Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s governments keen to frack up the land with coal, gas, nuclear

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June 15, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Silly talk from Sussan Ley, Australia’s new Minister Against the Environment

Environment Minister floats ‘lending’ Murray Darling environmental water to farmers, Brisbane Times, By Nicole Hasham, June 15, 2019  New Environment Minister Sussan Ley says farmers in the Murray Darling Basin should be allowed to “borrow” water reserved for maintaining the river’s health, and federal approval for major developments must be streamlined to “give proponents more assurances” and reduce delays.

In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Ms Ley also identified invasive starfish as the “most imminent” threat to the Great Barrier Reef as she flagged potential changes to the way Australia’s natural assets are managed.

The Liberal MP was returned with a 7 per cent swing against her in the rural NSW seat of Farrer, where concern about water allocations to farmers featured heavily in the federal election campaign.

Ms Ley’s new portfolio captures the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office, which manages the majority of water for the environment recovered under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

She cited the need for “flexibility” to allow water storages intended for environmental use to be “borrowed” by struggling farmers.

Sometimes the environment doesn’t need all its water but farmers desperately do need water,” she said……

The Australia Institute senior water researcher Maryanne Slatterya former director at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, described Ms Ley’s depiction of the problem as “not very accurate”…….

Ms Ley re-entered the Coalition government’s cabinet last month, after a 2017 expenses scandalforced her resignation from the front bench.

The environment portfolio includes protection of the Great Barrier Reef, which is under grave threat from climate change.

Ms Ley initially nominated the crown-of-thorns starfish, a pest that preys on live coral, as “the biggest, most imminent threat” to the reef…….

The federal government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority says climate change “is the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs worldwide”.  …..

Australia’s key piece of environment legislation, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, is due to be reviewed this year.

Ms Ley said it provided “real opportunity to remove some of the green tape around environmental approvals”…..

Australian Conservation Foundation nature campaign manager Basha Stasak said talk about cutting green tape was “code for making it easier for the loggers to cut down our forests, the diggers to rip up endangered animal habitat and corporate irrigators to suck more water out of our rivers”. https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/federal/environment-minister-floats-lending-murray-darling-environmental-water-to-farmers-20190614-p51xsf.html

June 15, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Tailings dams at Olympic Dam uranium mine are in the “extreme risk” category.

it is deeply disturbing that BHP recently confirmed that three of the tailings dams at Olympic Dam are in the “extreme risk” category.

This is the highest risk status according to what is often regarded as the best global industry benchmark – the Canadian Dam Association’s safety standards – and relates less to the likelihood of collapse and more to the severity of the resulting human and environmental impacts if a failure did happen.

The environmental threat of tailings dams    https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/the-environmental-threat-of-tailings-dams,12805

By Dave Sweeney  14 June 2019  BHP has applied to expand the Olympic Dam mine in SA, but with the recent failure of tailings dams, caution must be taken, writes Dave Sweeney.

AWAY FROM THE airbrushed corporate head offices, staged media events and slick communications products, the reality of the mining trade is pretty basic and very intrusive.

An orebody is identified, extracted, processed and removed and while the clothing might be high-visibility, many of the industry’s impacts tend to stay pretty low on the wider world’s radar.

Right now, the world’s biggest mining company, BHP, has formally applied to expand the massive Olympic Dam mine in northern South Australia.

This plan deserves serious attention and scrutiny for three key reasons: it involves the long-lived and multi-faceted threat of uranium, it proposes to use massive amounts of finite underground water and the company is in trouble globally over the management of mine wastes and residues currently stored in multiple leaking – and sometimes catastrophically failing – tailings dams.

BHP has recently commissioned a “tailings taskforce” to conduct a high-level review of the management of the company’s tailings dams or tailing storage facilities.

The move comes in the literal wake of the collapse of a tailings dam at the Samarco iron ore operation in Brazil in 2015 that saw 19 deaths along with widespread and continuing environmental damage.

The mine was a joint operation of BHP and Vale, a Brazilian mining multinational that is a major player in global iron and nickel production, promoting its mission as transforming natural resources into prosperity.

Or maybe not after an estimated 40 million cubic metres of toxic sludge from the collapsed dam poisoned the Doce River and utterly devasted the lives of the local Krenak people.

Nothing quite focuses the corporate mind as a high profile and high cost legal action and in May, BHP was served with a multi-party damages claim for over $7 billion on behalf of around 235,000 claimants.

The memory of Samarco and the dangers of large-scale tailings dam failure were tragically highlighted in January this year when another Vale tailings dam at the Brumadinho mine failed, resulting in terrible loss of life with a death toll of between two and three hundred people and massive environmental impact.

In this context, it is deeply disturbing that BHP recently confirmed that three of the tailings dams at Olympic Dam are in the “extreme risk” category.

This is the highest risk status according to what is often regarded as the best global industry benchmark – the Canadian Dam Association’s safety standards – and relates less to the likelihood of collapse and more to the severity of the resulting human and environmental impacts if a failure did happen.

In preparing to contest the new Olympic Dam expansion, environmental groups have commissioned a detailed analysis that clearly shows the tailings present a significant, near intractable, long-term risk to the environment.

However, there are serious concerns that BHP is seeking this major tailings expansion without a full Safety Risk Assessment — such an approach is inconsistent with modern environmental practice and community expectation.

Olympic Dam tailings contain around 80 per cent of the radioactivity associated with the original ore as well as around one-third of the uranium from the ore.

Since 1988, Olympic Dam has produced around 180 million tonnes (Mt) of radioactive tailings. These are intended to be left in extensive above-ground piles on-site forever.

BHP’s radioactive tailings at Olympic Dam are extensive and cover 960 ha or 9.6 km2, an area one-third larger than Melbourne’s CBD.

They have reached a height of 30 metres, roughly that of a ten-storey building, at the centre of tailings piles where water sprays are used to limit tailings dust release and potent radioactive radon gas is released to the atmosphere.

Critics of the planned expansion are calling for safety to be comprehensively and transparently assessed across all tailings at Olympic Dam, without any restrictions, exemptions or legal privileges to the company, before any decision on new storage facilities or more radioactive tailings production.

In the public interest, a full comprehensive tailings Safety Risk Assessment is required from BHP in the expansion Assessment Guidelines and this must be subject to public scrutiny in the EIS Assessment process.

Environment groups are demanding that the EIS Guidelines adopt the Federal Government’s Olympic Dam Approval Condition 32 Mine Closure (EPBC 2005/2270, Oct 2011) as a requirement on BHP for a full Comprehensive Safety Assessment, covering all radioactive tailings at Olympic Dam including that the tailings plan must:

‘…contain a comprehensive safety assessment to determine the long-term (from closure to in the order of 10,000 years) risk to the public and the environment from the tailings storage facility.’

In recognition that tailings risks are effectively perpetual, Condition 32 on Mine Closure requires environmental outcomes:

‘…that will be achieved indefinitely post mine closure.’

The SA Government’s Guidelines and the full comprehensive tailings Safety Risk Assessment must also incorporate the higher environmental standards set by the Federal Government in 1999 to regulate the Ranger Uranium Mine in Kakadu in the Northern Territory:

‘to ensure that:

  1. The tailings are physically isolated from the environment for at least 10,000 years;
  2. Any contaminants arising from the tailings will not result in any detrimental environmental impact for at least 10,000 years.’

There is an obligation for these Guidelines to mandate the application of the ‘high environmental standards’ set out in Object D of the Commonwealth-SA Assessment Bilateral Agreement.

BHP must demonstrate a plausible plan to isolate radioactive tailings mine waste from the environment for at least 10,000 years, in line with the Federal Government’s environmental requirements at the NT’s Ranger uranium mine.

And the South Australian and Federal Governments have a clear duty of care to make sure they do. After Brazil, no one in industry or government can ever say they didn’t know.

June 15, 2019 Posted by | South Australia, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Adani mining project: Court asks Australian govt to look into public concerns

Adani mining project: Court asks Australian govt to look into public concerns  https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/international/adani-mining-project-court-asks-australian-govt-to-look-into-public-concerns  14 June 19

A local court in Australia has asked Federal Govt to listen to public grievances on Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme. It spells fresh trouble for Adanis and their billion dollar coal mining project

In what is being interpreted as fresh trouble for the Adanis in Australia, who are on way to set up USD 16 billion dollar coal mining project in the Queensland state, a local court has asked the Federal Government to listen to public grievances on Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme.
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), which had filed a case the Federal Government has said that the latter has conceded public grievances on the Adani’s water scheme were ignored.
ACF said, “This is a massive outcome for the broader community, who raised grave concerns about the effect this project would have on Australia’s precious water resources”, adding, “In conceding the case, the Federal Environment Minister has admitted the Federal Government failed to consider all of the thousands of valid public submissions about if and how Adani’s project should be assessed, in direct breach of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.”

According to ACF, “Those people were denied their right to a voice in this process. This win will ensure their voice is heard. Now the Government will need to go back to the drawing board and open up assessment of the project for public comment again. It’s a big moment in the Adani story, and it couldn’t have happened without the bold vision of ACF in launching the case, backed by the hard work and expertise of the legal team.”

It continued, “This win is a humiliating outcome for the Federal Government over its assessment of Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme – the plan to pump up to 12.5 billion litres of water a year from the Suttor River to the company’s Carmichael mine site. Thousands of Australians made valid public comments on Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme referral, many concerned about the project’s impact on our precious water resources during a time of extreme drought.”

According to ACF, “The Federal Environment Minister has now admitted her delegate did not consider these comments, as required by law. In fact, she has admitted that her Department lost an unknown number of public comments made over the controversial project. This botched process points to a worrying lack of oversight in core assessment procedures designed to protect Australia’s precious water resources.”

It insisted in a statement, “The Federal Environment Minister did not concede our client’s initial argument in the case, which was that the ‘water trigger’ should have applied to the Scheme. The ‘water trigger’ is a measure that ensures any action which has a significant impact on water resources and involves a large coal mining development requires a more rigorous assessment under the EPBC Act.”

It added, “The community is still no closer to having an answer on why the ‘water trigger’ should not have applied to the North Galilee Water Scheme – a project which will take billions of litres of water a year from Central Queensland to service a coal mine. The Australian people have a right to know the impact big projects like this have on their precious water resources.”

June 15, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal | Leave a comment

Pick out the anti-environment statements in Sussan Ley’s spiel!

Sussan Ley: I’ll be an environmentalist as minister, Guardian    14 June 19,
Sussan Ley MP says she’s prepared to fight for her portfolio – and a priority will be cutting ‘green tape’ for big projects
The new environment minister, Sussan Ley, has declared herself an “environmentalist”, saying she is prepared to fight for the environment around the cabinet table even when colleagues disagree with her.

Ley, who welcomed the Queensland government’s decision on Thursday to give the green light to the Adani coalmine, told Guardian Australia she wanted to see more action on recycling, threatened species and biodiversity protection, and a greater focus on individual action to achieve a better environment.

But in the lead-up to a 10-yearly review of the country’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, Ley has also flagged that she wants approval times for major projects cut, has left the door open to lifting the country’s ban on nuclear power, and has questioned whether land clearing is responsible for species loss.

The former health minister, who was returned to cabinet by Scott Morrison after she quit over an expenses scandal in 2017, said she saw the role as an advocacy position……

Ley welcomed the review of the EPBC Act, due in the second half of this year, saying the country’s current environmental laws were “unnecessarily arduous, complex and not productive”.

….. Along with the approvals process, a clutch of Coalition MPs have indicated they will use the EPBC Act review to have Australia’s nuclear ban removed, a push that is being backed by the Minerals Council of Australia and industry groups.

Ley said the question of nuclear power in Australia was one “where you have to listen to all of the voices” but said she was open to the review considering a removal of the ban.

“To be honest, I am not strongly for or against nuclear power. I think there are good arguments for it, and there are good arguments against it.

From the perspective of the environment it is important that it is considered, so I am not going to lead that discussion at any point of the review process. Plenty of other people will.”

Ley also made clear her views on the threat to biodiversity after a UN report warned that a million species across the world faced extinction. The minister said she was “concerned” about the problem, but questioned whether land clearing was to blame.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has estimated that there has been a loss of more than 7.4m hectares of threatened species habitat since the EPBC Act was introduced in 1999, with Australia singled out for its high rates of deforestation.

“Biodiversity and … our level of loss of species is of great concern to me,” she said.

“I really believe that the biggest threat to our threatened species is probably feral cats. Loss of habitat isn’t just land clearing, if it is land clearing at all, loss of habitat is often the wrong type of vegetation and that is often introduced weeds……

I do want my approach to the portfolio to be about what you can do, whether it be reducing plastic waste, whether it be about joining a local volunteer group, whether it be about agitating for better weeds and pest management in national parks that are near you, where you live – these are practical things that people can do and they do make a difference.”

On climate change, Ley said she was “interested” in the emissions reduction task of government which is included with the energy portfolio, under Angus Taylor, rather than environment, and said she believed the Coalition’s climate solutions fund is “where we need to be”.

“I am not going to discuss the emissions policy, that is Angus Taylor’s to discuss,”……..

Having argued during the campaign for the compliance and operational parts of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to be split, Ley also said she would use her new role to push for changes being demanded by irrigators……..perhaps we need to work harder on that balance between environmental water and agriculture.”  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/14/sussan-ley-ill-be-an-environmentalist-as-minister

June 15, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear power exits Australia’s energy debate, enters culture wars 

Nuclear power exits Australia’s energy debate, enters culture wars   https://reneweconomy.com.au/nuclear-power-exits-australias-energy-debate-enters-culture-wars-47702/, Jim Green

Yes, they’re all men, and all so far to the right of the political spectrum that right-wing ideologues think they are right-wing ideologues.

And they all support nuclear power.

To the far-right, pro-nuclear luminaries listed above we could add the right-wing of the right-wing National Party (pretty much all of them), the Minerals Council of Australia (who lobby furiously for clean nuclear and clean coal), the Business Council of Australia ,media shock-jocks Alan Jones and Peta Credlin (and others), the Murdoch media (especially The Australian newspaper), the Citizens Electoral Council, and the Institute of Public Affairs and its front group the Australian Environment Foundation.

It’s no surprise that the far-right supports nuclear power (if only because the ‘green left’ opposes it).

But in Australia, support for nuclear power is increasingly marginalised to the far-right. Indeed support for nuclear power has become a sign of tribal loyalty: you support nuclear power (and coal) or you’re a cultural Marxist, and you oppose renewables and climate change action or you’re a cultural Marxist.

Support for nuclear power in Australia has ebbed in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, catastrophic costs overruns on reactor projects, and the falling costs of renewables.

Dr Ziggy Switkowski used to be nuclear power’s head cheerleader in Australia and he led the Howard government’s review of nuclear power in 2006. But he said  last year that “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed” and that nuclear power is no longer cheaper than renewables with costs rapidly shifting in favour of renewables. Continue reading

June 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Energy Minister Angus Taylor contemplates reversing Australia’s nuclear energy ban

June 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Nearly a billion people facing high exposure to climate change effects, Global Peace Index finds

June 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Time’s up for Australia’s ignorant ‘old school’ climate denialists

June 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Adani coalmine: minister loses legal challenge on water pipeline assessment


Australian Conservation Foundation says case shows federal government hasn’t scrutinised Carmichael project, 
Guardian,  Lisa Cox, 12 June 19, The federal government will have to reassess water infrastructure for Adani’s Carmichael coalmine after conceding in a legal challenge that was lodged with the federal court.The Australian Conservation Foundation has succeeded in its appeal against the government’s assessment of Adani’s north Galilee water scheme, with the federal government admitting it failed to properly consider public responses to the proposal and even lost some submissions.

The new environment minister, Sussan Ley, will now have to reconsider the proposal, which would see a 100km-long pipeline constructed to transport 12.5bn litres of water a year from the Suttor river and Burdekin basin. The project would also expand an existing 2.2bn-litre dam to 10bn litres.

The government will need to reopen the project for public comment.

While the decision is a win for the environment movement in its fight against the project, it will not prevent Adani from commencing preliminary construction at the mine site if it receives approval for its groundwater plans from the Queensland government on Thursday.

But the ACF said the government’s concession in the case is a demonstration it has not properly scrutinised Adani’s plans…….

The ACF lodged the appeal last year, challenging Price’s decision not to apply the water trigger in her assessment of the water scheme.

Through the proceedings it became evident that the process leading to the minister’s approval hadn’t properly considered the more than 2,200 public submissions that had been made, with some even being lost.

As a result, the ACF amended the grounds to challenge the failure to consider those submissions and the government conceded.

The government could still face further legal challenge if it reapproves the project without applying the water trigger in its reassessment.

“The water trigger is in Australian law because water is scarce on our dry continent. It should be applied to every relevant proposal, including Adani’s plan to take billions of litres of Queensland’s precious water,” O’Shanassy said.

“ACF will continue to scrutinise all decisions around Adani’s proposal, including groundwater approvals that were rushed through on the eve of the election.”

A spokesperson for Ley said the decision had no bearing on the federal approval for the Carmichael coalmine itself…….

The outcome has some similarities to a 2015 challenge to Adani’s mine approval, which saw the then environment minister Greg Hunt’s decision to approve the mine set aside after he failed to consider advice about two threatened species, the yakka skink and the ornamental snake.

The mine was reapproved two months later.  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/12/adani-coalmine-federal-government-loses-legal-challenge-on-water-assessment

June 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Malaysian MP insists that Lynas rare earths processing has contaminated grounwater

Contradicting Xavier, Fuziah insists groundwater near Lynas plant contaminated, The Star, 10 Jun 2019, by ong han sean   KUANTAN: Staunch Lynas opponent Fuziah Salleh  nsists that groundwater near the rare earth refinery contains toxic elements.The Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said elements detected in the groundwater contamination monitoring data from the 2015-2016 Health Impact Assessment provided by Lynas to the executive review committee included nickel, lead and chromium.

“It is ironic that in Malaysia, Lynas has persistently denied that it is the source of serious heavy metal contamination, even though data taken over a 12-month period from September 2015 from its own groundwater monitoring stations have shown otherwise, apart from the month of April,” Fuziah said in a statement on Monday (June 10).

She said groundwater contamination detection required a protracted, regular and technically reliable independent monitoring strategy, and a conclusion could only be made with a high level of statistical confidence based on multiple and repeated samples taken across seasons.
The Kuantan MP said this kind of pollution had very serious public and environmental health implications in the long run.

“Of course, Lynas would never have admitted to the contamination because if it does, then it will be liable for this pollution. As a speculative rare earth junior mining company, its future lies in its ability to mask the real problems it is facing in Malaysia.

“Simply branding people who have raised concerns about its pollution and waste as activists is underestimating the many experts from different fields whom I have met over the years.

“These are highly skilled educated professionals with postgraduate qualifications from various reputable universities in Malaysia and from advanced industrialised countries overseas.

“They have given their pro-bono professional advice out of their sense of duty to the country and for our rakyat, and because they feel that Malaysia deserves the truth and environmental justice,” she said.

Fuziah’s statement is in stark contrast with a recent announcement by Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar that the groundwater around the Lynas refinery was no longer polluted by heavy metals as shown by the latest tests conducted in the surrounding area there.

Lynas subsequently issued a statement expressing disappointment that anti-Lynas activists were using misleading and false information about groundwater in an attempt to create fear in the local communities……….

Fuziah added that Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin was planning to personally visit Australia later this month to negotiate the return of Lynas’ NORM waste to its mine pit in Mount Weld in Western Australia.

“Lynas had given two undertakings back in 2012 to remove its NORM waste to get its operating licence.

“Both thorium and uranium radionuclides and the heavy metals present in Lynas’ waste are toxic. Many of these are cancer-causing substances and must be isolated from the biosphere, not left to pollute the environment.

“Thorium especially is a long-living low-level radioactive radionuclide which will remain hazardous forever, leaving a toxic legacy for current and future generations.

“I have a duty and responsibility as an elected representative of the people to raise my concern,” Fuziah said.

On May 30, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reportedly told the media in Japan that Malaysia would allow the Australian rare earths producer to continue operating its plant in Gebeng, Pahang.

However, in an interview with 8TV, Yeo said she was making plans to go to Australia to discuss the Lynas issue with government officials there.

She also said that the confirmation on whether the Malaysian government would give the green light to Lynas would only be decided after her trip. https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/10/fuziah-contradicts-xavier-says-groundwater-near-lynas-plant-contaminated/

June 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, rare earths | Leave a comment

Ditch the jobs v environment slogan and get on with doing both

 Brisbane Times, By Jeff Angel, June 11, 2019 — ……… In a little publicised study released this year, the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council assessed the environmental goods and services sector. The activities involved include delivering waste, water and energy management; and biodiversity, landscape and climate services. It found the number of jobs generated as 152,000 larger than the total number of jobs in agriculture and mining combined. Importantly a significant number were in regional areas and the vast majority of businesses, small to medium size. With a 6 per cent growth rate, the environmental goods and services sector was already contributing $43.9 billion a year across the economy.

Notably the study did not include tourism jobs, many of which are based on our magnificent natural assets found in national parks. There are more than 50 million visits a year, with Destination NSW finding more than $20 billion is spent on nature based tourism generating tens of thousands of jobs.
So, protecting the environment is not a job destroyer. It’s the opposite. But what has caused this positive situation?
To the chagrin of some on the “let the market run free” side of the political debate – a major influence has been government regulation stimulating investment and innovation. Mandatory renewable energy targets are one example.

Another is the NSW Energy Savings Scheme, where electricity retailers are required to meet escalating targets helping business, industry and households save energy (and have lower bills). The Council notes the government law created a competitive market to deliver energy savings at least cost, resulting in NSW now leading the world in the wide-scale adoption of efficient lighting.

A more recent development has been “return and earn” providing refunds on drink bottles and cans. Originally decried by major beverage companies as a tax on consumers that would cost jobs – the evidence is that more than 500 new jobs have been created. None have been reported lost. The state’s Pricing Regulator has also found minimal cost impact; and when you return your drink container for the 10 cent refund, you are saving on the purchase price.

This does not mean that these jobs are replacing employment in the extractive industries, but rather at a macro level there is a social and economic benefit. The issue confronting policy makers is transition as one industry declines and another grows. Some skills are transferable but more deliberate assistance programs are needed. …..

It’s not a choice between jobs and the environment, but how to transition in a way that manages inevitable dislocation and also prevents ongoing, damaging and serious environmental impacts on present and future generations. This is the challenge for the new federal and NSW ministers for the environment and industry.

We know there are many jobs in the green economy – NSW has shown this. Income and job creating services that protect the climate will grow if government allows it. Establishing a local reprocessing industry for our recycling is also essential. Asia has rejected our kerbside recyclate and we can’t just dump or incinerate it here. On the optimistic side, we have a new federal Minister for Waste Reduction in the environment portfolio, the first in Australia’s history; and state ministers are grappling with how to embrace the circular economy where resources are not wasted.  Let’s dispense with the slogan of jobs v the environment and get on with doing both.

Jeff Angel is the director of the Total Environment Centre.  https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/ditch-the-jobs-v-environment-slogan-and-get-on-with-doing-both-20190610-p51w8n.html

June 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, employment | Leave a comment

Despite the evidence, the Australian government refuses to accept Chronic Radiation Syndrome in nuclear test veterans

The concept of a Chronic Radiation Syndrome was first reported by Japanese doctors who observed survivors of the atomic bombs dropped upon Japan in 1945. There, the name for the syndrome is Bura Bura disease. It is not accepted by the West.

the USA was in possession of the 1971 Soviet description of Chronic Radiation Syndrome in 1973 at the latest.

In 1994 the US Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute Bethesda, Maryland, published “Analysis of Chronic Radiation Sickness Cases in the Population of the Southern Urals”.

From the 1950s, nuclear veterans and civilian Downwinders reported syndromes of ill health similar to Chronic Radiation Syndrome to their governments. This includes the government of the USA and the government of Australia. These reports certainly did not result in Chronic Radiation Syndrome entering the Western medical lexicon.

During the 40-year period of operations at Mayak, all studies on radiation exposure of personnel at the plant and of the off-site population, the doses of exposure, and the possible health effects from radiation exposure were classified for national security reasons”.

anyone who spoke of the reality of disease and disablement suffered by those afflicted by the nuclear weapons tests in Australia were subject to threats of imprisonment by government and to attempts of censorship by the British and Australian authorities (Marsden, cited in Cross). It took 3 decades for the Australian government to release nuclear veterans from the threat of legal action and imprisonment if they spoke.

Chronic Radiation Syndrome,  https://nuclearexhaust.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/chronic-radiation-syndrome/   Paul Langley, 9 June 19 The claim that Australian nuclear veterans suffer enhanced risk of cancer has been confirmed by the Australian Government only as recently as 2006. The official government position is that the enhanced risk suffered by the nuclear test veterans is shown in health survey results. However the Australian government refuses to acknowledge that radiation exposures due to the testing of nuclear weapons as the cause of this increased risk.

Scientists under contract to the Australian government located at Adelaide performed the analysis of the 2006 health survey results. These scientists initially suggested that exposure to petrol fumes in the Australian desert might be the cause of the increased cancer risk suffered by nuclear veterans.

This suggestion, present in the Health Survey draft report, did not make it into the final report. Instead, we are presented with a mystery. Though the scientists claim certainty in their position that the nuclear veterans’ exposure to nuclear weapons detonations was not the cause of their increased cancer risk, the scientists are unable to find any other cause.

It’s a mystery, apparently, to Australian science in the service of the State. Not that this is uniquely Australian. It is universal among the Nuclear Powers. (It is all the more perplexing given Dr. P. Couch’s compassionate and detailed submission to a Senate inquiry examining the impact of the British Nuclear Tests in Australia on the personnel involved. Dr. Couch’s submission described the suffering endured by Commonwealth Police personnel who guarded the Maralinga Nuclear Test Site after military activity had ceased. One would have logically thought that if personnel were affected by service at Maralinga in times after the cessation of weapons testing, then so were the military personnel who actually saw the bombs explode, and who saw the plutonium dust disperse during the “minor trials”. )

The report states:

“The cancer incidence study showed an overall increase in the number of cancers in test participants, similar to that found in the mortality study. The number of cancer cases found among participants was 2456, which was 23% higher than expected. A significant increase in both the number of deaths and the number of cases was found for (figures in
brackets show increase in mortality and incidence):

Continue reading

June 10, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s police raids on the media will silence whistleblowers

It sends shockwaves through your life’: how the media raids will silence whistleblowers, Guardian  Christopher Knaus @knausc 9 Jun 2019

Those forces have already exacted a crippling toll.

“[My ex-wife] would probably say – and I think there’s an element of truth in it – it killed David McBride,” he says. “The man that she married was killed by the defence force, and I’m someone who’s different.

“Doing something like this, taking on the whole government, it sends shockwaves through your life, and not much survives, really.”

Wednesday’s raid on the ABC prompted outrage among civil rights groups, transparency campaigners, journalists and unions. It came just a day after federal police searched the home of the News Corp reporter Annika Smethurst, searching for documents related to her coverage of proposed new surveillance powers for the Australian Signals Directorate. 2GB host Ben Fordham’s revelation about asylum seeker boats attempting to reach Australia from Sri Lanka is also the subject of a home affairs investigation, as the department attempts to identify his source.

The raids have not occurred in isolation. Multiple whistleblowers who revealed government wrongdoing are currently being pursued through the courts with alarming vigour.

The government is prosecuting Witness K and Bernard Collaery, who revealed an unlawful spy operation against Timor-Leste during oil negotiations. Richard Boyle, the tax office worker who revealed the government’s heavy-handed approach to recovering debts, faces a long stint in jail if convicted.

Assoc Prof Joseph Fernandez, a journalism lecturer at Curtin University, has spent years studying source protection and the Australian media. He says the consequences of this week’s raids are clear, regardless of whether journalists are charged.

“Such raids, regardless of what happens here to journalists or to others, will have an immeasurable censoring effect on contact people have with journalists,” Fernandez says.

“In my research in this area over the years, it was clear that even senior public servants are apprehensive about having contact with journalists, even about mundane things, in the wake of laws that enable the authorities to track down sources.”

The McBride matter had been bubbling away for some time before Wednesday’s raid. Guardian Australia understands police have been talking to the ABC since at least September, trying to find a way to access the documents without resorting to a very public raid. …….

Denis Muller, from the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism, says arguments about the police operating at arm’s length from government miss the point.    “The point is that the politicians have constructed a repressive legal regime designed to protect the executive branch of government, impede accountability to the public and exert a chilling effect on the press,” Muller wrote in the Conversation……….    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/jun/08/it-sends-shockwaves-through-your-life-how-the-media-raids-will-silence-whistleblowers

June 10, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

Australia’s reputation in the Pacific now trashed due to its failure to help, in climate crisis

June 10, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment