Australian news, and some related international items

Beware Bill Shorten’s quietly pro nuclear attitude

Yes, Shorten is better than Liberal’s aggressive pawn of big industry , Scott Morrison.  And, more importantly, yes, the Labor Party’s policies are much, much better  -on climate change, renewable energy, along with so many other areas. Indeed, Liberals barely have any policies, other than kow-towing to their corporate donors, and to their far right Abbott-led faction.

Labor has a clear anti nuclear policy, and backs the Federal law prohibiting the building of nuclear reactors, or of any stage of the nuclear fuel cycle, except for uranium mining.  Building of a nuclear waste dump is prohibited, as is the importation of nuclearwaste. However, it does permit the building of a dump for waste produced in Australia.

Bill Shorten has been equivocal about nuclear issues.  I suspect that he would go with whatever policy helped him to pursue his own career.

Both Liberal and Labor have maintained complete silence about the proposed Kimba/Hawker nuclear waste dump.  It’s almost as if the dump idea is just a little plaything of ANSTO’s nuclear archbishop Dr Adi Paterson, nothing to do with the nation.

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

NSW State Labor parliamentarians Walt Secord and Janelle Saffin fight One Nation’s push for nuclear power

Secord and Saffin fight One Nation over nuclear power May 19, NSW State Labor parliamentarians Walt Secord and Janelle Saffin have vowed to work together to fight One Nation senator Mark Latham’s legislation to set up a nuclear power industry in NSW.

The Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Repeal Bill 2019 was the first bill introduced by Mark Latham into the new State Parliament on May 7.

It reads: ‘a bill for an Act to repeal the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Act 1986 and make consequential amendments to other legislation’.

In 2012, the then-O’Farrell government (Liberal/National) passed the Mining Legislation Amendment (Uranium Exploration Bill) 2012 to allow exploration for uranium in NSW. At the time, the Liberal-Nationals claimed that it would only allow exploration and not the creation of an industry.

Secord and Saffin say that Mark Latham’s bill follows a push last year by Nationals leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro, to establish a nuclear power industry in NSW.

They also say that Mr Barilaro also completed a taxpayer-funded visit to the United States where he was drumming up interest in US investors to build nuclear reactors in NSW. At the time, 18 sites were identified as possible sites for nuclear power plants in NSW– including a 250km stretch of coast from Port Macquarie to north of Grafton.

Fight against nuclear power

Mr Secord, who is Shadow Minister for the North Coast and Upper House deputy Opposition leader and Ms Saffin, who is the Country Labor MP for Lismore said they would fight the bill.

‘This is the next step in the development of a nuclear power industry in NSW,’ said Mr Secord said. ‘It is no coincidence that the first piece of legislation to come from the new parliamentarians was a bill to set up a nuclear power industry. 

‘The Berejiklian Government has always supported a nuclear power industry.’

Ms Saffin said that the North Coast community is clear and has spoken. ‘They do not want to see nuclear reactors in NSW. We fought them on CSG and unconventional gas and we will fight them on nuclear power.

‘North Coast primary producers pride themselves on the quality of their goods and their clean and green reputation,’ she said. ‘The National Party Leader’s obsession with building nuclear reactors would jeopardise this hard fought for advantage for local producers on the North Coast.’

Saffin says nuclear reactors would tarnish NSW’s clean and green image, and threaten the reputation and emerging markets of many north coast primary industries.

‘Nuclear power is a distraction from real long term energy solutions that provide the cheapest and most sustainable forms of electricity for the community and business – which is renewable energy,’ she said.

‘The NSW Coalition Government has always harboured dreams of nuclear power plants in NSW, having first proposed a site for Jervis Bay on the South Coast in the 1960s’.

May 16, 2019 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Resources Minister Matt Canavan has failed to comply with an order to process information about the nuclear waste dump plan

Susan Craig
Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia

• Sally Whyte Federal Politics
Resources Minister Matt Canavan has failed to comply with an order to process a freedom of information request by the Information Commissioner, with concerns the chance for scrutiny will be lost after Saturday’s election.
Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick first requested access to parts of the minister’s diary at the end of 2017, seeking information about who the minister met with regarding the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Kimba and Hawker in South Australia.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan may avoid scrutiny if he loses his job on Saturday. The two towns are proposed locations for a nuclear waste storage site, and Senator Patrick said he wanted to know who was being consulted over the plans.
The request has been bogged down in bureaucracy for 18 months, culminating in an order on March 25 by Information Commissioner Angelene Falk to process the request within 30 days.
Senator Patrick has heard nothing from the minister’s office, despite repeated attempts by the Information Commission to contact the office. He is concerned the minister could dodge scrutiny if the Coalition loses the election and Senator Canavan is no longer minister.
Under a precedent set by the former information commissioner in 2013, if documents are requested from one minister, and then the minister changes, the documents are considered no longer subject to Freedom of Information laws because they are not held by a current minister.
“If Minister Canavan holds out until Saturday and the current polling correct, it is likely that he will have successfully avoided
disclosure, but in a manner contrary to law and in contravention of the Prime Minister’s Statement of Ministerial Standards,” Senator Patrick said.
Senator Patrick also believes the failure to obey the information commissioner’s order shows disregard for the law.
“The minister disobeying the lawful direction of the Information Commissioner shows a complete lack of respect for the Information Commissioner and my constituents,” Senator Patrick said.
“This sort of conduct shows the Coalition’s complete disregard for openness and transparency and to the FOI regime.”
A spokesman for the minister said Minister Canavan’s office received a large volume of requests under the FOI scheme.
“All applications are processed with adherence to the law, and
mindful of the other workload that must also be completed at the same time as processing FOI requests,” he said.
“This FOI request is being completed and all transparency
requirements will be met.”
Gaining access to ministerial diaries has been a fraught legal frontier for transparency advocates, with former attorney general George Brandis fighting a three-year legal battle to keep his diaries under wraps. The 34 pages of printouts from his Outlook calendar were released after he was threatened with contempt of court proceedings

May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Labor clearly better than Liberals on climate change and renewables, BUT not that much better

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

News Corp – a propaganda machine for the mining industries

Veneer of ‘impartiality’ no longer needed

When it was founded in 1923, News Limited concealed its mining company connections at the same time it promised the public that its news would be “independent” and “impartial”.

Lip service or not, notions of balance and the public interest were important then. This was because News Limited’s founders knew that respect was an important precondition for influence, and that newspapers had to be responsive to the communities they served in order to attract a wide audience and prosper.

News Corp’s recent behaviour suggests it now sees such notions as quaint.  

The secret history of News Corp: a media empire built on spreading propaganda Sally Young
Professor, University of Melbourne, May 16, 2019, News Corp must have been startled to find itself becoming one of the major issues in this election campaign. But this is just another sign that, in recent years, the company’s ability to read the public mood has gone wildly off-kilter.

From attacking the decision of the jury in the sexual assault trial of Cardinal George Pell to last week’s Daily Telegraph attack on Bill Shorten using his deceased mother as ammunition, there are mounting signs of panic and folly at one of Australia’s largest media companies.

With the media and political landscape shifting rapidly around the company, there is a feeling akin to the last days of the Roman Empire.
Rupert Murdoch is winding back after six decades building up an Australian, and then global, media empire. The Murdoch family has retreated from buying up assets and instead become a seller, offloading, for instance, 21st Century Fox to Disney last year.

If the next generation of Murdochs starts looking to sell unprofitable assets, the Australian newspapers have reason to be concerned. Because they are no longer financially valuable to the newly slimmed down company, the Australian papers seem to be trying to prove their worth by being politically useful while they still can.

Since 2013, the News Corp papers have become more politically aggressive, with some adopting the shrill, cartoonish and openly-partisan approach of British “red top” tabloids. During the 2019 election, News Corp journalists – past and present – have spoken out against the company’s determined barracking for the return of the Coalition government.
Academic Denis Muller recently called News Corp a “propaganda operation masquerading as a news service”. Remarkably, this statement neatly encapsulates how News Corp actually began.

Continue reading

May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, reference | Leave a comment

Women excluded, disparaged, in the “priesthood” that runs nuclear security

The Nuclear Weapons Sisterhood,  It’s hard for women to be hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security establishment. NYT, By Carol Giacomo, Ms. Giacomo is a member of the editorial board, May 15, 2019 In the mid-1990s, Laura Holgate, then a senior Defense Department official, was in Moscow leading a delegation to discuss ways the United States could help the Russians secure plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons.

After a male Russian official gave a confusing explanation about the Kremlin’s storage plans, she sought clarification. The Russian, his voice dripping with sarcasm, offered to “put this in terms a woman would understand” and then described loading plutonium into a “cooking pot and putting a lid on it.”

……. For women, people of color and transgender people, sexism, discrimination and harassment are often barriers to being hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security bureaucracy — overseas and at home.

…….Women are particularly underrepresented in senior positions dealing with nuclear issues, according to a study by New America, part of a growing effort involving various groups and individuals to make the fields more welcoming to women.

Part of the problem is the discipline itself, the study found. Policies involving the building, deployment, targeting and use of nuclear weapons have long been the province of an insular, innovation-averse group of men. Discussions by this “priesthood” conflate national security and manliness with sexualized jargon about vertical erector launchers and thrust-to-weight ratios. The demand for nuclear orthodoxy has excluded outsiders, particularly women, placing them in a “consensual straitjacket” of conformity in a male-dominated world.

Just consider Donald Regan, the former White House chief of staff, who before President Ronald Reagan’s summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 said women were “not going to understand throw-weights” or other national security issues raised at the meeting.

The numbers show how this order became so entrenched. From the 1970s to 2019, the study found, women held 11 of 68 of senior positions dealing with nuclear weapons, arms control and nonproliferation at the State Department, 13 of 109 of these jobs at the now-defunct Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, five of 63 at the Defense Department, five of 36 at the Energy Department and two of 21 national security adviser positions. ……

o be successful in these posts so critical to national security, women pay a “gender tax,” performing “the constant mental and emotional calculus that comes with implicit sexism; explicit sexism and discrimination; gender and sexual harassment; and gendered expectations,” according to the New America study, based on interviews with 23 women who held senior government positions.

Nearly all of the 23 said they were harassed or saw others harassed, and when a foreign official was involved, the stress was magnified because it could cause an international incident.

During a round-table discussion with Global Politico in 2017, Laura Rosenberger, who spent 11 years at the State Department and the National Security Council, talked about wearing more pantsuits and baggier tops as a defense mechanism “to make myself seem less attractive in the workplace.”

Mieke Eoyang,
 who served 12 years as a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, has described how she would walk into a meeting and be asked to get coffee or how a committee chairman cornered her at a reception to discuss his sexual prowess. ….

To encourage progress, Pamela Hamamoto, who served as United States ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, began a program called Gender Champions to identify international leaders committed to advancing women, and Ms. Holgate, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, replicated it in the United States. …..


May 16, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The UK has a national climate change act – why don’t we?

May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Distinguished Australians, and over 60 scientists press the government for immediate action on climate change.

 SBS 16 May 19 A group of more than 60 scientists and experts have penned an open letter to the next Australian government, calling for immediate action on climate change.

A group of more than 60 Australian scientists and experts are calling on the next government to prioritise action on climate change.

The 62 experts, including Nobel Prize winners and former Australians of the Year, have penned an open letter to politicians, which features a prominent graph showing Australia’s emissions have been rising since 2014.

“The consequences of climate change are already upon us – including harsher and more frequent extreme weather, destruction of natural ecosystems, severe property damage and a worldwide threat to human health,” they wrote.

“The solutions are all available to address climate change, all that is missing is the political will.”

The group includes former Australian of the Year and Nobel Prize winner Peter Doherty, former Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley and former premier of Western Australia Carmen Lawrence.

“Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are rising, moving the country further away from its Paris Agreement obligations,” the letter says.

“Whichever party wins government on Saturday, urgent action on climate change must be a top priority for the 46th parliament of Australia.”

Climate change has emerged as a top issue of the federal election ……

May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Australia’s opportunity to become a low carbon, renewable energy, superpower

May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Pacific leaders have voiced frustration over Australia’s failure to curb its emissions

May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Primatologist Jane Goodall calls on Australia’s leaders to take greater action on climate change

May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Fukushima plant radioactive water could be stored in tanks long term: gov’t source — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Heading toward 1.37 million tons of strontium-90 tea, enough to give a 500ml portion to 2.74 billion people May 13, 2019 The Japanese administration is considering keeping the enormous and still growing volume of radioactively contaminated water at the disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in storage tanks for the long term, a source close to […]

via Fukushima plant radioactive water could be stored in tanks long term: gov’t source — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tokyo 2020 – The Radioactive Olympics — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

In 2020, Japan is inviting athletes from around the world to take part in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are hoping for the games to be fair and peaceful. At the same time, we are worried about plans to host baseball and softball competitions in Fukushima City, just 50 km away from the […]

via Tokyo 2020 – The Radioactive Olympics — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Global CO2 emissions surpass record 415ppm, just as Exxon predicted in 1982 — RenewEconomy

Global carbon dioxide emissions have surpassed 415ppm – in line with Exxon Mobil’s catastrophic climate change forecasts which they then buried. The post Global CO2 emissions surpass record 415ppm, just as Exxon predicted in 1982 appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Global CO2 emissions surpass record 415ppm, just as Exxon predicted in 1982 — RenewEconomy

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate Change Election: where do parties stand and what can we expect after Saturday? — RenewEconomy

In 2019, climate change has re-emerged as the key issue in the minds of voters. RenewEconomy takes a look at the key parties and independents ahead of the election. The post Climate Change Election: where do parties stand and what can we expect after Saturday? appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Climate Change Election: where do parties stand and what can we expect after Saturday? — RenewEconomy

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment