Australian news, and some related international items

Who got to Jacqui Lambie- to get her to support Abbott’s trashing of renewable energy?

a-cat-CANChristina Macpherson, 26 Nov 14 What  has happened to our democracy when a truly not representative person like Jacqui Lambie can get the power to sabotage Australia’s renewable energy programme?

Jacqui Lambie, a failed trier for the Liberal party in Tasmania, was picked up as a member for Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party, and was elected to the Senate in 2013.

Jacqui Lambie got only 1501 first preference votes

Lambie,-JacquiShe got in through (a) her membership of the Clive Palmer push, and (b) on a horde of preferences from other parties, – in the disgusting and undemocratic shemozzle of preference deals.

The PUP’s Jacqui won the seat – just short of the vote of the sex industry’s Eros Foundation.  All fine and dandy. The PUP  pledged to vote for keeping the Renewable Energy Target.

Now we find Jacqui Lambie potentially in a position of great power –   she can do deals with Tiny Abbott – ostensibly to support soldiers’ wages and conditions.  All very good. I want the soldiers to have fair wages and conditions too.

But at what price?  And – Jacqui’s not over-burdened with ideas of her own –  who is putting the pressure on her?

November 26, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, politics | Leave a comment

Senator Jacqui Lambie’s turnabout on Renewable Energy

Jacqui Lambie gets on with push for Defence pay rise STEVEN SCOTT THE COURIER-MAIL NOVEMBER 25, JACQUI  Lambie has begun negotiating with the government to wind back the Renewable Energy Target and cut funding for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation if it  offers some increase in Defence pay.

Within hours of cutting ties with the Palmer United Party, Senator Lambie held talks with Environment Minister Greg Hunt about backing government bills in return for doubling the Defence pay rise to 3 per cent.

Senator Lambie’s willingness to talk – despite vowing to oppose all bills until Defence pay was increased – has given the government hope it could benefit from the collapse of Clive Palmer’s influence in the Senate……

She also voted with the government in support of an inquiry into wind farms that was proposed by Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm…..

November 26, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Victorian election: Labor will re-introduce emissions reduction target, and promote wind and solar energy

ballot-boxVictoria election 2014: Labor promises to reintroduce emissions reduction target ABC News, 25 Nov 14 Victoria’s Opposition has promised to reintroduce a state-based emissions reduction target if it is elected on Saturday.

The pledge is part of of the state Labor’s newly-released environmental platform.

The Opposition said it would bring back the target, which was introduced in by Labor in 2006 before being wound back in 2009 after the federal renewable energy target was extended.

The Victorian Coalition Government removed the state’s target of 20 per cent by 2020 from the Climate Change Act in 2012

report by the Climate Council released earlier this month found that Victoria and New South Wales had the worst approach to renewable energy in the country.

Labor environment spokeswoman Lisa Neville said she wanted Victoria to play a leading role in tackling climate change…….

Ms Neville said Labor would also establish a $20 million fund to encourage investment in renewables.”[The fund] will co-invest with the private sector to drive wind and solar energy, and new technologies,” she said.

“We’ve also said that we’ll use the planning laws to actually encourage and promote renewable energies like wind farms in Victoria.”……..

November 26, 2014 Posted by | politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Nuclear power is in Australian govt’s Energy Green Paper, but no real enthusiasm for it

Nuclear power still some way off for Australia Financial Review, 24 Nov 14 JOANNA MATHER “…….Nuclear rated a brief mention in the energy green paper released by the federal government in September. “Nuclear energy remains a serious consideration for future low emissions energy,” the paper says.

But it would be a mistake to view this as a sign of any real appetite within the government to progress the issue, says Ken Baldwin, director of the Energy Change Institute at the Australian National University.

“White papers always list the options available to the country,” he says. “Nuclear is in the mix but that doesn’t mean it is being given particular significance in the white paper.”…..

Ziggy-spruikerFormer Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski, who headed a review of nuclear’s potential during the Howard years, believes Australia is forfeiting a great opportunity………

Switkowski says falling demand for electricity in Australia and intractably adverse community attitudes “will see the window for nuclear power begin to close”.

At present, legislation prevents the development of an Australian domestic nuclear energy industry. Removing legislative barriers to Australia using nuclear power for electricity, when there is an economic case for its deployment, would include amending the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to allow construction or operation of nuclear fuel plants.

The green paper commits the government to reviewing the regulatory framework that governs nuclear and waste facilities to remove any duplication and streamline regulations…

November 26, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Cheerful Tony Abbott warns on a hot summer coming (nothing to do with climate change)

heat_waveSummer’s hot, get used to it, says Tony Abbott THE AUSTRALIAN  AAP NOVEMBER 22, 2014

TONY Abbott today warned of a long, hot summer as he opened a Sydney swimming pool, but steered clear of mentioning climate change.

Abbott smiles“It’s going to be a hot summer,” he said at the Hornsby Aquatic Centre. But the Prime Minister was quick to add: “How many Australian summers are not hot summers?”

His comments came as Sydneysiders braced for high temperatures tomorrow with the city expected to reach 35C and up to 40C forecast in the west…….

Mr Abbott’s comments about the hot summer also came after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop challenged US President Barack Obama over a climate change speech he made on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Brisbane.

November 23, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Future Fund invests in nuclear weapons development and our banks are happy to provide capital as well.

Although the fund is governed by an independent board headed by former treasurer Peter Costello, Cormann is ultimately responsible and the fund’s investment decisions are not always free from political interference.
Future Fund betting on the nuclear arms race, THE SATURDAY PAPER, NOV 22, 2014 JAMES NORMAN Australia’s Future Fund invests in nuclear weapons development and our banks are happy to provide capital as well.  On August 9, 2013, Future Fund CEO Mark Burgess encountered some unexpected visitors at his Melbourne office. A group of about 20 protesters gathered outside his office doors, some dressed from head to toe as nuclear missiles, before being escorted away by police. The human missiles turned up again a few weeks later at the fund’s Sydney office, demanding answers about its investment portfolio, which includes nuclear weapons.

The protesters were drawing attention to the fact that the federal government’s $101 billion Future Fund invests more than $260 million in foreign companies involved in the manufacture of nuclear weapons (and that figure has increased by $33 million since last June)…….. Continue reading

November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Julie Bishop contradicted by scientists, on her claim about the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef will be ‘slaughtered': scientists dismiss Julie Bishop’s claim reef not at risk November 21, 2014 – 3:59PM   Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald World-leading scientists say the Great Barrier Reef will be “slaughtered” this century as seas warm and become more acidic, dismissing comments by Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop that Australia’s natural icon was not at risk.

Ms Bishop told Sky News on Friday her office had sent the White House a briefing outlining the Australia’s efforts to preserve the reef after US President Barack Obama’s warning in Brisbane last weekend that its “incredible natural glory” was threatened by climate change.

“Of course, the Great Barrier Reef will be conserved for generations to come. And we do not believe that it is in danger,” Ms Bishop said……….

on Brodie, a chief research scientist from James Cook University, said Ms Bishop’s comments contradicted the government’s own report on the state of the reef.

The Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2014 “found the reef to be in poor condition and the outlook is for continuing deterioration,” Dr Brodie said. “It’s obviously in danger.”

“Climate change remains the most serious threat to the Great Barrier Reef and is likely to have far-reaching consequences in the decades to come,” the report said.

November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman cannot be trusted about the true economics of coal

Will Abbott and Newman show us their coal portfolios? Will they hold their investments until 2020? olddogthoughts November 16, 2014  Standing up for coal – Abbott and Newman give investment advice  November 16, 2014 by: 
Tony Abbott has told a G20 leaders’ discussion on energy he was “standing up for coal” as the Queensland government prepares to unveil new infrastructure spending to help the development of Australia’s largest coal mine.Abbott, who recently said coal was “good for humanity”, also endorsed the mine, proposed by the Indian company Adani, to the meeting.

The Australian government has given all environmental and regulatory clearances for the $7.5 billion coal mining, rail and port project, said Gautam Adani, chairman, Adani Group, in an interview to The Indian Express.

And Campbell Newman is happy to put your money where his mouth is. “We are prepared to invest in core, common-user infrastructure,” Mr Newman said.  “The role of government is to make targeted investments to get something going and exit in a few years’ time.”

Despite poor market conditions, high costs and the massive outpouring of concern over the environmental impacts of their projects, Indian companies GVK and Adani remain hell-bent on opening up the Galilee Basin in Queensland. The smallest mine is as large as Australia’s biggest operating coal mine and the largest, twice the size. All of the proposals in the Galilee Basin would produce enough coal to chew up 7% of the world’s remaining carbon budget, drastically reducing our chances of keeping a lid on global warming.

Adani and fellow Indian company GVK are pushing their projects and Adani wants to start construction early next year, but the key problem is access to funds.

Few banks are willing to lend when coal prices are so low and the industry is facing issues with climate change.

There are also issues with both companies………………….. Continue reading

November 17, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s deadlock over Renewable Energy Target *RET)

RET fate deadlocked, Stock & Land  DANNIKA BONSER 13 Nov, 2014 AUSTRALIA’S future in sustainable energy is on shaky ground as the federal government remains in a stand-off with Labor over proposed cuts to the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

The Abbott government is pushing to slash the RET from 41 terawatt hours per year by 2030 to 26tW hours/year but needs support from Labor or the Palmer United Party to get the change through the Senate.

Labor was willing to bargain the RET down slightly but walked away from talks with cabinet ministers after a compromise could not be reached. Continue reading

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

Labor Party refuses t o weaken Renewable Energy Target

Labor Walks Away From Renewable Energy Target Negotiations November 12, 2014It’s been reported the ALP has broken off negotiations with the Federal Government that would have resulted in the dilution of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET).

Had the Abbott Government gotten its way, a gutted RET would have caused the loss of thousands of jobs and also higher electricity prices. Among the few parties to have benefited from a cut to the RET were coal fired power generators and the coal industry generally.

“The ALP rightly concluded there was no prospect of a reasonable outcome that could offer the industry the certainty it needs,” said Australian Solar Council CEO John Grimes.

“Because supporters of the existing RET are in the majority in the Senate, any attempt by the government to change the law will be defeated. So, Tony Abbott will not be able to deliver the big win to the fossil fuel industry and big power companies that he dearly wanted.”

The Australian Solar Council is now gearing up to turn its very successful Save Solar initiative that focused on the current RET crisis into a campaign it will take into the next federal election.

“The Abbott Government started this fight against Australian electricity consumers. The people of Australia love renewable energy. They love solar. They want more renewable energy not less. They will win this fight,” said Mr. Grimes.

The Australian Wind Alliance also welcomed the news of the ALP abandoning negotiations.

“The ALP should be applauded for walking away. These negotiations were completely unnecessary and the government has been completely unreasonable,” said spokesman Andrew Bray.

“Before the election, all parties promised to keep Australia’s renewable energy industry intact. The ALP have kept their promise. The Coalition have broken theirs.”

The uncertainty caused by the RET argy-bargy has already had a major negative effect; effectively bringing the large scale renewables sector to its knees. Yesterday we reported investment in renewable energy during 2014 in Australia has dropped by 70 percent compared with 2013.

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

In Victoria’s State Election, Renewable energy a key issue in Macedon

ballot-boxState election: Renewable energy a key Macedon issue, say environmentalist Matt Crossman 11/11/2014 A blanket ban on wind farms is out of step with community views, according to environmentalists who believe renewable energy will be among the issues to decide the marginal seat of Macedon in this month’s state election.

The Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group (MRSG) and Friends of the Earth released a report on voters’ views at the site of a community-owned wind farm near Daylesford last Thursday.

The report included results of a community survey, which found that 86 per cent of Macedon respondents supported community wind farms similar to those at Hepburn Wind.

Almost 90 per cent of the 700 people surveyed believed communities should be able to develop their own wind facilities.

A total of 97 per cent of respondents preferred renewable energy sources over fossil fuels.

And 80 per cent of those aware of the state government’s anti-wind farm laws supported their repeal. The laws, introduced in 2011, banned wind farm projects in the Macedon Ranges, Otways and Dandenongs. Continue reading

November 12, 2014 Posted by | politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Tanami region of Central Australia – no nuclear wastes, rules Central Land Council

WASTES-1handsoffCentral Land Council rules out nuclear dump in Tanami region of Central Australia, ABC News 6 Nov 14 By Xavier La Canna The Central Land Council has ruled out the possibility of a nuclear waste dump being built over a large part of central Australia due to opposition from some traditional owners.

highly-recommendedTraditional owners in the Tanami region were considering nominating land to become a dump, but at a meeting this week delegates heard of opposition to the move from traditional owners and affected communities, the CLC said.

Federal Government Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has said there has to be unanimous support for the move for a site to be successful.

“The delegates heard that the CLC has received formal correspondence and public statements from the traditional owners and residents of affected communities who are opposed to a nuclear waste dump in the area,” the CLC said.

Given that a nuclear waste dump is forever it’s just not fair to ask people to make this decision without a comprehensive proposal  – CLC director David Ross

“Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane’s requirement of a site ‘free from dispute’ cannot therefore be met,” it said. The CLC, a statutory body tasked with a duty to consult traditional owners and other Aboriginal people about any proposals, covers an area of about 776,000 square kilometres, with the Tanami region a sizeable part of that.

The entire Tanami is 178,000 square kilometres.

The CLC also dealt a blow to Federal Government hopes of finding a new site to build a nuclear waste dump, saying the nomination process was unfair and would have seen Aboriginal groups make a decision without enough information.

“The process enshrined in the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 expects traditional owners to volunteer a site without knowing all the information,” a statement from CLC director David Ross read.

“Yet once a site is nominated they cannot change their mind when they find out the full story.

“Given that a nuclear waste dump is forever it’s just not fair to ask people to make this decision without a comprehensive proposal.”……

November 8, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) ‘s education campaign on the government’s ‘Direct Action’ policy

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Environmentalists launch direct action education campaign, ABC Radio  Friday, October 31, 2014 ELIZABETH JACKSON: The recently appointed head of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says the organisation will embark on a public education campaign in response to the Government’s direct action legislation passing through Parliament.

Businessman, environmental activist and former Howard government advisor, Geoff Cousins says the legislation is shameful because it pays big polluters to keep polluting.

Mr Cousins has lashed out at the Business Council of Australia (BCA) for supporting the legislation which he says individual companies would have rejected…….

GEOFF COUSINS The plan that they called direct action actually gives money to the big polluters; taxpayers’ money is given out. They say of course that the aim of that is that it will be used then by these companies to reduce pollution but there’s no guarantee that that will be the case and of course, there’s no compulsion on the companies to do anything at all.

It is really quite a shameful situation and to have the Prime Minister of Australia running around the world as he did a couple of weeks ago saying coal is our future. Goodness me. It’s really just ridiculous. Not even the coal companies actually believe that……

business is actually a long way ahead of the Government on this issue and a very good example of that would be that all the major insurance companies in Australia quite some years ago now changed all their ratings for policies for homeowners policies based on climate change science so that they re-rated all the major areas in Australia for wind velocity and storm damage and that kind of thing based on climate change science.

But the Prime Minister and the Government are still trying to figure out whether there’s, in quotes, “any truth in it”……

GEOFF COUSINS: It leaves Australia so far behind the rest of the western world that it is shameful and that’s why as the president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, a job I’ve only very recently taken on, we’ve decided that the ACF has got to be the leading voice in these issues because the politicians are failing us……

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

Abbott government does deal with Clive Palmer to pass its “Direct Action” (so-called) Climate Policy

Direct Action set to pass Senate after Government strikes deal with Clive Palmer ABC News, By political correspondent Emma Griffiths, 29 Oct 14 Tony Abbott’s plan for a $2.5 billion Direct Action emissions reduction fund is set to pass the Senate after the Government made several concessions to win over the support of Palmer United Party and other crossbench senators.

PUP leader Clive Palmer won a Government commitment to salvage the Climate Change Authority and to ask it to conduct an 18-month review of the PUP plan to legislate an emissions trading scheme (ETS) at a zero rate.

“The authority will conduct a review examining whether there are emissions trading arrangements in other countries and what form they take,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt said………

Under the Direct Action plan, polluters would be paid to reduce emissions, in a scheme which has been estimated to cost more than $2.5 billion over four years……..

Greens leader Christine Milne has slammed the direct action policy as “embarrassing”.

“What we have here is no contribution to bringing down emissions, no modelling to backing up the claims, a government and Clive Palmer which tore down an emissions trading scheme which was bringing down emissions,” she said.

In July, the Coalition succeeded in scrapping the carbon tax with PUP support……..

October 29, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Nova Peris would be the strong good voice for Labor’s Aboriginal Affairs


the Senator is the most qualified to represent through the ALP for this nation’s First Peoples.  The Andrew Forrest and Professor Marcia Langton authored ‘Creating Parity’ report has been heavily criticised by Senator Peris. The real journey to ‘creating parity’ would have Senator Peris as the Opposition spokesperson on ‘Aboriginal Affairs’.

Nova Peris should be spokesperson for ‘Aboriginal Affairs The Stringer by Gerry Georgatos October 26th, 2014 White Australia still grips tightly its control over the nation’s agendas and cultural content despite a multicultural population that it continues to deride and where possible shun. The demography of this nation is not reflected in the parliaments and institutions of the nation. First People are under-represented, multicultural Australia is under-represented. White Australia – Anglo-Celtic-Saxon Australians – populate Government Cabinets, Shadow Cabinets, the party rooms of every political party. The Australian Labor Party had the opportunity to lead the way, but instead choose to let powerbrokers and the influence peddling stand in the way of the big picture message that should have been. Senator Nova Peris, not the Member for Blair’s Shayne Neumann, should be the Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.

Senator Peris has been effectively a lone voice on First People issues for the Australian Labor Party since she was handpicked by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard as a lead candidate for the Senate from the Northern Territory for the 2013 federal elections. Senator Peris became the first Aboriginal woman into parliament – a double coup for the ALP, but more importantly for the national consciousness, and even more importantly for the continent’s First Peoples.

Mr Neumann has barely uttered a word on the myriad issues affecting First Peoples since he was handed the portfolio by Bill Shorten late last year. Continue reading

October 27, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | 1 Comment


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