Australian news, and some related international items

Draconian changes to South Australia’s Electoral Act

To The Editor The Advertiser, by Dennis Mathews, 21 Feb 14

ballot-boxSmThe Duopoly Election Bullies stand to gain from their draconian changes to the Electoral Act not only by excluding competition (The Advertiser,21/2/14) but whoever gets into government will get the revenue from candidates who lost their $3000 deposit.

If this system had been in place for the 2010 election the increased revenue would have been $268,000.

The changes to the Electoral Act were supposedly to prevent voters from having to fill out a very large voting paper for the Legislative Council and to prevent “gaming” through organized and complicated preference deals. The latter meant that voters had no idea where their preferences were going.

In actual fact the changes have affected both the Legislative Council and the House of Representatives, gaming will still occur in the 2014 election, and we may still get a very long voting paper for the Legislative Council.

Ironically we may end up with electing to the Legislative Council a candidate who lost their $3000 deposit because they didn’t get 4% of the primary vote.

February 21, 2014 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Climate change hitting Adelaide earlier than predicted

heatHot weather in Adelaide already at levels not expected until 2030, says Climate Council report ,The Advertiser  ELLEN WHINNETT  HERALD SUN FEBRUARY 17, 2014

THE frequency of hot-weather days in Adelaide has already reached levels previously not expected until 2030, according to a report by the controversial Climate Council.

The council — the publicly funded version of the official national climate authority cut off by the Abbott Government — will release its latest environmental report on Tuesday. It says heatwaves will become more common and severe in Australia and that Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra are already experiencing more extreme-heat events.

Adelaide has sweltered through a summer of record-breaking heat, enduring two severe heatwaves and more days above 40C than in any summer on record.
The council report says Adelaide’s heatwaves are an average 2.5C hotter than they were half a century ago, and peak heat days are 4.5C hotter…….

February 18, 2014 Posted by | climate change - global warming, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia – the hub of Australia’s pro nuclear propaganda

nuke-spruikersSmThey’ve resuscitated the plan for South Australia as the world’s nuclear waste dump, Online opinion, Noel Wauchope, 11Feb 14 ,  On February 9, with exquisite timing, Terry Krieg of the Australian Nuclear Forum delivered his fourth nuclear industry advertorial, on ABC Radio’s Ochkams Razor. Exquisite timing, because the South Australian election is on March 15, and Krieg’s talk on this prestigious science program is the latest effort of that State’s nuclear lobby to get their cause up as an election issue……. Labor and Liberal contenders are being very low-key about nuclear and uranium issue. The Herald Sun reports

Jay Weatherill No (chance that SA will have a nuclear industry). I think it’s a dangerous distraction.

Marshall:, the Opposition doesn’t have a nuclear energy division, it’s a potential for the future but I think it would be a long way off.

South Australia’s nuclear push is undeterred.

Krieg presented a “timeline for how South Australia should embrace nuclear energy in the next three decades” . The plan includes Officer Basin as the world’s nuclear waste dump.This would be the first step to the full nuclear fuel cycle. BHP should help the State government to set up an infrastructure development program, and a nuclear education program in schools.and universities. ….

In 2013-2014 a new distinctly South Australian push has taken up the torch. Terry Krieg, from Port Lincoln, is just one of many……the heartland of Australia’s nuclear fuel cycle promotion is Adelaide……

Nathan Paine Chief Commercial Officer at the Property Council of Australia said: “The development of a domestic nuclear power sector could turn us into the “Dubai of Asia”. You’d almost be able to give every South Australian … when they turn 18, a cheque for $50,000 and a house”

Chris Burns, Rundle Mall Management Authority chairman said “What we’ve got unique resources for in this state are for nuclear energy… Never sell it, only lease it and bring it back here to bury it. I think that’s the industry for the state.”

I don’t know why this diverse group of people is so passionately in favour of the full nuclear power cycle and radioactive waste dumping for South Australia. I can only suppose that they see South Australia as an economically depressed State, and therefore envisage the nuclear developments as some kind of financial bonanza for the State.

I ponder that some academics might get a kind of glorious fame, in being Australia’s only climate “experts” who advocate nuclear power.

It distresses me that only one of people mentioned has any expertise in health and ionising radiation, nor in ecology. That person is Professor Pamela Sykes,who has been co-opted by the USA Department of Energy to try to prove how healthy low dose radiation is.

February 11, 2014 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | 1 Comment

Nuclear waste dump plan for South Australia -uneconomic and uinrealistic

This reality is not linked to any red or green tape, but rather to the clear absence of economic returns. While the sector’s risks are significant, its economic contribution is not: in total it provides only around 650 jobs and $700 million in earnings – nationwide.

South-Australia-nuclearDave Sweeney: Nuclear pain outweighs economic gain for South Australia THE ADVERTISER FEBRUARY 10, 2014 IF South Australia moved further down the nuclear road by processing enriched uranium or storing nuclear waste, it would threaten the natural environment and put the state in direct conflict with federal policy, global markets and community expectations.

The call by Business SA to process enriched uranium and store nuclear waste stems from misplaced enthusiasm rather than measured assessment.

Any such call can only be made by ignoring the reality that the nuclear industry is, here and internationally, under intense political, regulatory and community pressure since the Fukushima meltdown in Japan.

A market analysis by economic forecaster Morgan Stanley shows the price of uranium has slumped by nearly 50 per cent since the Fukushima nuclear crisis, where Australian uranium became and remains global radioactive fallout. Continue reading

February 11, 2014 Posted by | South Australia, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Help BHP by making South Australia the world’s radioactive trash dump!

John Read: By storing more radioactive waste at Olympic Dam, the BHPB-Olympic-Smstruggling mine may remain profitable  Adelaide Now,11 Feb 14….

For the last quarter of a century, WMC then BHP have picked the eyes out of the deposit, mining the richest, most accessible areas through expensive underground mining. Both companies have left staff, investors and governments in no doubt that underground mining is becoming increasingly unprofitable.

However, following an exhaustive study spanning over half a decade, BHP came to the conclusion that the mighty proposed open-cut expansion, deemed essential to guarantee the longevity of the mine and the best use of the resource, was uneconomical .

Every month that the mine continues to exhaust the feasible underground resource without initiating the open cut is a month closer to a Ravensthorpe-type decision when BHP will pack up its bat and ball and leave town.

When BHP singled out the poor performance of Olympic Dam at its recent AGM, hot on the heels of the announcement of imminent closures of Ford and now Holden , the Prime Minister and SA Premier have been left considering the unimaginable: closure of one of their prime assets……

If we want Olympic Dam to survive we need to rationalise our collective views on the nuclear industry and our management of radioactive waste……….

Olympic Dam, producing 70 million tonnes of radioactive tailings each year.

We need to acknowledge that the 40 cubic metres of radioactive waste generated by hospitals, research labs and the manufacturing industry each year and held in over 100 inappropriate storages around the country, is a minute fraction of what is produced and managed every year at Olympic Dam.

We should accept that the Olympic Dam region of northern SA was identified by a comprehensive nationwide search as the optimal region for an Australian radioactive waste repository……

By storing the national radioactive waste within or next to the Olympic Dam tailings dams, the struggling mine may generate sufficient revenue to remain profitable.

February 11, 2014 Posted by | Olympic Dam, South Australia, wastes | 2 Comments

Adelaide Citizens Demand Business South Australia Cease Nuclear Promotion Fraud

exclamation- 8 Feb 14 A group of concerned citizens today issued a firm rejection of industry lobby group Business SA’s recent “demands (for) a nuclear industry in South Australia”.

The group’s spokes-person, mathematician Brett Stokes, has personally demanded that Business SA and AdelaideNow cease Nuclear Advocacy Fraud.

Stokes says “the economics are bogus – the ludicrous totally false claim of abundant cheap energy deserves condemnation as a malevolent fraud”.

Stokes cites the huge costs of construction and operational failures such as Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Stokes also notes that nuclear power reactors require huge amounts of cooling water and only operate 90% of the time at best.

February 8, 2014 Posted by | politics, South Australia | 1 Comment

Who’s behind Business South Australia’s push for nuclear waste dump

questionThe Editor
The Advertiser

Now that neither of the major political parties supports Business SA’s demand for a nuclear fuel and waste industry for SA (The Advertiser, 6/2/14) – one party calls it a “dangerous distraction”, the other “a long way off” (The Advertiser, 7/2/14) – then Business SA should put its money where its mouth is and publish the names of the companies it claims support its demand.

That way SA consumers can vote with their feet and perhaps Business SA might then be a little less outrageous in its political demands.

Dennis Matthews

February 8, 2014 Posted by | business, South Australia | 1 Comment

Solar air conditioning, solar power the clean way to keep cool

Solar-air-conditioningOver one million Australian homes now have solar and our power pricing doesn’t handle them well either

under the status quo, those without air conditioning and with solar are being slugged unfairly.

Matthew Warren: The way we pay for electricity is out of date and urgently needs reform MATTHEW WARREN THE ADVERTISER FEBRUARY 03, 2014 THE recent intense heatwave across south-eastern Australia stretched many things to breaking point.Heatwaves provide a rare, but important examination of the power system.On a normal summer’s day in South Australia the peak load is around 1890 megawatts. In the heatwave it topped 3000 megawatts for almost three days straight. That put the network right at the edge of its capacity.

There is one key reason for these spikes in demand: increased deployment of airconditioners. On the hottest of days they are all turned on at once and this sends demand skyrocketing……

A large part of your household power bill is to pay for these infrequent events. It would make sense if those households with large air conditioners paid more than those who have only a small unit or none at all.

But they don’t. Continue reading

February 5, 2014 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian government gives grant to uranium leach mining company

uranium-oreUraniumSA receives grant for Samphire Uranium project in South Australia Friday, January 17, 2014 by Proactive Investors  UraniumSA (ASX:USA) has received a $50,000 grant from the South Australian Government to advance metallurgical test work for its Samphire uranium deposits in South Australia

UraniumSA will work in collaboration with the University of South Australia’s Ian Walk Research Institute to focus on finding a more efficient process for the removal and recovery of uranium from saline leach solutions, and to advance UraniumSA’s existing data and process understanding.

This grant will facilitate the continuation of recent research and test work by UraniumSA which aims to optimise pathways for uranium recovery from hyper-saline solution……

January 18, 2014 Posted by | politics, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

A step forward for solar thermal plant in Port Augusta

sunAustralian Youth Climate Coalition  16 Jan 14   We’re excited to share a great win with  Repower Port Augusta

Today the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the South Australian Government announced that they have committed to funding for Alinta Energy to run a feasibility study into building solar thermal in Port Augusta.

This is a huge step forward in building our first solar thermal plant!

You can read more here:

The Australian Greens  BREAKING NEWS: South Australia is one step closer to having a solar thermal plant!

On a day when we are sweltering under record-breaking heat, and climate change looms large, it has just been announced Alinta Energy has received ARENA funding for a feasibility study into solar thermal in Pt Augusta.

A huge effort from the team at Repower Port Augusta who have worked tirelessly on this project, and great news for the Port Augusta community. Bring on a healthy clean energy future!

January 16, 2014 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

How Australia caved in to Britain, in not properly cleaning up Maralinga bomb sites

text-historyWhy cabinet sought only a partial clean-up of British nuclear test site Archives give new insight into Hawke government’s response to royal commission on weapons testing in Maralinga region, Wednesday 1 January 2014 

  • Atomic-Bomb-SmGareth Evans, the energy minister at the time, said ‘a non-confrontational approach’ had been adopted in dealing with the Thatcher government.

    The complete rehabilitation of areas of Australia used to test British nuclear weapons may not be possible, the Hawke cabinet was advised in 1986.

    Cabinet was warned that a full clean-up may have been more expensive than the British government would be willing to contemplate, according to documents released this week by theNational Archives.

    They provide new insights into the Hawke government’s response to the recommendations of the McClelland royal commission into British nuclear tests in Australia. Continue reading

January 1, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, history, politics international, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s inadequate decontamination of radioactive nuclear test sites

text-radiationCabinet Papers 1986-87: The struggle for indigenous land rights, SMH, Damien Murphy, 28 Dec 13, “……….. Decontaminating radioactive sites  The McClelland royal commission on British nuclear tests in Australia had recommended that the Maralinga and Emu test sites should be decontaminated to a standard suitable for unrestricted habitation by the traditional owners.

But a technical assessment group found that even the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars would not achieve complete decontamination.

The Resources and Energy Minister, Senator Gareth Evans, recommended that Cabinet consider the lesser option of decontamination sufficient to allow casual access to a larger area than was currently permissible. This option might cost between $20 and $30 million, “much more within the ball park that the UK Government is likely, on present indications, to be prepared to contemplate”.

Cabinet also decided that compensation claims for diseases that might have been caused by radiation would be resisted if the Commonwealth did not believe that a liability existed……….

Traditional owners had been dispersed to Yalata and the Pitjantjatjara lands in South Australia and Coonana in Western Australia. Cabinet allocated an initial $500,000 for projects of lasting and general community benefit……..

January 1, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, South Australia, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian government didn’t want to know about Aborigines affected by atomic tests

Cabinet rejected the royal commission’s recommendation for the creation of a new register of persons who may have been exposed to “black mist” or radiation at the tests. 

 The actions of previous Australian government [sic] in shepherding Aboriginal people from their traditional lands for the purpose of conducting atomic tests were both immoral and appallingly executed.

text-historyWhy cabinet sought only a partial clean-up of British nuclear test site, Wednesday 1 January 2014 “…………An aerial survey of radioactivity around the test sites would be followed by a more detailed ground survey. Five studies would “define the areas – hopefully quite small – which must remain surrounded by fences, and further outer areas in which activities such as food gathering and excavation should not occur”.

A report by technical experts attached to the cabinet submission states: “Aboriginals living and gathering food on the Maralinga lands may be exposed [to contaminants] … in three major ways – by inhalation, by ingestion and by entry of contaminated material through open flesh wounds and abrasions.”

The experts considered options for burial of contaminated soil. They noted that since one of the contaminants had a half life of 24,000 years it was a prerequisite to make a prediction about the sort of changes in the earth expected to occur in the Maralinga area in the timeframe. Continue reading

January 1, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, South Australia | Leave a comment

Unsettling truths about Australia’s uranium and nuclear history

a few unsettling home truths about Australia, as a far-flung outpost of what the writer B. Wongar has called the ‘Nuclear Empire’.

the plunder of native land for its enormous reserves of uranium has entrenched the country’s problematic engagement in world nuclearism and undermined its international credentials as a leading proponent of nuclear non-proliferation.

text-historyAnzac, New Mexico: Placing Australia in the Nuclear Empire, Meanjin, Robin Gerster, Dec 13  It is a lament that many Australian readers will recognise: an indigenous narrator is telling the story of colonial dispossession, from the time of white settlement to the rampant mining activity of today, expressing his helplessness in the face of an implacable force that reinscribes the very landscape it has taken over, mapped and mined………….

In August 1945, unable to boast a military role in such a king-hit to its hated enemy Japan, Australia sought another way to take a small slice of the wretched glory. Two days after the Hiroshima bombing, the claim was circulated that ‘Little Boy’ was fuelled by Australian uranium: ‘Uranium from S.A. source’, ran a story on page one of the Sydney Morning Herald. But the text itself says nothing more than the fact that uranium is vital to nuclear fission, that it had been mined at Mt Painter in South Australia, and (portentously) that supplies of the element had been ‘flown out’ from the mine’s newly constructed aerodrome. The Herald soon retracted the story, quoting Prime Minister Ben Chifley to the effect that ‘though Australia attempted to secure uranium for the atomic bomb, the production stage was never undertaken’. This was a minor humiliation in the scheme of things, but a reminder that Australia’s part in these epochal events was essentially peripheral. Undeterred, a Courier-Mail correspondent on 9 August, the day of reckoning for Nagasaki, claimed that Australia ‘gained prestige’ from the advent of the atomic bomb merely by being one of the world’s leading sources of the element.

Soon enough after the war, Australia became a major supplier of uranium to the United States and Britain, through its mines at Radium Hill in South Australia and Rum Jungle in the Northern Territory. In helping fuel the nuclear programs of its two major international patrons, Australia gained a place on the military and ideological battleground of the Cold War. It saw itself as a force to be reckoned with. When Prime Minister Robert Menzies opened the treatment plant at the Rum Jungle mine in the Northern Territory in September 1954, he made a point of asserting the defence role of Australian uranium in ensuring ‘the superiority of the Free World’. Sitting on the official dais, having made the journey to what must have seemed the Back of Beyond, were the American ambassador and the British high commissioner. No doubt Menzies was directing his words at them as well at the assembled guests, several of whom apparently ducked for cover when a large hopper truck capped the proceedings by dumping a load of uranium ore into the new treatment bins, creating a disturbing cloud of dust. 3 The setting and symbolism were both immediately telling and prophetic, for Australia’s atomic muscle-flexing was in the process, even then, of being compromised by its neocolonial willingness to accommodate the postwar nuclear testing program of Britain—a telegrammed request seems to have done the trick—and, in the long term, by its dutiful support for the geopolitical missile defence strategies of the United States. Continue reading

December 31, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, Northern Territory, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s miserable history as part of the global nuclear empire

the outrage committed against the land and communities of Aboriginal Australia.

A small community of Aborigines at a nearby station was poisoned by the fallout, though it was unacknowledged at the time and for years afterwards. 

text-historyAnzac, New Mexico: Placing Australia in the Nuclear Empire, Meanjin, Robin Gerster, Dec 13 “…………The Fox Report fiasco is indicative of contradictions in Australian political attitudes to the nuclear industry. Australia refuses to contemplate nuclear power plants on its own soil, but it is happy to peddle its uranium to numerous countries in Asia and Europe. The meltdown at Fukushima in Japan in 2011 (in a reactor complex owned and operated by a big buyer of Australian uranium) temporarily rocked the markets and embarrassed advocates of nuclear energy…..

The state governments of mining mainstays such as South and Western Australia have a cheerfully gung-ho attitude to uranium. Distant Fukushima is out of mind as well as well out of sight. In addition to hosting established mega-concerns such as BHP Billiton, operator of the Olympic Dam mine near Roxby Downs, South Australia is rolling out the red carpet for new players…….

At Four Mile in the northern Flinders Ranges, another mine has been given the go-ahead. It is majority-owned by a subsidiary of Heathgate Resources, operator of the existing mine at Beverley in the same region, which is itself an affiliate of the nuclear arms maker General Atomics…. ‘Nuclear-free’ Australia has some alarming business connections. …

After the Second World War, Australia wanted to keep some atomic stuff for itself in addition to supplying the product to the United States and Britain. Continue reading

December 31, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, South Australia | Leave a comment


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