Australian news, and some related international items

Climate Change: What Australia Knew – and Buried

Taylor’s book shows how Australia could have acted on climate change a quarter of a century ago, but how corporate interests and economic ideologies not only stopped the clock on action, but wound it back

Australia was ready to act on climate 25 years ago, so what happened next?, Guardian, , 7 Aug 15  New book investigates how corporate interests and ideologues worked to make Australia doubt what it knew about climate change and its risks. 

book Global Warming & Climate Change

There’s something about climate change that almost everyone in Australia has either forgotten or never knew in the first place.

In 1990 Bob Hawke announced his government wanted the country to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the year 2005.

For a fleeting moment, it seemed the Australian public, politicians and the media were in agreement with the science.

But a new book investigates how the industries that stood to lose the most worked to undermine the science and entirely reshape the story being told to the public.

“We have been propagandised,” says the author, Maria Taylor.  Continue reading

August 7, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Resources | Leave a comment

FIRST WORLD WAR WOMEN – working for peace

 Experience an utterly different First World War in three ways!
 See it online, see the exhibition, and if you take pleasure in these women who worked so well for us so very long ago,
Book the exhibition so you can take friends to see it.


working for peace in Melbourne

1914 – 1919

The Women’s Political Association and
The Women’s Peace Army


1. Online on the Women’s Web stories actions website, 1914-1919 page
2. Also see the exhibition:
– Mid April to Mid May 1915 – Kildara Centre
There is also the book coming early next year
Further information  – contact Geraldine, at Women’s Web (03 9486 1808)

April 10, 2015 Posted by | ACTION, Resources | Leave a comment

Google in bed with American Intelligence? Assange’s new book

Book-WikileaksIn his latest book, Julian Assange brings some much-needed transparency to one of the most nebulous global corporations. 

Wikileaks meets Surveillance Valley: An interview with Julian Assange      Czech News Agency  BY JOSEPH FLATLEY ON OCTOBER 12, 2014 “The problem,” says Julian Assange, is that “a lot of groups that would normally criticize Google, the nonprofits that are involved in the tech sector, are funded directly or indirectly by Google. Or by USAID. Or by Freedom House. Google and its extended network have significant patronage in the very groups that would normally be criticizing it.”…….

A great many readers of Assange’s latest book, When Google Met WikiLeaks (OR Books) will have their assumptions about technology, Silicon Valley, and Google challenged – and find out that the world is a much scarier place than they had believed. And those who are disillusioned with Silicon Valley will find themselves with plenty of reasons to remain disillusioned………
American history is lousy with corporations who have gone to bed with the American Intelligence Community and State Department in order to expand their global reach. Indeed, it’s impossible for a large corporation to operate overseas without cutting deals with governments — and for a corporation as ambitious as Google, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility (or probability) that Schmidt and Co. would take it to the next level. Or, as WikiLeaks partner Al Akhbar put it, develop the Google Ideas think tank to pursue “global expansion — blurring the lines between business and political action.”……..

Continue reading

October 13, 2014 Posted by | Resources | Leave a comment

Naomi Klein’s new book : This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs The Climate

global capitalism has “from its very first moments, systematically sabotaged our collective response to climate change”.


More than Dangerous: Naomi Klein takes on climate deniers  September 20, 2014  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The disturbing implications of climate change are rarely taken to their logical conclusions in public discussion.

Scientists who spend their careers researching the climate system and publishing findings in professional journals are typically far more candid in private than in their scholarly publications.

The human-generated surge in greenhouse gas emissions is accelerating, they note, altering the chemistry of the biosphere and, ultimately, the conditions for life.

“People are not being told the truth,” one scientist told Fairfax Media this week. “It’s an event to which species will struggle to adapt. This is more than dangerous.” Continue reading

September 20, 2014 Posted by | Resources | Leave a comment

New book exposes the scandal of Maralinga nuclear bomb tests

book-Maralinga-Frank-WalkerMaralinga: The chilling exposé of our secret nuclear shame and betrayal of our troops and country by  Frank Walker, Hachette Australia

Walker is adamant that this is not the end of the story, with the Federal Government still planning to make central Australia the world’s dump for nuclear waste.

Horror and betrayal: true story of atom bombs in Australia   | 6th Sep 2014 OF ALL the crimes against Australians outlined in investigative journalist Frank Walker’s exposé Maralinga, the first is the most horrific.

“Bring me the bones of Australian babies, the more the better.”

This was the directive given by British nuclear scientists, making all Australians their lab rats in a cruel 21-year test of the long-term effects of multiple nuclear explosions on an unsuspecting people.

A staggering 22,000 corpses of children and young people were pilfered for bones and tested for Strontium 90 (one of the poisons that entered Australia’s water and food supplies because of British nuclear tests in our country).

Families were not told, autopsy workers were bribed, results were not revealed – and all with the meek acquiescence of our government.

But the list of crimes and cover-ups goes on:

  • Australian airmen ordered to fly repeatedly through the mushroom clouds of atomic bombs – with no protection.
  • Australian soldiers ordered to march into ground zero minutes after explosions, even roll in radioactive dust – with no protection.
  • Australian officers placed in shelters as close as 1600m from a nuclear explosion. (The goal was to show that soldiers in a nuclear war could be near a blast and still be fit for battle.)
  • Clouds of radioactive material drifting across the continent to drop radioactive rain on Queensland farms, country towns and Brisbane.
  • Aborigines having their traditional lands stolen from them and poisoned, and being left in the test region to be killed by the fallout.

Continue reading

September 8, 2014 Posted by | Resources | Leave a comment

The most i,portant book for Australians to read – FORGOTTEN WAR by HENRY REYNOLDS

book-Forgotten-WarFORGOTTEN WAR by HENRY REYNOLDS Dave’s Book Group , September 2, 2014 This is perhaps the most important book one can read as an Australian.

The subject of the frontier conflict between the white colonists and the Aboriginal nations of Australia is directly relevant to the life chances afforded their descendants………

Reynolds begins by reminding us of the history wars that raged in the Australian media in the 90s and 2000s. He observes that during this time all sides of the debate, which was about how to talk about the colonisation of Australia, agreed on the importance of reconciliation, but none of them said what we needed to be reconciled to. It is hard to disagree with him. It does seem strange that we were silent on why there was a need for reconciliation even though we were happy to agree there was a need.

After this he returns to the familiar ground of the history wars in order to settle the key issue that was disputed at that time – what should we call the violence that occurred on the Australian frontier. Inside the first 50-60 pages he provides so many direct quotes from the highest British and colonial officials possible, one governor after another, that any doubt about whether the colonists thought they were at war is removed.  I had expected Reynolds tot go through the massacres one by one ordetail deaths region by region, perhaps because this has been done elsewhere, so much so that it can now be accessed on wikipedia.

It’s clear they considered it a war. One that was unfortunate, but necessary in their view to bring violence to a swift end rather than prolong it. The governors also supported this view with all the legal, military, political and logistical measures they could manage at the far end of the empire.

The result was the Aboriginal peoples resisted occupation violently, as any people would, but we’re defeated by a more numerous, better armed, and better organized opponent………

And so what next? It seems clear there was a consensus on killing in the 19th century, among the ruling class at least, and that there has been a consensus on forgetting in the 20th. What should the next consensus be?

Strangely perhaps Reynolds points to his key target, the Australian War Memorial, for a way forward.  He points out that its two key slogans are equally, if not more so, relevant to the Frontier War than the overseas wars to which they refer.

The first slogan is ‘lest we forget’. It is perfectly appropriate for the Frontier War. The second is “here is their spirit, in the heart of the land they love, and here we guard the record which they themselves made’. It is hard to think of a better line with which to commemorate the black dead of the Frontier War.

September 4, 2014 Posted by | Resources | Leave a comment

Mark Willacy’s book “Fukushima” – essential reading

Book Mark WillacyThe case for Mark Willacy’s Fukushima, The Conversation, Ashley Ng, 2 June 14,

“……….Willacy is a meticulous investigative journalist. Invariably questions would arise as to whether the disasters of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami could have been mitigated or, in the case of the Fukushima disaster, prevented.

Willacy distilled hundreds of hours of interviews from ordinary people to the ex-Prime Minister which, together with official reports, provide compelling arguments that this indeed could have been the case at every level. Such is the benefit of hindsight.

Fukushima underscores the importance of Australia’s correspondents for bringing veracity to the reporting of events affecting our region. Perhaps with the exception of a cadre of Japanese freelance journalists, Willacy outlines why the Japanese kisha kurabu press clubs, formed from the dominant Japanese news organisations, would not have subjected Japan’s power companies and government officials to the same degree of relentless scrutiny leading up to and following March 11, 2011.

Willacy’s Fukushima stands as a strong historical document. But like the ancient granite stones that warned generations of Japanese of the dangers of tsunamis of times past, the lessons contained within the book’s pages are perhaps at risk of being ignored at peril.

The distaste for the Japanese nuclear industry has receded. In 2012, the pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party was swept back into power and plans to restart nuclear power plants across the country have commenced. Notably, this includes the Hamaoka nuclear power plant, which sits directly above a fault line in a region where a large undersea earthquake is expected within the next 30 years.

This reason alone makes Willacy’s Fukushima essential reading.

June 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, Resources | Leave a comment

US Pentagon’s military city in Australia – Darwin

map-Australia-targets-Darwin: Australia’s most militarised city, and a lily pad for the Pentagon Australians know the isolated and exotic city of Darwin through stories about cyclones, crocodiles and Aboriginal art, but it really is a cleverly camouflaged garrison town  theguardian.comMonday 31 March 2014 In his recent book Anzac’s Long Shadow: The Cost of our National Obsession, former ADF soldier James Brown correlates deep Australian ignorance about our contemporary military with our increasingly fantastical commemoration of the Anzac legend. Bedazzled by myths of Gallipoli, Australians neglect more pressing defence policy concerns.

It’s a compelling thesis, and one that closely parallels the situation in one of Australia’s most militarised city, read-this-wayDarwin.

Australians prefer to see the isolated and exotic city of Darwin through stories about cyclones, crocodiles, Aboriginal art, spicy market food and unlimited road speeds; a place that lets you go to the supermarket in bare feet and look normal. This way, we don’t have to notice the most significant militarisation effort in Australia’s post-war history, which is happening under our noses. The militarisation of the north is unknown to most of us and thanks to this ignorance, the new Cold War brewing in the Asia Pacific region, and Darwin’s place in it, is rarely being debated………
In allowing Australia’s foreign policy interests to be played out of sight, out of mind, in a town that also hides its own nature from itself, we avoid debating difficult questions. What does being a subordinate ally to a military force clinging to its global primacy commit us to? What are our liabilities and responsibilities? At what point do Australian sovereign interests diverge from America’s security objectives? And what are we prepared to do about it?


April 1, 2014 Posted by | Northern Territory, Resources | Leave a comment

Dr Gideon Polya reviews the film “Utopia”

film-UtopiaReview:“Utopia” by John Pilger exposes Apartheid Australia’s Aboriginal Genocide  Bella Ciao by: Dr Gideon Polya  Friday March 14, 2014  The must-see movie “Utopia”, by the outstanding expatriate Australian humanitarian journalist John Pilger, exposes the horrendous circumstances of the Indigenous (Aboriginal) Australians. The following review summarizes the main points raised in “Utopia” and in doing so attempts to quantify and document these horrendous abuses of the ongoing Aboriginal Genocjde by what John Pilger describes an Apartheid Australia. Continue reading

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Resources | Leave a comment

Audio: New book reveals Aborigine’s complex farming and agricultural practices

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Dark Emu argues against ‘Hunter Gatherer’ history of Indigenous Australians By Hilary Smale and Vanessa Mills
A fresh perspective of Indigenous history showing evidence of village populations, crop harvesting, and irrigation, is all explored Bruce Pascoe’s new book Dark Emu. The common perception of Indigenous Australians leading a ‘hunter-gatherer’ lifestyle before European settlement is ignoring strong evidence of sophisticated farming and agriculture practices, argues Mr read-this-wayPascoe.
“There certainly was a lot of movement… but there was also a lot more sedentary living than we were led to believe.”……….Mr Pascoe would like to see the book change how history is now taught.

“I never learnt it when I was at school; my son never learnt it, my daughter never learnt it.
Why are we not telling Australian children of the success and the achievements of Aboriginal Australia?”

Dark Emu is published through Magabala Books.
Bruce Pascoe spoke about Dark Emu with Vanessa Mills for Kimberley Mornings.

March 18, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Resources | Leave a comment

Australians must learn from Aboriginal management of the land


The massive destruction whites have inflicted on the landscape is unforgiveable. Now we have no excuse. Gammage has told us how it was done. Let’s hope it is not too late. As Gammage says, one day we might be able to call ourselves Australian. 

Australia: How the Aboriginal people managed ‘the biggest estate on Earth Review by Coral Wynter

The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines made Australia
By Bill Gammage

Links, March 13, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– This is an extraordinary book, one that will increase your appreciation of the country’s first people, as we begin to understand their amazing knowledge and sheer genius in the way they cared for the land, or as Bill Gammage calls it the “biggest estate on Earth”.

Gammage describes with many examples how the Aborigines looked after the land. No corner was forgotten, including deserts, rainforests and rocky outcrops, across the entire continent for at least 60,000 years until the colonisers began to destroy all this labour after their arrival in 1788.

The Aborigines judiciously used fire to create parklands, with huge, stately trees and grass underneath on rich black soil to feed, then harvest kangaroos and wallabies, as well as to grow yams and spinach. They used cool fires to preserve and maintain the biodiversity of Australia’s orchids, ferns, fruit trees and edible plants. They used “templates” to judiciously burn areas with plants sensitive to fire.

Australia in 1788 was a paradise, which was much more than just sustainable, but instead yielded an abundance of food, which could feed a huge population, some estimates say as many as 8 million people. Continue reading

March 14, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Resources | Leave a comment

Australians must learn from Aboriginal culture, to survive in this land

there can never be a return to the pre-1788 situation, his cry is that we must redouble our efforts to understand it and learn from it 

We have a continent to learn. If we are to survive, let alone feel at home, we must begin to understand our country. If we succeed, we might one day become Australian’. 

book-biggest-EstateThe answer to burning questions, Online opinion, By Roger Underwood, 29 Nov 13 “…………The Biggest Estate on Earth, subtitled How Aborigines Made Australia is a large and beautifully presented book. The author, Bill Gammage, is well-known in historical and literary circles, regarded by many as the foremost historian of Australian participation in the First World War. Gammage’s capacity for painstaking research and careful scholarship, formerly directed at military history, has now been turned to the Australian landscape and Aboriginal land management. The result is compelling.

He rejects the view that Aboriginal people were backward and uncivilised, or that they were people who “trod lightly on the ground” as a minor component of the ecosystem. Instead, he argues that Aboriginal people were skilful, determined and experienced land managers who were active across the breadth of the Australian continent and Tasmania, operating to a strict set of rules (‘The Law’) about what areas must be burned, when, how, for what purpose, and by whom. They not only knew how to manipulate the Australian landscape and biota to optimise their food resources, but they knew how to sustain pleasing and safe living conditions, and to facilitate their comfortable life style and their spiritual demands. Continue reading

November 28, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Resources | Leave a comment

Book: , Dealing in Doubt: The Climate Denial Machine Vs Climate Science

read-this-wayReport offers field guide to the climate change denial industry, Guardian, Graham Readfearn, 13 Sept 13, Greenpeace report documents the who, what, when and how of a long-running campaign to block action on climate change It writes boilerplate legislation, runs extensive PR campaigns, puffs CVs with fake credibility, facilitates or promotes the intimidation of climate scientists and advocates, publishes books, organises speaking tours and conferences, gets on the telly and radio a lot, uses Freedom of Information laws as a surveillance tool, pays scientists to speak and – crucially – it manufactures doubt and confusion among policy makers, politicians and the public about climate change.

To get this work done, it has accepted many millions of dollars from fossil fuel interests or ideologically-driven conservative donors who funnel their cash through anonymous trust funds because they are too cowardly to put their mouths and their money in the same place.

We’re talking about the international climate science denial industry. Now it has a field guide, of sorts, courtesy of researchers at environment group Greenpeace.

Published this week, Dealing in Doubt: The Climate Denial Machine Vs Climate Science recounts the history of efforts to underplay the risks of human-caused climate change, to deny the scientific evidence and to misrepresent the state of the collective knowledge of genuine scientists on the issue.

Oh, and it comes with fun little caricatures of some of the key characters in the denial industry.


The title of the report “Dealing in Doubt” comes from a tactic employed and articulated by tobacco industry executives in a 1969 memo, which read: Continue reading

September 13, 2013 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Resources | Leave a comment

Violence and cover-up in the taking of Aboriginal land

book-Forgotten-WarSlaughter on stolen lands, The Age, August 10, 2013 Review By Raymond Evans of . “FORGOTTEN WAR”, by Henry Reynolds 

While we remember our casualties in overseas wars, no toll exists for Aboriginal deaths during the brutal colonisation of Australia.

“……the kind of paradox that Reynolds gamely wrestles with throughout this closely argued account. For the past 40 years, in a succession of such volumes, he has continued to wrestle with it, approaching it from those two peripheries of the Australian imagination, Queensland and Tasmania, and coming closer and closer each time to pinning it to the mat. Patiently, and with admirable, indomitable energy, he keeps informing the Australian public of things they need to know, but which many of them do not wish to hear.

What he is now basically saying is: Forget the so-called history wars. They represent a hollow, media-driven campaign to deny the undeniable. Focus instead on the war for Australia: that is, the extended and bloody destruction of Aboriginal first nations across almost 150 years of frontier strife – the utter territorial dispossession of perhaps as many as 1 million people, and a unilateral assumption of their sovereignty, accomplished with swaths of escalating violence.

This was, as Reynolds writes, ”one of the greatest appropriations of land in world history”, unmatched elsewhere in speed and scale. It is the basis of every leaven of prosperity in Australia today. An accompanying ”progressive transfer of sovereignty” was equally a blatant ”transaction of global significance”.

It was ”a double usurpation” of both the right to exercise authority over one’s territory and of customary title to land. What was done here, in short, was anomalous and ”manifestly not consonant with international law or the practice of nations at the time”. It was, Reynolds claims, ”an outrage, a violation of international usage, the assertion of a monstrous principle”.

No wonder, then, that it led dually to such degrees of violence and cover-up. Continue reading

August 10, 2013 Posted by | Resources | Leave a comment

Book: A Short History of Nuclear Folly

Book-nuclear-follyA Short History of Nuclear Folly [Hardcover]

Release date: April 30, 2013
In the spirit of Dr. Strangelove and The Atomic Café, a blackly sardonic people’s history of atomic blunders and near-misses revealing the hushed-up and forgotten episodes in which the great powers gambled with catastrophe

Rudolph Herzog, the acclaimed author of Dead Funny, presents a devastating account of history’s most irresponsible uses of nuclear technology. From the rarely-discussed nightmare of “Broken Arrows” (40 nuclear weapons lost during the Cold War) to “Operation Plowshare” (a proposal to use nuclear bombs for large engineering projects, such as a the construction of a second Panama Canal using 300 H-Bombs), Herzog focuses in on long-forgotten nuclear projects that nearly led to disaster.

In an unprecedented people’s history, Herzog digs deep into archives, interviews nuclear scientists, and collects dozens of rare photos. He explores the “accidental” drop of a Nagasaki-type bomb on a train conductor’s home, the implanting of plutonium into patients’ hearts, and the invention of wild tactical nukes, including weapons designed to kill enemy astronauts.

Told in a riveting narrative voice, Herzog—the son of filmmaker Werner Herzog—also draws on childhood memories of the final period of the Cold War in Germany, the country once seen as the nuclear battleground for NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries, and discusses evidence that Nazi scientists knew how to make atomic weaponry . . . and chose not to.

May 25, 2013 Posted by | Resources | Leave a comment