Australian news, and some related international items

Australian government allows BHP new uranium mine to avoid environmental impact statement

Abbott’s Olympic dodge on environmental protections  The Australian Greens say the Abbott Government is shirking responsibility by waiving a new environmental impact statement for the proposed expansion of Olympic Dam.

“The Federal Government needs to do its job and stop putting the private profits of the big mining companies ahead of the environment,” said South Australian Greens Senator Penny Wright.  “This is a short-sighted measure, which shows how little the Government cares about environmental protection.”

Senator Wright said BHP’s original environmental impact statement did not mention acid leaching but there were serious concerns around about this process in South Australia, with previous leaching in a copper mine near Copely resulting in leaks and contamination.

“We need to be sure that chemical pollution from BHP’s trial will be contained. If the Federal Government is cutting corners, what’s to stop BHP from skimping on environmental protections?


Senator Wright urged the Weatherill Government to guarantee environmental safety, but said their record was not cause for optimism.

“Just because the Commonwealth doesn’t care about the environment, doesn’t let the State Government off the hook. They should demand a full environmental impact statement before taking any further steps,” she added.

September 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australian environmental justice activist refused entry to Malaysia 

exclamation-flag-Malaysia1 Sept 14, Australian resident Natalie Lowrey was refused entry into Malaysia after returning as an observer on the criminalisation of environmental defenders against Australian rare earth miner, Lynas Corporation. On arrival at in Malaysia, Lowrey was detained by customs who said she had been blacklisted by Bukit Aman (the police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur) and that she would be deported back to the country she flew in from. She is being sent to Bali and will fly into Sydney on Tuesday 2 September at 6.50am. Lowrey was informed of a strict denial of entry to Malaysia, reasons not given.

Australian rare earths company, Lynas Corporation Ltd, whose processing plant is in Kuantan, Malaysia is the focus of Malaysia’s largest environmental movement. Lynas has been under pressure for the past three years for having no social licence to operate. Their 2 year Temporary Operating Licence (TOL) is due to expire on 2nd September. Continue reading

September 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Dear grandchildren – we’re sorry that we trashed your world

world-grandchildrenDEAR GRANDCHILDREN, WE’RE SORRY,   GARY LEBLANC  September 29, 2043


Dear Grandchildren,

We’re sorry for…

… playing God with mother nature and destroying our food chain with GMOs and indiscriminate biotech engineering.
… neglecting our health and burdening you with insurmountable health costs. We felt we were entitled to do what we wanted.
… destroying our oceans. We didn’t collectively protect our oceans from the billions of tons of toxic waste we dumped in it daily.
… killing off entire species of animals for our selfish wants. Ignorance was an easier path than activism.
… forgetting the meaning of community. I can’t tell you when we stopped supporting those in need. The philosophy of abundance just seemed to take a back seat to one of scarcity.
… ignoring the effects of climate change. We just thought it was too expensive to address the issue. It was too easy to pretend things would be ok.

We really hope you understand. You can’t blame us. Nobody knew this would happen. In the meantime, listen to this song. And really, we’re very sorry.

Sincerely yours,


September 2, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The “marching” movement is becoming an influential voice in Australian politics

the electoral “people power” channeled through the March movement is becoming an influential voice in Australian politics.

Find out more about March Australia on their website or get involved by emailing


The March Australia movement has declared the latest round of ongoing protest rallies against the Abbott Coalition government to be an inspiring success for “people power”.

Angered by Government policy, people took to the streets in 27 locations around Australia this weekend, from the state capitals to the more traditionally conservative regional centres such as Bega, Bathurst and Cairns.

Tens of thousands joined the marches, the fourth cluster of rallies since March. Continue reading

September 2, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

40.000 people march against the Abbott government

protestMarch in August protests against Abbott government held across Australia
THOUSANDS of Australians have rallied at March in Australia protests around the country this weekend, protesting against the Abbott government after almost one year in power.Protest organisers say around 40,000 people have marched at 31 locations, including capital cities and tiny regional towns…..
MORE: Tens of thousands turn out for March in March protest against Abbott government3  AUGUST 31, 2014

Thousands of protesters in Hyde Park for ‘March Australia’ rally August 31, 2014 Angelo RissThousands of protesters descended on Hyde Park on Sunday for the third instalment of the “March Australia” rallies.

Following the success of marches in March and May, which drew over 10,000 people to each event in Sydney, the rally brought its usual share of colour, noise and creative placards but numbers appeared to be down.

Signs with the phrase “Team Humanity” – a play on Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s call for migrants to sign up for “Team Australia”, were prominent…….

Thousands join March Australia protest in Brisbane Brisbane Times, August 31, 2014  Thousands of protesters have marched through Brisbane’s CBD to coincide with a wave of anti-government rallies across the country.

Between 4000 and 5000 people attended the March Australia rally in Queens Park on Sunday to send a strong message of protest against recent state and federal government policy decisions, while similar gatherings were held in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.

Protesters marched down Adelaide and Edward streets calling for the repeal of the Newman government’s controversial anti-association legislation, as well as an end to its asset sales agenda…….March Australia is a non-partisan independent alliance of citizens groups, which does not limit its objectives to a selected list of policy issues, but encourages supporters to attend rallies to lobby for all issues that are important to them.

September 2, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s Renewable Energy Target review – a love letter for the coal industry

fossil-fuel-industryRenewable energy target review an exercise in fossil thinking SBS News, by Greg Jericho 1 Sept 14  Thus, clearly it needs to be completely gutted.…..In essence, the report finds that the RET is working very well – indeed, better than expected – and is having a minimal impact on prices. Moreover, it could even lead to lower electricity prices after 2020.

The report is a love letter for the coal industry. It argues that because demand for electricity is decreasing, coal and other non-renewable energy generators need to be protected from would-be new entrants – i.e. renewable energy entrants not new non-renewable ones.

It therefore recommends the scheme be stopped for any new entrants, which if the government agreed, would in a stroke kill any new investment in the industry and put at risk the returns on investments already made on the presumption the RET would not be changed. ….

It’s hard not to think Greg Hunt is in his job purely for window dressing. He was the bloke in the Liberal Party who seemed to actually agree with the science on climate change, and so Tony Abbot found him useful to placate that small section of would-be LNP voters who cared about the issue.


He kept his role as environment spokesperson in opposition and as Minister in government. The only price to pay was to trash everything he had previously advocated. It’s a price he has willingly – nay, eagerly – paid.

And thus far he has been the most redundant minister in the government. …..

September 2, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Abbott sanctions agricultural exports to Russia, but uranium exports continue

hypocrisy-scaleAustralia to Step Up Economic Sanctions on Russia  Trade Between Two Nations Worth $1.68 Billion a Year , WSJ By ROB TAYLOR 1 Sept 14 CANBERRA, Australia—Australia will ratchet up economic sanctions against Russia in response to its military action in Ukraine, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying Moscow risked becoming an “international pariah.”

Australia plans to match measures introduced by the European Union last month and increase restrictions on the access of Russian state-owned banks to Australian capital markets, Mr. Abbott said, while barring the export of goods and services for use in Russia’s oil exploration and production.

But the list of additional sanctions didn’t mention the sale of Australian uranium….

September 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Queensland government wants India to invest in uranium mining in Queensland

dollar 2Australia’s Queensland state seeks investment from Indian firms in uranium mining Business Today Anilesh S Mahajan      August 29, 2014   A week before Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott lands in New Delhi on his first trip to India, the Australian state of Queensland is soliciting investments from Indian companies to mine uranium…….

At a select media briefing, the state’s trade and investment commissioner for South Asia, Parag Shirname, said that there are two-three Indian corporate houses that are keenly looking at getting the mining license, once the deal is reached. “We have already briefed them about the regulatory frameworks, geological data and the attorney firms. They are exploring the opportunity,” he said. Shirname refused to divulge the names of these corporate houses citing non-disclosure agreements. ……
ith Indian investments, the government there is expecting production to go up about 30 per cent by 2017, from 6,976 tonne in 2011. The Queensland government restarted the process of giving out mining licenses from July this year, after a moratorium of 25 years.
India has already concluded civil nuclear cooperation agreements with Argentina and Kazakhstan, and a similar contract with Canada is in final stages……
As per Canadian law, Indian companies can take only 49 per cent of equity in a uranium mining company……..”There are no such conditions if they come to Australia,” Shirname said.
Modi, on his visit to Japan , is expected to sign a nuclear deal with Japan, which will not only smoothen the investment of Japanese companies in setting up of nuclear plants, but will also help the US treaty to be enforced as most US nuclear equipment companies either have Japanese investments or they work in conjunction.

September 2, 2014 Posted by | business, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Victoria’s Liberal government systematically destroying renewable energy

Liberal-policy-1Napthine government accused of attacking renewable energy incentives August 31, 2014  State political editor for The Age. The Napthine government has been accused of systematically destroying renewable energy as green groups prepare for a ground offensive targeting key electorates ahead of the November 29 election.

A report by Environment Victoria claims the government has made 25 attacks on clean energy, including “extreme” restrictions on wind farms, removing the 20 per cent emissions reduction target from the Climate Change Act, cutting and restricting the solar feed-in tariff, scrapping a commitment to replace street lights with energy efficient light bulbs, cancelling the solar hot water rebate and opposing the carbon tax.

Since the November 2010 election, the environment has remained on the periphery of state politics. In the latest Age/Nielsen poll, it ranked sixth on a list of nine key issues for voters, behind health, education, jobs, financial management and public transport.

But with the Abbott government considering breaking an election pledge by scaling down Australia’s renewable energy target, the state government is believed to be examining various options for an environment policy to counter voter concerns.

attacks were announced to the public before the 2010 election, and it is difficult to see how they have benefited the people of Victoria.”

The antagonistic claims follow a submission to the federal review of Australia’s renewable energy target by the Napthine Government. It argues the renewable energy target – ensuring that at least 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity is derived from clean sources – should be scaled back and suggests gas-fired power and power generated using waste wood from native forest logging should be counted……..

Mr Wakeham said renewable energy had increased its share in spite of state government policy, largely because of the federal renewable energy target, something which the state government’s colleagues in Canberra want to destroy.

Environment Victoria is preparing to target key marginal electorates – including some of the crucial “sandbelt” seats on the eastern side of Port Philip Bay – using hundreds of trained volunteers.

Environment Victoria chief executive Mark Wakeham accused the government of running an agenda to destroy clean energy because it was “joined at the hip” with coal companies, risking billions of dollars of investment.


“Most of Victoria’s policy agenda for a cleaner and more efficient energy mix has been deliberately dismantled over the past four years,” Mr Wakeham said. “

September 2, 2014 Posted by | energy, Victoria | Leave a comment

Powershop – Australia’s only real renewable energy electricity retailer, has the others worried

Australia-solar-plugElectricity Retailers Paying Price For Undermining RET  1 Sept 14, According to national solar provider Energy Matters; electricity retailers backing a reduction or abolishing of the Renewable Energy Target are paying the ultimate price – losing customers.

Energy Matters CEO Jeremy Rich says households and businesses disgusted by the position of some retailers – including Energy Australia, Origin Energy and AGL – are taking their business elsewhere.

“We’re aware some of our customers have made the shift to other electricity retailers purely on the basis of support for the Renewable Energy Target,” says Mr. Rich. “It’s not just solar households making the switch to RET-friendly retailers either – even some of those without panels installed are rebelling in a display of solidarity.”

“We certainly encourage households and businesses to shop around and select a retailer aligned with their own views about Australia’s clean energy future – and to let the retailer they are leaving know why.”

According to Greenpeace, Origin Energy, EnergyAustralia and AGL currently provide electricity to over three quarters of Australian households.

“‘The Dirty Three’ sometimes market themselves as environmentally conscious, but their ‘green’ initiatives are small compared to their investments in coal and gas generation,” says the group. “Recently these companies have been undermining Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.” One of the companies disillusioned consumers are gravitating to is Powershop; Australia’s first 100% carbon neutral energy retailer.

“Powershop believes support for renewable energy is demonstrated by deeds not words, and we know that our customers are looking to make their support for renewable energy real,” says part of a statement from the company; which was named the greenest retailer in Australia by Greenpeace and the Total Environment Centre in August.

Powershop’s offers are available to residents of Victoria only at this point in time. The company can be contacted on 1800 462 668.

Another company benefiting from the RET-inspired rebellion is Momentum Energy; which provides services in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.

Momentum Energy’s SmilePower offers clean energy from a hydro system that has been powering Tasmania for nearly 100 years. Electricity generated in Tasmania is transmitted across Bass Strait via the Basslink undersea cable and into the NEM (National Electricity Market).  Momentum Energy can be contacted on 1800 SWITCH (1800 794 824).

“Switching electricity retailers is usually a quick and easy process these days,” says Mr. Rich. “Often a few minutes on the phone is all it takes to find a comparable or even better deal. It’s a simple action that can save money while sending a very clear message – hands off the Renewable Energy Target!”

September 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Australia has a “normal” government? Not really – and they know it!

Abbott-govt-worriedIt’s anything but ‘situation normal’ for the Government The Drum By Paula Matthewson 1 Sept 14  Why is the Government so determined to repeal the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, when both public sentiment and the Senate aren’t on side? Paula Matthewson writes.

One glance at the work program for this week’s sitting of the Senate belies the Abbott Government’s claim that they’re operating under “situation normal”.

More than 20 pieces of legislation are listed for debate in the Upper House compared with just six in the House of Representatives.

The same occurred at the beginning of last week when a similar number of Senate bills were flagged for consideration, only to be pared back once the lay of the land began to emerge……..

In cases such as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which Palmer vowed to protect when announcing his climate action policy alongside Al Gore, the Government has quietly dropped the bill to abolish the CEFC off the legislative agenda altogether.

Similarly, the bill to abolish the Climate Change Authority has gone missing in action. This is not only because Palmer intends to oppose the bill; he also plans to amend it to introduce his Claytons emissions trading scheme.

The risk to the Government is not so much from Palmer’s ETS, which will be killed off anyway once it reaches the House of Representatives, but in having to publicly oppose a Palmer initiative……..

Having followed the lead of his occasional kennel-mate, the Motoring Enthusiasts’ Ricky Muir, Palmer has committed to protect the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Unlike the mysteriously disappearing repeal bills for climate action entities now protected by Palmer, legislation to repeal ARENA is due to be passed by the House of Representatives early this week. Then it will be debated in the Upper House once a senate committee reports on its review of the legislation on Thursday.

But if Palmer remains true to his word, the votes of his bloc combined with that of Muir will stymie the attempted repeal. It’s difficult to see how this predestined impasse constitutes a sensible use of the Senate’s time when there are at least 20 other pieces of legislation awaiting consideration.

What makes the Government’s apparent stubbornness to fight a losing battle on ARENA all the more curious is the release late last week of the Warbuton Review into the Renewable Energy Target. The review outcome reinforces the perception that a battle over renewable energy presents the Government only with a lose-lose proposition.

According to the report, the RET has encouraged investment, created jobs, put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, and contributes only about 4 per cent to electricity bills. It’s greatest flaw, depending on one’s perspective, is to transfer wealth from the fossil fuel industry and its aging fleet of generators to the much newer renewable energy industry, including the 1.3 million households that have installed solar panels on their roofs.

The Abbott Government may not have taken into consideration the influence the burgeoning adoption of rooftop solar may have on voters’ support for renewables. A recent Newspoll found 95 per cent of respondents thought renewable energy was a good idea, although only 31 per cent were prepared to pay more for their electricity to support renewables development.

Ironically, households’ unwillingness to pay more for electricity is the main driver for the uptake of rooftop solar……

September 2, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

China to become carbon trading hub with its huge emissions trading scheme

antnuke-relevantflag-ChinaChina’s national carbon market to start in 2016, official says SMH, September 1, 2014  China plans to roll out its national market for carbon permit trading in 2016, an official said Sunday, adding that the government is close to finalising rules for what will be the world’s biggest emissions trading scheme.

The world’s biggest-emitting nation, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, plans to use the market to slow its rapid growth in climate-changing emissions.

China has pledged to reduce the amount of carbon it emits per unit of GDP to 40-45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.

It has already launched seven regional pilot markets in a bid to gain experience ahead of a nationwide scheme…….The Chinese market, when fully functional, would dwarf the European emissions trading system, which is currently the world’s biggest.

It would be the main carbon trading hub in Asia and the Pacific, where Kazakhstan and New Zealand already operate similar markets. South Korea will launch a national scheme on Jan. 1, 2015, while Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are drawing up plans for markets of their own.

September 2, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radioactive Strontium-90 was found in secret testing of over 20,000 Australian corpses

strontium 90British scientists tested dead Australians for nuclear radiation, Australian  Startling evidence that British scientists secretly tested up to 21,830 dead young Australians, without the knowledge of their parents, for radiation contamination following nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s. By  on 1 September, 2014 Dead Australians were tested for nuclear radiation contamination following nuclear tests, according to a new book.

The author of Maralinga, Frank Walker, laid his hands on minutes of a top secret UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment meeting in England on 24 May 1957 approving a program to determine the long-term effects of the tests on Australia and its citizens.

In his book, Walker describes how officials at the meeting, chaired by Professor Ernest Titterton, decided to first obtain soil samples from pasture regions near Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to check for fallout from the nine nuclear bombs detonated at Maralinga in the Australian Outback and the Monte Bello Islands, off WA.

The group also sought to collect animal bones from the regions around where the nuclear explosions were carried out.

In the document, the professor says that the final phase of testing would be to determine if Strontium-90 was being absorbed by the Australian population – most likely through the food chain.

“We have to find out if Strontium-90 is entering the food chain and getting into humans,” says the document. The scientists then agreed to start testing the bones of dead Australian infants and children for radiation contamination.

Acting on these orders, hundreds of bones from the bodies of 21,830 dead babies, infants, children, teenagers and young adults across Australia were collected without the knowledge of their parents, according to Adelaide newspaper, The Advertiser.

In a 2001 report to then federal health minister, Michael Wooldridge, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency said it had detected varying levels of Strontium-90 in the bone ash samples it had collected from hospitals in Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne………..

September 1, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, history, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In UKraine, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is at risk

Ukrainian nuclear plant vulnerable to Kiev’s artillery strikes – Greenpeace expert August 31, 2014 Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is vulnerable to ‘direct bombardment’ in Ukraine if caught in the conflict, a Greenpeace nuclear energy expert told a German newspaper, claiming that its nuclear reactors are not protected from armor-piercing weapons.

Greenpeace nuclear expert Tobias Münchmeyer revealed his concerns over the six-reactor Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant in eastern Ukraine to Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. He said the plant was insufficiently protected against a direct bombardment and that 1.2-meter thick reinforced concrete shells surrounding each reactor are strong enough to withstand only a small aircraft crash.

“There are many armor-piercing weapons in the region, which could penetrate these protective covers,”Münchmeyer said, as cited by Deutsche Welle on Saturday.

The Soviet design reactors at Zaporizhia are largely dependent on Russian expertise and spare parts, the expert also said.


Zaporizhia is the largest nuclear power plant (NPP) not only in Ukraine, but also in Europe and also the fifth largest NPP in the world. It is situated on the bank of the Kakhovka water reservoir on the Dnieper River. This is some 200 kilometers from the warzone in Donetsk region……..

September 1, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dick Warburton’s RET Review puts thousands of Australia’s solar energy businesses at risk

Parkinson-Report-Why Warburton wants to set solar industry back a decade   REneweconmy, By  on 1 September 2014 “………In the long term, it seems that the solar market in Australia – which could be leading the world – will be set back a decade.

That seems to be the clear and deliberate intention of the RET review panel, which says that large-scale solar farms are not needed, and not desirable. It expects its recommendations on the small-scale solar sector to set the market back by around 10 years.

Yingli Green Energy, the world’s biggest solar module manufacturer, warned that if these recommendations are adopted, Australia will be left behind in a world that is embracing renewable energy as a tangible player in the global energy mix.

“Australia’s extremely high levels of solar radiation mean that solar PV technology is particularly efficient in producing energy outputs,” Yingli’s Australian head Daman Cole said in a statement.

Australia-solar-plug“This country can lead in the adoption, investment and innovation in solar energy. Academically, our universities lead the world in solar photovoltaic innovation, but regretfully the political uncertainty is hurting Australia’s solar industry.

“While we remain stranded in uncertainty around Australia’s clean energy future, the solar industry is experiencing strong growth in many other markets such as China, Japan, South East Asia and the Americas.

The problem with solar is that it is being adopted at a rate unforeseen and unimagined by the fossil fuel industry. Australia leads the world in residential rooftop solar, with more than one in five houses having solar systems, or 1.3 million homes, with a total of 3.3GW installed – even if it does trail in large scale installations. (The first utility-scale solar farm to be connected to the National Electricity Market will be formally opened this week).

Various official studies, such as those done by the market operator in WA, have predicted that installation rates could treble – reaching three-quarters of residential homes, and 90 per cent of businesses. New financial models would allow rental homes and apartments to become part of the market.

This is causing massive problems for generators, such as those owned by the Queensland government and recently sold by the NSW government, because it is eating away at demand, andrevenue, at what used to be the most profitable time of the day.

The RET review variously describes rooftop solar as causing cross-subsidies, an assessment repeated by the AEMC in its analysis of network costs and tariffs, but rarely are the benefits brought to the front. Last week, the South Australian network operator said that the 565MW of rooftop solar in that state – it has the highest penetration – had delivered clear benefits in moving and reducing the peak, and for grid stability.……..

A new report by the REC Agents Association on Monday warned that 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses could collapse if the RET Review recommendations were implemented.

It says that the solar industry currently comprises more than 3,800 businesses, with annual retail sales of more than $2.5 billion.

“Should the Government axe or significantly reduce the Renewable Energy Target, we would see a 40-50 per cent reduction in demand for solar and the closure of at least a thousand small businesses,” it says.

It says the absolute majority (96%) of the 3,800 solar businesses in Australia are SME sized businesses, and more than 93 per cent of the roughly 21,000 Australians who work in the Australian solar industry work in SME’s.

“It has been one of Australia’s fastest growing employment and business sectors, having grown twenty fold in the last decade. In less than ten years, the industry has created more than $17 billion of direct retail sales and tens of billions of flow on expenditure on in-direct support services.”

September 1, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment


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