Australian news, and some related international items

Premier Weatherill’s Big Gaffe

Weatherill glowtext-oopsPremier Weatherill, all smiles and charm, thanked Emily Jenke and her team, for all their good work with the Citizens’ Juries, several times mentioning her company as “New Democracy”.   I guess that Jenke had to just grin and bear it.

Her group who did that marathon of hard work, running those Citizens’ Juries, was that small all-women South  Australian team of DemocracyCo.   No doubt the big-time Sydney crowd New Democracy was happy to take all the credit.

November 6, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Overwhelming rejection of nuclear waste import. (article includes reader poll)

Jury (1)Citizens’ jury overwhelmingly rejects nuclear waste storage facility for South Australia State Political Editor Daniel Wills, The Advertiser November 6, 2016 A CITIZENS’ jury called by Premier Jay Weatherill to consider whether South Australia should develop a nuclear storage industry has rejected the idea by an overwhelming two-thirds majority.

In a deep blow to advocates of nuclear storage, … the jury cited a “lack of trust” as the deal-breaker.

It said it was sceptical of the State Government’s ability to deliver the project safely and on-budget, as well as the sincerity of the jury process they had been asked to take part in.

“The jury generally had a strong conviction in taking a position,” the report of its 350 members states.

“Two-thirds of the jury do not wish to pursue the opportunity under any circumstances.”

Mr Weatherill personally received the report from the citizens’ jury at the Adelaide Convention Centre just after 5pm on Sunday. But he would not concede the proposal was now dead.

The objections to the proposal ranged from the Government’s perceived poor record in managing big projects like construction of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and the historic State Bank collapse, to the lack of consent from Aboriginal communities.

“No market testing and understanding the appetite with potential customers for the use of, and at what fee, for an Australian repository, is a reason not to undertake further expenditure and investigation,” the report states.

“Continuing the investigation … with evidence of lack of consent and poor economics, demonstrates this as an agenda of the Government.”

Mr Weatherill said the “very clear position” of the jury would be combined with other Government research about the statewide views of the nuclear industry, as Cabinet considers whether to push ahead.

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Premier Weatherill’s grand nuclear waste plan in shreds!

Daniel Wills: Nuclear waste verdict from citizens’ jury leaves Government’s grand plan in tatters, State Political Editor Daniel Wills, The Advertiser November 6, 2016

When Premier Jay Weatherill formed the citizens’ jury to review the findings of a Royal Commission that recommended that SA set up a lucrative nuclear storage industry, he professed confidence that a well-informed cross-section of the state would make a wise judgment.

Late Sunday, it handed down a stunning and overwhelming rejection of the proposal. Brutally, jurors cited a lack of trust even in what they had been asked to do and their concerns that consent was being manufactured.

Others skewered the Government’s basic competency to get things done, doubting that it could pursue the industry safely and deliver the dump on-budget.

It seems almost impossible now to see a way through for those in Cabinet and the broader Labor Party who have quietly crossed their fingers and backed the idea of taking the world’s nuclear waste.

With the party planning a special convention which must endorse changes to policy so the industry can be more deeply considered, internal critics now have an extremely potent weapon.

Weatherill WeathervaneThose outside the state party — including the SA Liberals, independent Senator Nick Xenophon and even senior federal Labor figures — now have clear public permission to start peeling away.

Perhaps worse than that, if Mr Weatherill now elects to continue down the nuclear path, it would be by actively ignoring the public will uncovered by a process he personally put in place to test.

Should this now fall over, Mr Weatherill will rightly deserve residual credit for taking on a highly controversial issue which was previously tossed in the too-hard basket.

But without it, the Government stares down an election in a year and a half’s time where its biggest plan for transforming a struggling state has vanished and there is precious little to take its place.

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The verdict is in and the radioactive waste dump plan is out

logo No Dump Alliance

7 Nov 16 South Australia’s No Dump Alliance has welcomed and congratulated the 350 member Citizens Jury for delivering a firm “No” to any plans to establish a high level international nuclear waste dump in South Australia after two thirds of Jurors voted No to the controversial plan at the final session yesterday in Adelaide.

“Jay’s jury has said No”, said Alliance spokesperson Tauto Sansbury. “The Premier should now listen to the people and respect this clear decision.”

Jurors also highlighted issues around the poor economics, lack of trust in government and public health and safety risks associated with nuclear projects. “This is a strong decision from randomly selected and very diverse group of South Australians who have had the benefit of studying the Royal Commission Report and hearing information from experts in various aspects of the proposal. It was positive to hear the jurors acknowledging the need for Traditional Owner’s voices to be heard. I thank the clear majority of Jurors for this decision”. Said No Dump Alliance spokeswoman Karina Lester.

The announcement represents a significant, indeed ‘near fatal’, blow to any hopes that a social consensus would develop in favour of the proposal. The global waste dump plan is now increasingly mired in controversy with recent revelations of a pro-nuclear bias in the Royal Commission Report as the Report’s sole economic analysis was provided by a pro-nuclear lobby group.

No Dump Alliance member Emeritus Professor Richard Blandy had a message for the Jurors: “I congratulate the Second Citizens’ Jury on their overwhelming decision against the proposed nuclear dump. They have shown courage and common sense. A large majority could see that the bonanza that the dump was supposed to bring to the State was based on very flimsy evidence. They saw that the real path to a better economic future for our State is based on our skills, innovative capabilities and capacity for hard work, not a bizarre gamble based on guesses. I am proud of my fellow South Australians on the Jury – including those who were in the minority. I would like to thank them all for their efforts on behalf of their fellow South Australians.”

Jamie Newlyn, State Secretary for the Maritime Union of Australia, was also pleased with today’s outcome. “The MUA have stood strongly against this proposal. It not only presents unacceptable risks to our members, but also to the economy and environment of our great State. We, along with other unions and the community, will carry on our opposition to this as long as we have to.” Mr Newlyn said.

 “The No Dump Alliance is calling on the Weatherill Government to formally end the global waste dump plan and we will continue to build the community campaign to dump the dump – our home is simply too good to waste,” concluded Ms Lester.

The No Dump Alliance is a broad cross-section of South Australian civil society, including Indigenous, public health, trade union, faith and environment groups and academics who are deeply concerned about and opposed to any move to open South Australia up to international high-level nuclear waste importation and dumping:

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Citizen Jury says NO to nuke waste dump plan


The Citizen Jury set up to consider a nuclear waste dump for SA has comprehensively rejected the idea, with a thumping 2/3 majority saying no under any circumstances.

“This is a clear and comprehensive rejection by ordinary South Australians of the Royal Commission’s nuclear waste dump dream,” said Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive of the state’s peak environment body, Conservation SA.

“The nuclear industry likes to push a myth that the more people get to understand nuclear issues, the more supportive they are.  Well, 350 South Australians have spent over 40 hours hearing about a nuclear dump for SA and the more they heard about it, the less they liked.

“The Royal Commission has put forward a deeply flawed plan, and the citizen jury has comprehensively rejected it.

“The dollars don’t stack up, the safety concerns are enormous, Traditional Owners have said no, and now a citizen jury made up of randomly selected South Australians from across the state have well and truly rejected it as well.

“The message to Premier Weatherill is clear: it’s time to stop nuclear-wasting our time and money.

“Last month the Premier said:  ‘the most powerful force that we have in this state and this nation is the common sense judgment of ordinary, everyday citizens’

“Well, ordinary, everyday citizens have spoken and it’s time for the Premier to listen,” he said.

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

NO TO NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP ! South Australian Nuclear Citizens’ Jury Special

The South Australian Nuclear Citizens’ Jury has come up with a damning report – damning the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission South Australia’s (NFCRC’s)  plan for importing radioactive trash.

The Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission was a shoddy and biased affair with pro nuclear Commissoner Kevin Scarce.  Then came the Citizens’ Juries, who were given  loaded questions, with a few biased and ignorant witnesses ( especially in early sessions on the subject of ionising radiation), and some oversight by pro nuclear indiviuals, some from the NFCRC.

It is a tribute to the South Australian firm DemocracyCo that they still managed to run the process in a very fair way.

text don't nuclear waste Australia

However, despite the jury’s strong rejection of the plan, there was a minority report, calling for more economic modelling delay in the decision.

Premier Weatherill made it clear that the discussion will continue.

We can expect the pro nuclear camp – Labor and Liberal to now trash the whole idea of Citizens’ Juries (though if there had been a “neutral” or “yes” result, they would have praised it!)

And – let’s not forget, that other nuclear waste plan. The Federal government wants to impose a radioactive waste dump at Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges.  The pretense is that it is for the (very short-lived medical radioactive wastes). The reality is that it is for the radioactive trash that originated from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney.

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | 1 Comment

Will Australia back coal at the UN climate talks?

coal plants LatrobeWhat’s in store at the Marrakech climate talks – and will Australia still back coal?, Guardian,  Graham Readfearn,6 Nov 16 

The US presidential race is guaranteed to prove a distraction at the Morocco COP22 gathering, where action is on the agenda. he Australian government takes a delegation to the United Nations climate change talks in Morocco starting Monday – two weeks that are sure to be dominated by, well, who knows?

Because, during the first week, the United States will go to the polls to pick a new president – an event that will act like a giant weapon of mass distraction in Marrakech.

The Republican candidate, Donald Trump, has pledged to pull the US out of the UN process on climate change and cancel the global deal agreed at the last talks in Paris…….

aside from the distraction of US politics, what else for Marrakech – a meeting known as COP22 (so called, if you must ask, because this is the 22nd meeting of the conference of the parties to the UN framework convention on climate change)? And what about Australia’s position?

Since the Paris agreement was gavelled last December, the process to ratify the deal has been ongoing.

This process, known as “entry into force”, required at least 55 “parties” representing about 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions to ratify the agreement.

This threshold was met on 5 October and the deal will enter into force right about … now!…….

Australia has still not ratified the Paris agreement but there are reports this could happen before the talks close on 18 November……

Australia pledged that by 2030, it would cut emissions between 26% and 28% below where they were in 2005.

While the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stands by the target as being ambitious and fair, there are many critics who say it’s anything but……

Australia remains an influential country in the talks, owing in part to its position as chair of the umbrella group of countries – one of many negotiating groups.

As yet there has been no formal announcement from the Australian government on who will attend, but there is an expectation among some that the foreign minister, Julie Bishop, will be there for the “high-level segment” that starts in week two.

The Australian delegation will also have a new diplomat in charge. Replacing Peter Woolcott as climate change ambassador is Patrick Suckling, who took over the role in February after serving as Australia’s high commissioner in India.

During his time in New Delhi Suckling made several statements supporting the controversial Carmichael mega-coalmine project in Queensland, being proposed by Indian company Adani.

“This project will drive economic growth and create more than 6,000 jobs in Australia,” he said in 2014. “It will also boost India’s development by providing electricity to 100 million Indians.”

In one report in the Economic Times, Suckling was quoted as saying the Australian government was trying to tighten legal rules around who could and could not challenge coalmines through the courts (a theme that has re-emerged in recent weeks).

“We are actively thinking of possible ways to limit the scope of litigation to only those with a real standing in a project,” he was quoted as saying.

Language like this tends not to go down well with the army of NGOs, campaigners and civil society groups who attend the climate talks and have given Australia more then a fair share of “fossil” awards over the years.

The perception among many has been that Australia has sought to defend the coal industry too many times at UN meetings.

Will Australia stake its reputation on coal again?

November 6, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Queensland’s solar hub in sunny Western country

map-solar-QueenslandSolar energy: Sunny western Queensland to become a hub for power farms, ABC News, 6 Nov 16  By Lucy Murray Western Queensland is becoming a major hub for solar energy, with the state’s largest solar power farm soon to go online near Barcaldine and construction of another major project about to get underway in Longreach.

Six solar projects partially funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) were either recently completed or being built across Queensland.

Construction is expected to begin on another six projects next year.

With construction of the 25 megawatt (MW) Barcaldine solar farm now finished, work is underway to connect the 79,000 panels to the state’s electricity grid with about 580 kilometres of cable.

It will feed the grid with the capacity to power more than 8,000 homes once finished by mid-December, enough to light up Barcaldine 11 times over.

A short distance away, work will soon begin on the 15MW Longreach Solar Farm.

Canadian Solar was successful in the last round of ARENA funding and will begin construction on the project early next year……

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Global climate change effects: biodiversity, water, air, fire

climate-apocalypseClimate Disruption’s Legacy: Megadroughts, Extinctions, Obituaries for Reefs Sunday, 06 November 2016 00:00By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report  “…..September of this year saw Earth pass a dramatic threshold — one that signifies our entrance into a new era of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD). September 2016 will now be remembered as the month that Earth passed the threshold of 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere permanently, according to scientists.

That means that no one currently alive on the planet will ever again see an atmosphere with less than 400 ppm CO2……

We are watching giant pieces of our planet’s biosphere die before our eyes…….

The Great Barrier Reef obituary is a sign of our times, and we must brace ourselves for more tragedies like it — for coral reefs, glaciers, ice fields, forests, lakes, rivers, and of course, species……

Even in late October, Arctic sea ice hit a new record daily low extent, underscoring the fact that this year’s record low readings are three million square kilometers below the same day readings (October 23) of that day in 1981.


recently published report on Earth’s biodiversity revealed that global wildlife numbers have fallen by 58 percent since just 1970. The report — called The Living Planet assessment — produced by the Zoological Society of London and the World Wildlife Fund also said that if trends continue, this decline will likely reach two-thirds among vertebrates in only four more years. The report lists ACD as one of the driving factors of the great dying.

The report confirms what many of us have been watching for a number of years now — that we are bearing witness to the collapse of wildlife. We are so obviously living in the Anthropocene: the era in which humans exert the dominant influence over Earth and its destiny……..


This month, as usual, ACD-fueled dramatic changes in water-related phenomena abound.

recently published study found that multi-decade megadroughts due to ACD are “virtually certain” across the US Southwest.

Perhaps this has already begun as by late October, over 120 million people (28 percent of the population of the lower 48 states) were experiencing drought. California entered the sixth year of its drought.

Things are looking grim for the Mediterranean region as well, as another study warned that even if the Earth only warmed 2C (which is a laughably low estimate at this point) widespread desertification will overtake huge swaths of this lush region and render the ecosystem there “unrecognizable.”

At the other end of the extreme water event spectrum, Louisiana is struggling to figure out what to do about rising seas.


Evidence that conditions in the atmosphere are worsening continues to unfold.

study recently published in Nature shows that, thanks to leaks from oil and gas activities around the world being far more persistent and larger than previously believed, methane emissions from that industry are likely 60 percent higher than estimated. Methane is 22 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2…….


Given that this year saw the hottest summer ever recorded, it comes as no surprise that there has been a preponderance of fires, many of which persisted well into the fall season.

Massive fires covering millions of acres across Russia prompted many residents to sign a petition to Vladimir Putin, in which they complained of suffocating from the smoke. According to independent satellite analysis from experts, huge fires across Siberia have burned millions of acres year after year, and have caused a dramatic uptick in the number of fires facing that region.

In Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology recently released a report stating that that country is experiencing more extreme fire weather and hotter days as ACD progresses. Fire season there has been extended by several weeks, according to the agency, and that trend is expected to continue to increase.

In the US, a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that ACD is what is behind the recent surge in wildfires across the west, as the research ties them directly to escalating temperatures…..

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Nuclear Era, whoever is elected on November 8

USA election 2016

Not so long ago, it was implausible that a major nuclear power — the United States, Russia, or China — would consider using atomic weapons in any imaginable conflict scenario.  No longer. 

It’s clear that we’re on the threshold of a new nuclear era: a time when the actual use of atomic weapons is being accorded greater plausibility by military and political leaders globally, while war plans are being revised to allow the use of such weapons at an earlier stage in future armed clashes.

As a result, the next president will have to grapple with nuclear weapons issues — and possible nuclear crises — in a way unknown since the Cold War era

Whose Finger on the Nuclear Button?Election 2016 and playing a game of chicken with nuclear strategy, Common Dreams by Michael T. Klare , 6 Nov 16 

 Once upon a time, when choosing a new president, a factor for many voters was the perennial question: “Whose finger do you want on the nuclear button?” Of all the responsibilities of America’s top executive, none may be more momentous than deciding whether, and under what circumstances, to activate the “nuclear codes” — the secret alphanumeric messages that would inform missile officers in silos and submarines that the fearful moment had finally arrived to launch their intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) toward a foreign adversary, igniting a thermonuclear war.

Until recently in the post-Cold War world, however, nuclear weapons seemed to drop from sight, and that question along with it. Not any longer. In 2016, the nuclear issue is back big time, thanks both to the rise of Donald Trump (including various unsettling comments he’s made about nuclear weapons) and actual changes in the global nuclear landscape.

With passions running high on both sides in this year’s election and rising fears about Donald Trump’s impulsive nature and Hillary Clinton’s hawkish one, it’s hardly surprising that the “nuclear button” question has surfaced repeatedly throughout the campaign.  Continue reading

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima Consequences of Radiation on Wildlife

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

By Pierre Fetet (translation by Hervé Courtois)

Source :

Scientific studies conducted following the Fukushima disaster revealed little by little the consequences of radioactivity on the living and particularly on wildlife.Although published, they are nevertheless rarely circulated.This is why I would like to put a spotlight on some of them and publicize various observations which we do not hear much about, to counter the silly optimism to always relativize the consequences of low doses on life.Any dose of radiation, however small it be, has effects on the living: the ionizing radiation breaks the DNA molecules.

The birds

The feathers of birds take radioactive dust released into the atmosphere continuously by the wind. They therefore suffer permanent external irradiation.

We can see this dust by placing a contaminated bird on a radio-sensitive paper for a month. Here is an example with a bird picked in Iitate in December…

View original post 1,321 more words

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A cry to the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury

Ian Fisher, Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 6 Nov 16 

Today is the last sitting day of the Jury for The Worlds High Level Nuclear Waste for Jay Weatherill and the Government of Sth Australia’s Insidious, Thoughtless, Unthinkable Idea to Dump this DANGEROUS Waste in our wonderful “Food Bowl,” state of Sth.Australia. So after having Atom Bombs dropped in our State of Sth Australia Enough is Enough.? The Dangers to all life on this Planet Earth will be Horendous for Thousands of years to come.No matter what the Evil waste is stored in will eat its way out and into The Eco system.!! When the Atom Bombs were Detonated at Maralinga the wind carried the fall out cloud East.!! Today there is more people with Cancer and related illnesses per head per population in text-NoSydney than any other large city in the World. So I say to you other Jurors We owe it to all the People of Sth Australia, To all the People of Australia and to the Entire Population of this Planet NOT To allow this to Proceed Any Further. “GOOD. LUCK PLANET EARTH.”

November 6, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment