Australian news, and some related international items

The War Memorial plays along with Lockheed Martin By David Stephens, Dec 13, 2022

Senator David Shoebridge, a new Green from New South Wales, tabled a document in Senate Estimates on 8 November which showed just how keen the Australian War Memorial has been to oblige its corporate donors.

The donor here was Lockheed Martin, in 2020 the world’s largest arms manufacturer by value of sales ($US58.2 billion), but which picks up “corporate responsibility” brownie points by donating small change to the Memorial ($727,000 from 2013-14 to 2019-20: Question on Notice No. 42, 2019-20 Supplementary Estimates, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee).

Formally, the document (dated 2018) the Senator waved around was Lockheed Martin’s, obtained from the Memorial under FOI. Signed by the Memorial’s representative, it enables Lockheed Martin to say it is not making donations to a government body to influence its arms contracts with the Australian government – which are worth squillions. (Lockheed is competing, for example, with Northrop Grumman at present for a contract worth $2.7 billion, and that’s just one of many.)

As the Senator said, “The purpose of having this limitation on behalf of Lockheed Martin is so that Lockheed Martin is not seen to be making financial contributions to governments, or any agency or association associated with a government, that it’s also selling weapons to. It’s an integrity measure.”

What the Memorial’s officer signed was an “international contributions compliance certification form” – provided by Lockheed Martin – that said:

[t]he Recipient Organisation [the Memorial] is not an agency, organisation, association, or instrumentality of the Australian government, any political party in Australia or a public international organisation, and is not otherwise owned, in whole or in part, or controlled by the Australian government or any Australian political party or government official, or an official of a public international organisation. [Spelling slightly revised from the Hansard to match the original.]

There was more in the form about not using Lockheed’s donated money to “improperly influence” Australian officials or obtain an “improper advantage”.

Senator Shoebridge asked War Memorial Director Anderson to admit that the statement signed off by the Memorial officer was “plainly wrong”, in that the Memorial clearly was “an agency, organisation, association or instrumentality of the Australian government”. The Director pointed out instead that the Memorial had inserted words (in red, indeed) in the form: “The Memorial is a statutory authority of the Australian government, with an independent governing council”.

The Department of Finance two page “Flipchart of PGPA Act [Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013] Commonwealth entities and companies”, dated 15 November 2022, shows lots of statutory authorities, but the term “statutory authority” simply means “an Australian Government body established through legislation for a public purpose“. It is not defined in the relevant current legislation, the PGPA Act, which is written in terms of “Commonwealth entities” and divides all except 17 of the 190 entities listed into “corporate” or “non-corporate”. (The other 17 are companies under the Corporations Act.)

The Flipchart classifies the Memorial as a “Corporate Commonwealth entity”, one of 72 in that category. The category also includes the Australian National University, the ABC, the National Gallery, the National Library, and the National Museum, each of them with its own Act and similar words about the powers and functions of their governing Boards or Councils as are found in the Australian War Memorial Act 1980.

In essence, the Memorial representative who signed the form – and Director Anderson at Estimates – were using the generic but legally meaningless category “statutory authority” as a fig leaf to cover the Memorial’s paving the way for Lockheed. The fact that the Memorial can be called a statutory authority does not mean it is not at the same time a “Commonwealth entity” as on the PGPA Flipchart or, in Lockheed’s terms, “an agency, organisation, association or instrumentality of the Australian government”.

What fibs bureaucrats have to tell to cadge a dribble of funds out of donors. To complete the story, though, we need to mention that other evidence we have seen, dated 4 October 2022, is a letter where a Memorial officer admits (to someone not Lockheed but in reference to this case), “The ongoing relationship the Memorial has with Lockheed Martin would lead a reasonable person to understand the Memorial is funded by and a part of the Australian Government”.

So, what the Memorial says depends upon to whom it is writing – sometimes it’s not Australian, sometimes it is. By the way, Kim Beazley, newly elected and appointed as the Chair of the War Memorial Council, former Defence Minister, former Ambassador to the United States, former Governor of Western Australia and promoter of its defence industries, was also from 2016 to 2018 a member of the Board of Lockheed Martin Australia. Another example of what has been called “the military-industrial-commemorative complex” or simply “the revolving door”.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear news – Australia and more – week to 13 December

A bit of good news – Once devastated Pacific reefs see amazing recovery.

Coronavirus.  COVID is running rampant in China and its hospitals are overwhelmed.  Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Weekly Epidemiological Update

Climate.          Climate Honesty – Ending Climate Brightsiding, ( but also including revolutionary technology – mirrors to reflect the sun’s energy back into space). Climate change could force 1.2 billion to move by 2050. Is the world even remotely ready?

Nuclear.  Is the West playing some sort of Russian roulette with the war in Ukraine?   Supplying Zelensky with long range missiles, that Ukraine is now using to target sites within Russia –    this amounts to some sick sort of game of chicken.   How far can we push Putin into using even more devastating methods against Ukraine?   Of course nobody’s going to use “tactical” supposedly sorta “little”” nuclear weapons, are they? 

Do the men who run the world ever consider the psychology of the macho military men who are mad keen to use the most powerful weapons?  So much easier and quicker to make such a decision , compared with the dreary task of negotiating an end to the horror, an end which would mean conceding to some of Russia’s not unrealistic demands.  Meanwhile Zelensky and co are being bolstered with all sorts of honours and acclaim – encouraged to continue in their ultranationalistic  and probaly suicidal dream of complete victory over Russia.


CIVIL LIBERTIES. Biden faces growing pressure to drop charges against Julian Assange.

ECONOMICS. Another dodgy Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) set up to promote small nuclear reactors

EDUCATION. Nuclear lobby continues to capture universities

ENERGY.  Every home and community could be a power station’: the Nuclear Free Local Authorities’s future renewable energy vision for Wales. How to scale rooftop community solar in cities, UK policy changes: windfalls and renewables.

ENVIRONMENT. ‘Humanity has become a weapon of mass extinction‘. Past time for action — France should clean up atomic mess in Algeria. Commitments to nuclear HS2 and Sizewell C undermine UK Government promises on climate.


LEGAL. Revealing He Too Had Manning Leaks, Ellsberg Dares Justice Dept to Prosecute Him Like Assange

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY. ‘New’ Nuclear Reactors Will Make Us a Guinea Pig Nation. Will small modular reactors seed a nuclear renaissance? THE ROBOTS OF FUKUSHIMA: GOING WHERE NO HUMAN HAS GONE BEFORE (AND LIVED).

OPPOSITION TO NUCLEAR. Ineos Grangemouth refinery: Anti-nuclear campaigners will put up a huge fight against any attempt to build small nuclear reactors – Dr Richard Dixon.


POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACY. Macron: Russia Needs Security Guarantees ‘Essential’ To Ending The War. USA and UK welded together firmly in the grip of the nuclear lobby, with their Small Nuclear Reactor folly. UN: Israel must take ‘immediate steps’ to give up nuclear weaponsJapanese prime minister may seek in-depth nuclear abolition talks at Hiroshima G7 summit.

SAFETY.Why nuclear-powered France faces power outage risks. France: EDF extends nuclear outages by up to 42 days. Finland warns of power outage risk over nuclear plant startup delay – Olkiluoto 3 reactor unreliable?       Slovakia’s new nuclear power plant delayed due to a technical fault.           US imposes sanctions on six Pakistan companies for unsafeguarded nuclear activities.          TVA sends calendars to households near nuclear plants with preparedness tips in case of emergencies.

SECRETS and LIES. How the Global Spyware Industry Spiraled Out of Control.

SPINBUSTERWatch Stella Assange Slap The Mustache Off John Bolton’s War Criminal Face.

WASTES. The world’s deepest nuclear clean-up – the Dounreay shaftNuclear waste permit ‘more stringent’ New Mexico says as feds look to renew for 10 years.

WAR and CONFLICTNATO Chief Voices Fear Of War With Russia While US Greenlights Drone Strikes On Russian Territory.   Putin: Nuclear risk is rising, but we are not mad.      Ukraine war: Red Cross appeal, Kremlin sees Crimea attack ‘risks’.        Maligned in Western Media, Donbass Forces are Defending their Future from Ukrainian Shelling and Fascism.     PETER HITCHENS: The arrogance and folly in Ukraine that could yet send us hurtling towards nuclear catastrophe.’         Warfare Development Conference: NATO touts successful operations on four continents

WEAPONS INDUSTRY. Are the bombs are back in town? US atomic weapons in Britain would make nuclear war more likely. U.S. provides more missiles to Ukraine in new $275 million arms package Weapons interoperability and “sovereignty”: Polish state bank backs purchase of $4b more in U.S. arms . What could possibly go wrong?

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment