Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Renewable power costs less than nuclear

PAT CONROY: Renewable power costs less than nuclear https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5880610/renewable-power-costs-less-than-nuclear/?fbclid=IwAR0-Upp9z0ZN2kv9P_fItO6uDJEf89pKvl2t0fXLK14roYCbNq69EWwtSlo Nuclear power is the fool’s gold of energy policy. On the surface, beautiful, but when tested it proves to be a mirage.

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February 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | 1 Comment

Climate change is here, in Australia, as temperatures rise faster than predicted

Australia’s extreme heat is sign of things to come, scientists warn https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/01/australia-extreme-heat-sign-of-things-to-come-scientists-warn-climate

Hottest month ever shows temperatures rising faster than predicted, say climate experts Australia sweltered through the hottest month in its history in January, spurring mass deaths of fish, fire warnings and concerns among climate scientists that extreme heat is hitting faster and harder than anticipated.

For the first time since records began, the country’s mean temperature in January exceeded 30C (86F), according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), which said daily extremes – in some places just short of 50C – were unprecedented.

“There’s been so many records it’s really hard to count,” said Andrew Watkins, a senior climatologist at BoM, after January registered Australia’s warmest month for mean, maximum and minimum temperatures.

This followed the country’s warmest December on record, with heatwaves in every Australian state and territory. With colour-coded heat maps of the country resembling blazing red furnaces for much of the month, the authorities have recently issued a special report on the extraordinary heat.

A persistent high-pressure system in the Tasman Sea that blocked cold fronts and cooler air from reaching the country’s south, and a delayed monsoon in the north, contributed to the heatwave.

Climate change is the long-term driver. “The warming trend which has seen Australian temperatures increase by more than 1C in the last 100 years also contributed to the unusually warm conditions,” Watkins said.

The bureau’s monthly report said the heatwaves were unprecedented in their scale and duration. The highest temperatures of the month were recorded in Augusta on the south-west coast, where thermometers registered 49.5C , but the most relentless heat was in Birdsville, Queensland, which endured 10 consecutive days above 45C.

Tasmania, where emergency services have been battling bushfiresthroughout the past month, had its driest ever January. Watkins said Borrona Downs in north-west New South Wales broke the record for hottest minimum temperature, registering one night at 36.6C. This has a major impact on ecosystems that have not been able to cool down during the night as is normally the case.

This was compounded by drought. Large parts of Australia received only 20% of their normal rainfall, particularly throughout the south-east in Victoria and parts of NSW and South Australia.

Menindee in far-west NSW had four days in a row of temperatures above 47C. This was the site of December and January’s mass fish kills on the Darling River. Hundreds of thousands of native fish, including Murray cod, golden perch and bony bream, died around the Menindee weir. The authorities blamed “thermal stratification” as sudden shifts in temperature – first hot, then cold – caused algae blooms and choked the water of oxygen.

After the most recent fish die-off on 27 January, the Labor leader, Bill Shorten, said the Murray-Darling was “facing the makings of an ecological disaster”. He said: “This is not standard, this is not normal. This is a disaster.”

In parts of western Queensland and western NSW, there have been long strings of more than 40 days of temperatures above 40C.

Cloncurry had 43 days in a row that exceeded 40C. Birdsville had 16 days in January of temperatures higher than 45C including 10 days in a row.

NSW, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and the Northern Territory all had their warmest January on record.

The meteorological agency has warned that temperatures are set to rise further in the years ahead as a result of climate change. In its report last month, it said warming was contributing to a long-term increase in the frequency of extreme heat, fire weather and drought.

“Australia is already experiencing climate change now and there are impacts being experienced or felt across many communities and across many sectors,” said Helen Cleugh, the director of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, which collaborated on the report.

The study, which is updated every two years, found that Australia’s fire seasons have lengthened – in places by months – and become more severe. From April to October, there has been a broad shift to more arid conditions in south-eastern and south-western Australia. Sea levels have already risen by 20cm and ocean temperatures are up by 1C, which is causing acidification – 10 times faster than at any time in 300m years – which has damaged the corals of the Great Barrier Reef.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Mark Parnell calls on South Australian government to stop its plans to diminish environmental department

Mark Parnell MLC, 2 Feb 19, The Marshall Liberal Government is planning more cuts to staff and programs in the SA Department of Environment and Water and will transform the Department into an “economic development agency”.

This is outrageous! This Government’s wilful abandonment of the environment will send species extinct and further degrade struggling eco-systems.

The hypocrisy of the Liberals knows no bounds.  In opposition, they criticised Labor’s annual budget cuts to the environment, but as soon as they were elected they did the same, with 100 jobs axed last year and more to come.  And now they’re going one step further!

The clear message is that if the environment doesn’t make money for someone, it’s not worth protecting.  Heaven help our endangered wildlife.  If creatures like the Glossy Black Cockatoo or Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby don’t start earning their keep, the Government has made it clear that they are a lower priority.  This is not a good time to be a Hooded Plover or an Orange-bellied Parrot in South Australia.

The Marshall Liberal Government’s honeymoon period is now well and truly over.  The Government has shown its true anti-environment colours.  Any notion that they might care about species, eco-systems, sustainability and the climate, has all but disappeared.  Now, they have left us in no doubt that, in their eyes, only those parts of the environment that make money deserve protection.

The Greens are calling on the Liberals to stop the cuts and retain a Department that is focussed on protecting our environment and waterways.  They need to stand up for South Australia’s environment and River Murray.  The Government should heed the warning of the Royal Commissioner into the management of the River Murray that kow-towing to economic interests upstream only results in further degradation of the environment.

Declaring war on the environment pits this government against everyone who cares about our natural heritage. We must protect the environment for its own sake as well as for future generations.

Our environment and all the species that depend upon it for their survival, deserve better.  South Australians deserve better!

Let the Marshall Liberal Government know that you expect the Environment Minister to stand up for South Australia’s environment at all times – not just when there is an economic advantage.  Sign our petition and share your concern with family and friends.

 

 

February 2, 2019 Posted by | environment, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Independent media is here to stay – and to keep the politicians honest

Australian independent media on the rise, Michael West , Feb 1, 2019 The coming of the Internet was the media world’s first real game-changer.  Profits enjoyed from the 1970s to 2000s were gone and anyone could start an online news site for little cost. Independent digital media sites not only flourished but did something novel:  they engaged with their readers — especially via social media. Today, these sites attract three to four times more visitors via social media than mainstream media. Kim Wingerei reports.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Climate change affecting the Atlantic Ocean circulation

A surprising new picture of ocean circulation could have major consequences for climate science,  Some experts say the Atlantic Ocean circulation is already slowing down — but we’re just beginning to learn how it really works, WP By Chris Mooney, January 31 2019

It may be the biggest wild card in the climate system. Scientists have long feared that the so-called “overturning” circulation in the Atlantic Ocean could slow down or even halt due to climate change — a change that would have enormous planetary consequences.

But at the same time, researchers have a limited understanding of how the circulation actually works, since taking measurements of its vast and remote currents is exceedingly difficult. And now, a major new research endeavor aimed at doing just that has suggested a dramatic revision of our understanding of the circulation itself.

A new 21-month series of observations in the frigid waters off Greenland has led to the discovery that most of the overturning — in which water not only sinks but returns southward again in the ocean depths — occurs to the east, rather than to the west, of the enormous ice island. If that’s correct, then climate models that suggest the circulation will slow as the climate warms may have to be revised to take this into account.

……….. The new results come from the $ 32 million OSNAP, or “Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic,” program, the first attempt to comprehensively measure the circulation in the exceedingly remote regions in question. These icy seas, it is believed, are where cold, salty waters — which are extremely dense — sink below the sea surface into the depths, and then travel back southward again all the way to the Southern Hemisphere.

This “overturning” process is crucial because the sinking in the North Atlantic effectively pulls more warm, salty water northward via a system of currents that includes the Gulf Stream. This heat delivery, in turn, shapes climate throughout much of the region, and especially in Europe.

Better understanding of how the circulation works is key, since some scientists have already proposed that it is slowing down, with major consequences, including ocean warming and sea level rise off the U.S. east coast.

Global temperature maps in recent years have shown a strange area of anomalously cold temperatures in the ocean to the southeast of Greenland, along with very warm temperatures off the coast of New England.

The cold region — which has been dubbed the “cold blob” and also “warming hole” — is strikingly anomalous at a time when the Earth and its oceans are otherwise warming. And the suggestion has been that this represents a decline in the volume of heat being transported northward by the circulation.

The warm waters off New England, in this interpretation, would represent a key corollary — additional ocean heat hanging around in more southern waters, rather than making the trip northward………. https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/01/31/surprising-new-picture-ocean-circulation-could-have-major-consequences-climate-scien

February 2, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA to leave Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty- Donald Trump confirms

Donald Trump confirms US withdrawal from INF nuclear treaty, Guardian, Julian Borger, World affairs editor, Sat 2 Feb 2019 
Announcement gives Russia 180 days to destroy violating missiles and launchers to avoid new arms race Donald Trump has confirmed that the US is leaving the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, saying “we will move forward with developing our own military response options” to Russia’s suspect missile.In a written statement, Trump said that the US would be suspending its compliance with the 1987 treaty on Saturday, and would serve formal notice that it would withdraw altogether in six months.

He left the door open to the treaty being salvaged in that 180-day window, but only if Russia destroys all of its violating missiles, launchers and associated equipment. Since 2013, the US has alleged that Russia has developed a new ground-launched cruise missile which violated the INF prohibition of missiles with ranges between 500km and 5,500km.

Russia for several years denied the missile existed but has more recently acknowledged its existence, saying its range does not violate INF limits.

“This is in reality, under international law, Russia’s final chance,” a senior administration official said. “If there is to be an arms race, it is Russia that has undermined the global security architecture.”

In his statement, Trump warned that unless Russia destroyed its missile by August: “We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with Nato and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.”

Washington’s European allies have been anxious that the death of the INF treaty would lead to a return to the tense days of the 1980s, and an arms race involving short- and medium-range missiles on European soil………

, neither the Trump nor Pompeo gave any indication whether the administration would agree to extend the 2010 New Start treaty, the last remaining arms control agreement constraining the arsenals of the two major nuclear weapons powers.

Both the US and Russia have abided by the New Start limit of 1,550 deployed, strategic nuclear warheads, but the treaty expires in 2021, leaving little time to negotiate a five-year extension.

Alexandra Bell, a former state department arms control official and senior policy director at the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said: “New Start is working, it’s good for American national security and this administration is putting global security at risk by foot-dragging on extension.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/01/inf-donald-trump-confirms-us-withdrawal-nuclear-treaty

February 2, 2019 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

South Australian government changing Environment Dept, and cutting its budget

REVEALED: Staff, budget cuts as Environment Dept becomes “new agency” , In Daily,  Tom Richardson@tomrichardson, 1 Feb 19,  The state’s Department of Environment and Water will become primarily an “economic development agency” that will be forced to operate with “less staff and smaller budgets” under a major restructure announced to staff yesterday.

The timing of the shift is ironic, with today’s release of a scathing Royal Commission report into the management of the River Murray, itself critical of Environment and Water Minister David Speirs.

Chief executive John Schutz – who replaced former boss Sandy Pitcher, one of four top bureaucrats axed by the incoming Marshall Government last March – yesterday wrote to staff telling them they would be “transitioning to a new agency”……….

“We balance environmental protection with economic development – this means we contribute to our state’s economy by driving sustainable economic development, and unlocking the potential of our natural and heritage resources.” …..

The department will be split into five divisions – Boards and Councils; Strategy, Science and Corporate Services; National Parks and Wildlife; Water and River Murray; and Sustainable Economic Development. https://indaily.com.au/news/2019/01/31/revealed-staff-budget-cuts-as-environment-dept-becomes-new-agency/

February 2, 2019 Posted by | environment, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

USA’s Environmental Protection Agency protecting the nuclear industry?

Skeptic on radiation limits will head EPA radiation panel,  https://www.kwch.com/content/news/Skeptic-on-radiation-limits-will-head-EPA-radiation-panel-505198021.html By ELLEN KNICKMEYER, Associated Press 1 Feb 19, WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency has appointed a scientist who argues for easing regulations on lower-level radiation exposures to lead the agency’s radiation advisory committee.

Acting EPA head Andrew Wheeler on Thursday announced the appointment of Brant Ulsh, a health physicist, as one of the EPA’s science advisers and the panel chairman. Ulsh has been a leading critic of the EPA’s decades-old position that exposure to any amount of ionizing radiation is a cancer risk.

In a paper he co-wrote last year, Ulsh and a colleague argued that the position was based on outdated scientific information and forced the “unnecessary burdens of costly clean-ups” on facilities working with radiation.

The EPA under President Donald Trump has targeted a range of environmental protections, in line with Trump’s arguments that overly strict environmental rules have hurt U.S. businesses. Environmental and public health advocates say the rollbacks threaten the health and safety of Americans.

Some environmental groups and scientists have criticized what they say is the administration’s openness to an outlier position on radiation risks.

“Once again the Trump administration is moving to the fringe for its scientific advice, choosing someone who could undercut foundational protections from radiation,” Bemnet Alemayehu, a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council environmental advocacy group, said in a statement Friday. “We need sound science to dictate health protections, not dangerous theories.”

EPA spokesman John Konkus declined comment Friday, referring a reporter to a news release announcing the appointment.

Ulsh did not immediately respond to an email Friday asking for comment, including whether he intended to use the advisory position to encourage reconsideration of the EPA’s no-tolerance policy on lower doses of radiation exposure.

Last year, Ulsh told The Associated Press that “we spend an enormous effort trying to minimize low doses” at nuclear power plants, for example.

“Instead, let’s spend the resources on minimizing the effect of a really big event,” he said.

U.S. agencies have long maintained there is no threshold of radiation exposure that is risk-free.

The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements reaffirmed that last year after reviewing 29 public health studies on cancer rates among people exposed to low-dose radiation.

The EPA last year proposed a rule that would have instructed regulators to consider “models across the exposure range” when it comes to dangerous substances.

Environmental groups and some scientists expressed concern then that the directive could open the way for an agency retreat from its long-standing no-tolerance rule for ionizing radiation exposure. But the proposed rule did not mention radiation, and EPA officials denied it would have applied to radiation. It said the agency still follows its no-tolerance guidelines.

But the EPA’s proposal last year did specify consideration of a particular scientific model, called the U curve, put forward by Edward Calabrese, a toxicologist and leading proponent of the theory that exposure to radiation and other hazardous substances can actually be healthy at low doses

The EPA’s initial news release on the rule last April quoted Calabrese as praising the proposal, calling it a “major scientific step forward” in assessing the risks of “chemicals and radiation.”

EPA calendars obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show an appointment between Calabrese and EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson on June 28, 2017, early in the tenure of Scott Pruitt, Wheeler’s predecessor.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian government fudging the facts to make its climate policy look good

Australia is counting on cooking the books to meet its climate targets , The Convesation, Alan Pears, Senior Industry Fellow, RMIT University, January 31, 2019 A new OECD report has warned that Australia risks falling short of its 2030 emissions target unless it implements “a major effort to move to a low-carbon model”.

This view is consistent both with official government projections released late last year, and independent analysis of Australia’s emissions trajectory. Yet the government still insists we are on track, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison claiming as recently as November that the 2030 target will be reached “in a canter”.

What’s really going on? Does the government have any data or modelling to serve as a basis for Morrison’s confidence? And if so, why doesn’t it tell us?……..

The government is indeed poised to deliver on the “letter of the law” of its Paris commitment if two things play out. First, if it claims credit from overdelivering on Australia’s 2010 and 2020 commitments. And second, if the “low demand” scenario is the one that eventuates.

To reach our Paris target, the government estimates that we will need to reduce emissions by the equivalent of 697 million tonnes of carbon dioxide before 2030. It also calculates that the overdelivery on previous climate targets already represents a saving of 367Mt, and that low economic demand would save a further 571Mt. That adds up to 938Mt of emissions reductions, outperforming the target by 35% – a canter that would barely work up a sweat.

How would this scenario actually eventuate?

Let’s leave aside the technical question of whether it’s legitimate to count past performance towards future emissions targets, and focus for now on how the low-demand economic scenario might become reality.

The government’s report contains no discussion on the basis of the “low demand” scenario. But history suggests the annual baseline estimates of 2030 emissions have overestimated future emissions, with revisions downwards over time. For example, the 2018 projection for 2030 emissions is 28% lower than the 2012 projection for the same date (see figure 2 here).

In the real world, meanwhile, change is evident. Households and businesses are installing solar panels, not least to guard against high power bills. Businesses are signing power purchase agreements with renewable energy suppliers for much the same reason. State and local governments are pursuing increasingly ambitious clean energy and climate policies. Some energy-intensive industries may be driven offshore by our high gas prices.

New technology such as electric vehicles, ongoing improvement in energy efficiency, and emerging business models that break the power of big energy companies are transforming our economy. Investment in low-emission public transport infrastructure means its share of travel will increase. Farmers are cutting methane emissions by installing biogas production equipment.

Other studies also support the idea that Australia may indeed outperform its baseline emission scenario. ANU researchers recently predicted that “emissions in the electricity sector will decline by more than 26% in 2020-21, and will meet Australia’s entire Paris target of 26% reduction across all sectors of the economy (not just “electricity’s fair share”) in 2024-25”.

The government’s baseline electricity scenario uses the Australian Electricity Market Operator’s “neutral” scenario. But AEMO’s “weak” scenario would see 2030 demand in the National Electricity Market 18% lower than the neutral scenario (see figure 13 here).

Of course, many of these changes are happening in spite of the government’s policy settings, rather than because of them. Still, a win’s a win!

Emissions in context

But is hitting the target in purely technical terms really a win? In truth, it would fall far short of what is really necessary and responsible.

This is partly because of the plan to use prior credit for previous emissions targets to help get us across the line for 2030. This may be allowed under the international rules. But we would be leveraging extremely weak earlier commitments.

For example, Australia’s 2010 Kyoto Protocol target of an 8% increase in emissions was laughably weak in comparison with the developed world average target of a 5% cut. Our 2020 5% reduction target is also well below the aspirations of most other countries. What’s more, several major nations have declared that they will exclude past “overachievements” from their 2020 commitments.

The government has obfuscated the issue further by deliberately conflating our electricity emission reductions target, which will be easily met, with our overall economy-wide target, which presents a much tougher challenge.

There’s more. Australia’s Paris pledge to reduce emissions from 2005 levels by 26-28% between 2021 and 2030 is inconsistent with our global responsibilities and with climate science. The target was agreed to by the then prime minister Tony Abbott in 2015 as the minimum needed to look credible. But as the Climate Change Authority pointed out, a 2030 target of 40-60% below 2000 levels is more scientifically responsible. https://theconversation.com/australia-is-counting-on-cooking-the-books-to-meet-its-climate-targets-110768


Read more: Australia’s 2030 climate target puts us in the race, but at the back

February 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Energy Minster Angus Taylor ready to subsidise new coal projects

Angus Taylor prepares to underwrite coal-fired power  By Phillip Coorey, Fin Rev, 01 Feb 2019 Energy Minster Angus Taylor has all but confirmed the Morrison government is prepared to underwrite new coal-fired power stations, at the same time moderate Liberal MPs are urging the government to adopt a policy on climate change.Mr Taylor released a list 66 potential power generation projects seeking taxpayer support after the government called for expressions of interests to provide “reliable” or “fair dinkum” power.

Of the projects submitted, 10 rely on coal…….

The coal proponents are looking for an indemnity against future climate policy or a guarantee from the government it will act as a buyer of last resort.

Labor opposes coal having any part in Australia’s future energy mix and is focused on renewable energy with back-up capacity. https://www.afr.com/news/politics/angus-taylor-prepares-to-underwrite-coalfired-power-20190201-h1arje?fbclid=IwAR1hVPmlF8TPUOS0exOvr3h5qg-2m0ZfdPN-9InstSG2dud0lNHPRXGR8yU

February 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Investment analyst warns on grim future for uranium market

Investing News 29th Jan 2019, Speaking with the Investing News Network at this year’s Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, financial analyst Jayant Bhandari made a case for avoiding uranium projects, saying that low demand and the rise of renewable energy mean the commodity’s future is grim. “Most uranium-mining projects do not make sense unless uranium prices go up by
100 or 200 percent,” said Bhandari.   https://investingnews.com/daily/resource-investing/energy-investing/uranium-investing/jayant-bhandari-uranium-green-credentials-camouflage/?mqsc=E4025852

February 2, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Judge refuses to unseal criminal charges against Assange

January 31, 2019  FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a request to unseal criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that were mistakenly revealed in another case.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said in a 10-page ruling that free-press advocates seeking to unseal the charges have no proof Assange has actually been charged.

The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press sought to unseal the charges after a federal prosecutor inadvertently typed a reference to “the fact that Assange has been charged” in an unrelated case.

The government has acknowledged it made an error but has not publicly confirmed that charges against Assange have been filed.

After the mistake was made, news outlets including The Associated Press reported that Assange has indeed been charged. But those reports relied on anonymous sources.

The precise charges against Assange are unclear. The Wikileaks founder has been staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 under a grant of asylum and has long expressed fear of a U.S. prosecution. WikiLeaks has served as a vehicle for release of thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic cables. In addition, WikiLeaks’ role in releasing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee in 2016 has also been under scrutiny as special counsel Robert Mueller has investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign was involved.

Criminal charges typically remain secret and under seal until a defendant has been arrested to prevent a target from fleeing prosecution or destroying evidence. Lawyers for the free-press foundation said that rationale for secrecy no longer exists given the inadvertent disclosure and the fact that Assange has long assumed he has been charged.

Brinkema, though, wrote in her ruling that the Reporters Committee “has not demonstrated with sufficient certainty that Assange has been charged. Unlike in other high-profile cases, the Government has not affirmatively disclosed that charges have been filed. Although the Government acknowledges that it made a mistake … the nature of that mistake is fundamentally unclear.”

Katie Townsend, a lawyer for the Reporters Committee, said no decision has been made on whether to appeal. “The disclosure of the nature of the charges against Assange are a matter of public interest and should be made public,” she said.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australian Aboriginal politician Jacinta Price cynical about BHP, Rio Tinto backing Uluru Statement (I would be, too!)

BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto back Uluru Statement as politician questions interest in Indigenous lands, ABC 

Key points:

  • BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have announced they support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, almost two years after it was made
  • Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Price has questioned whether the companies were looking for a way “to look better in the eyes of Indigenous people”
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he remained opposed to a constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal voice in federal Parliament

Indigenous leaders gathered near Uluru in May 2017 to deliver the joint statement, which calls for a constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal voice in Federal Parliament, and for the laying of foundations for a treaty.

The statement was controversially rejected by the Coalition, with Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion saying it had “absolutely zero chance of success”.

But now, almost two years on, mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have announced they back it.

Uluru Statement signatory and Nyugar man David Collard heard BHP’s boss deliver the news at an event in Perth on Thursday………..

Miners want to look better in eyes of Indigenous people: Price

Rio Tinto and BHP have mining interests on traditional lands right across the country.

Not everyone is convinced their motives are pure.

Speaking to Sky News today, Central Australian Aboriginal politician Jacinta Price was cynical about the announcement.

“We need to have a bit more of a discussion; I don’t know that simply throwing your support behind something that we’re not sure what that actually looks like is helpful,” Ms Price said.

“Perhaps it is a way of these companies to look better in the eyes of Indigenous people, considering it is Indigenous people’s land they want to be involved in.”

The mining giants’ announcement comes just a few months out from a federal election.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the companies’ stance won’t change his opposition to the Statement.

“It doesn’t make a difference one way or the other,” he said.

“You assess these issues on their merits, but I’ve got to tell you, I’m more concerned about young Indigenous girls committing suicide.”

Mr Morrison said the Government would “soon” respond to a November report from a bipartisan committee about developing an Indigenous voice to Parliament.

Federal Labor has vowed to hold a referendum on the matter if it wins Government in May. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-31/bhp-billiton-rio-tinto-back-uluru-statement-indigenous-lands/10768478

February 2, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Queensland’s First Indigenous Judge Appointed

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice The Honourable Yvette D’Ath  March 22, 2018

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath today announced the appointment of barrister Nathan Jarro as a District Court Judge in Brisbane.

Nathan Jarro will be the state’s first Indigenous judge.

“This is an important appointment for Queensland justice” Mrs D’Ath said.

“Nathan Jarro brings significant litigation experience to the role as a barrister.  He initially practised in family and criminal law but has later focused on insurance, administrative, commercial and property law.”

He has held the role of Deputy Public Interest Monitor since 2011.

“He’s also adept at alternative dispute resolution techniques as a long-standing tribunal member for the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Mental Health Review Tribunal,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“And he has a strong history of involvement in his community, as a current Board Director for the Queensland Theatre company, chair of the QUT Indigenous Education and Employment Consultative Committee, and former Board Director of the National Indigenous Television LTD (NITV).”

Mr Jarro received his Bachelor of Laws from QUT in 1999 and, after working as a solicitor in private practice, came to the Bar in 2004.

He has been one of Queensland’s most senior practising Indigenous lawyers, identifying as Ghangulu on his father’s side, with connections to Bidjara on his mother’s side.

He takes up his new position on Monday March 26.

 

February 2, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Coal power plants in Australia broke down once every three days in 2018 — RenewEconomy

Survey finds that modern “HELE” coal plants favoured by the Coalition and the coal lobby broke down more often than the ageing black coal fleet. The post Coal power plants in Australia broke down once every three days in 2018 appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Coal power plants in Australia broke down once every three days in 2018 — RenewEconomy

February 2, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment