Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Who got to Jacqui Lambie- to get her to support Abbott’s trashing of renewable energy?

a-cat-CANChristina Macpherson, 26 Nov 14 What  has happened to our democracy when a truly not representative person like Jacqui Lambie can get the power to sabotage Australia’s renewable energy programme?

Jacqui Lambie, a failed trier for the Liberal party in Tasmania, was picked up as a member for Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party, and was elected to the Senate in 2013.

Jacqui Lambie got only 1501 first preference votes

Lambie,-JacquiShe got in through (a) her membership of the Clive Palmer push, and (b) on a horde of preferences from other parties, – in the disgusting and undemocratic shemozzle of preference deals.

The PUP’s Jacqui won the seat – just short of the vote of the sex industry’s Eros Foundation.  All fine and dandy. The PUP  pledged to vote for keeping the Renewable Energy Target.

Now we find Jacqui Lambie potentially in a position of great power –   she can do deals with Tiny Abbott – ostensibly to support soldiers’ wages and conditions.  All very good. I want the soldiers to have fair wages and conditions too.

But at what price?  And – Jacqui’s not over-burdened with ideas of her own –  who is putting the pressure on her?

November 26, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, politics | Leave a comment

Senator Jacqui Lambie’s turnabout on Renewable Energy

Jacqui Lambie gets on with push for Defence pay rise STEVEN SCOTT THE COURIER-MAIL NOVEMBER 25, JACQUI  Lambie has begun negotiating with the government to wind back the Renewable Energy Target and cut funding for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation if it  offers some increase in Defence pay.

Within hours of cutting ties with the Palmer United Party, Senator Lambie held talks with Environment Minister Greg Hunt about backing government bills in return for doubling the Defence pay rise to 3 per cent.

Senator Lambie’s willingness to talk – despite vowing to oppose all bills until Defence pay was increased – has given the government hope it could benefit from the collapse of Clive Palmer’s influence in the Senate……

She also voted with the government in support of an inquiry into wind farms that was proposed by Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm…..http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/jacqui-lambie-gets-on-with-push-for-defence-pay-rise/story-fnn8dlfs-1227133566044

November 26, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Aboriginal struggles to save beautiful Kakadu from uranium mining

kakaduThe Dog Catcher of Jabiru,  About Place Journal, Margaret Spence 24 Nov 14 “……….Uranium was discovered in Kakadu in 1953 and for the next decade much of the ore was bought by British and American governments for the development of atomic weapons. If the Aborigines knew of the potential fate of their ancestral earth, their objections were overruled.

But the nineteen seventies were a period of change for civil rights, and Aboriginal people campaigned to have their lands returned to them. In stages, the Australian Federal Government acquired title to the tracts of land that had been taken over the years by private, non-Aboriginal settlers. The land was returned to Traditional Owners under the newly established Aboriginal Land Rights Act (Northern Territory) and most of it was leased to the Commonwealth to become the joint managed Kakadu National Park.

Koongarra

Three areas were excised from the National Park due to the presence of significant uranium deposits. While this land was granted to Traditional Owners as Aboriginal Land, the legal right to veto mining projects which the new laws provided was explicitly removed in the case of Ranger uranium mine and mining commenced there in 1981 against the clear opposition of the Mirarr Traditional Owners……… Continue reading

November 26, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Victorian election: Labor will re-introduce emissions reduction target, and promote wind and solar energy

ballot-boxVictoria election 2014: Labor promises to reintroduce emissions reduction target ABC News, 25 Nov 14 Victoria’s Opposition has promised to reintroduce a state-based emissions reduction target if it is elected on Saturday.

The pledge is part of of the state Labor’s newly-released environmental platform.

The Opposition said it would bring back the target, which was introduced in by Labor in 2006 before being wound back in 2009 after the federal renewable energy target was extended.

The Victorian Coalition Government removed the state’s target of 20 per cent by 2020 from the Climate Change Act in 2012

report by the Climate Council released earlier this month found that Victoria and New South Wales had the worst approach to renewable energy in the country.

Labor environment spokeswoman Lisa Neville said she wanted Victoria to play a leading role in tackling climate change…….

Ms Neville said Labor would also establish a $20 million fund to encourage investment in renewables.”[The fund] will co-invest with the private sector to drive wind and solar energy, and new technologies,” she said.

“We’ve also said that we’ll use the planning laws to actually encourage and promote renewable energies like wind farms in Victoria.”……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-26/victorian-labor-to-reintroduce-renewable-energy-target/5918118

November 26, 2014 Posted by | politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Nuclear power is in Australian govt’s Energy Green Paper, but no real enthusiasm for it

Nuclear power still some way off for Australia Financial Review, 24 Nov 14 JOANNA MATHER “…….Nuclear rated a brief mention in the energy green paper released by the federal government in September. “Nuclear energy remains a serious consideration for future low emissions energy,” the paper says.

But it would be a mistake to view this as a sign of any real appetite within the government to progress the issue, says Ken Baldwin, director of the Energy Change Institute at the Australian National University.

“White papers always list the options available to the country,” he says. “Nuclear is in the mix but that doesn’t mean it is being given particular significance in the white paper.”…..

Ziggy-spruikerFormer Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski, who headed a review of nuclear’s potential during the Howard years, believes Australia is forfeiting a great opportunity………

Switkowski says falling demand for electricity in Australia and intractably adverse community attitudes “will see the window for nuclear power begin to close”.

At present, legislation prevents the development of an Australian domestic nuclear energy industry. Removing legislative barriers to Australia using nuclear power for electricity, when there is an economic case for its deployment, would include amending the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to allow construction or operation of nuclear fuel plants.

The green paper commits the government to reviewing the regulatory framework that governs nuclear and waste facilities to remove any duplication and streamline regulations…

November 26, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Western Australian government’s high-handed changes to Aboriginal Heritage Act anger traditional owners

handsoffTraditional owners rally against changes to WA Aboriginal Heritage Act, Guardian, , 290 Nov 14 Proposed amendments could see owners stripped of say over sacred site listings, which will have lower standards than buildings Proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act in Western Australia could see traditional owners stripped of any say over the heritage listing of their sacred sites in a lowering of standards compared to built heritage sites.

A representation of about 50 traditional owners from across Western Australia travelled to Perth to deliver a petition signed by 1,600 people calling for the amendment to be dropped and redrafted. Ten people also met with the Aboriginal affairs minister, Peter Collier, to discuss their concerns.

The proposed amendments would give the final say on the heritage value of cultural sites on Aboriginal land to the CEO and minister of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, speeding up the approval process for mining and development applications. There would be no avenue for appeal by Indigenous groups, the delegation said.

They also said there has been no consultation with Indigenous people in the designing of the amendment, which has no requirement for an Indigenous person to be on the Aboriginal cultural materials committee and has removed a previous requirement for at least one anthropologist.

“We want the legislation removed, brought back to the table and properly negotiated and consulted on with Aboriginal people,” Simon Hawkins, CEO of the Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation, told Guardian Australia.

“We want the legislation to reflect modern legislation in other states in terms of how they manage cultural heritage issues … even just brought up to the standard of built heritage legislation of WA, which has very strong controls on conservation management, protection, education on sites. Why is cultural Aboriginal heritage treated so differently and [with] such lower standards? We don’t understand that, it seems so unfair.”……..

The delegation follows a meeting of 250 traditional owners, elders and community members in Port Hedland in September, to which the minister was invited but did not attend…….

The chair of the Kimberley Land Council, Anthony Watson, was left still wary of the government’s plans after the meeting.

“We pushed the minister to try and have the discussion, but due to the timeframe it looks like they have their mind set [on introducing the bill]. It’s a very dangerous the position we’re in,” Watson told Guardian Australia.

“If the bill is getting pushed through, rushed through, without consultation then it’s discriminatory and there is going to be problems across our region for Aboriginal people.”……….http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/nov/20/traditional-owners-rally-against-changes-to-wa-aboriginal-heritage-act?utm_source=PoliticOz&utm_campaign=2cdc26cb18-PoliticOZ_21_November_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_673b6b002d-2cdc26cb18-302705445

November 26, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Use of radioactive materials in coal seam drilling must be disclosed to public

Radiation-Warning1Anti-CSG groups says use of radioactive materials should be disclosed, The Age November 24, 2014  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Radioactive material is being used at some coal seam gas drilling sites in NSW and Queensland, raising concerns about potential health and environmental impacts.

A radiation management licence issued to US-based drilling company Halliburton shows it is permitted to use caesium-137, a radioactive isotope, for drilling by AGL at Gloucester, in the northern Hunter Valley and for Santos in the Pilliga forests near Narrabri.

Drillers deploy devices containing CS-137 to measure the composition of gas and water deep underground, with the isotope emitting gamma rays to operate like a miniature X-ray. Produced in nuclear reactors, the material is potentially deadly and among the main radiation concerns at failed power stations at Chernobyl and Fukushima…………

Environmental groups say the use of the radioactive material is not disclosed in the CSG projects’ Review of Environment Factors (REF) and Environmental Impact Statements, nor does it appear by name in Materials Safety Data Sheets.

An anti-coal seam gas campaigner at Gloucester, Jennifer Schoelpple, said AGL had played up the use of much more benign chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing – fracking – but had downplayed the role of caesium.

“No matter how thoroughly you search ‘under your kitchen sink’ or how scrupulously you check the ingredients of your condiments and ‘household products’, you are highly unlikely to lay your hands on any CS-137 in your family home,” Ms Schoelpple said.

“If they are so transparent, why don’t they document the most dangerous thing they use?”

Vicki Perrin, from Lock the Gate in Queensland, said farmers allowing CSG drilling on their land and the neighbouring communities should be made aware of the risks:  “Farmers need to know there is a radioactive source on their site.”………http://www.theage.com.au/environment/anticsg-groups-says-use-of-radioactive-materials-should-be-disclosed-20141123-11s5vp.html

November 23, 2014 Posted by | New South Wales, Queensland, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

After a priceless gift to the nation Kakadu Traditional Owner just wants a house on his country

Kirsten Blair, 19 Nov 14 Jeffrey Lee spoke powerfully about his work to protect Koongarra from mining at the closing plenary of the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney yesterday and received a standing ovation. People were coming up to him all day congratulating and thanking him for his efforts, he was gracious and generous as ever.

Lee,Jeffrey Kakadu is Australia’s largest National Park and is dual World Heritage listed for both its natural and cultural values. Encompassing tropical wetlands, extensive savannah and soaring sandstone escarpments and waterfalls this region has been sculptured and shaped by people and nature for many tens of thousands of years.

Jeffrey Lee, the Senior Traditional Owner of the Djok clan in Kakadu fought for many years to see his country at Koongarra protected from the threat of uranium mining.

In 2011 he made the long journey from Kakadu to Paris to see the World Heritage Committee include Koongarra in the World Heritage estate and in 2013 the area was formally included within Kakadu National Park and permanently protected from uranium mining.

For decades Jeffrey was pressured to allow uranium mining on his land at Koongarra and for decades he resisted – refusing millions of dollars in promised mining payments. Now he is seeking something. After generously allowing his land to be included in Kakadu National Park Jeffrey has a modest ask of the Australian Government in return: please build a house on his country.

Today Jeffrey spoke to thousands of delegates at the closing plenary of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress in Sydney and told the story of his long fight to protect Koongarra. He concluded by calling on the Australian Government to come good on their promise to build him a house on his country.

“I have said no to uranium mining at Koongarra because I believe that the land and my cultural beliefs are more important than mining and money. Money comes and goes, but the land is always here, it always stays if we look after it and it will look after us.” said Jeffrey Lee

“While I’m down here at this Congress, I want to tell people about Koongarra and remind the Government that I did all that work to protect that country. All I’m asking is for a place to live on my country. I don’t want to wait until I’ve passed away, I want to live on my county now.

“I don’t want the Government to forget me, they came to visit me, they congratulated me on my hard work and said they will support me in this. The Government knows how hard I worked, they gave me an Order of Australia and I’m happy for that. Now I just want a commitment from them for a house so I can live on that country that I fought for.”

November 23, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Australia’s Trade Minister Andrew Robb joins the Cabinet chorus criticising President Obama

exclamation-Obama climate speech “unnecessary”, says Trade Minister, The Age, 23 Nov 14 US president Barack Obama’s suggestion that Australia was not doing enough to save the Great Barrier Reef was misinformed and unnecessary, Trade Minister Andrew Robb says.

Mr Obama piled pressure on the Abbott government to act on climate change while in Brisbane for the G20, saying natural wonders like the reef were under direct threat………http://www.smh.com.au/national/obama-climate-speech-unnecessary-says-trade-minister-20141123-11s6ci.html#ixzz3K2SxQhT2

November 23, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Cheerful Tony Abbott warns on a hot summer coming (nothing to do with climate change)

heat_waveSummer’s hot, get used to it, says Tony Abbott THE AUSTRALIAN  AAP NOVEMBER 22, 2014

TONY Abbott today warned of a long, hot summer as he opened a Sydney swimming pool, but steered clear of mentioning climate change.

Abbott smiles“It’s going to be a hot summer,” he said at the Hornsby Aquatic Centre. But the Prime Minister was quick to add: “How many Australian summers are not hot summers?”

His comments came as Sydneysiders braced for high temperatures tomorrow with the city expected to reach 35C and up to 40C forecast in the west…….

Mr Abbott’s comments about the hot summer also came after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop challenged US President Barack Obama over a climate change speech he made on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Brisbane. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/summers-hot-get-used-to-it-says-tony-abbott/story-e6frg6nf-1227131724609

November 23, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Aboriginals rally against closure of 150 Aboriginal communities in Western Australia

Protests against closure of 150 Aboriginal communities, Green Left   Saturday, November 22, 2014 By Alex SalmonPerth

Aboriginal activists rallied on the steps of parliament house in Perth on November 12 to protest against the Western Australian government’s plan to close 150 remote Aboriginal communities. The rally also condemned the federal government’s plan to cut funding to 180 remote indigenous communities in Western Australia. Bropho, from the Swan Valley Nyungah community, told the rally: “Closing down these communities will only make more people homeless and [in] despair.

“The way we choose to live should be our choice. We shouldn’t have the domination of government people telling us how to live and where to live. We will fight to get our community and our land back. Our fight will continue.”

In an open letter to Colin Barnett on November 17, Nyungah activist Iva Hayward Jackson said that only a small amount of the revenue from the mining would be needed to cover the costs of maintaining these communities and other improvements and that “it’s only fair to share in the richness of the land with the idea of equality in the treatment of Aboriginal people.

“After all, Aboriginal people are the traditional ‘owners’ of the land and waterways that holds all the precious resources that made Australia a rich and wealthy country in the modern world.” Amnesty International released a statement urging the Western Australian government not to forcibly evict Aboriginal people from the communities, as demolishing houses and denying indigenous people the right to practice their culture is a breach of human rights and international law.

Tammy Solonec, a human rights lawyer working with Amnesty International, slammed the hypocrisy of Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett for admitting that closing the communities will be traumatic for the people involved, while continuing a policy that will force indigenous people to break their connections to land and culture and force them to move to larger towns where they will have greater exposure to drugs, alcohol, violence and crime……….https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/57858

November 23, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s Future Fund invests in nuclear weapons development and our banks are happy to provide capital as well.

piggy-bank-nuke
Although the fund is governed by an independent board headed by former treasurer Peter Costello, Cormann is ultimately responsible and the fund’s investment decisions are not always free from political interference.
Future Fund betting on the nuclear arms race, THE SATURDAY PAPER, NOV 22, 2014 JAMES NORMAN Australia’s Future Fund invests in nuclear weapons development and our banks are happy to provide capital as well.  On August 9, 2013, Future Fund CEO Mark Burgess encountered some unexpected visitors at his Melbourne office. A group of about 20 protesters gathered outside his office doors, some dressed from head to toe as nuclear missiles, before being escorted away by police. The human missiles turned up again a few weeks later at the fund’s Sydney office, demanding answers about its investment portfolio, which includes nuclear weapons.

The protesters were drawing attention to the fact that the federal government’s $101 billion Future Fund invests more than $260 million in foreign companies involved in the manufacture of nuclear weapons (and that figure has increased by $33 million since last June)…….. Continue reading

November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s ambitious goals for renewable energy contrast with Abbott’s plans to crush renewable energy development

France, Australia take diverging paths to renewable energy  http://www.fierceenergy.com/story/france-australia-take-diverging-paths-renewable-energy/2014-11-19   November 19, 2014 | By  While France has set ambitious goals to increase the share of renewables in its energy portfolio, Australia has taken a completely opposite approach — repealing its 2011 Clean Energy Act, which established a carbon pricing mechanism, according
to an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

solar-farm-Hanwha-FranceFrance’s lower house of parliament recently set a target of 32 percent energy generation from renewable sources by 2030, as part of the approval of the country’s energy transition law. The law also aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels and cut fossil fuel use by 30 percent.  (at left, France’s Hanwha solar farm)

 

In contrast, since Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott assumed power in September 2013, he has made radical changes to the country’s energy policy, including abolishing the carbon tax and reducing a goal to install one million solar roofs. “France is committed to increasing its share of renewable energy, with Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) and tradable green certificates being the main types of support. The country also has plans to decrease its nuclear power share from the current 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025,” said Pranav Srivastava, power analyst, GlobalData. “Meanwhile, Australia’s renewable energy targets that are currently under review may be significantly reduced, although the opposition Australian Labor Party is refusing to accept the level of reductions proposed. The country’s renewable policy review has severely affected the industry, as investments in the sector were low in the first half of 2014, lower than since the first half of 2001.”

Effective from July 2014, Australia’s minimum retailer FiT price has been cut from $0.076 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to $0.06/kWh, according to the analyst.

While Australia’s alternative energy space has been hit hard, France is pressing forward with plans to promote the industry.

“France plans to invest about €10 billion ($13.41 billion) in renewable energy to cut the country’s oil and gas bill and reduce its reliance upon nuclear energy,” Srivastava said. “The development of renewable power plants will help the country to create more jobs and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.”

For more:
– see this report 

November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott lectures French President on need for action on climate change!

Abbott-pants-on-fireAbbott finds his French Connection on emission controls, The Age, November 19, 2014 Mark Kenny and David Wroe Tony Abbott has called on countries to set strong binding emissions reductions targets at next year’s major climate conference in Paris, warning the world cannot afford another disappointment like the Copenhagen summit in 2009.

And after years of arguing that Australia should only move faster once major polluters also moved, he has now described climate change as “an important subject”  and one “the world needs to tackle as a whole”.

The declaration followed one-on-one talks with his French counterpart, President Francois Hollande, in Canberra ranging across trade, security and the need for binding emissions targets. ……..

Mr Abbott’s softening, however, has not convinced everyone, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten slamming his comments as “lip service”.

“He fought tooth and nail to keep climate change off the G20 agenda – and he failed,” Mr Shorten said.

“Climate change is a major economic issue, the defining issue of the 21st Century according to Ban Ki-Moon – the only person who doesn’t seem to get that is Tony Abbott.

“Tony Abbott’s stubborn isolationism is not only costing Australia our economic competitiveness but also our international reputation.”

It also brought a hostile reaction from Greens leader Christine Milne. She accused him of telling “outright lies” to appease foreign leaders and the international media.

“This is not a cheeky sleight of hand. This is Australia’s climate denying prime minister telling outright lies to world leaders and international media,” said Senator Milne.

“Tony Abbott does not intend to ‘do more’ to tackle climate change. He intends to undo more, and add the CEFC to the scrapheap he’s built with our emissions trading scheme and our mining tax.”

November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Senator Christine Milne calls for a gradual, planned, phaseout of Victoria’s coal power

Milne,-Christine-13Greens call for an end to Vic coal power, Herald Sun  AAP NOVEMBER 20, 2014  GREENS leader Christine Milne has called for a phase out of coal-fired power in Victoria but says it doesn’t have to affect jobs.

THE Greens are leading a push to close Victoria’s coal-fired generators and rehabilitate the sites in a gradual phase-out that they say will leave communities better off.

        “There are 485 jobs that could be created straight away from the rehabilitation and decommissioning of mines,” Australian Greens leader Christine Milne told reporters on Thursday.”A lot of the jobs of people working in electricity generation are transferable to constructing and maintaining renewable energy systems as well.”The Greens have pinpointed the closure of the Hazelwood and Anglesea power stations, which they say are among the dirtiest in Victoria.Senator Milne said there was already an oversupply on the Victorian grid and the phase-out would have no effect on supply.”The Australian Energy Market Operators are saying that there is too much energy in the system,” Senator Milne said.”My question for Denis Napthine is: is AEMO wrong when they say there is 2200 megawatts excess capacity in the system?”…….
          Senator Milne said the closure of coal-fired power was inevitable and it should be a gradual phase-out rather than a rapid closure when the sites are no longer viable.”With huge excess power supply and last century technology they will become junk assets,” Senator Milne said.”After the fires in Morwell, Denis Napthine really needs to look at the impact of coal-fired power not just on the atmosphere but on the health of people.”

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/greens-call-for-an-end-to-vic-coal-power/story-fni0xqi4-1227129734453

     

    November 22, 2014 Posted by | energy, Victoria | Leave a comment

    Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 588 other followers