Australian news, and some related international items

Tony Abbott lectures French President on need for action on climate change!

Abbott-pants-on-fireAbbott finds his French Connection on emission controls, The Age, November 19, 2014 Mark Kenny and David Wroe Tony Abbott has called on countries to set strong binding emissions reductions targets at next year’s major climate conference in Paris, warning the world cannot afford another disappointment like the Copenhagen summit in 2009.

And after years of arguing that Australia should only move faster once major polluters also moved, he has now described climate change as “an important subject”  and one “the world needs to tackle as a whole”.

The declaration followed one-on-one talks with his French counterpart, President Francois Hollande, in Canberra ranging across trade, security and the need for binding emissions targets. ……..

Mr Abbott’s softening, however, has not convinced everyone, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten slamming his comments as “lip service”.

“He fought tooth and nail to keep climate change off the G20 agenda – and he failed,” Mr Shorten said.

“Climate change is a major economic issue, the defining issue of the 21st Century according to Ban Ki-Moon – the only person who doesn’t seem to get that is Tony Abbott.

“Tony Abbott’s stubborn isolationism is not only costing Australia our economic competitiveness but also our international reputation.”

It also brought a hostile reaction from Greens leader Christine Milne. She accused him of telling “outright lies” to appease foreign leaders and the international media.

“This is not a cheeky sleight of hand. This is Australia’s climate denying prime minister telling outright lies to world leaders and international media,” said Senator Milne.

“Tony Abbott does not intend to ‘do more’ to tackle climate change. He intends to undo more, and add the CEFC to the scrapheap he’s built with our emissions trading scheme and our mining tax.”

November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Despite the Abbott hype, Australia still does not have a nuclear deal with India

India-uranium1India ,Australia sign five agreements, No nuclear deal for now, 
18 Nov 2014 Seeking early conclusion of comprehensive economic partnership agreement and a closure on the civil nuclear deal ,India and Australia signed five mutual agreements……..Australian Prime Minister Abbott said, “If all goes well, Australia will export uranium to India under suitable safeguards because cleaner energy is one of the most important contributions that Australia can make to wider world.”………
Modi and Abbott had summit talks in Delhi last month during which India and Australia sealed a landmark civil nuclear deal that will facilitate sale of uranium to New Delhi.

The two leaders had earlier directed their respective negotiators to conclude the administrative arrangements pertaining to the civil nuclear pact at an early date that will facilitate uranium trade…..

November 19, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Did you know? Australia is a supporter of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL)

No to Nukes: Australia’s Stand Lunes, Novembre 17, 2014
“………Fukushima met its unfortunate fate due to nature’s indescribable and immeasurable force. Now, we must return to its cradle in order to survive the next thirty or so years. Other renewable resources Australia is currently harnessing are bioenergy, hydro, and geothermal. It seems the country is one of the supporters of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) program launched on September 2011by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

SE4ALL has three objectives, one of which is “doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix” by 2030. Renewable energy is eco-friendly and cheap compared to fossil fuels that contribute to air pollution worldwide. This global initiative is same as “hitting two birds with one stone” approach. It doesn’t only solve the problem of energy or electricity shortage in the future. This may also lessen the impact of climate change that we are experiencing right now.

In this way, we don’t have to resort on desperate actions such as extracting electricity from nuclear power plants. As always, nature has everything we need in terms of natural resources and all we have to do is search for it and seize it. In return, we must be responsible ambassadors of our planet so it could still be available for the future generations.  Article Written By:

November 19, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s trade deal with India, export of uranium not finalised

India-uranium1PM announces 12-month deadline for the new trade deal with India STEVEN SCOTT THE COURIER-MAIL NOVEMBER 19, 2014“………The Prime Minister backed  India’s investment in coal in Queensland’s Galilee Basin  and vowed to fast track the first sales of uranium to the world’s largest democracy in a drive to revive flagging ties between our two countries……..

” Mr Abbott said. “And if all goes to plan Australia will export uranium to India under suitable safeguards, of course, because cleaner energy is one of the most important contributions that Australia can make to the wider world.

“By the end of next year we will have a free trade deal with what is potentially the world’s largest market.”……..

Mr Modi said India wanted “energy that does not cause our glaciers to melt”, saying his country had a growing appetite for “clean coal and gas, renewable energy and fuel for nuclear power”………

Uranium sales have not yet taken place but Mr Abbott, who signed a safeguards agreement for the exports in New Delhi in September, said he wanted the trade to begin soon………

November 19, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s Treasurer, Joe Hockey, tries to put the world on a treadmill to climate disaster

Climate change is no impediment to economic growth, says Joe Hockey, SMH November 16, 2014   Climate change is not an impediment to economic growth, the Treasurer, Joe Hockey, said on Sunday as the Federal Government hit back at  Barack Obama’s speech aimed at forcing climate change to the fore of the G20 summit in Brisbane……..Mr Hockey said he had not seen the President’s speech because the finance ministers are “the ones doing the hard work on the treadmill’.


November 16, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Final deal on uranium to India will not be signed during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia

India-uranium1Pact to operationalise nuclear deal won’t to be signed during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia Indian Express by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi  November 13, 2014 

Two months after India and Australia signed the bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement, a pact on the administrative arrangements — key to operationalising the uranium supply deal — is not likely to be signed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Australia from November 14 to 18. However, officials said the two sides are aiming to conclude the deal in the first-half of 2015.

The pact on administrative arrangements is important for the Australian government to put it before the Australian parliamentary committee on treaties. After the committee examines the civilian nuclear deal and the administrative arrangements and prepares a report, it goes to the Australian parliament for approval. Only after the parliamentary nod can the Australian companies get into commercial negotiations with Indian counterparts for uranium supply………


November 15, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, uranium | Leave a comment

International pressure on Abbott, over his climate sceptic policies


Abbott continues to allow vested interests and narrow definitions of Australia’s business priorities to control the agenda. These priorities emphasise protecting mining and resource companies, no matter what the long-term costs, even when they are becoming less successful with their largest client.

US–China emissions deal puts pressure on Abbott Macro Business Cross-posted from The Conversation: Unconventional Economist November 14, 2014 | While most of the world is celebrating the US–China pact on climate change, the deal puts pressure on the Australian government and resources companies to rethink relations with Kerry Brown, Executive Director, China Studies Centre at University of Sydney

The deal, signed at the APEC summit in Beijing this week, includes agreement to cut emissions and work together to mitigate the impact of climate change. For the first time China has set 2030 as the year in which its emissions are expected to peak. The deal creates a common framework with the United States, the other largest greenhouse gas producer in the world, to take action.

Chinese President Xi Jinping started the APEC summit hoping for blue skies in the capital. With this deal, he is showing he is prepared to take action to achieve this.

For Australia this means that environmental compliance costs in China will rise. Australian companies will have additional costs of doing business there. Meanwhile Chinese companies will drive a harder bargain as their cost base lowers. Continue reading

November 15, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

C20 critical of G20 Agenda, and demands climate change as a stand alone item

climate-changeC20 calls on G20 to act on inequality, tax avoidance and climate change ABC News By AM business editor Peter Ryan Mon 10 Nov 2014, The C20 (Civil Society 20) is calling on G20 leaders to take action this weekend to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in society.

C20 chair Tim Costello said the group was looking for an outcome on Sunday that clearly demonstrates G20 leaders’ commitment to fairness by taking concrete, measurable action to reduce inequality and address climate change.

“It will be a sad legacy of the Australian presidency if we go backwards in the fight against poverty by failing to tackle growing inequality,” Mr Costello said.

“The G20′s Brisbane Action Plan must build on the formal commitment made in St Petersburg last year for inclusive growth to be a central focus of G20 decision making.

“Otherwise meeting the 2 per cent growth target will be a hollow achievement and leaders will be judged as indifferent to those most in need.”………

The C20 also argues that climate change is a critical economic issue confronting the G20 and must be discussed as a standalone item on the G20 agenda.

Mr Costello condemned the decision by the Australian presidency to ignore the impact of climate change on the global economy as a retrograde and damaging step.

“This G20 will ultimately be judged by the fairness test,” he said.

“Whether that’s fairness to future generations by facing up to climate change; fairness to the bottom 20 per cent of poorest households; fairness to 75 million young people unemployed worldwide; or fairness to taxpayers by declaring tax havens immoral.”

The Australian C20 Steering Committee comprises representatives of international and domestic civil society organisations including World Vision Australia, ACOSS, WWF, Oxfam, Transparency International, the National Council of Churches, and the National Employment Services Association. A number of individuals are also involved in the C20.

The C20 has focused its engagement with the G20 around the four key areas of:

November 12, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott to tell G20 that cutting payments to unemployed will boost economic growth

Abbott-destroyerCuts to jobless benefits will boost economic growth, Australia tells G20, SMH  November 10, 2014  National Affairs Editor The Australian government has cited controversial cuts to unemployment benefits as one of the key structural reforms that will increase economic activity by 2 per cent, according to a draft of its growth strategy to be submitted to the G20 leaders’ summit.

The reference to the jobless reforms – which include a measure preventing unemployed people under 30 from accessing welfare payments for up to six months – comes even though the changes have been blocked in the Senate.

The objective of boosting economic growth by 2 per cent “above what is currently expected” during the next five years is the main goal of the G20 meeting, to be held in Brisbane at the weekend.

 Labor assistant treasury spokesman Andrew Leigh says the plan will suppress growth.

Each of the countries that make up the G20  is required to submit action plans to boost growth ahead of the meeting.

According to a draft of Australia’s action plan obtained by Fairfax Media, the Abbott government nominates five key commitments that underpin its pledge.

“Employment welfare reforms” is ranked as the  No 2 commitment, and notes that the changes will “strengthen participation and activation strategies”.

By cutting payments entirely to some unemployed and requiring jobseekers to search for more jobs to qualify for payments, the government argues it will spur the unemployed to look for work rather than live on welfare, thereby boosting economic activity……….

According to its draft action plan for growth, the government’s first key commitment to expanding economic activity is infrastructure spending, including its “asset recycling initiative” – encouraging state governments to privatise assets and then plough the proceeds into new projects. The other key commitments are “cutting red tape”, “contributing to global trade liberalisation” and “creating self-reliant industries”.

November 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Prime Minister Tony Abbott an international embarrassment on climate chnage

Abbott-in-hot-panAbbott takes Australia to last place on global climate change leadership, Independent Australia 21 October 2014, Australia has plummeted alarmingly down Global Green Economy Index under the Abbott Government, reports Alan AustinAUSTRALIA HAS BEEN EMBARRASSED ABROAD by the Abbott Government yet again on the environment.

This time on clean energy, by the annual survey from US-based green economy consultancy Dual Citizen.In its fourth Global Green Economy Index(GGEI) released yesterday, Dual Citizen places Australia at 37th out of 60 countries on clean energy performance. And last on global leadership………

Australia has the ignominy of being easily bettered by Colombia (ranked 14), Peru (16), Kenya (17), Zambia (24), Ethiopia (26), Rwanda (27) and the Philippines (32).

The previous GGEI released in 2012 showed Australia ranked 10th on performance, out of 27 nations then evaluated. …….

This latest humiliation for Australia follows more than nine earlier embarrassments on the world stage caused by inept decisions, actions or inactions by the Abbott Government on environmental issues.

These include:

  • Obstructing the UN climate meeting in Warsaw last November with damaging  ‘bad behaviour’.
  • Allowing three million cubic metres of dredged seabed to be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to make way for the Abbot Point coal export facility.
  • Logging Tasmania’s endangered  forests.
  • Repealing Australia’s modest carbon tax/price.
  • Abbott’s call for an alliance with Canada and others in June to oppose the global climate initiatives of US President Obama. The Canadian Star ridiculed this folly with the heading,‘Climate disdainers Canada and Australia form Axis of Weasels’.
  • Abbott’s refusal to attend UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon’s climate summit in New York in September.
  • Recalcitrance at that UN climate summit in New York by the Australian representatives who did attend.
  • Earning Australia the title ‘world’s dirtiest nation’ in The Slate. The influential US journal headlined its analysis‘The Saudi Arabia of the South Pacific: How Australia became the dirtiest polluter in the developed world’.
  • Cutting the renewable energy targets.

Those episodes created the strong impression worldwide that the Abbott Government was failing Australia’s people, their local environment, the global community and the planet. This report shows with rigorous research that this highly negative impression is indeed sound.

This further undermines Australia’s once proud reputation as a good global citizen. The GGEI report has received prominent media coverage worldwide, including in Denmark, the USABrazil,Spain and Argentina…………,7019

October 27, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott about to sign away Australia’s environmental controls to USA big business

Trans-Pacific-PartnershipThe agreement poses a very real risk to the environment,” says Professor Jane Kelsey, an expert on globalisation and economic regulation from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. “If Australia signs an agreement with these mechanisms in place it will make it harder for the government to put new regulations in place.”

That includes any subsidies we might put on renewable energy, or protection we might put in place to save an endangered species.”

Kelsey. “The Abbott government is basically be binding the hands of all future governments on environmental issues.”

So what is the likelihood of Australia ending up signing the agreement as it stands? Prime Minister Tony Abbott has indicated he’s extremely supportive of signing the deal, and Andrew Robb, has stated that negotiations are in the final stages and the treaty is“ready to be sealed”.

TPP: the free-trade threat to Australia’s environment, ABC 24 Oct 14 FIONA MACDONALD Australia is preparing to sign an agreement that would give international corporations the power to go over the government’s head on environmental issues. Here’s what you need to know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

STRETCHING WIDE, blue and deep, the St Lawrence River in Canada drains America’s Great Lakes to the sea. Along its shores, painted weatherboard cottages cradled by vibrant autumnal trees take in the view of the vast body of water.

This peaceful scene belies the legal battle for what lies underground along this river basin. The Canadian state of Quebec is being sued for CAD$250 million of taxpayers’ money after putting a pause on fracking.

To be clear, Quebec hasn’t decided to ban fracking, it’s simply asked for time to conduct environmental studies to find out whether the process is safe — but mining company Lone Pine Resources has taken the government to an international court, claiming it’s lost millions of dollars in profits as a result of the snap decision.

And if previous trials are anything to go by, there’s a good chance Lone Pine will win, even if it turns out fracking is dangerous to the environment and public health.

It sounds crazy, but it’s legal. And under an agreement Australia is set to sign within 12 months, companies operating in Australia will be able to sue the Government if it makes decisions that hurt their profits — for example, putting in new policies to protect the environment. Continue reading

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics international | Leave a comment

How America and Britain crushed the government of Australia

pinegap1Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone.

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

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, politics international | Leave a comment

IAEA finds Lynas rare earths plan unsatisfactory – no proper radioactive waste plan

antnuke-relevantflag-MalaysiaIAEA reports no long-term plan for Lynas waste, Malaysian Insider  17 October 2014 The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday gave a passing safety grade to a controversial Malaysia rare earths plant, but raised concerns that there was no long-term plan for properly disposing of the plant’s potentially radioactive waste.

The rare earths processing plant in the state of Pahang has generated opposition from green groups who fear radioactive contamination and have accused authorities and Lynas of overriding public concern.

In a report, the IAEA said it saw little risk of contamination due to the low-level radiation involved, and that its investigators were “not able to identify any instances of non-compliance” with international standards. “Lynas needs to demonstrate that the disposal of solid waste can be carried out in a safe manner over the long-term,” the report said.

It recommended that Malaysian authorities require Lynas to come up with a plan.

“There is a lack of a plan for managing the waste from the decommissioning and dismantling of the plant at the end of its life,” it said……

However, it also appeared to underscore environmentalists’ concerns that Australian miner Lynas Corp has no long-term plan for the disposal of waste from the plant.-


October 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths | Leave a comment

A worry for the govt when John Carlson gets worried about the India nuclear deal

India-uranium1Nuclear deal with India compromised by ‘vague’ details on keeping track of uranium The Age October 5, 2014
Daniel Flitton Senior Correspondent “…….Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed such a deal with India last month, a ‘‘treaty for co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy’’. But there is a worry that this difficult agreement, years in the making, might not have the same careful protections as Australia’s other arrangements.

This concern hardly comes from a usual left-of-field suspect, stridently opposed to anything nuclear. Instead, the alarm is from the former chief of Australia’s atomic watchdog and, in assessing the India deal, he used words like  vague and meaningless.

John Carlson headed the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation office for more than two decades until 2010. Continue reading

October 6, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

John Carlson calls for full parliamentary scrutiny on Australia-India nuclear deal

India-uranium1Australia-India nuclear deal: The need for full parliamentary scrutiny, The Interpreter, John Carlson, 1 Oct 14  In a previous post, I pointed out how the Australia-India nuclear cooperation agreement departs from Australia’s longstanding safeguards requirements. In particular, there is a risk that the follow-on ‘administrative arrangement’ could deprive Australia of the ability to track and account for Australian uranium supplied to India.

It is not too late to address this problem in a way that ensures the agreement is meaningful and can command bipartisan support in Australia. There will be a crucial role here for the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT), which will have the opportunity to scrutinise the agreement and to ask the necessary and difficult questions about the administrative arrangement.

Here there are two practical issues: the administrative arrangement has not yet, as far as we know, been negotiated, so it will not be available when JSCOT commences its review of the agreement; and in any case it is the usual practice to treat administrative arrangements as being confidential.

The Abbott Government should proceed no further with the agreement unless it can give an assurance that all of Australia’s longstanding safeguards requirements will be met. Continue reading

October 3, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 580 other followers