One media narrative, as espoused in the AFR, is that this defeat was the result of a revolt by SA politicians. But this version of the story ignores the powerful campaign led by the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, the senior aboriginal women’s council of Coober Pedy.
This story has been recorded by movement researchers Nina Brown and Sam Sowerwine and in a book, Talking Straight Out: Stories from the Irati Wanti Campaign.
Many members of the Kunga-Tjuta were survivors of the British government’s atomic testing in the 1950s and 60s, and so understood the devastating history of the nuclear industry. Upon hearing about the waste dump proposal, the group issued this statement:
We are the Aboriginal Women. Yankunytjatjara, Antikarinya and Kokatha. We know the country. The poison the Government is talking about will poison the land. We say, “No radioactive dump in our ngura – in our country. It’s strictly poison, we don’t want it.
The traditional residents of this supposedly “benign and sparsely populated geology” fought hard to protect their country using the tools they had available. They explained, demanded, marched and sang. They worked with green activists and wrote passionate letters. They urged politicians to “get your ears out of your pockets”. They won.
As South Australia faces another push from the nuclear industry, we would do well to remind ourselves of these stories. To paraphrase the late historian Howard Zinn, we need to emphasise what is possible by remembering those moments in our recent history when people demonstrated their capacity to resist, come together, and occasionally, to win.http://theconversation.com/south-australias-broad-brush-nuclear-review-is-meant-to-sideline-opponents-38110
Controversial radioactive clean-up to go ahead,SMH January 18, 2015 Kirsty Needham State Politics Editor, The Sun-Herald A bitter fight over radioactive waste between Sydney’s western and northern suburbs is set to be reignited by the Baird Government on the eve of the state election.
The NSW government will push ahead this year with a $12.4 million clean-up of Hunters Hill land contaminated by a uranium smelter 100 years ago, a government report has revealed.
But the only site in Australia identified by a string of government studies as the best option to store the waste – Kemps Creek near Penrith – is in a marginal Liberal seat where sitting MP Tanya Davies campaigned against the dump while in opposition. Continue reading
December sees action in the Top End with spirited protests over uranium and fracking concerns outside the MCA’s NT mining conference and 4000 formal public submissions opposing the R3D plan, ICAN holds a successful set of gatherings on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear war in Vienna – including a presentation from Sue Coleman Haseldine and an open letter from ENGO’s to Julie Bishop, Energy Metals Australia move to seek approval to mine Mulga Rocks – but Mia Pepper is in the way, the long waited for Olkala land handover in Cape York see’s further constraints put on Areva’s plans to dig, PM Abbott flags uranium sales to Ukraine – from the land that fuelled Fukushima to the country that is home to Chernobyl, Barry Brook leads a call for nuclear power to be accepted by ENGO’s, Minister Macfarlane accepts that the push through approach to dump siting has failed and announces modest public input into a new model.
Nuclear Free snapshot 2014 Dave Sweeney, Australian Consevation Foundation, 31 Dec 14 January started with Top End storms washing out a section of the Ghan rail line and further highlighting transport risks with hazardous materials, concerns over the spectacular December 2013 uranium slurry spill at Ranger mine remained high and around 4000 people gathered in Redfern for the opening of John Pilger’s film Utopia
In February the Muckaty Federal Court case had detailed directions hearing in Melbourne, a delegation of MP’s from Greenland heard directly about the impacts of uranium mining on country and culture when they were briefed by ACF, FoE and Gundjeihmi while on a fact finding mission, mid-month saw activists from WA and beyond meet in Perth for an effective planning session aimed at keeping the West uranium free, the CCWA led a series of workshops to facilitate public engagement with the Kintyre mine approvals process and also drove a detailed response from national groups while Scott Ludlum took time off from electioneering to join a nuke free session at Melbourne’s Sustainable Living festival, Paladin put the Kayelekera mine in Malawi on care and maintenance, Uranium Free NSW activists lodged formal objections to the Dubbo Zirconia project and after making the Black Mist publication pozible and reminding Peter Costello and the Future Fund that there is no future in nuclear weapons ICAN reps took the nuclear weapons abolition message further with a successful conference in Nayarit (Mexico)
March saw the annual national nuke free strategy and planning gathering with crew from around the country Continue reading
Australia well represented at Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, (though not by government)
Residents gather to oppose threat of uranium mining The Daily Liberal By MARK RAYNER Oct. 25, 2014 A strong crowd has turned out to voice their opposition to the Alkane Zirconia Mine, arguing the minerals it will extract pose a risk to the Dubbo community. About 70 people attended the meeting, entitled Alkane Rare Earth Mine: Radioactive Risk?, which was run by Uranium Free NSW.
They heard from the Central West Environmental Council’s Bev Smiles and Dr Gavin Mudd, who gave their opinions on rare earth and uranium mining. They are lobbying for a rejection of the Alkane proposal by the Planning and Assessment Commission on the basis uranium and thorium will be extracted. A decision is expected in November.
David Mould from Uranium Free Dubbo questioned the value of the project to the whole city.
“So far Alkane’s plans have not taken the health of Dubbo residents into account building a radioactive project without adequate consideration of engineering risks upstream of Dubbo’s drinking water supply.” Mr Mould said.
“Five out of 11 councillors stand to make money out of this project and the expansion of mining in Dubbo. How can Dubbo and Central West residents feel secure that their government cares for people over profit?”
Ms Smiles said with one of the largest deposits of uranium in NSW thought to exist in Toongi, the decision by the current state government to overturn a moratorium on uranium mining could be a negative thing for the region.
“The people of the Central West are concerned that this area has been targeted by the NSW government to open up uranium mining in NSW,” she said……..
The Planning Assessment Commission review for the Alkane Zirconia Project is November 4. Written submissions and applications to speak at the review close 1pm Wednesday October 29. Email email@example.com or phone (02) 9383 2112.
Suzanne Haseldine firstname.lastname@example.org 22 Aug 14, After an amazing life fighting for country and culture Kokatha Elder Mrs Wingfield passed away at her home in Port Augusta on August 8,2014.
Mrs Wingfield experienced first hand the impacts of the nuclear testing in the South Australian desert. She dedicated her life to protecting her desert country and future generations from the effects of the nuclear industry. At Cane Grass Swamp in the early 1980s she lay in front of bulldozers to try and stop the construction of the Olympic Dam uranium mine. Her tireless work continued in the 1990s with the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a senior women’s council based in Coober Pedy who led and won a successful campaign against the federal government’s plan for a nuclear waste dump in SA.
Mrs Wingfield worked with people and groups of many backgrounds, she traveled extensively to attend forums and events and lobby politicians. In 2009 she was made honorary president of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance in recognition of her significant involvement. Mrs Wingfield will be widely remembered and acknowledged for her contribution to the nuclear free and peace movements in Australia and worldwide. Her resilience, passion and dedication remains an inspiration to everyone that met her.
May she Rest in Peace.
Funeral details: Friday August 29, 2014. 11am at the Lutheran Church, cnr of Dartmouth and Fern St, Port Augusta. The family have asked that everyone feel welcome to attend.
You can send a message to Mrs Wingfield family: 2 Cain Street, Port Augusta SA 5700.
Memories or photos to be passed on to the family when appropriate, can be emailed to: email@example.com
Financial contributions towards Mrs Wingfield’s wake would also be greatly appreciated by her family and friends. Donate to:
Janice Wingfield Commonwealth Bank SAV BSB: 065507 AC: 10213429
Uranium deal with India a hot topic – 23-Apr-2014 http://www.themonitor.com.au/news-articles/140423-uranium-deal-with-india-a-hot-topicThe Australian Government’s signing of a uranium export deal with India was a hot topic of discussion at the recent Olympic Dam visit by members of environmental group Friends of the Earth.
The annual radioactive tour has been operating since the 1980s, and has taken thousands of people to the heart of the industry at destinations from Melbourne to Tenant Creek.
Local BHP Billiton employees from various sectors of the Olympic Dam operation, including environmental, radiation, community and external affairs took time to show the group through the operation on Tuesday, April 16.
The tour was followed by an informal question time in Richardson Place, where members of the group particularly focused on the company’s commitment to indigenous traditional land owners and the Federal Government’s stance on direct supply or uranium to India.
A BHP Billiton spokesperson told the group the company was working closely with the traditional land owners, including through employment programs and through financial dispensation into a trust.
He said the amount of money awarded to the trust was ‘confidential’, but ‘substantial’.
The group asked many questions regarding the company’s ethical stance on supply of Olympic Dam Uranium to countries which could be using the product to fuel their nuclear armament programs.
The topic was particularly sensitive for one Indian representative , who said his country’s unstable government, lack of regulation, extremist religious groups and dense population were recipes for disaster.
The representative said India’s suspected nuclear armament activities were of major concern to humanity across the globe, and that companies like BHP Billiton should have an moral and ethical commitment to ensure their uranium did not reach the hands to those planning to build nuclear weapons.
Currently, BHP Billiton and other Australian uranium miners have legislative and regulatory obligations that cover mining, processing and the transport of uranium on road and by sea.
The onus of responsibility for the product then passes to the Government at the port of destination.
The group continued on to Alice Springs and Tenant Creek on Tuesday afternoon as part of the 14 day tour, and will return to Melbourne on Sunday, April 27.
Anti-nuclear campaigner seeks port uranium assurances http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-05/anti-nuclear-campaigner-seeks-abbot-point-uranium/5137248 An anti-nuclear campaigner is calling on the Queensland Government to rule out that uranium will be exported through the Port of Mackay.
Last year, the Newman Government reversed a long-standing ban on uranium mining in Queensland.
The port’s operator, North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP), said it could be used to transport associated mining equipment.
Mark Bailey from Keep Queensland Nuclear Free says he has serious concerns about the possibility of the resource being shipped through the reef.”I don’t think any of us want uranium on the Great Barrier Reef and we certainly don’t want our tourism industry affected by an incident like a grounding on the reef in bad weather with a uranium ship,” he said.
“This has happened before, you know Cameco had a ship that hit bad weather in the Pacific. If that happens on the reef, the publicity will be very bad.”
He says he wants assurances Abbot Point will not be used.
A spokesman for NQBP says there are no plans to export the commodity through the Port of Mackay at this stage.
21 Nov 13, Mr Kevin Buzzacott, the President of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance and a respected Arabunna elder will today take his concerns over the proposed expansion of the Olympic Dam uranium mine in South Australia to BHP Billiton’s annual meeting in Perth. Mr Buzzacott has been vocal in opposing the Olympic Dam uranium mine and the planned expansion. Mr Buzzacott unsuccessfully tried to halt the expansion through the courts and has now been ordered to pay court costs to the Government and to BHPB. At today’s meeting he will be asking whether BHP, the world’s largest miner, will be seeking to follow this cost order.
“I’m an Arabunna elder and I’ve spent the last thirty years trying to protect my country and the water from my country from this monster mine,” said Mr Buzzacott. “Now I’ve come all the way from South Australia because this is so important for me, I’m getting old and this could be my last chance to get BHPB to quit to shut Olympic Dam down and leave the desert and us in peace.”
“All my life I’ve stood up for my country because that is the right thing, that’s what we’re taught to do. Now BHPB have a choice whether they’re going to penalise me, take me for the court costs, for standing up for my country – or whether they’re going to respect my rights to protect those sacred places.”
The planned massive expansion of Olympic Dam has been shelved because of low uranium prices and market uncertainty. The current Olympic Dam mine consumes over thirty five million litres of water day from the Great Artesian Basin from Arabunna country and any future expansion would increase pressure on water resources.
“Now you say the expansion is on hold well we have a right to know whether you’re going to try and get this expansion happening or not. I mean it doesn’t make sense to dig deeper when people are waking up and saying no to the nuclear industry around the world.”
“Our land is our life and we will follow BHP Billiton to the ends of the earth to stop this mine from damaging our country and draining our water,” concluded Mr Buzzacott.
French walk ends with renewed commitment to stop uranium mining in Australia http://walkingforcountry.com/2013/08/15/french-walk-ends-with-renewed-commitment-to-stop-uranium-mining-in-australia/#comment-1579 (Great photographs) Walkatjurra Walkabout, August 15, 2013 by Marcus Atkinson It’s been a couple of weeks since the walk through the Rhone Valley in France finished. After having time to reflect on the situation that France is faced with and the connection we have with the movement there due to Australia being one of the largest exporters of uranium.
Along the walk it really hit home that uranium from Australia had taken this same path over the last few decades and many of the accidents that have happened in France would have more than likely involved uranium that had been exported from Australia.
Just in this short 4 week walk we touched on so many aspects of the industry, from the enrichment facilities to the fabrication of fuel rods and the development of MOX fuel along with nuclear power plants that are nearing their use by date with the possibility of an extension in their license.
Bugey where we finished the walk has local community members fighting to shut down the nuclear power plant by it’s used by date is in 2016. There is also the concern of decommissioning and where all the radioactive material will be stored when this finally happens. The local group made us extremely aware of the issues that they face. When they finally close down the plant then a whole new struggle begins to make sure that the decommissioning is done properly and that the radioactive material is isolated from the environment..
The problem that they and many others in similar positions have is the question of where will this be stored!!! ? NOBODY wants the waste and NOBODY knows what to do with it!!!
It is unacceptable that this industry has been able to continue, and the fact that Australia is playing a major role in supplying uranium while also trying to expand the uranium mining industry here is something that we must all take responsibility for.
All along the way we heard stories of intimidation, bribes and coercion, but we also heard the stories from brave individuals who have stood strong against the industry even in the face of health concerns.
This has empowered many of us to fight even harder against the proposed uranium mines here and to work in collaboration with the global community to end the nuclear industry.
We hope that many of you will join us on the Walkatjurra Walkabout in Western Australia next year or become involved with groups in your own area. Check out the video of the MADador who made a special appearance at the Bugey Nuclear Power Plant for a show down with the TORO BULL!! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10201328478109318
There will be more information at www.walkingforcountry.com in the coming months..
“We’ve been arguing for a long time that the Northern Territory was targeted because it was a politically weaker jurisdiction.
“Obviously it was easier for the Commonwealth to override any local opposition to the plan, which is what they’ve done.
“We want the Territorian Senators to actually stand up for the interests of the community, and not just roll over and say that we’ll accept Canberra’s waste dump plan.”
Dust-up over nuclear waste dump hits eight years http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-15/opposition-grinds-on-over-muckaty-nuclear-waste-dump-plans/4820806 Jul 15, 2013 A Northern Territory traditional owner has vowed to keep fighting federal government plans for a radioactive waste dump on her land.
Dianne Stokes is in Melbourne today for a scheduled Federal Court directions hearing on the Muckaty waste dump.
Today also marks eight years since the Federal Government announced a plan to dump nuclear waste in the Territory. Continue reading
“We request that the French people and their government, demand that the reprocessed nuclear waste from Lucas Heights, remain in France until the Australian Government guarantees not to dump it on Aboriginal land and store it at Lucas Heights, where there is ample storage and can be safely monitored.”
La Marche Internationale 2013 (The International Walk 2013), is a 4 week walk through one of Europe’s most nuclear intensive regions – The Rhone valley in Frances South East. The Australian wakers have come to witness first hand the effects of the nuclear industry in France which Australia supplies uranium to.
Mitch an Aranda Woman from Alice Springs and the Co-chair of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) joined the walk for the beginning and spoke at the press launch in Paris before the walk, which was organised by the largest anti nuclear group in France, Reseau Sortie du Nucleare. Mitch and Marcus Atkinson from the Anti Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia (ANAWA) spoke about the impacts of uranium mining and the pending nuclear waste dump at Muckaty in the Northern Territory, on Aboriginal communities and the radioactive racism of the industry. Continue reading
24 May 13, Six years and still standing strong: NT Union members will join Traditional Owners and supporters from across the Territory in Tennant Creek this weekend for a rally against the proposed national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty in the Northern Territory. The rally and concert will mark exactly six years since the Northern Land Council voted to nominate the site.
In May 2012 the Australian Council of Trades Unions National Congress unanimously voted to support the Muckaty campaign. Bryan Wilkins, NT Organiser for the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said, “NT Unions are standing in solidarity with Traditional Owners and communities to resist the federal government plan for a radioactive waste dump. We will continue to campaign against any legislation that targets the Muckaty Land Trust, or any site in Australia for a nuclear waste dump that is not based on recognised scientific and international best practice.”
Muckaty Traditional Owners and the community in Tennant Creek remain resolutely opposed to the national radioactive dump being built. Muckaty Traditional Owner Dianne Stokes said, “It’s been six years of big struggle for Warlmanpa and Warumungu people. We are still standing strong. We are saying that we still don’t want the waste to come to Muckaty Land Trust.”
“Tomorrow will be a big day for us mob, the Traditional Owners of the Muckaty. We are happy that we have people traveling to Tennant to join us for the rally against the nuclear waste. We also have unions coming along and we are looking forward to meet these people. We will march together to stand up strong and tell the NLC and the government to back down and leave us alone.”
Beyond Nuclear Initiative coordinator Natalie Wasley added, “The nomination of Muckaty by the NLC and the dogged pursuit of the site by successive Federal Ministers are being challenged on the ground as well as in the federal court. It is highly disappointing that while the court is scrutinising the original nomination process, the NLC is preparing to nominate a new site on Muckaty for assessment. The process of managing radioactive waste must be transparent and include all stakeholders. We urge Federal Resources Minister Gary Gray to step away from the highly contested Muckaty plan and initiate an Independent Commission into radioactive waste management.”