Australian news, and some related international items

AUDIO: Muckaty Nuclear waste case in court today – puts scrutiny on Northern Land Council

justiceMuckaty nuclear waste proposal in Federal Court today,  ABC Rural   By Lauren Fitzgerald , 2 June 14, A row over the future site for Australia’s first nuclear waste dump hits the Federal Court today. Muckaty Station, 600 kilometres north of Alice Springs, was nominated by the Howard Government as its preferred site for storing low and intermediate level nuclear waste in 2007.

That policy, continued under Labor, has been met with vocal resistance from some traditional owners since its inception. Muckaty Station was declared Aboriginal land under the Land Rights Act in 1997, with seven different clans identified as part of the Muckaty Land Trust.When the Northern Land Council nominated a small part of that property to host a nuclear waste facility, they did it on behalf of the Ngapa clan.

But four other groups say they also lay claim to that particular area.

Stokes,DianneDianne Stokes is one of the traditional owners opposing the dump. She says she has waited a long time to have her case heard in court.”While I was waiting we went around to all the big cities to protest, went to public meetings to let everyone know that we’re still going ahead on this court challenge,” she said.

“The Commonwealth and the Northern Land Council weren’t talking to the traditional owners and they weren’t consulted properly at the beginning.”………

Maurice Blackburn Social Justice Practice will represent the Traditional Owners opposing the facility, on a pro-bono basis. Lawyer Elizabeth O’Shea says the case is significant for a number of reasons.

“It’s a proposal that concerns burying radioactive waste on Aboriginal land, and that throws up all sorts of questions about whether you can apply the process of obtaining consent and to what extent you need to make extra effort to ensure people know what they’re consenting to,” she said.

“There’s also some provisions about misleading and deceptive conduct, which is traditionally consumer protection and we’re alleging that the Northern Land Council was engaged in that behaviour. “And it will test some provisions as well that the Commonwealth is relying on, so some technical legal stuff.

“But mostly I think it’s interesting because the Northern Land Council is never usually put under this level of scrutiny, and we’re ready to undertake that process and give traditional owners the opportunity to be heard.” She says that if the case is successful, she hopes the decision will give Traditional Owners more say over particular land use proposals……..

June 2, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Secret agents hired to spy on anti-coal activists in New South Wales

secret-agent-AustUndercover: Spies hired to infiltrate anti-coal campaign The Age, June 1, 2014  Tom Allard National Affairs Editor Former soldiers and intelligence operatives have been sent to infiltrate a network of anti-coal protesters aiming to thwart a multibillion dollar expansion of coal production in northern NSW. Using false identities, the spies-for-hire have attempted to penetrate the inner sanctum of a group of environmentalists and local landowners who have vigorously attempted to stop the coalmines at Maules Creek and Boggabri.

In what represents a significant escalation of a heated battle between Whitehaven Coal and Idemitsu Australia Resources and anti-coal activists, a Fairfax Media investigation has uncovered a clandestine campaign of significant scale but ham-fisted execution.

Several undercover agents were discovered by the activists, including one alleged spy Marnie Tisot, who was confronted on camera. The operation raises questions of its legality given the outright deception to disrupt protest movements.

Fairfax has interviewed individuals directly involved in the espionage and multiple sources with detailed inside knowledge of the surveillance have independently alleged it was orchestrated by a company run by a former Australian military intelligence officer, Tony Groves, and his partner, Maria Topia. While their firm, the Centre for Intelligence and Risk Management, had direct operational responsibility for the espionage, it is only one link in a chain of companies believed to be involved.

Who the ultimate client was remains a mystery. Spies in the field were not told, although it was clear the Centre for Intelligence and Risk Management was acting for another party or parties.

Several leading corporations and prominent Australians are also involved in the coal expansion in northern NSW and the security operations that protect them…….

June 2, 2014 Posted by | New South Wales, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Our fool of a Prime Minister connects World War 2 ‘s dead soldiers with business investment!

Abbott smilesTony Abbott raises eyebrows after linking WWII D-Day memorial with policies on mining and carbon taxes, Brisbane Times Alexandra Back June 2, 2014  Prime Minister Tony Abbott has courted controversy by linking a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day to his government’s policies.

On Sunday afternoon the Prime Minister released a video which he began by saying the D-day landings had changed the course of human history. Seconds later Mr Abbott makes an odd segue into a message for overseas investors, that Australia is open for business.

He goes on to talk about the government’s commitment to repealing the carbon tax and the mining tax, then returns to D-day. 

“The United States, Canada and France are long standing friends. We stood together at D-Day, we trade every day and we have always shared a commitment to democracy, to enterprise and to people’s right to be free,” he says in the video.

The conflation of the two messages raised eyebrows on Twitter with Greens leader Christine Milne, political commentator George Megalogenis and comedian Charlie Pickering among those criticising the PM.

Each week Mr Abbott posts a video detailing ”important events for the week”.

On this most recent post, and after Fairfax Media became aware of the video on Sunday night, someone changed the title from ”A message from the PM – 70th Anniversary of the D-day landings” to ”A message from the PM – Visit to France, Canada and United States”.

Unfortunately for the Prime Minister’s office the opening graphic on the video retains the original title. The link to the transcript of the video can no longer be accessed……….

Over 3000 Australians were involved – including 2500 air force personnel who provided air support for the Allied landings. Following the D-day commemorations, I will be travelling to Canada and the United States – and will be joined by Australian business leaders.

”My message to overseas investors is that Australia is open for business.”……..

June 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s scientifically illiterate Prime Minister is taking us back to mediaeval times

Abbott smilesScience going back to dark ages, The Age,  May 28, 2014 Ian Berryman The Climate Commission has gone. The carbon tax is to be rescinded. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is to be abolished. The promise of a “Million Solar Roofs” is broken. And in what can only be described as an ideological move, the Abbott government introduced bills to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, despite it making a profit last year. The Prime Minister has declared war on the Australian renewable energy industry, the environment and science itself.

The overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming is based on evidence, whether Tony Abbott chooses to act on it or not……….

Cuts to ARENA, ANSTO, the CSIRO, and many other research bodies will severely damage our long-term economic health.

Perhaps then we will have a real deficit crisis. Furthermore, the multidisciplinary nature of research means that the Medical Research Fund will be ineffective without adequate support from physics, engineering, chemistry and many other scientific areas Abbott is currently de-funding at research, doctorate and undergraduate level.

Worryingly, the long payback periods of research mean that this reckless economic damage will be hard to recover from; coaxing once-betrayed investment, business confidence and research expertise back to Australia will be difficult if not impossible……That this onslaught against renewable energy, the environment, research and science comes from a government with no science minister  is unfortunately and even predictably unsurprising…….

June 2, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA’s move against pollution wins praise from UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres

antnuke-relevantUN climate change chief praises new US pollution regulations Christiana Figueres calls move ‘a good signal’ to other states, Guardian 1 June 14,  Obama to use presidential power to tackle carbon emissions America’s new power plant regulations, due for release on Monday, could unlock stalled negotiations for a global deal on climate change, the United Nations’ top climate official said.

Christiana Figueres, the UN’s top climate change official, said she expects the new power plant rules could spur other big emitters – such as China and India – to begin taking action on climate change and move forward on reaching a deal by the climate-change2015 deadline.

The Environmental Protection Agency will roll out the new rules on Monday – the most significant action taken under any president to deal with climate change.

Figueres said in a statement on Sunday she believed the rules would send “a good signal to nations everywhere” that America is serious about dealing with the threat of climate change.

The new EPA could cut carbon pollution from the country’s power plants by up to 25% by 2020 – tackling the biggest source of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change……..

He said in a speech last week to West Point cadets that America needed to show it was serious about climate change, if it wanted the other big emitters to move.

“American influence is always stronger when we lead by example,” Obama said. “We cannot exempt ourselves from the rules that apply to everyone else. We can’t call on others to make commitments to combat climate change if a whole lot of our political leaders deny that it’s taking place.”

June 2, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

3,000 tons of depleted uranium munitions used against people in Afghanistan and Iraq

du_roundsDEPLETED URANIUM: Leaving An Eternal Legacy Of Environmental Radioactivity Wherever It’s Used In War June 1, 2014 by State of the Nation 2014 THE GREATEST CRIME OF HISTORIC TIME by Victor Connor

“The greatest crime against humanity in all historic time has now been committed by the United States government. It dwarfs Joseph Stalin’s killing of 7,000,000 Ukrainians in the 1930s and Adolph Hitler’s killing of 6,000,000 Jewish people in the 1940s. This crime will cause the premature deaths of TENS of MILLIONS of people and will give a horribly debilitating disease to TENS of MILLIONS more. It is indiscriminate mass murder – genocide. My statements may be dramatic, but they are absolutely true. “Since October of 2001, the United States military has used approximately 3,000 tons of depleted uranium munitions against people in Afghanistan and Iraq. This will soon cause serious health issues including respiratory disease, kidney problems, rashes, birth defects, and the number of cancers of these people will jump to over 500,000 each year.

How do I know this? Because the United States military used 375 tons of depleted uranium munitions against Iraq in 1991, and the cancer rate in children measured in Iraqi hospitals rose from 32,000 per year in 1990 to 130,000 in 1997. According to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official reports, U.S. casualties from Gulf War 1 now exceed 180,000 and already over 30,000 are now disabled from Gulf War 2. We’ve now used eight times what we did in 1991 and radiation has long been known to cause cancer. This is well known by our federal government. Continue reading

June 2, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ian Dunlop on how Tony Abbott is gutting science in Australia


Grandees such as John Howard and Cardinal George Pell parade cynical climate denialism before international audiences, putting more peer pressure on the current incumbents to toe that line and providing rare insight into the widespread denialist groupthink within conservative ranks.

Literally and figuratively, we are witnessing a “burning of the science books”, the like of which has not been seen since medieval times.  It did not work for the Catholic Church in the days of Copernicus and Galileo, nor in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.  It will not work today.

Tony Abbott is gutting science just when we need it most, SMH, Ian Dunlop, June 1, 2014 Australia has an enviable reputation for scientific research, extending long before the heyday of the CSIRO in the 1950s under the visionary leadership of Sir Robert Menzies and Sir Ian Clunies-Ross. On the hottest and driest continent on Earth, our prosperity would be non-existent had it not been for the enlightened application of science. So it has been of mounting concern over recent years to see governments of all persuasions adopt increasingly anti-science agendas.

The federal government is taking anti-science to new heights. Its scorched earth approach discards virtually everything not in line with narrow, free-market ideology, centred on sustaining Australia’s 20th century dig-it-up and ship-it-out economic growth model.   Continue reading

June 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

VIDEO: Jane Goodall challenges Australia’s politicians to think of the future for their great grandchildren

Jane Goodall asks politicians: Do you really not care about the future of your great-grandchildren? SMH, June 1, 2014 Tim Barlass One of the most eminent conservationists in the world has condemned Australia for its lack of response to climate change and said the country ”needs a wake-up call”.

Dame Jane Goodall, regarded as the first lady of conservation and a UN Messenger of Peace who has made a lifetime study of chimpanzees, accused politicians of having more concern for their immediate political careers than for future generations.

”I think my message to the politicians who have within their power the ability to make change is, ‘Do you really, really not care about the future of your great-grandchildren? Because if we let the world continue to be destroyed the way we are now, what’s the world going to be like for your great-grandchildren?’

”I am not deeply involved in Australian politics but I know there are prime ministers, governments around the world who are not acting responsibly in relation to climate change.”

She said there was a wisdom in the old days when decisions were based on how they would affect future generations.

”Now it is how will this affect me at the next election campaign or the next shareholders’ meeting.

”It’s when money becomes a god that we see this loss of wisdom.”

Dr Goodall spoke at Taronga Zoo to 300 young people on Friday and addressed a sell-out audience on Saturday night at Sydney Town Hall. She is on a lecture tour raising awareness of her Roots & Shoots program encouraging the world’s youth to take community action to help save the planet………

At 80, Dr Goodall added: ”I can’t slow down while I know that the message I deliver around the world is having an impact and so I just have to go on because I do care about my great-great-grandchildren.”

Find out more about Roots & Shoots at


June 2, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Protest rally in Adelaide by Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Map-Abbott-climateAustralian Youth Climate Coalition organise climate change rally in Adelaide Hills SALLY BROOKS THE ADVERTISER JUNE 01, 2014  ADELAIDE HILLS residents have gathered outside Federal Member for Mayo Jamie Briggs’ office as part of a nationwide campaign demanding politicians take stronger action on climate change.
>About 30 people attended the rally, organised by the Hills’ Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) group, to deliver a placard and petition with 10,000 signatures to Mr Briggs’ Mount Barker electorate office.
AYCC spokeswoman Maddie Sarre, 18, said Mr Briggs had been contacted but was unable to make the event.

She said climate change was a national problem.

“Australians want increased action on climate change and the Australian government is taking us backwards on climate policy because the crisis is only getting more urgent,” she said.

“We are here today because we believe that our community really cares about climate change and especially because we have been feeling the impacts of bushfires.”…..

June 2, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Singapore lifts ban on food from Fukushima, as it signs up to Trans Pacific Partnership

antnuke-relevantThe Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks bring radioactive food to Singapore – The American Empire expands 1 June 14


With the TPP as a first step, the ultimate goal is to “build a web of partnerships and institutions across the Pacific that is durable and consistent with American interests and values.”  – Hilary Clinton 2011

Image and quote ; June 1, 2014

Singapore has decided to lift a ban on food imports from Fukushima prefecture in Japan , where the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is located.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed the decision on May 31 at a meeting with his visiting Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, according to Kyodo news agency.

Singapore stopped importing food products from Fukushima after the March 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami triggered one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters at the Fukushima Daiichi complex in northeastern Japan .

Lee and Abe, meeting on the sidelines of the 13 th Asia Security Forum (Shangri-La Dialogue) in the city state, agreed to seek an early conclusion of Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks and strengthen bilateral security cooperation.

They also confirmed a plan to revise a bilateral economic partnership agreement that took effect in 2002 with the aim of further promoting trade and investment between the two nations.

Japan and Singapore have boasted strong economic ties over many years. Singapore was the first country to sign a bilateral free trade agreement with Japan.-VNA

June 2, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mark Willacy’s book “Fukushima” – essential reading

Book Mark WillacyThe case for Mark Willacy’s Fukushima, The Conversation, Ashley Ng, 2 June 14,

“……….Willacy is a meticulous investigative journalist. Invariably questions would arise as to whether the disasters of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami could have been mitigated or, in the case of the Fukushima disaster, prevented.

Willacy distilled hundreds of hours of interviews from ordinary people to the ex-Prime Minister which, together with official reports, provide compelling arguments that this indeed could have been the case at every level. Such is the benefit of hindsight.

Fukushima underscores the importance of Australia’s correspondents for bringing veracity to the reporting of events affecting our region. Perhaps with the exception of a cadre of Japanese freelance journalists, Willacy outlines why the Japanese kisha kurabu press clubs, formed from the dominant Japanese news organisations, would not have subjected Japan’s power companies and government officials to the same degree of relentless scrutiny leading up to and following March 11, 2011.

Willacy’s Fukushima stands as a strong historical document. But like the ancient granite stones that warned generations of Japanese of the dangers of tsunamis of times past, the lessons contained within the book’s pages are perhaps at risk of being ignored at peril.

The distaste for the Japanese nuclear industry has receded. In 2012, the pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party was swept back into power and plans to restart nuclear power plants across the country have commenced. Notably, this includes the Hamaoka nuclear power plant, which sits directly above a fault line in a region where a large undersea earthquake is expected within the next 30 years.

This reason alone makes Willacy’s Fukushima essential reading.

June 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, Resources | Leave a comment

Call for World Heritage protection over sacred sites and rock art in Queensland’s Top End.

Mining plan risks a ‘Lost World’ of Aboriginal art at Bathurst Heads, northwest of Cooktown PETER MICHAEL THE SUNDAY MAIL (QLD) JUNE 01, 2014 
BILLIONAIRE Gina Rinehart has buried plans to dig for diamonds on Cape York’s world-famed rock art country. But Ms Rinehart’s decision comes as another mine project threatens a “Lost World” of creatures, cave paintings, and sacred “cocoon” burial sites in a largely unexplored part of far north Queensland.

Aboriginal elders are calling for World Heritage protection over sacred sites and rock art in the state’s Top End.

Hancock Prospecting, owned by Australia’s richest mining mogul Ms Rinehart, surrendered two exploration permits over Quinkan country near Laura, after widespread outcry over the possible impact to the 30,000 year-old rock art.

Tribal leaders have hailed the move as a victory for the “Dreaming spirits” in the sandstone escarpments of the Quinkan country.

Medicine Man Tommy George Snr, the king of the Kuku Thaypan tribe, tells those lucky enough to visit the site how the most sacred artwork depicts “good” and “evil” magic spirits who rule over the land.

Paintings in caves spread over at least 230,000ha of sandstone country tell stories of the Rainbow Serpent, kangaroo, fish, turtle, powerful spirits and the coming of the white “bullyman”.

“We’ve won that battle,’’ said tribal elder Bernie Hart, of the Muundhiwarra clan, and traditional owner of parts of the Bathurst and Melville Ranges.

Not even Gina was powerful enough to take on them old Quinkan spirits.

“But now we’ve got a bigger fight on our hands.’’

Aust-Pac Capital’s Wongai Project has a State Government approved exploration permit and plans for an underground coalmine, 18km-long conveyor belt and coal dump at Bathurst Heads, 150km northwest of Cooktown.

They intend to barge coal out to ships in Princess Charlotte Bay and out an existing channel in the Great Barrier Reef.

Queensland Museum senior curator indigenous studies Trish Barnard said she supports World Heritage listing.

“These sacred sites and rock art dates back 30,000 years,” Ms Barnard said. “It’d be a real shame if it was not listed.’’


June 2, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment