Australian news, and some related international items


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South Australians will rally outside Parliament House tomorrow to demonstrate concern over two separate proposals for nuclear waste dumps in the state.

  • The federal government has a proposal to establish a national nuclear waste dump at Wallerberdina in the Flinders Ranges on a deeply inappropriate site that has incredible cultural and heritage value to the Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners.
  • The Weatherill government’s proposal is to import one third of all the high-level nuclear waste on the planet – 138 000 tonnes – and manage it for 100,000 years, raising major concerns on safety risks, community consent and economic viability.

Both proposals have met with strong opposition from Traditional Owners and wider communities.

The rally, to run on the steps of State Parliament from 11am this Saturday 15 October 15, is part of a National Day of Action against the proposed nuclear waste dump. Details at

As well as generating significant community concern, the proposed nuclear waste dumps have raised again the issues of the series of secret British nuclear test explosions which contaminated areas of far west SA during the 1950s. This Saturday’s rally commemorates the 63rd anniversary of the first British nuclear explosion at Emu Field on October 15, 1953.

Karina Lester, event MC and No Dump Alliance founder said, “As Traditional Owners within this state we need to stand strong together and send a very strong message from ALL South Australians that we are not interested in becoming the nuclear waste dump of the world.

“All Traditional Owner groups need to unite and fight this as we all know the international waste storage facility is not going to be in Norwood or Unley – it will be in the far north of the state,” said Ms Lester.

Jamie Newlyn, Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia (SA Branch) said, “This project has flawed economic assumptions which pose a serious risk to the South Australian state budget, and offers no employment opportunities for at least 15 years. The needs of workers in SA are far more urgent.

“Maritime workers are potentially exposed to this waste, which is 100,000 times more radioactive than the uranium exported from the State. And the realities of human error and natural disasters mean these risks are just far too great to take.”

Alliance member and Chairperson of Aboriginal Congress SA Tauto Sansbury said, “People need think about what this means for their future, their children and future generations. We are talking about the importance of country and the preservation of culture and safety of our Peoples whereas the government seems more interested in economic development.”

Conservation SA Chief Executive and Alliance member Craig Wilkins urges South Australians to attend the rally on Saturday to express their concern.

“The only opportunity to stop this risk-laden proposal is community opposition,” said Mr Wilkins.

“So if you can’t attend the rally, please ask questions, visit and write letters to your MP so our representatives are in no doubt that we do not want a high-level nuclear waste dump in South Australia.”

The South Australian government says it will indicate by the end of this year whether it plans to proceed with the dump.

The No Dump Alliance is made up of a wide range of groups including unions, heath, faith and environment groups, and Traditional Owner representatives. The Alliance Ambassador is Yami Lester, atomic bomb test survivor and nuclear-free advocate.

To arrange media comment, contact Cat Beaton: 0434 257 359

October 13, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | 1 Comment

South Australians take lead on National Day of Action against nuclear dumps


radioactive trash

WHAT: Highly visual public rally against nuclear waste dumps

WHEN: This Saturday, October 15 – marking 63 years since the first Australian atomic explosion at Emu Field in South Australia. *

TIME: 11am – 12.30pm

South Australians will converge on State Parliament this Saturday, October 15, at 11am, to make a stand against two nuclear waste dump proposals for SA.

  1. The Federal Government’s proposal to establish a national waste dump at Wallerberdina in the Flinders Ranges which is highly contested by the Adnyamathnha Traditional Owners and wider community.
  2. The Weatherill Government’s proposal to import high-level nuclear waste from other countries.

Event program includes:

  • MCs: Karina Lester, Yankunytjatjara Native Title Aboriginal Corporation and Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive Conservation SA.
  • Professor Barbara Pocock, Mothers for a Sustainable South Australia (MOSSA)
  • Vivianne and Regina McKenzie, Yappala Station, Flinders Ranges
  • Joe Szakacs, Secretary, Unions SA
  • Mima Smart, Yalata Community, Far West Coast SA, and
  • Live performance of the Maralinga song by Johnny Lovett and Yalata band.

* Please note, this Saturday, October 15, marks the 63rd anniversary of the first atomic test explosion in at Emu Field in far west SA, which started a decade of secret British nuclear tests, including a series of explosions at Maralinga, that contaminated areas of the State and exposed South Australians to radiation.

More information:

Media enquiries: Call Cat Beaton on 0434 257 359

October 13, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Australia under question at UN over its climate change policy

Map Turnbull climateAustralia facing questions at UN over post-2020 climate change stance, The Age, 13 Oct 16, Adam Morton  Australia is facing renewed international pressure to explain what it is doing to tackle climate change, with a United Nations reviewfinding its emissions continue to soar and several countries calling for clarity about what it will do after 2020.

Countries including China and the US have put more than 30 questions to the Turnbull government, asking for detail about how Australia will meet its 2030 emissions target and raising concerns about a lack of transparency over how the government calculates and reports emissions.

It comes as the federal government has been facing calls at home – sparked by its own criticism of ambitious state renewable energy targets – to reveal what it would do on climate change and clean energy beyond 2020.

An expert review commissioned by the UN found, based on data submitted by Australia, its emissions would be 11.5 per cent higher in 2020 than they were in 1990. Industrial emissions – not counting those from forestry and land-clearing – were expected to rise 33.5 per cent over the three decades.

The reviewers found a recent Australian report lacked transparency about how it estimated its future emissions. And they noted the report failed to mention the abolition of the carbon price scheme, or explain what impact scrapping the policy would have on it meeting targets……..

Physicist Bill Hare, chief executive of Climate Action Tracker and an adviser to developing countries at climate negotiations, said the questions asked of Australia showed deep scepticism and frustration beneath a diplomatic veneer. “It is very strange that the government had put forward no projections, which are the sine qua non [essential ingredient] of this area of policy,” he said.  “It is as if the Treasury produce a report for the International Monetary Fund with no future numbers in it. It raises alarm bells.”

A Climate Action Tracker analysis found Australia’s emissions were headed to be more than 27 per cent greater than 2005 levels in 2030……..

October 13, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Stop blocking progress on nuclear disarmament – Australian International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons calls on government

logo-ICANRight now Australia is at the UN taking part in the annual UN General Assembly talks, including in the disarmament committee, the First Committee. In about two weeks there is expected to be a monumental vote where the world’s governments can vote yes to beginning a negotiation for a ban on nuclear weapons.

For us plutonium headcases these are exciting days. A ban has been at the core of the work of ICAN for the last decade and the global movement on this has been growing beautifully.

However, not surprisingly to any of you, Australia has been blocking progress actively at every turn over the last two conservative govts. While we expect that they will drag their feet along with the nuclear weapon states, we feel it’s vital that our govt get a sense of the expectation from our community and citizens here that a ban on nuclear weapons is wanted. I could go on about the reasons but you all know these – that’s why you do the work.

If any of you are on social media, would you please consider retweeting or posting messages like the one linked below in the next day or two?

The handle used on all our social media platforms (twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc) is #goodbyenukes.

Anything you can do to push this in the next week or so would be appreciated.

October 13, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

A call for legal action against South Aust govt for spending money to promote nuclear wastes importing

Citizens' Jury scrutinyBrett Burnard Stokes, Facebook, 13 Oct 16     The Fourth Option.   How can we defend ourselves against the Scarce scam?   Millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent illegally on the Scarce conspiracy to trick South Australians into sacrificing everything for the nuclear industry. Do we have to submit to financial and public health disasters?

For the next few weeks, a few hundred South Aussies are being paid to be a Citizens Jury, considering three options.

These three options are stated to be non-binding guides for the Weatherill government.

So even if the Citizens Jury majority votes for the No option, Weatherill may just go ahead with his plans to gut SA laws and sacrifice our future.

Is there a fourth option for the Citizens Jury?

Instead of being a complicit beneficiary of this illegal process, every member of the Citizens Jury has a duty.    Instead of being a complicit beneficiary of this illegal process, every member of the Citizens Jury has an opportunity.

The fourth option is there for the taking – to stand strong and demand the law be enforced, demand that SAPOL investigate with a view to prosecution and maximum penalties for conspirators Scarce, Weatherill, Winter-Dewhirst and others.

October 13, 2016 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Review of Black Mist Burnt Country – Maralinga – focussed art exhibition

Lester,-YamiBlack Mist Burnt Country review – exhibition covers devastation of nuclear war, Guardian, , 12 Oct 16  With works by Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and Jessie Boylan, Black Mist Burnt Country homes in on the 1956 British atomic tests in the Great Victoria Desert.

In the new exhibition Black Mist Burnt Country, one photograph by Jessie Boylan sticks out. Yankunytjatjara man Yami Lester stands on the deep red earth next to a single skinny tree. His brown jacket reflects the muted landscape. His hands are clasped on his chest as if in pain, and his eyes, tilted to the sky, are scrunched shut. Yami Lester, you see, is blind.

Lester was just a child when the British tested the atomic bomb near his home in the Australian outback, in what came to be known as Maralinga. “It was coming from the south – black, like smoke,” he later recalled. “I was thinking it might be a dust storm, but it was quiet, just moving through the trees.”

Elders thought it was an evil spirit and tried to use woomera (spear-throwers) to disperse it. But the damage was done. Lester’s family soon fell sick. He lost his sight. The trees, too, shrank, shrivelled and died.

The national touring exhibition, which runs until 2019, commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Maralinga atomic tests through painting, sculpture, printmaking and installations. Spanning 70 years, from Hiroshima to today, it covers artistic reactions to nuclear warfare from more than 30 artists, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

Black Mist Burnt Country may be broad in scope but it concentrates heavily on the infamous 1956 Maralinga tests in South Australia’s Great Victoria Desert……….Black Mist Burnt Country is at the SH Ervin Gallery and will tour NSW, VIC, SA and QLD until 2019

October 13, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, art and culture | Leave a comment

USA President’s awesome power to unleash nuclear armageddon

TrumpTHE REAL NUCLEAR THREAT, By Lawrence M. Krauss, New Yorker, 13 Oct 16   Donald Trump’s candidacy has been a source of anxiety for many reasons, but one stands out: the ability of the President to launch nuclear weapons. When it comes to starting a nuclear war, the President has more freedom than he or she does in, say, ordering the use of torture. In fact, the President has unilateral power to direct the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Cabinet members may disagree and even resign in protest, but, ultimately, they must obey the order of the Commander-in-Chief. It’s all too easy to imagine Trump issuing an ultimate, thermonuclear “You’re fired!” to China, Iran, or another nation—and perhaps to the whole human race.*……….
 Trump….. genuinely seems to be a man who speaks and acts without significant forethought. He’s also someone who—as his debate performances have shown—responds to slights by lashing out against adversaries irrationally and without thinking about the consequences. And Trump has done little to reassure us about nuclear weapons specifically. He has expressed an affinity for massive bombing, proposing to “bomb the shit” out of oil fields in Iraq to counter isis. During a March interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, he said that he would consider using nuclear weapons in Europe, of all places. More generally, he’s disengaged from the realities of international affairs……
there’s no such thing as limited use of nuclear weapons. Retaliation and escalation are extremely likely. Even the use of nuclear weapons in a “local” conflict—say, between India and Pakistan—would have disastrous consequences. Millions would die in the initial nuclear exchange, of course. But the residue from the nuclear blasts would also produce long-term climate changes that would affect global agriculture for perhaps a decade, killing as many as a billion people through starvation. If he acted on his statements, Trump would usher in a chaotic, unpredictable, and dangerous nuclear future.

The fact that Trump has so cavalierly raised concerns about nuclear weapons may have a silver lining. It underscores how dangerous and irrational our nuclear policies already are………

the Non-Proliferation Treaty didn’t just restrict non-nuclear nations from obtaining nuclear weapons but also required nations possessing them to disarm. For as long as we continue to ignore this fundamental reality, we will continue to hover at the brink of Armageddon. It should be impossible for Trump, or any President, to push us over it.

October 13, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Queensland govt’s push for solar power on all government buildings

map-solar-QueenslandSolar should power government schools, TAFE, hospitals: report, Brisbane Times, 13 Oct 16 Tony Moore  Solar panels will be installed in Queensland Government buildings including TAFE colleges, schools, hospitals and public houses, to help drive Queensland’s renewable energy from seven per cent today to 50 per cent by 2030, a far-reaching strategic report into Queensland’s renewable energy says……..
Energy Minister Mark Bailey on Wednesday night said the push to put solar on government buildings was now being explored.

“The Palaszczuk Government is currently investigating the use of solar PV on state-owned buildings,” Mr Bailey said.  Report author and investment banker Colin Mugglestone led a team of researchers who spent seven months analysing how Queensland should reach a position where 50 per cent of its energy is provided by renewable energy by 2030.

The state government now has 9 megawatts of solar panels on government buildings and hopes to generate 2000 megawatts of solar energy from government property by 2030, the report says…….

What could a renewable energy push to 50 per cent by 2030 provide? “It is projected that Queensland could reach 2200 MW of wind, 5200 MW of large-scale solar PV, and 4900 MW rooftop PV by 2030, including 5500 MW of new large scale capacity built after 2020.”

It could provide between around 6400-6700 extra full-time jobs, mainly in the construction of large scale renewable energy plants.

Last month the federal government’s renewable energy body ARENA agreed to fund $51.4 million to seed six new large-scale solar plants in Queensland. That will help potential big solar plants in Dalby, Oakey, Longreach and Kidston west of Townsville and two in Collinsville……..

What do The Greens say?“The Greens welcome this draft report, which confirms that clean energy is good for jobs,” Mr Bartlett said.”But we are dismayed at the years of delay, lack of ambition, and no transition plan for coal power workers.”

October 13, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Religious groups unite to call for abolition of nuclear weapons

Faith groups state nuclear weapons ‘incompatible with values of faith traditions’ at UN General Assembly First CommitteeFifth joint statement highlighting moral and humanitarian aspects of nuclear weapons, Religion News Service, 13 Oct 16     NEW YORK — On October 12, a joint statement by religious organizations calling for abolition of nuclear weapons was introduced during the civil society presentations at the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security.

Dr. Emily Welty, Vice Moderator of the World Council of Churches Commission on International Affairs, introduced the Public Statement in Support of the Multilateral Negotiation of a Nuclear Weapons Ban in 2017, which reads in part: “Nuclear weapons are incompatible with the values upheld by our respective faith traditions which are also foundational elements in the development of international law—the right of people to live in security and dignity; the commands of conscience and justice; the duty to protect the vulnerable and to exercise the stewardship that will safeguard the planet for current and future generations… ”

This is the fifth time the group, calling itself “Faith Communities Concerned about the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons,” has issued such a statement. On this occasion, individuals representing 11 faith-based organizations from the Christian, Buddhist and Islamic traditions have signed the statement so far. The statement can be read in full here……….

October 13, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

American safety officials concerned at problems at WIPP waste dump

antnuke-relevantsafety-symbolWatchdogs concerned about readiness of New Mexico nuke dump, WP   October 13 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A series of recent ceiling collapses at the federal government’s only underground nuclear waste repository has watchdogs calling on officials to ensure safety before moving ahead with a planned reopening later this year.

U.S. Energy Department officials and the contractor that manages the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico will update the public on the collapses during a meeting Thursday evening.

A radiation release forced the closure of the repository in February 2014. Since then, thousands of tons of waste left over from decades of nuclear weapon research and development have been stacking up at sites around the country, hampering the government’s multibillion-dollar cleanup program.

The waste is meant to be entombed in storage rooms carved out of a salt formation deep underground…….

There have been at least three collapses in recent weeks. In one case, chunks of salt dislodged from the ceiling and tore through chain link fencing that was meant to help stabilize the corridors. There were no injuries.

Don Hancock with the Albuquerque-based watchdog group Southwest Research and Information Center said the collapses are no surprise but they raise questions about whether the repository will be ready to reopen in December.

He suggested more collapses could stir up contamination and threaten workers…….

October 13, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Canada’s nuclear safety agency – cheerleader for nuke industry (Australia’s the same?)

antnuke-relevantin-bedCritics accuse nuclear safety official of acting as industry cheerleader GLORIA GALLOWAY OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail, Oct. 12, 2016 Opposition politicians and environmentalists are questioning the priorities of the man responsible for nuclear safety in Canada after a string of incidents in which he publicly defended the industry and was dismissive of concerns about potential hazards – a stance that runs contrary to his mandate at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Continue reading

October 13, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trans Pacific Partnership threatens people and the planet

 TPP would allow firms to turn to secretive international tribunals where they can sue governments for millions or billions of dollars if environmental or other public interest regulations interfere with expected future profits

The TPP undermines sound climate policy. The TPP would ramp up global warming by increasing U.S. coal, oil and gas exports to the world


7 ways the Trans Pacific Partnership threatens people and the planet, FOE USA,  by Bill Waren, senior trade analyst, 13 Oct 16,    The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is not so much about trade as it is about deregulation and forcing governments to pay corporations and wealthy investors for the cost of complying with environmental and other public interest safeguards. The TPP broadly restricts the policy space for governments to take effective environmental and climate action.

Unlike most international agreements, tribunals of trade lawyers would effectively enforce the TPP. Such tribunals could impose retaliatory sanctions like higher tariffs on the non-complying countries’ exports or award money damages that can run into millions or even billions of dollars.

Trade tribunals often treat environmental and public health regulations as trade barriers.

Until about twenty years ago, trade deals focused on reducing trade barriers like tariffs and quotas. Today’s trade deals, by contrast, focus on curbing the authority of democratic governments and legitimate courts to regulate the global marketplace. Trade tribunals often treat environmental and public health regulations as trade barriers. Trade deals like the TPP focus on dismantling many regulations that are alleged to interfere with the profits of multinational corporations and wealthy foreign investors.

Multinational corporations have lined up behind the TPP, as have Wall Street banks and Big Oil. But over 1,500 public interest organizations, such as internet freedom groups, faith-based organizations, labor unions, women’s & LBGT advocates and environmentalists, are standing up to oppose TPP……

Here are seven ways that the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal threatens people and the planet: Continue reading

October 13, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Traditional owners fighting Adani mine meet UN Rapporteur 

~ Wangan & Jagalingou Family Council 13 October 2016
“Traditional owners fighting Adani mine meet UN Rapporteur today:
“Raise ‘egregious failure’ of Qld Mines Minister & Coordinator General to respect Indigenous rights

“The declaration of Adani’s Carmichael coal project as “critical infrastructure” by Qld Government Mines Minister, Anthony Lynham,
is “a political absurdity, and continues the egregious failure of the Queensland Government to respect our rights”,
said Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council senior spokesperson, Adrian Burragubba today,
before a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders.

“Mr. Burragubba confirmed he would today raise this new development with Mr. Michel Forst,
who is currently conducting an official visit to Australia.
More detail about his visit is provided below.

“Mr Burragubba said, “Minister Lynham’s declaration is like calling a state of emergency for coal mining. Giving Adani this advantage provides cover for the abuse of the rights of Traditional Owners
who have stood firm in the face of the destruction that would befall their lands, waters and culture
if this massive, inappropriate project were to ever proceed.

““Adani and the Queensland government have used coercive powers under Native Title and State Development legislation, and the threat of compulsory acquisition of our land rights, to drive the development of the mine forward, over our vehement objections.
The Coordinator General, Mr Barry Broe, has been instrumental in making this happen and
this week Minister Lynham handed him even more power to override our legitimate concerns
about the destruction of our environment and the disregard of our rights”, Mr Burragubba said.

“Mr. Burragubba, and W&J youth spokesperson, Ms. Murrawah Johnson, said the meeting today  will build on a previous submission W&J made to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples  in which they sought assistance to deal with the failure of both State and Federal Governments  to properly respect the human rights of W&J Traditional Owners, as both Governments  fell over themselves in obscene haste to get Adani’s coal mine approvals out the door. … “

October 13, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Greens calling for inquiry into miners not cleaning up their toxic messes

The Greens want to see a national audit of all abandoned and operational coal mines to determine the gap between the real cost of rehabilitation and the amount held in bonds. We need a national inquiry into mine rehabilitation, and this formed part of the Greens’ comprehensive mining rehabilitation policy which we took to the 2016 election. As a first step I will be asking Labor and the Coalition for their support to establish a Senate inquiry into this issue.
Waters,-Larissa-Senator-1Miners must be forced to clean up their messes
Larissa Waters, 13 Oct 16    
Some people may be surprised to hear a Greens Senator say this, but here goes. Coal has been a key part of the Queensland economy for many years. Yes, the number of jobs provided by coal has always been overblown (more people work at McDonalds than in coal mining); it makes up less than 0.5 per cent of all jobs in Australia. On the other hand, for places like Clermont and Collinsville, coal has provided a sense of identity as well as stable employment.

All of that is changing, and we need our governments to catch up. The urgent threat of global warming, combined with the world-wide transition to clean energy, have pushed thermal coal into “structural decline”.

Globally the transition away from coal power is already underway. In Queensland, that transition is already hitting home along with the end of the mining boom, with thousands of jobs lost in coal mines, and more job losses to come. In September, it was reported that Hazelwood, Australia’s dirtiest coal power station, will close in 2017. Our job as leaders is to make sure there is a just transition away from coal which looks after workers and communities.

Clean energy will play a huge part in Queensland’s future. Last month, Queensland secured 1100 mostly regional jobs from five large-scale solar projects funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. To create more jobs and to stop dangerous global warming, the Greens want to see 100 per cent clean energy as quickly as possible, with at least 90 per cent by 2030, and a $1 billion Clean Energy Transition Fund to make sure no one is left behind.

Coal communities should be supported to plan their own future, with government investment to help them create jobs. Part of that just transition must be secure jobs in mine rehabilitation, especially for older workers who may have trouble retraining or relocating. Alongside thousands of new regional jobs in clean energy, mine rehabilitation can provide employment in the same communities and regions most affected by the coal downturn.

Queenslanders are being ripped off. Again and again, big mining companies like Rio, BHP, Peabody and Glencore are simply taking their profits and walking away without securing those much-needed jobs in rehabilitation.   Continue reading

October 13, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment