Australian news, and some related international items

Court upholds Jabbir Jabbir people and the Goolarabooloo people against W.A. govt’s land grab attempt

Court quashes Kimberley gas hub land grab ABC News,  December 06, 2011   Western Australia’s Supreme Court has ruled invalid the State Government’s move to compulsorily acquire land for a gas hub in the Kimberley. Chief Justice Wayne Martin ruled three notices of intention to acquire the land at James Price Point were invalid because they did not contain a description of the land. However his declaration does not prevent the Lands Minister from issuing further notices of intent to take land in the area. The claimant’s lawyers say the ruling means the land deal struck between the government and the Kimberley Land Council is now invalid, putting the future of the Browse gas project in doubt.

The action was brought by traditional land owners the Jabbir Jabbir people and the Goolarabooloo people. Michael Orlov, lawyer for the Goolarabooloo people, told reporters outside court that Lands Minister Brendon Grylls will need to commence the process again…..”We’re not going to be pushed around by the WA Government. We’re there to show that we can do it, so can every Indigenous person in Western Australia.”…


December 5, 2011 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s renewable energy to double by 2020

Report finds Australian renewable energy to double, Australia Network News, 6 Dec 11, A new report has found that renewable energy sources now provide Australia with nearly 10 per cent of its power, and that figure is on track to double by 2020.
The report produced by the industry’s Clean Energy Council said more than a million Australians now live in homes powered by solar panels and heavy rains have boosted output from hydro-electric plants. It found uncertainty over the carbon tax had stalled investment in major projects like large wind farms. But the council’s Director Kane Thornton predicts that will change now the tax has passed.”Certainly we believe that we’re on track to achieving the 20 per cent
renewable energy target by 2020,” he said.

“We’ve seen a strong year for solar power, there’s a lot of pent up investment in large scale wind projects that now that we have a carbon price in Australia we’re optimistic that there’ll be a strong growth in large scale wind farms over the coming years to ensure we really track towards that 20 per cent

December 5, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Red Cross leads the non government movement to ban nuclear weapons

At last year’s review conference of the four-decade-old NPT, in New York, a record number of states called for work to begin on a Nuclear Weapons Convention – 

 The movement for a nuclear weapons ban received a further boost last week when national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies from around the globe adopted a historic resolution appealing to all states to “pursue in good faith and conclude with urgency and determination negotiations to prohibit the use of and completely eliminate nuclear weapons through a legally binding international agreement”.

Other major international organisations would do well to follow the Red Cross’ lead

Aren’t nuclear weapons harmful, too?, Crikey, by Tom Wright, 5 Dec 11, The global treaty prohibiting cluster munitions, which entered into force last August, was pursued on the basis that such weapons cause “unacceptable harm”. Similarly, the treaty outlawing anti-personnel landmines, negotiated a decade earlier, was borne from widespread public concern for the overwhelmingly civilian victims of those conventional arms.

The two treaties were achieved as a result of civil society and “likeminded nations” working in partnership to resolve an obvious and urgent humanitarian problem. Now many of the same governments and campaigners involved in those initiatives are turning their attention to an equally pressing task: banning nuclear arms. Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Angry and determined reaction from Labor Left, to decision to sell uranium to India

Domino effect ACF nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney says exporting uranium to a country that is not a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty will undermine Australia’s credibility and reputation on nuclear issues. “It’s only a matter of time before the pressure mounts within the ALP to ‘oh, we export uranium, why don’t we enrich it’,” he said. “And then it’s ‘we export uranium and enrich uranium, why don’t we take back the waste and that will be custodianship and we’ll be a responsible country and a good steward’.

Labor Left vows to fight uranium exports, ABC News,  December 05, 2011 “…….the move was fiercely opposed by several ministers and delegates who believe it is dangerous because India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Labor Senator Doug Cameron says there is no way Australia can get India to agree to proper safeguards. “There is absolutely no way we can get these commitments that the Prime Minister is talking about,” he said. “If Bush couldn’t do it, if the Canadians couldn’t do it, I don’t think we can.”  Labor Senator Cameron says he will not give up the fight.” I think this is one of the worst decisions the Labor party has ever mad. in my time in the Labor Party,” he said. Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby’s power to prevent Australia debating uranium to India, and to promote arms race

ALP downplay arms control considerations, Crikey, December 5, 2011 , by NAJ Taylor “…….The power of lobbyists There are numerous lessons to be learned from the US experience, particularly since the similarities in the way the matter was debated there.

There as in here, well-funded and resourced lobby groups successfully denied Australian’s of a debate, and a complacent and shameful standard of media proliferated falsehoods and empty rhetoric as if reasoned evidence such that even Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd – who as recently as last month strongly opposed any deal with India – begrudgingly toed the line of the party leader given the announcement was made whilst he was in Dehli.

For instance, following the vote, Nitin Pai, editor of Pragati – The Indian National Interest Review, and Fellow at The Takshashila Institution tweeted that:

” Rory_Medcalf And let me say that the consistent policy advocacy by a certain Sydney based think tank surely played an important role…..

What is clear to me is that Australia’s prospects of being awarded a seat on the UN Security Council next year are bound to have suffered already.

December 5, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, uranium | | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Greens leader condemns Labor’s decision on uranium to India

Quoted  on ABC News, 5 Dec 11  “..A Greens leader Mark Parnell says selling uranium to India would be dangerous and unprincipled. “This isn’t about climate change, this is about making money, making money for companies like BHP Billiton,” he said.

“They’ve (ALP) sacrificed their principles, they’re chasing the almighty dollar and they’re selling uranium to a country that is nuclear-armed and it’s in conflict with its nuclear-armed neighbour. “Selling Australian uranium to India means that even if they use it all in peaceful nuclear reactors, it will free up their own limited domestic supplies for use in nuclear weapons.”

December 5, 2011 Posted by | politics, South Australia, uranium | | Leave a comment

Huge peaceful protest in Durban, demanding action on climate change

 Thousands march in Durban for climate justice, ABC News 4 Dec 11 thousands of people have marched through the streets of Durban calling for “climate justice”.  Their appeal was aimed at diplomats locked in negotiations under the 194-nation UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is tasked with beating back the ever-mounting threat of global warming.

The crowd of around 6,500 snaked through the coastal city’s downtown area shouting and singing against a backdrop of drums and vuvuzelas, the high-decibel plastic trumpets that gained worldwide notoriety when South Africa hosted the football World Cup.

Many in the crowd lashed out at the UN talks, which end next Friday, saying that they were moving too slowly in the face of potentially catastrophic impacts of climate change, and that many of the solutions proposed lean too heavily on the market…. Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Labor’s dangerous new uranium policy – but it’s really about career moves for Labor heavies

... Kevin Rudd is filthy with Prime Minister Gillard’s uranium decision and thinks India ought to have been forced to make some concessions in return for uranium sales, such as ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. If so, Rudd ought to say so publicly…..

South Asia is a dangerous nuclear minefield. All the more so in the wake of the US-India agreement, and all the more so in the wake of Labor’s decision to sell uranium to India with no conditions which would curb its weapons program or de-escalate the South Asian nuclear arms race. 

Labor Signs Up To The Arms Race, New Matilda, 5 Dec 11, Paul Howes might think the Cold War is over but the nuclear arms race hasn’t slowed. South Asia is a nuclear minefield and Labor’s decision to sell uranium to India makes it more dangerous, writes JimGreen….. Of all the idiotic, asinine contributions to Labor’s faux-debate on uranium sales to India, Howes trumped the lot with his assertion that “The Cold War is over and it’s time for Labor to embrace that fact”.

Since the end of the Cold War the existing weapons states have been busily “modernising” their nuclear arsenals: Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, uranium | Leave a comment

Northern Territory’s Environment Centre condemn’s Chief Minister’s support of uranium sales to India

The flip side of labour’s uranium back flip, 5 Dec 11 The decision at the ALP Labour conference to overturn policy to sell uranium to India, a country not signatory to the NPT and a known nuclear weapon state, will cause havoc for years to come.

 While the
The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is imperfect, it is the world’s best
check and balance against the spread of the world’s worst weapons of mass
destruction. Selling uranium to India will weaken the NPT and
weaken Australia’s credibility on non-proliferation and global peace issues.

‘It is very disappointing that our Northern Territory’s Chief Minister Paul Henderson has welcomed this decision and seen it as an opportunity to profit. The reality is even if Australia supplied 20% of India’s current uranium demand, uranium
exports would increase by just 2% above the 2008/09 figure. Very few if any jobs would be created as Indian demand would easily be met
by existing mines.’ said Cat Beaton from the Environment Centre NT.

‘Mr Henderson also seems to forget that the one uranium mine we have is riddled with operational troubles and environmental and social challenges that are not going away’  ‘If the Australian Labour Party was serious about moving forward, they could look at ways to tighten our uranium exports and strengthen conditions around the use of uranium overseas. Instead they pushed forward a decision that will ensure our participation in international political tension and potential nuclear war’ said Cat Beaton from the Environment Centre NT.

December 5, 2011 Posted by | General News, uranium | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s Labor Party would stop uranium projects

Ripper draws battle lines over uranium, The West, 5 Dec 11 Eric Ripper has put uranium miners on notice, vowing that a returned Labor State government would stop their WA projects from going ahead, however advanced.

Sparking warnings from Premier Colin Barnett that the State would be exposed to compensation claims worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the Opposition Leader said any government he led would withhold final approval for the mines.

Mr Ripper’s comments came after the ALP national conference backed Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s push to allow uranium exports to India, 206 votes to 185.

“No Labor minister or public servant responsible to a Labor minister will issue any approval to facilitate a uranium mining project under a WA Labor government,” Mr Ripper said yesterday.

“It does not matter how advanced the projects are – I’m putting the industry on notice, you won’t have your final approvals by the time of the next election and they will not be granted if WA Labor is elected.”…..

no uranium project would be completed or in receipt of final approval by the time of the next election in March 2013…..

December 5, 2011 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Sell uranium to us, too, says Pakistan to Australia

Pakistan says it should get Australian uranium , 5 Dec 11 PAKISTAN’S High Commissioner to Australia says if the Federal Government sells uranium to India it would be discriminatory for it not to sell it to Pakistan as well. Yesterday, the ALP overturned its ban on the sale of uranium to India after a divisive and passionate debate at the party’s national conference in Sydney.

Abdul Malik Abdullah said Australia should sell uranium to Pakistan as well, as India has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). “If, after the ALP’s decision, the Australian Government is going to change the policy, all we would like to have is an equitable and non-discriminatory decision,” Mr Abdullah told ABC Radio.

“If Australia is going to lift the ban on a country which has not signed NPT it is much hope that will also apply to Pakistan the same way.”….

December 5, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Devastating health effects of Jharkhand uranium mine

 the financial benefits are meaningless when weighed against what his group says is an alarming rise in stillbirths, birth defects, and adults and children diagnosed with cancer, kidney disease, and tuberculosis.

report showed a far greater incidence of congenital abnormality, sterility, and cancer among people living within 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) of the mines than those living 35 kilometres away. Mothers in villages close to the mine sites were also twice as likely to have a child with congenital deformities, 

India’s uranium mines cast a health shadow,Google News,  By Ammu Kannampilly (AFP), 5 Dec 11,  “… Environmental groups say the mining company is polluting the groundwater by dumping radioactive waste inside three so-called tailings ponds that hold the sludge produced by the mining process …..  Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

American Indians keen to host renewable energy projects

Indian Country welcomes renewable energy by Martin LaMonica  December 4, 2011  JEMEZ PUEBLO, N.M.–American Indian tribes see renewable energy as a way to capitalize on their natural resources.

The Department of Energy last week proposed a rule that would speed up decisions regarding land used for renewable energy projects, many of which have been derailed by bureaucracy. The rule would require decisions within a 60-day limit for business-related leases, such as developing solar and wind projects on Indian land.

“It will require the government to act,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last Monday, according to reports. “The government cannot sit on its hands, as it has often done.”   Indian lands have significant resources, including solar and wind, but little has been developed, according to the National Congress of American Indians. “We’re ready to strengthen our economies now and jumpstart the clean energy economy in Indian Country. This is something the entire country can get behind,” said NCAI president Jefferson Keel in a statement….

For tribes with the resources, renewable energy holds the prospect of bringing in much-needed tax revenue, jobs, and potentially lower electricity costs, said Carolyn Stewart, managing partner at Red Mountain Energy Partners, which advises tribes on renewable energy.

“[Tribes] are very interested in controlling the pace of the development on the reservation, which they have not been able to do in the past for the most part with oil and gas, coal, or uranium mining [which] had significant environmental impacts,” she said…..

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment