Australian news, and some related international items

FIRST WORLD WAR WOMEN – working for peace – theme for December 2014

 Experience an utterly different First World War in three ways!
 See it online, see the exhibition, and if you take pleasure in these women who worked so well for us so very long ago,
Book the exhibition so you can take friends to see it.


working for peace in Melbourne

1914 – 1919

The Women’s Political Association and
The Women’s Peace Army


1. Online on the Women’s Web stories actions website, 1914-1919 page
2. Also see the exhibition:
- 12/1/15 to 25/2/15 – Queen Victoria Women’s Centre
- All of March 1915 – City of Yarra, including International Women’s Day
- Mid April to Mid May 1915 – Kildara Centre
There is also the book coming early next year
Further information  – contact Geraldine, at Women’s Web (03 9486 1808)

November 10, 2014 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

For renewable energy workers, keeping the Renewable Energy Target would mean keeping their jobs

Xmas-renewablesAll I want for Christmas is renewable energy Kane Thornton, CEO, Clean Energy CounciThe thing most of the 21,000 people working in the renewable energy industry want in their Christmas stocking this year is hope that they will still have a job in 2015.

The federal government’s proposal to slash Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) is bad news not only for the tradies that install solar panels, the wind power technicians and engineers but for construction workers, backhoe operators, truck drivers and the thousands of people who provide valuable services to the renewable energy sector in Australia.

The RET is the policy that supports all these jobs, and it has been supported by all major political parties since it was introduced in 2001. While the government committed to the current policy in the lead-up to the last election, it has provided no credible reason why it needs to be cut – particularly when more than 80 per cent of the country wants more renewable energy rather than less. And cutting the policy will also increase our reliance on high cost gas energy and lead to higher power prices.

So while you are busily decking your halls or decorating your tree, spare a thought for these people in regional and rural parts of the country who will be doing their best to forget their troubles over the festive season.

They want a job supporting renewable energy, but if PM Tony Abbott gets his way they might end up with a lump of coal instead.


December 20, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Important Project – Uranium − The Silent Killer

text-Please-NoteUranium The Silent Killer   Donations are sought for this important project: please visit

At the ANFA (Australia Nuclear Free Alliance) meeting in October 2014, Indigenous Elders called for documentation of the health effects from the Maralinga and other atomic bomb tests in the 1950’s and 1960’s. See for the meeting statement.

From 1952 to 1963 atomic testing covered vast areas of South Australia including Maralinga and Emu Fields test sites. First Nations people along with the rest of the population from the southern regions of Australia were subject to horrific fallout from atomic testing carried out in these remote areas. Permission was never sort from the Aboriginal nations.

This project involves a three-week road trip to archive the stories of the people from Arabuna, Walitina, Ceduna, and Yalata country to produce film, audio and digital documentaries. We will begin a data base of the families affected, the geographical distributions of fall out and detrimental health repercussions of these unconsented tests.

The project will meet with people and family members who remained in the vicinity of the testing who were exposed to the immediate effects of radiological poison; people who were transmigrated from their homelands under duress to missions including Yalata in the south west of the state and people who suffer intergenerational impacts first hand at the expense of the atomic tests.

The project is underway and updates are being posted at:
Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause, and in their uniquely persistent, spreading, genetically damaging radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons. For more information on nuclear weapons, including an article on Yami Lester, one of the survivors of the nuclear tests in South Australia, see

Many Aboriginal people in South Australia still rely on bush foods – plants and animals sourced from land that still is contaminated. The possibility of bioaccumulation is very real. Certainly the stories of early death from cancer, thyroid disease and congenital deformities are continuing.

Donations are sought for this important project before December 30, 2014: please visit

Contact: Dr Hilary Tyler and other members of the project team:

 “I’ve lost a lot of my family members through early death – and a lot of it was through cancer, and I do blame the Maralinga fallout.” − Aunty Martha – Arabana (Lake Eyre)
“Just remember that the fallout at Maralinga affected the whole lot of us. Black, white, brindle; we all breathe the same air, and we’re all being affected in various ways, even though that happened a long time ago. It’s still around.” − Sue Coleman-Haseldine (Kokatha Mula – Ceduna)

December 20, 2014 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Victory for science and public health in removal of Waubra Foundation’s health charity status

astroturf-windRemoval of anti-windfarm group’s charity status is a ‘victory for science’, , Guardian 19 Dec 14 Greens say decision by regulator to remove Waubra Foundation’s tax-deductible status is ‘a victory for science and a victory for public health’……..“The Waubra foundation should never have been granted status as health promotion charity, and the fact that it has now lost that status is a victory for science and a victory for public health,” Greens senator Richard di Natale said.

“I’m glad that we will no longer be lending legitimacy to an organisation that may be harming people in an effort to undermine an important source of clean and renewable energy.”……..

Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at Sydney University, said the foundation had “made it their business” to spread fear and mistrust of wind turbines……..

The Waubra foundation is named after the Victorian town of Waubra, which has become a hub for wind-powered energy, with 128 turbines in the area.

Many of the town’s inhabitants have distanced themselves from the group, and called on it to remove the town’s name from its title…….

December 20, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | Leave a comment

Deteriorating radiation situation at Fukushima – worse than Chernobyl

Fukushima Exponentially More Dire than Chernobyl — Deteriorating Plant Threatens Global Radiation? By  Guy Crittenden  Global Research, December 18, 2014 ENEnews 12 December 2014


  • “…………Instead of a long article about what transpired in 2014 and what may be ahead, I’m going to offer readers three items… that have made a deep impression on me recently; these are “must watch” items for anyone interested in helping our species avoid peril from environmental degradation
  • The deteriorating status of things at the destroyed nuclear plant at Fukushima, Japan…you have an obligation, really, to be aware of conditions there
  • [There is a] very real and present threat from the… highly radioactive… destroyed cores of the reactors, as well as things like the storage of contaminated water in hastily-built, rusting containers
  • This is serious stuff… an actual meltdown of the reactors — real China Syndrome stuff — as had been assumed would never likely happen in a modern reactor
  • The situation is exponentially more dire than Chernobyl
  • [Workers must] remove the rods for safe containment without having them contact one another and trigger a fire, the consequences of which would be unimaginable — We’re talking mass extinction around the world, especially in the northern hemisphere
  • Most people have forgotten the situation and think of it only as a local Japanese problem
  • It’s only a matter of time before another earthquake or tidal wave triggers such an event

Kevin Kamps, nuclear waste watchdog for Beyond Nuclear, Nuclear Hotseat, Dec 9, 2014 (at 37:00 in):  “If the meltdown is bad enough, that’s going to burn its way right through the foundations of the containment — like we’ve seen at Fukushima Daiichi.”

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shutdowns of nuclear power in USA

financial-disaster-1Nuclear Shutdown News, December 2014, Ob Rag by  on DECEMBER 19, 2014 by Michael Steinberg / blackrainpress

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear power industry. As nuclear power reactors approach or surpass their planned operating life of 40 years, they have become less and less reliable and more and more threatening. What to do about this? A complete and immediate shut down of them all! NO NUKES!

Here’s our December report. Continue reading

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Waubra Foundation no longer gets charity tax subsidy for anti wind farm activities

astroturf-windWaubra Foundation, prominent anti-wind farm lobby, stripped of health promotion charity status ABC News By environment and science reporter Jake Sturmer 18 Dec 2014, Government regulators have stripped a prominent anti-wind farm lobby of its health promotion charity status.

The status allowed the Waubra Foundation to receive tax deductible donations, concessions the Greens described as “enormous public subsidies”.

A year ago the ABC revealed the Greens made a complaint to the Taxation Office and Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC), claiming there was no credible evidence to suggest a direct link between wind turbines and health problems.

University of Sydney Professor of Public Health Simon Chapman supports that view.

“There’s very, very poor evidence of any direct effect – in fact there have been 22 published reviews since 2003 which have all reached that conclusion,” Professor Chapman said.

“So in other words there’s nothing intrinsic that’s emitted from wind farms – sound etcetera – which in itself can cause human health problems.”

Four months after the Greens made the complaint, the Commission sent a show cause notice to the Foundation.

“It is not possible for me to find that the Foundation’s principal activity promotes the prevention or control of disease in human beings,” Assistant Commissioner David Locke said in February.

“My current view is there is that there is insufficient evidence that ‘wind turbine syndrome’ or ‘vibroacoustic disease’ caused by proximity to wind turbines are recognised as human diseases or that the health problems that have been perceived by the complainants as being associated with living or working close to wind turbines are a disease.”………..

December 20, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Australia’s undemocratic voting system lets cranks like Leyonhjelm and Lambie have undue influence

a-cat-CANI hope that. in this busy week, readers will take time to read Jim Green’s letter to conservation scientists, refuting the extraordinary push for nuclear power that seems to have caught some of them up in Barry Brook’s zeal for the nuclear industry.

I also hope that by reading THE AUSTRALIAN’s account of Senator David Leyonhjelm’s quite eccentric ideas on nuclear power, readers will reflect on the plight of politics in Australia.  Thanks to the smartaleck manipulations of  Glenn Druery – we now have a situation where the Australian government can be strongly influenced by complete nutters and ignorami getting into the Senate on a miniscule sprinkling of votes.

One of these is Senator  Leyonhjelm – whose response to the Sydney hostage drama was that Australian s should have MORE guns.   I found myself applauding former prime minister John Howard for his outspoken stance, and his actions on gun control –  and his response to the weapon-happy Leyonhjelm.

Like Senator Jacqui Lambie, darling of the fossil fuel industries, who is aiming to destroy the Renewable Energy Target, Senator  Leyonhjelm is one of those undemocratically propelled into Parliament by the Druery-style manipulation of preference votes.

Well, I’m betting that Tony Abbott won’t be in government that long – and may Leyonhjelm and Lambie disappear from the scene at the same time.


December 19, 2014 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

88% of Australians say there would be no winners in a nuclear war

Nuclear Weapons in Australia: No Winners In A Nuclear War, IBT, By Athena Yenko | December 3, Eighty-eight percent of Australians believe that there would be no victors when a nuclear war erupts. Thinking of the devastation to the humans by a possible nuclear war made 80 percent of Australians support a legally binding treaty to ban the deployment of nuclear weapons. This finding is according to a nationwide survey conducted by the Australian Red Cross.2014 ……..

The destruction and harmful effect of a nuclear weapon after it is used is not limited in space or time. The radiation released by a single nuclear ignition is fatal to humans, agriculture and natural resources. Its long lasting effect may still be felt by the future generations, Australian Red Cross said………

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jim Green busts the pro nuclear spin of some conservation scientists

BubbleBurst-1Endorsing the wishful thinking and misinformation presented in the Brook-Bradshaw journal article is no substitute for an honest acknowledgement of the proliferation problems associated with nuclear power, coupled with serious, sustained efforts to solve those problems.

‘Wishful thinking and misinformation': An open letter to nuclear lobbyists

JIM GREEN 18 DEC,  A group of conservation scientists has published an open letter urging environmentalists to reconsider their opposition to nuclear power. The letter is an initiative of Australian academics Barry Brook and Corey Bradshaw.

The co-signatories “support the broad conclusions drawn in the article ‘Key role for nuclear energy in global biodiversity conservation’, published in Conservation Biology.” The open letter states: “Brook and Bradshaw argue that the full gamut of electricity-generation sources − including nuclear power − must be deployed to replace the burning of fossil fuels, if we are to have any chance of mitigating severe climate change.”

So, here’s my open letter in response to the open letter initiated by Brook and Bradshaw:

– – –

Dear conservation scientists, Continue reading

December 19, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Get a load of the pro nuclear tripe from nutty Senator David Leyonhjelm

Leyonhjelm,-DavidGet real on nuclear benefits, says David Leyonhjelm 

IF any country in the world should embrace nuclear power it is Australia, or at the very least the nation needs to examine creating a uranium processing industry, it has been claimed. Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm has called for a debate on the ­viability of ­nuclear power in Australia, arguing that “nuclear power has proven to be safer than just about any other form of power generation’’.

Writing in The Australian today, Senator Leyonhjelm says the environmental problems ­associated with nuclear power are “greatly exaggerated”.

He says it is true that the clean-up of the Fukushima site in Japan, which was badly damaged by a tsunami in 2011, would be costly, but “No one at Fukushima was exposed to enough radiation to get so much as a runny nose’’.

Senator Leyonhjelm says renewable energy such as solar and wind farms routinely occupy huge swaths of land for relatively small returns.

“You need to have drunk a particularly strong ideological kool-aid to believe a technology that covers the landscape in metal is good for the environment,’’ he says. “The volume of nuclear waste produced by nuclear power is smaller than most people are led to believe, it can be safely stored, and is likely to become re-usable as technology develops.”

December 19, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Death toll of babies downwind of USA nuclear site

death-nuclearVideo: Cemetery blocks filled with babies downwind of US nuclear site — “This needs to be talked about, the children… murdered” — Mother: My newborns died within hours, tumors all over, brain disintegrated after massive stroke — “Body parts, cadavers, fetuses… the nuclear industry took in the dead of night… from all over US

Kay Sutherland (Walla Walla, Washington) published Nov 8, 2010 (emphasis added):

  • We’re in the Walla Walla Mountain View Cemetery standing where the babies’ graves are… Many children all died in the same era… (counting tombstones) 1950, 1950, 1950, 1950, 1945 — All of these babies need to have a voice in what Hanford has done. From this section… back towards my car, is all babies. Some of them do not have marked graves, my cousin was one.
  • All of them here say ’48, ’49, ’48, ’48, ’48… ’55, ’55, ’56… ’48, ’48, ’48… This is what needs to be talked about — the children… our future, that Hanford murdered… ’46, ’46, ’46… this area must be the 1954 and ’55 area… It breaks your heart to know that there was so much sadness… because of a handful of men who decided to play god and took away… our life, our hope. ’62, ’62, ’62.
  • My daughter [Jennifer] was born in 1963 [and is] buried here… double club feet… tumors throughout her body, an enlarged liver, and died from a massive stroke which disintegrated her brain. She lived 15 hours.
  • It doesn’t even tell you about all the miscarriages… I myself had 4 miscarriages.
  • My children are right over here… Todd lived 36 hours… These babies need to have a voice in what has happened… Todd weighed 3 lbs, 14 oz… the placenta didn’t develop.
  • Jennifer, her birth was very traumatic… I hemorrhaged… filled my bed with blood. The doctor told me… when the water broke, it was green, foul smelling… It took her 2 hours… to die after she had her stroke. They never brought her to me so I could hold her… I wasn’t even told until the following day she was dead… It just goes on and on and on.

According to the Walla Walla coroner’s website, they have ‘unclaimed’ remains of nearly 100 cremated babies95% of the babies died between 1946 and the 1970s (56 of 57 boys33 of 36 girls). “Hanford produced its first plutonium on Nov 6, 1944 [until] the reactor shutdown in the 1970s.” -Source

Sutherland also noted this about Jennifer: “Her body had been removed and I wasn’t even told that she was cremated. I thought that she had been buried here… she sat on the shelf of the mortuary for 4 years… It was big secret that was kept from me, from my whole family… Everything that I thought was true wasn’t. What was true I didn’t know… Jennifer was delivered by one of the old doctors of Walla Walla… the old doctors were in-on-the-know with Hanford… His very church-going friend… did the experiments on the prisoners… She was autopsied by the very same pathology lab that autopsied Hanford people. They would… steal them away from the mortuaries over there, bring them to Walla Walla, have the pathology lab do their tests or take their body samples or parts, and take them back to Hanford… without their families ever knowing… The nuclear mausoleum [is] under the direction of… Washington St. University… They have body parts, cadavers, fetuses — any kind of sample that you can imagine… that the nuclear industry took in the dead of night, under cloak-and-dagger terms, from all over the US [and] nuclear facilities.”

Watch the interview with Sutherland here

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Global success of renewables, as nuclear industry fails

sun-championAll over the world, renewables are beating nuclear David Elliott, 18 Dec 2014, The Ecologist

As flagship nuclear projects run into long delays and huge cost overruns, solar and wind power are falling in price, writes David Elliott. Renewables already supply twice as much power as nuclear. It’s just too bad the nuclear-fixated UK government hasn’t noticed.

Renewables are winning out just about everywhere. They now supply over 19% of global primary energy and 22% of global electricity. Nuclear is at 11% and falling. Continue reading

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s subsidies to fossil fuel industries – $47 billion!

fossil-fuel-industryAustralian fossil fuel subsidies put at $47bn, as RET wrestle continues, REneweconomy, By  on 18 December 2014 In an budget forecast punctuated by fiscal belt tightening, Australia’s fossil fuel sector is set to receive a whopping $47 billion in federal government subsidies over the next four years, a new report has found.

The analysis, released on Thursday by the Australian Conservation Foundation, uses federal budget data confirmed by this week’s mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) to identify and tally government handouts for the production and use of fossil fuels. Among the biggest are the Fuel Tax Credit scheme ($27.9 billion over four years), concessional rate of excise on aviation fuel ($5.5 billion), accelerated depreciation rules ($1.5 billion) and the removal of the carbon price ($12.5 billion).

Meanwhile, the renewable energy industry remains under a cloud of uncertainty, with renewed federal government attacks on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) coming just a week after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop used it to bolster Australia’s climate credentials in Lima.

According to figures released by the Labor Party today, investment in renewables in Australia has fallen by 70 per cent since the Coalition came to power………

This glaring divide between Australia’s renewables sector – which is languishing in political limbo – and its fossil fuels sector – which is being given multi-billion-dollar incentives to keep polluting – is part of the Abbott government’s “nonsensical approach” to energy, says ACF President Geoff Cousins.

“With one hand the Government encourages pollution by giving the Fuel Tax Credit diesel subsidy to the mining industry and others, then with the other hand it gives out money through so called ‘Direct Action’, which subsidises businesses to reduce emissions,” Cousins said.

“Unfortunately the $47 billion incentive to pollute is much stronger than Direct Action’s $1 billion incentive to reduce pollution.

Cousins points to the Fuel Tax Credit scheme – which allows corporations like Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton to pay virtually no tax on the diesel they use – as the most perverse of the subsidies, given car drivers and small businesses pay nearly 39c in tax for every litre of fuel they buy.

Figures released in this week’s mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) show that of the $4.2 billion extra the government will raise through the indexation of fuel excise, $1.9 billion will be refunded to eligible businesses via the Fuel Tax Credit scheme.

“For a Government that desperately needs to find some Budget savings, cutting fossil fuel handouts that encourage pollution should be obvious,” Cousins said.

December 19, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Hottest year on record, as ocean warming increases

climate-changeWarm oceans keep world on course for hottest year  December 16, 2014  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Ongoing record warmth in the world’s oceans has increased the likelihood that 2014 will be declared the hottest year since reliable data began more than a century ago, US and Japanese agencies say.

The warmth comes as conditions in the Pacific remain conducive to an El Nino event forming in coming months, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said.

Surface temperatures have exceeded El Nino threshold levels for several weeks, and the bureau estimates there is a greater than 70 per cent chance of such an event soon.

The first 11 months of the year were the warmest on record, with combined global land and sea-surface temperatures running 1.22 degrees above the 20th-century average, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

This year will be the hottest on record – eclipsing 2005 and 2010 – provided December is at least 0.76 degrees above average, NOAA said…………

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian National University congratulated on divesting from fossil fuels

The mayor of Seattle congratulates the ANU on divesting from fossil fuels MIKE MCGINN ABC Environment 18 DEC 2014 The advertisement supporting the ANU’s decision was backed by prominent leaders and business people.

The mayor of the first city in the world to divest from fossil fuels has applauded the Australian National University for showing the same foresight. SOMETIMES THE BEST measure of a movement’s momentum is the reaction of its critics. When, in early October, the Australian National University announced that it would sell its shares in seven fossil-fuel and mining companies, it triggered a chorus of criticism from conservative politicians.

These nominal champions of the free market were quick to tell the university what it should do with its money. The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, disparaged the ANU’s decision as being “removed from reality”. Others chimed in, calling it “a disgrace”, “very strange”, and “narrow-minded and irresponsible”. Never mind that the sums involved were relatively small — making up less than two per cent of the university’s estimated $1 billion portfolio.

As the drive to divest from fossil fuels picks up speed, such panicky responses are becoming increasingly common. ………….

The ANU’s decision looks like a sage one to anyone not in thrall to oil and gas companies, and it will only look wiser with the passing of time. Good on them. When I put Seattle on the path to divestment in 2013, my decision was well received by the young people who will have to live with the consequences of global warming, as well as the general public. As the political pressure mounts, the university’s administrators need only listen to the students.

We need more courage like that shown by the ANU. Its leaders bucked the power of coal and oil interests, which wield enormous power in Australia. If they can do it to popular acclaim, others can, too.

Mike McGinn is a former mayor of Seattle, the first city to commit to divestment from fossil fuels.

December 19, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


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