Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Planning for the town of Jabiru to be rejuvenated as uranium mining ends

Jabiru: the Kakadu mining town facing closure seeks a fresh start  The town of 1,000 people is supposed to disappear as the Ranger uranium mine closes, but locals want to give it a new future as a tourism hub, Guardian, Helen Davidson, 24 July 17

Jabiru is a small town on a countdown.

Deep inside Kakadu national park, the tiny network of bush-lined streets and a tired shopping precinct was originally built in 1982 to service the community of workers from the Ranger uranium mine. It remains home to just over 1,000 people, a quarter of whom are Indigenous, and serves as a hub for more than 300 people living on nearby outstations.

It has also grown to become a base for the 210,000 odd tourists who visit Kakadu each year, many of them staying at the smattering of caravan parks and crocodile-shaped hotels on their way through.

But Energy Resources Australia is required to wrap up its operations and rehabilitate the site when its lease expires in 2021, after losing the support of its parent company, Rio Tinto, to open another mine.

That means returning the land – including Jabiru – to a pre-mine state, taking the electricity and airport with it.

 Almost no one wants the town to be fully rehabilitated, but in the absence of an alternative plan, ERA is continuing with its obligations to shut it down within four years……..

The uncertainty is already having an impact, with a number of businesses having closed their doors in recent years, unable to secure loans or find buyers without a guaranteed future.

The West Arnhem Regional Council has provided assurances that it will remain in the region, servicing the Indigenous communities.

“Jabiru is the town in this region. There’s nothing else between Coolalinga [near Darwin] and Gunbalanya [in Arnhem Land],” says Justin O’Brien, chief executive of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation.

Gundjeihmi, which represents the Mirarr traditional owners of the park, is working with the federal and territory governments, and ERA, on an alternative plan for the town.

O’Brien is optimistic, and says ERA’s study was based on “full demolition” scenarios.

“They are a narrow focus on what would occur if nothing else happened.”

Last year the Mirarr were legally recognised by the federal court as the native title holders of the land Jabiru sits on, and are negotiating a township lease……

The airstrip, connected to the Ranger mine, has a future three years longer than the town under the current closure plans – it would be demolished in 2025. If it disappeared it would be devastating for the tourism industry, O’Brien says.

“Jabiru and Kakadu might not be kicking the goals in tourism we think it could and should be, but it’s all that’s on offer at the moment. In the peak season it can be difficult getting a bed.”

Bob McDonald, director of Kakadu Air, which has operated from the Jabiru airstrip running scenic flights over Kakadu for 36 years, declines to talk about the report, but tells Guardian Australia he is “extremely optimistic” and the current planning is “a great opportunity for the normalisation of Jabiru”. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jul/24/jabiru-kakadu-mining-town-facing-closure-seeks-fresh-start

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July 24, 2017 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

North Korea’ latest intercontinental ballistic missile would be able to hit Darwin

Australia now within range of new North Korean missile, as calculations show it could fly far enough to hit Darwin

  • The ‘landmark’ test of a Hwasong-14 missile was overseen by leader Kim Jong-Un
  • It was fired from a site in the North Phyongan province into the Sea of Japan
  • It is believed to have reached an altitude of 2802 km and flew 933 km
  • The North has long sought to build nuclear missiles capable of reaching the US
  • Weapons analysts say the missile has the capability to travel up to 6,700km
  • Darwin is only 5,750km from Pyongyang, putting Australia into the firing line

Experts say the missile could reach a maximum range of 6,700km on a standard trajectory, meaning it would be able to hit Darwin, which is 5,750km from Pyongyang.

David Wright, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote on the organisation’s allthingsnuclear blog that the available figures implied the missile ‘could reach a maximum range of roughly 6,700 km on a standard trajectory’.

‘That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska.’ …………http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4664328/Australia-range-new-North-Korean-missile.html#ixzz4ltt8SE9M

July 5, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Senator Scott Ludlam asks some inconvenient questions on the cleanup of the Ranger uranium mine

Environment and Communications Legislation Committee 23/05/2017 Estimates
ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY PORTFOLIO
Clean Energy Regulator

Full Transcript: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;orderBy=customrank;page=0;query=Dataset%3AcomSen,estimate%20Dataset_Phrase%3A%22estimate%22%20CommitteeName_Phrase%3A%22environment%20and%20communications%20legislation%20committee%22%20Questioner_Phrase%3A%22ludlam,%20sen%20scott%22;rec=5;resCount=Default

CHAIR: I welcome the Office of the Supervising Scientist.

Senator LUDLAM: I understand that ERA is in the process of starting to get on with closing the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu and have notified stakeholders—presumably including yourselves—that they are intending to vary the way that they are depositing the tailings back into pit 3, and that they are proposing to change from an aerial tailings deposition to subaqueous deposition. For the non-specialists, could you describe maybe in plain English the difference in technique they are proposing.

Mr Tayler : The previous tailings deposition methodology had tailings being dredged from the tailings dam and tailings coming from the mill being deposited onto a beach, essentially. The new methodology that ERA is proposing involves depositing tailings through water; hence the subaqueous versus subaerial. Essentially, it was being put onto a tailings beach; the new method will be depositing it through the water column itself.

Senator LUDLAM: Is the decommissioning of the mine being treated as a nuclear action under the EPBC Act?

Mr Tayler : No.

Senator LUDLAM: Can you describe for us why not?

Mr Tayler : I would prefer that questions specific to the EPBC Act were directed to the Environmental Standards Division, or we could take it on notice if that is okay.

Senator LUDLAM: I think that is fair enough. If you can take it on notice, but I guess the answer is not going to come from you, is it? I think we have already let these people go.

Mr Tayler : Yes, it is a legal point, and I would not want to comment on that in case I got it wrong.

Senator LUDLAM: That is fine. I understand there is an interception trench, which intersects the saline plume coming out from under the tailings storage facility. We have been asking your predecessors in this office for years about this. My understanding is that ERA is currently monitoring that plume of saline water. There is a certain amount of dewatering that is being done. How long is it expected that monitoring and dewatering operations would continue beyond 2020?

Mr Tayler : In relation to the seepage—

Senator LUDLAM: In 2026, I beg your pardon. In relation to the monitoring of that saline plume and the dewatering.

Mr Tayler : Specifically related to the tailings dam?

Senator LUDLAM: Yes.

Mr Tayler : That is not information that we currently have. It is on ERA’s work program to conduct some detailed groundwater modelling of the TSF footprint. The TSF will not be decommissioned for several years yet, so I could not give you a specific answer to that question at this time.

Senator LUDLAM: When is the expected decommissioning date for the tailings storage facility?

Mr Tayler : I would have to take that on notice for the exact date. I believe it was towards the end of the rehabilitation process, which would put it in the 2024-25 period, but I will confirm that for you.

Senator LUDLAM: I will tell you what the purpose of these questions is: we have a plume of saline water that ERA was a bit reluctant to concede even existed, seeping out from under the dam, carrying goodness knows what other processed chemicals and radionuclides and whatever with it. We have the company with interception trenches, possibly bores, trying to get a sense of how much water is falling out the bottom of the TSF. We have an interception trench which is allowing them to remove some of that water and presumably process it and clean it up. That is a very active process of maintenance. How long is it anticipated to last?

Mr Tayler : Yes, I understand the question. At this stage, I do not have sufficient information to answer that question.

Senator LUDLAM: In terms of a yes/no. Is that because you do not have it at the table or you do not think that knowledge exists at this time?

Mr Tayler : I do not think that knowledge exists at this time. We need ERA to complete some proposed groundwater modelling. That will model the movement of that plume. That will give some indication of how long that plume will take to move, how long it will take to dilute and what management, if any management, will be required. That work has not yet been undertaken.

Senator LUDLAM: It is 2017. How does the ERA not know that already? I have been asking about this for about eight years, and this was an issue way before I came along.

Mr Tayler : Operationally, I think the issue has been quite well managed. We can provide an update on that if that would be helpful. From a long-term closure sense, the focus has been on looking at the groundwater impacts from the pits. Further work is still required on quantifying exactly what is beneath the TSF and what that may look like in the future.

Senator LUDLAM: So they still do not really know what is coming out from underneath the dam?

Mr Tayler : In an operational sense, we know very well exactly what is moving now. How that will behave over the long term into the future is not yet quantified.

Senator LUDLAM: Could you provide us with an estimate of how much water is seeping out from under the TSF every year? We have had order of magnitude estimates going back a couple of years.

Mr Tayler : For the whole dam? I would have to take that on notice.

Senator LUDLAM: Thank you. What I am trying to find out is whether that process is still going to be underway beyond 2026 or if it is within the company’s work plan that it is all well and truly done.

June 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Solar power plant for Northern Territory Aboriginal community -cuts reliance on diesel

NT aboriginal community to get 1MW solar plant, cut reliance on diesel, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 1 June 2017  One Step Off The Grid

A remote Aboriginal community south of Darwin in the Northern Territory will soon be powered mostly by the sun, thanks to a hybrid solar and diesel generation plant being built as part of the Territory government’s SETuP program.

The Daly River project will see the construction of a 1MW solar facility, that is expected to provide 100 per cent of the local Nauiyu community’s energy needs during the day, relegating the diesel generators for use only at night and as back-up…….

…to read the full story on One Step Off The Grid, click here

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation.  http://reneweconomy.com.au/nt-aboriginal-community-get-1mw-solar-plant-cut-reliance-diesel-59838/

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Northern Territory, solar | Leave a comment

News on fracking in Australia

Renowned scientist Tim Flannery warns NT against investing in gas
The former chief commissioner of Australia’s Climate Council says the NT should take heed of the risks posed by hydraulic fracturing when considering gas projects such as the proposed Jemena pipeline.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-06/tim-flannery-warns-against-nt-pipeline/8502186

Western Australia
Tribunal rules against Indigenous anti-fracking protestor in WA
An Aboriginal man who has spent more than two years protesting mining companies from a makeshift camp in northern WA declares victory, despite a tribunal ruling likely to end his campaign.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-05/tribunal-rules-against-anti-fracking-protester/8501544

May 7, 2017 Posted by | legal, Northern Territory, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Pine Gap critically involved in USA – North Korea antagonism

Pine Gap ‘on standby’ as tensions rise between the US and North Korea, Debra Killalea news.com.audebra.killalea@news.com.au @DebKillalea IF Kim Jong-un is planning a missile attack, one strategic military and intelligence facility should know all about it. And it’s in the centre of our country.

IF Kim Jong-un is planning to launch a missile at Australia or US interests there’s one strategic intelligence facility that should know all about it.

And it’s right in the centre of our own country.

The secretive Pine Gap spy base has a vast array of signals intelligence capabilities and you can bet it will be monitoring Kim Jong-un’s every word.

Run by both Australia and the United States, the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap is located about 20km from Alice Springs.

The remote site is considered strategically vital by both the US and Australian governments and it is used to collect a wide range of signals intelligence as well as providing information on early warning of ballistic missile launches. The flat landscape away from any city ensures the secretive site has a lack of interference.

It also contributes to and collects data used for US drones in the Middle East and Pakistan and it has access to satellites that could spy on most continents, bar the Americas and Antarctica

And while personnel based there are always searching for intelligence, they are now understood to be on standby following escalating tensions between North Korea and the US, according to the NT News.

According to the report, the US has notified Australia that it’s prepared to shoot down any missiles launched as North Korea escalates its threats. Continue reading

April 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

ERA boss pushes nuclear power as energy source for Australia

Top End uranium miner pushes nuclear power into Australia’s future energy mix as supply debate continues, ABC Rural By Carl Curtain “….Energy Resources Australia (ERA), which operates a uranium mine near Jabiru, held its annual general meeting in Darwin on Wednesday.

With Australia in the grip of a so-called energy crisis as a major gas shortage looms in 2018, chairman Peter Mansell did not miss the opportunity to press his company’s view on the national debate underway.

While he made it clear any future expansion of Ranger uranium mine depended on economic viability, he said a national discussion on nuclear power would provide a boost to the sector.

Although mining ceased at the site in 2012, stockpiled ore continues to be processed, with the operating lease due to expire in 2021.

ERA also holds an option to expand underground via its mothballed Ranger 3 Deeps project, but would face resistance from traditional owners……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-12/energy-resources-australia-uranium-mining-nuclear-power-agm/8438800

April 14, 2017 Posted by | Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Radioactive soil dumped at Mary Kathleen mine

Cabinet papers: Radioactive soil from UQ dumped at Mary Kathleen mine http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/cabinet-papers-radioactive-soil-from-uq-dumped-at-mary-kathleen-mine/news-story/9bad4b01ffb900f38233aa87474d0cfd  January 1, 2017  A HUGE amount of radioactive soil – enough to top-dress a football oval – from the University of Queensland was dumped in the disused Mary Kathleen open-cut uranium mine north of Mount Isa in June 1986 with the approval of the Bjelke-Petersen government.

Cabinet papers released today after 30 years reveal a submission in August 1986 from then mines minister Ivan Gibbs, outlining how 330 cubic metres of contaminated soil was trucked to the mine site and unloaded into the water.

The submission said that in 1984, the UQ Experimental Mine at Indooroopilly was found to have radioactive material from uranium ore samples taken at the Anderson Lode (14km west of Mount Isa).

“Officers of the Health Department carried out a detailed survey of the site and concluded that the pilot plant tailings had caused contamination of the soil under and around the stockpile area, the total mass of contaminated material required to be moved amounting to about 330 cubic metres,” Gibbs’ submission said.

“Discussions were held with officers of my department to identify a suitable site for disposal of the material and I approved for it to be dumped into the abandoned open cut.

“Expert advice has been received that seepage will not take place from the open cut to the surrounding rocks, and studies have shown that the water level in the open cut will stabilise at least 40m below the overflow level.’’

Gibbs said the soil was classed “low specific activity material’’ under the code of practice for the safe transport of radioactive substances. A convoy of trucks transported the soil to the open-cut mine and dumped it below water level. “The access ramp was sealed with large rocks,’’ Gibbs said. “Each truck was washed down and checked for zero radioactive contamination.”

The submission stated that the government was satisfied that material in the abandoned mine would not have any effect on surface or groundwater in the area.

Gibbs said local National Party MP Bob Katter and Mount Isa mayor Tony McGrady objected to the disposal and sought assurances that no more soil would be dumped there.

Gibbs said: “Although it is highly unlikely that the cost of transporting any radioactive material to Mary Kathleen would be justified in future, the possibility of using the abandoned open cut for special cases should not be totally excluded.’’

March 27, 2017 Posted by | Northern Territory, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Plans for rare earths mine in Northern Territory

Arafura plans to mine, concentrate and chemically process rare earths at the Nolans site, 135km north-northwest of Alice Springs.The project is estimated to create up to 500 jobs in the two-to-three year construction phase, and employ a peak workforce of 300 in the operation phase, which is expected to exceed 40 years.

Construction is estimated to cost $866 million at Nolans, including an estimated $145 million in the Territory and $70 million in Central Australia. It is expected to cost $188 million a year to operate.

The draft EIS and associated specialist studies were on public exhibition for eight weeks last year and attracted 21 submissions, mostly from government departments.

Arafura’s NT general manager Brian Fowler said they were hoping to complete the environmental part of the project this year.

“All matters raised in these submissions were provided to Arafura for consideration and are responded to in the EIS supplement,” he said.

“We look forward to completing the approvals process for the environmental component of the project later this year.”

Rare earths are a collection of 15 elements in the periodic table that are relatively abundant in the earth’s crust, but uncommon to find in quantities that can be recovered economically, Mr Fowler said.

“They are essential to products with significant growth potential in markets associated with the electronics and technology industries, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction,” he said.

Until recently, rare earths were mostly mined, processed and refined in China and, along with Japan and the USA, China accounts for most of the world’s demand for rare earths. Continue reading

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Northern Territory, rare earths | Leave a comment

CIA feared that Australian govt would close Pine Gap

text-historyCIA documents reveal Pine Gap fears http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/cia-documents-reveal-pine-gap-fears/news-pine-gap-1story/78dd781a58fe89fd6b7d455a662c8596 22 Jan 17 TENSION over world wheat prices led to fears by the US Government that Australia could shut the secret spy facility at Pine Gap.

A memo prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of East Asian Analysis shows the Americans were nervous Australia could lash out and use US-Australian joint facilities as a “bargaining chip” during the wheat prices stand-off in 1986.

It is among more than 900,000 documents, some of which were previously top secret, released by the CIA this week.

The briefing document says then-prime minister Bob Hawke was under political pressure from “militant farmers” to stand up for their interests as the US prepared to extend its “export enhancement program” to include the Soviet Union and China, which was expected to drive down wheat prices worldwide.

According to the memorandum, the Americans did not take the threats to close joint facilities seriously “but if the Senate proposal becomes law, tensions will be high and thoughts of making such threats will remain just below the surface”. “Our worst case scenario, on the other hand, would have the Australians refusing to negotiate a new ten-year agreement for the Joint Defense Space Research Facility at Pine Gap near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory (thus the facility would be subject to closure after October 1987 with a year’s notice),” the document read.

It said wheat farmers were the most vocal primary producers “and protest most often in Canberra”.

“Hawke undoubtably believes he cannot afford to ignore wheat farmers’ pleas to use his claimed ‘special relationship’ with the US administration to win them relief,” the memorandum read.

With an election looming, domestic pressure was on the prime minister to prove he could exert influence with the Americans. “In our judgment, the current US Senate proposal, if it becomes law, would confirm Australian farmers’ suspicions that Hawke is powerless to win relief from the US government and that Australia’s faithfulness to its responsibilities in the ANZUS alliance is meaningless to the US administration,” the document said.

January 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, Northern Territory, politics international | Leave a comment

Northern Territory appoints too many mining representatives to its Mining Advisory Committee

Concerns mining industry over-represented on NT Government-appointed board, ABC News, 4 Dec 16  By Sara Everingham The NT Environmental Defenders Office has raised concerns the mining industry is over-represented on the mining board, which was set up and appointed by the former Country Liberals Government.

A new report revealed that a directive to Glencore’s McArthur River Mine (MRM) by the Department of Primary Industry and Resources — formerly the Northern Territory Mines Department — was overruled by the Government-appointed mining board.

The report by the mine’s independent monitor, the Erias Group, said the NT Mines Department made an order last year after officers on an MRM site visit reported “unapproved works” where waste rock containing metals and salt had been placed in a facility approved for benign material only.

“The use of non-benign material in close proximity to the McArthur River diversion channel and lack of adequate environmental controls represent a risk to the environment,” the department’s officers reported.

The department directed MRM to move the material but MRM appealed against the order to the Mining Board arguing the works were temporary.

The board, now also known as the Mining Advisory Committee, found in MRM’s favour.

The principal lawyer from the NT Environmental Defenders Office, David Morris, said he was concerned the department’s directive had been overruled.

“It’s of concern to me that mining officers who go down and spend a significant amount of time on the site have said ‘we think material has been placed inappropriately, we think that’s putting the environment at risk’ and the Mining Board said ‘well no we’re going to agree with Glencore who’s appealed this decision’,” Mr Morris said………. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-03/makeup-of-nt-mining-board-questioned/8089756

December 4, 2016 Posted by | Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Yingiya Mark Guyula is Confirmed as the Member for Nhulunbuy

text politicsCourt of Disputed Returns Dismissed, Yingiya Mark Guyula  is Confirmed as  the Member for Nhulunbuy
http://www.yingiya.net/news/court-of-disputed-returns-dismissed-yingiya-mark-guyula-is-confirmed-as-the-member-for-nhulunbuy  1 December 2016:

MLA for Nhulunbuy Yingiya Guyula has expressed relief and satisfaction at the dismissal of the Electoral Commissioner’s challenge to his election to the NT Legislative Assembly
by consent orders sought by both parties and made by Justice Southwood today in the Court of Disputed Returns.

““From the moment it was suggested that I might be disqualified from nominating for Parliament
because of my claimed membership of a local government advisory body called the Milingimbi Local Authority,
I have said that I was never a member of that body,” Mr Guyula explained.
“I did not nominate to be a member, I did not consent to being appointed to the Authority by the East Arnhem Regional Council (“EARC”), and I did not even know it had passed a resolution to appoint me.
In fact when I was asked whether I wanted to be nominated and appointed I said no because I was too busy working in remote homeland schools and would not be able to attend regular meetings.”

Mr Guyula’s lawyer Ken Parish explained that his evidence was not disputed, and
was corroborated by evidence from other Milingimbi community members.
Moreover, the Electoral Commission accepted in submissions to Justice Southwood that Mr Guyula had attended a handful of Authority meetings not as a member of that body but as a djirrikaymirri or senior elder of the Guyula Djambarrbuyngu tribe. …

“Mr Guyula said that the most pleasing aspect of today’s result was that he would now be
free to focus completely on providing effective representation for the people of Nhulunbuy
and North East Arnhem Land in Parliament over the next 4 years.
“I stood for Parliament with the aim of helping to create harmony, understanding and mutual respect between Yolngu and Balanda people, laws and institutions.
Today’s Court decision is one small but important step on the road to achieving that aim,” Mr Guyula said.”

December 2, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Discussions on the future of uranium mining town Jabiru, as ERA pulls out

Miner contemplates NT town’s future http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/miner-contemplates-nt-towns-future/news-story/ebc248cbfd26edd555465ae79964e8ad NOVEMBER 15, 2016

Discussions over the future of a community near the Northern Territory’s Kakadu National Park have begun as a mining company prepares to pull out.

Jabiru town was built for a uranium mine which has been operating for more than three decades.

It was always intended to be temporary and its head lease will expire in about four years.

ERA operates the Ranger mine and has started a social impact assessment (SIA) to determine a transition and rehabilitation strategy for the township.

ERA says it’s not developing a plan for the future of Jabiru beyond the lease expiration in 2021 when production stops, which is expected to cost 350 jobs.

“It is important to note that a separate process involving the commonwealth government, Northern Territory government and traditional owner representatives has commenced to develop and agree a future plan for Jabiru,” ERA said.

“The outcome of those discussions will also have a significant influence on ERA’s plans.”

Traditional owners warn that if the NT government doesn’t commit to the town’s future it will effectively be demolished.

Justin O’Brien, chief executive of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation which represents traditional owners, says Jabiru is the gateway to Kakadu and should continue to function without the mine.

 “It’s about maintaining this town and maintaining essential services,” he told ABC local radio.

Jabiru residents and local business owners have been invited to attend 30 information sessions in November and Deccember, while more will take place early next year.

November 16, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory, uranium | 1 Comment

Aboriginal Treaty movement gets boost from Yolngu man Yingiya Mark Guyula’s elecion victory

text TreatyWe Need To Talk Much Less About Andrew Bolt And Much More About Treaty  Liam McLoughlin @situtheatre
https://newmatilda.com/2016/10/08/we-need-to-talk-much-less-about-andrew-bolt-and-much-more-about-treaty/
“A Yolngu man’s extraordinary win at the Northern Territory election is a significant milestone for the Treaty movement.
Yet all the media can talk about is the ‘Indigenous’ Andrew Bolt.

“In recent weeks it was declared that Yolngu man Yingiya Mark Guyula had won a stunning victory
over Labor’s Lynne Walker at the Northern Territory election, running proudly on a Treaty platform. …

“Held by the ALP since 1980, the seat was categorised as “Very Safe Labor” with a margin of 13.7 per cent.
While Labor’s Lynne Walker won the majority non-Indigenous mining town of Nhulunbuy,
Guyula won the vote in every single Yolngu community and was declared the overall winner by eight votes. … “

October 10, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Mainstream media carefully ignored important anti -Pine Gap rally and conference

Map-Pine-GapPine Gap: Important talks but who was listening? Alice Springs News, 6 Oct 16 By ERWIN CHLANDA The anti Pine Gap rally, conference and public forum wrapped up yesterday after four days of being noticed but studiously ignored.

This is surprising because two senators of the Australian Parliament were here demanding that the military base be closed, and at least three academics supported that view at a public forum, including Professor Richard Tanter from Melbourne University.

Making an enquiry about Pine Gap is a journalistic investigation quite unlike most: Usually in Australia you can ask questions and get answers and comment, and you can check your facts with the subject of your investigation. But the base is strictly zip-the-lip. One needs to work with secondary sources, such as the US Congressional record, which fortunately is quite revealing – unlike similar Australian sources.

Rather than rubbing up against characteristic Australian scepticism and democratic spirit, that attitude is spreading. A remarkable circumstance locally was that at the forum held at the Chifley on Friday evening, the sunset gathering atop Anzac Hill on Saturday, and a rally outside the gates to the base yesterday morning – all open to the public – there was no sign of currently serving members of the Legislative Assembly, nor the town council, nor any of the main lobbies for commerce and tourism in town. The leaders of Alice Springs have their head firmly stuck in the sand.

This is a worry considering that Pine Gap could be a nuclear target – increasingly plausible given its escalating role in US military action around the world – and if this were to eventuate, this town would be annihilated. It’s been a well documented discussion point since the mid-seventies……….

Senator Lee Rhiannon (at left,outside Pine Gap) told the crowd of about 80: “US people are welcome here. We want to work with people from around the world. But not where there are bases with such destructive agendas.

“The nuclear war agenda was run out of this place. Now that the drones are being directed from here is something we must inform all Australians.”

The organisers focussed on that transformation of the base, along the way  prying  into the private lives of billions of people under the banner of protection through global surveillance.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam on Friday gave a brilliant and scathing account of the democracy we live in, where matters of life and death are dealt with not by Federal Parliament, but by the executive and a handful officials.

We pressed him further on these issues outside the Pine Gap gates. He said: “Whether it’s defence, any kind of treaty making agreement, any of these large scale instruments that sign us up to large scale obligations, the Parliament doesn’t get a look-in until after the deal is already done.”……….

The way the cops have been dealing with the events was clearly guided by knowledge that media coverage follows arrests on camera. There were none, and consequently there was scarcely any media coverage………. http://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2016/10/03/important-talks-but-who-was-listening/

 

October 7, 2016 Posted by | Northern Territory, opposition to nuclear | 1 Comment