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
Given that Australia’s uranium mining and export accounts for less than 1 percent of its hundred billion dollar mineral export business (iron ore, bauxite, coal, copper, nickel etc),36 however, these decisions by Australian leaders risked significant political capital over what has been a highly contentious issue in Australia’s recent political history
Undermining Nuclear Non-Proliferation: Energy and Security Politics in the Australia-India-Japan-U.S. Nuclear Nexus 核不拡散の土台崩し オーストラリア·インド·日本·米国間におけるエネルギーと安全保障政策 The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 46, No. 2, November 1, 2014 Adam Broinowski “……Until 2014, along with China, Japan has also seen a boom in mostly solar and wind electricity generation. But this has been stalled by utilities who have refused to take an influx of renewable power into the grid or to reduce electricity prices.10 With fewer nuclear plants scheduled for construction around the world than for shutdown, however, the nuclear industry faces the likely prospect of contraction11 and replacement by rapidly advancing renewable energy options, including solar, wind, tidal, hydro and possibly geothermal power over the longer term.
Despite this gloomy prognosis for the uranium sector, confidence began to return to the uranium mining industry in Australia from late 2012. Continue reading
Call to’unveil nuclear plans’ http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2007/02/27/call-tounveil-nuclear-plans Labor is demanding the federal government reveal what it knows about plans by three leading businessmen for Australia’s first nuclear reactor. Source: AAP 27 FEB 2007 – UPDATED 22 AUG 2013
Former federal Liberal Party treasurer Ron Walker, Hugh Morgan and Robert Champion de Crespigny are the key shareholders in Australian Nuclear Energy Pty Ltd, a private company reportedly behind the plan. Continue reading
Hawke government schemed to stymie Maralinga nuclear test compensation, cabinet documents reveal http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/hawke-government-schemed-to-stymie-maralinga-nuclear-test-compensation-cabinet-documents-reveal/story-fni6uo1m-1227171284110 PETER JEAN POLITICAL REPORTER THE ADVERTISER JAN 1, 2015 THE statute of limitations was invoked by the Hawke Government to prevent hundreds of compensation actions being pursued in court by veterans of British nuclear tests in Australia.
Government documents from 1988 and 1989 released by the National Archives of Australia reveal that cabinet decided to try and invoke time-limit rules to fight court compensation actions launched after 1988. Continue reading
Cabinet papers 1988-89 SMH: Aboriginal Treaty SMH Damien Murphy 1 Jan 15 “……...The treaty that never came Bob Hawke attended the Barunga festival in the Northern Territory in June 1988 and promised an historic treaty with the Aboriginal people.
The Hawke government had been promising to improve representation of Aboriginal interests and issues, but by 1985 attempts to frame a “national model” for land rights had stalled in compromise, amid farmer and miner opposition and distrust from Aboriginal groups. So Hawke’s treaty had more than a touch of the sun about it. Continue reading
Australia will now contribute to spreading nuclear weaponry as India will be able to use Australian-supplied uranium for civilian purposes and reserve its indigenous supplies for its nuclear weapons program.
Moreover, India has a poor nuclear safety record.
WikiLeaks exposes gov’t lies, shifts on India uranium deal, Green Left December 8, 2014 By Linda Pearson Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed an agreement in September to allow sales of Australian uranium to India for the first time. Uranium sales were initially approved by then-Coalition PM John Howard in August 2007 but Howard’s successor, Kevin Rudd, reinstated the ban.
Rudd’s action was in accordance with long-standing Labor Party policy that uranium should only be sold to countries that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). A 2008 Lowy Institute poll found that 88% of Australians supported this policy.
By the end of 2011, however, Labor had switched to the Liberal Party’s position at the behest of Rudd’s successor, Julia Gillard.
As US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks show, both parties were ultimately willing to change Australia’s long-standing nuclear policy to aid the Australian uranium industry and match strategic US objectives…………..
The US Embassy in Canberra regarded Rudd as a strong supporter of the US alliance. But there was concern over whether Labor’s nuclear policy would stop Australia supporting the US position at the NSG.
The cables show that pressure on the Rudd government to back the exemption came from the Australian High Commission in India as well as the US. They reveal how Labor’s official position on nuclear matters differed from the private views of individual members of the government.
This made the government’s support for the exemption and the party’s eventual approval of uranium sales in 2011 all but inevitable……………..
The Rudd government’s public position before the NSG meeting in August 2008 was that it would consider the arguments on both sides and then decide whether to support the exemption. On July 24, 2008, Smith stuck to the official line during a joint interview with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, saying “we haven’t made a decision”.
However, the cables suggest the government had already decided to support the exemption……………
After several days of deliberation and more intense US lobbying, the NSG approved the exemption on September 6, 2008. A cable reported that Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, Marius Grinius, said “most NSG members ‘gave up’ and ‘joined the bandwagon’ rather than fully supporting a nuclear agreement with India”.http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/05/09USUNNEWYORK497.htmlhttp://wikileaks…
The NSG decision opened the door to uranium sales to India. But while the Rudd government supported this exemption, its public position remained that Australia would not sell uranium to India unless it joined the NPT. On a visit to India shortly after the NSG decision, Smith said this policy “remains unaffected by the NSG decision”.
However, US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks suggest Labor leaders were already preparing to change its policy………………
 According to another cable from Canberra, federal resources minister Martin Ferguson confirmed to US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich that the ALP’s policy could change.
Bleich wrote in November 2009 that in Ferguson’s view, “the recent expansion in uranium development in Australia reflected a shift in willingness to consider nuclear energy”.
Additionally, according to the cable, Ferguson had said that the Australian government might have to revisit the issue of nuclear energy if other technologies “failed to develop commercially quickly enough” for Australia to meet its “clean” energy goals.
Moreover, Ferguson had told Bleich that he had “personally supported the US-India nuclear agreement” and believed that “a deal to supply India with nuclear fuel could be reached in 3-5 years”.
These comments contradicted his party’s official position at the time, but Ferguson’s support for the uranium industry was no secret. He led efforts to overturn Labor’s three-mines policy at the party’s 2007 conference.
After his comments on India in this cable were divulged by Fairfax in February 2011, Ferguson side-stepped questions and repeated the official line, saying: “We will only supply uranium to countries that are signatories to the NPT and have signed a bilateral agreement with Australia.”
US diplomats in Australia also consulted representatives of mining giant BHP for their views on the industry and the prospect of uranium sales to India.
In April 2009, a cable from the US Consulate in Melbourne reported that BHP manager for integrated planning Barry Hewlett had told the consul-general that “India represents a potentially massive market” for the uranium in BHP’s Olympic Dam mine.
However, in November 2009, another cable from the consulate in Melbourne reported comments by BHP CEO Marius Kloppers that suggested the renewed international nuclear cooperation with India permitted by the NSG waiver was more important to BHP than the Australian government’s position on uranium exports.
“As long as someone can sell to the Indians,” Klopper said, “the world market will continue to expand, which helps us.”
Ferguson’s prediction in relation to uranium sales turned out to be true. In November 2011, Gillard announced she would push for the ALP to change its policy at its December party conference.
Gillard’s decision was motivated in part by a desire to help the uranium industry recover from the effects of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Demand dropped in the wake of the disaster and the price of uranium plummeted.
Smith publicly backed Gillard ahead of the vote. Smith said Rudd also supported the policy change. With the help of Ferguson and Australian Workers Union head Paul Howes, Gillard was able to overcome the opposition from the party’s left and the conference voted narrowly to allow uranium sales to India.
The decision was not supported by the Australian public. A 2012 opinion poll by the Lowy institute found that 61% of Australians opposed uranium sales to India, with only 9% strongly in favour.
Nevertheless, the Gillard government began talks with India on a bilateral nuclear safeguards agreement in March last year, which were concluded by Tony Abbott in September.
Both Labor and the Coalition claim India has an “impeccable” record on non-proliferation and therefore deserves an exemption from the rules that apply to other states. This is not true.
India’s new status as a “responsible nuclear state” is more a reflection of the power of the US to influence international bodies, like the NSG and the International Atomic Energy Agency, to do favours for its friends and punish its enemies.
India chose to stay outside the NPT so it would be free to develop nuclear weapons. India’s first nuclear test in 1974 was carried out using plutonium from a nuclear reactor supplied by Canada strictly for civilian purposes.
The US and Australia imposed sanctions on India after it carried out another series of nuclear tests during its escalating arms race with Pakistan in 1998.
Australia will now contribute to spreading nuclear weaponry as India will be able to use Australian-supplied uranium for civilian purposes and reserve its indigenous supplies for its nuclear weapons program.
Moreover, India has a poor nuclear safety record. In 2012, the country’s auditor-general warned that a Fukushima-like disaster could result from the absence of effective industry regulation…………..https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/57962
The 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.
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
Secret Outback nuclear testing site handed back to traditional land owners 50 years after British did HUNDREDS of nuclear tests causing fatal radiation poisoning
- The British nuclear testing site in outback Australia has been returned to its Aboriginal owners
- Seven atomic bombs were detonated on ‘Section 400′ in the 1950s
- There were also about 600 smaller nuclear tests on the area
- The land traditionally belonged to the Maralinga-Tjarutja community
- Britain’s nuclear tests in Australia caused widespread radiation poisoning
- Aborigines and Australian and UK soldiers suffered disease and death
- Radioactive fallout in remote Australia was three time greater than predicted
- Australia spent $100 million cleaning up the traditional lands
- The government held on to the 1782sq km testing range until this week
By CANDACE SUTTON FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA and AAP, 6 November 2014……………………Hundreds of nuclear trials were carried out. Britain dropped twelve nuclear bombs at Maralinga, and then went on to test nuclear warheads.
Although many Aboriginal people were forcibly removed from their land, more than a thousand were directly affected.
The widespread radioactive fallout of the bombs across the environment, which the local Aboriginal people called ‘puyu’ or ‘black mist’, caused disease and death……..http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2822906/Secret-nuclear-testing-site-Australian-outback-known-Section-400-finally-handed-Aboriginal-traditional-land-owners-50-years-British-dropped-atomic-bombs-causing-radiation-poisoning-death.html
Backgrounder: Why was Maralinga used for secret nuclear tests?, SBS News 5 Nov 14
“…….Mar 1951 – Australian Government approval sought to use Monte Bello Island for tests
Oct 1952 - First UK Test on 3 October – code named “Hurricane”
Sep 1953 – Minor trials at Emu Field on Australian mainland
Oct 1953 – Next two UK tests, known as “Totem 1 and 2” on 14 and 26 October, at Emu Field
May 1955 - Permanent test site at Maralinga announced
June 1955 - Minor trials start at Maralinga
May 1956 - UK conducts tests “Mosaic 1 and 2” on 16 May and 19 June at Monte Bello
Sep 1956 - “Buffalo” tests at Maralinga (four shots on 27 Sept, and 4, 11 and 21 October. Buffalo 3 was the first UK airdrop test
Sep 1957 – “antler” tests at Maralinga, 3 shots (14 and 25 September and 9 October)
Minor trials continued in short annual campaigns until May 1963
Aug 1967 – The final UK clean up operation at Maralinga completed, (Operation Brumby in May to Aug 67)
July 1984 – Australian Royal Commission (ARC) established
Nov 1985 – Royal Commission Report published Feb 1986 Post ARC Technical Assessment Group (TAG) established with UK membership. Study of options and costs of decontamination and rehabilitation of Emu and Maralinga
March 1989 – TAG reports to Australian Ministers
Dec 1993 - UK Government agrees to pay £20M on an ex gratia basis towards the cost of site rehabilitation
Mar 2003 - Report into the clean up of Maralinga published in Australia. The Australian Science Minister reports to Federal Parliament that the land at Maralinga can be handed back to its traditional owner, the Maralinga Tjarutja.
2009 - Most of the Maralinga-Tjarutja land handed back to indigenous people after rehabilitation work was completed.
Backgrounder: Why was Maralinga used for secret nuclear tests? Indigenous landowners have finally been given back their homelands at Maralinga, which was used by Britain to test atomic bombs in the 1950s. But why did Britain use Australian land for nuclear tests in the first place? Source:
SBS News 5 Nov 14 “……. Why was this site chosen?
During The Cold War, the British were keen to develop nuclear weapons of its own.
“If we are unable to make the bomb ourselves, and have to rely entirely on the United States for this vital weapon, we shall sink to the rank of a second-class nation,” said Lord Cherwell, scientific advisor to Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Australian Institute of Criminology reported that the “remoteness and sparse population of Australia made it an attractive alternative.”
The operation – codenamed ‘Hurricane’ – was a secret agreement between the British prime minister Winston Churchill and Australian prime minister Robert Menzies, who was reportedly “only too pleased to assist the motherland”.
In 1993, Ian Anderson wrote in Scientific American magazine that “Britain knew in the 1960s that radioactivity at its former nuclear test site in Australia was worse than first thought. But it did not tell the Australians.”……..http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/11/05/backgrounder-why-was-maralinga-used-secret-nuclear-tests
The lease for Pine Gap was due for renewal in December 1975. On 10 November 1975, the day before Whitlam was sacked. Shackley sent an extraordinary cable from the CIA to ASIO’s director general, threatening to remove ASIO from the British-US intelligence agreement because he considered Whitlam a security threat.
Whitlam, the CIA and Nugan Hand http://nuganhand.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/whitlam-the-cia-and-nugan-hand/ November 11: Coup? What coup? [Green Left Weekly], November 21, 2010By John Jiggens “.……..Lest we forget.
Former Australian prime ministers Robert Menzies, Howard Holt, John Gorton, Bob Hawke and John Howard all compliantly sent Australian troops to fight US wars. But in the early 1970s, Whitlam’s government had the courage to bring Australian soldiers home from the US war in Vietnam.
For this audacious action, Labor would never be forgiven by then-US president Richard Nixon, the CIA, Rupert Murdoch, the CIA, and corrupt conservative premiers Bob Askin (NSW) and Joe Bjelke-Petersen (Queensland) — who all hated Whitlam as though he were Che Guevara.
Whitlam’s election in 1972 began a short-lived era in which the stated aims of the new Labor government were to promote equality and involve the people in decision-making processes. Continue reading
On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.
THE FORGOTTEN COUP Little Darwin, John Pilger 24 Oct 14 – How America and Britain crushed the government of Australia Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.
Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing. Continue reading
Gough Whitlam: former PM was father of Aboriginal land rights in Australia http://www.news.com.au/national/gough-whitlam-former-pm-was-father-of-aboriginal-land-rights-in-australia/story-fncynjr2-1227097636875 OCTOBER 21, 2014 GOUGH Whitlam left the political scene decades ago, but Aborigines still — and always will — acknowledge him as the father of land rights in Australia.
The Rirratjingu clan of northeast Arnhem Land today held a small smoking ceremony, led by Yothu Yindi founder Wityana Marika, and grieved for the man who forced white law to recognise our first people.
- At the time Whitlam came to power in 1972, Aborigines in northeast Arnhem Land were reeling from the 1971 Milirrpum v Nabalco case in the Northern Territory Supreme Court, which found that they had no sovereign rights to their land.
- The government of Robert Menzies had in the 1960s granted Nabalco total rights to mine bauxite on the tribal lands of the Yolngu people, without the consent of the traditional owners, whom the court later deemed did not exist in Australian law.
Whitlam, alert to the injustice, ordered the Woodward Royal Commission in 1973, which recommended the recognition of land rights in the Territory.
- Prior to this, a group of Aborigines led by Vincent Lingiari walked off Wave Hill station, in the west of the Territory, demanding equal wages and conditions and stockmen.
Their struggled morphed into a campaign for land rights, strengthened by the findings of the Woodward commission.
In 1975, Whitlam handed back the Wave Hill lease to Aborigines, famously running sand through the hand of Lingiari. He told him: “Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof in Australian law that these lands belong to the Gurindji people, and I put into your hands part of the earth as a sign that this land will be the possession of you and your children forever.”
Whitlam had by then drafted the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, though would be overthrown before it became law. His successor, Malcolm Fraser, passed the legislation almost unchanged, knowing that the time for recognition had come.
- All this was possible in the Territory, because it didn’t have full state rights; and state governments were by then eyeing the land rights’ developments nervously.
They fought against land rights, fearing they would surrender huge tracts of land to traditional owners.
In 1992, national recognition finally came when the High Court heard the Mabo case and found the doctrine of terra nullius — of Australia as an empty land prior to white arrival — to be a myth.
This led to the creation of Native Title law, which gave Aborigines cultural and economic rights to their land. All of this tied directly back to Milirrpum v Nabalco.
The son of Milirrpum, Wanyubi Marika, described Whitlam as “a very important man. Before him there was no land rights. “My father lost the case because of terra nullius. Mabo picked up the land rights issue from Arnhem Land and made it clear about the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait ownership of the country.
“(Whitlam) was very helpful to our people, to our fathers. We want to think about his work and we will let his spirit be with us, going forward.”
Gough Whitlam remembered: a true leader for Indigenous Australians, Guardian, 21 Oct 14
Gough Whitlam was the first prime minister to campaign so openly for Indigenous people and to listen to their concerns For Aboriginal people across the country, Gough Whitlam was our giant among former prime ministers. He was the first leader to campaign so openly for us. During his short term in office he and his government made momentous decisions to include Aboriginal people within the fabric of the nation. Continue reading
Ngiyani-ga nganbinganbi baluwaal miinba-y nginu-ngay, giirr wangaarrama-li! (We are in this together, never allow yourself to be beaten).
Enough is enough – It’s time to act by supporting the call for our true leaders The Stringer by Dr Woolombi Waters October 19th, 2014 The national call by community leaders Tauto Sansbury, Geoff Clark and Michael Mansell among others for a National Summit of legitimate First Nations leaders has the potential to change a generation. We are talking of the same influence of the Freedom Marches back in the ’60’s, the establishment of the Tent Embassy in ’72 and the Bark Petition in 1963.
But it will only change a generation if we embrace this movement as our own and realise the time for change has come. We can all be a part of history or we can continue to be victims of history. By calling for a National Gathering we are not excluding any people who share in the very real concerns of our mob, our identity and our Culture.
Very few will be given the opportunity to change history during their lives but by each and every one of us standing together we can start a movement to overcome … as together we work towards change.
We have all been called to the same stomping ground and it has come time to act. Continue reading