along the line this new inquiry into nuclear power is bound to come across some issue or some decision in which I’ve been involved that the Labor opposition or someone else will claim is a conflict of interest or has involved some alleged wrongdoing on my part, my immediate family or, come to think of it, even my not-so-immediate family.
“So it’s easier for everyone to get this out of the way upfront so that when the time comes I can simply refer to my previous denial.”
The new Federal Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into Nuclear Power is expected to begin work soon with its first witness to be noted Russian Government nuclear power plant specialist, Professor Igor Blimey, (main picture).
Mr Blimey, who has supervised several Russian nuclear power plants, is expected to provide evidence with the help of a voice-box machine of advances in the monitoring and safety of modern nuclear plants.
Mr Blimey started his career as a low-level safety officer at the Chernobyl power plant just a few years before its near-meltdown in 1986.