Australian news, and some related international items

South Australian Government lackey of mining interests in legal action against Aborigines

ATTORNEY GENERAL TO APPEAL MINING BAN, Australian Mining By Andrew Duffy on  18 January 2012  South Australia’s Attorney General John Rau is appealing a decision by the state’s Supreme Court to block development of an exploration lease held by Argonaut Resources.

On Friday the court ruled exploration at the Lake Torrens tenement could not go ahead after an Aboriginal Heritage Site Card was lodged over the area. The court ruled the development had denied procedural fairness to the traditional owners, the Kohatha Wati and Adnyamathanha people.

According to Adelaide Now Rau has decided to appeal the decision on advice from Crown Law…..

the decision was a worrying sign for the SA mining industry, and allowed Government to “veto exploration and mining activities” on land where traditional ownership could be asserted….


January 19, 2012 Posted by | politics, South Australia | | Leave a comment

Anti business policies of Liberal governments in Victoria and New South Wales – war on renewable energy

Now, however, backed by the fossil fuel industry, the campaign against solar and wind power in Australia has exposed many of the very anti-business policies of the Coalition. With dropping costs and increasing reliability for renewable energy, conservatives have had to turn to ‘community concerns’ to wage their attacks. These concerns are based around a very tiny, loud minority, and apparently don’t exist for the coal or coal seam gas industry. They also go against strong evidence that show that renewable energy is extremely popular.

There is no doubt that the renewable energy industry will continue to grow throughout the world. Wind and solar are booming and will soon be cheaper than current fossil fuels.

The war against renewable energy The Drum, Simon Copland, 19 Jan 12, It’s an odd scenario when the Coalition becomes the main opponents to a new, profitable business. Long seen as the small government, pro-business party, the Coalition has engrained itself in the business community and business interests.

Yet, with the election of the Victorian and New South Wales Liberal Governments, it has become increasingly apparent that the Liberal’s pro-business pedigree is only extended to certain business operations – normally the dirtiest ones to boost.

It all started with new regulations in Victoria in 2011. Passed through both houses of the Victorian Parliament in 2010, these rules set strict new regulations on the development of wind farms in the state. Based on the idea of ‘community concerns’ about wind development, the regulations state that any person who lives within 2km of a proposed wind turbine will now have the ability to veto the project, with very little discourse for wind operators. The bill has the potential to cost Victoria $3 billion in wind investment and means that it would now be easier to get approval for a coal power plant in Victoria than a wind farm.

Despite outcry from the Victorian environmental and business community, on the eve of Christmas the New South Wales Coalition Government followed its Victorian counterparts inadopting similar regulations. The New South Wales Government boasted that these were the “toughest wind farm guidelines in Australia and possibly the world”. As Barry O’Farrell said, if he had his way, there would be no more wind farms ever approved in New South Wales. Continue reading

January 19, 2012 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Fossil fuel subsidies stall development of renewable energy

Renewable Energy Being Held Back by Fossil Fuel Subsidies – IEA Oil  19 Jan 12,  By Energy Digital | Tue, 01 November 2011 Recent reports show a massive increase in coal dependency caused by fossil fuel subsidies to be addressed at World Climate Summit.

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest findings, coal and oil subsidies pose the greatest challenge to the renewable energy market. As the world’s largest exporter of coal, Australia’s carbon emissions have grown nearly 300 percent since 1970, according to the IEA’s last annual report on CO2 emissions. Worse, that percentage is regional, excluding the huge amounts of coal shipped overseas to some 20 dependent countries.

The IEA blames electricity/heat generations and transportation as the major culprits of nearly two-thirds of carbon dioxide emissions. IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2011 report,  released in early November, the agency recommends a halt on fossil fuel subsidies to reduce emissions and encourage renewable energy development. Continue reading

January 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarines would make Australian Navy a subordinate arm of US Navy

there are two principal reasons to question any suggestion Australia might acquire the American Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines. The case has not been made — and it is doubtful that it can be made — that this very high level of submarine capability is a strategic priority for Australia.

More importantly, the likely need for direct American support for the nuclear power plant would put at risk Australia’s capacity for independent sovereign action.

In effect, the submarine arm of the Royal Australian Navy would become a subordinate arm of the US Navy. Independence would become subservience. Would this be in our national interest?


We need submarines, not subservience to the US, BY: PAUL DIBB AND RICHARD BRABIN-SMITH  The Australian January 19, 2012   THERE are two sides to the submarine debate. Both are critical but one is more important than the other.
The government must surely demand that the Department of Defence get the technical aspects right, such as the relationship between capability, cost, and risk. But first it is vital to have a clear view on the strategic drivers, as these set the context for considering what level of capability is a priority.

So what would it mean if, following the ideas of Henry Ergas and Ross Babbage in The Australian (January 13 and 17) we acquired the highly capable nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarines from the US? Continue reading

January 19, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Constitutional change needed to stop Australia’s discrimination against Aborigines

There are two provisions that are still considered to have racist connotations: one that allows states to disqualify people of “all persons of any race” from voting at elections; and another that authorizes parliament to make “special laws” for “the people of any race.”

Australian panel to recommend changing constitution to recognize Aborigines, By Jethro Mullen, CNN, January 18, 2012  – A panel of Australian citizens is expected to set the tone Thursday for a planned constitutional referendum to better recognize the indigenous population that inhabited the vast continent long before Europeans settled there.

The diverse group includes Aboriginal leaders, business executives, legal experts and members of the main political parties. It spent the past year crisscrossing Australia to gather opinions in order to provide recommendations to the government.
“At the moment, the Constitution denies that there was a prior presence of Aboriginal people in Australia,” said Mark McKenna, an associate professor of history at the University of Sydney. “They’re pretty much invisible.”… Continue reading

January 19, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Global spread of Fukushima radiation

Fukushima Radiation Spreads Worldwide, Global Research 17 Jan, by Washington’s Blog  California, Finland, Canada, Australia Hit By Radiation The University of California at Berkeley detected cesium levels in San Francisco area milk above over EPA limits … and even higher than they were 6 months ago.

Finnish public television says that cesium from Fukushima has been detected in lichens, fungi and elk and reindeer meat in Finland.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency confirmed a radiation cloud over the East Coast of Australia.

The West Coast of Canada is getting hit by debris from Japan … and at least some of it is likely radioactive…..

Bed Bath and Beyond has recalled radioactive tissue holders after they set off police radiation monitors aboard a delivery truck This may just be an example of the incredibly lax handling of radioactive materials.

And thyroid cancers are – mysteriously – on the rise in the U.S.

But don’t worry: The owner of the Fukushima plant has the plant in cold shutdown, so everything is “under control” … Although temperatures have apparently jumped inside Fukushima’s number 2 reactor, and the Japanese have no idea where the nuclear fuel has gone, so they are drilling a hole into the containment vessel to try to find it.

January 19, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Call for France to return Pacific Islands taken for nuclear bomb tests

The two atolls Moruroa and Fangataufa were ceded to France at no cost in 1964 to allow its military to begin testing its nuclear weapons.

The two islands were used as nuclear weapon testing sites in the late 1960s by the French government which made use of ship-based, bomb, and atmospheric detonation trials. 

TAHITI LEADER PUSHES FOR RETURN OF NUCLEAR ATOLLS President calls for France to give back Moruroa and Fangataufa  WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, ) 19 Jan 12, Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i – The French Polynesian president Oscar Temaru has called for street protests should France refuse to return the two atolls used for its nuclear weapons tests.

Mr. Temaru made the call as one of the territory’s senators, Richard Tuheiava, is to submit a proposed law in Paris seeking the atolls’ return and a review of the compensation offered for the tests’ impact. Continue reading

January 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monitoring radiation in from Fukushima in ocean fish

Buesseler has already reported some results from the 15-day cruise last May and June….. “It implies the groundwater is contaminated or the facility is still leaking radiation.”

 “There is no safe level of radiation. They should be making every effort to monitor food.”.

After Fukushima, fish tales, By Alex Roslin, The Montreal Gazette January 14, 2012“.………..evidence has emerged that the impacts of the disaster on the Pacific Ocean are worse than expected.

“People want to know what’s happening with the cesium and how much is in the fish, but we don’t know. It’s frustrating,” said oceanographer Buesseler.

“It’s disconcerting how big of an event Fukushima was and how little data are out there. No one has taken responsibility for studying this in a single agency (in the U.S.), even though we also have reactors on the coast and other events could happen,” he said. Continue reading

January 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment