Australian news, and some related international items

Investments in wind have brought costs down- THE AUSTRALIAN got it SO wrong!

News-Limited1How The Australian got it hopelessly wrong on wind energy The Australian got its facts wrong on wind energy in South Australia. Investments in wind have brought costs down. Giles Parkinson  Crikey, 22 July 16 The Murdoch media attack on the Australia wind industry knows no bounds, and not many facts either.

This week’s front-page “exclusive” in The Australian suggests South Australia’s wind turbines were producing significant amounts of “negative power” from the grid at the height of the recent electricity “crisis”. But the numbers it quotes are ridiculously wrong.

The story, by Adelaide bureau chief Michael Owen, suggests the state’s wind turbines were “producing about 5780MW” between 6am and 7am, but by mid afternoon were producing “negative 50MW”. Asanalysis from Ron Brakels observes, the report confuses energy terminology, apparently not knowing the difference between capacity and output.

In fact, the state’s wind turbines cannot produce 5780MW — they only have a combined capacity of 1600MW. There’s not even 5780MW of wind capacity in the whole country……

As SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis told the ABC, that’s precisely why the government encouraged investments in wind and solar: to bring costs down. That has largely succeeded.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Corporations rejoice as The Age sacks a top investigative journalist

A pity that I can’t read the full article. Being on a low income, I don’t subscribe to any paid journal or newspaper. Well, I did, until today, subscribe to Fairfax’s The Age.  But not any more.

It is a sad sacking of many staff, and I feel for all of them.

However, it says something a bit more about Fairfax, when they pick out a top investigative journalist. Michael West not only has confronted the big end of town with some very inconvenient facts, but  – a worse crime – he has written about them in lively language that the peasantry can understand.

Watch now as the Business Pages of the Age become more obscurely written, and even more pro business. And along with that. The Age particpates in the general dumbing down of the Australian media.

 Michael West among Fairfax redundancies,, Myriam Robin Media Reporter, May 13, 2016  Hard-hitting business journo Michael West is among those saying goodbye to Fairfax.  Senior business reporter Michael West, whose work appeared in the Business Day sections of the Sydney Morning Herald and Age, is leaving Fairfax today.West confirmed his compulsory redundancy, but declined to comment further. In a tweet after this piece was published online, west wrote “told my skillset not aligned with fairfax strategy going forward”….. subscribers only


May 14, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Sickening pro nuclear spin from THE AUSTRALIAN today

News-Limited1Here’s an example:

“…..Politically, the need for a central­ised facility has bipart­isan support across multiple levels of government. Socially, the government has moved from suggesting sites to prioritising community consult­ation in all stages of the project, especially site selection. Environmentally, internatio­n­al experience has demonstrated that highly engineered and well-regulated low- and inter­mediate-level repositories can be managed safely with no impact on the community or agricultural industry….” 

May 6, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Minerals Council of Australia on the back foot with its pro uranium campaign

text-uranium-hypePro-uranium social media campaign’s #epicfail  Why are some still championing nuclear power when renewable energy generation has doubled worldwide over the past decade? Jim Green, SBS, 25 Apr 2016

The Minerals Council of Australia launched a pro-uranium social media campaign on Wednesday. By that afternoon the twitter hashtag #untappedpotential was trending but ‒ as an AAP piece picked up by SBS and others noted ‒ contributors were overwhelmingly critical.

Nearly all contributors offered thoughts such as these: “A week away from the #Chernobyl 30-year anniversary and Minerals Council begins propaganda trip on the #untappedpotential of uranium. Huh?!” said Twitter user Jemila Rushton.

“We need to better harness the #untappedpotential of solar power”, tweeted Upulie Divisekera.

“#untappedpotential to put more communities at risk of nuclear waste dumps,” Ace Collective said.

“We concur that uranium has much #untappedpotential … for disaster, cost and time blowouts and proliferation,” Anglesea After Coal said.

No doubt the Minerals Council anticipated the negative publicity and is working on the basis that all publicity is good publicity. But what the MCA didn’t anticipate is that in recent days the uranium price has fallen to an 11-year low. noted in an April 20 article that the current low price hasn’t been seen since May 2005. The current price, under US26/lb, is well under half the price just before the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and under one-fifth of the 2007 peak of a bubble. quotes a Haywood Securities research note which points out that the spot uranium price “saw three years of back-to-back double-digit percentage losses from 2011-13, but none worse than what we’ve seen thus far in 2016, and at no point since Fukushima, did the average weekly spot price dip below $28 a pound.” notes that five years after the Fukushima disaster only two of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors are back on line, and that in other developed markets nuclear power is also in retreat. The last reactor start-up in the U.S. was 20 years ago. The French Parliament legislated last year to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear power by one-third. Germany is phasing out nuclear power. The European Commission recently released a report predicting that the EU’s nuclear power retreat ‒ down 14% over the past decade ‒ will continue.

China is a growth market but has amassed a “staggering” stockpile of yellowcake according to Macquarie Bank. India’s nuclear power program is in a “deep freeze” according to the Hindustan Times (unfortunately the same cannot be said about its nuclear weapons program), while India’s energy minister Piyush Goyal said on April 20 that India is not in a “tearing hurry” to expand nuclear power since there are unresolved questions about pricing, safety and liability waivers sought by foreign companies.

Even if all of Japan’s 50 reactors are included in the count, the number of power reactors operating worldwide is the same now as it was a decade ago. Zero growth despite the endless rhetoric about a nuclear renaissance.

A decision on two planned reactors in the UK could be announced in the next fortnight and the price-tag for the reactors explains why nuclear power is stagnant worldwide and why the Minerals Council is talking about uranium’s ‘potential’ rather than its current contribution to export revenue and employment. The total price-tag for the two planned reactors is A$45 billion. If the project proceeds, the industry will be hoping it doesn’t go three times over budget, as reactor projects in France and Finland have.

South Australian academic Richard Leaver has neatly summed up the uranium industry’s tiresome rhetoric: “‘Potential’ is one of the most powerful chemicals available to the political alchemist. Any individual, firm or sector deemed to have potential is relieved of a massive and perpetual burden − the need to account for past and present achievements (or, more probably, the lack of them). The history of Australian involvement in the civil uranium industry offers an excellent example of this alchemy at work.”

Whatever the future potential of the uranium industry, it contributes next to nothing to the economy at the moment: <0.2 percent of national export revenue and <0.01 percent of all jobs in Australia. And those figures will fade further into irrelevance with the end of mining and the gradual winding down of processing at the Ranger uranium mine in the NT.

The stagnation and cost escalation of nuclear power contrast sharply with the trajectory of renewables. Driven by sharp cost reductions, renewable energy generation has doubled worldwide over the past decade and renewables now produce more than twice the amount of electricity as nuclear power. The gap is widening every day. Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia.

April 25, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, uranium | Leave a comment

Nuclear news excluded or downplayed in Australian media

media-propagandaThe terrorists’ initial aim to blow up Belgium’s nuclear reactors was explained on SBS World News, last night, but did not get a mention on ABC news. It was reported on Sydney Morning Herald, but that story appears to have been withdrawn.( – Brussels bombers considered nuclear site, changed their minds: report Sydney Morning Herald24 Mar. 2016. )

I doubt that it was reported on the Murdoch dominated commercial media

Could Australia’s media be experiencing  pressure to avoid uncomfortable nuclear topics, – heading in the self censorship direction now prevalent in Japan?

March 27, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, media | Leave a comment

Alternative media: WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

Aboriginal-protest-remote-WAbout WGAR News:

Subscription to ‘WGAR News’ e-newsletters is free. 

The best way of subscribing to WGAR News e-newsletters is to 
go to the ‘WGAR News Public Google Group’ link, sign in, and click on ‘Join Group’:
This best way of subscribing means you will receive e-newsletters automatically and it is reliable.

Otherwise, to subscribe, email and
include the words “subscribe WGAR News” in the message header.

‘WGAR News’ monitors the media, including alternative media, focusing on: 

* The Freedom Summit’s National Freedom Movement;
* the Australian Federal government intervention into Northern Territory (NT) Aboriginal communities;
* Plans to close Aboriginal homelands / remote communities in Western Australia (WA), South Australia (SA), [and Northern Territory (NT)?];
* Treaties with Aboriginal Sovereign Nations of Australia;
* the Aboriginal sovereignty movement and the Aboriginal tent embassies;
* Justice Reinvestment, Aboriginal imprisonment and Aboriginal Deaths in Custody;
* Aboriginal land rights and mining; 
* Suicide and self-harm in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities;
* Removal of Aboriginal children and the continuing Stolen Generation;
* Aboriginal peoples and the impact of the Australian Federal Budget;
* Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing;
* other Aboriginal rights issues; and
* upcoming Aboriginal rights events around Australia.

‘WGAR News’ gives priority to grassroots Aboriginal voices 
and grassroots voices in solidarity with Aboriginal peoples’ rights. 

The role of ‘WGAR News’ is to facilitate the voices of others,
and as such, ‘WGAR News’ rarely writes its own articles.

March 23, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

South Australia”destined to be locked in to nuclear industry” – Adelaide Advertiser

The Adelaide Advertiser – mouthpiece of the nuclear lobby advises that we should all just give up – “see the light’ and let South Australia just roll over like a tame dog, and let the nuclear juggernaut roll over it.




we hosted the British nuclear bomb tests at Maralinga in the 1950s, and we have the world’s largest uranium mine at Olympic Dam.

So we are destined to be locked in to the nuclear fuel industry for decades to come.   – Chris Kenny, The Advertiser 21 Feb 16 

February 22, 2016 Posted by | media, South Australia | Leave a comment

Questions, omissions, contradictions, in news report on #NuclearCommisisonSAust

media--BHP-slackThe Age today reported on the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission.  I guess we should be thankful that this news actually got into more than just the South Australian press and the corporate mouthpiece THE AUSTRALIAN.

Of course, this is in the Business section, not the major part of the paper. . After all, it’s not as if the question of importing radioactive trash is of concern to Australian sin general. Or is it?

Anyway – some of the contradictions, omissions and problems in the Royal Commission findings, as reported.


Optimism about money?. I really doubt that anyone has a clue about the long term costs of the Timeline-human-&-radioactive
nuclear waste import plan.

“…….. waste disposal facility could deliver $5 billion in revenue annually for the first 30 years, and would be “highly profitable” because of strong demand from other countries……..

Mr Scarce said he had been conservative in his assumptions.

“I want to under-promise and over-deliver,” he said…..”

“Facility could be open in a decade….Really?

“He [Scarce] said during the life of a nuclear storage facility, a net present value of profits of more than $51 billion had been calculated”.   Why hasn’t some other country with nuclear expertise and experience grasped this opportunity?

The tax-payer will be up for huge costs?

“He [Scarce]  recommended that such a facility be government owned.….. the facility would require a dedicated port facility, airport and rail freight line”. Who pays for all that?


“There are significant quantities of used fuel from nuclear reactors in temporary storage in the Asia-Pacific region and these quantities will grow-not  a mention of the transport problems and dangers .


“There’s always an opportunity if we dawdle that someone would take the competitive advantage away from us,” he [Scarce] said…
…..Mr Weatherill said.“The critical thing here is we don’t rush the process. There’s no doubt there’s some exciting possibilities for South Australia contained in the report”…… [this statement appears in the online version, but not in the print version]
Quotes are from Nuclear waste a $5 billion-a-year opportunity, TheAge 16 Feb 16  ……. 



February 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, Nuclear Royal Commission | 1 Comment

Australian media ignored the indigenous achievements in opposing a nuclear South Australia

Dennis Matthews 24 Dec 15 In response to Dave Sweeney’s “good  nuclear news” – on the leadership of indigenous Australians in opposing the nuclear industry and nuclear waste dumping in South Australia

handsoffIt’s correct, in December Karina and Rose Lester shared the Conservation Council of SA (Conservation SA) 2015, $1000, Jill Hudson Award for environmental protection for their opposition to the nuclear industry, but, apart from a small column in The Advertiser which didn’t mention the nuclear industry I’ve seen no mention of this important event.

I looked for a media release on the Conservation SA website but couldn’t find anything.

Perhaps someone could put the media release on this website?

PS. The first winners of the Jill Hudson award were Adnyamathanha activist Dr Jillian Marsh and ABC journalist Rose Crane. I understand that Jillian is involved in fighting attempts to put the proposed national nuclear waste dump on Adnyamathanha land.

December 23, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, South Australia | Leave a comment

Twisting the public’s perception about ionising radiation

In Muller’s previous presentations on his YouTube show Veritasium, he has consistently confused the banana-spin
naturally occurring radioactive potassium K, with the nuclear fission produced radioactive isotopes…..Muller seems to have no understanding of the way in which bananas are used in the body

What Muller and Thomas are doing is following the script from the tobacco and asbestos industries.

This documentary “Uranium – twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is just Series One. I would love to know who helped to fund Gene Pool Productions for PBS and SBS to produce this. I’m betting that Series Two will follow before long, with a glossy and positive story about Generation IV nuclear reactors.

Muller, DerekThe half lie of the Dragon’s Tail. Online opinion,  By Noel Wauchope  Thursday, 27 August 2015 The documentary “Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail” is the latest glossy and highly sophisticated soft sell for the nuclear industry. It’s also, if you look at it closely, rather confusing.

I will start from the end, because that’s where the main message of this film comes out clearly “Just imagine a world where reactors can produce immense amounts of clean, safe, energy. There is no such thing as a future without uranium.” These final words are said against a background of soaring celestial choirs.

This seems to be the formula now, in nuclear promotion. The 2013 propaganda film “Pandora’s Promise” carried the same positive message – an ever rocketing energy demand to be met by ever increasing, indeed limitless, electrical energy provided by new nuclear reactors.

But, like ‘Pandora’s Promise’, this new documentary devotes the first two thirds of its series to discussing the negative aspects of the nuclear industry. Episode One covers its history, ill effects of radiation, the atomic bomb and its use. Episode Two continues this, with a sympathetic attitude to Australian Aboriginal concerns.

Unlike “Pandora’s Promise” this film does not denigrate anti-nuclear activists, and there is no attempt to ridicule Dr Helen Caldicott, as “Pandora’s Promise” did.

Indeed, the first two episodes are beautifully clear and accurate, as well as entertaining. Really, I couldn’t criticise them.

With the final episode – that’s when the message kicks in, and also when it gets confusing……. Continue reading

August 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, Nuclear Royal Commission | 1 Comment

Philip Adams – Late Night Live – gone over to the nuclear lobby?

text-cat-questionI was astounded to hear ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live programme last night. Philip Adams’ guests were two spruikers for the nuclear industry. Ben Heard, (occupational therapy graduate,now doing his PHd all about nuclear power – tutored by Australia’s top nuclear propagandist Barry Brook), and Hayden Manning Associate Professor with the School of Social and Policy Studies at Flinders University. Not  a surprise that he’s from Flinders Uni – that seem sto bde abit of a hotbed for nuke spruiking, and with Prof Pam Sykes funded by DOE to find out how ionising radiation is good for mice.


August 13, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | 1 Comment

SBS uranium documentary – mixed messages and a soft sell for nuclear lobby?

scrutiny-A Critical Look at ‘Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail’, truthdig,  Aug 9, 2015 By Stanley Heller A week or so before the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, I watched a curious documentary on PBS. It was called “Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail.” You can see it here. The presenter was a physicist named Derek Muller. What’s odd is that Muller concludes that nuclear power is not the way to go, but the way the film was edited, the message is the opposite: that nuclear power is relatively safe and that its technical problems are at the point of being solved. Continue reading

August 12, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster | 3 Comments

Litigation in Malawi against Australian uranium miner Paladin

“There is a very strong perception that when Australian mining companies come here they take every advantage of regulatory and compliance monitoring weaknesses, and of the huge disparity in power between themselves and affected communities, and aim to get away with things they wouldn’t even think of trying in Australia,”

Australian miners linked to hundreds of deaths, injuries in Africa, SMH,  July 11, 2015 -Will Fitzgibbon Australian mining companies are linked to hundreds of deaths and injuries in Africa, which can go unreported at home. Some of the Australian Securities Exchange-listed companies include state governments as shareholders. One company recorded 38 worker deaths over an eleven-year period.

justiceIn Malawi, litigation continues against Paladin Africa Limited, a subsidiary of Perth-based Paladin Energy, and its subcontractor after an explosion disfigured one worker with such heat that his skin shattered when touched by rescuers. Two others died in the same incident.

Other allegations include employees in South Africa hacking a woman with a machete and Malian police killing two protesters after a mine worker reportedly asked authorities to dislodge a barricade on the road to the mine.

An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, in collaboration with 13 African reporters, uncovered locally-filed lawsuits, violent protests and community petitions criticising some Australian companies.  Continue reading

July 11, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics international | Leave a comment

Adelaide’s Advertiser continues to spout pro nuclear advertising articles

news-nukeDennis Matthews, It is indeed pathetic that the pro-nuke lobby keeps repeating the same old one-sided arguments to support their out-dated, dangerous and dirty industry (The Advertiser, 15/6/15). This should be recognised for what it is, the standard tool of the propaganda merchant.

It is equally pathetic that others keep repeating the neurotic claim that opposition to the nuclear industry is some sort of conspiracy to prevent “rational debate” (The Advertiser, 15/6/15), a claim that flies in the face of countless inquiries run by manifestly pro-nuclear governments.

But the most pathetic thing of all is that a reputable newspaper keeps publishing these sorts of unproductive and boring contributions to what is claimed to be an important issue.

Let’s have not only a rational debate but also a debate that encourages the flow of new information not repetitive, mindless, propaganda that appears to be designed to brainwash rather than inform.


June 15, 2015 Posted by | media, South Australia | Leave a comment

Social media used by activists AND by corporate nuclear shills

Mike Seccombe’s article (The hashtag crusaders, Saturday Paper 9/5/15) discussed social media as a modern form of activism – particularly for the young. However, I’ve done a bit of searching on this, and discovered that yes – anti nuclear activists are more likely to be older persons, and female.  But – pro nuclear activists also tend to be older persons, usually male.
While social media is seen as a forum for the young, and for activists –  we’re inclined to see them as progressive or anti-establishment.
Not necessarily so, and the Twitter campaign against Dr Caldicott is a fine example of organised social media activism on behalf of corporations, in this case the nuclear lobby.  While it’s pretty sure that at present, in Australia, the numbers of progressive individuals tweeting are greater than the numbers of anti progressives, the very system of Twitter (and no doubt Facebook and others too) enables multiple messages to go out from just one source.

Well funded agencies such as the nuclear lobby use various algorithms to send out, for example, hundreds of Twitter messages from fake Twitter addresses 24 hours a day.
Having studied the tweets on #thorium #nuclear for 3 years, I find that they are repetitively tweeting advertisements, often linking to Youtube ads, and the continual anti Helen Caldicott attack.
Fortunately, Twitter has improved its reporting system, so that nasty personal attacks can be stopped.  I am hoping that Dr Caldicott has fnally addressed this herself. Now, Twitter enables people to report about attacks on another person. I’ve done this in relation to Dr Caldicott, and it seems to have worked, as the attacks have become less vitriolic.
Tony Abbott recently dismissed social media as unimportant – “digital graffitti”.  What an interesting comparison!  Time was when the walls along Melbourne’s railway lines were decorated with wonderful signs  – “Pig Iron Bob” and “Stop Uranium Mining”.   Graffitti had its impact in those days – so its modern equivalent has its impact now.
But people should be aware that corporate lobbies are using it too!

May 11, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment


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