Australian news, and some related international items

Hypocrisy of Australian Government’s opposition to nuclear disarmament

hypocrisy-scale”These declassified exchanges between government officials clearly demonstrate that Australia’s talk of nuclear disarmament has been insincere and hollow.”

Diplomats ducked push for nuclear ban in favour of defence  October 2, 2013  Philip Dorling The former Labor government in effect abandoned its advocacy of nuclear disarmament because it considered continued reliance on ”extended nuclear deterrence” provided by the US to be an essential foundation for Australia’s defence strategy.

Australian officials are also planning to work against humanitarian organisations campaigning for a ban on nuclear weapons, according to diplomatic documents released under freedom of information.

Declassified diplomatic cables, emails and briefings show the Australian government refused to endorse an 80-nation statement delivered at this year’s non-proliferation treaty meeting in Geneva in April because it included a reference to an International Red Cross resolution highlighting ”the incalculable human suffering associated with any use of nuclear weapons”.

Australian officials considered this reference to be part of a campaign to delegitimise the possession of nuclear weapons, including by Australia’s ally the US.

The documents, obtained by disarmament advocacy group the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, provide a detailed account of how Australian diplomats worked behind the scenes to oppose international moves to open negotiations for a global nuclear weapons ban while the government continued to publicly express support for the ultimate goal of a nuclear weapons-free world. Continue reading

October 1, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How will Tony Abbott reward Rupert Murdoch for the election gift?

Murdochracy-2Reward and punishment: the making of media policy The Age October 2, 2013 Sally Young  How will the government reward News Ltd for its wholehearted poll support? News Corp Australia (formerly News Limited) played an unusually active role during the election campaign in promoting a Tony Abbott-led Coalition government. The more cynical among us might be wondering then how long it will take for some form of quid pro quo to emerge in media policy.

……What News Corp did during the 2013 election campaign was unusual by Australian standards. We haven’t seen anything that aggressively partisan and directive since 1972 and 1975. ……hat might News Corp want from the government?

Any News Corp wish list will include ways to limit the ABC. Eighty years after the Lyons/Murdoch deals and in a new world of internet paywalls, the biggest newspaper group in the country still frets about competition from the ABC. Stopping the NBN and key recommendations from the Convergence Review can already be ticked off. But other desires may include watering down cross-media ownership rules and the anti-siphoning list that prevents Foxtel acquiring rights to televise certain sporting events, plus a crackdown on online piracy that infringes News Corp copyright.

The wish list might be larger and more ideological than mere commercial interests ………:

October 1, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Anti science promoted by BBC’s false idea of ‘balance’

media-balance-ABCComplaints focused on the World at One programme on Radio 4 on Friday, which featured the Australian sceptic Bob Carter. A retired geologist, he leads a group called the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, and is funded by US libertarians. His words also dominated several subsequent news bulletins.

Earlier in the day, the Today programme had said it could not find any British climate scientists who disagreed with the IPCC’s core findings.

The biologist Steve Jones, who reviewed the BBC’s science output in 2011, told the Guardian he was concerned that the BBC was still wedded to an idea of “false balance” in presenting climate sceptics alongside reputable scientists.

“Science turns on evidence. Balance in science is not the same as balance in politics where politicians can have a voice however barmy their ideas are. 

a stunning display of false balance when it devoted less airtime to IPCC scientists than it did to Bob Carter, a sceptic who is funded by a free-market lobby group in the US, the Heartland Institute. Carter was allowed to make a number of inaccurate and misleading statements unchallenged.”

BBC coverage of IPCC climate report criticised for sceptics’ airtim Steve Jones among experts querying BBC ‘false balance’ in giving climate sceptics ‘undue’ voice on global warming study , environment correspondent The Guardian, Wednesday 2 October 2013  Steve Jones said he previously advised the BBC not to present climate-change sceptics as having equal scientific weight with mainstream researchers.  The BBC has been criticised for its coverage of the most comprehensive scientific study on global warming yet published. Prominent climate experts have accused the corporation of bias towards “climate sceptics” at the expense of mainstream scientists. Continue reading

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radioactive cesium in urine of 70% of children in Kanto, Japan

Cesium-137Weekly Asahi: 70% of children tested in Kanto (Includes Tokyo) have radioactive cesium in their urine -Journalist #Fukushima
October 1st, 2013 
Title: Slight rise in birth defects in post-meltdown Japan; more study needed
Source: Jake Adelstein
Date: Sept. 26, 2013

flag-japan[…] This week the Weekly Asahi (週刊朝日)published a report that in urine samples from children living in Kanto, 70% of those tested, contained cesium, a radioactive element that results in internal exposure […]

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peaceful protest Oct 7, Melbourne, against Future Fund investing in nuclear weapons

logo-ICANICAN would like to invite you to a celebratory action against nuclear weapons next Monday 7th October at 1-2pm.

 We’re setting up outside the Future Fund office building at 120 Collins St to celebrate Chair David Gonski’s 60th birthday and the Future Fund’s previous principled decisions to divest from tobacco, cluster munitions and landmine companies. Of course, our presence there will be a call for their divestment of $227m from nuclear weapons companies. The facebook event is here.

There will be cake, and some nuclear bombs might even make it to the party so this is your chance to give them a good talking to!

For a world without nuclear weapons,

October 1, 2013 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

12 October Australia’s First National Wind Farm Open Day

text-Please-Notewind-turb-smAustralia’s First National Wind Farm Open Day 2 Oct 13 The upcoming Australian Wind Farm Open Day will provide a great opportunity for wind power fans and skeptics to get up close to a wind turbine. An interesting point about resistance to wind farms is that many who have concerns about wind turbine noise have never taken the opportunity to hear it in real life. If they did, for some their concerns would perhaps be instantly allayed.

Australia’s inaugural Wind Farm Open Day will be held on Saturday, 12 October 2013 and will assist in dispelling many of the myths associated with the clean and economical electricity production technology.

So far, the following wind farms are part of the event:
– Infigen Energy’s Lake Bonney Wind Farm in South Australia
– AGL’s Macarthur Wind Farm in South Western Victoria
– RATCH Australia’s Starfish Hill Wind Farm near Cape Jervis in South Australia
– RATCH Australia’s Windy Hill Wind Farm at Ravenshoe in Queensland
– TrustPower Australia’s Snowtown Wind Farm in South Australia

According to the Clean Energy Council, which is co-ordinating the event, more wind facilities are to be confirmed.
Open days at each of the wind farms will be much more than just a case of standing in front of a turbine for a few happy-snaps. Guided tours, BBQ’s and other activities will be occurring.  For full details of the Australian Wind Farm Open Day and participating facilities,click here.

Wind Power Trivia: In August 2013, wind farms in South Australia provided the equivalent of just under 40 per cent of the state’s power. Nationally, wind power produced eight per cent of the power in the National Electricity Market during August. More than a quarter of South Australia’s electricity was sourced from wind power over the last financial year.   Related: Wind Turbine Syndrome – A Communicated Disease?

October 1, 2013 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate Scientist Janet Rice is Victoria’s newest Senator-elect

greensSmCongratulations to Janet Rice, our newest Senator-elect for Victoria! The AEC just made it official: Janet will join the Greens’ Senate team next July.

Trained as a climate scientist, Janet was one of the founders of the Greens in Victoria & is a leading voice for sustainability and justice. A transport planner, former Mayor, facilitator & campaigner, she brings a wealth of knowledge & experience to the team.

Janet led Maribyrnong Council’s local efforts to tackle global warming as Mayor, won campaigns to protect some of Australia’s precious forests, did crucial work with Bicycle Victoria and chaired the Metropolitan Transport Forum for four years.

October 1, 2013 Posted by | election 2013 | Leave a comment

Adverse health effects in Japan following Fukushima nuclear radiation catastrophe

Fukushima-water-tanks,-workAP: Fukushima unleashed radiation that will affect region’s health for decades — Book: Effects seem to be rapidly increasing
 September 30th, 2013

Hiroshima to Fukushima,a, Science Policy Reports (2014): Incidences of adverse health effects seem to be increasing rapidly at the time of writing (March 2013), 2 years after the accident. Thyroid anomalies among children are now widespread and observed all over Japan. Sudden heart failure seems to be increasing among the young, too. Chronic fatigue syndrome is also becoming prevalent. All kinds of infectious diseases are increasing, very likely due to weakening of the immune systems in many people […] No official data are yet available, but a large number of cases of adverse health effects have been reported, such as severe nose bleeding, hair loss, severe fatigue syndrome, acute heart failure, acute lymphatic leukemia, systemic collagenosis, spontaneous abortion, and congenital malformation.

See also: Reporters in Japan write about rise in birth defects for 2011 — University won’t publish data on malformed babies after many years of doing so; Not releasing figures for Fukushima, other prefectures — Expert: This is ridiculous

Associated Press, Sept. 26, 2013: […] the March 2011 Fukushima disaster unleashed radiation that will affect the region’s health for decades. […] it is impossible to know what the health toll will ultimately be. Only recently has the government acknowledged that much more radioactive water is leaking into the sea than it had previously believed. […] Some medical experts are worried about sickness that may emerge in coming years […] Shuntaro Hida, 96, was among the doctors who treated the people of Hiroshima […] He said Hiroshima never fully faced up to the effects of internal radiation, and that same mistake is being repeated in Fukushima.

See also: Fukushima Mother’s Plea to U.N.: Children and adults are suffering tremendously — Sharp increase in bloody urine, bone pain, more — Doctor says many have similar symptoms with unknown causes — Family’s health deteriorated all at once, recovered soon after moving

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate change: how hot will it get in my lifetime? – interactive

see-this.wayThe UN is to publish the most exhaustive examination of climate change science to date, predicting dangerous temperature rises. Howglobe-warming hot will it get in your lifetime? Find out with our interactive guide, which shows projections based on the report

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Audiovisual | Leave a comment

Australian Commonwealth keeping laws over nuclear and other environmental matters

logo-Aust-govtCommonwealth will keep environmental power over state projects , The Conversation, 30 September 2013, 

The Commonwealth will not delegate to the states decisions under its national environmental laws in which the states have a “conflict of interest”. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt confirmed this significant commitment in an interview on ABC radio last Thursday.

The Coalition’s pre-election Policy for Resources and Energy promised to deliver a “one-stop-shop” for environmental approvals. The policy read like a complete handover of all Commonwealth decisions to the states.

But the Minister qualified the Coalition’s policy before the election when he was the Coalition’s environment spokesperson. He said in an interview reported in theWeekend Australian in May 2013 that: “some matters would be reserved where the Commonwealth would be the one-stop-shop but overwhelmingly it would be the states.”

In his recent radio interview, the Minister confirmed that the Commonwealth will retain control over decisions involving offshore Commonwealth waters, nuclear actions, and projects for which state governments are “likely to have a significant conflict of interest” as the proponent.

This alleviates the most significant concern about the one-stop-shop policy: where the state is the proponent they’ll have difficulty making an independent assessment…….

Complications of water trigger

The new water trigger created under the EPBC Act also complicates the one-stop-shop policy. Now-retired MP, Tony Windsor, who championed the trigger, managed to include alegislative prohibition on it being delegated to state governments.

Just how big a complication this creates is evident in Greg Hunt’s recent announcement that 47 coal seam gas and mining projects currently being assessed will need to consider the water trigger. All in all, the “one-stop-shop” policy looks like creating the patchwork regulatory regime that the Gillard Government ultimately decided not to pursue.

October 1, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Cover-up of extraordinarily rapid jump in thyroid cancer in Fukushma children

Fukushima Cover-Up: Extraordinary amount of kids have thyroid cancer — Officials say NOT caused by Fukushima since Chernobyl’s cancers took 4-5 yrs to appear — Yet data shows it started soon after ’86 meltdown… number of cases still rising 25 years later
 September 29th, 2013

Kyodo,, June 5, 2013: Researchers at Fukushima Medical University […] said they do not believe that the most recent cases are related to the nuclear crisis. They point out that thyroid cancer cases were not found among children hit by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident until four to five years later. […]

Asahi Shimbun, August 21, 2013: A Fukushima prefectural government official said, “It is likely (the 44 children) developed tumors or lumps before the nuclear accident.” […] In the case of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, thyroid cancer cases started to soar four to five years later […] A number of residents have expressed strong dissatisfaction with the Fukushima prefectural government over its interpretation of the effects of radiation exposure, the accuracy of its thyroid testing and the way it discloses information.

Wikipedia:: As of August 2013, there have been more than 40 children newly diagnosed with thyroid cancer and other cancers in Fukushima prefecture as a whole, but these cancers are not attributed to radiation from Fukushima […] if Chernobyl is anything to go by the increase in thyroid cancer rates won’t begin until approximately 4–5 years after the accident.

Hiroshima to Fukushima – Data on Fukushima,, Eiichiro Ochiai (2014): “12 out of 174.000 children” […] is much higher than that seen in the Chernobyl incident […] If 15 more likely cases were taken account of, the thyroid cancer incident rate among Fukushima children would be about 7.8/100.000/year, extraordinarily a high rate. (Note: this number is still an underestimate. This number would he 21/100,0110/y if the data is more properly analyzed). The authority denies that they were caused by the radiation released from the TEPCo NPP on the basis that thyroid cancer would emerge only 4-5 years after such an incident. However, the data on the Chernobyl incident show that thyroid cancer did show up even just one year later (see Fig. 14.4) […]

Hiroshima to Fukushima – Data on Chernobyl, Eiichiro Ochiai (2014): […] a few cases of thyroid cancer seem to have occurred almost immediately within 1 year. In children, the incidence […] has kept increasing, even after 25 years. A similar trend has been observed for the groups aged 15 years or more (Ukraine report 2011). This continuous rise suggests that radiation sources other than the short-lived I-131, such as I-129 and Cs-137 may also be involved. In a highly contaminated area. Gomel of Belams, the annual incidence of thyroid cancers among children 2-18 years of age in 1998 was 58 times higher than that in 1973 […]
See also: Japan Professor: Fukushima crisis is leading to surge in thyroid cancers… First signs of health catastrophe — NHK: Trend seen in new cancer tests is ‘suspicious’ (VIDEO)

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate denialists rally to attack the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

climate-change Climate change denialists standing on thinning ice  1 Oct 13 

IMAGINE the fury of a category five cyclone bearing down on north Queensland.

The storm is still a couple of hundred kilometres offshore and tracking slowly west, although meteorologists are unsure where and when exactly it will cross the coast and what sort of a punch it will be packing when it does make landfall. Forecasting the precise movements of such a powerful and destructive weather system is not, after all, an exact science.

On the logic of climate change deniers, who argue the world needs to take no action to combat global warming yet because “the science isn’t settled”, in this scenario the good burghers of coastal towns should take no precautions against the looming tempest because there is no absolute guarantee they’ll experience anything more inclement than a spot of rain.

Indeed, perhaps those people in the possible path of the cyclone should turn off their televisions lest they inadvertently catch a weather bulletin – after all, what you don’t know can’t hurt you, right? All together now, put your hands over your ears and start chanting “na-na-na-na-naaah” and watch on quietly while we abolish the Climate Commission.

The deniers contend that “only” about 97 per cent of the world’s scientific community accept the human influence on possibly catastrophic global warming, thus the jury is out. On this basis then the science on evolution is not yet settled either and news media and indeed our schools should be giving equal weight to the views of intelligent design theorists. Actually, while we are being biblical for a moment, one could view Noah’s ark as the first recorded attempt at Direct Action in the face of climate change, although attempts at a similar solution today may run foul of the Stop the Boats humbuggery.

Seriously though, climate humbuggery is in plentiful supply right now with the release of the long-awaited report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Continue reading

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Martin Ferguson – from Minister for Energy to Fossil Fuel Lobbyist?

Ferguson-under-scrutinyFerguson’s resources posting mocks lobbying code of conduct – 1 Oct 13,  Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne says Martin Ferguson’s appointment as group executive of natural resources for Seven Group Holdings and as chair to a petroleum industry advisory board makes a mockery of the code of conduct which prevents former Ministers engaging in lobbying activities relating to any matter that they had official dealings in.
“The whole point of the code of conduct is to separate former Ministers from the industries they have been in direct contact with,” Senator Milne said.
‘It’s hard to see how a former Resources Minister going to work in the resources wing of Seven doesn’t make a complete mockery of the code.
“Mr Ferguson is an advocate of the fossil fuel industry. He’s on the exact same page as Ian Macfarlane when it comes to removing any kind of barrier to coal seam gas and resource extraction.
“Just today Mr Ferguson is reported to have urged NSW and Victoria to follow the lead of SA, WA, Queensland and the NT in encouraging gas development. He is also reported to have said the Santos project at Pilliga and the AGL project must be allowed to proceed.
“Mr Ferguson says he is conscious of the code, but in the same breath says he wants to build community support for gas and encourage development.
“The Australian Greens will be watching very closely to make sure former Minister Ferguson does not breach his responsibilities under the code.”

October 1, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Community owned energy – the success story of Hepburn Wind farm, Victoria


”We’ve developed a model for community wind and a model for community solar energy,” she explains. ”There are about 70 different groups [in] Australia interested in developing … projects.”

Hepburn co-op sailing with the wind September 29, 2013 Michael Green There’s lots of energy behind locally owned wind power.  Late last summer, Melbourne artist Ghostpatrol spent a week manoeuvring a crane in a paddock in Leonards Hill. With a small team, he painted a huge image of a girl dressed in green on one of the two wind turbines that comprise the Hepburn Wind farm, near Daylesford.
The artists camped under the turbine. They had to rise early to paint before the wind picked up, and for good reason: the girl’s name – and the turbine’s, too – is Gale. .The community-owned wind farm has now been operating for more than two years. It has produced more than 22 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy, which more than matches the amount used by households in Daylesford and Hepburn.

Taryn Lane, Hepburn Wind’s community officer, conducts regular tours for school groups and university students. ”We’re the closest wind farm to Melbourne,” she says. ”We believe we’ve got a big role to play in helping to demystify wind power.”

Giving Gale a personality has helped with that, and so, too, will a new sign on the road at the front of the wind farm, which will click over with every kilowatt-hour the turbines produce. ”It will address the myth that wind energy is unreliable. Although it’s intermittent, it is really predictable,” she says. As well as electricity, the turbines generate money for the community. So far, more than three-dozen projects – from solar streetlights to public seating – have received a total of $72,000. Continue reading

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Victoria, wind | Leave a comment

The demand for a global take-over at Fukushima has hit critical mass

As former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata has put it: full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.” 

 Harvey Wasserman September 30, 2013  More than 48,000 global citizens have now signed a petition at asking the United Nations and the world community to take charge of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. Another 35,000 have signed at . An independent advisory group of scientists and engineers is also in formation.

The signatures are pouring in from all over the world. By November, they will be delivered to the United Nations.

The corporate media has blacked out meaningful coverage of the most critical threat to global health and safety in decades.

The much-hyped “nuclear renaissance” has turned into a global rout. In the face of massive grassroots opposition and the falling price of renewable energy and natural gas, operating reactors are shutting and proposed new ones are being cancelled.

This lessens the radioactive burden on the planet. But it makes the aging reactor fleet ever more dangerous. A crumbling industry with diminished resources and a disappearing workforce cannot safely caretake the decrepit, deteriorating 400-odd commercial reactors still licensed to operate worldwide.

All of which pales before the crisis at Fukushima. Continue reading

October 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment