Nuclear showdown set to atomise federal parliament

The fallout from the opposition's proposed nuclear reactors is set to send Parliament House into meltdown, as the cost of living continues to dominate the political conversation.

Both the Senate and the House or Representatives will sit from Monday to Thursday for the next two weeks as parliament embarks on its final fortnight before a mid-year break.

A nuclear war of words will likely play out during Question Time after the coalition on Wednesday announced it would build seven plants at the sites of coal-fired power stations if it wins the next election.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called the proposition a "fantasy", noting the opposition had not released many details nor announced how much it would cost.

It would also squander the nation's potential as Australia is well positioned to take advantage of resources like wind and solar, Mr Albanese said.

Plants would be built at Loy Yang in Victoria's Gippsland region, Callide and Tarong in Queensland, Mount Piper at Lithgow in central west NSW and Liddell in NSW's Hunter region.

Small modular reactors would be located at Port Augusta in South Australia and Muja, in WA's South West region.

Though Opposition Leader Peter Dutton acknowledged it would be "a lot of money", he said Australians were struggling to pay their energy bills and claimed the policy would eventually bring power prices down.

But energy bill relief is already on the horizon for Australian households with the government's $300 rebate set to kick in after July 1.

Labor's defences against cost-of-living jabs will also be bolstered by their tax cuts and the Fair Work Commission's 3.75 per cent increase in minimum wages - both of which will come into effect at the beginning of July.

The ripples from Chinese Premier Li Qiang's visit are also expected to play out in parliament as questions hang over the remaining trade sanctions on rock lobsters and Chinese officials' treatment of Australian journalist Cheng Lei.

nuclear showdown set to atomise federal parliament

The treatment by Chinese officials of journalist Cheng Lei is expected to be a focus of parliament. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

Ms Cheng, who had served three years in a Chinese jail, was at a Parliament House signing ceremony between Mr Li and Mr Albanese when a Chinese embassy official moved in front of her, obstructing her view and attempting to stop her being filmed by the cameras.

The event was decried by the prime minister as "ham-fisted" and fomented concerns within the opposition as Australia's relationship with China continues to thaw.

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