Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

New Laws Will Allow the Use of Military to Break Protests

 Sydney Criminal lawyers, By Paul Gregoire | 


The Turnbull government recently introduced legislation into parliament designed to lower the threshold for calling out the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to assist state police forceswith public incidents.

The Defence Amendment (Call Out of the Australian Defence Force) Bill 2018 revises Part IIIAAA of the Defence Act 1903, which was inserted into the Act in the lead up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Currently, the military can only be called upon by state and territory authorities when they’ve exhausted all other options. The new bill would allow for a call out request to be actioned, when it’s decided that ADF personnel can “enhance” the ability of state police in dealing with an incident.

The new legislation also allows the PM and other authorised ministers to send in the troops when state authorities haven’t requested assistance, but Commonwealth interests are at stake. And it provides ADF members with enhanced search capabilities and limited shoot-to-kill powers.

A much broader scope

Australian attorney general Christian Porter told journalists that the Lindt Café siege, along with the potential for a Paris terrorist attack-style incident being carried out in Australia, make streamlining the process of calling out “SAS or commando regiments” necessary.

However, the call out powers don’t just apply to terrorism. They target “domestic violence.” This is a broad term set out under section 119 of the Australian Constitution, which provides that the federal government should protect states and territories against invasion and rebellion.

Indeed, Mr Porter has stated that the ADF could be sent in to quell widespread rioting. While civil liberties advocates stress that these new powers have the potential to be used upon peaceful protests and industrial actions.

Against strikes and demonstrations

Civil Liberties Australia CEO Bill Rowlings points out that the bill allows the government to call out the ADF to protect declared infrastructure. “Given the current government’s policies, troops are likely to be called out around coal-fired power stations and ports that export coal,” he explained.

“The federal government can use the army to break environmental protests just like the government did in the late 1940s to break coal strikes,” Mr Rowlings told Sydney Criminal Lawyers. “And this new law makes it clear troops can again be used to break strikes.”

The legislation also provides that military personnel can use lethal force during certain civilian incidents. Proposed section 51N(3) outlines that this can be done in the protection of an individual’s life, to take action against an aircraft or vessel, as well as in the protection of declared infrastructure.

Military police

The Defence Call Out Bill makes “it sound like the military will only be supporting local police, yet troops under this law get powers to detain, search and question Australians,” Mr Rowlings made clear. These are “powers that ought to be exercised only by police.”

……… An incremental erosion“A real danger of laws like these are how they might be used by a more extreme government in five, ten or twenty years from now.” Mr Rowlings warned. He added that current situations in Turkey and Hungary should serve as “cautionary examples.”

The Defence Call Out Bill is currently being reviewed by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, which is accepting submissions until 31 July.

The new bill comes on the back of more than 70 pieces of legislation that have been enacted at the federal level since 9/11 in the name of national security and counterterrorism, which have consistently been whittling away at citizens’ civil rights.

“Before 9/11, Australians had very few, legally-enforceable rights,” Mr Rowlings concluded. “Today, Australians have none except those that parliament hasn’t yet turned its mind to overturning or abolishing.”https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/new-laws-will-allow-the-use-of-military-to-break-protests/

Advertisements

July 19, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Brett Stokes-Submission on “community consultation” and the illegality of the campaign for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia

 

Why has this submission not been published on Senate website?

From: Brett Stokes   Sent: Sunday, 18 February 2018  To:  Senate Standing Committees on Economics  Subject: Submission on Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia 

Terms of Reference addressed:

e)     whether wider (Eyre Peninsular or state-wide) community views should be taken into  consideration  and,  if  so,  how  this  is  occurring  or  should  be occurring;
======================================
Dear Committee Members

I am one of hundreds of South Australians who have signed the following Online Open Letter calling for police action against illegal threats to import nuclear waste and to establish nuclear waste dump(s).

Please take note of this community rejection of nuclear waste importation into South Australia.

Please take note of this community support for the laws which prohibit nuclear waste importation into South Australia. Please cease this process which threatens present and future South Australians and shows contempt towards South Australian law.

Best wishes
from Brett Stokes

Dear Commissioner of Police,

We are citizens of Australia who want action taken to enforce the law, including the South Australian Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 (abbreviated herein as the NWSF(P) Act 2000).

We are sick and tired of being threatened with illegal importation of nuclear waste.

We are sick and tired of public money being spent illegally to plan and promote illegal importation of nuclear waste.

We want action now to stop current threats of illegal importation of nuclear waste. We want action now to deter future threats of illegal importation of nuclear waste.

It is clear that the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 has been breached.

During 2015 and 2016, s13 has been breached by spending of public money on many promotional and planning aspects of illegal nuclear waste importation, as briefly described in Appendix A.

Since early 2016, there has been an open conspiracy to breach s8 and s9, with planning and promotion of importation and storage of nuclear waste into South Australia, as briefly described in Appendix B.

There are ten year imprisonment penalties and multi million dollar fines for offences – these are very serious penalties, in accord with the gravity of the threat.

As well as these offences against the NWSF(P) Act 2000, there are also other offences, including fraud, which may become more apparent as your investigation proceeds.

Please act now to enforce the law.

Please act now to end this illegal threat.

Please act now to “protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of South Australia and to protect the environment in which they live”. (Quote from s3 Objects of Act of the NWSF(P) Act 2000)

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Signed (Name and Postcode) Continue reading

June 27, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, legal | Leave a comment

Supreme Court appeal lodged against Yeelirrie uranium mining approval decision

9/3 /18  The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) and members of the Tjiwarl Native Title group have announced the filing of an appeal against the Supreme Court’s recent decision which upheld the environmental approval for the Yeelirrie uranium mine proposal.

The Supreme Court challenge brought by CCWA and Native Title holders sought to overturn the environmental approval for the mine issued in the final days of the Barnett Government, against the advice of the WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the Minister’s own appeal decision. If it goes ahead, the project will cause the extinction of multiple species unique to the Yeelirrie area.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said allowing the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law to go unchallenged would be bad for the environment and bad for democracy.

“The decision to appeal this judgement highlights our commitment to preventing extinction and upholding what we believe are fundamental principles of environmental law.

“If this decision is allowed to stand then the Environment Minister could sign off on the extinction of multiple species with the stroke of a pen, despite what the EPA and appeals processes say.

“According to the Supreme Court ruling, we can have a detailed, thorough, publicly funded environmental assessment process, with all the key information examined in the public domain, followed by a rigorous appeals process, and then the Minister can totally disregard that whole process and make a different decision based on different information that is not available to the public.

“This treats the EPA and its environmental assessment as something to be casually dismissed. Western Australians expect and deserve better government than that.

“CCWA and community groups fought for WA’s environmental protection laws and the EPA. Now, it is again up to community to defend the integrity of those laws and processes in the courts. This is essential to uphold due process in environmental decisions, and to restore confidence in the EPA.

“The WA Environmental Protection Act was never intended to be used to sanction the extinction of wildlife, and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to ensure that it is not used in this way.

“The Yeelirrie approval knowingly allows extinction of multiple species and this should never be contemplated. We must stand up for all creatures, great and small.

“Allowing the extinction of any creature could open the door for other species to be treated in the same way.  Numbats, cockatoos and other wildlife could be next, so we can’t allow it to start here.”

Vicky Abdullah, Tjiwarl Native Title Holder, said, “We have fought long and hard to protect Yeelirrie and to stop the uranium project, so we will not stop now.

 “This appeal shows that we will continue to fight for our country and our people, and hope that the Court of Appeal will see that the decision to approve the Yeelirrie uranium project was wrong”. 

 

March 14, 2018 Posted by | legal, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Julian Assange loses bid to have UK arrest warrant withdrawn 

 

Why is the Australian government giving no help to this Australian citizen?

 ABC News 14 Feb 18A British judge has upheld an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, saying the WikiLeaks founder should have the courage to come to court and face justice after more than five years inside Ecuador’s London embassy.

Key points:

  • Mr Assange can seek to appeal, though his lawyers did not say whether he would
  • He faces arrest if he leaves Ecuador’s London embassy
  • His attorney argues that arresting him was no longer proportionate or in the public interest

Judge Emma Arbuthnot rejected arguments by Mr Assange’s lawyers that it is no longer in the public interest to arrest him for jumping bail in 2012 and seeking shelter in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Prosecutors there were investigating allegations of sexual assault and rape made by two women, which Mr Assange has denied.

Judge Arbuthnot did not mince words in her ruling at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, saying that by jumping bail, Mr Assange had made “a determined attempt to avoid the order of the court”.

She said Mr Assange appeared to be “a man who wants to impose his terms on the course of justice”.

Mr Assange can seek to appeal, though his lawyers did not immediately say whether he would.

Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation last year, saying there was no prospect of bringing Mr Assange to Sweden in the foreseeable future.

But the British warrant for violating bail conditions still stands, and Mr Assange faces arrest if he leaves the embassy.

Mr Assange’s lawyers had asked for the warrant to be withdrawn since Sweden no longer wants him extradited, but the judge rejected their request last week.

His attorney had gone on to argue that arresting him was no longer proportionate or in the public interest.

Lawyer Mark Summers argued the Australian was justified in seeking refuge in the embassy because he had a legitimate fear that US authorities want to arrest him for WikiLeaks’ publication of secret documents.

Judge Arbuthnot dismissed another plank of Mr Assange’s case — a report from a UN working group which said the 46-year-old was being arbitrarily detained.

“I give little weight to the views of the working group,” the judge said, noting that Mr Assange had “restricted his own freedom for a number of years”.

Julian Assange’s bid for freedom
While court hearings for Julian Assange’s bid for freedom are interesting steps in a long running saga, the end game is far more complicated, writes Lisa Millar.

Mr Assange’s lawyer had argued that the five-plus years Mr Assange had spent inside the embassy were “adequate, if not severe” punishment for his actions, noting that he had health problems including a frozen shoulder and depression….

..The ruling leaves the long legal impasse intact. Apart from the bail-jumping charge — for which the maximum sentence is one year in prison — Mr Assange suspects there is a secret US grand jury indictment against him for WikiLeaks’ publication of classified documents, and that American authorities will seek his extradition.

Mr Assange’s lawyers say he is willing to face legal proceedings in Britain, but only if he receives a guarantee that he will not be sent to the US to face prosecution. That is not an assurance Britain is likely to give. ……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-14/julian-assange-loses-bid-to-have-uk-arrest-warrant-withdrawn/9444540

 

February 14, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

Yeelirree uranium project Court decision – “a bad decision, but not the end decision”

‘Sad day for our people, our land’: Appeal fails against Yeelirrie uranium mine in WA’s Mid West, http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/sad-day-for-our-people-our-land-appeal-fails-against-yeelirrie-uranium-mine-in-was-mid-west-20180208-h0vrpr.html

Conservationists and Tjiwarl traditional owners will continue to fight the approval for a uranium mine in central WA despite losing a Supreme Court appeal.

Former state environment minister Albert Jacob gave the green light to Cameco’s Yeelirrie mine proposal in January last year, just 16 days before the pre- election caretaker mode began.

The Conservation Council of WA and traditional owners fear unique subterranean fauna in the area will be made extinct if the project proceeds.

Chief Justice Wayne Martin determined on Thursday that the appeal against the ministerial decision should be dismissed. Costs will be determined at a later date.

 CCWA executive director Piers Verstegen told reporters outside court the decision was disappointing but only a setback for their battle.  “It’s absolutely not the end of the road for Yeelirrie or the other uranium mines that are being strongly contested here in Western Australia,” he said.

Tjiwarl native title holder Vicky Abdullah said the court case was only part of the campaign . “This is a very disappointing and sad day for our people, our land, and our future,” she said. “We have fought long and hard to protect Yeelirrie and stop the uranium project. “It’s a bad decision, but it’s not the end decision.”

The ministerial endorsement was subject to 17 conditions, including the Canadian company undertaking further surveys and research into stygofauna and troglofauna to minimise impacts on the tiny underground creatures.

Mr Verstegen said he always knew the appeal would result in either the uranium approval being ruled invalid or the environmental laws being exposed as inadequate.

“Today’s ruling shows that indeed our environmental laws are deeply inadequate,” he said.

There is still a federal decision pending, with the WA appeal delaying the process by months.

“It is now up to the commonwealth government to take a rigorous approach to the environmental assessment of this project rather than just relying on the shonky assessment that was done under the Barnett government,” Mr Verstegen said.

“We call on the federal government not to approve extinction at Yeelirrie.”

Mr Verstegen said advice would be sought on whether further legal action was possible. Regarding costs, he said lawyers would argue it was a public interest case and they should not have to bear the full costs.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | legal, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill may take High Court action against proposed Federal Nuclear waste Dump

Jay Weatherill changes mind on nuclear dump ahead of election, https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/jay-weatherill-changes-mind-on-nuclear-dump-ahead-of-election/news-story/a11667e1cfcb443812ef0052bfc6fbef THE AUSTRALIAN 30 Jan 18, MICHAEL OWEN, SA Bureau Chief, Adelaide @mjowen

Jay Weatherill has held open the possibility of High Court action to stop a national nuclear waste dump in South Australia, despite his own failed proposal for the state to take the world’s most dangerous radioactive material.

The Labor Premier’s threat comes more than 13 years after his predecessor Mike Rann won a High Court challenge against Howard government plans to establish a national nuclear waste dump at Olympic Dam in the state’s north.

Radioactive waste is stored at more than 100 sites throughout Australia, with 656 cubic metres of intermediate waste at Lucas Heights in southern Sydney.

Asked if the state government would pursue a High Court case against the Turnbull government if a national facility were approved in South Australia, Mr Weatherill said: “We would have to explore our options to see what steps can be taken.”

The change of heart on nuclear waste, seven weeks before the state election, has taken the federal government by surprise as it considers three South Australian sites for a national low- and medium-level facility.

  • The state opposition accused Mr Weatherill of being “deceptive, sneaky and tricky”, noting the Premier had backed down last year on his own proposal to import the world’s nuclear waste only after a bungled community- consultation process and criticism from the state Liberal Party and Aboriginal groups.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan told The Australian the Turnbull government was running a bipartisan process in communities that broadly supported the placement of a facility, including three South Australian properties — two near Kimba, on the Eyre Peninsula, and Wallerberdina Station, near Hawker in the ­Flinders Ranges.

Senator Canavan said the second phase of consultation had started only after landowners volunteered their land for consideration and the community was found to “broadly support continuing the conversation”.

Up until now, the South Australian government has been supportive of this process … I wonder why the Premier would go against what is majority support so far in the communities around Wallerberdina Station and Kimba?” Senator Canavan said.

Mr Weatherill, who campaigned in regional South Australia this week, said his government now “opposed any further involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle, including waste repositories” whether high or low level.

This is despite establishing in 2015 a royal commission to pursue a greater involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle, including a proposal for South Australia to build a permanent facility to house the world’s high-level nuclear waste in return for more than $100 billion over 120 years. Mr Weatherill abandoned the plan last year. “The process they (federal government) have adopted is not one we support; it shouldn’t be driven by landowners, it should be driven by, essentially, communities and we think that the Aboriginal community also should be given special consideration,” he said.

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, legal, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

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/ 

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