Australian news, and some related international items

University College London (Australia) pushing its nuclear agenda with a survey


Mr Parnell said nuclear power did not have to be pushed into a survey about alternative energy”  Lumping nuclear energy in with low-carbon technologies is just wrong,”

Anger after nuclear option placed on alternative energy survey DECEMBER 22, 2013 NUCLEAR power has been put on the table in a survey that asks country South Australians about their preferred alternative energy options.

The survey, commissioned by Regional Development Australia, asks residents in the Yorke Peninsula and the Mid North to respond to a “community preferences survey” regarding their views on solar panels, solar farms, nuclear, household, wind turbines, wind farms, hydro, geothermal facilities, waste-to-energy/plant and biomass plants.

RDA, funded by federal and state governments as well as the region’s local councils, states on its website that the survey is part of a “project to determine how best to prepare the region for renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies as part of the state’s climate change adaptation strategy”.

But Greens MLC Mark Parnell slammed the survey and said the proponents, the region’s councils, had been pushing an anti-wind generation agenda. Continue reading

December 23, 2013 Posted by | South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Abbott’s claims on new South Australian uranium mining jobs is a “cruel hoax”

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is calling Abbott’s comments “a cruel hoax” as Weatherill claims to have spoken with BHP management last week and there was no indication of any plans to resume expansion of the mine.

BHPB-sadAustralia’s promise to assist BHP with its Olympic Dam expansion a “cruel hoax”  Resource Clips, by Cecilia Jamasmie | December 16, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of  The Australian government has vowed to help BHP Billiton NYE:BHP, the world’s largest mining company, go ahead with an estimated $33-billion expansion of its Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine, shelved last year as metal prices sank and costs rose.

“I want to ensure that as far as is humanly possible everything that government does is directed towards making it easier, not harder, for this iconic project to go ahead,” Bloomberg quotes Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Continue reading

December 18, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Lucas Heights reactor medical Isotopes

1998 Both ANSTO and the government have sought to cloak rational discussion about the costs and benefits of a reactor under a dishonest claim that the reactor is vital for nuclear medicine. In fact medical isotopes can be easily obtained from a global market which already supplies many Australian hospitals.

a senior government bureaucrat who was quoted on the same ABC radio program saying: “The government decided to push the whole health line, and that included appealing to the emotion of people. … So it was reduced to one point, and an emotional one at that. They never tried to argue the science of it, the rationality of it”.ABC radio on March 29, 1998

The medical isotope rhetoric has become so implausible that the government is itself backing away from it. The parliamentary Public Works Committee produced a bipartisan report in August 1999 which said: “A number of organisations and individuals challenged the need for a research reactor based on a requirement to produce medical radiopharmaceuticals. … The Committee recognises that this issue has not been resolved satisfactorily.”

In fact, a nuclear reactor is likely to commit Australia decisively to the “nuclear club” by ensuring a seat on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA regulates the world’s nuclear industry and is also the world’s biggest promoter of nuclear energy.

It is unclear how our national interest is served by participating in the global spread of nuclear energy with its associated risks and waste problems. Professor McKinnon, who carried out the government’s 1993 Reactor Review, agreed, stating: “There may be national advantages in not being so closely associated with IAEA stances.”

Cyclotrons have important advantages over nuclear reactors in relation to radioactive waste and safety, and cyclotrons pose no risk in relation to weapons proliferation. The underlying reason for these advantages is that cyclotrons are powered by electricity, whereas research reactors rely on a uranium fission reaction.

December 9, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Abbott government’s spin against renewable energy

Abbott-destroys-renewablesThe document rightly sheets home the blame for most of the electricity price rises on network costs, but how it spins that tale is a different matter.

Canberra’s new energy mantra: Renewables bad, demand good (excellent graphs) By  on 28 November 2013  The apparent antipathy of the new Australian government towards renewable energy, and its attachment to the centralised generation model, is betrayed in an unusual document on electricity prices published recently.

The “Facts on Electricity Prices” document, posted by the Department of Resources and Energy (now part of the Industry portfolio), purports to explain to consumers the reason for recent electricity price rises, and what they, and the government, can do about it.

That’s a fair enough proposition. But it is the unusual language, selective information and outdated data that raises suspicion that this document serves another purpose. Continue reading

November 28, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Busting the uranium industry’s propaganda that “all is well’ with that industry

graph-down-uraniumTime to spill truth  on uranium sector, Townsville Bulletin, DAVE SWEENEY,  23 Nov 13,  THERE is an old saying that no trader calls out ‘‘bad fish’’. So it comes as no surprise that a former uranium company executive now paid to do public relations for the uranium sector will say all is well in the industry (Uranium: safety first, TB, 18/11). The reality is the industry is in very poor shape, financially and operationally – as can be seen by the recent mothballing of the Honeymoon mine in South Australia, because the numbers didn’t add up, and the backroom push by the Queensland Resources Council to get ‘‘royalty relief for Queensland uranium mines that have not even filed an application to develop yet.

The most recent independent assessment of the Australian uranium industry – an inquiry by the Australian Senate in October 2003 – found the sector characterised by underperformance and noncompliance, an absence of reliable data to measure contamination or its impact and an operational culture focused on the short-term.

Uranium mining is a high-risk, low-return sector that poses unique unresolved and long-lived threats and does not enjoy secure social license. Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima. Every Australian uranium mining operation has a history of leaks and spills. The need to manage radioactive materials over extremely long periods, along with security and

proliferation concerns, make uranium mining fundamentally different from other mining. In the shadow of Fukushima, and given the call by the UN Secretary General in September 2011 that Australia conduct an indepth assessment of the net cost impact of the impacts of uranium mining on communities and ecosystems, it is time the industry and state and federal governments supported a comprehensive and independent assessment of the costs and consequences.

The continued failure to do so highlights the industry’s preference for public relations over public scrutiny– and the fact that uranium is a very smelly fish.


November 25, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, uranium | Leave a comment

Greg Hunt and what Wikipedia actually does say about climate change and bushfires

Hunt-Greg-climateGreg Hunt uses Wikipedia research to dismiss links between climate change and bushfires October 23, 2013 Esther Han, Judith IrelandEnvironment Minister Greg Hunt has hosed down suggestions of a link between climate change and increased bushfire intensity, saying he had ”looked up what Wikipedia” said and it was clear that bushfires in Australia were frequent events that had occurred during hotter months since before European settlement.

Wildfires become more pervasive and dangerous

His comments come as scientists, environment groups and politicians have raised concerns, in the wake of massive bushfires in New South Wales, that the increasing extreme weather events are linked to climate change…..

The head of the UN’s climate change negotiations, Christiana Figueres, and former US vice-president and climate change activist Al Gore have this week both weighed into the debate, criticising the Abbott government over its moves to scrap the carbon price. They also said the evidence was clear that extreme weather would be more frequent as the planet warmed.

She noted that the World Meteorological Organisation had not yet established a direct link between the NSW fires and climate change. Mr Hunt and Ms Figueres spoke by telephone overnight after Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday rejected Ms Figueres’ assessment that a clear link existed between bushfires and climate change, saying she was ”talking through her hat”.

On Monday, Ms Figueres had told CNN that the Coalition government would pay a high political and financial price for its decision to scrap carbon pricing.  Read more:


Climate change Australia’s climate has been trending toward more bushfire weather over the last 30 years.[18] The Climate Commission found that “The intensity and seasonality of large bushfires in south-east Australia appears to be changing, with climate change a possible contributing factor.”[19]

A 2006 report by the Bushfire CRC identified South Eastern Australia as one of the 3 most fire-prone areas in the world,[20] and concluded that an increase in fire-weather risk is likely at most sites over the next several decades, including the average number of days when the Forest Fire Danger Index rating is very high or extreme. It also found that the combined frequencies of days with very high and extreme FFDI ratings are likely to increase 4-25% by 2020 and 15-70% by 2050, and that the increase in fire-weather risk is generally largest inland.[21]

The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report due to be released in 2014 warns that Australia’s very high and extreme fire danger days will increase by up to 30% by 2020, and up to 100% by 2050.[22]


October 25, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The new industry of nuclear radiation denial

Plenty of funding is available. The USA’s Department of Energy funds programs worldwide, (including in Australia) to research dodgy science about the safety ‒ even alleged benefits ‒ of low level ionising radiation. Nuclear physicists and others, quite inexpert in this field, pronounce solemnly about non-hazardous nature of low dose radiation.


The anti-science about ionising radiation Independent Australia Some people would have you believe that low level ionising radiation is perfectly safe; this is a sinister and troubling fallacy, says Noel Wauchope.   10 Oct 13 DENIAL OF THE HEALTH EFFECTS of ionising radiation is the latest of the lies against science……….none of these motivations would get “airplay” ‒ would prevail, if it were not for the money motive,  – that’s the impetus behind public relations people, consultants, journalists, commentators, TV producers, film-makers, and so on who are paid by think tanks that are fronts for polluting industries and billionaires like the Koch Brothers. And don’t let’s forget the scientists and science media who are paid by governments that are financially beholden to polluting corporations and to the military industrial complex.

There is extensive literature in books and on the Internet about the campaigns of science denial regarding asbestos, tobacco and climate change. These are global campaigns, but Australia is well represented.

The climate sceptic campaign has followed the model of the tobacco lobby…….

neither the “old” nor the “new” media are properly addressing the issue of anti-science about ionising radiation. Continue reading

October 11, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Wind farmers find the industry profitable and benign – no “wind farm syndrome”

wind-farm-Snowtown-SAWind turbine syndrome: farm hosts tell very different story  The Conversation,  Simon Chapman Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney  18 Sept 13  People who host wind turbines on their properties and derive rental income from wind energy companies have important stories to tell about living alongside turbines, but they’ve largely been absent from the debate on wind farms and health. Australian filmmaker and researcher Neil Barrett is finally giving this critical group a voice in his new short film, The way the wind blows, released today.

In Barrett’s short film, 15 hosts and some of their neighbours from the central Victorian district near the town of Waubra tell what it’s like to live surrounded by large turbines.

Turbine hosts at Waubra earn A$8,000 a year for each turbine on their land. In the bush, the expression that wind farms can “drought-proof a farm” is common: a land owner with ten turbines can wake up each morning comfortable in the thought that a tough year with poor rain or bad frosts can be ridden out, thanks to income from wind generation.

All of Barrett’s interviewees say they can hear the turbines but none say they are bothered by them or suffer from any health problems they attribute to the turbines. Continue reading

September 17, 2013 Posted by | spinbuster, Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Exposing the garbage propaganda from the anti wind farm lobby

More than two-thirds of Australian wind farms including more than half of those with large turbines have never received a single complaint. Two whole states – Western Australia and Tasmania – have seen no complaints.

astroturf-windWind turbine syndrome: farm hosts tell very different story  The Conversation,  Simon Chapman Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney  18 Sept 13 “………Laurie and the Waubra Foundation have done all they can to spread concern about the harms they allege are caused by living near wind farms. One former Waubra resident has been particularly prominent, speaking emotionally at anti-wind farm meetings about how wind farms have ruined his health and caused his family to move to Ballarat, at great personal expense.

In a statement that would be of immense interest to Apple, Samsung and Nokia, he recently told a meeting in Barringhup that electricity generated by wind turbines started charging his cell phone without it being plugged in:

I’ve had my … mobile phone go into charge mode in the middle of the paddock, away from everywhere.

In 2012, he wrote a public submission to a parliamentary inquiry where he revealed he had suffered a serious head injury some eight years before the wind farm opened in 2010:

I have been in brain training care and rehabilitation for about ten years because of an unfortunate, unrelated accident.

Indeed, the most common health complaints voiced by complainants are problems such as disturbed sleep, anxiety, hypertension and normal problems of ageing that are very prevalent in all communities, regardless of whether they have wind farms. Continue reading

September 17, 2013 Posted by | spinbuster, Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

Making coal seam gas seem clean – by changing its name

wobbly.psdMore CSG Greenwashing? 18 Sept 13,  What’s been a good way in the past to distance a nasty product from its bad reputation? Simply change its name.  However, the strategy isn’t so effective these days in an increasingly online world where news travels fast.

According to a report on the ABC, a briefing note from the office of Resources Minister Chris Hartcher suggests changes be made to the way the coal seam gas (CSG) industry and fuel is described within Government communications and texts. Instead of the crisp ‘CSG’ term or ‘coal seam gas’, it seems Mr. Hartcher would like to see it referred to as ‘natural gas from coal seams’ and that references to coal seam gas or CSG be removed from sentences.

‘Natural’ may work as an effective greenwashing term for some products; but the recommended change won’t fool many – it will (and has already) just further incited those dedicated to exposing the many serious issues involved with extracting the fossil fuel.  In addition to the interruptions to agriculture and potential contamination of water supplies; according to Zero Emissions and other sources, coal seam gas is even more emissions intensive than coal when total lifecycle emissions are taken into account.

Research recently carried out by scientists at the University of Queensland determined that not only would a shift from coal-fired to gas-fired electricity generation in Australia fail to deliver significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions;wholesale electricity prices would be higher than with a renewable energy option.

According to Aidan Ricketts from CSG Free Northern Rivers, quoted by theNorthern Star; the attempt to relabel coal seam gas is “.. just another example of the government falling in line with industry. They’re trying to get away from the words which have become poison.”
It would seem changing how CSG is referred to is just a case of putting lipstick on a particularly filthy and greedy pig.

September 17, 2013 Posted by | New South Wales, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Book ‘Dealing in Doubt’ shows who’s behind climate denialism in Australia

climate change denialReport offers field guide to the climate change denial industry, Guardian, Graham Readfearn, 13 Sept 13, “…. There is also a potted and seldom-told history of how key figures in the United States worked to connect with like-minded people in Australia to encourage efforts Down Under to counter calls to cut emissions.

One of the first efforts came courtesy of free market promotion unit The Institute of Public Affairs, which doesn’t reveal its funders, which in 1990 sponsored a tour by veteran sceptic Fred Singer around Australia. TheIPA’s magazine reported Singer’s visit: “The greenhouse theory of global warming is contradicted by the evidence, a prominent US scientist has told the IPA.”



Later, Dealing in Doubt recalls planning meetings in the mid-90s with conservative think tanks in the US and Australia where strategies were developed to counter calls for action.

One of those characters, Australian businessman and former mining executive Hugh Morgan, was announced by Liberal MP Greg Hunt in 2011 as a member of the Coalition’s business advisory council on climate change………

Internal Heartland Institute documents have shown that one of the authors of the report, Australian geologist Dr Bob Carter, was to be paid $1667 a month for his work on the report (for anyone interested,  Skeptical Science has a good summary of the key differences between the genuine IPCC report and the NIPCC)…….


September 13, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

When Tony Abbott says “mandate” he means “open season” on progressive policies

wobbly.psdCoalition’s election victory doesn’t mean a mandate to do anything it pleases PAUL SYVRET THE COURIER-MAIL  SEPTEMBER 10, 2013  JUST what exactly is this thing we call a “mandate” beyond being arguably one of the most abused words in the political lexicon? Is mandate something to do with marriage equality or the electoral equivalent of a mankini (bright Speedo red, of course) except with a man and a … Actually, let’s not go there.

I ask this because to listen to some members of the incoming government, the word seems interchangeable with terms like carte blanche, or perhaps even “open season”. Certainly Australia’s Climate Change Minister-in-waiting Greg Hunt seems convinced that an election win equals a “mandate” and constitutes, ipso facto, a requirement that all in the Parliament bend over and offer blind obeisance to the new world order.

Hunt claims the election was a “referendum on the carbon tax” and the Australian people have spoken overwhelmingly in favour of giving the new Government a licence to rip the carbon pricing scheme limb from limb.

Bollocks. Polling consistently showed carbon pricing way down the list of voter concerns, making the election no more a referendum on carbon that it was on Bronwyn Bishop’s hair lacquer.

Secondly, the election result gives the new Government a mandate to introduce its policies and prosecute an argument for their passage through Parliament, nothing more. This may come as a shock to some conservative voters, but millions of Australians viewed the prospect of an Abbott government with a mixture of embarrassment and despair and voted for the other mob. In the process we non-Abbott voters gave the party of our choice a mandate to push their policy platforms on our behalf, not to sell us out.

Personally speaking, as someone who supports carbon pricing for both economic and environmental reasons, I would view a decision by Labor to acquiesce to the Coalition’s Wreck-It Ralph approach as an act of gross betrayal. I – and the aforesaid millions of others – cast my vote for a party that believes in tackling climate change via a market-based solution,…….  HTTP://WWW.COURIERMAIL.COM.AU/NEWS/QUEENSLAND/OPINION-COALITION8217S-ELECTION-VICTORY-DOESN8217T-MEAN-A-MANDATE-TO-DO-ANYTHING-IT-PLEASES/STORY-FNIHSRF2-1226715384036

September 10, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Toro’s Vanessa Guthrie optimistic in the face of uranium’s financial disaster

Guthrie poisoned-chalice-3INTERVIEW -Uranium miners face new hurdles as Fukushima disaster worsens  Reuters, Aug 21, 2013  By James Regan

* Uranium miners face uncertainty as new Fukushima nuclear disaster unfolds

* Australia’s Toro says need for new uranium mines still stands

SYDNEY, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Revelations of more toxic leaks from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will raise second-thoughts about Japan’s nuclear future, but won’t halt the long-term global expansion of the industry, the head of a uranium mining company said.

“It reinvigorates the heightened state of nervousness, it surely will make the Japanese government and nuclear regulatory authorities more cautious and conservative in the decisions about the restart,” said Vanessa Guthrie, managing director of Australia’s Toro Energy Ltd, which expects to start mining uranium in Australia in 2016.

Japan is set to raise the severity rating of the leak to level 3, or “serious incident”, on an international scale for radiological releases, underlining a deepening sense of crisis at the site.

The price of uranium, used mainly as fuel for nuclear reactors, plunged after the March 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima plant 240 km (150 miles) from Tokyo and has struggled to recover ever since. August uranium futures stood at $35.15 per pound on Wednesday compared with $68 per pound before the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the disaster.

However, Guthrie said contract prices between uranium miners and buyers standing at around $58-$59 a pound more accurately reflect the supply and demand balance than the spot price.

Operating costs in the industry range between $22-$25 per pound up to the high $40s, Guthrie said……

August 21, 2013 Posted by | spinbuster, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Uranium spin from David Paterson – “emotion” is good, when it’s pro nuclear

a-cat-CANI have often been accused by nuclear lobbyists of beong – that awful thing “emotional”.  An anti-nuclear person speaking out is “emotional” (obviously not sensible). Indeed, an anti nuclear woman is “hysterical”.

So I find it almost hysterical that Australia’s uranium propagandists are now being advised to be emotional – C.M .


spin-global.nukeCoal seam gas industry has to work harder to win over critics August 21, 2013 Business Day David Paterson


    “……..Australia’s CSG industry could learn a few lessons from the way the uranium industry worked on its image during the past three to four decades…….

in 2006, the uranium sector sought to bring a more sophisticated approach to its advocacy on public policy and in the following years there were some substantial successes……  the Australian uranium industry made a number of fundamental changes to the way it approached policy debates that helped improve its public reputation.

For today’s CSG industry, there are five important lessons that could be learned from the uranium sector’s experience.

Firstly, hearts and minds will not be won by facts alone. Good advocacy requires reliable factual information, but emotions will play a surprisingly important role in even the most technical debate. Understanding this is the first step to developing a communications strategy that will resonate with audiences.

Secondly, the CSG industry must learn that the battle is all about trust. Building trust takes many things, from showing technical ability to emotional intelligence, and company representatives will need to have both. Continue reading

August 21, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, uranium | Leave a comment

Australian right wing ideas about Climate Change

climate change denialFlag_AustraliaIn Queensland, the state party’s rank and file members voted last year in favour of a motion to ban the teaching of climate science in schools.

Australia’s One Nation under climate science denial, The Guardian,   by  Friday 16 August 2013   Fringe and extremist political groups in Australia are pushing climate science denial soundbites……. One Nation appears to have gone shopping to the Climate Science Denial Mart and come back with the whole deli counter of debunked talking points.

“What’s really behind all the global warming hoopla,” One Nation’s website asks.

“Power.  It’s the same old Marxist/Communist/Fascist collectivist shtick, dressed up in new clothes. Global warming is all about a power grab by a wealthy elite and their collectivist sycophants — using the (United Nations) as a cover and tool.”

Elsewhere, One Nation accuses the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO of engaging in the corruption of science. Continue reading

August 19, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, spinbuster | Leave a comment


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