Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

How will Julian Assange’s extradition case proceed in court?

February 24, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

Adani about to receive criminal conviction over false documents

Adani agrees to plead guilty to giving ‘false or misleading documents to an administering authority’, may be fined up to $3m

ABC News by Josh Robertson and Jessica Rendall   5 Feb 20, Mining giant Adani looks set to receive the first criminal conviction in its corporate history over documents it gave to Queensland’s environmental regulator about land clearing on its mine site.

Key points:

  • The company’s Australian arm, Adani Mining Pty Ltd, is listed for sentencing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court
  • It belatedly declared clearing land on its mine site after environmentalists complained to the government
  • The company says it has been prosecuted for an “an administrative error”

Adani has agreed to plead guilty to giving “false or misleading documents to an administering authority”, according to the court file and sources familiar with the case.

The company’s Australian arm, Adani Mining Pty Ltd, is listed for sentencing today in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

It faces a fine of up to $3 million if convicted under the Environmental Protection Act.

According to notes in the court file made by Magistrate Stephen Courtney and seen by the ABC, the matter is “to be [a] plea of guilty”.

In court papers, the Department of Environment and Science (DES) says Adani filed its annual return in March 2018 with a graph declaring it cleared no land on the Carmichael mine site, north-west of Clermont, in 2017-18.

The DES alleged it became aware of the offence six months later.  It alleged Adani “knew or ought reasonably to have known [the document] was false or misleading” because it had planned and carried out land clearing before and during the reporting period.

On September 6, 2018, conservation group Coast and Country raised land clearing allegations with the State Government, citing satellite imagery.

State and federal environment department officials then inspected the site within days……..https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-06/adani-to-plead-guilty-court-qld/11932640

February 6, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal | Leave a comment

Six legal arguments against the extradition of Julian Assange to America

Six legal arguments show why the US extradition of Julian Assange should be denied  https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2020/01/25/six-legal-arguments-show-why-the-us-extradition-of-julian-assange-should-be-denied/ Tom Coburg  25th January 2020 The first of two articles examining Julian Assange’s upcoming extradition trial.

There are at least six legal reasons why the extradition request by the US against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be dismissed by the UK courts. The main extradition hearing is scheduled to commence 24 February 2020, with district judge Vanessa Baraitser presiding. The evidence to support Assange is compelling.

1. Client-lawyer confidentiality breached
2. The initial charge is flawed
1. Client-lawyer confidentiality breached
3. Initial charge relies on co-operation from Manning
4. Additional charges raised by the US are political
5. US legal precedent argues that Assange’s work is protected by the US Constitution
6. Threats of violence against Assange mean he’s unable to receive a fair trial

1. Client-lawyer confidentiality breached Continue reading

January 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal | Leave a comment

Traditional Aboriginal owners will not give up fight against planned WA uranium mine, despite legal loss

December 5, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Launch of Australia’s National Environmental Defenders Office

National Environmental Defenders Office launches    https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/sme-law/26968-national-environmental-defenders-office-launches, By Jerome D, oraisamy|21 November 2019 The new EDO will have offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Perth and Sydney, with all state and territory EDOs finalising their merger process over the coming months.

Launched yesterday, the national Environmental Defenders Office will “take high-impact enforcement cases to the courts to make sure the public interest is upheld, and our communities are properly protected by our environmental laws”, it said in a statement.

In explaining why the former environmental legal centres were now coming together under one roof, EDO CEO David Morris said that the environmental problems facing Australia are not bound by our state and territory borders.

“The Murray-Darling crisis spans four jurisdictions. Our iconic koalas are dying right up and down the east coast. Climate change doesn’t stop at any border,” he said.

“Now more than ever, national leadership is required to protect Australia’s natural and cultural heritage. That’s where the new national EDO steps in.”

Moreover, the merger will see us the new EDO become the “largest public interest environmental law centre in the Australia-Pacific region”, Mr Morris told Lawyers Weekly.

“With that additional scale comes opportunities to play a bigger role empowering communities and protecting places. We see big opportunities to increase our presence in the Pacific and to better serve local communities in remote parts of Australia, including northern Australia,” he said.

“Increasingly communities across northern Australia are seeking legal assistance in respect of gas developments and we intend to ensure that our expert lawyers are available to assist them.”  Merging also allows the EDO, Mr Morris added, to address the “problems of scale” identified by the Productivity Commission in its Access to Justice Arrangements report.

“That is, we’re able to centralise much of the offices’ administrative, financial and communications work freeing up our legal staff to provide better services to the community. The opportunity is that as a much bigger organisation we can play a bigger role at a national level on national issues, but at the same we’re committed to maintaining and strengthening connections to grass roots communities,” he said.

Another challenge and opportunity I expect will be big issues for us in the next twelve months will be coming to grips with what it means to be a distributed national team across a large area and multiple time-zones and multiple jurisdictions. We’ve got some tools and we’ve got some resourcing to improve our legal technology, rolling that out and implementing it will be crucial to the merger’s success.”

Australia is one of the “most naturally beautiful and biologically diverse places on Earth”, EDO’s statement continued, “but our environment is in decline”.

“There are more than 1,700 threatened species in Australia, we have lost more animals to extinction than any other country in the world. And while the Australian community expects robust accountability and oversight when it comes to environmental protection, trust in government processes and institutions has eroded to an all-time low.

Mr Morris said: “Regulations are regularly not enacted or enforced. Governments have cut resources to departments that are supposed to monitor breaches of environment law.”

“Companies routinely and intentionally breach state and federal environment laws. The problem is systemic and widespread because there is no clear legal deterrent.

“As a merged, national organisation we can share expertise, more closely scrutinise projects and address the widespread culture of non-compliance with environment laws.”

November 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment, legal | Leave a comment

Journalists beware! Australia now a surveillance state

November 21, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Journalism’s future in crisis – the case of Julian Assange

JOHN PILGER: Assange’s case will define the future of free journalism,  https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/john-pilger-assanges-case-will-define-the-future-of-free-journalism,13324  By John Pilger | 18 November 2019   John Pilger describes the disturbing scene inside a London courtroom last week when the WikiLeaks publisher, Julian Assange, appeared at the start of a landmark extradition case that will define the future of free journalism.

THE WORST MOMENT was one of a number of “worst” moments. I have sat in many courtrooms and seen judges abuse their positions. This judge, Vanessa Baraitser – actually she isn’t a judge at all; she’s a magistrate – shocked all of us who were there.

Her face was a progression of sneers and imperious indifference; she addressed Julian Assange with an arrogance that reminded me of a magistrate presiding over apartheid South Africa’s Race Classification Board. When Julian struggled to speak, he couldn’t get words out, even stumbling over his name and date of birth. 

When he spoke truth and when his barrister spoke, Baraister contrived boredom; when the prosecuting barrister spoke, she was attentive. She had nothing to do; it was demonstrably preordained. In the table in front of us were a handful of American officials, whose directions to the prosecutor were carried by his — back and forth this young woman went, delivering instructions.

The Magistrate watched this outrage without a comment. It reminded me of a newsreel of a show trial in Stalin’s Moscow; the difference was that Soviet show trials were broadcast. Here, the state broadcaster, the BBC, blacked it out, as did the other mainstream channels.
Having ignored Julian’s barrister’s factual description of how the CIA had run a Spanish security firm that spied on him in the Ecuadorean embassy, she didn’t yawn, but her disinterest was as expressive. She then denied Julian’s lawyers any more time to prepare their case — even though their client was prevented in prison from receiving legal documents and other tools with which to defend himself.

Her knee in the groin was to announce that the next court hearing would be at remote Woolwich, which adjoins Belmarsh Prison and has few seats for the public. This will ensure isolation and be as close to a secret trial as it’s possible to get. Did this happen in the home of the Magna Carta? Yes, but who knew? 

Julian’s case is often compared with Dreyfus, but historically it’s far more important. No one doubts – not his enemies at The New York Times, not the Murdoch press in Australia – that if he is extradited to the United States and the inevitable Supermax, journalism will be incarcerated, too.

Who will then dare to expose anything of importance, let alone the high crimes of the West? Who will dare publish ‘Collateral Murder’? Who will dare tell the public that democracy, such as it is, has been subverted by a corporate authoritarianism from which fascism draws its strength?

Once there were spaces, gaps, boltholes, in mainstream journalism in which mavericks, who are the best journalists, could work. These are long closed now. The hope is the samizdat on the internet, where fine disobedient journalism is still practised.

The greater hope is that a judge or even judges in Britain’s court of appeal, the High Court, will rediscover justice and set him free. In the meantime, it’s our responsibility to fight in ways we know but which now require more than a modicum of Julian Assange’s courage.

November 18, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media | Leave a comment

A travesty of justice- extradition process of Julian Assange

November 7, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

ABC challenges the validity of Federal Police raids

We don’t want any sensationalist headlines,’ AFP allegedly told ABC, https://www.theage.com.au/national/we-don-t-want-any-sensationalist-headlines-afp-allegedly-told-abc-20191028-p534ux.htmlby Michaela Whitbourn ,October 28, 2019 —An Australian Federal Police agent told the ABC it wanted to avoid “sensationalist headlines” such as “AFP raids ABC” before it seized a raft of documents from the broadcaster’s Sydney headquarters, the Federal Court has heard.

The ABC is challenging the legal validity of the search warrant authorising the June 5 raid by the federal police on its offices in Ultimo and is seeking the return of documents seized at the time. Continue reading

October 29, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media | Leave a comment

A new court order is being abused in order to harass a journalist

 

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! Media’s dwindling role in Democracy Panel

Toxic “Safety” orders the latest tool to shut down free speech  https://www.michaelwest.com.au/toxic-safety-orders-the-latest-tool-to-shut-down-free-speech/, by Michael West — 25 October 2019 It’s #YourRightToKnow. There are many ways to silence the media: persecution of whistleblowers, defamation threats, contempt of court claims, lobbying of media bosses by powerful interests, injurious falsehood claims, the government’s draconian secrecy laws and police raids on journalists. Michael West reports on the latest abuse against free speech.

Today we can unveil yet another threat to freedom of speech: the Personal Safety Intervention Order (PSIO), a court order which is intended to help victims of domestic violence but instead is being abused as a tool to harass journalists, namely Sandi Keane, Editor of this publication.

It’s #YourRightToKnow. There are many ways to silence the media: persecution of whistleblowers, defamation threats, contempt of court claims, lobbying of media bosses by powerful interests, injurious falsehood claims, the government’s draconian secrecy laws and police raids on journalists. Michael West reports on the latest abuse against free speech.

Today we can unveil yet another threat to freedom of speech: the Personal Safety Intervention Order (PSIO), a court order which is intended to help victims of domestic violence but instead is being abused as a tool to harass journalists, namely Sandi Keane, Editor of this publication.

There have been some reports about the abuse of Personal Safety Intervention Orders in Victoria by those seeking malicious revenge. The editor of this journal, Sandi Keane, is believed to be the first journalist to be silenced in this way. She’s attended court seven times after receiving two Orders and has been threatened with a third. “An Intervention Order is now a sure fire way to shut down a story,” says Keane. “Getting an Intervention Order in Victoria is instant and cost-free (no lawyer required).”

The two essential criteria are for applicants to claim they have been threatened and are suffering mental stress as result.

An Interim Order will be issued immediately against anyone in Australia.

Sandi Keane says the applicants lied about the threats but no evidence was needed until the Final Contested Hearing some 12-18 months later.

The effect on public interest reporting therefore is chilling as most news is time-critical, so by the time the story might eventually be published, its news value might have evaporated.

There are no consequences for abusing the legal system and costs cannot be claimed by the Respondent in the proceedings.

The Applicant can also manipulate the date of the final hearing as a magistrate will only set a date for the Final Hearing if both sides have had a chance to get a lawyer; are ready for the hearing; or agree to the date.

Furthermore, court reporters cannot report on an Intervention Order unless they withhold the name of the court and names of the relevant parties.

So, not only does an Intervention Order trump an Injunction in the High Court with all its attendant costs and adverse publicity, it also ticks the Suppression Order box.

Yet the sting in the tail is that, from the date of the Interim Order, all references to the “protected person” must be deleted from any media site including social media (Condition 10).

Journalists can forget about getting another colleague to publish the story as this is prohibited under Condition 8.

Breaching the order risks a criminal conviction or prison sentence.

Journalists union, the Media Arts and Entertainment Alliance (MEAA), has met with the Victorian Attorney General with the hope of amending the Personal Safety Intervention Order Act to protect freedom of the press. In a letter to the Chief Magistrate, the MEAA wrote:

“This is a dangerous assault on press freedom, has a chilling effect on legitimate journalism in the public interest and undermines the public’s right to know.”

Editor’s Note:

Sandi Keane’s investigation was into the fraudsters operating in the pedigree dog industry. She was successful in contesting one of these orders. The unsuccessful Applicant in this case had served a jail sentence for fraud and was also found guilty of arson. The other applicant also has a conviction for fraud. These two people have taken out five PSIOs of which we know. The others were granted against people who had taken legal action against them, made an official complaint or given evidence against them.

The rise of PSIOs, and their abuse, coincides with the rise in other forms of suppression of free speech in Australia, by all three branches of government: the judiciary, the executive and the legislature.

It’s time to enshrine free speech in the constitution such as is the case in the US. You can take action to stand up for your right to know. Check out MEAA’s Take Action site here.

October 26, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Attorney General Christian Porter backs laws that restrict journalists’ reporting

October 26, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, media, politics | Leave a comment

Judge denies Julian Assange a delay in extradition hearings

October 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media, politics international | 1 Comment

Indigenous landowner challenges Sussan Ley’s decision for coal mine

Legal challenge over Sussan Ley’s decision to put potential mining jobs at Shenhua Mine before cultural heritage, ABC News, By Indigenous affairs correspondent Isabella Higgins and Sarah Collard  25 Aug 19, A family fighting to defend their traditional country from mining are suing Environment Minister Sussan Ley after she rejected their heritage protection bid in favour of a controversial Chinese coal project.

Key points 

  • Environment Minister is being sued for rejecting heritage protection in favour of a proposed coal mine
  • Lawyers say it could be an important test case if the decision is found to be unlawful
  • Traditional owners fear important sacred sites will be destroyed if the mine goes ahead

Last month, the Gomeroi Traditional Custodians failed in a bid to have sacred sites in north-west New South Wales preserved and protected from development due to cultural importance.

The land near Gunnedah had already been earmarked for the $1.2 billion Shenhua Watermark Coal Mine, which gained conditional federal approval in 2015 and has state development consents.

Ms Ley rejected their application on the grounds that the potential jobs generated from the mine were more important than cultural preservation.

She acknowledged the project could cause “mental health impacts … a sense of dislocation, displacement and dispossession,” among Indigenous people, but determined the social and economic value of the project took priority.

On behalf of the Gomeroi people, traditional owner Dolly Talbott has launched legal action against Ms Ley, with the case due before court for the first time on Wednesday.

She is being represented by the NSW Environmental Defender’s Office (EDO) which will argue that the minister’s decision was “unlawful” and contravenes the constitutional basis of the heritage protection act.

“If we don’t try to save these sites, then we are not fulfilling our obligations to our elders and our ancestors … and our children and grandchildren,” Ms Talbott said.

“[The national Indigenous heritage laws] are supposed to be there for the protection of Aboriginal culture and it doesn’t seem to be working.”……

Benefits of mine outweigh destruction of heritage: Minister

When deciding on the intervention request, Ms Ley acknowledged the mine would result in the “likely destruction of parts of their Indigenous cultural heritage”.

“I considered that the expected social and economic benefits of the Shenhua Watermark Coal Mine outweighed the impacts on the applicants [Gomeroi people]” she said in the rejection document seen by the ABC…….

The Minister has the final say on which applications receive protection status, under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act. …….

Shenhua development courts controversy

This legal battle is the latest saga, in a long-running series of controversies involving the mine.

It sparked vehement protests in recent years, with farmers, environmentalists and Indigenous groups all fiercely opposed to the development.

They have raised concerns about how the mine will impact groundwater and wildlife and whether it’s economically viable.

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce previously labelled the project “ridiculous” after his own government approved the mine, which falls in his New England electorate.

The NSW Government bought back half of the company’s mining exploration license in 2017, at a cost of $262 million, which at the time it said was to protect prime farming land.

Winning this case would mean Gomeroi people can continue to teach their children culture on country, Ms Talbott said.

“The stories of the land that we continue to tell our children today, and hopefully these sites are still there so they can tell their children.

August 27, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, New South Wales | Leave a comment

South Australian law – no public money towards nuclear waste dumping facility

NUCLEAR WASTE STORAGE FACILITY (PROHIBITION) ACT 2000 – SECT 13

13—No public money to be used to encourage or finance construction or operation of nuclear waste storage facility 

        (1)         Despite any other Act or law to the contrary, no public money may be appropriated, expended or advanced to any person for the purpose of encouraging or financing any activity associated with the construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility in this State.

(2)         Subsection (1) does not prohibit the appropriation, expenditure or advancement to a person of public money for the purpose of financing the maintenance or sharing of information or to enable the State to engage with other jurisdictions.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | legal, South Australia | Leave a comment

The Kimba nuclear waste dump ballot – breaching South Australian law?

ENuFF[SA], 21 Aug 19, Today Kimba Council announced a date for a community ballot on the radioactive suppository ~ October 3rd.
http://www.kimba.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=408&c=10102

The legality of conducting such a ballot needs to be tested in the courts, since s.13 of the Radioactive Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act SA 2000 prohibits public monies being spent “…. encouraging or financing any activity associated with the construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility in this State.”
http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/sa/consol_act/nwsfa2000430/s13.html

This concerns & will affect ALL South Australians, not just Kimba. We should start a fund for a court injunction based upon s.13 “… any activity …” of the Radioactive Waste Facility [Prohibition] Act ~ & then engage Maurice Blackburn Lawyers [eg] to mount a case against the ballot.

https://www.facebook.com/sanuclearfree/

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, legal, South Australia | Leave a comment