Australian news, and some related international items

Litigation in Malawi against Australian uranium miner Paladin

“There is a very strong perception that when Australian mining companies come here they take every advantage of regulatory and compliance monitoring weaknesses, and of the huge disparity in power between themselves and affected communities, and aim to get away with things they wouldn’t even think of trying in Australia,”

Australian miners linked to hundreds of deaths, injuries in Africa, SMH,  July 11, 2015 -Will Fitzgibbon Australian mining companies are linked to hundreds of deaths and injuries in Africa, which can go unreported at home. Some of the Australian Securities Exchange-listed companies include state governments as shareholders. One company recorded 38 worker deaths over an eleven-year period.

justiceIn Malawi, litigation continues against Paladin Africa Limited, a subsidiary of Perth-based Paladin Energy, and its subcontractor after an explosion disfigured one worker with such heat that his skin shattered when touched by rescuers. Two others died in the same incident.

Other allegations include employees in South Africa hacking a woman with a machete and Malian police killing two protesters after a mine worker reportedly asked authorities to dislodge a barricade on the road to the mine.

An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, in collaboration with 13 African reporters, uncovered locally-filed lawsuits, violent protests and community petitions criticising some Australian companies.  Continue reading

July 11, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics international | Leave a comment

Adelaide’s Advertiser continues to spout pro nuclear advertising articles

news-nukeDennis Matthews, It is indeed pathetic that the pro-nuke lobby keeps repeating the same old one-sided arguments to support their out-dated, dangerous and dirty industry (The Advertiser, 15/6/15). This should be recognised for what it is, the standard tool of the propaganda merchant.

It is equally pathetic that others keep repeating the neurotic claim that opposition to the nuclear industry is some sort of conspiracy to prevent “rational debate” (The Advertiser, 15/6/15), a claim that flies in the face of countless inquiries run by manifestly pro-nuclear governments.

But the most pathetic thing of all is that a reputable newspaper keeps publishing these sorts of unproductive and boring contributions to what is claimed to be an important issue.

Let’s have not only a rational debate but also a debate that encourages the flow of new information not repetitive, mindless, propaganda that appears to be designed to brainwash rather than inform.


June 15, 2015 Posted by | media, South Australia | Leave a comment

Social media used by activists AND by corporate nuclear shills

Mike Seccombe’s article (The hashtag crusaders, Saturday Paper 9/5/15) discussed social media as a modern form of activism – particularly for the young. However, I’ve done a bit of searching on this, and discovered that yes – anti nuclear activists are more likely to be older persons, and female.  But – pro nuclear activists also tend to be older persons, usually male.
While social media is seen as a forum for the young, and for activists –  we’re inclined to see them as progressive or anti-establishment.
Not necessarily so, and the Twitter campaign against Dr Caldicott is a fine example of organised social media activism on behalf of corporations, in this case the nuclear lobby.  While it’s pretty sure that at present, in Australia, the numbers of progressive individuals tweeting are greater than the numbers of anti progressives, the very system of Twitter (and no doubt Facebook and others too) enables multiple messages to go out from just one source.

Well funded agencies such as the nuclear lobby use various algorithms to send out, for example, hundreds of Twitter messages from fake Twitter addresses 24 hours a day.
Having studied the tweets on #thorium #nuclear for 3 years, I find that they are repetitively tweeting advertisements, often linking to Youtube ads, and the continual anti Helen Caldicott attack.
Fortunately, Twitter has improved its reporting system, so that nasty personal attacks can be stopped.  I am hoping that Dr Caldicott has fnally addressed this herself. Now, Twitter enables people to report about attacks on another person. I’ve done this in relation to Dr Caldicott, and it seems to have worked, as the attacks have become less vitriolic.
Tony Abbott recently dismissed social media as unimportant – “digital graffitti”.  What an interesting comparison!  Time was when the walls along Melbourne’s railway lines were decorated with wonderful signs  – “Pig Iron Bob” and “Stop Uranium Mining”.   Graffitti had its impact in those days – so its modern equivalent has its impact now.
But people should be aware that corporate lobbies are using it too!

May 11, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

“THE AUSTRALIAN’ newspaper’s pro nuclear bias continues.

News-Limited1Isn’t it interesting that when a Liberal politician, with a background in auctioneering and estate agency, produces his particular pro nuclear argument, it gets coverage from THE AUSTRALIAN?  But when Dr Helen Caldicott, an internationally regarded expert on matters nuclear offers an informed insight into the South Australian nuclear proposals – then there’s no room for that, in the same newspaper.

Liberal Senator Sean Edwards is repeating a story that sounds remarkably familiar: “We could end up with zero or low-cost power” … “The more you reprocess, the more electricity you have to get rid of.”


Senator Edwards is “briefing”  Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and Trade Minister Andrew Robb on the (non existent) Integral Fast Reactor 

April 10, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

“Bad taste” to mention climate change and Vanuatu devastateded by cyclone

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmVanuatu Devastated, Just Don’t Mention The Climate Change  New Matilda 18 Mar 15 While Cyclone Pam was bearing down on the tiny island nation, its president was at a conference in Japan, pleading for action on climate change. Richard Hil explains.

What are we to make of the gargantuan elephant in the ABC studio that failed to get a mention?

Despite breathing down the neck of ABC’s 7.30 anchor, Leigh Sales on Monday night, no reference was made to it during an interview with Joe Natuman, Prime Minister of cyclone ravaged Pacific Island nation, Vanuatu.

Perhaps Sales was being sensitive to the Prime Minister’s distressed state. He had, after all, experienced firsthand a category 5 cyclone and had seen his nation turned into rubble, with the death toll still rising.

The Prime Minister said that the last time his country was devastated by a cyclone was during the 1980s, but that was a modest category three system.

The nature and scale of the destruction wrought by Cyclone Pam, packing winds of over 250 kilometres per hour and waves several metres high, was in his words, unprecedented.

Despite the unusual ferocity of this event, Sales studiously avoided the unmentionable – anthropogenic climate change. Instead, the questions dealt with the emergency response, food and shelter requirements and the aid sought from and provided by Australia.

Sales was not alone in her reluctance to bring up the matter of human-induced climate change. Despite widespread and heartfelt declarations of support and sympathy there appeared to be an unspoken media censorship on this issue. Continue reading

March 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Adelaide Advertiser obligingly publicises pro nuclear shills

media-propagandaDennis Matthews, 13 Mar 15 Whilst belittling socially aware South Australian schoolteachers and environmentalists The Advertiser seems to be totally comfortable with pro-nuclear visiting British professors quoting numbers “suspect to challenge” and Japanese Professors supporting nuclear reactors and nuclear waste storage in Australia (The Advertiser, 13/3/15).

The British Professor is from the University College London, which has a campus in Adelaide, has had very generous funding from the people of SA but looks like closing its doors in the near future, and which appears to be a *Trojan Horse for the uranium mining and nuclear energy lobby.

The Japanese Professor is an “expert on international law” and as far as we can tell has no particular expertise on uranium mining, nuclear reactors or nuclear waste dumps but who claims that Australia could offer a “cradle to grave” solution to the nuclear industry. The people of Fukushima would be experts on that, but neither The Advertiser nor the esteemed professor of international law seems to be in a rush to talk about the reality versus the mirage.



* re UCL – a Trojan horse

see Adelaide’s University College London (UCL) -pro nuclear research funded by nuclear interests


March 13, 2015 Posted by | media, South Australia | Leave a comment

The Adelaide Advertiser starts publicity campaign for nuclear reprocessing?

a-cat-CANA pious article reminds South Australians that yes, there were health concerns about uranium mining, and yes nuclear waste is  a serious problem.

But by the end of this article – we are told that South Australia  “is an idea site for nuclear waste disposal, both national and international — with the potential for huge financial returns.”

and that “The international nuclear industry has made enormous advances in the past 30 years and many of the concerns raised by Mr Rann may have been addressed.”

and that these concerns “should be addressed, and hopefully dispelled, by the Royal Commission.”

news-nukeIt sounds to me as though the Advertiser, scripted by the nuclear lobby, is softening readers up for the idea of a nuclear reprocessing industry, with the rationale of (supposedly) curing the world’s nuclear waste problem


Rex Jory: SA is an ideal site for nuclear waste disposal, Adelaide Advertiser, 1 Mar 15  “……..As an adviser to former Labor Premier, Don Dunstan, Mr Rann studied aspects of the nuclear industry in Europe and the United States and in the early 1980s wrote a 32 page soft-covered book outlining his concerns about SA’s potential involvement in the nuclear industry.

Mr Rann, now Australian Ambassador to Italy, may have revised some of his beliefs, yet his book raises serious issues which the community and the Labor Party cannot easily ignore. No matter what recent advances have been made in nuclear safety, what was true, or perceived to be true, in 1980 cannot now be rejected without questioning 35 years later. Continue reading

March 1, 2015 Posted by | media, South Australia | 1 Comment

The Adelaide Advertiser misleads public on medical nuclear isotopes

The Editor
The Advertiser

Your correspondent Phil Day (The Advertiser, 24/2/15) is a victim of those nuclear industry spin doctors who try to use nuclear medicine to justify the use of nuclear reactors.

The nuclear waste that is being considered for dumping in South Australia does not come mainly from medical grade isotopes, it comes from nuclear power stations and from facilities for producing the fuel for nuclear power stations and nuclear weapons. The nuclear waste from medical grade isotopes is comparatively trivial.

I also hope I never need a CAT scan or X-ray because both use ionising radiation. However, neither CAT scans nor X-rays use radioactive isotopes or produce nuclear waste and hence their use to justify generating and importing nuclear waste is misleading.

Dennis Matthews


February 25, 2015 Posted by | media, South Australia | Leave a comment

The facts on the ABC’s Fact Check

The ABC Fact Check budget is modest, a tiny fraction of the $10 million mischievously bandied around. ABC Fact Check does not check the media, not ABC journalists nor any others. In the age of 24/7 news, frenetic social media commentary and shrinking newspapers, it interrogates the claims of elected representatives, prominent individuals, influential institutions and lobby groups engaged in the public policy debate. I would have hoped Mr Cameron would have seen that as a positive step.

Fact-check journalism began in the US following the weapons of mass destruction debate before the 2003 Iraq invasion. It has proliferated in the US, Britain, the EU, South Africa, Ukraine, Egypt and South America.

Russell Skelton, Editor, ABC Fact Check, Ultimo  THE AUSTRALIAn 11 Feb 15

February 11, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

The Adelaide Advertiser is in the grip of the nuclear lobby

news-nukeDennis Matthews, 9 Feb 15 From its comments denigrating would-be opposition to the nuclear industry whilst at the same time paying lip service against radical pro-development forces it’s pretty obvious that The Advertiser has already made up its mind about Jay Weatherill’s opportunistic so-called independent Royal Commission into the nuclear industry (The Advertiser, 9/2/15).

With subjective comments like those from the media, business communities and pro-nuclear politicians why waste taxpayers money on window dressing a foregone conclusion?

Once again the public is being led like lambs to the slaughter in the name of development, which in truth is nothing less than a proxy for narrow-minded, regressive, vested interests.

February 9, 2015 Posted by | media, South Australia | Leave a comment

Films record the sorry history of Australia’s involvement in the nuclear industry

highly-recommendedFilmSuperpit: Digging for uranium in the Australian cultural imaginary, [ excellent videos and pictures] National Sound and Film Archive, by Adam Broinowski The mining industry has been a central force in shaping Australian history in the 20th century. In fact, as is evident in the policy switch from the ‘Mining Super Profits Tax’ (Rudd/Gillard government) to ‘Open for Business’ (Abbott government)1, mining influence in Australian politics is direct and far-reaching. Any historical discussion of mining, however, should not overlook the historical relations between the Aboriginal owners and settler populations and their transnational partners…….

As the poisonous modern rituals of atomic testing were carried out (Monte Bello Island, Emu Fields, Maralinga), which included the use of Plutonium 239, both Australian and British officials repeated that the health risks were negligible, despite extensive local radioactive contamination

while some Aboriginal people from Ooldea were moved from their traditional lands to Yalata prior to the 1956–57 series of tests at Maralinga, there were still Aboriginal people using their camping grounds that passed through the Maralinga test site. As found in the Royal Commission (1975), the insufficient caution taken to ensure that all people were removed from the Area prior to tests was based on the false and negligent assumption that there were no longer people living on this land. Members of the Pitjantjantjara, Yakunytjatjara, Tjarutja, and the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta nations are said to have been exposed to radioactive contamination, whether in ‘black mist’ or other forms. Along with many Australian atomic test veterans, they developed chronic illnesses, the complications from which led to many premature deaths.

These ‘side effects’ were largely ignored as officials prioritised the plans to make Australia a ‘great power by 2000’ (such as Philip Baxter, Chair of the Australian Atomic Energy Agency)…….

In 1977, when the bid to mine one of the largest uranium deposits in the world at Ranger 1 and Nabarlek in the middle of the park was approved by the Fraser government, the Fox Report warned that mining waste would have to be stored for a quarter of a million years. Aboriginal elders also warned that mining ‘sickness country’ would lead to disaster…….

Given the ongoing damage caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster since 11 March 2011, with the Fukushima Daiichi reactor said to have been fuelled by Australian uranium (at least in part), one wonders how many more warnings the authorities and their transnational partners need. The image in Phantom Gold of a lone European settler in the desert who hunts for gold while dying from thirst, may indeed come back to haunt us.

August 4, 2014 Posted by | Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, media | Leave a comment

How the Australian media WRONGLY hyped up Silex Uranium Enrichment Technology


GLE suspends Silex laser treatment of uranium as market bites, Matthew Peach
29 Jul 2014
Focus switches to reduced US program after Japanese shutdown narrows market; Silex hopes for resumption when conditions pick up. Silex Systems, an Australian high-tech company developing energy and materials technologies, has announced that the Licensee for Silex’s Uranium Enrichment Technology,GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment, is reducing its funding and commercialisation program of the laser treatment technology in response to “current adverse market conditions” – with the result that related operations in Australia are stopping.
GLE will consolidate its efforts on the technology development activities to its Wilmington facility in North Carolina, USA. The Silex annoncement said, “most contractor-based work on the project will be suspended, with the project facility near Oak Ridge, Tennessee to be placed in a safe storage mode, and GLE-funded activities at the laser development facility at Lucas Heights, Sydney, to cease.”………
Dr Michael Goldsworthy, Silex CEO and Managing Director, said, “the global nuclear industry is still suffering the impacts of the Fukushima event and the shutdown of the entire Japanese nuclear power plant fleet in 2011. Demand for uranium has been slower to recover than expected and enrichment services are in significant oversupply.”……..
Media speculationJust two days before the GLE announcement, Australian daily newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that “With a share price down 65 per cent in the past year, [Silex] is one of the best intelligent speculations on the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange)”, adding, “The enrichment market is expected to be worth US$10 billion by 2019.”

July 30, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, media, uranium | Leave a comment

Press Council raps THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper over its false story of climate change denial

exclamation-‘Considerable concern’: Oz in hot water over climate denial errors, Crikey,  by Myriam Robin, 24 July 14 The Press Council has handed down an adverse ruling against The Australian for a front-page article published in September last year that relied on a rapidly debunked Daily Mail story claiming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had revised down the rate of global warming since 1951.

In highly unusual language for the Press Council, it says it is a matter of “considerable concern” that The Australian delayed in acknowledging its errors. Asked to explain the strong language, Press Council executive director John Pender told Crikey ”the initial error was very serious and prominent, was repeated unequivocally in a later editorial, and was not corrected with sufficient speed, clarity and prominence”.

In a September 16 article, since changed online but archived here on the Media Watch website, The Australian environment editor Graham Lloyd rehashed a British story published a week before the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC was released that claimed the report update would say the true figure of warming since 1951 had been 0.12 degrees Celsius per decade, and not the 0.2 degrees Celsius claimed in previous reports.

The Oz’s piece continued:

“Last week, the IPCC was forced to deny it was locked in crisis talks as reports intensified that scientists were preparing to revise down the speed at which climate change is happening and its likely impact.

“It is believed the IPCC draft report will still conclude there is now greater confidence that climate change is real, humans are having a major impact and that the world will continue to warm catastrophically unless drastic action is taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The impacts would include big rises in the sea level, floods, droughts and the disappearance of the Arctic icecap.

“But claimed contradictions in the report have led to calls for the IPCC report process to be scrapped.”

These reports were wrong. The Daily Mail got its numbers wrong, and The Australian repeated the error, as Media Watch anThe Guardian pointed out last year. The long-term trend in the IPCC report is 0.13 degrees of global warming a decade, and has been for some time — there was no retreat from higher figures……..

July 26, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media | Leave a comment

Northern Land Council bars journalist from visiting Muckaty – planned nuclear waste dump site

censorshipThere is a very important wider issue in all this – irrespective of my visit – “If the radioactive waste facility goes ahead, will journalists and indigenous rights advocates like me be able to have access to freely visit it and report on any issues associated with its operation?”

Northern Land Council puts out ‘Not Welcome’ mat for site visit at Muckaty. #wasteontrial June 4, 2014 by Bruce Reyburn One of the hallmarks of an open democracy is the ability of the media and human rights advocates to go freely to contested places where they can report on what they see and learn in the process.

MuckatyAs I have just found, this is not the case in one part of Australia.In keeping with the tight provisions of the Australian government legislation for a radioactive waste facility, a site on “Muckaty” was ‘volunteered’ by one small ‘local descent group’ (or part thereof) of Warlmanpa people in return for a few million dollars – and then nominated to the Australian government by the Northern Land Council. All done by the book, according to the NLC.

Other Warlmanpa at Muckaty objected to this process – hence the present Federal Court case presently underway in Melbourne, thence Tennant Creek, Darwin, Melbourne.

The Northern Land Council is a respondent in this Federal Court case, along with the Commonwealth of Australia.

Under the Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act a permit is required to enter onto Aboriginal land (as defined by that Act).

Issuing permits is a function of the relevant Aboriginal Land Council to process permit applications.

Soon after I decided to blow the budget and travel to Tennant Creek to see old friends and listen to Warlmanpa people’s evidence in their Federal Court case, I realised that the Federal Court would travel to Muckaty to view the site nominated for the Australian government’s radioactive waste facility. This proposed radioactive waste facility site is on Aboriginal Land gained by a traditional Aboriginal land claim under that Act, and has a pastoral lease “Muckaty” over it. Muckaty is in that part of the Northern Territory covered by the Northern Land Council.

Therefore I would need a permit to visit Muckaty and the proposed site if I got the opportunity, either as part of the court case or separately during my short visit, with Warlmanpa people who might want me to help tell their story to the wider world.

Accordingly, I made an application to the Northern Land Council, nominating a couple of different dates and mentioning that I aimed to write about these matters on my blog.

When I did not get a reply back I sent an email to the NLC asking about the progress of my permit application. Copies of that correspondence are included below My application does not appear to have been referred to the traditional owners of Muckaty, but the NLC legal section.

On the basis of that I have been effectively blocked from visiting the proposed radioactive waste site…..

The main question in my mind is this – “Is the decision of the Northern Land Council to deny me access to visit the proposed radioactive waste site a decision which:

(a) truly reflects the wishes of the traditional owners of Muckaty, in whose name the Northern Land Council operates or
(b) was it a decision based on other than normal considerations and
(c) if it was not normal practice, was the decision in keeping with the relevant legislation regarding the role of the NLC in processing permits?”

There is a very important wider issue in all this – irrespective of my visit – “If the radioactive waste facility goes ahead, will journalists and indigenous rights advocates like me be able to have access to freely visit it and report on any issues associated with its operation?”


June 5, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, media, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Aboriginal art exhibition “Flow of Voices” highlights environment and history

Aboriginal elders paint pre-mine tragedy GINA FAIRLEY Visual Arts Hub,  3 JUNE, 2014
A new exhibition from remote mining country provides a ‘prequel’ tale that goes back to colonial frontier massacres Jacky Green’s potent pictures of the environmental impact of the Macarthur River Mine’s (MRM) on the remote Gulf Country of Borroloola recently offered a powerful example of the way art tells an important contemporary story.

But the region, which sits just below the Gulf of Carpentaria in the Northern Territory, has an equally charged story of land and dispossession from colonial times which is now the subject of a  matching exhibition Flow of Voices 2: Stewart Hoosan and Nancy McDinny……….in this unrecognised frontier war about one-sixth of the population lost their lives in lawless massacres and violence (600 men, women and children in official records),’ said Cross Arts Projects director Jo Holder.

‘Nancy McDinny and Stewart Hoosan insist that the settlement of Australia wasn’t a simple story of Aboriginal people acquiescing to the occupation of their land, but one of resistance where many people fought back against violence, sexual abuse and dispossession’, Holder added in a statement.

‘When they were powerful old people, didn’t know how to speak English but used to talk in language, saying, “We not going to give away our land. This is our land. It belong here. This is our history, our story and our dreaming”,’ said McDinny.

The old people who set up Waralungku art centre – including McDinny, Hoosan and the late Ginger Riley (from Ngukkur) – wanted to make history paintings to account for their peoples’ agency and overwhelming belief in their just claim on their land. Renowned for their colour and realism, ‘many paintings from the Gulf are unique conceptual and analytic documents about history and contemporary issues,’ explained Holder………The partner exhibitions ‘argue for proper consultation, environmental monitoring, restoration and community benefit in exchange for resource extraction. Without proper respect for people and country racial hierarchies and “imperial” attitudes persist,’ said gallery director Jo Holder.

Green’s work captures that sentiment: ‘I want to show people what is happening to our country and to Aboriginal people. No one is listening to us. What we want. How we want to live. What we want in the future for our children. It’s for these reasons that I started to paint. I want government to listen to Aboriginal people. I want people in the cities to know what’s happening to us and our country.’

The artists and Waralungku Arts are proud to announce their plan to found a Yanyuwa, Garrwa, Marra and Gudanji People’s Keeping Place and Knowledge Centre at Borroloola.

Flow of Voices 2:
Cross Art Projects, Kings Cross
22 May – 28 June 2, 2014

June 5, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, media, New South Wales | Leave a comment


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