Australian news, and some related international items

Honest Government Ad – South Australia Protest Law

May 31, 2023 Posted by | secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

Hundreds rally against state government’s proposed increases to penalties for protesting

About 500 people have marched through the Adelaide CBD rallying against proposed changes to the state’s protest laws. 

The state government proposed changes to laws that would strengthen penalties for obstructing public places in response to Extinction Rebellion protests last week.

A climate change protester was charged with obstructing a public place after she abseiled down Morphett Street bridge with a rope and was suspended over North Terrace, causing traffic delays.

Another four protesters were charged with offences, including property damage, after allegedly throwing paint at the Santos building.

The proposed changes to the Summary Offences Act — backed by the state opposition — would mean anyone who “intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct that obstructs the free passage of a public place” would face possible three months jail or a $50,000 fine.

Currently, there is no option for jail time and the maximum fine is $750.

“One of the amendments that I’m moving will be to add in a sunset clause to this bill so that it expires in 12 months time. 

“We are also adding in a clause requiring a review after a 12-month period and I’ll also be introducing a reasonableness test so that people who are caught under this bill will have a possible defence.” 

About 80 community groups, including Amnesty International Australia, have signed a letter calling on the government to withdraw the bill. 

The organisations listed their support in a full-page advertisement taken out in Friday’s edition of The Advertiser titled Protect Our Right to Protest — Before It’s Too Late, which was authorised by the South Australian Council of Social Service. 

‘Almost wartime measure’

The Law Society of South Australia and the South Australian Bar Association have also jointly written a strongly worded letter to the Attorney-General outlining a long list of concerns about the proposed new laws.

………………………………………. The legal bodies raised concerns about the legal wording of the proposed reforms which would significantly shift the onus of proof for the offence of obstructing a public place.

“The effect is that a person only has to turn their mind to the possibility that an obstruction will occur, even though the consequence is entirely unintended, to be found guilty of the offence,” the letter states………………………….. more

May 27, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties, South Australia | Leave a comment

Property values in Kimba? Not so good, since the town agreed to host a nuclear waste dump.

Paul Waldon 23 May 23

When the fear of nuclear waste came to Kimba, the nuclear coterie commission a report.

“Points of claim taken from, The University of Queensland, final report November 2018.”

• Value in the residential housing market has fallen by 30-40% over the past 5 years

• As of July 2018, 35 residential properties were listed for sale compared with an historical average of 10-15.

• Perceptions are that not many people are moving to Kimba from outside the wider region.

The rental market is currently stagnant, with local landlords indicating a reduction of over 10- 20% in weekly rental rates required to attract tenants

• No new residential housing construction has occurred in the past 3 year

This is a sign of a town floundering, a town dying, a town with no future as long as it embraces the ideal of nuclear waste.

May 23, 2023 Posted by | business, South Australia | Leave a comment

Labor Premiers’ dispute over location for AUKUS nuclear wastes, – but planned Kimba waste dump is”now dead in the water”?

Mr Wilkins told ABC Radio Adelaide that the proposed Kimba nuclear waste dump no longer made sense, and that any future site to store submarine reactor spent fuel should also accept waste that would have gone to Kimba.

“The proposed Kimba nuclear waste dump must now be dead in the water,” he said

Nuclear waste divisions intensify between Labor premiers over AUKUS submarine deal

ABC, 18 Mar 23

South Australia’s premier has hit back at suggestions from Labor counterparts that his state should take nuclear waste from the future AUKUS fleet, saying the decision on where the waste goes should be based on the “nation’s interests”…………….

Divisions within Labor ranks over AUKUS — including over its $368 billion cost, and its strategic aims and consequences — have become increasingly apparent since Paul Keating’s blistering attack on what he described as the “worst international decision” by a Labor government since conscription.

While Prime Minister Anthony Albanese yesterday rebuked Mr Keating, Labor premiers have since voiced opposition to accepting nuclear waste from the AUKUS subs in their states.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday it was not “unreasonable” to suggest that, since South Australia is gaining jobs, it should also accept the spent fuel rods when the submarines reach the end of their service.

“I think the waste can go where all the jobs are going,” he said.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan voiced similar sentiment, suggesting South Australia take on a nuclear waste facility.

But while Mr Malinauskas said that the possibility of SA taking waste could not be ruled out, he rejected Mr Andrews’s claim that SA had a responsibility to take the waste because it was taking the jobs.

“No, because that implies that somehow that this isn’t a national endeavour,” he said……………………

Conservation Council of SA chief executive Craig Wilkins said discussion of a “short-term political stoush between state premiers” overlooked the major challenges involved in storing nuclear waste.

“We’re talking about waste that needs to be kept safe from humans for tens of thousands of years, basically beyond our civilisation, so this needs to be an incredibly well-considered decision,” he said.

“[There] needs to be a multi-billion-dollar project to house the waste.”

Mr Wilkins told ABC Radio Adelaide that the proposed Kimba nuclear waste dump no longer made sense, and that any future site to store submarine reactor spent fuel should also accept waste that would have gone to Kimba.

“The proposed Kimba nuclear waste dump must now be dead in the water,” he said……………………….

March 19, 2023 Posted by | politics, South Australia, Victoria, wastes, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Strict new security rules for Adelaide nuclear submarine-building facility in bid to protect military secrets

Operators of Osborne naval shipyard ordered to guard against ‘deliberate or accidental manipulation’ of critical components.

Daniel Hurst, Guardian, 23 Feb 23,

The Australian government has imposed strict new security rules at the Adelaide site where nuclear-powered submarines will be built, moving to reassure allies that sensitive military secrets will be protected.

The new rules require four operators at the Osborne naval shipyard, including those building the Hunter-class frigates and offshore patrol vessels, to guard against espionage and foreign interference.

These operators have been ordered to prepare for risks such as “deliberate or accidental manipulation” of critical components and the transfer of “sensitive operational information outside Australia”.

According to the new rules, information that must be protected includes layout diagrams, schematics, geospatial information and operational constraints.

The operators must carry out background and suitability checks before people are allowed unescorted access to the shipyard. They must record the date, time and duration of access by every person, whether escorted or unescorted.

The home affairs minister, Clare O’Neil, quietly rolled out the measures last week under the country’s critical infrastructure laws and confirmed the moves when approached by Guardian Australia.

“Our critical infrastructure assets are targets for foreign interference, cybercriminals and other malicious actors who wish to do Australia harm,” O’Neil said in a written response to questions.

“By declaring the Osborne naval shipyard a critical infrastructure asset we can implement security measures and build resilience in the facility and its workforce against these threats.”

The government has said nuclear-powered submarines will be built at Osborne – the first project under the Aukus partnership with the US and the UK – but it remains unclear how soon domestic construction can begin.

The US has previously only shared its naval nuclear propulsion secrets with the UK – in the late 1950s – and US officials are determined to ensure Australia can protect those secrets against foreign spies.

With just weeks to go until the three countries announce the Aukus plans in more detail, the new rules designate the naval shipbuilding and sustainment assets at Osborne as critical infrastructure assets.

The instrument covers areas overseen by four operators – including the government-owned Australian Naval Infrastructure and ASC.

It also applies to the entity trading as BAE Systems Maritime Australia, which will build the Hunter-class frigates, and Luerssen Australia, which has a contract for offshore patrol vessels…………………………….

O’Neil said the country faced “evolving threats” and the Australian government would “continue to use our national security laws to protect the critical infrastructure assets that all Australians should be able to rely on every day”.

In a human rights assessment attached to the new rules, O’Neil acknowledged collecting personal information about employees and contractors had an impact on their right to privacy……………..

The head of Asio, Mike Burgess, warned this week that the online targeting of Australian defence industry insiders had increased since the Aukus announcement a year and a half ago.

Declaring that his agency was taking a “more aggressive counterespionage posture”, Burgess conceded that Australia’s allies and partners were looking for assurances that their military secrets would be protected.

Burgess said one of the reasons he was disclosing the successful operation to expel a “hive of spies” from Australia was because “as we progress Aukus, it’s critical that our allies know we can keep our secrets and keep their secrets”.

He did not disclose the country responsible for the “hive” but said the spies were working undercover – some for years – with sophisticated tradecraft and wanted to steal sensitive information.

February 23, 2023 Posted by | safety, South Australia | Leave a comment

Kimba’s “brand” – up till now – praised as Agricultural – but could change to The Nuclear Dump – if the government’s planned facility goes ahead.

Greg Bannon, InDaily, 1 Feb 23, It seems ironic to read that the Kimba District Council is searching for a new brand beyond nuclear waste.

Anyone who has followed this issue of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) over the last seven years would know that Kimba has nominated a total of four sites. The first two, along with 23 others Australia-wide, were put up as part of a national invitation to landholders in 2015. Those two were abandoned in 2016, after the Kimba community voted against the proposal.

Members of the community, led by the Council who were unhappy with that decision, applied to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) for another chance to get the dump, and two new sites were nominated under the Department’s revised guidelines. One of those sites, Napandee, was announced by two previous Coalition Ministers responsible for the decision. DIIS set tight, restrictive guidelines to better control who was considered eligible to in favour of or against the NRWMF. The guidelines were different for the two communities, Flinders Ranges and Kimba, originally vying to be chosen as “host” site.

Minister Matt Canavan originally named Napandee the national winner before resigning to the back bench ahead of the 2019 federal elections. His successor, Keith Pitt, tried to expedite the process by relinquishing Ministerial discretion in favour of having Napandee named in the legislation. If passed, this would have extinguished any legal challenge to the decision. The Bill passed the Lower House but stalled in the Senate due to the Government’s lack of numbers, after which Minister Pitt reverted to the original Ministerial decision to let the Napandee site progress.

Court action by the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) caused a 12 month halt to the process. A major point of their grievance is that their voice was excluded from the community voting process. A higher court ruling, due in March, is still pending but meanwhile the Adelaide-based Australian Radioactive Waste Agency is pressing ahead with “site characterisation” work. This seems quite a contradiction considering that the new federal Labor Government is committed to legislating a First Australians’ voice nationally, but using its legal powers to fight the Barngarla’s.

Among the reams of propaganda material in support of this nuclear waste facility has been the claim that it would provide a new “industry” for the district. It would be totally unrelated to and independent from agriculture. Originally it promised 15 jobs, before this promise was tripled to 45 including associated tourism and security.

It has never been convincingly explained how 15 jobs became 45 apart, from the fact that the site will temporarily house Australia’s most toxic nuclear waste, intermediate level (needing 10,000 years management), alongside permanent disposal of low level material, which will only need to be managed for 300 years.

It is not hard to see why there is call for the town to be seen as something beyond nuclear. The community has been and still is seriously divided by this issue. If this dump goes ahead there, Kimba will be known forever as the home of Australia’s first national radioactive waste facility. How can something that requires security and management for so long be separated or covered up?

The Kimba district does have many other attractions. The recent harvest has been one of the best, producing high quality grain for the local market and for export. There are such huge areas of Australia that are not suitable for this type of agriculture.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s premier, Peter Malinauskas, is in ‘furious agreement’ with PM that nuclear power would not work for Australia 7.30 / By James Elton, Tue 6 Dec 2022

South Australia’s premier has comprehensively rejected the future use of nuclear power generators in Australia, saying the “completely uneconomic” technology had already been thoroughly investigated and dismissed.

Key points:

  • Peter Malinauskas says he did not “seek to suggest that nuclear power should be part of the mix in our nation”
  • He says nuclear power is not a viable option because it would make energy more expensive
  • Mr Malinauskas says price caps on gas and coal are “worthy of consideration”

In an interview with ABC’s 7.30, Peter Malinauskas recast comments he made earlier in the week in a News Corp interview, that were widely interpreted as pro-nuclear energy and were labelled a mistake by the Prime Minister.

“I didn’t seek to suggest that nuclear power should be part of the mix in our nation,” the South Australian premier told ABC’s 7.30 host, Sarah Ferguson.

“I think we should acknowledge that nuclear power would make energy more expensive in our nation and [we should] put it to one side, rather than having a culture war debate around nuclear power.”

In his earlier remarks, Mr Malinauskas reportedly said he “always thought the ideological opposition that exists in some quarters to nuclear power is ill-founded”. He said people should be “open-minded” about the technology. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese responded by telling an Adelaide radio station he had a “great deal of respect for Mali, but everyone’s entitled to get one or two things wrong”.

However, in his ABC’s 7.30 interview, the South Australian premier said his only intention had been to say the nuclear power debate should be contested solely on the evidence. 

“I was simply saying: ‘We’ve got people who are advocating that position without any reference to what the implications would be of the price on energy in our nation at the moment’. And that strikes me as being rather foolhardy,” he explained. 

He said he had spoken with the Prime Minister on Monday evening and said they were in “furious agreement” on nuclear energy. 

December 9, 2022 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Premier Peter Malinauskas reaffirmed South Australian Labor’s position that the Barngarla people have the right to veto the Kimba nuclear waste dump project

Criticism over site works for SA nuclear waste dump

The Albanese Government has come under fire after it confirmed preliminary works will begin at the site of a proposed national nuclear waste facility on the Eyre Peninsula, despite a Federal Court challenge to the project still being underway.

InDaily Jason Katsaras 16 Nov 22

In correspondence seen by InDaily, federal Resources Minister Madeleine King said preliminary works would begin at Napandee near Kimba, but they were not construction works.

“Site characterisation activities will commence next week on the site, which are low-level, localised investigative studies to gather more detailed data on matters such as the site’s geology, hydrology, seismology and baseline radiological conditions,” she said…………………………………..

the Australian Conservation Foundation said the move effectively pre-empted a court bid to block the project.

“While these works are not the start of facility construction, they are a clear sign of intention and are inconsistent with repeated federal government assurances that it will not pre-empt the outcome of a current Federal Court challenge by Barngarla Native Title holders to the validity of the former government’s selection of the site,” it said.

In December, the local Bangarla people, represented as The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation, applied for judicial review of the decision to suspend work on the planned nuclear dump, arguing they weren’t properly consulted before the site was selected.

“This week they will have boots on the ground – it’s a significant escalation and a conscious choice,” ACF spokesman Dave Sweeney said.

“Federal Labor inherited a divisive and deficient approach to radioactive waste management from the former government.

“The decision to commence site works is a poor one, but not an irreversible one. It should not be advanced by a federal Labor government.”

The choice of site for the nuclear waste facility has been a hotly contested issue in the region since the then Liberal Government acquired the 211-hectare agricultural site in Napandee in 2021.

In September, Premier Peter Malinauskas reaffirmed South Australian Labor’s position that the Barngarla people have the right to veto the project.

“I think that the traditional owners of the land on a project as controversial and as significant as this one, and as long-lasting as this one, are entitled to have a say and that is what has underpinned our position,” he said.

November 21, 2022 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Friends of the Earth urge all South Australian federal Labor politicians to push for the scrapping of Kimba nuclear waste plan.

From Friends of the Earth – The letter below was sent today to all South Australian federal ALP politicians.

We are writing in regard to the proposed construction of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (nuclear waste dump) at Napandee, near Kimba in South Australia.

We wish to thank the SA Labor Caucus for its resolution at the recent South Australian ALP State Convention supporting “a veto right for the Barngarla community on this facility”. The resolution states, “Continuing with this project, including ancillary earthworks outside of current legal injunctions, despite the opposition of the Barngarla people, undermines efforts toward reconciliation.”

As a Labor Party politician elected to federal parliament to represent South Australia, we urge you to push for the implementation at the federal level of SA Labor’s position on this matter. We are concerned that the current Minister for Resources Madeleine King is following the lead of the bureaucracy in pursuing the former Coalition government’s policy on the nuclear waste dump.

Napandee was announced as the chosen site for the permanent disposal of low level radioactive waste (LLW) and temporary storage of intermediate level radioactive waste (ILW) in February 2020 by then federal resources minister Senator Matt Canavan. It was subsequently officially declared on 26 November 2021 by Senator Canavan’s successor Mr Keith Pitt MP. There is no reason why the current Labor government should allow itself to be bound by policies of the previous government promoted by National Party politicians Senator Canavan and Mr Pitt.

To pursue this project risks undermining the Labor government’s signature policy of enshrining in the Constitution a First Nations Voice to Parliament. A voice to parliament would enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide advice to the parliament on policies and projects that impact their lives. The clear advice from the Barngarla people, the Traditional Owners of this area, is that they don’t want a nuclear waste dump on their land. The Barngarla people were excluded from a community ballot conducted by the Kimba District Council in November 2019, so they conducted their own independent poll. Not a single Traditional Owner voted in favour of the dump.

Besides the Barngarla people, significant other affected communities have not been consulted. A facility that would involve transportation of radioactive waste through South Australia should involve consultation with all communities along the transport route and with the wider public. No such consultation has occurred.

There are better alternatives to a centralised waste dump in regional South Australia. The overwhelming majority of the waste comes from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Lucas Heights facility. The safest and most secure place to continue to manage and store the waste is at Lucas Heights, especially given that the proposed Napandee site would only provide temporary storage for intermediate level radioactive waste (ILW). A final disposal site for ILW would still have to be found. What is the point of double handling it?

We urge you to push for the federal government to promptly overturn the previous government’s declaration of the Napandee site and to cease all work at the site.

November 8, 2022 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

No Nuclear Waste Dump in SA” Motion passed South Australia Labor Conference Sat 22 Oct 2022

Federal ALP should start to act in accordance with the SA Labor State Conference “No Nuclear Waste Dump in SA” Motion passed Sat 22 Oct 2022

Motion full text: 

TITLE: No Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia
In 2020 the former Liberal Federal Government announced that a Nuclear Waste Facility would be established in Napandee, outside the town of Kimba, South Australia. This decision was made without prior community consultation and was met with mixed reception. 

In response to criticisms of the consultation process the previous Liberal government gauged community support for the project with a survey. This survey was only available to ratepayers and all other community members were excluded. This meant that renters, transient people and most egregiously Native Title holders were excluded from even this meagre attempt at consultation. There is a strong concern that the facility would negatively impact the health of the surrounding environment, farming areas and the nearby human populations. The paltry consultative process has done little to assuage these concerns. 

The Barngarla People have openly expressed their concern towards the facility and are currently fighting a legal battle to have this project abandoned on the basis of the poor planning and consultative processes. Despite the ongoing legal case the earthworks for this project have been approved and are set to go ahead regardless of the outcome. SA Labor Caucus supports a veto right for the Barngarla community on this facility. 

This aligns with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, stating that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of Indigenous Peoples without their free, prior and informed consent. More recently Premier Peter Malinauskas reaffirmed that the South Australian Labor party strongly opposes this facility and still supports the right of the Barngarla people to have veto powers. This sentiment is consistent with the current Federal Labor government’s commitment to reconciliation. Continuing with this project, including anciliary earthworks outside of current legal injunctions, despite the opposition of the Barngarla people undermines efforts toward reconciliation. 

Motion: Therefore – SA Labor calls on the Federal Labor government to listen to the Barngarla people and ensure their voices are heard.

October 24, 2022 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Opponents of nuclear waste facility march as one in Port Augusta to protest. ABC North and West SA / By Bethanie Alderson and Nicholas Ward, 17 Oct 22

More than 100 opponents of a plan to build a national nuclear waste facility on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia have rallied in Port Augusta.

Key points:

  • Scores of people have marched to protest a nuclear waste facility being built in Kimba
  • Traditional owners say they were never consulted about the plans by the federal government
  • The government has spent almost $10 million on legal fees in support for the facility 

Barngarla traditional owners, farmers and community members marched from Port Augusta’s wharf to Gladstone Square to protest the federal government’s proposal to build a nuclear waste site near Kimba. 

The chair of the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC), Jason Bilney, said if the new government was serious about supporting an Indigenous

voice to parliament, it should listen to their argument.

“It took us 21 years to win our native title; we’ll fight it for another 21 or 25 years if we have to,” he said..

“We are very strong and very passionate about preserving our culture and our heritage as well as protecting our land.

“We don’t want nuclear waste on our country.”

The federal government confirmed detailed investigation work was about to start at the site.

Mr Bilney insisted Barngarla people were never consulted about the plan and found themselves excluded from a community vote.

“Within six months of winning our native title and fighting for 21 years in the Federal Court to get a determination to then be told there’s a nuclear waste dump being built on our country — we had to go out of our way as Barngarla and contact the government,” he said.

“The government’s come out and announced they’ll commit to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“How can they on one hand say that and then on the other hand break the heart of the First Nations people?”

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn a mining exploration company’s authorisation to drill at Lake Torrens means Mr Bilney is confident that Barngarla will succeed again.

“It was a very proud moment, and we know that they’re going to appeal it but winning one case for judicial review puts us in a good position for the federal case with the nuclear waste dump,” he said.

‘Huge’ legal spend

Greens Senator Barbara Pocock revealed the federal government had spent almost $9,905,737 on legal fees for the waste facility and the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency.

“Ten million dollars is a huge, unnecessary legal spend, much of which has focused on fighting local Kimba residents and a vulnerable First Nations community,” Senator Pocock said.

Since litigation began in December 2021, the government has spent $607,613 directly against BDAC and a further $247,806 on in-house legal salaries.

The Barngarla people spent approximately $124,000 on legal fees over the same period.

“This mega-spend is immoral. It is wasteful, and it is against the spirit of the Uluru statement.”

“We need to find a solution to dispose of our own nuclear waste, but it needs to be safe, it needs to be long term and it needs to not be in the middle of our clean green agricultural land.”

Fight for sacred site

Barngarla elder Linda Dare says Kimba is a site of great significance to traditional owners, and especially for women.

“We have the waters there, the lakes there … and if this goes on it’s actually going to affect our waterways all the way to the Flinders and surrounding areas,” she said.

“It’s very significant because along the way we’ve lost a lot of family members that have been fighting for native title for years when we were little.”

“We know we can fight this, and we know we’ve got the backing of every Indigenous tribe in Australia because it affects everybody in South Australia if there’s any damage.”

Ms Dare and Aunty Dawn Taylor met with Premier Peter Malinauskas and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher during the state government’s country cabinet forum in Port Pirie.

Mr Malinauskas said while the state government did not have the power to stop the planned facility, he would express his support for the Barngarla people to have the right to veto to the federal Labor government.

Mr Bilney believes the Barngarla community needs the whole country to support them in their fight.

“The more support we have locally, state and federally the stronger we become as one,” he said.

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s premier says buying nuclear submarines directly from US would degrade Australian shipbuilding

Proposal to fast-track submarines by having them produced by US ‘would not be acceptable’, Peter Malinauskas says

Guardian Sarah Martin, @msmartoSun 25 Sep 2022 

The South Australian premier, Peter Malinauskas, has criticised a proposal for Australia to buy nuclear submarines directly from the US, saying it would “not be acceptable” for his state to miss out on promised submarine manufacturing jobs.

report in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday suggested the Biden administration was considering a plan with the UK and Australia to fast-track nuclear-powered submarines for Australia by the mid-2030s by producing the first few submarines in the US.

However, given existing production constraints at US shipyards, the deal would depend on Australia making a financial commitment to expand the US’s submarine-production capacity to ensure it could also meet its domestic demands.……………………………………….

When asked if it would be acceptable for the Australian government to purchase submarines from the US without training an Australian workforce as part of the deal, Malinuaskas was clear.

“No, that would not be acceptable from the state government’s perspective, because that would represent a degradation of what has been promised, and that is that these subs are being built in Australia,” he said.

“It all depends on the pathway, and that detail really matters here – not just for the economic interests of the state, but also from our sovereign submarine-building capacity, which is such a central tenet of de-risking Australia’s security position.”

How Australia intends to fill the capability gap between its existing Collins Class fleet and the new fleet of up to 12 nuclear-powered submarines is the subject of a federal government review that is due to report by March next year.

On Sunday the defence minister, Richard Marles, said the review, being undertaken by former defence minister Stephen Smith and former Australian defence force chief Angus Houston, would consider how best to fill the capability gap that would otherwise see Australia wait until the mid-2040s for new submarines……………………………………………………………

In a joint statement released last week to mark one year of the Aukus pact, the leaders of Australia, the UK and the US said that the group had made significant progress towards Australia acquiring conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to Australia acquiring this capability at the earliest possible date,” the statement said.

September 26, 2022 Posted by | South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kimba community groups need to pose these hard questions to Ministers Madeleine King and Ed Husic, and to ANSTO ARWA and ARPANSA

In order to establish fully and properly the breaches by the federal government as to its Kimba nuclear installation, community group opposing the installation proposals need to immediately send out this formal request to the various persons and organisations listed below

Formal requests for Kimba proposals:

  1. What are the earthworks being carried out or planned in connection with
    the government’s proposed nuclear waste facility
  2. Are these earthworks confined to the Napandee farm site
  3. If not what other land in the Kimba region is affected by the earthworks
  4. How much actual physical work has been carried
  5. By whom and how was this work authorised
  6. Was any licence issued by ARPANSA for his work
  7. If not and why not as is required by the guidance codes and standards of
  8. Was a progressive safety case started for these earthworks
  9. If not how was the work justified without community consultation and
  10. How have the environmental aspects of these earthworks been dealt with
  11. Have there been any environmental studies done
  12. Has the community generally been consulted on the environmental studies
    or referrals
  13. Will the community be involved by consultation as to all aspects of the
    earthworks as to the environmental implications

PLEASE immediately provide:
• the plans and other details for for the earthworks
• the environmental studies and assessments for this work
• any licences or applications for licences
• a full copy of the environmental referral

This list of requests should given to:
Hon. Madeleine King Hon. Ed Husic as the responsible ministers
The chief executive officers of ARWA ANSTO and ARPANSA
Meghan Quinn PSM as the Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science,
Energy and Resources
Andrew Metcalfe AO as the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water
and the Environment

September 22, 2022 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

One legal win for Aboriginal people in South Australia gives hope to the Barngarla people who are fighting the Kimba nuclear waste dump plan

Nuclear waste site in spotlight following Barngarla court win, Traditional Owners say they fear the destruction that an accident at the waste dump could cause to Country.

By Keira Jenkins, Source: The Point,, 6 SEP 2022,

Barngarla Traditional Owners are fighting for access to a number of federal government documents regarding the proposed nuclear waste facility near Kimba, South Australia.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) and its lawyers have requested the documents that the federal government relied on to choose the 900 hectare site more than 400 kilometres north-west of Adelaide

The argument over the documents is part of a federal court challenge launched by Barngarla people.

Jason Bilney is the chair of the BDAC. He told NITV Barngarla people were not properly consulted about the facility, and were excluded from a community ballot.

“It’s very disrespectful, very hurtful to my people as a community and to my past and present Elders,” he said.

“It’s a disgrace.”

After the Supreme Court overturned authorisation to drill on South Australia’s Lake Torrens last week, Barngarla people are hopeful their fight can lead to protection for the Kimba site as well. 

Mr Bilney is joined in the fight against the facility by Lez and Dawn Taylor, who grew up in Kimba.

Standing at the site, which has been fenced off, Dawn Taylor said she’s deeply upset that nuclear waste could be stored on this Country……………………………..

Government officials didn’t talk to the Barngarla people for the study.

Barngarla Elder Harry Dare said the Traditional Owners of the Country should have been involved in this study.

“We know what’s on our Country, they choose not to let us go and have a look at that Country but we already know what’s out there,” he said.

‘I still feel strong’

But regardless of what has occurred up to this point, Jason Bilney said Barngarla people will continue to fight for their Country.

“[The government] think they’re going to put [the facility] there, they’ve still got a long drawn out process and for any government, it doesn’t look good to go against First Nations people,” he said.

“I still feel strong, I still feel proud to keep up this fight for our people, being up there and doing it for our community.

“It has taken its toll for a lot of our family. It’s sad but we’ve got to keep going.”

Barngarla woman Linda Dare said she hopes this fight means the voices of her people will be heard.

“We want them to stop what they’re doing, we want them to listen to us and hear us, take the time to sit down and listen and talk to us not disrespect us and put waste up on our Country,” she said.

September 6, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Nuclear bomb tests at Emu Field remain obscured by Maralinga and the mists of time ABC Radio Adelaide / By Daniel Keane, 22 Aug 22,

In hindsight, Michael Parkinson’s TV talk show hardly seems the likeliest forum for sober reflection on nuclear annihilation. 

But in 1971, the celebrity interviewer welcomed onto his celebrated stage journalist James Cameron, a man who had, 18 years earlier, witnessed the first atomic blast at Emu Field in outback South Australia.

Nuclear weapons, he told Parkinson, were “the ultimate punctuation mark” in humanity’s “progress towards perdition”.

The words echoed his front-page report for The Age on October 16, 1953 — the day after the test:

“The familiar mushroom column climbed unsteadily for 15,000 feet, leaned and dropped, and the world stumbled one more step towards the twilight.”

Codenamed Totem, the two Emu Field bomb tests have, in the view of James Cook University author Elizabeth Tynan, been regarded for too long as mere precursors to the more notorious detonations at Maralinga.

Her new book seeks to correct this by establishing Operation Totem as a portentous episode in its own right.

“The tests there pre-dated Maralinga by three years and they caused enormous difficulty and disruption and tragedy to the Aboriginal people of the Western Desert,” Dr Tynan said.

The Secret of Emu Field is the product of extensive archival excavation, including in the United Kingdom.

Amid Cold War hardships and anxieties, British officials were desperate to develop an affordable nuclear arsenal for their new fleet of jet bombers.

“They were looking to create a workable weapon; I call it the austerity bomb,” Dr Tynan said.

“They wanted to do it quickly because they had the V bombers coming, they had a number of political pressures and geopolitical pressures as well.”

Among several remarkable occurrences at Emu Field was the flight of a Royal Air Force Canberra bomber through the Totem 1 mushroom cloud barely six minutes after detonation.

“In colour it was a dark red-brown,” Wing Commander Geoffrey Dhenin, who enthusiastically piloted the plane, later wrote.

“Until just before we emerged, the forces on the elevators increased to such an extent that I thought I might lose control.”

One of the aims of that mission was to determine the threat from fallout in atmospheric testing to commercial airline traffic.

In an unforeseen irony, the atomic cloud from Totem 1 — which kept its mushroom shape “for 24 hours because of wind conditions” — was spotted by airline passengers passing over Oodnadatta.

The black mist

Today, it isn’t a cloud but a mist that remains one of the few aspects of the Totem tests to endure in the collective consciousness.

The so-called “black mist” was reported by nearby Aboriginal communities, but it wasn’t until a 1980 report by The Advertiser that it came to public attention.

The 1985 royal commission into British nuclear tests was equivocal on the health effects, but concluded that “Aboriginal people experienced radioactive fallout from Totem 1 in the form of a black mist or cloud at and near Wallatinna”.

Bruce Lennon was a young boy at the time and likened the impact to “having a really bad flu”.

“We were close to Emu Field; dad was a contractor, we did a lot of moving around,” he said.

Also in the area, at Mabel Creek station, was the family of Sister Kenise Neill.

“My father at the time of the Emu Field [tests] would have been 22. There’s a story that my grandmother used to tell about him,” she recalled.

“He was out fencing with Aboriginal people around the station and came home covered in a black, slimy, greasy stuff.”

Murray Neill was 24 when he died in 1956.

His daughter said it was now almost impossible to know whether the story told by her grandmother was an account of fallout.

“I didn’t really know about Emu Fields … and because our family had left before the [later] Maralinga testing, it didn’t make sense,” Sister Neill said.

“I presumed the black fallout with my dad wasn’t nuclear.

“It’s really only through reading Elizabeth Tynan’s book that I thought that my dad could have actually died from radiation.”

The persistence of secrets

The black mist may have dissipated, but other mists still cloud the Totem tests.

Dr Tynan said British files she inspected during her research had since been “withdrawn from public view”, and that there were unanswered questions about the second test and the plutonium fuel.

“The Operation Totem tests at Emu Field were intended as a comparative trial to test two different kinds of nuclear fuel,” Dr Tynan said.

I can’t say that I ever got to the bottom of what was happening with Totem 2. From the documents I’ve seen, [it] was a very, very secret weapon.”

By the time of the second test on October 27, James Cameron and the rest of the press pack had long since departed.

But the bomb had left its mark on Cameron’s mind.

In a piece published the day after he died, in the same year as the royal commission into British tests, Cameron reflected on the nuclear age with typical grace and resignation:

“I personally witnessed the explosion of atom bombs, and did nothing about it, and could do nothing except protest, tiresomely and uselessly.”

This article is the second in a two-part series, the first of which focused on the tests at Maralinga.

August 25, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, reference, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment