Australian news, and some related international items

Home is where the heart is – or should be – on energy and climate policy — RenewEconomy

If we are to lower energy bills and meet our climate targets, then households and communities must move to the centre of energy and climate policy. The post Home is where the heart is – or should be – on energy and climate policy appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Home is where the heart is – or should be – on energy and climate policy — RenewEconomy

July 30, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NSW plans new “firming” tenders to support renewables, electrification and EV switch — RenewEconomy

NSW plans to roll out additional “firming” tenders to cope with increased demand driven by electrification and the switch to electric vehicles. The post NSW plans new “firming” tenders to support renewables, electrification and EV switch appeared first on RenewEconomy.

NSW plans new “firming” tenders to support renewables, electrification and EV switch — RenewEconomy

July 30, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Plans emerge for new 150MW wind farm in WA wheatbelt — RenewEconomy

Plans have emerged for 150MW wind farm in Western Australia’s wheatbelt region. The post Plans emerge for new 150MW wind farm in WA wheatbelt appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Plans emerge for new 150MW wind farm in WA wheatbelt — RenewEconomy

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“Held to ransom:” Damning report shows gas cartel throwing away social licence — RenewEconomy

The federal government warns the Australian gas industry it is losing its social license after the release of a damning report from Australia’s competition watchdog. The post “Held to ransom:” Damning report shows gas cartel throwing away social licence appeared first on RenewEconomy.

“Held to ransom:” Damning report shows gas cartel throwing away social licence — RenewEconomy

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Big spinning machines remove constraints on wind and solar — RenewEconomy

Constraints on wind and solar are at the lowest level in more than three years. The post Big spinning machines remove constraints on wind and solar appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Big spinning machines remove constraints on wind and solar — RenewEconomy

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UN Nuclear Review: A Prime Time to Stop the New Arms Race

The real solution to the threat of nuclear war is in plain sight, but still the powerful weapons makers and war profiteers refuse to yield. By Marcy Winograd and Medea Benjamin, 31 July 22,

In the run-up to August’s United Nation’s 10th Annual Review of the landmark Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a review undertaken every five years, Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s State Department issued a surprising reaffirmation of the U.S. commitment to this treaty and the “ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons.”

The NPT, designed to “further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament,” entered into force in 1970 and was extended indefinitely in 1995. It has now been signed by 191 nations, including the U.S. and Russia.

If only Blinken’s verbal support for the NPT was U.S. policy, as opposed to wishful thinking or trickery.

As treaty signatories and civil society representatives from around the world gather for a month in New York to evaluate the treaty’s implementation, the White House, Congress, and military contractors will move ahead on a near $2 trillion nuclear rearmament program euphemistically termed “nuclear modernization.”

Modernization is a kitchen upgrade. New touch-to-open cabinets. New LED recessed lighting.

It is not 600 new–instead of funeralized–intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM’s) on hair trigger alert to replace the Minuteman III in the midwest. Each of these “modern missiles” would span the length of a bowling lane with new warheads that are 20 times more powerful than the bombs that incinerated Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Modernization is not a new sea-launched nuclear cruise missile that carries both conventional and nuclear warheads with the same radar profile to confuse “the enemy.”

Modernization is not 100 new stealth air-launched nuclear missiles like the B-21 Raider, also capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear weapons.

Ahh, but these nuclear weapons are just upgrades, not new systems, right?

Semantic back-flips aside, U.S. nuclear “modernization” means the development of new weapon systems with new nuclear warheads and a new arms race. What the State Department failed to mention in its reaffirmation of the NPT was that the U.S. nuclear rearmament program violates the spirit and intent of Article 6 of the NPT, which prohibits the pursuit of new nuclear weapons.

Instead of pursuing world peace and climate preservation for our children, US leaders are chasing a reckless foreign policy.

In April, the Wall Street Journal published a commentary titled “The U.S. should show it can win a nuclear war.”

More recently, the City of New York, home of the United Nations, released, however well-intentioned, a so-called public service announcement on how to survive a nuclear attack, referring to it as “the big one”, as though it were an earthquake. No mention was made of blinding flashes of light or widespread radiation that blisters the skin or immediate incineration. Instead, New Yorkers were instructed to get inside, stay inside and stay tuned. Tuned to what? Our fading heartbeats?

According to the International Committee to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a nuclear war between the US and Russia would lead to over 34-million dead and 57 million injured in the first few hours — and a dark subzero winter of famine and soot blocking the sun for those who survived.

No mention is made of this nightmare scenario, however, in the 2019 Joint Chiefs Nuclear Operations Publication (3–72), a Strangelovian document briefly released then deleted from the website of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The vanishing unclassified document, preserved by the Federation of American Scientists, reflects the Pentagon’s delusional thinking that a nuclear war can be limited and won. Mark Milley, then Secretary of the Army, now Chair of the Joint Chiefs, signed off on the chilling statements below:

“A nuclear weapon could be brought into the campaign as a result of perceived failure in a conventional campaign, potential loss of control or regime, or to escalate the conflict to sue for peace on more-favorable terms.”

“Using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability …”

UN treaty signatories, along with NGO conference delegates, should use the month-long NPT operations review to speak truth to power.

First, they should speak out against the dangerous proxy war in Ukraine between the U.S./NATO and Russia that could lead to a nuclear confrontation. The delegates should denounce Russian President Vladmir Putin for ordering the invasion of Ukraine and call on all parties in the war to engage in a negotiated settlement.

One miscalculation, one moment of confusion, one intentional launch of a short-range nuclear warhead, followed by a retaliatory long-range nuclear weapon, could burn us alive and blanket the world in ash.

Delegates should also call on the United States and NATO to denuclearize Europe. This would entail removing US nuclear weapons from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey; scrapping plans to redeploy nuclear weapons to the United Kingdom, where for 14 years nuclear storage facilities rightfully have sat empty; and removing the provocative anti-ballistic missiles from Romania and Poland, both of which are perilously close to Russia’s border.

On the broader issue of disarmament, attendees at the UN meetings should shout “Come to your senses!” to the President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley for supporting nuclear rearmament. Delegates should denounce members of Congress who recently voted for the $840 billion dollar military budget that includes $30 billion as another down payment on the nuclear rearmament program.

Participants at the UN gathering could also call on President Biden to declassify his Nuclear Posture Review. Every administration is obligated by US law to release a new Nuclear Posture Review outlining the administration’s nuclear policy.

To date, Biden’s Nuclear Posture Review remains a secret.


Declassifying the Review would allow the people of the United States, and the world, to know whether President Biden is committed to keeping his campaign promise of no first use of nuclear weapons and if he abides by the Joint Statement he signed with Putin in 2021 and the Joint Agreement he signed in 2022 with five nuclear weapons states, including Russia and China, committing the US to the NPT because “a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.”

The real solution to the threat of nuclear war is in plain sight. It is the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons. It was adopted in July 2017 and entered into force in January 2021, after it was ratified by 50 states. None of the nuclear states have signed it.

The NPT Review Conference is a golden opportunity for the participants, and the public in general, to call on all nations to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and to once and for all embrace the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to, in the treaty’s words, “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”

Take Action: Email the White House to demand President Biden’s Nuclear Posture Review be made public. Call your US Senators (202) 224–3121 to urge them to vote NO on the 2023 military budget or NDAA.

Marcy Winograd of Progressive Democrats of America served as a 2020 DNC Delegate for Bernie Sanders and co-founded the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party. Coordinator of CODEPINKCONGRESS, Marcy spearheads Capitol Hill calling parties to mobilize co-sponsors and votes for peace and foreign policy legislation.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace, is the author of the 2018 book, “Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Her previous books include: “Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection” (2016); “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control” (2013); “Don’t Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart” (1989), and (with Jodie Evans) “Stop the Next War Now (Inner Ocean Action Guide)” (2005).

July 30, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 31 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “How The Storm-Ravaged Bahamas Can Be A Model For Resilient Energy” • Multiple Category 4 and 5 hurricanes have hit The Bahamas in the past seven years. After Hurricane Irma slammed into Ragged Island in 2017, the country started building microgrids for resilience. One goal is to set an example for the rest […]

July 31 Energy News — geoharvey

July 30, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The World Does Not Want a Global NATO.

Although NATO’s member states may believe that they possess global authority, the overwhelming majority of the world does not.

It is clear that NATO’s claim to be “a bulwark of the rules-based international order” is not a view which is shared by most of the world

Most of the world rejects NATO’s policies and global aspirations and does not wish to divide the international community into outdated Cold War blocs, writes Vijay Prashad.

Consortium News, By Vijay Prashad. Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research ” 29 July 22..………………….. At No Cold War, an international platform seeking to bring sanity to international relations, we have been closely observing the shifting tenor of the war in Ukraine and the U.S.-driven pressure campaign against China.

We have published three previous briefings from this platform in our newsletters; below, you will find briefing No. 4The World Does Not Want a Global NATO, which details the emerging clarity in the Global South regarding the U.S.-European attempt to drive a belligerent agenda around the world.

This new clarity relates not only to the militarisation of the planet, but also to the deepening conflicts in trade and development, as evidenced by the G7’s new initiative, the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Development, which clearly targets China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

In June, member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) gathered in Madrid for their annual summit. At the meeting, NATO adopted a new Strategic Concept, which had last been updated in 2010. In it, NATO names Russia as its “most significant and direct threat” and singles out China as a “challenge [to] our interests.” In the words of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, this guiding document represents a “fundamental shift” for the military alliance, its “biggest overhaul… since the Cold War.”

Monroe Doctrine for the 21st Century?

Although NATO purports to be a “defensive” alliance, this claim is contradicted by its destructive legacy – such as in Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001) and Libya (2011) – and its ever-expanding global footprint.

At the summit, NATO made it clear that it intends to continue its global expansion to confront Russia and China. Seemingly oblivious to the immense human suffering produced by the war in Ukraine, NATO declared that its “enlargement has been a historic success… and contributed to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area,” and extended official membership invitations to Finland and Sweden.

However, NATO’s sights extend far beyond the “Euro-Atlantic” to the Global South. Seeking to gain a foothold in Asia, NATO welcomed Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand as summit participants for the first time and stated that “the Indo-Pacific is important for NATO.”

On top of this, echoing the Monroe Doctrine (1823) of two hundred years ago, the Strategic Concept named “Africa and the Middle East” as “NATO’s southern neighbourhood,” and Stoltenberg made an ominous reference to “Russia and China’s increasing influence in [the Alliance’s] southern neighbourhood” as presenting a “challenge.”

Most of World Seeks Peace

Although NATO’s member states may believe that they possess global authority, the overwhelming majority of the world does not. The international response to the war in Ukraine indicates that a stark divide exists between the United States and its closest allies on the one hand and the Global South on the other.

Governments representing 6.7 billion people – 85 percent of the world’s population – have refused to follow sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies against Russia, while countries representing only 15 percent of the world’s population have followed these measures. According to Reuters, the only non-Western governments to have enacted sanctions on Russia are Japan, South Korea, the Bahamas and Taiwan – all of which host U.S. military bases or personnel.

There is even less support for the push to close airspace to Russian planes spearheaded by the U.S. and European Union. Governments representing only 12 percent of the world’s population have adopted this policy, while 88 percent have not.

U.S.-led efforts to politically isolate Russia on the international stage have been unsuccessful. In March, the U.N. General Assembly voted on a nonbinding resolution to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: 141 countries voted in favour, five countries voted against, 35 countries abstained and 12 countries were absent. However, this tally does not tell the full story. The countries which either voted against the resolution, abstained, or were absent represent 59 percent of the world’s population. Following this, the Biden administration’s call for Russia to be excluded from the G20 summit in Indonesia was ignored.

Meanwhile, despite intense backing from NATO, efforts to win support for Ukraine in the Global South have been a complete failure. On June 20, after several requests, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the African Union; only two heads of state of the continental organisation’s 55 members attended the meeting. Shortly thereafter, Zelensky’s request to address the Latin American trade bloc, Mercosur, was rejected.

It is clear that NATO’s claim to be “a bulwark of the rules-based international order” is not a view which is shared by most of the world. Support for the military alliance’s policies is almost entirely confined to its member countries and a handful of allies which together constitute a small minority of the world’s population. Most of the world’s population rejects NATO’s policies and global aspirations and does not wish to divide the international community into outdated Cold War blocs.

July 30, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The future of global catastrophic risk events from climate change

Increasing risks posed by climate change are causing rare extreme events that can kill more than 10 million people or lead to damages of $10 trillion-plus, posing threats of total societal collapse, a U.N. report finds.

Yale Climate Connections, by JEFF MASTERSJULY 28, 2022.

our times since 1900, human civilization has suffered global catastrophes with extreme impacts: World War I (40 million killed), the 1918-19 influenza pandemic (40-50 million killed), World War II (40-50 million killed), and the COVID-19 pandemic (an economic impact in the trillions, and a 2020-21 death toll of 14.9 million, according to the World Health Organization).

These are the only events since the beginning of the 20th century that meet the United Nations’s definition of global catastrophic risk (GCR): a catastrophe global in impact that kills over 10 million people or causes over $10 trillion (2022 USD) in damage.

But human activity is “creating greater and more dangerous risk” and increasing the odds of global catastrophic risk events, by increasingly pushing humans beyond nine “planetary boundaries” of environmental limits within which humanity can safely operate, warns a recent United Nations report, “Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction – Our World at Risk: Transforming Governance for a Resilient Future” (GAR2022) and its companion paper, “Global catastrophic risk and planetary boundaries: The relationship to global targets and disaster risk reduction” (see July post, “Recklessness defined: breaking 6 of 9 planetary boundaries of safety“).

These reports, endorsed by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, make the case that the combined effects of disasters, economic vulnerabilities, and overtaxing of ecosystems are creating “a dangerous tendency for the world to tend toward the Global Collapse scenario. This scenario presents a world where planetary boundaries have been extensively crossed, and if GCR events have not already occurred or are in the process of occurring, then their likelihood of doing so in the future is extreme … and total societal collapse is a possibility.”

Global catastrophic risk (GCR) events

Human civilization has evolved during the Holocene Era, the stability of which is now threatened by human-caused climate change. As a result, global catastrophic risk events from climate change are growing increasingly likely, the U.N. May 2022 reports conclude. There are many other potential global catastrophic risk events, both natural and human-caused (Figure 2 on original), posing serious risks and warranting humanity’s careful consideration. But the report cautions of “large uncertainty both for the likelihood of such events occurring and for their wider impact.” …………….

Five types of GCR events with increasing likelihood in a warmer climate

1) Drought……………………….

2) War…………………………………..

3) Sea-level rise, combined with land subsidence………………………………….

4) Pandemics……………………..

…….. Note that in the case of the 1918-19 influenza GCR event, a separate GCR event helped trigger it: WWI, because of the mass movement of troops that spread the disease. The U.N. reports emphasize that one GCR event can trigger other GCR events, with climate change acting as a threat multiplier.

5) Ocean current changes………………………….

6) Ocean acidification

7) A punishing surprise
In 2004, Harvard climate scientists Paul Epstein and James McCarthy conclude in a paper titled “Assessing Climate Stability” that: “We are already observing signs of instability within the climate system……………… high impact weather events – “black swan” events – that no one anticipated…………………………………………..

Avoiding climate change-induced global catastrophic risk events is of urgent importance, and the UN report is filled with promising approaches that can help. For example, it explains how systemic risk in food systems from rainfall variability in the Middle East can be reduced using traditional and indigenous dryland management practices involving rotational grazing and access to reserves in the dry season. More generally, the encouraging clean energy revolution now under way globally needs to be accelerated. And humanity must do its utmost to pay back the loans taken from the Bank of Gaia, stop burning fossil fuels and polluting the environment, and restoring degraded ecosystems. If we do not, the planet that sustains us will no longer be able to.

July 30, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Labor should halt plans to dump nuclear waste on South Australia – Greens Senator Barbara Pocock.

29 July 2022

Greens Senator for SA Barbara Pocock has called on the Albanese Labor Government to abandon plans to dump nuclear waste on South Australia, after it was revealed the environmental impact statement won’t consider shipping and transport routes for the toxic waste.

The latest concerns have arisen while the Traditional Owners of the selected waste dump site at Kimba on SA’s Eyre Peninsula were visiting parliament this week. The Barngarla people were not consulted before the site was selected and are in the midst of a Federal Court battle opposing the dumping of waste on their traditional lands. They were in Canberra asking the new Minister to listen to them and halt the plans of the Morrison Government.

Senator Pocock said:

“The Albanese Labor Government should stop the pursuit of the Morrison Government’s plans to dump on SA.

“If this dump goes ahead, radioactive waste will be transported through South Australia’s regional roads, streets and waters for decades to come, yet these towns and cities – and most South Australians – have never consulted.

“Now it’s also clear the new government has no plans to consider the environmental impact of the shipping and transport of the waste throughout our state. This is unacceptable.

“This week I met with the Barngarla People who were again in Canberra pleading for the government of the day to listen to them.

“The Labor Party continues to talk about giving First Nations People a voice to the parliament yet is failing to listen to their voices right now, on a current issue. The Prime Minister is addressing the Garma Festival on implementing the Statement from the Heart this weekend. His words will be hollow if his government does not listen to the voice of the Barngala people and instead pursues the radioactive waste dump rejected by Traditional Owners.

“The Greens will fight to ensure that all South Australians have a say about this dump and we will keep listening to the voice of the Barngarla people who, to a person, oppose this dump.”

July 30, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Indonesia warns of perils of nuclear-powered submarines in submission to the UN

SMH, By Chris Barrett and Karuni RompiesJuly 29, 2022,

Singapore: Indonesia warns that the sharing of nuclear technology to power submarines could heighten the risk of new types of weapons of mass destruction emerging.

In a submission to next week’s United Nations nuclear non-proliferation review conference, Indonesia said the use of highly enriched uranium for naval propulsion was of growing concern.

It comes as a group of American non-proliferation experts have written to US President Joe Biden ahead of the meeting in New York, urging him to abandon plans to sell Australia eight submarines “fuelled with weapon-grade uranium”.

China will also bring up the AUKUS submarines deal at the conference, believing it to be a dangerous precedent and a violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

While the submission does not reference the AUKUS deal, Indonesia, as well as Malaysia, have voiced anxiety about Australia’s desire to acquire nuclear-powered vessels after the pact with the US and UK was announced last September, worrying it could trigger an arms race.

In a draft working paper for next week’s UN meeting, Indonesia argues the sharing of nuclear technology and materials for military purposes may be counter to the spirit and objective of the NPT and “could potentially set precedence [sic] for other similar arrangements”…………………………………

In their letter to Biden, however, the US experts warned other US allies might seek the same arrangement as Australia and that countries might also pursue nuclear reactors from Russia, creating a “monitoring nightmare for the International Atomic Energy Agency”.

“We are not concerned that Australia might extract HEU from the submarine fuel to make nuclear weapons,” they said.

“Our concern is that providing Australia with HEU-fuelled naval reactors could allow other states to invoke .the AUKUS example to justify their own production or acquisition of HEU fuel.”.US assistant director for national security Frank von Hippel; and the US-headquartered Arms Control Association executive director Daryl Kimball – called on the US and UK to commit to developing naval reactors fuelled by low enriched uranium that can’t be used for nuclear weapons.

July 30, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

French navy warns AUKUS nuclear submarine plan will be ‘much more difficult’ for Australia

By defence correspondent Andrew Greene. 29 July 22,

One of France’s most senior defence figures is warning Australia that acquiring nuclear submarines will be “much more difficult” than the now scrapped plan to build a new fleet of conventionally powered boats.

Key points:

  • French military chief Nicolas Vaujour was in Sydney for talks with Australian and US military leaders at the high-powered defence conference
  • Vice Admiral Vaujour says he was “surprised” at Australia’s decision to obtain nuclear-powered submarines
  • France proposed the two countries organise joint naval training drills

As both nations look to reset relations following the diplomatic fallout from last year’s AUKUS announcement, the French military’s Chief of Operations of the Joint Staff is signalling a “new era” of cooperation involving more naval exercises and cooperation.

Vice Admiral Nicolas Vaujour has travelled to Sydney for talks with Australian Defence Force Chief General Angus Campbell and other military leaders at the high-powered Indo-Pacific Chiefs of Defence (CHODs) Conference………………………………

July 30, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fleet of nuclear submarines will be sent by Britain to Australia as a threat to China

  • Britain is to send a fleet of nuclear submarines to Australia port of Perth 
  • Deployment is seen as a warning to China in the Asia-Pacific region 
  • Move is part of AUKUS (Australia, UK and United States) security alliance By DEFENCE EDITOR FOR THE DAILY MAIL, 22 July 2022,

Britain is to send a fleet of nuclear submarines to the Pacific in a decisive move to thwart Chinese aggression in the region.

The dramatic decision could see UK subs based in Australia until 2040, operating within striking distance of China.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the head of the Armed Forces, will agree the arrangement at a naval conference in Sydney next week. Assigning submarines to patrol the South China Sea will be Britain’s most assertive move yet against Beijing.

According to reports in Australia, Royal Navy submarines would be based at Perth on the country’s western coast and Australian submariners would be incorporated into British crews to improve their skills.

Basing the Royal Navy boats thousands of miles from UK shores is part of the AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom and United States) security alliance.

AUKUS was set up last year primarily to confront Chinese military expansionism in the Indo-Pacific. Australia has become embroiled in a trade war and diplomatic stand-off with China. The deepening of defence ties with the UK is likely to cause further outrage with the Communist regime, which is vehemently opposed to AUKUS.

The Royal Navy declined to say last night how many of its submarines could be relocated to Australia, as all operational details surrounding Britain’s sub-surface fleet are classified.

The ‘Pacific tilt’ was signalled last year as part of the MoD’s Integrated Review.

The review set the target for the UK to become ‘the European partner with the broadest and most integrated presence in the Indo-Pacific’.

But given that China possesses the world’s biggest navy, some questioned the merits of such a deployment, arguing Britain’s boats would be massively outnumbered and outgunned.

Last night the MoD said: ‘It is UK policy that we do not comment on matters relating to submarine activity or operations.’

July 30, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment