Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s Liberal Coalition sets out plans to destroy renewable energy development

Abbott-destroys-renewableslogo-election-Aust-13Coalition ‘No Friend Of Renewable Energy’  6 Sept 13 100% Renewable has come out swinging after recently released Coalition budget costings revealed what it says is ‘a dark and dirty energy future’ for Australia.

According to the group, the costings show not only does the Coalition intend on shutting down the Clean Energy Finance Corporation; but they would also slash their “One Million Solar Roofs” rebate by half and make the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) responsible for delivery of the program. This would lead to a reduction of funding and resources available to ARENA to execute other projects.

National Director of 100% Renewable, Lindsay Soutar, has reminded the Coalition there are over 1 million solar households in Australia and millions of solar-supporting voters. “Today’s announcement is clearly a capitulation to the big power companies who don’t want to see Australia take advantage of our abundant renewable energy resources. It will mean less innovation, less new jobs, and less small, medium and large scale solar projects.”

“By cutting funding to the only remaining clean energy funding body, the Coalition is again revealing it is no friend of renewable energy.”
Ms. Soutar also took exception to the Coalition’s Policy for Resources and Energy (PDF); which she says doesn’t mention the words ‘solar’ or ‘renewable’ even once.

What the Policy does mention frequently and favourably is fossil fuel.  RenewEconomy’s Giles Parkinson reports the document promises to “focus on restoring coal-fired power stations to profitability, boost exploration for oil and gas, and to produce another ‘white paper’ on energy.”

Where renewable energy related technology does get a mention; it isn’t positive – the Coalition promises yet another investigation into the health impacts of wind farms; even though so-called Wind Turbine Syndrome has been thoroughly debunked.
“Australians want more renewables,” says Ms. Soutar, “but this announcement again shows that the Coalition is out of touch with ordinary Australian’s vision for a wind and solar powered future.”

September 5, 2013 Posted by | election 2013, politics | Leave a comment

The role of Bob Carr, Australia’s Foreign Minister, in NOT helping Julian Assange


logo-election-Aust-13Mr Assange is the lead WikiLeaks Party candidate for a Senate seat in Victoria. Since June, 2012, he has resided at Ecuador’s London embassy where he was granted political asylum on the grounds that he is at risk of extradition to the US.

Carr accused of meddling in Assange case   September 6, 2013  Philip Dorling Australian diplomats in Washington immediately stopped reporting to Canberra on the trial of WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, after Foreign Minister Bob Carr declared he would not allow ”over-servicing” of Julian Assange’s consular case.

Australian diplomatic cables released under freedom of information law reveal that the Australian embassy in Washington reported on the first two days of US Army Private Manning’s two-month trial, which began on June 3, and highlighted numerous references to Mr Assange, who has been targeted by US law enforcement and intelligence agencies in a long-running espionage investigation.

However, a response by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to a freedom of information application by Fairfax Media shows that the Washington embassy stopped reporting on the Manning trial after Senator Carr told a Senate estimates hearing on June 6 that the WikiLeaks publisher’s case ”doesn’t affect Australian interests”. Continue reading

September 5, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Corporate influence over University in the uranium province of Saskatchewan

antnuke-relevantit is essential that opposition to the university’s role in nuclear development extend to the wider community. 

Follow the yellowcake road  Nuclear power, tarsands extraction, and the co-option of the University of Saskatchewan Briar Patch magazine, BY D’ARCY HANDE • FEB 28, 2012  In 2011 the University of Saskatchewan went truly nuclear, realizing, in many respects, the loftiest ambitions of the uranium industry and its supporters within the provincial government and the university. On October 14, 2011, the University of Saskatchewan board of governors formally approved the incorporation of the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (CCNI) “to stimulate new research, development and training in advanced aspects of nuclear science and technology.”………..

Equally disturbing is the pervasive climate of corporatism that has crept over the University of Saskatchewan in the past two decades. Most academics dare not question or criticize the influence of the nuclear industry on campus. The rigorous discourse normally associated with academia is all but absent in this debate; the pall of corporate influence has nearly extinguished discussion and dissent. Continue reading

September 5, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Even if Abbott wins, he will find it hard to destroy renewable energy in Australia

logo-election-Aust-13Not all doom and gloom for renewables under Coalition REneweconomy, By  on 5 September 2013 Renewable energy has its neck on the guillotine with Messrs Hunt and Hockey holding the blade up with rope, awaiting a nod from the Australian Electoral Commission that they can let go. At least, that’s the impression the electorate might be receiving: carbon price (tax) – gone, CEFC – gone, Clean Technology Program – gone, Climate Change Authority – gone, with as yet unspecified cuts to ARENA as well. In all, $9.1 billion (less according to Labor) in climate change and renewable energy expenditure-related savings.

However, even assuming that the Coalition are able to get these changes through the Senate and pierce former PM Gillard’s “Abbott Proof Fence”, all is not doom and gloom. The Renewable Energy Target (RET) is King and domestic and international developers are not abandoning Australia like some may think. Continue reading

September 5, 2013 Posted by | election 2013 | Leave a comment

Speak out against wind power – urges Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman

Rinehart calls for action against wind power BY:SARAH-JANE TASKER  The Australian September 06, 2013  AUSTRALIA’S richest woman — Gina Rinehart — has urged people to speak out against wind power and for the country to address its debt by getting non-violent prisoners to pay to avoid jail and for governments to sell their art and decor.

Ms Rinehart, in her latest article in Australian Resources and Investment magazine, used a conversation she had with a Dutch cab driver to lead her argument about concerns around the use of renewable energy……

September 5, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | Leave a comment

National pressure growing in Australia against Muckaty radioactive waste plan

WASTES-1Dump under the pump: Pressure grows against Muckaty radioactive waste plan. Territory trade unions, medicos and environmentalists have been joined by their national counterparts in a call to end a planned radioactive waste dump in the NT.
handsoffThe groups have placed an advertisement (attached) in the Tennant and District Times today to highlight their concerns over federal plans to dump radioactive waste on Aboriginal land at Muckaty, north of Tennant Creek and their commitment to continuing campaigning on the dump plan after this Saturday’s federal election.
Australia’s peak trade union body the ACTU has joined Unions NT, Public Health Association of Australia ,Medical Association for the Prevention of War and national and NT environmental organisations in the call to dump the dump.
ACTU President Ged Kearney said unions had adopted a policy at last year’s ACTU Congress to oppose a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory. “We stand in solidarity with the traditional owners and communities and with environmental groups resisting federal government plans for a radioactive waste dump,” she said.
“We reject any legislation which would continue to target a site on the Muckaty Land Trust or any other site in Australia, for a nuclear waste dump that is not based on recognised science and international best practices.”
Traditional Owners taking legal action against the dump plan have urged all political parties to halt the plan until the Federal Court has considered key issues of ownership, consultation and consent.
The groups placing the ad are calling for an independent National Commission to advance responsible radioactive waste management in Australia – an approach that has been widely used internationally, but never adopted in Australia.
“After decades of targeting remote sites there has been little progress made. A Commission would consider all options of management and give all stakeholders a chance to input,” said the ECNT’s Lauren Mellor. It is time for politicians to come clean on where they stand in relation to this dirty dump plan-Territorians have a right to know where their federal candidates stand on this issue.” Continue reading

September 5, 2013 Posted by | Northern Territory, Opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Christine Milne – Greens National Press Club 2013 Federal Election Address

September 5, 2013 Posted by | Audiovisual | Leave a comment

If elected, Tony Abbott will find it hard to dismantle Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC)

Milne,-Christine-1Greens find clean energy sticking point SMH, September 4, 2013  Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer A federal coalition government won’t be able to immediately stop clean energy grants being paid out without amending legislation, the Australian Greens say. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has said if the coalition wins the election on Saturday it will order the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to stop paying out grants and then abolish the $10 billion fund.

But Greens Leader Christine Milne has received advice from the Clerk of the Senate showing Mr Abbott and finance spokesman Andrew Rodd can’t stop the corporation carrying out its work without the parliament amending legislation. “Mr Abbott and Mr Robb are arrogantly assuming they can usurp the role of the parliament to direct the CEFC to halt its legislative function. They can’t,” Senator Milne told the National Press Club.

“Only the parliament can repeal the carbon price and only the parliament can stop the roll out of renewable energy by the CEFC.” She said that was why voters should support the Greens on election day.

“We will protect the environment, address global warming and continue Australia’s path to a clean energy economy,” she said in Canberra on Wednesday. Senate clerk Rosemary Laing said in her written advice a minister could decline to authorise payments to the CEFC “and so starve them of funds”.

“However, a minister who declined to carry out a statutory function … contrary to the will of the parliament, would risk serious legal consequences, in addition to any legal action that could arise if lack of funding led to defaulting on specific contracts,” she wrote.

“It seems unlikely, in my view, that any government would contemplate such a course of action…….

September 5, 2013 Posted by | election 2013 | Leave a comment

A deadly radiation dose within hours – if you’re near Fukushima’s latest leaks

Radiation-Warning1Nuclear disaster: Radiation levels at Fukushima would now be fatal within hours Raw Story, By Justinwater-tanks-Fukushima McCurry, The Guardian, September 4, 2013 The crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has radiation leaks strong enough to deliver a fatal dose within hours, Japanese authorities have revealed, as the government prepares to step in to help contain leaks of highly toxic water at the site.

On Wednesday the country’s nuclear regulation authority said radiation readings near water storage tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have increased to a new high, with emissions above the ground near one group of tanks were as high as 2,200 millisieverts [mSv] per hour – a rise of 20% from the previous high.

Earlier this week the plant’s operator, Tepco, said workers had measured radiation at 1,800 mSv an hour near a storage tank. That was the previous highest reading since Tepco began installing tanks to store huge quantities of contaminated water that have built up at the plant.

An unprotected person standing close to the contaminated areas would, within hours, receive a deadly radiation dose. The nuclear regulation authority said the radiation comprised mostly beta rays that could be blocked by aluminium foil, unlike more penetrative gamma rays……

September 5, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Warren Mundine – Tony Abbott’s Unelected Aboriginal Man for Australia

Mundine-puppetmany Aboriginal people in the NT remain unconvinced of the elegance, and legitimacy of Mundine’s manifesto.

Maurie Ryan, Chair of the NT’s Central Land Council questions the LNP’s anointment of Mundine as head of the Indigenous Advisory Council.

The members of the [Central] Land Council find it unacceptable that policy affecting them may be dictated by somebody who doesn’t understand the issues affecting them. Unfortunately Mr Mundine seems to be unaware of the significant changes made in recent years and he needs to update his knowledge of the current situation in the Northern Territory 

Warren Mundine’s indigenous manifesto – ‘elegance and simplicity’ or more bullshit?  Crikey BOB GOSFORD | SEP 04, 2013  “……If Tony Mundine-and-AbbottAbbott wins the election on this Saturday, Warren Mundine will most likely become the most powerful Aboriginal person in the country. He will lead the Abbott’s Indigenous Advisory Council, an as yet vague entity that will be unelected and, in the minds of many, an unrepresentative body providing Abbott with high-level policy advice in his “Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs” morph.
The little we do know of  the Indigenous Advisory Council is that it will be led by Mundine, from the New South Wales right, who will apparently be joined by fellow conservatives Marcia Langton and Noel Pearson. Abbott has said that the Council will include a “reasonable spread of urban and bush and regional, male and female” representatives. Little is known about what the Council will do, who it will report to (other than Abbott on a regular basis) and what relationships will be cast between it and the Federal indigenous affairs bureaucracy…….. Continue reading

September 5, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2013 | Leave a comment

Potential nuclear catastrophe if USA strikes Syria

safety-symbolMoscow Says US Strike on Syria Threatens Nuclear Security MOSCOW, September 4 (RIA Novosti) The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to analyze risks of a potential US military operation in Syria, saying such a strike would threaten nuclear security throughout the Middle East.

Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement that such an operation in Syria “might affect targets sensitive in terms of nuclear security and nuclear non-proliferation,” including the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) near Damascus.

He said “the consequences will be catastrophic” if the MNSR is hit by a US missile. Potential risks entail “possible contamination of adjacent territories with highly enriched uranium and radioactive decay products and the de-facto impossibility of ensuring control and safety of nuclear material at this object,” he said.

“In order to prevent events from taking a negative turn, we strongly urge the IAEA secretariat to promptly react to the situation and to present member states with an analysis of risks related to airstrikes on the MNSR and other objects in Syria,” the statement reads.

September 5, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian wind power a record in August

windmills-and-hayAugust A Record Month For Aussie Wind Power  by Energy Matters, 5 Sept 13 South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales all broke records for wind power generation during August.

Helped along by blustery conditions during the week beginning August 11; the amount of power generated during the month was enough to power 155,000 homes for an entire year says the Clean Energy Council (CEC).

In South Australia, wind power provided just under 40 percent of the state’s electricity needs for the entire month.

“South Australia’s wind farms produced the lion’s share of the country’s wind power in August, but the new Macarthur Wind Farm in western Victoria is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and provided a huge clean energy boost,” said CEC Policy Director Russell Marsh.

“These recent statistics add to results published by the Australian Energy Market Operator last week which showed that more than a quarter of South Australia’s power came from wind power over the last financial year.”……

September 5, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wind | Leave a comment

Australia’s inevitable path away from fossil fuels investment

Dim future for coal as renewables rise, research finds SMH, September 4, 2013  Peter Hannam Carbon economy editor,  Australia’s energy industry is on an inevitable path away from fossil fuels and further investment in the sector, particularly in coal, would be very risky, according to research by UNSW.

New analysis comparing the likely costs of pursuing 100 per cent renewable energy for the power sector by 2030 against a range of coal and gas options found a shift to commercially available clean energy would be cost-effective and relatively low-risk.

The tragedy is that superannuation and other funds have invested in this industry

The research assumptions included a price on carbon emissions of at least $56 per tonne by 2030, as modelled by the Australian Treasury, and estimated a range of costs for capturing and storing emissions from coal or gas-fired power plants underground………

“We think that whatever the year-to-year politics in Australia, in the long run there will be quite high prices for carbon around the world inevitably,” Professor Diesendorf said.

The research builds on earlier work, including from the Australian Energy Market Operator, which found Australia could shift towards 100 per cent renewable energy for its power sector for a similar cost of using fossil fuels without undermining reliability.

The modelling assumed wind would provide about 46 per cent of energy to the power sector, with concentrated solar thermal power 21 per cent, solar photovoltaics 20 per cent, and the remainder sourced from biofuels and hydropower. The risks of sticking with fossil fuels included being tied to nascent carbon capture and storage technology and being exposed to gas prices that are expected to rise steeply in the future.

“There is no need to invest in new, expensive, unproven, high-risk, fossil-fuel technologies,” Professor Diesendorf said……..

UNSW’s Professor Diesendorf  predicted further investments in the coal industry would be risky as the local and international economy faces up to a more carbon-constrained future.

“A lot of that could be dramatically stranded assets in the future,” he said. “The tragedy is that superannuation and other funds have invested in this industry.”


September 5, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

A Limited Strike on Syria- another use for depleted uranium?

depleted-uraniumDangers and Health Effects of Depleted Uranium, Disabled World Thomas C. Weiss, 4 Sept 13 “………The question of whether or not Syria’s government has used chemical weapons on its own population is one that may or may not be answered adequately. What comes to mind is the question of the devastation the United States of America would leave in the wake of even a limited strike on Syria using any kind of weaponry containing depleted uranium. The United States of America has already left apocalyptic devastation in two Middle Eastern nations, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as killing and wounding its own soldiers and military contractors, leaving behind cancer and major health issue causing depleted uranium that can cause horrifying consequences for years to come in these nations.

Perhaps we should all play poker on our iPhones and simply ignore the call for further devastation. Maybe we should align ourselves behind the patriotic call to support yet another military strike on a nation that presents no real threat to Americans at home. Maybe we should ignore the civilians in other nations that American tax dollars paid to kill, maim, and wound, as well as the veterans this nation continues to under-serve.

September 5, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Indigenous Land Under Attack through ILUA Indigenous Land Use Agreement

justiceAustralia: ILUA Indigenous Land Use Agreement Equals Indigenous Land Under Attack   Native Title lawyers and anthropologists are deceiving claimants of their true Native Title rights and interests Michael Anderson said from Goodooga on July 2:2013

From my involvement in the Gomeroi Nation’s recent experiences with mining companies, who seek to destroy our Country, it is clear that the Native Title applicants and claimants are being maliciously misled in the Native Title process. The Sovereign Union is seeking legal advice about a class action against Native Title lawyers, anthropologists and the Federal government sponsored Native Title Representative bodies.
The NSW Native Title Corporation Representative body (NTSCorp), the majority of Native Title lawyers and anthropologists fail to inform the various Native Title applicants and claimants that their Law and custom incorporates, and is inclusive of, all flora and fauna that lives in and belongs to their territories.
In the Mabo No. 2 judgement the High Court held that Aboriginal connections to land under Law and custom establish a recognised legal proprietary interest in the claimed lands, waters and airspace.
Various land occupiers may hold the freehold, perpetual pastoral leases or other land titles exhaustively itemised in the Schedule to the Native Title Act but this does not extinguish First Nations Peoples’ proprietary interests in their plants, trees, medicines and shrubs, as well as the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects and all naturally occurring living beings. Generally Native Title lawyers and anthropologists do not press these rights and interests in the Native Title process.
When one looks at how the Aboriginal Native Title rights and interests are dealt with, it is clear that the lawyers and anthropologists are not fulfilling the legal trust that has been conferred upon them. Continue reading

September 5, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, reference | Leave a comment