Nuclear Weapons Ban: Secret Documents Reveal Australia Blocking New Zealand-Led Campaign International Business Times, By Reissa Su | March 10, 2014 The Australian government was reportedly leading secret attempts to block New Zealand’s push for nuclear disarmament based on the released documents under the freedom of information laws. The documents contained declassified information on ministerial communications, cables and emails from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and revealed the efforts of Australian diplomats working in secret. The documents said that the Australian government relies on U.S. nuclear forces to prevent a nuclear attack in the country.
In October 2013, shortly after the Coalition won the seat of power, Australia had refused New Zealand in its request to endorse a joint statement signed by 125 countries at theUnited Nations which highlighted the effects of nuclear weapon use. Australia had reportedly found the statement declaring that it is in the best interest of mankind not to use nuclear weapons “under any circumstances.” Reports said that 16 countries including New Zealand, Malaysia, Mexico andSouth Africa are working together to put the spotlight on the use of nuclear weapons and its humanitarian consequences.
The nuclear disarmament campaign will lay the foundation for negotiating an agreement to ban nuclear weapons. The diplomatic campaign seeks to put nuclear weapons in the same category as chemical and biological weapons which are already considered illegal under international law……..
Among the documents revealed included Foreign Affairs and Trade head Peter Varghese’s statement that New Zealand’s push for nuclear disarmament goes against the security interests of Australia.
The diplomatic image of Australia has been hit with the Japan’s consent to sign the New Zealand-led initiative through Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. Australian diplomats had conferred with the U.S. State Department over the matter. Declassified information revealed the email exchanges between the two parties, including Washington reprimanding Tokyo for its decision to sign the nuclear disarmament statement. http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/542532/20140310/australia-nuclear-weapons-disarmament-new-zealand.htm
There are indications that the Abbott government might be willing to dilute some of Australia’s monitoring safeguards
Australia seeks to draw India into tighter embrace with nuclear deal TNN | Feb 17, 2014, CANBERRA: Australia, which in the past has expressed serious reservations about New Delhi’s nuclear programme, appears extremely keen to close a deal to supply uranium to India. “We see it as a priority and want to move as quickly as possible. The political will certainly exists within this government,” Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop told reporters here even as the two countries were in the middle of their fourth round of talks for a civil nuclear cooperation agreement. …..
While she would not elaborate, the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, of which Australia is a member, is said to be one of them. (There’s also a narrower self-interest in finding a new market for Australia’s uranium producers.) …………..
Paladin uranium mine shuts, PAUL GARVEY, THE AUSTRALIAN FEBRUARY 08, 2014 PALADIN Energy has bowed to persistently low uranium prices and moved to stop production at its Kayelekera mine in the southern African nation of Malawi.
The mine, which has been in production since 2009, has been bleeding money in recent years……
- Last month Paladin sold a 25 per cent stake in its flagship Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia to China National Nuclear Corporation for $US190m, as well as debt refinancing.
there is a growing view among business leaders and mainstream economists who see global warming as a force that contributes to lower gross domestic products, higher food and commodity costs, broken supply chains and increased financial risk.
Shipping Oars,The Australian Independent Media Network BY KAYE LEE on JANUARY 26, 2014 Tony Abbott’s brief sojourn in Davos left most of us cringing and somewhat bemused as to the purpose of his journey. He met with some Australian big business leaders and delivered a speech that had nothing to do with the stated priorities of the forum – the problem of increasing income inequality and the economics of climate change. Le Figaro noted Abbott’s address as a footnote, quoting him as calling for more free trade, an idea that was a long way from the agenda – très loin de la thématique – of earlier gatherings. In fact, Tony left before any of these meetings took place.
But he did fit in a few personal meetings.
Apparently the Dutch Prime Minister also requested a meeting. Tony suggested it was a meet-and-greet but I suspect there was a bit more to it than that. Continue reading
Last week, Wikileaks released a draft environment chapter of the TPP. Surprise: it is neither strong nor enforceable.
Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2249519/stop_the_transpacific_partnership.html 23rd January 2014 The TPP – Trans-Pacific Partnership – is far more than just a trade agreement. It is a global-scale corporate power grab – anti-people, anti-environment and anti-democratic. And it must be stopped, writes Chris Lang. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a proposed international trade agreement, involving 12 countries and covering a range of topics including intellectual property, the environment and workers’ rights. The TPP has been negotiated in secret for almost four years. Continue reading
He recently told Radio Australia the Pacific is disappointed about the Australian government’s moves to abolish the Climate Change Council and the Climate Change Authority, as well as the carbon tax.
Marshall Islands’ President Christopher Loeak says it’s not too late for climate action to save the Pacific http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-21/an-climate-change/5210462 Is it too late to save low-lying Pacific nations from being lost forever because of rising sea levels?
The President of Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak, doesn’t think so and he’s been on a relentless campaign to get the world to listen to his message.
He does concede time is running out, but has been encouraged by news that a number of nations recently announced they’d signed up to the Majuro Declarationto cut emissions. ”We were really happy that the United States agreed to join and also European Union and in the United States, Hawaii also has agreed to join,” he told Radio Australia. Continue reading
Secret draft of TPP talks on environment show few enforcement measures SMH, January 17, 2014 Peter Martin Economics correspondent A secret draft of what would be Australia’s biggest trade agreement shows it will be toothless in enforcing environmental agreements.
The draft environment chapter of the twelve-nation Trans Pacific Partnership agreement published by WikiLeaks proposes next to no enforcement mechanisms with those that are suggested opposed by each of the 12 nations other than the United Stastes.
A summary on the WikiLeaks website says the draft makes use of the ‘get out clause’ approximately 43 times, using language such as: “Where possible and appropriate, the Parties shall seek to complement and utilise their existing cooperation mechanisms and take into account relevant work of regional and international organisations.”
The word “may” is also found 43 times in the 23-page draft.
Governments are urged to “…make every effort to arrive at a mutually satisfactory resolution…”, “…take measures to prevent…”, “…make best efforts…”, “…exercise restraint in taking recourse…”, and retain “the right to make decisions…”.
WikiLeaks says other favourite words are “enhance” (12), “consider” (12), “encourage” (11), “address” (10), “endeavour” (9) and “seek” (9).
A report from the chairpersons of the environment section of the agreement despairs at ever getting meaningful agreement saying the so-called “red line” or non-negotiable positions appear irreconcilable.”Many of the red lines for some parties were in direct opposition to the red lines expressed by other parties,” it says.
“It bears emphasising that it is these differences that have prevented the environment working group from reaching agreement on all aspects of the chapter.”
Australia is siding with Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam in opposing US moves to give the resolutions of biodiversity, climate change, fisheries and conservation more force.
The environment chapter is the second published by WikiLeaks. The first, on intellectual property showed the US with Australian support attempting to impose on other countries tougher rules that would have strengthened the hand of copyright owners in disputes with consumers.
Each of the negotiating parties has resolved to keep the draft chapters secret until the negotiations are completed, meaning the chapters published by WikiLeaks are the only parts of the agreement in the public domain. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/secret-draft-of-tpp-talks-on-environment-show-little-enforcement-measures-20140117-30y8f.html#ixzz2qmVF0V00
TPPA Environment Chapter & Chair’s Commentary Posted by WikiLeaks Issues for NZ 1Professor Jane Kelsey 16 January 2014 (NZDT) The consolidated draft text of the Environment chapter of the Trans-Pacific partnership Agreement and the accompanying chair’s commentary have been posted in Wikileaks (http://wikileaks.org/tpp-enviro). The documents are dated 24 November 2013, the final day of the Salt Lake City round in November…..
The most egregious threat to the environment is the investment chapter, in particular the prior consent by all countries except Australia to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). The vast majority of investment arbitrations under similar agreements involve natural resources, especially mining, and have resulted in billions of dollars of damages against governments for measures designed to protect the environment from harm caused by foreign corporations. The US is also demanding that contracts between investors and states that involve natural resources also have access to ISDS.
Chapters that may impact on environmental measures, with some examples, include:…..
Independent senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon plans to step up pressure this year to ensure those affected by the nuclear tests can be compensated properly.
UK opposed compensation for Maralinga nuclear victims BRENDAN NICHOLSON DEFENCE EDITOR THE AUSTRALIAN JANUARY 01, 2014 THE Anangu Aboriginal people who inhabited the Maralinga area of South Australia called it ”puyu” or ”black mist” the dirt that rolled across the landscape and sickened, blinded and killed them.
As the Hawke government faced growing pressure for fair compensation for those affected by fallout from the British nuclear bomb test program at Maralinga and Emu fields and the Monte Bello Islands between 1952 and 1963, it ran into strong opposition from United Kingdom officials. Continue reading
Why cabinet sought only a partial clean-up of British nuclear test site Archives give new insight into Hawke government’s response to royal commission on weapons testing in Maralinga region Paul Chadwick theguardian.com, Wednesday 1 January 2014
- Gareth Evans, the energy minister at the time, said ‘a non-confrontational approach’ had been adopted in dealing with the Thatcher government.
The complete rehabilitation of areas of Australia used to test British nuclear weapons may not be possible, the Hawke cabinet was advised in 1986.
Cabinet was warned that a full clean-up may have been more expensive than the British government would be willing to contemplate, according to documents released this week by theNational Archives.
They provide new insights into the Hawke government’s response to the recommendations of the McClelland royal commission into British nuclear tests in Australia. Continue reading
Threats of a nuclear Indonesia and a provocative New Guinea BRENDAN NICHOLSON DEFENCE EDITOR THE AUSTRALIAN JANUARY 01, 2014 AT a time of frosty relations with Jakarta, the Hawke government was warned that Indonesia ultimately might aim to obtain nuclear weapons.
Cabinet also was concerned that Australia might be drawn into conflict in the region as the result of impulsive and unwise behaviour by a poorly led government in Papua New Guinea……..
Despite the concerns raised in the briefing paper about Indonesia’s possible nuclear ambitions, it went on to suggest that Australia might supply Indonesia with uranium to increase its influence with Jakarta and to serve its “commercial, strategic and non-proliferation objectives”.
The paper said the nuclear program should be closely monitored, and it warned that a nuclear accident in Indonesia could have serious effects on areas of northern Australia…….http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/cabinet-papers/threats-of-a-nuclear-indonesia-and-a-provocative-new-guinea/story-fnkuhyre-1226792638737#
NO-NUKE AUSTRALIA THWARTS NUCLEAR FREE WORLD BY NEENA BHANDARI* | IDN-INDEPTH NEWSANALYSIS
SYDNEY (IDN) – 17 Dec 13 “…..Defence cooperation sans nukes possible “To make matters worse, Australia’s increasing military involvement with the US is making particularly the huge and expanding military spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs an even higher priority nuclear target in the event of any war the US gets embroiled in with China or any other nuclear armed state,” Ruff, who is also co-president International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, told IDN.
New Zealand’s healthy and growing defence cooperation with the US makes plain that it is perfectly feasible for countries to have a military relationship with the US which excludes nuclear weapons. “Pursuing such a path would be the best thing Australia could do to actually help in freeing the world from nuclear weapons,” Ruff added.
Advocates for a nuclear free world argue that a global ban on nuclear weapons can be achieved through sustained public pressure and leadership from governments. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, who was critical of Australia’s decision not to endorse the humanitarian statement, is of the view that the current Australian Government may wish to please the US even more than the previous government. Continue reading
Australia ‘stumbling block’ on tobacco law ,The Age, Peter Martin, Economics correspondent , 14 Dec 13, ”…….Australia’s Trade Minister Andrew Robb has indicated he is prepared to trade Australia’s previous opposition to investor state dispute settlement clauses in exchange for greater access to markets for commodities such as sugar. He returned from the talks on Tuesday.
An Australia Institute survey released on Friday finds only 11 per cent of Australians ‘‘definitely know’’ about the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.
Almost 90 per cent think the details of such deals should be made public before they are signed.
Told that the US wants the right for its corporations to sue governments, 75 per cent are opposed.
Asked whether they trust the Australian government when it says it will not sign an agreement which will push up the price of prescription drugs, 67 per cent say no.
Israel wants Australia to use its influence in UN Security Council to amend nuclear deal with Iran SMH, December 11, 2013 Peter Hartcher, Israel has urged Australia to use its new found influence to force a much tougher deal on Iran over its nuclear program.
Israel’s Minister for the Economy, Naftali Bennett, told Prime Minister Tony Abbott that Israel ”badly wants a deal” to halt Iran’s nuclear progress, Mr Bennett said.
Israel is deeply unhappy with the terms of the interim deal negotiated by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the so-called P5 – plus Germany on November 24. ……..Australia can be an important factor in shaping the final deal, due in six months, Mr Bennett said, because it is a member of the UN Security Council next year and also the chairman of the council’s sanctions committee on Iran.
Iran has agreed to freeze parts of its nuclear program and dilute its most highly concentrated uranium in return for a partial easing of the international sanctions that have forced it into recession.
Israel’s essential demand is that Iran be forced to surrender its nuclear fuel-making machinery. Where the P5+1 deal has allowed Iran to keep its centrifuges for concentrating uranium into nuclear fuel, Israel wants them removed. : http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/israel-wants-australia-to-use-its-influence-in-un-security-council-to-amend-nuclear-deal-with-iran-20131210-2z42x.html#ixzz2nBQ2kJxj
The commentary also says that Australia has worked with Japan and the US on a revised version of the controversial annex which deals with government regulation of medicine prices, including Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, while most other countries are opposing it.
Trade Minister Robb said last week that Australia was prepared to agree to give investors the right to sue governments over Australian laws which they claimed harm their investment, which we have experienced in the Philip Morris case.
It is also worrying that the government appears to have agreed with the US refusal to support proposals from the World Intellectual Property Organisation, which assist developing countries to get access to cheaper generic medicines. Most other countries have agreed to support these proposals
TPP talks in Singapore rocked by leaked document By Dr Patricia Ranald (AFTINET Convener) 11 DEc 13,I arrived in Singapore after a week in Bali at the World Trade Organisation talks, at which the US tried but did not succeed in blocking developing countries, led by India, from taking measures to ensure they can make basic food available for the poorest in their countries. A compromise was reached which means that developing countries can continue to do this. AFTINET working group member Peter Murphy was also at the WTO meeting and has done a longer report……
The TPP negotiations here in Singapore are of course still secret, and governments are not making any public statements. The US has set the agenda of bilateral and small group meetings. They are desperate to pressure others to agree to their proposals so they can announce that the agreement is on track to be finalised by the end of the year. Continue reading