Australian news, and some related international items

Ethics, Australia’s media, politicians, and the Uranium Paydirt Conference

a-cat-CANChristina Macpherson 27 April 13, Today I’ve posted an item from The Conversation, in which 4 very serious writers raise the question of Australia’s politicians having an ethical duty to seek out the scientific consensus on climate change, rather than to just rely on their own personal opinions.

I think that these writers are being far too kind to Australia’s Climate Denying politicians.   With the facts on climate change becoming ever more widely known, and increasingly urgent, –  are we to believe that these politicians are just a bit stupid?

No. They are smart. They know who funds their campaigns. They know who best articulates the hidden case for the fossil fuel industries  – and they draw on propaganda material from America’s well organised think tanks,  whose opinions are paid for by fossil fuel interests, especially the notorious Koch Brothers.

I know that climate change is a critical threat to the planet, and especially to Australia.  However, it’s not the only critical threat. This website is dedicated to opposing the equally critical threats of nuclear war, and nuclear pollution.

I found it very interesting that our 4 ethically minded writers singled out Australia’s new Resources Minister, Gary Gray, as one who has Gray-nuclear-rather suddenly seen the light on climate change – ”  Gray renounced his previous position that climate science was “pop science” and a “middle-class conspiracy to frighten schoolchildren.

But why did Gray do this sudden u-turn on climate change?

Well, that’s not hard to discover.   Minister Gray is to deliver his first address in his new role ( since Minister Ferguson got kicked out)  – and Gray’s “maiden address” is to the Australian Uranium Association’s 3 day “Paydirt Conference in Adelaide – April 30 – May 2.

What’s the connection?  I hear your cry.   Well, the connection is that Australia’s (rather desperate) uranium industry is spruiking the lie that nuclear power is the solution to climate change,

Well, you can’t pose as one trying to solve climate change, if you are saying that you don’t believe in climate change – now, can you?

And that is why the opportunistic Gary Gray now states that he believes in climate change.

April 27, 2013 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

The dirt on Australia’s uranium industry, as it holds its “Paydirt” conference

bull-uncertain-uranium Yellowcake Fever.  Exposing the Uranium Industry’s Economic Myths  Report in full at:   by Dr Jim Green (FoEA) & Dave Sweeney (ACF), Australian Conservation Foundation, April 2013 (33 page PDF)  Executive Summary: The Australian uranium industry involves serious and unresolved domestic and international security, environmental and inter-generational concerns and remains a contested and controversial sector that lacks a secure social license. This report examines the sectors small economic and employment contribution in relation to its significant risks and legacies and seeks to build the case for an independent cost-benefit analysis and a comprehensive and transparent assessment of the impacts and implications of Australia’s uranium trade.

Uranium is a small contributor to Australian export  revenue and employment. From 2002 to 2011, uranium  sales averaged $627 million annually and accounted  for only 0.29% of all national export revenue. In the 2011/12 financial year, uranium revenue of  $607 million was 4.4 times lower than Australia’s 20th  biggest export earner, 8.7 times lower than Australia’s 10th biggest export earner and 103 times lower than the biggest earner, iron ore. Small industrial sectors can play an important economic role but the unique  properties and risks of uranium mining relative to any  benefits means its role requires particular scrutiny.

The industry’s contribution to employment is also  underwhelming. The World Nuclear Association  estimates 1,760 jobs in Australia’s uranium  industry. That is the highest of all estimates yet it  represents just 0.015% of all jobs in Australia. The  industry’s primary promotional body, the Australian  Uranium Association (AUA), claims its members  are “significant employers of First Australians”
however the sector only provides around one job  for every three thousand Indigenous Australians.

In the mid-2000s, there was a speculative uranium  price bubble. Since this bubble burst the uranium  industry has been battered by a falling commodity price,  rising production costs, the Global Financial Crisis  (and associated credit crisis), the failure of the global  nuclear power ‘renaissance’ to materialise, the failure to  develop new mines and serious production shortfalls……. Continue reading

April 27, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, reference, spinbuster, uranium | Leave a comment

Journalists should scrutinise Australia’s politicians on their ignorance on climate change science


many Australian politicians – and the Australian media. Very rarely have politicians who reject climate science in Australia been asked to explain their justifications on scientific grounds.

According to the Political Leaders and Climate Change Index (PLCCI) published in 2010 by the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, the number of politicians in the parliament who either don’t or won’t accept the science of climate change in Australia is significant.

 The likelihood of a Coalition government winning in 2013 makes the public statement of personal opinions on human induced climate change an issue of national and global importance.


Your MP doesn’t ‘believe’ in climate change? Ask the tough questions, The Conversation,   Brad Farrant, Fiona Armstrong, Karen Kiang, Mark G Edwards , 27 April 13  As we head into an election, you’d be justified in asking what your local member is basing their climate change decisions on.

If your MP says “I don’t support policies to prevent dangerous climate change” because “I don’t believe climate change is occurring” or “I’m not sure climate change is human caused” is this position justifiable simply because it’s his or her personal opinion?

While everyone may be entitled to their own opinion, are our elected leaders being ethically responsible when they justify inaction on climate change based on personal opinions? Sustainability ethicist Donald A. Brown, from Widener University School of Law, emphatically argues, “no” – they are not.

In a recent widely republished blog post on, Brown argues government officials have an ethical responsibility to understand the state of climate change science. Politicians hold crucial leadership positions where they can enact policies that can prevent or minimise great harm. These policies, to put it bluntly, affect millions, if not billions, of people around the world.

Governments and elected officials cannot ethically choose to rely on their own uninformed opinion or ideology instead of the scientific consensus. Continue reading

April 27, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Liberal Party’s Shadow Minister for Education wants to sanitise Australian history

Have we forgotten how often, and easily history can be distorted by those seeking to make history simply a celebration, or quest for freedom?….

History isn’t a party, it’s an honest pursuit of an accurate telling of the past – the whole past, not just bits we like.

Pyne,-ChristopherDon’t dismiss nation’s blemishes , SMH  April 27, 2013  Julia Baird  Historians across Australia buried their faces in their palms again this week when, without warning, retro talk of ”history wars” was revived. It was like being drawn back into 2001, when John Howard was prime minister, George Bush was US president and Vanilla Ice was in jail.

On Monday, the jaunty opposition spokesman for education, Christopher Pyne (at left) criticised the new national school curriculum for putting Aboriginal and multicultural commemoration days in the same league as Anzac Day.

This seemed to come partly from a preference for the festive over the sombre.

Pyne said a Coalition government would review the curriculum because it should promote a more cheerful version of the past: Continue reading

April 27, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Despite cancer risk, Japanese court rules against evacuation of children. Parents may appeal

flag-japanJapanese court refuses to rehouse children near Fukushima site RT April 25, 2013 A Japanese court has dismissed a lawsuit demanding that the government pay for the re-settlement of children from the city of Koriyama, 60 km from the site of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which suffered a meltdown in 2011.

On Wednesday, the Sendai High Court said that while the radiation level in the city of over 300 thousand still exceeds the Japanese average, it poses no danger to health, and said those worried are free to re-locate at their own expense. “The children are victims with absolutely no responsibility for the nuclear accident,” complained the Toshio Yanagihara, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, following the ruling, which can be appealed in a higher court. Continue reading

April 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japanese parents lose lawsuit seeking evacuation of children from irradiated area

flag-japanJapan court rejects demand to evacuate kids, acknowledges radiation risk The Associated Press  CTV News, , April 25, 2013  TOKYO A Japanese court has rejected a demand that a city affected by the fallout of the country’s 2011 nuclear disaster evacuate its children. The unusual lawsuit was filed on behalf of the children by their parents and anti-nuclear activists in June 2011. The Sendai High Court handed down its ruling Wednesday.

The case had drawn international attention because it touched the uncertainties about the effects of continuous low-dose radiation on health, especially that of children, who are far more vulnerable than adults.

The lawsuit argued the city of Koriyama had legal responsibility to evacuate children at elementary schools and junior-high schools, which are part of compulsory education under Japanese law.

The court acknowledged radiation in the city exceeded levels deemed safe prior to the disaster. But it said the government shoulders no responsibility for evacuating the schools as demanded — in effect, telling people to leave on their own if they were worried.

Toshio Yanagihara, one of the lawyers, said the ruling was unfair as the children were “victims with absolutely no responsibility for the nuclear accident.”

A lower court threw out the original case in December 2011, but that ruling was appealed. The latest ruling can also be appealed.

Koriyama is a city of 330,000 people located about 60 kilometres west of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which went into multiple meltdowns more than two years ago after a giant tsunami destroyed it cooling system. That set off the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chornobyl.

Thousands of children got cancer after the Chornobyl disaster, but the cases did not surface for several years.

It is unclear whether Fukushima children are equally prone, as cancer has various causes, and radiation affects people differently. Radioactive contamination is complex, tainting not only the air but also getting in the food, soil and water.

Some experts say radiation outside the restricted zone right around Fukushima Dai-ichi is so low the probability of getting cancer is no different from the rest of Japan. But many Fukushima residents are worried and have moved out.

The government’s handling of the Fukushima disaster has led to widespread public distrust. Thousands of people have taken to the streets, demanding a phase-out of atomic power. The government has expressed a desire to restart reactors after checking on their safety.

April 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

These are the questions that journalists should be asking of politicians

questionYour MP doesn’t ‘believe’ in climate change? Ask the tough questions, The Conversation,   Brad Farrant, Fiona Armstrong, ballot-boxSmKaren Kiang, Mark G Edwards , 27 April 13, “…. 

we propose a series of questions that journalists (and the public) should be asking politicians on global warming, and how governments should respond to it.

    1. Are you aware that over 97% of climate scientists globally, the CSIRO, the Australian Academy of Science and every major national science academy in the industrialised world (whose membership includes climate scientists) agree that the planet is warming, that the observed climate change is mostly human caused, and that if we continue with business as usual, harsh impacts and irreversible changes to the climate system will occur?
    2. Do you accept that the human population is making a substantial contribution to climate change via our greenhouse gas emissions? If not, what specific scientific sources and references do you rely on to justify going against the scientific consensus?
    3. Is it your position that Australia and the rest of the world need to urgently adopt policies to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in line with scientific recommendations? If not, what specific scientific sources and references do you rely on to justify rejecting the scientific consensus?
    4. Are you aware that the impacts of climate change in terms of increased risks to human health and climate change related deaths is already being measured by medical and public health professionals worldwide?
    5. Do you accept that anyone who argues that we continue with business as usual and emit greenhouse gases beyond levels that the consensus of climate scientists says is dangerous for humanity (and the ecological system on which humans depend) should bear the burden of proof to show that this is safe?
    6. Do you accept that, in light of the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence and the long-standing consensus of climate scientists, politicians have a responsibility to immediately implement strategies to prevent dangerous climate change?
    7. Given that climate scientists have been advising the urgent reduction of greenhouse gases for decades, do you accept that politicians who fail to implement policies to prevent dangerous climate change should be held responsible for harm that results from this inaction?
    8. Do you accept that climate change is occurring? If not, what specific scientific sources and references do you rely on to justify rejecting the scientific consensus?
  1. We might ask politicians a few of these ourselves. Have a go yourself – and let us know how you get on. We’d be pleased to write about it.

April 27, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2013 | Leave a comment

In Sri Lanka, radioactive particles found, from 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster

“If an accident takes place in the Kundankulam Nuclear plant it will directly effect the public within a 50 Kilometre radius. The public will NOT be evacuated in such an instance.
The closest nuclear plant to Sri Lanka  is 220 Kilometres, the further the distance the less the impact but if an accident did take place, radioactive material can settle down in the soil in Sri Lanka but this would be in minimalquantities and the risk would be minimal
Radiation of Chernobyl blast discovered in Sri Lankan soil, HIRU News,   19 April 2013 

text-radiationA sample test carried out by the Sri Lankan Atomic Energy Authority has found some acute radioactive particles which were released by the Chernobyl nuclear explosion of Ukraine in Sri Lankan soil.

30 persons were killed instantly and another 4000 believed to be died of its after effects in 1986. ( This figure may be outdated and criminaly inaccurate imo Arclight2011)

The catastrophe which caused various illnesses to many thousand believed to be the world’s most disastrous nuclear accident.

Later its radiation effects were spread to many parts of Western Russia and Europe.

The new threat of radiation to the country was found during a soil testing program to ascertain whether there are any possible dangers being posed to the country by the recently commenced Kundankulam Nuclear Plant in South India.

The Atomic Energy Authority has collected 100 samples from different parts of the island, and 65 samples have already been tested.

Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority Chairman Dr.Ranjith Wijewardana described the test findings so far to our news team.

When asked the radiation of Chernobyl explosion spreads over 9406 km to Sri Lanka, what would be the situation of a possible nuclear leak by Kundankulam.

Describing such an imminent danger Dr.Wijewardana has this to say:

“If an accident takes place in the kudlakum Nuclear plant it will directly effect the public within a 50 Kilometre radius. The public will NOT be exacuated in such an instance. The closest nuclear plant to Sri Lanka  is 220 Kilometres, the further the distance the less the impact but if an accident did take place, radioactive material can setttle down in the soil in Sri Lanka but this would be in minimal quantities and the risk would be minimal”

Audio on link

April 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Malformed flower, exposed to Fukushima nuclear plant radiation

San Arclight, 19 April 2013

Unverified .. but blimey!


April 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Even dogs are exploited in the cause of USA’s nuclear weapons

Flag-USASecurity dogs overworked at nuclear site, report says,0,7319317.story By Julie Cart April 26, 2013  Dogs trained to search for explosives and other substances were pushed “beyond their physical capacity” while working last year at a federal facility that handles, processes and stores highly enriched uranium, according to a report released this week.

The Energy Department’s inspector general found that canine security teams at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., were overworked, citing an instance in which a handler and a dog conducted 102 vehicle searches over a two-hour period.

Workers for the private contractor providing the dogs told investigators that requests for breaks were ignored by supervisors. The highly sensitive site is patrolled by human-dog teams that search for explosives, drugs and intruders. The facility was broken into last year by antiwar activists, prompting questions into the security at Energy Department installations.

Investigators were unable to corroborate reports that some dog competence testing had been rigged, but the report did find that “half of the canine teams we observed failed explosive detection tests, many canines failed to respond to at least one of the handler’s commands, and that canines did not receive all required training.”

April 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment