Australian news, and some related international items

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

Australian Progressive Party bats for renewable energy, puts coal-fired power generation industry on notice

ballot-boxSmNew Renewable Energy Policy seeks Industry Certainty October 27th, 2014 – Australian Progressive Party

The Australian Progressive Party has released a confident renewable energy policy that seeks to provide certainty for an industry that is currently suffering from the inconsistency and short-sightedness of successive Australian governments.

The policy commits to maintaining the current 41,000GWh National Renewable Energy Target currently at risk due to the Abbott government. At the same time, the party proposes Australia’s emissions reductions targets will increase to a 15% reduction on 2000 levels by 2020, compared with the current 5% commitment, and a cap and trade emissions trading system will be reintroduced. Continue reading

October 27, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Australian government sticking to its guns, on shooting down renewable energy

Macfarlane forked tongueIan Macfarlane: Coalition is sticking to reduction in renewable energy target, Sunday 26 October 2014  Industry minister says that because electricity consumption has fallen 15%, the RET must be reduced by the same amount The government is sticking to its proposed reduction in the renewable energy target (RET), saying that “nothing has changed” in terms of its climate policy.

Industry minister Ian Macfarlane has told the ABC that cutting the renewable energy target from 41,000 gigawatt hour to 27,000 gigawatt hours is reflective of a fall in household energy consumption………

Labor’s climate change spokesman, Mark Butler, said that the opposition wouldn’t accept a “real 20% target, which equates to a 40% cut” to the original target……

The Greens leader, Christine Milne, told Sky News that keeping the original 41,000 gigawatt target would drive down energy costs.

“Renewable energy is undermining the business case for the old fossil fuel generators,” she said………

The government can bypass negotiations with Palmer United on the RET if Labor agrees to the changes.

Negotiations on the policy are underway.

October 27, 2014 Posted by | energy, politics | Leave a comment

Abbott’s costly mistake in gutting the popular Renewable Energy Target

Abbott-destroys-renewables the government doesn’t need to change the laws to damage the renewables industry. The ongoing uncertainty of the policy environment, and the sheer hostility of the Abbott government to renewables of any kind, are already having an effect.

Undermining the Renewable Energy Target Is A Costly Mistake New Matilda, By Ben Eltham 26 Oct 14  Too popular to be dismantled entirely, the RET is being carefully undermined by the government. Aside from the environmental damage we’ll also take a hit to the hip pocket, writes Ben Eltham.

If there was any doubt that the Abbott government wants to destroy the renewable energy industry in Australia, this week’s announcement of its plans for the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has cleared things up. Continue reading

October 27, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

A backward move for Australia’s environment: Federal govt abandons regulation to South Australia’s control

highly-recommendedSouth Australia’s Assessment Bilateral Agreement with the Commonwealth is finalised

As part of its broadly criticised ‘One Stop Shop’ agenda the Federal Government has announced that its Assessment Bilateral Agreement with South Australia has been finalised and signed by both parties.  The Bilateral Agreement will come into force 30 days after execution, on or about 24 October.

The Agreement allows the Commonwealth to now rely on South Australian environmental impact assessment processes in assessing ‘matters of national environmental significance’ defined under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.  This change has been widely criticised.  There is significant doubt as to whether existing State regulations can actually be brought up to meet the standards required under the EPBC Act.  There is also concern about whether the cash-strapped states are likely to make effective champions of our environmental assets when at the same time they are under increasing pressure to jettison environmental safeguards in order to pump through development and replenish state coffers.

October 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment


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