Australian news, and some related international items

Why did The Age TV promote an American pro nuclear film?

questionNoel Wauchope, 22 April 14, And, more importantly, when will The Age restore balance with an Australian documentary on nuclear/uranium issues, such as one of David Bradbury’s films?

Early this month The Age TV prominently featured “Pandora’s Promise”, so people across Australia could watch this glossy piece of advertising from the American nuclear front group, The Breakthrough Institute.

Today, I wasn’t able to find that nuclear infomercial on The Age’s TV site. Which is a little reassuring – they seem to be not continuing the promotion.

However, I am disappointed that I have not received a reply to my fully addressed, signed and posted.letter to The Age:

The Age  

Online Editor

PO Box 257 Melbourne VIC 3001

3 April 2014

 I came across The Age TV site, and found the Breakthrough Institute’s film “Pandora’s Promise” there.

 I had recently reviewed this film, on its Australian premiere in Melbourne, and found it to be very glossy and engaging, but essentially  a promotional feature for the nuclear industry.

 So it would bring in some balance if The Age were to show a film with a different point of view – and perhaps an Australian film, rather than American.   David Bradbury, for example, has made a number of films on nuclear/uranium issues –

 Can you tell me how The Age came to be showing this film?  I assume that Robert Stone and the Breakthrough Institute did not pay The Age to show it


 Noel Wauchope


April 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

University of Western Australia has resisted intimidation from climate denialists

intimidationConspiracist’ climate change study withdrawn amid legal threats  April 2, 2014 Peter Hannam Lunar landings? Made in Hollywood. Smoking causes cancer? No way. And as for climate change, better not ask.

Or rather, better not study – at least if the case of a Swiss-based journal is any guide. It means that if a paper is published that the climate deniers don’t like the look of, they can bombard the journal with complaints or threats

Climate change academics say the decision by a publisher to retract their paper examining the links between conspiracy theorists and denial of global warming because of legal threats could have a “chilling effect” on research.

Frontiers in Psychology last month retracted the paper, Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation “in light of a small number of complaints”, the journal said on its website.

A year-long investigation “did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study,” it said. However, the probe found “the legal context (to be) insufficiently clear”.

The paper, though, is being carried by the website of  the University of Western Australia where one of its authors, cognitive scientist Stephan Lewandowsky, was based.

“Sadly, it has turned into a routine for outsiders with no scientific standing to approach, bully, or intimidate journals, editors, and academics,” said Professor Lewandowsky, now at the UK’s University of Bristol.

One person commenting on the Frontiers’ website asked for the ‘‘full details of the investigation,’’ saying the paper had been ‘‘derogatory and insulting’’ by naming people as conspiracy theorists who were ‘‘merely pointing out errors in the previous paper’’.

According to Graham Readfearn, the legal threats were that the paper was defamatory.

 Scientific rejection

The genesis of the rejected paper was a 4000-word paper in Psychological Science in 2012 by Professor Lewandowsky and co-authors that explored the links between an endorsement of free-market economics and a rejection of climate change science.

Support for free markets was also a predictor of rejection of mainstream science in other fields, such the link between smoking and cancer, the authors wrote.

Endorsement of a range of conspiracy theories, such as a belief NASA faked the moon landing in a Hollywood studio or that the FBI had killed US civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King Jr., also predicted a climate change denial stance.

Professor Lewandowsky and co-authors then studied how internet bloggers reacted to their initial work, producing the Recursive Fury paper that Frontiers published in February 2013 and has now retracted.

“The extent and vehemence of contrarian activity provided a particularly informative testbed for an analysis of how conspiracist ideation contributes to the rejection of science among web denizens,” the authors wrote.

Responses took several paths: opponents objected to UWA alleging misconduct by Professor Lewandowsky; requests for freedom of information were submitted seeking emails and documents; findings were re-analysed to show the facts did not exist; and several theories began circulating “with arguably conspiracist content”, the researchers said.

Two typical conspiracist attributes emerged: an immutable belief that “something must be wrong” and that the authors were engaged in intentional malfeasance”, they wrote.

‘Bombard’ the journal 

John Cook, a researcher at the University of Queensland and a co-author of the second paper, said the Frontiers’ decision to retract the work might have a “chilling effect” on research.

“It means that if a paper is published that the climate deniers don’t like the look of, they can bombard the journal with complaints or threats,” Mr Cook said.

“Knowing they have had success once might embolden them to try to retreat the strategy again.” (Mr Cook also helms the Skeptical Science website.)

Kim Heitman, a lawyer for the UWA, said the university had done its own risk analysis before publishing the paper online. “There’s no reason to take it down,” Mr Heitman said.

The university had also received complaints from some groups. “It’s quite relentless,” he said.

“There’s always a close interest in everything that Steve (Lewandowsky) does,” Mr Heitman said. “We are conscious that we are going to be targeted by people opposed to his works.”

The university, though, had also received plaudits from around the world for its decision to publish the paper.

“I couldn’t list them,” Mr Heitman said. “And I wouldn’t list them, having regard to the fact that anyone who issues a ‘thanks UWA’ will probably get their own enquiry.”


Elaine McKewon, one of the retracted paper’s three independent reviewers, said Frontiers had been “spineless” in its response to complaints. Kim Heitman, a lawyer for the UWA, said the university had done its own risk analysis before publishing the paper online. “There’s no reason to take it down,” Mr Heitman said.

The university had also received complaints from some groups. “It’s quite relentless,” he said.

“There’s always a close interest in everything that Steve (Lewandowsky) does,” Mr Heitman said. “We are conscious that we are going to be targeted by people opposed to his works.”

The university, though, had also received plaudits from around the world for its decision to publish the paper.

“I couldn’t list them,” Mr Heitman said. “And I wouldn’t list them, having regard to the fact that anyone who issues a ‘thanks UWA’ will probably get their own enquiry.”


Elaine McKewon, one of the retracted paper’s three independent reviewers, said Frontiers had been “spineless” in its response to complaints……….

April 3, 2014 Posted by | media, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Legal bullying made a scientific journal remove its article about climate change

intimidationThe journal that gave in to climate deniers’ intimidation The Conversation,  Elaine McKewon,  Research Associate, Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney 1 April 14, 

In February 2013, the journal Frontiers in Psychology published a peer-reviewed paper which found that people who reject climate science are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. Predictably enough, those people didn’t like it.The paper, which I helped to peer-review, is called “Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation”. In it, cognitive scientist Stephan Lewandowsky and his colleagues survey and analyse the outcry generated on climate skeptic blogs to their earlier work on climate denial.

The earlier study had also linked climate denial with conspiracist thinking. And so by reacting with yet more conspiracy theorising, the bloggers rather proved the researchers’ point.

Yet soon after Recursive Fury was published, threats of litigation started to roll in, and the journal took the paper down (it survives on the website of the University of Western Australia, where Lewandowsky carried out the study).

A lengthy investigation ensued, which eventually found the paper to be scientifically and ethically sound. Yet on March 21 this year, Frontiers retracted the paper because of the legal threats.

The episode offers some of the clearest evidence yet that threats of libel lawsuits have a chilling effect on scientific research………

the journal’s management and editors were clearly intimidated by climate deniers who threatened to sue. So Frontiers bowed to their demands, retracted the paper, damaged its own reputation, and ultimately gave a free kick to aggressive climate deniers.

I would have expected a scientific journal to have more backbone, certainly when it comes to the crucially important issue of academic freedom.


April 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australia NEEDS to see “Utopia”- and stop white-washing its Aboriginal history

film-UtopiaIt’s nothing new that other countries are expressing shock and outrage over this film, whilst Australia tries to ignore its content. For further information, check out the mounting pile of political denials following reports from visiting UN officials.
It’s a crying shame, because Australia NEEDS to see this.

Utopia: An Aboriginal perspective, Black Feminist Blogspot, BY TRACKERJANUARY 7, 2014 Award winning investigative journalist John Pilger’s new film Utopia will be a powerful weapon to raise awareness about Aboriginal Australia, according to Arrente writer Celeste Liddle*.  On flicking through the UK reviews of John Pilger’s new documentary film “Utopia”, one thing quickly becomes apparent: Pilger has created a hard-hitting film that is of extraordinary importance.

Utopia, which was released in the UK in November, has consistently received rave reviews. CineVue refers to it as “as an examination of forgotten injustice it’s quite simply essential viewing”. Metro states that the film is “confrontational, eye-opening and saddening viewing”.
As someone who has been lucky enough to see the film, I cannot say I am at all surprised that four-star ratings have dominated, with the slightly lower ratings seemingly limited to criticism about the length of the film and Pilger’s interruptive and bombastic-at-times interview style.
It is frequently described as a “must see”, its content as bleak, confronting and disturbing and its core arguments as compelling and shameful.
In short, since its release, it has shaken viewers in the UK and awoken them to some unspoken truths in this country. That the film may not have the same reaction in Australia is not a surprise to me. The content, after all, covers the appalling situations and vast injustices facing many Indigenous Australians. Continue reading

February 28, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Abbott’s Australia – the land of cover-ups and secrecy?


The ABC is uniquely placed.. because it is not beholden to commercial interests. Rather than leading the day’s news with a story about Justin Bieber, because that will generate the largest audience, Aunty tells people what they need to know.

Cover up and secrecy in Abbott’s Australia, Aljazeera,  PM pans ‘unpatriotic’ national broadcaster for holding govt accountable to its electorate  ,   7 Feb 14, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has something in common with Egypt’s military government – he expects the government-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation to be a cheerleader for the country and decries the reporting of stories which portray Australia negatively.

But while the Egyptian government has jailed Al Jazeera journalists  for making Egypt look bad, Abbott has to find other methods of curtailing criticism. Continue reading

February 8, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Political bias at Australia’s ABC

text save ABCStatus Update By Don’t blame me I didn’t vote for Tony Abbott POST BY PAGE MEMBER RICHARD O’BRIEN:
“Political bias at the ABC? Here is a list of all ABC board members appointed since 1996.

Howard government appointments:

Donald McDonald – Liberal Party member and long-time friend of the Howard Family.

Michael Kroger – Liberal party powerbroker and former president of the Victorian Liberal party. Member of the right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (“Ding!”)

Judith Sloan – Right-wing labour market economist, News Ltd Columnist and outspoken critic of the ABC. Associated with right-wing think tanks the Centre for Independent Studies, the HR Nichols Society and the IPA (“Ding, Ding!”)

Ross McLean – Former Liberal party MP for Perth.

Leith Boully – Member of the Murray-Darling CAC with close ties to the Liberal party. Former member of the NT Young Country Liberal Party.

Maurice Newman – Close friend and confidant of John Howard and founder of the Centre for Independent Studies, a right-wing think tank identical to the IPA (“Ding, Ding, Ding!”)

Janet Albrechtson – Right-wing columnist for News Ltd. Associated with the CIS and IPA (“Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!”)

Ron Brunton – Former right-wing columnist for News Ltd. Climate change skeptic, critic of the stolen generations report and Director of Indigenous Affairs at the IPA (“Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!”)

Steven Skala – Former director of the CIS (“Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!”)

Keith Windschuttle – Right-wing historian. Outspoken critic of the ABC and regular keynote speaker for the CIS and IPA (“Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!”)

Peter Hurley – President of the SA Hotels Association and major donor to the Liberal party and right-wing think tanks…oh bugger it (“Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!”)

Jonathan Shier – Right-wing opponent of all public broadcasting. Was appointed with a mandate to attack the ABC but resigned after 19 months. Guess who called for this guy’s appointment. (“Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!”)

Mark Scott – Former staffer to NSW Liberal minister Terry Metherell.

Rudd/Gillard appointments

James Spigelman – No known political affiliation.

Julianne Schultz – No known political affiliation.

Cheryl Bart – No known political affiliation.

Fiona Stanley – No known political affiliation.

Jane Bennett – No known political affiliation.

Five ABC board appointments fall vacant in the current government’s term.


February 7, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Malcolm Turnbull, Maurice Newman, Tony Abbott, on climate change

What Malcolm Turnbull thinks.  “……the fact is that Tony and the people who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change. They do not believe in human caused global warming. As Tony observed on one occasion “climate change is crap” or if you consider his mentor, Senator Minchin, the world is not warming, its cooling and the climate change issue is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to deindustrialise the world……”

“there is a major issue of integrity at stake here and Liberals should reflect very deeply on it…..”

Many Liberals are rightly dismayed that on this vital issue of climate change we are not simply without a policy, without any prospect of having a credible policy but we are now without integrity. We have given our opponents the irrefutable, undeniable evidence that we cannot be trusted……

When You Have Advisers Like Newman Why Would You Need Scientists? The Australian Independent Media Network  BY JOHN LORD 2013 on JANUARY 1, 2014 In The Australian newspaper December 31 (otherwise known as the official newsletter of the LNP) there appeared an article by Newman-Moaurice-climatethe Prime Minister’s business adviser Maurice Newman. Creditable broadsheets would not have given it a column inch but that’s Murdoch for you. What follows is lying at its most blatant.

In one of those rare moments I have momentarily found myself lost for words so I have decided to rely on the commentary of others with the final word left to Malcolm Turnbull….

In an interview, Mr Newman said protection of climate change policies and the renewable energy industry by various state governments smacked of a “cover-up”…… Continue reading

February 1, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott launches new attack on Australian Broadcasting Corporation

text save ABCTony Abbott blasts national broadcaster: ABC takes ‘everyone’s side but Australia’s’  Canberra Times, , 29 Jan 14 Reporter Prime Minister Tony Abbott has berated ABC News, arguing that it is taking ”everyone’s side but Australia’s” and that journalists should give the navy the ”benefit of the doubt” when it comes to claims of wrongdoing.

In comments that also suggest the media should act as cheerleaders for the country, Mr Abbott ramped up his recent criticism of the ABC…….

Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek defended the ABC on Wednesday as a “longstanding part of Australia’s cultural fabric”.

“From emergency broadcasts in times of trouble to coverage of the events that shape our nation, the ABC is there, free for all Australians,” she said.

Ms Plibersek said that every government had been subjected to close scrutiny by the ABC since the broadcaster began, “and we should all welcome that”.

January 29, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics | Leave a comment

Treaty with Aborigines needed – Pilger’s new film “Utopia”

film-UtopiaJohn Pilger’s damning new film about indigenous Australia SMH, Julian Drape, December 31, 2013 “……London-based Pilger returns to outback Australia for this documentary film to find little has changed since his 1985 work The Secret Country.The Utopia of the title refers to the Northern Territory region north of Alice Springs…….

Pilger, 74, sees a treaty and genuine land rights as the key to improving the position of the original owners of Australia. Anything less, including the current talk of constitutional recognition, is simply a “distraction”, he says.

The film opened in the United Kingdom in mid-November and screens in Sydney on January 17. Subsequent limited dates include Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Alice Springs. Pilger would have been delighted to show Utopia in Australia first but no local distributor offered a cinema run.

“One Australian distributor refused to take the film because he said it was ‘too dark’ and ‘it might upset people with its myth-busting’,” the veteran journalist says.The film was commissioned by ITV in Britain and funded entirely in the UK…..

Pilger doesn’t apologise for taking such an uncompromising view.”Unlike the US, Canada and New Zealand, no treaty was ever negotiated between the lawful owners of Australia and those who took their land,” he says. “International law is clear – there has to be a treaty.

“If the Australian political establishment believes it can continue to look the other way and deny the first Australians their basic rights they are seriously mistaken.”……

Pilger reminds the viewer that Bob Hawke in the 1980s walked away from genuine land rights in the face of a racist scare campaign from the mining industry. He draws parallels with Julia Gillard’s decision to fold on Labor’s mining tax in 2010.

“The revenue lost is estimated at $60 billion,” the director says in the film. “Enough to fund land rights and to end Aboriginal poverty.”……

Child abuse is one of the rationales for taking children away, yet the NT has one of the lowest rates of reported child abuse in Australia, Pilger says. He argues Australians shouldn’t still need educating about the plight of indigenous Australia, but if they do he hopes Utopia helps.

“Utopia tells them the truth,” he says. “If people choose to ignore the research and evidence in this film then their prejudice is unshakeable.”….. Utopia is on limited released in Australia from January 17. Details at


January 8, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Abbott govt and Murdoch Press attack Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

Murdoch and Abbott combine to silence the ABC, Independent Australia  3 January 2014 Reports on the Abbott Government and News Corporation’s coordinated assault upon Australia’s public broadcaster have ignored numerous key factors, writes Alan Austin.


The Abbott Government is ramping up endeavours to reward its principal promoter Rupert Murdoch with greater media control.


Ministers are now openly attacking the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s foreign television service. As usual, neither Murdoch’s nor the Coalition’s people are telling the truth.

This week’s mini-furore started whenThe Australian ran a front page beat-up attacking the national broadcaster’s management ofAustralia Network, headed ‘ABC put on notice over foreign TV’. Continue reading

January 3, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Interview with John Pilger about his new film “Utopia”

film-UtopiaUtopia - a powerful film about the subjugation of Aboriginal First Australians 09/11/2013 An interview with the maker of Utopia, John Pilger John Pilger, the renowned investigative journalist and award winning film maker, has recently completed a new film, Utopia, which deals with the subjugation of the Aboriginal First Australians. Niall Mulholland interviews John about the film’s themes, followed with a review of

Your new film, Utopia, is a powerful and harrowing look at the legacy of colonial genocide and successive government policies on Australia’s indigenous people. What made you return to this theme?…….. Continue reading

November 14, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, media | Leave a comment

Ways to completely remove Murdoch spin from your computer

a-cat-CANActually, I wouldn’t do this. I like to know what lies and hypocrisies are being pushed currently

How to block Murdoch   Independent Australia, Torin Peel 3 November 2013  Sick of News Corp spin? Technology whiz Torin Peel explains how to erase Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda from your computer screens completely.  IF YOU’RE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE who simply won’t stand for Rupert Murdoch’s crap anymore, now might be the time to completely erase him from your computer screens for good. There are many ways to do this, and they’re remarkably simple.

If you’re ready to block News Corpse, the first way we can do this is using a plugin for Google Chrome. If you don’t use Chrome, I recommend you download it. It’s a lot faster and more modern than Internet Explorer. It’s also a lot easier to use and works better with most web pages, including websites like Twitter and Facebook.

The Google Chrome plugin is called Murdoch Block, and can be added to Chrome with relative ease through the Chrome extensions library……,5861

November 3, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Mainstream media in Australia has brought about a public fog of ignorance about climate change

News-Limited1If you believe that the main obligation of journalists is to the public right to know, the results of this study are truly alarming. Journalism is about reporting contemporary events as accurately as possible. There could be no better example of the importance of this than the reporting of climate science.

News Corp’s coverage seems to be more about production of ignorance than informing people so they can participate in debates about solutions. If people are confused or ignorant about potential threats, they cannot be expected to support action to confront them.

climate-changeBig Australian media reject climate science The Conversation, Wendy Bacon,1 November 2013, Australia has the most concentrated press ownership in the world. What does that mean for significant issues such as climate change?

In 2011 and 2012 we at the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at University of Technology, Sydney collected data on climate science coverage in ten Australian newspapers. We published the results yesterday in a report: Sceptical Climate: Part 2.

We found that Australia’s concentrated newspaper ownership has a significant effect on how climate science is covered. One third of articles in Australia’s major newspapers do not accept the consensus position of climate science: that human beings are contributing to climate change.

That’s a very high level of scepticism when you consider that these stories are rejecting findings that over 97% of the world’s climate scientists support. Recently the International Panel on Climate Change found there was 95% certainty that people were contributing to climate change.

How did we decide what was sceptical? Continue reading

November 2, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Letters editors will not print clear errors of fact from climate change deniers

Climate change: a note from our Letters editors  October 21, 2013 Julie Lewis and Marc McEvoy Letters editors rarely make the news. This month the Los Angeles Times letters editor, Paul Thornton, did just that with a story on letters from climate-change deniers. He said he would not print letters that asserted “there is no sign humans have caused climate change” because “it was not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy”. This attracted headlines declaring “Los Angeles Times riles climate-change sceptics by banning letters”. Unsurprisingly, we’ve been asked how we treat letters from climate change deniers.

Herald editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir recently reiterated the paper’s stance on global warming. “The Herald believes unequivocally in human-induced climate change,” he told an audience at David Suzuki’s City Talk. “It is an established fact. What we are much more interested in is not the sideshow over whether this phenomenon exists or not, but on how it should be tackled.”

We do not ban writers whose views suggest they are climate change deniers or sceptics. We consider their letters and arguments. But we believe the argument over whether climate change is happening and whether it is man-made has been thrashed out extensively by leading scientists and on our pages and that the main debate now is about its effects, severity, and what society does about it.

Climate change deniers or sceptics are free to express opinions and political views on our page but not to misrepresent facts. This applies to all our contributors on any subject. On that basis, a letter that says, “there is no sign humans have caused climate change” would not make the grade for our page. 

October 21, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media | Leave a comment

Politically biased media climate coverage is not a coincidence

spin-global.nukeLet’s be honest – the global warming debate isn’t about science  by  Friday 4 October 2013 theguardian.comThe scientific evidence on human-caused global warming is clear. Opposition stems from politics, not science.The 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report states with 95 percent confidence that humans have caused most, and probably all of the rapid global warming over the past 60 years. Approximately 97 percent of climate experts and peer-reviewed climate science studies agree…….

Politically biased media climate coverage is not a coincidence

News-Limited1The scientific evidence is what it is, and it has no political bias. The same is not true of the media outlets that cover the topic. It’s not a coincidence that politically conservative tabloids and newspapers like the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Australian, and Wall Street Journal spend a disproportionate amount of time amplifying the voices of the less than 3 percent of climate contrarian scientists, as well as many non-scientist contrarians.

It’s certainly not the case that David Rose has some brilliant insight into the state of climate science that climate scientists don’t have. He and his fellow climate contrarians simply approach the question backwards. They start from their political ideological opposition to climate solutions and work backwards, seeking out cherry picked evidence to justify their predetermined conclusions, thus ignoring the 97 percent of inconvenient scientific evidence. This climate contrarianism ideological bias is illustrated in a new study, summarized by Graham Readfearn: Continue reading

October 5, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment


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