Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Greens Members of Parliament arrested at anti Adani coal mine protest

Greens MPs arrested and fined at Adani protest, as Indian miner is referred to consumer watchdog, The New Daily 6 Nov 17,  Two NSW Greens MPs have been arrested and fined for protesting against the proposed Adani Carmichael coalmine, while another front was opened in the long-running battle against the development.

Jeremy Buckingham and Dawn Walker were among 17 people arrested on Wednesday morning for trespassing at the controversial site, 270 kilometres west of Bowen in Queensland.

Mr Buckingham and Ms Walker were fined $250 each after being issued with a police infringement notice for trespassing unlawfully at a place of business.

“I’m proud to stand with activists in defence of climate and country, and respect all those people around Australia and internationally who want to stop the Adani coal project,” Mr Buckingham said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Although we are MPs from NSW this is an issue of national and international significance. Adani represents a line in the sand for all those concerned about climate change who do not want to see a new coal precinct opened up in Australia.”

Ms Walker said the proposal was “tearing Indigenous communities apart” and was offering “a sub standard agreement to traditional owners for their land”.

About 5am on Wednesday, Queensland Police were alerted that 35 people were blockading the railway construction site near the proposed mine.

Fourteen protesters entered the site and climbed onto vehicles and machinery about 6am, a police spokesman told The New Daily.

A woman in her 60s locked herself to a boundary gate with a metal bike lock around her neck. Police were working to remove her.

Seventeen people were arrested for trespass and failure to comply with direction. Nine of those people were issued with infringement notices after moving on.

Eight people continued to fail to comply and they remained under arrest on Wednesday afternoon……    http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/state/qld/2017/12/06/adani-greens-mps-arrested-accc/ 

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December 8, 2017 Posted by | legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

ACCC asked to investigate Adani ‘10,000 jobs’ claim

 https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/accc-asked-to-investigate-adani-jobs-claim-20171206-p4yxfl.html  Environmental lawyers have asked Australia’s consumer watchdog to investigate Adani’s claims that its controversial Queensland coal mine will create a jobs bonanza.

Environmental Justice Australia this week wrote to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission asking it to investigate what it says is “misleading or deceptive conduct” by the company relating to the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin.

“Plenty of evidence suggests Adani’s representations about 10,000 direct and indirect jobs are seriously flawed, yet the company continues to mislead people looking for work,” said EJA lawyer David Barnden, who said the Queensland Land Court had already ruled the mine would create just 1464 jobs.

The future of the mine has suffered setbacks this week, with project funding from China looking increasingly unlikely.

The Bank of China on Tuesday issued a one-line press release saying it “has not, and does not intend to, provide funding for the Adani Carmichael Mine project”.

It is the third of the country’s “big four” banks to distance itself from the mine, following The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank’s decision not to stump up cash.

Australia’s own big four banks have already ruled out supporting the project.

The Greens say it signals the end of the mine.

“Any financier with any sense doesn’t want Adani,” Greens senator Andrew Bartlett told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

“It’s time for Adani to give it up, save their money and for the politicians of Queensland to focus on the issues that will deliver genuine jobs for regional Queensland.”

December 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Adani referred to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) over its misleading job promises

Greens MPs arrested and fined at Adani protest, as Indian miner is referred to consumer watchdog, The New Daily, 6 Dec 17    “………Adani referred to the ACCC

The protest comes after community legal service Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) referred the Indian miner to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) over its jobs spruiking.

Acting for Townsville jobseeker Chris McCoomb, a volunteer coordinator with the Australian Unemployed Workers Union, EJA is urging the ACCC to investigate Adani for “misleading vulnerable jobseekers”.

EJA says “inflated” claims its mine will create 10,000 jobs is leading jobseekers to spend thousands of dollars on training for “jobs that will never exist”.

Mr McCoomb’s 17-page complaint names at least one Queensland mining training outfit that is using Adani’s “inflated figures … to promote sometimes costly training courses and certifications” to cash-strapped jobseekers.

That company advertises a one day “mining induction course” for $650.

In 2015, Land Court of Queensland president Carmel MacDonald found Adani had significantly “overstated” its job figures in court evidence and to the State Government.

Ms MacDonald accepted testimony the project would “increase average annual employment by 1,206 jobs in Queensland and 1,464 jobs in Australia”, not by 10,000.

EJA lawyer David Barnden told the ACCC “the evidence for misleading and deceptive conduct … is strong”.

“ACCC is urged to take action to prevent the continued dissemination of Adani’s misleading or deceptive statements that are directed at jobseekers.

“Vulnerable jobseekers should not be misled into spending money or training courses or certification without the true number of expected direct and indirect jobs being published by Adani.”

An ACCC spokesman declined to comment on the Adani complaint. An Adani spokesman could not be reached for comment.   http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/state/qld/2017/12/06/adani-greens-mps-arrested-accc/   

December 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Pine Gap: peaceful protestors sentenced to fines, not gaol

Pine Gap protesters who entered top-secret Central Australia facility spared jail to avoid creating ‘martyr’ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-04/pine-gap-trespassers-not-jailed-to-avoid-creating-martyr/9223946

The group were charged under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act, which carries a maximum of seven years in prison.

One of the group members, Andy Paine, faced another two years for carrying a smartphone onto the base.

But Justice John Reeves fined the group a total of $15,500.

While sentencing the oldest member of the group, Jim Dowling, 62, Justice Reeves expressed concern that Dowling had committed 27 similar trespass offences since 1986.

“If I imprison you, I think that would be likely to make you a martyr to your cause, rather than to underscore the law breaking in which you were involved,” he said.

Dowling was fined $5,000 as one of five people who entered Pine Gap on September 29, 2016.

In that group, Margaret Pestorius was fined $3,500, Andy Paine fined $2,500, while Franz Dowling and Tim Webb were fined $1,250.

The group told the court they went to sing a lament which several members of the group had composed in memory of people they believed had been killed by US drone strikes, with help from Pine Gap.

Paul Christie was fined $2,000 for also entering Pine Gap in a separate crime on October 3, 2016.

In sentencing Christie, Justice Reeves said his offence was at the lowest possible end of the spectrum.

He said Christie was arrested while holding a rattle and some flowers, while praying.

I do not accept the Crown’s submission that your offences potentially struck at the heart of national security,” Justice Reeves told the group.

“Your activities posed no real threat to the Pine Gap facility.”

The two separate trials in the NT Supreme Court lasted two weeks, with the Crown briefing a senior counsel to prosecute the matters.

December 6, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Adani mine: Traditional owners aiming to block native title ruling on mine site

ABC News, By Josh Robertson and Isobel Roe 4 Dec 17, A group of traditional owners fighting Adani’s central Queensland coal mine have filed a court injunction against both the mine owner and the Queensland Government, hoping to prevent a National Native Title Tribunal decision on the Carmichael mine site. The legal fate of Australia’s largest proposed coal mine hinges on the tribunal registering an Indigenous land use agreement (ILUA).

After months of pressure from Adani, it is understood the tribunal has moved to fast-track its ruling and was due to hand down its decision some time this week.

The move shocked mine opponents within the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners, who fear having a huge swathe of their native title claim on Galilee Basin country irreversibly struck down before the Federal Court can rule on a separate challenge to the validity of the ILUA.

Some W&J claimants have alleged in the Federal Court that Adani paid certain people $2,000 to attend a meeting and vote in favour of a compensation deal that would allow the coal mine to go ahead.

Speaking in Brisbane on Sunday for the W&J group opposed to the mine, Adrian Burragubba said they were determined to stop the tribunal handing down a decision ahead of the court ruling…… http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-03/adani-mine-traditional-owners-want-to-block-native-title-ruling/9221256

December 4, 2017 Posted by | legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

6 Australian religious anti-war protesters may face 7 years gaol for peaceful Pine Gap protest

An American Spy Base Hidden in Australia’s Outback, NYT   The trials — and the Australian government’s uncompromising prosecution of the protesters — has put a spotlight on a facility that the United States would prefer remain in the shadows.

— Margaret Pestorius arrived at court last week in her wedding dress, a bright orange-and-cream creation painted with doves, peace signs and suns with faces. “It’s the colors of Easter, so I always think of it as being a resurrection dress,” said Ms. Pestorius, a 53-year-old antiwar activist and devout Catholic, who on Friday was convicted of trespassing at a top-secret military base operated by the United States and hidden in the Australian outback.

November 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Australia needs special laws to protect its independent broadcaster – the ABC

Special laws needed to budget-proof the ABC, says former PM Kevin Rudd, The Age, Peter Hartcher and James Massola, 25 Nov 17, 

The ABC needs to have its budget protected from future attack by special legislation, according to former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

The former Labor leader said that while the national broadcaster’s independence was enshrined in law, its $1.04 billion annual budget was vulnerable. In an interview on the 10th anniversary of leading Labor to power, Mr Rudd said that one of his regrets was that his government didn’t protect the ABC budget against assault by a future Coalition government.

“To fix its baseline budget and entrench it in legislation with an automatic CPI acceleration would have been helpful,” Mr Rudd said.

The ABC was at particular risk from a future conservative government doing the bidding of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, he said.

 “Given Murdoch’s historical commitment to kill public broadcasting, something to have considered at the time was not to re-legislate the independence of the ABC but to entrench its budget,” he said. Mr Rudd also rued that he didn’t declare “open war” on News Corporation during his time as prime minister.

“I regret deferring constantly to the advice of my cabinet colleagues and not declaring open war on News Corporation. “It became clear early in the government’s life that, when we would not commit to the News Corporation agenda, they set out to destroy the government.”

His government’s decision to build the National Broadband Network was a threat to Murdoch’s Fox entertainment channels distributed through Foxtel cable, said the current president of the New York-based Asia Society Policy Institute.

“The current dominance of Murdoch represents a growing cancer on Australian democracy,” Mr Rudd said. He urged a future Labor government to hold a royal commission into New Corporation’s relationship with the Coalition…….http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/special-laws-needed-to-budgetproof-the-abc-says-former-pm-kevin-rudd-20171124-gzskmq.html

November 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, media | Leave a comment

Australian environment has no constitutional protection, unlike Norway’s

An Australian right to a healthy environment?

Our Constitution doesn’t contain an explicit paragraph for environmental protection, nor do we have a bill of rights.

Brendan Sydes said we have very few rights in our Constitution. “We don’t have the direct constitutional foundation for pursuing these sorts of actions,” he said.

“But there certainly is interest in … trying to find duties or obligations deep within our legal system that would force the Australian Government to take climate change and the need to reduce emissions farm more seriously than they are at the moment.

Dr Tom Baxter, corporate governance lecturer at the University of Tasmania, says the Federal Government hasn’t added a climate change trigger to Australia’s environment legislation. “Environmental lawyers are trying to use other mechanisms to prevent companies like Adani digging up the Galilee Basin and shipping coal out through the Great Barrier Reef.”

Should a healthy environment be a human right? These Norwegians think so http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/should-a-healthy-environment-be-a-human-right/9186144     23 NOVEMBER 2017  By Courtney Carthy 

Greenpeace and the environmental group Youth and Nature are suing the Norwegian Government for granting Arctic oil drilling licenses.

Their argument is based on an article in the Norwegian constitution protecting the right to an environment that’s healthy and that long-term consideration be given to digging up natural resources.

Greenpeace Norway head Truls Gulowsen told Hack it all comes down to climate change and oil licenses.

“We had challenged the Norwegian state for handing out new licenses for drilling in the arctic in spite of the fact that they have signed the Paris Agreement,” he said on his way to court. “They acknowledge climate change is a problem, and they know that the world has already found more carbon, fossil carbon, than we can ever afford to burn.”

He said Norway’s constitution gives future generations the right to a healthy environment.

“[That] puts duties on the state to guarantee and safeguard those rights.”

Brendan Sydes, lawyer and CEO of Environmental Justice Australia, says the strategy used by Greenpeace goes to a country’s legal foundation, instead of working with a country’s environmental regulations. Continue reading

November 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, legal | Leave a comment

Western Australia: Mulga Rock Uranium Project threatens environmental impacts from Tailings waste:

Briefer (Nov 2017) by David Noonan, Independent Environment Campaigner

Uranium mining has unique, inherent risks and long term impacts. The West Australian Parliament has passed a Motion (Legislative Council 23 May 2012) recommending:

The government adopt equivalent or better environmental management regulatory requirements for any future uranium mine in Western Australia as exists under Commonwealth and Northern Territory legislation for the operation of the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory with regard to the disposal of radioactive tailings, including the requirements that –

(a) The tailings are physically isolated from the environment for at least 10,000 years: and

(b) Any contaminants arising from the tailings do not result in any detrimental environmental impacts for at least 10,000 years.”

The Barnett era WA gov Approval for the Mulga Rock Uranium Project (Dec 2016) fails to comply with required Commonwealth & NT legislative standards or with the WA Parliament recommendation.

There are two types of intended Tailings Storage Facilities (TSF): an Above Ground TSF and multiple Mine Pit TSF’s in 4 areas across 30 km. An “authorised extent of physical and operational elements” (Approval Schedule 1 Table 2) place some limits on Above Ground TSF but no limits on Mine Pit TSF’s:

Initial disposal for no longer than 2 years after commencement of mining operations, in the above ground TSF labelled on Figure 2. After this time, all disposal must be in the mine pits”;

Disposal of no more than 3 Mtpa of beneficiation rejects and no more than 2 Mtpa of post-leaching tailings material”, within an Above Ground TSF cleared area of up to 106 ha.

Mine Pit TSF’s are not required to use “best available landform modelling over 10 000 years post mine closure” or to try to meet a safety outcome that is applied to the Above Ground TSF disposal:

Condition 16 (1) ensure that the above ground TSF is safe to members of the public and non-human biota, geo-technically and geo-morphologically, and geo-chemically non-polluting.”

Condition 15-1 allows for a plume of tailings seepage and contaminants to move in groundwater:

The proponent shall manage the design and maintenance of all TSF’s to … ensure that the tailings plume is within background groundwater concentrations at the M39/1080 lease boundary”.

The TSF Monitoring and Management Plan (C 15-3) provides for the proponent: “to manage impacts on groundwater quality including from seepage of contaminants into the groundwater and/or soil”.

Conditions 12 & 14 only seek to “minimise impacts” on Inland Waters, on groundwater, and impacts on water quality, including: “Acid and Metalliferous Drainage from seepage into groundwater”.

A number of Management Plans relevant to TSF’s, Groundwater & Environment issues are required: “prior to substantial commencement of the proposal or as otherwise agreed in writing by the CEO” (Conditions 6-1 & 7-1). These Plans require the approval of the CEO Depart of Environment. 2

Barnett era WA gov Uranium Approvals fail to protect Aboriginal Heritage sites:

Redress is required to WA Uranium Approvals authorisation of impacts to Aboriginal Heritage in favour of mining vested interests and irrespective of cultural & heritage values. Aboriginal people should have rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent over any WA uranium mine proposal.

The WA Approval to the Mulga Rock Uranium Project (Condition 11-1 Aboriginal Heritage) authorises impacts to registered Aboriginal Heritage sites and to “unregistered sites”, with a weak objective to only minimise impacts on heritage sites rather than to properly protect sites and avoid impacts:

  1. minimise impacts as far as practical to registered sites DAA 1985 and DAA 1986 and unregistered sites.”

An Aboriginal Heritage Management Plan is required to be approved “prior to ground disturbing activities being undertaken” with decision powers held by the CEO of the Depart of Environment.

Flawed Federal Uranium Approval fails to mention Aboriginal Heritage or Tailings issues:

The Federal Approval to the Mulga Rock Uranium Project (02 March 2017, Minister Josh Frydenberg MP) inexplicably fails to mention Aboriginal Heritage or regulation of uranium mine radioactive tailings. These are unacceptable omissions of key Federal EPBC Act responsibilities to protect the environment from nuclear actions. The Federal ALP should commit to address this Liberal failure.

WA Approval Conditions require a “Compliance Assessment Plan” by May 2018:

WA Approval Condition 4 “Compliance Reporting” requires the proponent submit a “Compliance Assessment Plan” by May 2018, to the satisfaction of CEO Depart of Environment. This will test the new ALP State gov: acquiesce to uranium mining or require robust Plans to protect the environment.

Further, the CEO has a power under Condition 5 to require release of all validated environmental data relevant to assessment of the Mulga Rock Project “within a reasonable time period approved by the CEO”. These data sets should be made public ASAP and well prior to any Project commencement.

marginal Uranium Project risks a pristine Priority Ecological Community:

The Mulga Rock Uranium Project site is entirely inside the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community and upstream from the Queens Victoria Springs ‘A Class Nature Reserve’. The project poses a serious long term risk to a listed ‘pristine’ area through production of approx. 32 million tonnes of radioactive tailings and seepage of wastes that require isolation for over 10 000 years.

The Bulletin Magazine (Oct 2016) reports capital costs for Mulga Rock processing and mining infrastructure and indirect costs at over A$360 million, with a planned annual production of uranium oxide concentrate at (only) 1,350 tonnes over a mine life of 16 years. A ‘break even’ Uranium Price for Mulga Rock has been estimated at US$50 per pound. Steve Kidd a former senior official of the World Nuclear Association writes in NEI Magazine (Sept 2017) that: “…uranium prices are set to remain in the US$20’s per pound for a long time, maybe throughout the whole of the 2020’s.

For further info see: www.ccwa.org.au/nuclearfreewa and www.ccwa.org.au/mulga_rocks 

November 18, 2017 Posted by | environment, legal, reference, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia: SUPREME COURT JUDICIAL REVIEW OF ENVIRONMENTAL APPROVAL for YEELIRRIE URANIUM MINE

DATE                     Thursday 16th November

TIME                      9.30am

LOCATION           Supreme Court of WA

David Malcolm Justice Centre
28 Barrack StreetPERTH WA 6000

 The Supreme Court of WA will commence proceedings to review the environmental approval for the Yeelirrie Uranium mine proposal, brought by the Conservation Council of Western Australia and Traditional Owners.

 

November 15, 2017 Posted by | legal, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Environmental Law cases – Queensland and Adani coal project

Supreme Court of Qld:   Environmental Law Australia envlaw.com.au
‘This case study involves a major dispute in the Land Court of Queensland
over the Carmichael Coal Mine proposed in the Galilee Basin of central Queensland
and a subsequent judicial review challenge to the mine’s approval
in the Supreme Court of Queensland.’

envlaw.com.au/carmichael-coal-mine-case

‘ … Two separate disputes (also not the subject of this case study) about the mine involve native title issues
raised by the Traditional Owners of the land on which the mine was proposed,
the Wangan and Jagalingou People.

‘The first of these disputes involved hearings in  the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) and
the Federal Court under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA) after the
Wangan and Jagalingou People rejected an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) proposed by Adani
for the grant of the mining lease for the mine. …

‘The second dispute concerning native title issues involved an application by
elders of the Wangan and Jagalingou People in the Supreme Court of Queensland for judicial review
of the grant of the mining lease under the MRA based on native title grounds.
That application was also dismissed.
An appeal in the Queensland Court of Appeal was also dismissed in August 2017.

November 3, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Business South Australia – a strident pro nuclear lobbyist -ruled to not be a ‘charity’

Business SA loses legal fight to prove it is a charity for tax purposes http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/business-sa-loses-legal-fight-to-prove-it-is-a-charity-for-tax-purposes/news-story/0ca7426794b7a85ad13ae7fd4bb006ac, Andrew Hough, The Advertiser, August 31, 2017 THE role of the state’s peak business lobby group has been called into question after a judge ruled its “dominant purpose” was not to advance trade and commerce in South Australia.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | legal, South Australia | Leave a comment

Why the High Court shut down Tassie’s anti-protest laws in Bob Brown case

Michael Bradley
The High Court has given judgment in Bob Brown’s case against Tasmanian anti-protest laws, and found the laws invalid on the basis they infringe the implied constitutional freedom of political communication….. (subscribers only )
https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/10/19/high-court-shuts-down-tassies-anti-protest-laws-in-bob-brown-case/

October 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Adani: Australian Conservation Foundation loses appeal against $16b Carmichael coal mine 

The Age, By Ellie Sibson, 26 Aug 17, Environmentalists have lost another appeal against Adani’s $16 billion Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) lodged the appeal last year after an earlier court ruling endorsed the mine’s environmental approval.

The full bench of the Federal Court in Brisbane today dismissed the foundation’s arguments that the Federal Environment Minister had failed in his duty to consider the mine’s impact on the Great Barrier Reef.

ACF spokesman Paul Sinclair said they would continue their fight to stop the mine.

“Today’s decision is just another step in the most significant environmental campaign of our generation,” he said.

“[It] shows that our national environmental laws are broken and are not protecting the places we love, like the Great Barrier Reef.

“We depend on the passion, commitment and determination of the Australian people to stop the Adani mine.”

In June, Adani’s board gave final investment approval for the proposed coal mine, which would be the largest in Australia.

In a statement, Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said the Government welcomed the decision…..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-25/conservation-foundation-lose-appeal-adani-carmichael-coal-mine/8842578

August 26, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Aboriginal group considers appeal over Federal Court decision for lease to Adani coal project

Fed Court decision: Adani leases issued despite Traditional Owners’ express rejection
The Queensland State continues to authorise dispossession   http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/fed-court-decision-adani-leases-issued-despite-traditional-owners-express-rejection/, August 25, 2017

“Responding to a Federal Court decision today, in one of the long running cases brought by Traditional Owners against the Adani mine, the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners  expressed their profound frustration with the way the native title and court processes have over-ridden their decision to reject an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani.

“The appeal against the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT),  which authorised the issuing of mining leases to Adani by the Queensland Government,  was dismissed.  The Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Representative Council are seeking  the advice of their senior counsel as to whether to pursue the matter in the High Court. …

Senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, says:

“We have fought and will continue to fight for our right to say no to the destruction of our country
through mining and to have our rights properly recognised and respected by the State Government. …

““We now look to our trial in March 2018 which focuses on Adani’s fake ILUA.  We have three times voted No to Adani’s grubby deal. …

Youth spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Murrawah Johnson, says,

“Adani and the State Government didn’t ‘negotiate’ and  achieve the free, prior, informed consent of the W&J people.  Instead Adani, backed by the State Government and past NNTT decisions,  relied on the threat that they would compulsorily take our land. …

Legal representative in the case, Benedict Coyne, says,

“Our client is carefully considering the judgement, and prospects of  further appeal for special leave to the High Court of Australia.” … “

August 26, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment