Australian news, and some related international items

The Australian week that was: climate and nuclear news

Investigative journalism lives! This one is brilliant. NBC4 is revealing LA’s Nuclear Secret – investigative journalism spells it out.

a-cat-CANCLIMATE Christine Milne – We can ask every candidate about climate policy, and not vote for the polluters.   Australian content removed from UNESCO climate change report. Australian govt pressured UN to remove Australian topics from climate report. Greg Hunt “didn’t know” his favoured climate report written by former Liberal candidate. Sydney experiencing heat 5 degrees above average for May.


Nuclear Royal Commission

Darwin at Center of Nuclear Waste Controversy.

FEDERAL. Campaign to scrap SA nuclear waste dump plans goes national.   Indigenous owners put Minister Frydenberg on the spot about nuclear waste dump. Both Federal Liberal and Labor seem to support nuclear waste import, Senator Penny Wong wavers.  Independent Senator Nick Xenophon wants nuclear waste referendum, but only AFTER a dump site is selected.

Greens push for Inquiry and assistance to Maralinga nuclear veterans and civilians affected.

INDIGENOUS  advocate recommends both Treaty and constitutional recognition.

RENEWABLE ENERGY South Australia runs over 50% on renewable energy.  New South Wales lags behind in renewable energy use.   Queensland wind farm to create jobs, powering a city

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Doubts about the integrity of South Australia’s “Citizens’ Jury” nuclear waste plan

Jury (1)I am in fact, in favour of the Citizens’ Jury Idea. Instead of us being ‘talked down to’ by experts, (who are likely to have a vested interest in the nuclear waste import plan),  ordinary non experts hear all the evidence and opposing opinions, discuss these, and come up with  a sensible verdict.

After all, that is what we expect in a criminal trial. We do not trust the verdict to “experts” although we do expect their opinions to be heard.

My problem with the South Australia’s Citizens’ Jury on nuclear waste importing is that it doesn’t seem to be given a truly jury role.

The letter sent to potential jury participants says that their task will be to produce an independent guide to help every South Australian understand the recommendations raised by the Royal Commission’s report.

No mention of a verdict on whether or not the jury thinks that the nuclear waste import plan should go ahead.

The organisation running the process,  newDemocracy,  is using  a trademarked definition of ‘Citizens’ Jury’ That trademark belongs to the Jefferson Center. They define the term;

The Citizens Jury convenes diverse groups of citizens to study an issue deeply, discuss different perspectives on the issue, and recommend a course of action or craft their own solutions to address the issue at hand.

I would like to give newDemocracy the benefit of the doubt. Their all too brief notes on this plan do end with this statement:

The first stage of the project will run from May through November 2016, and results in a gateway decision as to whether or not there is broad social consent to continue to pursue opportunities related to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.


May 28, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Greens push for Inquiry and assistance to Maralinga nuclear veterans and civilians affected

greensSm$130m vow for Maralinga veterans  JARED OWENS, The Weekend Australian, May 28-29, p.29 Survivors of British nuclear testing in outback South Australia would receive a special “atomic survivors’ healthcare card” under a $130 million redress scheme being pushed by the Greens.

The policy, timed to coincide with Barack Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima, includes an inquiry into the health effects of the nuclear testing and compensation for those who abandoned or were removed from their homes to escape the radiation.


Between 1952 and 1963 the Menzies government permitted nuclear testing at the Monte Bello Islands, off the West Australian coast, and at Emu Field and Maralinga in South Australia.

“Successive Australian governments ignored the humanitarian consequences of the British atomic weapons tests. It is now time for Australia to acknowledge the devastating health impacts suffered by ADF veterans and provide immediate health support from radiation fallout,” Greens co-deputy leader Scott Ludlam said, noting many Aboriginal people were driven from their traditional lands.

The civilian healthcare card would give “priority treatment” for medical conditions caused by radiation exposure and would be available to descendants who display “intergenerational health impacts”. Affected military personnel would receive a veterans’ gold card providing support for all conditions.

The Greens also want Australia to support UN efforts to abolish nuclear weapons.

May 28, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australian content removed from UNESCO climate change report

questionUNESCO climate change report lead author disappointed Australian content removed, ABC Radio, The World Today  By Sarah Sedghi  27 May 16 The lead author of a United Nations report about climate change threats to World Heritage sites says he is disappointed content about Australia was removed and does not understand why it was done.

Key points:

  • Lead author says what was removed was important to understanding risks
  • Environment Department requested references to Australian World Heritage properties be removed
  • Author knew of material removal but did not know the reason or of any other case studies being removed

The report initially included information about the Great Barrier Reef, as well as Kakadu and the Tasmanian Wilderness.

Adam Markham, the deputy director of climate and energy with the Union of Concerned Scientists and the lead author of report, said the report and what was removed was important work in understanding the risks to world heritage sites like the Great Barrier Reef, and how to protect them.

But the Environment Department expressed concerns about Australian World Heritage properties being included, and at its request, those references disappeared from the final document.

The report, authored by UNESCO, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Union of Concerned Scientists, was designed to give a snapshot of how climate change was affecting World Heritage sites across the globe.

Mr Markham said he knew they had taken out the Great Barrier Reef case study and material on the Tasmanian wilderness and Kakadu National Park, but he did not know why.

“I read in the paper like you did today the reason that the Australian Government gave, that they had put pressure on UNESCO to remove the case study,” he said.

He said he was disappointed those parts were removed. “Firstly we put a lot of work into writing them, and secondly we weren’t able to put anything about Australia in the report and it’s a huge continent, it’s got some amazing World Heritage sites,” he said.

“The Great Barrier Reef in particular is one that everyone knows is under severe threat, not just from human development and coal mining and such, but also from coral bleaching and warming.”

Mr Markham said he does not think any other case studies were removed from the report before its publication, despite about 50 revisions……..

Questions over why Hunt not informed


Senator Waters questioned why Mr Hunt had not been kept in the loop, and called on him to explain why he was not informed.

“The Minister is not doing his job properly if he is not involved in something as serious as a UN report about climate change affecting the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.

“And secondly if it’s true that he didn’t know, then for a start why didn’t he know, and secondly why would the Department do that?

“He would expect them to hide the inconvenient truth, because that’s what this Minister has been trying to do for years and the Department can predict that that’s what its minister wanted.”

Labor’s environment spokesperson Mark Butler said Mr Hunt and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull needed to come clean on whether actions were taken by them or their offices to seek to censor the work of UNESCO………

May 28, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Indigenous advocate recommends both Treaty and constitutional recognition

text TreatyLet’s have treaty and constitutional recognition, Indigenous referendum chief says, SMH May 27, 2016 

 The chief advocate for constitutional recognition of Indigenous people has elevated the possibility of a treaty between Aboriginal people and Australian governments, rejecting the “false” idea the country must choose between the two options.

Tanya Hosch, joint campaign director of Recognise, also expressed optimism that a referendum on constitutional recognition could still happen in 2017 as new polling reaffirms overwhelming support for change.

“For me and so many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples who support treaty and constitutional recognition, we know that this is not an either/or choice,” Ms Hosch, a Torres Strait Islander, told a Reconciliation Week breakfast on Friday morning.

“We should not be asked to choose … Treaty and constitutional recognition can co-exist. We can work for both. Repeated legal advice makes that clear,” she said.

Polling conducted for Recognise finds 77 per cent of non-Indigenous people and 87 per cent of Indigenous people would vote “yes” for constitutional change if a referendum were held today.

……….Support for a formal treaty or treaties between First Australians and Australian governments has been consistently strong, especially among Indigenous people, and momentum is growing.The Victorian government is in talks with Indigenous communities over the possibility and the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples says there is a strong preference among its membership for a treaty over constitutional recognition………

May 28, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

USA disarmament process slowest since 1980s – while Obama calls for end to nuclear weapons

Obama calls for end to nuclear weapons, but U.S. disarmament is slowest since 1980 By Philip Bump  Speaking from Hiroshima, the site of the first war-time atomic weapon detonation, President Obama on Friday called for the pursuit of “a world without nuclear weapons.”

Only a few days prior, his Department of Defense published new data revealing that the government Obama oversees — a government which manages the second-largest nuclear stockpile in the world — had dismantled fewer of its nuclear devices than in any year since at least 1980.

Every year, the Department of Defense declassifies data on the size of the country’s nuclear stockpile and the number of warheads dismantled. Its most recent data, released this week, shows that the U.S. stockpile numbered 4,571 at the end of 2015, about 15 percent of its size at its peak during the Cold War in 1967. The number of weapons dismantled was 109, the lowest figure since at least 1980.

n 1945, the size of the stockpile matched the number of weapons deployed — two. The biggest reductions came in the early 1990s during the administration of George H.W. Bush and, a decade later, during his son’s. At the end of 2008, the stockpile numbered 5,273; over the course of Obama’s two terms, it has dropped to 4,571.

It is, of course, easier to reduce the size of a stockpile when it is much larger. As a fraction of the total weapon count, Obama has sliced the total by a bit more than one-tenth — 13 percent. But the Federation of American Scientists is still critical of Obama’s progress in this regard. That 13 percent is “the smallest reduction of the stockpile achieved by any previous post-Cold War administration;” the 109 dismantlings last year continues “a trendline of fewer and fewer warheads dismantled” under Obama. The FAS notes that there are reasons outside of the administration’s control for the lower number last year — but also that political pressure discourages a push for reduction.

Why does the size of our stockpile matter? As data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows, the United States still controls about half of the weapons controlled by recognized nuclear states.

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear America: Special Report

Nuclear America: RT special report on state of US nuclear facilities  27 May, 2016 Over the past 18 months, a number of nuclear facilities across the country have experienced problems. From the Hanford Site in Washington state to Indian Point in New York, RT America takes a close look at the disastrous conditions at US nuclear sites.

Nuclear America: Special Report

Taking a look at the past, present and future of nuclear facilities in the US, Friday’s special report seeks to fill in the gap about America’s crumbling radioactive infrastructure that the mainstream media has ignored….

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Queensland wind farm creating jobs, powering a city

green-collarWind farm at Mount Emerald, near Cairns, set to create 150 jobs May 27, 2016  A WIND farm to be built in far north Queensland will generate enough renewable energy to power a regional city. Ergon Energy and proponents Ratch Australia and Port Bajool on Friday signed a power purchase agreement to build the 170 megawatt Mount Emerald Wind Farm, near Cairns.

About $400 million in total expenditure is projected during the project’s two-year construction phase and 25-year operational period.

The project is also expected to boost the region’s economy by $900 million through direct and indirect flow-on impacts.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the project would mean the state’s wind energy production, which sat at 12 megawatts, would be increased by 15 times.

 “It will not only create 150 jobs in far north Queensland … it will also generate enough power to power a city the size of Mackay,” Mr Bailey said.

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, wind | Leave a comment

Examining the myth that since Hiroshima, nuclear weapons keep us safe

nuclear-weapons-3The Manhattan Project Myth

America’s use of the atomic bomb started the dangerous narrative that nuclear weapons keep us safe.

By Erica Fein | May 27, 2016   Today, one of the world’s greatest concerns is the unconstrained advancement of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. Yet, for the most part, the leaders of the eight other nuclear-armed states cling to their own weapons with the belief that the nuclear game of chicken – also known as deterrence – has worked.

The narrative that nuclear weapons are the “ultimate guarantors of security” is powerful and comforting for many. The flip side, that only luck has prevented World War III, is almost too horrible to contemplate.

Nuclear myths extend back to dawn of the atomic age. In 1945, very few people knew about America’s secret project to build the atomic bomb. The Manhattan Project’s purpose remained a mystery even to most of its hundreds of thousands of employees and members of Congress.

It is not surprising, therefore, that most Americans supported the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. War Secretary Henry Stimson quickly pronounced that this new weapon ended the war and saved 1 million American lives by averting an American invasion of Japan. Only later did details of the bombs’ destructive effects come to light – some 200,000 instant deaths, flattened cities and enormous suffering. But by then, the war-winning significance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had seeped into the American psyche.

With the declassification of archival records, the official story is now debated by historians. Among other things, the 1946 United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded, “even without the bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for an invasion.”

Yet, 70 years later, whether the atomic bombings decisively ended the war or saved more total American or Japanese lives seems less important than the myth that their use perpetuated: nuclear weapons keep us safe. Continue reading

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments