Australian news, and some related international items

Fear and loathing of renewable energy, on the part of BHP, Rio Tinto etc, and South Australia’s Liberal Party

  2 April 12, Miners attack  Clean Energy Finance Corporation . South Australian Liberals raise hindrances to wind energy development

You can understand it. On the one hand, a corporation’s sole purpose is to make money for its shareholders, especially in the short term. For the Liberal Party, the goal is to please its main backers.

With July 1st looming closer,there is a danger that the Gillard government’s carbon tax, complete with its compensations, will be a success.  Worse still – its renewable energy provisions might take off, and become very successful – as renewable energy has become elsewhere led by Germany.

We can’t have that!.   So,  A coalition of nine mining groups,  including BHP and Rio Tinto,  demands that Labor’s $10bn Clean Energy Finance Corporation and renewable energy target be ‘reconsidered’ (reported in THE AUSTRALIAN today)

Meanwhile in South Australia, a Parliamentary Inquiry, pushed for by Liberal Opposition frontbencher David Ridgway , will study the distress and discomfort caused by wind turbines, to nearby communities.

I find it quite  amazing that the Liberal Party enthuses not only over uranium mining, but over the possibility of nuclear power plants and radioactive waste importation –   the cancer-causing hazards of the nuclear industry don’t seem to bother them.

Well. not nearly as much as the risk of renewable energy being an economic success. – Christina Macpherson


April 2, 2012 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Canberra led in Australia, in what was, globally, the biggest Earth Hour action ever held

 It was the biggest Earth Hour since the symbolic action began in Australia five years ago.

Hour out of this world, Ewa Kretowicz, April 1, 2012 EARTH Hour is not just appealing to people on this planet. The environmental campaign that started in Sydney just a few years ago made its way beyond Earth itself yesterday.
For the first time there were people taking part from the International Space Station, about 390 kilometres above the planet. Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers had the perfect spot to watch Earth Hour
unfold around the globe from his seat on the station…

.. Canberrans have led the nation for the past three years with almost 60 per cent of residents taking part. Nationally, 41 per cent of the population turned off electrical appliances at the wall and used alternative sources of light. Continue reading

April 2, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Health toll when uranium gets into water supply

A Power Plant, Cancer And A Small Town’s Fears, Several Residents Of Small Town Develop IllnesseBy John Sepulvado CNN Radio  Bakersfield News, JULIETTE, Georgia  — April 1, 2012 “…….. Curious to see if there were any toxins in her body that could be causing health problems, Welch had her hair checked. Hair stores chemicals and toxins absorbed in the body.

“My hair is 68 parts per million uranium,” Welch says. “And then my husband started breaking out in disfiguring hives. His kidneys started acting really bizarre.”  Welch says her doctor linked the family health problems to uranium poisoning. Continue reading

April 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Decades after uranium mining companies have gone, Navajo pay the price in cancer

For years, unsuspecting Navajos inhaled radioactive dust and drank contaminated well water. Many of them became sick with cancer  and other diseases.

The radioactivity at the former mine is said to measure one million counts per minute, translating to a human dose that scientists say can lead directly to malignant tumors

Navajos continue to be exposed to high levels of radioactivity in the form of uranium and its decay products, like radon and radium. Those materials are known to cause health problems, including bone, liver, breast and lung cancer ……

most of the mining companies that operated on the reservation have long since gone out of business

Uranium Mines Dot Navajo Land, Neglected and Still Perilous NYT, By LESLIE MACMILLAN, March 31, 2012 CAMERON, Ariz. — In the summer of 2010, a Navajo cattle rancher named Larry Gordy stumbled upon an abandoned uranium mine in the middle of his grazing land and figured he had better call in the feds. Engineers from the Environmental Protection Agency  arrived a few months later, Geiger counters in hand, and found radioactivity levels that buried the needles on their equipment.

The abandoned mine here, about 60 miles east of the Grand Canyon, joins the list of hundreds of such sites identified across the 27,000 square miles of Navajo territory in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico Continue reading

April 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Willy Brigitte, who planned attack on Lucas Heights Nuclear Reactor, arrested in France

Militant who targeted Australian nuclear plant held in France Reuters Mar 31, 2012, PARIS: A French Muslim convert convicted in 2007 for planning an attack on an Australian nuclear plant is one of the suspected militants being held for questioning after a series of raids throughout France, a police source said on Saturday.

Willy Brigitte was arrested on Friday at his home in Asnieres, a northwestern suburb of Paris. Authorities found no weapons but seized his computer and a mobile phone, the source told Reuters.

April 2, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, safety | Leave a comment

Tony Fitzgerald, former NT Anti Racial Discrimination Commissioner, condemned Norther Territory Intervention

The central recommendation made by the Anti Discrimination Commission was:

The Northern Territory Emergency Response in its present form should be scrapped and transformed from a quick fix, law and order plan into a range of long term initiatives aimed at overcoming remote Indigenous disadvantage and raising indigenous quality of life. 

Tony Fitzgerald – an unlikely Territorian hero Crikey, April 1, 2012 – , by Bob Gosford  – he quotes Patrick Dodson:  “…….Tony was the NT Anti Racial Discrimination Commissioner from 2002 until his passing in 2009.

As Commissioner, Tony was passionate about the need to promote a fair and just society that was free from racial discrimination and inequality…. the report from that review, the Little Children are Sacred Report, became the catalyst for the Howard Government to initiate the Northern Territory National Emergency Response.

Tony was highly critical of the Commonwealth Government’s Emergency Response to Aboriginal communities. He was particularly appalled at the intervention’s suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act, which since its enactment in 1975 has been important in ensuring the protection of all Australians from racial discrimination… Continue reading

April 2, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Nyoongar Tent Embassy in Western Australia – push for Aboriginal Sovereignty

Nyoongar Tent Embassy puts sovereignty on the agenda, Green Left, March 31, 2012 By Alex BainbridgePerth A movement for Aboriginal sovereignty has galvanised around the February 12 formation of the Nyoongar Tent Embassy in Perth.

The embassy was directly inspired by two developments: the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, which promoted a national push for Aboriginal sovereignty, and the February 8 report about negotiations between the state government and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) about Nyoongar native title.

The embassy suffered a heavy blow on March 22 when an operation of more than 60 police tried to close the embassy down. However, the embassy has so far survived the attack and the subsequent increase in police harassment.

Bail conditions on key participants who were arrested that day have prevented them from returning to Matagarup (Heirisson Island), the site of the embassy.

The discussion since that event reveals that sovereignty is an idea that will not simply go away….. On March 28, 100 people took part in an Aboriginal rights rally organised by the Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation. The rally explicitly rejected the state government offer of a $1 billion land and cash package to extinguish Nyoongar native title.

Instead the rally called for 5% of the value of economic activity in the Nyoongar land to be paid every year to Nyoongar people…..

The SWALSC has produced a document explaining its approach to negotiations with the state government. It said the maximum potential gains of pursuing any native title process were extremely restricted by the inherent limitations on native title from the original Mabo High Court decision and the later legal restrictions imposed by the Keating and Howard governments.

SWALSC said more can be gained by pursuing negotiations with the state government than a bid to gain native title rights through the courts. These are the only two ways to achieve native title rights. But the sovereignty movement says Aboriginal people deserve a lot more than just native title rights.

Greens politican Robin Chapple told Green Left Weekly that he believes the WA government has been happy to engineer a situation in which Aboriginal people are fighting among themselves and that this may even have been Premier Colin Barnett’s goal all along.

The next step for the Nyoongar Tent Embassy will be a rally on April 5 at 11am, starting at the Supreme Court Gardens and marching to Matagarup (Heirisson Island)…

April 2, 2012 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Big Solar production starts in India

India’s largest solar power plant starts production Times of India Mar 31, 2012,   JODHPUR: In what can be termed as a major leap towards solar power generation in western Rajasthan, the country’s largest solar power plant with an installed capacity of 40 MW started producing electricity from Saturday.

Minister for new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah, chief minister Ashok Gehlot and energy minister Jitendra Singh inaugurated the 40 MW photovoltaic solar plant installed byReliance Power at Pokhran in Jaisalmer district…… Rajasthan energy minister Jitendra Singh said a similar leap has been taken by the state in wind power generation.

“State has started producing 1,900 MW wind energy,” he said, adding that the state is set for a major national energy revolution through generation of power from alternative sources, which fortunately, are abundant here.

April 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s campaign for 100% renewable energy, and for Big Solar

Campaign pushes for Big Yellow power , April 2, 2012  The Cairns Post Solar energy stepped into the national spotlight quite literally at the weekend, with the launch of the Big Solar Campaign.
Driven by the Cairns Climate Action Network, the initiative forms part of the wider 100 per cent Renewable Energy campaign, which aims to encourage the development of large scale solar projects across Australia. “As long as we have our power supply tied to fossil fuels … we’re going to have the price of our energy driven up by the fact that as demand goes up for any fuel, prices go up,” Big Solar Campaign launch organiser Jamie David said.

“Solar power is free, so if anyone is concerned about their power bills going up, they should be jumping up and down to demand renewable energy.”
Mr David said the “current aim” of the campaign was to encourage government to support 2000 megawatt large and medium scale solar projects across Australia, which would replace the outgoing coal-fired power stations within the next few years.
One hundred community groups Australia are participating in the 100 per cent Renewable Energy campaign, with Big Solar launched on Saturday to coincide with Earth Hour. For more information on the campaign, visit

April 2, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment