Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s governing Liberal Coalition has really mucked up Native Title policy

Coalition in damage control over bungling of Native Title, Courier Mail, Anthony Chisolm, The Sunday Mail (Qld) May 21, 2017 IF SENATOR Matt Canavan and Senator George Brandis had worked harder and more diligently over recent months on their necessary changes to Native Title legislation, they would not have been caught in such a desperate political play on the last Senate sitting day.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


COAL IS BLOCKING LABOR’S EARS! #STOPADANI #AUSPOL #QLDOL #CLIMATECHANGE Leader of a Sinking Island Admonishes Trump on Climate Change The Prime Minister of Tuvalu, an island nation in the Pacific, is calling out President Donald Trump for his myopic views on coal and climate change.

Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga told Motherboard no country is seriously interested in fossil fuel expansion anymore.

No one in the US financial community wants to invest in fossil fuels, gas and oil projects are shutting down in the middle East.
“The US is going to be left behind.

The guy in the White House doesn’t understand that,” Sopoaga said at the UN energy forum in Vienna this week. There are more than a thousand energy experts and political leaders embracing renewable energy at this moment.

Just one example: All of India’s lighting will be replaced by LEDs by 2019, saving millions of dollars and reducing CO2 emissions by 18 million tonnes a year, according to Piyush Goyal India’s Minister of Energy.

This is far ahead of the US and nearly every other country. Continue reading

May 20, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Invest ethically and win

Invest ethically and win
Green is the new black in investing as billions of dollar pour into ethical funds, which are consistently outperforming.… (subscribers only)

May 20, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Cabinet trouble over Adani coal royalties

Cabinet trouble over royalties
Jackie Trad has repeatedly refused to declare her support for the Adani Carmichael coalmine project….(subscribers only)

May 20, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Lights off could add power to wallets

South Australia
SOUTH Australian energy users will be paid to reduce or switch off their electricity use under a new $22.5 million, three-year pilot program…. (subscribers only) 

May 20, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Ian Dunlop: This is not rhetoric: approving the Adani coal mine will kill people

 Brisbane Times, Ian Dunlop , 18 May 17  Rarely have politicians demonstrated better their ignorance of the risks and opportunities confronting Australia than with Barnaby Joyce, Matt Canavan and other ministers’ recent utterances on Adani and Galilee Basin coal, along with their petulant foot-stamping over Westpac’s decision to restrict funding to new coal projects. Likewise, Bill Shorten sees no problem in supporting Adani.

The media are no better; discussion instantly defaults to important but secondary issues, such as Adani’s concessional government loan, the project’s importance to the economy, creating jobs for north Queenslanders and so on.

Nowhere in the debate is the critical issue even raised: the existential risk of climate change, which such development now implies. Existential means a risk posing large negative consequences to humanity that can never be undone. One where an adverse outcome would either annihilate life, or permanently and drastically curtail its potential.

This is the risk to which we are now exposed unless we rapidly reduce global carbon emissions…….

It is already impossible to stay below the 1.5-degree Paris aspiration. To have a realistic chance of staying below even 2 degrees means that no new fossil-fuel projects can be built globally – coal, oil or gas – and that existing operations, particularly coal, must be rapidly replaced with low-carbon alternatives. Further, carbon-capture technologies that do not currently exist must be rapidly deployed at scale.

Climate change has moved out of the twilight period of much talk and limited action. It is now turning nasty. Some regions, often the poorest, have already seen major disasters, as has Australia. How long will it take, and how much economic damage must we suffer, particularly in Queensland, before our leaders accept that events like Cyclone Debbie and the collapse of much of the Great Barrier Reef are being intensified by man-made climate change? Of that there is no doubt, nor has there been for decades. The uncertainties, regularly thrown up as reasons for inaction, relate not to the basic science but to the speed and extent of climate impact, both of which have been badly underestimated.

The most dangerous aspect is that the impact of fossil-fuel investments made today do not manifest themselves for decades to come. If we wait for catastrophe to happen, as we are doing, it will be too late to act. Time is the most important commodity; to avoid catastrophic outcomes requires emergency action to force the pace of change. Australia, along with the Asian regions to our north, is now considered to be “disaster alley”; we are already experiencing the most extreme impacts globally.

In these circumstances, opening up a major new coal province is nothing less than a crime against humanity. The Adani mine by itself will push temperatures above 2 degrees; the rest of the Galilee Basin development would ensure global temperatures went way above 3 degrees. None of the supporting political arguments, such as poverty alleviation, the inevitability of continued coal use, the superior quality of our coal, or the benefits of opening up northern Australia, have the slightest shred of credibility. Such irresponsibility is only possible if you do not accept that man-made climate change is happening, which is the real position of both goverment and opposition……..

We deserve better leaders. If the incumbency is not prepared to act, the community need to take matters into their own hands.

Ian Dunlop was an international oil, gas and coal industry executive, chairman of the Australian Coal Association and chief executive of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is a member of the Club of Rome.

May 19, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian government energy policy leading the nation to catastrophe – professor Ian Lowe

Professor Emeritus of science at Griffith University says govt energy policy risks ‘catastrophe’

A “CATASTROPHIC collapse of life” is drawing closer and parts of Australia could become unlivable by the end of the century if we don’t change course. Nick Whigham@NWWHIGHAM, 13 May 17

UNLESS the Australian government fully embraces renewable energy and moves to decarbonise our energy supply in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, parts of Australia like Bourke and Alice Springs will become unlivable in our lifetime.

That’s the warning from the highly decorated Professor Emeritus of the School of Science at Griffith University, and former president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Professor Ian Lowe.

As public debate rages over the potential opening of the Adani coal mine in Carmichael, Queensland, Prof Lowe believes the government’s dedication to fossil fuels is taking the country in a troubling direction. Continue reading

May 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The Adani Mega Coal Mine Just Suffered A Big Setback

 Native Title laws haven’t quite been “fixed”, as the PM promised Adani. ~ Rob Stott – BuzzFeed News Reporter, Australia 

‘The Senate has delayed voting on changes to Native Title laws that would have made it easier for mining giant Adani to build its controversial proposed Carmichael coal mine.’

Labor joined with the Greens on Thursday to delay voting on the amendments to the Native Title Act, saying the government had not properly consulted with them or traditional owners.

“The amendments would make it easier for companies such as Adani to secure Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) from traditional owners, as they would only need agreement from a majority of traditional owners, not unanimous consent. … “

May 12, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Indigenous Australians get a “mixed bag” in the Turnbull budget – with serious omissions

Turnbull Budget has Glaring Omissions for Indigenous Australians, Rachel McFadden  |   |  @ProBonoNews The delivery of the 2017 budget for Indigenous Australians was a “mixed bag” of support and omissions, leaders of key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations said., 10th May 2017

More than 30 representatives met in Canberra after the unveiling of the federal government’s 2017 budget, on Tuesday night, to discuss its implications for Australia’s First People.

The National Congress of Australia’s First People said: “The urgent needs of our peoples are almost invisible.”

Most notable were a lack of specific measures to address all but one of the seven Close the Gap targets.

National Congress co-chair and Close the Gap co-chair Jackie Huggins told Pro Bono News that infant mortality, one of the close the gap targets, had increased in the past few years. “We would have liked to see more investment in Close the Gap targets. We still have people dying 10 years younger and infant mortality has also gone up,” Huggins said.

“In the past 10 years, in our country we have seen 88 per cent increase in Aboriginal incarceration rates.

“We know that young Aboriginal males have the highest rate of suicide [than any other demographic]. “

Huggins said she would like to see disability, incarceration and justice measurements added to the Close the Gap targets.

“Another glaring omission was funding around child protection where we see our children in and out of home care quite significantly,” Huggins said.

“And there was no addition funding for National Congress.

“There are some things to be welcomed like the NDIS. We know that more 50 per cent of our people have some kind of disability.” Huggins said the problem was that since Indigenous populations were submerged within larger schemes there was no way of telling whether something like the NDIS was having a direct impact on the target populations.

She said the same went for health funding.

“We welcome funding back to the community legal services. Indigenous businesses have also had a big boost,” she said.

The opposition’s response to the Turnbull budget was more scathing. “The 2017 budget fails to deliver for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians,” leader of the opposition Bill Shorten, Senator Patrick Dobson, Warren Snowden, Linda Burney and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said in a joint statement.

“While the budget includes piecemeal proposals for better employment and health outcomes, there is no comprehensive strategy to make progress on the stalled Closing the Gap targets, or to address other longstanding issues such as the incarceration crisis.

“The budget also fails to secure the future of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples with proper funding. Congress is our independent, elected, national Indigenous representative body – it must be respected and resourced.

“The government’s entire approach to Indigenous affairs is defined by savage cuts to services, a loss of local control, a failure to listen to Indigenous voices, and policy-making which is paternalistic and overly bureaucratic.”

Family Matters Campaign co-chair Gerry Moore said he was disappointed that the budget did “nothing” to address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families in child protection systems. “If we do the same things we will get the same results,” Moore said.

“We have an escalating crisis in the nation’s child protection systems and we are still on track to triple the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care by 2035.  This Budget does nothing to address this.”

“Unless we see an injection of funding to promote preventative measures and the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled services we remain pessimistic about the future of our children” he said.

May 11, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Indigenous Climate Activists Just Sent A Huge Message To The Turnbull Government   Meg Watson, the editor of Junkee @msmegwatson 8 May 2017:

“With the federal budget set to be announced tomorrow, this is a big week for Australian Parliament.
For the government, it’s a time of champagne and cigars on the lawn.
For the rest of us (more precisely: young people, poor people, anyone who doesn’t own three investment properties) it’s a time of intense anxiety.

But, as Seed Youth Indigenous Climate Network have pointed out overnight, this isn’t the only thing we should feel anxious about.

“This week the government is also proposing amendments to the Native Title Act that would clear the way for the controversial Adani coal mine in Queensland. Now, in defence of climate justice, a team of volunteers have got in early and spelled out a clear message in candles all over the Parliament House lawns. … ”

May 10, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Moving Cenotaph of Frontier Conflicts
‘It is reassuring that the Anzac Day March in Canberra has accepted the fact that the Frontier Wars Commemorations are now acknowledged.
We are not yet part of the formalities of the Anzac Day March itself,
but that the day may soon arrive when the Frontier Wars Commemorative March is accepted.
This is based on the fact that for the first time in history our diggers were acknowledged in the formal procession with an Elder carrying an Aboriginal Land Rights flag at the beginning of the March – with videos … ‘

Ghillar, Michael Anderson 1 May 2017:

” … an Elder carried an Aboriginal Land Rights flag at the beginning of the March and Defence Force men and women in uniform also carried the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag and the Australian flags side by side as part of the formal March. This is very significant.

“Interestingly enough with the Diggers March being in the front four units and the Commemorative Frontier War March at the end, symbolically, like the Kangaroo and Emu on the Australian Trademark / “Coat of Arms” we had the whole of the colonial Defence Force wedged between us. … “

May 5, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Time to make mining companies responsible for clean-up – Western Australian Minister says

Loopholes for ‘rogue’ miners to escape clean-up must close: Minister, WA Today Emma Young, 2 May 17  Changes need to be made so mining companies can’t use legal loopholes to avoid environmental rehabilitation obligations, according to new Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston.

“Rogue players, as they’ve been called, should not be allowed to shift their costs to the rest of the industry, negatively impacting other companies,” he said.

“In light of experience, there is a need to assess and improve the Mining Rehabilitation Fund so that the industry is protected.”

He also acknowledged the MRF was the community’s guarantee that miners would take environmental responsibility.

The MRF, established in 2012, is a fund made of industry levies, held by the government to rehabilitate any abandoned mine in WA if the miner goes broke and all other options are exhausted.

Collie’s Black Diamond Pit Lake, Ellendale Diamond Mine, Bulong Nickel Tailings Storage Facility, Elverdton Dump and Pro-Force Plant site have so far been identified as the abandoned mines to be dealt with through the fund, their problems including leaching residue, dust and public safety risks. ……

Greens and other east coast senators have now referred the matter, and others concerning WA’s $70 billion resource sector, to a Senate inquiry into the rehabilitation of mining and resources projects.

The WA government’s submission recommended that accounting procedures were upgraded to require companies disclose their environmental liability more transparently and that legislation on mine site rehabilitation obligations in the case of insolvency were updated…….

Research by the CSIRO also emphasises the importance of community trust, or ‘social licence’ for the mining sector

May 3, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

No insurance company would cover survivors of a nuclear strike – Northern Territory News

NT insurers won’t cover us for nuke strikes, CRAIG DUNLOP, NT News, April 29, 2017 SURVIVORS of a nuclear strike on Darwin would be left to rebuild civilisation without the help of any insurance payouts, insurance companies say.

May 1, 2017 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Dr Bill Williams and his nuclear-free dream A fond farewell to Dr Bill Williams, who passed away peacefully in his sleep, at home in Torquay, coastal Victoria, on 12 September 2016. The world will miss Bill, but his spirit and determination as a human being, will inspire generations to come.

 He was a keen surfer, GP and passionate advocate for the rights and health of First Nation Peoples.
We first met Bill and his partner Gisela, and their two daughters Daisy and Lily in Melbourne 1983, when we were all active for the vision of a ‘Nuclear Free World’.
Our relationship grew, whilst planning a trip into the South Australian desert, home of the Kokatha people, and site of the British nuclear weapons testing (Maralinga 1956-1963), to join them in their opposition to the proposed uranium mine (Roxby Downs/Olympic Dam).
It was a huge learning experience, while working in the months preceding our trip, with Bill, Gisela and a small number of other passionate souls, to build a strong affinity group, with a commitment to trust, which truly paid off, as we were confronted[ with many extreme situations, on our two week ‘blockade’, while we challenged the mining interests of BP and Western Mining.
Thirty three years later, Bill was still passionate on the ‘No Nukes’ campaign. Bill was co-founder and chairman of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a past president of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War and former councillor of the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Physicians for the prevention of Nuclear War.
Early in 2016, he joined a historic United Nations working group meeting, on nuclear disarmament in Geneva, and was thrilled by the progress made towards a nuclear weapons ban treaty, which he helped propel.
Sadly, Bill didn’t live to see the world free from nuclear weapons, in fact there are more being built as we speak, but the progress continues.
Early April negotiations began at the UN with 132 countries participating, including community members from the Kokatha people of Roxby Downs. A number of countries opposed the meeting, and the idea of a ban, Australia and the US. included.
In Australia 52 faith-based organisations gave their support. The Senate supports Australian involvement in the negotiations. And, now that the Pope has given his voice to a complete ban, can we now hope, that the Prime Minister and his fellow colleagues, and possibly all Catholics, raise their voices in support of same?
The negotiations will continue at the UN from June 15-July 7, 2017, thanks to the courageous efforts of beautiful human beings like Bill Williams.
For information:
Deborah and Mick Stacey, Ocean Shores

April 30, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Protest occupies Downer EDI office: Don’t get into bed with #Adani   John Englart  Citizen journalist at No Fibs 27 April 2017: “Climate activists are this morning occupying the Melbourne offices of Downer EDI, a mining infrastructure company,
to protest participation in developing the Adani Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin of Queensland. The mine is widely seen as a climate carbon bomb with no social license.

“At about 11.20am police arrived on the scene. At 11.45am police left the offices. The occupation was peaceful and there was no threat, no harm in the occupation.

Protesters argue the much bigger threat comes from Downer’s willingness to build the Carmichael mine for Adani and the  damage that it will impose in Australia and globally through climate change.

“By 3.30pm the occupation protest was all over. There were no arrests. … “

April 28, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment