Australian news, and some related international items

Why do politicians appear to believe shock jock Alan Jones on nuclear power? Scott Morrison has his doubts

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, Steve Dale 20 May 19, I listened to that Alan Jones, Morrison interview (that Wong’s press release references) – Jones was rabidly pro-nuclear (as usual) and Morrison was trying to point out that nuclear is not cost effective. When Alan Jones goes, I wonder how many pollies will drop their support for nuclear power – I think many say they support it just to get on the right side of him.

“Mr Morrison told broadcaster Alan Jones that he would do whatever it takes to bring electricity prices down but when it came to nuclear power, “I don’t have any issues” but the “investment doesn’t stack up”.
He compared nuclear power unfavourably with Hydro Tasmania’s Battery of the nation – a proposal to develop thousands of megawatts of pumped hydro capacity in addition to the island state’s existing hydro capacity to back up rapidly expanding solar and wind power.”…/scott-morrison-no-issue-with…


May 20, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics | Leave a comment

News Corp – a propaganda machine for the mining industries

Veneer of ‘impartiality’ no longer needed

When it was founded in 1923, News Limited concealed its mining company connections at the same time it promised the public that its news would be “independent” and “impartial”.

Lip service or not, notions of balance and the public interest were important then. This was because News Limited’s founders knew that respect was an important precondition for influence, and that newspapers had to be responsive to the communities they served in order to attract a wide audience and prosper.

News Corp’s recent behaviour suggests it now sees such notions as quaint.  

The secret history of News Corp: a media empire built on spreading propaganda Sally Young
Professor, University of Melbourne, May 16, 2019, News Corp must have been startled to find itself becoming one of the major issues in this election campaign. But this is just another sign that, in recent years, the company’s ability to read the public mood has gone wildly off-kilter.

From attacking the decision of the jury in the sexual assault trial of Cardinal George Pell to last week’s Daily Telegraph attack on Bill Shorten using his deceased mother as ammunition, there are mounting signs of panic and folly at one of Australia’s largest media companies.

With the media and political landscape shifting rapidly around the company, there is a feeling akin to the last days of the Roman Empire.
Rupert Murdoch is winding back after six decades building up an Australian, and then global, media empire. The Murdoch family has retreated from buying up assets and instead become a seller, offloading, for instance, 21st Century Fox to Disney last year.

If the next generation of Murdochs starts looking to sell unprofitable assets, the Australian newspapers have reason to be concerned. Because they are no longer financially valuable to the newly slimmed down company, the Australian papers seem to be trying to prove their worth by being politically useful while they still can.

Since 2013, the News Corp papers have become more politically aggressive, with some adopting the shrill, cartoonish and openly-partisan approach of British “red top” tabloids. During the 2019 election, News Corp journalists – past and present – have spoken out against the company’s determined barracking for the return of the Coalition government.
Academic Denis Muller recently called News Corp a “propaganda operation masquerading as a news service”. Remarkably, this statement neatly encapsulates how News Corp actually began.

Continue reading

May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, reference | Leave a comment

Australian media bombarding us with pro nuclear propaganda as election approaches

South Australia’s “The Advertiser” can be depended upon to regurgitate nuclear lobby propaganda. Yesterday’s offering was ” Nuclear-powered desalination for SA?

Some people were impelled to write to the paper. Here are a couple of answers:

from Renfrey Clark:  Nuclear-powered desalination for SA? B.W. Foster (The Advertiser, April …) has a vision of nuclear power in South Australia providing abundant desalinated water for domestic use and irrigation. But price considerations, alone, show that nuclear is the wrong choice.

In the most advanced desalination plants, which use reverse osmosis technology, the key price factor is the cost of electrical energy. Here, renewable energy sources have a dramatic and quickly increasing advantage.

Research at the Australian National University concludes that in future decades a 100 per cent renewable energy system, “balanced” by pumped hydropower or batteries to make supplies fully dispatchable, would have a “levelised cost” of A$75-80 per megawatt-hour.[1]

Comparable studies for nuclear power in the US suggest prices well above A$100 per megawatt-hour.[2]

That’s not taking into account the massive additional problems ‒ and real dangers ‒ of the nuclear industry. In 2016 the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission recommended firmly against developing almost all aspects of the industry in South Australia.

In coming years advances in desalination, along with further steep drops in the cost of renewable energy, will likely make desalinated water affordable for various kinds of high-value agriculture.

Nuclear power, however, will not be part of the picture.  (picture below is of MIT’s small portable system)

from Robyn Wood : Yet again we hear the same tired old calls for Australia to adopt nuclear power (The Advertiser 22.4.19). We recently had a Nuclear Royal Commission that found that nuclear power is uneconomic. Quite apart from the safety risks and lack of a permanent high level reactor waste disposal system, the costs of building nuclear power plants around the world are skyrocketing, and the costs of building renewables is rapidly coming down. Building renewables with energy storage such as big batteries and pumped hydro makes far more sense than wasting our money on nuclear power.

April 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Murdoch media’s insulting coverage of the Stop Adani convoy

Bob Brown accuses News Corp of ‘disgraceful’ coverage of Stop Adani convoy, Guardian, Ben Smee

Former Greens leader describes Murdoch media headlines as ‘a disgrace to journalism’  The conservationist and former federal Greens leader Bob Brown delivered a broadside at “disgraceful” coverage in News Corp newspapers as his Stop Adani convoy arrived in Queensland to fervour among activists and stoushes in the local press.About 5,000 people joined Brown at a rally in the Brisbane central business district on Wednesday afternoon, protesting against the proposed Carmichael coalmine.

But Brown, whose Stop Adani convoy resembles its own mini election campaign, has attracted the ire of News Corp’s Brisbane masthead, the Courier-Mail……..

Brown, who rose to prominence because of his opposition to the Franklin Dam project in the 1980s, was asked why the Carmichael mine, and not other proposals, have become the focus of environmental and climate activism.

“I got asked that very often about the Franklin Dam. Why this dam and why not other dams?” Brown said. “This has become a litmus test for coalmining around the world. Bloomberg indeed describes it as the most contentious coalmine in the world.”…..

April 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media | Leave a comment

Countering the smears against Julian Assange

Julian Assange: Within Washington’s grasp? | The Listening Post (Full)

Debunking All The Assange Smears, by Caitlin Johnstone  , Robert Gore, STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC,21Apr19

This is the definitive and comprehensive source for anyone who wants to defend Julian Assange in an argument and win. From Caitlin Johnstone at

Have you ever noticed how whenever someone inconveniences the dominant western power structure, the entire political/media class rapidly becomes very, very interested in letting us know how evil and disgusting that person is? It’s true of the leader of every nation which refuses to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized power alliance, it’s true of anti-establishment political candidates, and it’s true of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they’ll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they’ll be far more likely to consent to Assange’s imprisonment, thereby establishing a precedent for the future prosecution of leak-publishing journalists around the world. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you’re suspicious of him you won’t believe anything he’s saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it’s as good as putting a bullet in his head.

Those of us who value truth and light need to fight this smear campaign in order to keep our fellow man from signing off on a major leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia, and a big part of that means being able to argue against those smears and disinformation wherever they appear. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any kind of centralized source of information which comprehensively debunks all the smears in a thorough and engaging way, so with the help of hundreds of tips from my readers and social media followers I’m going to attempt to make one here. What follows is my attempt at creating a tool kit people can use to fight against Assange smears wherever they encounter them, by refuting the disinformation with truth and solid argumentation.

This article is an ongoing project which will be updated regularly where it appears on Medium and as new information comes in and new smears spring up in need of refutation.

Here’s a numbered list of each subject I’ll be covering in this article for ease of reference:

0. How to argue against Assange smears. Continue reading

April 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, politics international | Leave a comment

Whatever you think of Julian Assange, his extradition to the US must be opposed

April 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, politics international | Leave a comment

Wikileaks has won may awards for fine journalism

Hervé Courtoi13 Apr 19  Via Karl Wunder

Snowden points out that the WikiLeaks team has won many awards for its reporting. These include:

The Economist New Media Award (2008)
The Amnesty New Media Award (2009)
The Sam Adams Award for Integrity (2010)
The National Union of Journalists Journalist of the Year (Hrafnsson) (2011)
The Sydney Peace Foundation Gold Medal (2011)
The Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism (2011)
The Voltaire Award for Free Speech (2011)
The International Piero Passetti Journalism Prize of the National Union of Italian Journalists (2011)
The Privacy International Hero of Privacy (2012)
The Global Exchange Human Rights People’s Choice Award (2013)
The Brazilian Press Association Human Rights Award (2013)
The Kazakhstan Union of Journalists Top Prize (2014)

April 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

The Court Of Public Opinion And The Blood-Curdling Untold Story – on Julian Assange

This prospect prompted the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and 33 EU parliamentarians to issue strongly worded statements to both the UK and Ecuadorian governments in December last year, warning against facilitating the prosecution of a journalist, editor and publisher for “publishing the truth”. The statements demanded Assange’s “immediate release, together with his safe passage to a safe country”, and reminded the UK of its “binding” legal obligations to secure freedom for Assange.

A critical task for propagandists such as those waging a psychological war on Wilkileaks, then, is to feed audiences material that supports official narratives and exclude that which does not. Since its inception, the smear campaign against Julian Assange and Wikileaks has been remarkably concerted and consistent in that regard.

With the new year, however, news broke that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had offered Ecuador a $10 billion bailout in return for handing Julian Assange over to the United States. This bounty came on top of earlier US pressures and inducements, reportedly including increased oil exportsmilitary co-operation and another $1.1 billion in IMF loans, with the US representative of the IMF instructing Ecuador that it must “resolve” its relationship with Julian Assange in order to receive the IMF money.

Australian Barrister Greg Barns has called it the blackmailing of a nation. News website 21st Century Wirecalled it “one of the biggest international bribery (or extortion) cases in history.”

While there is “not a single shred of evidence that any of [Wikileaks’] disclosures caused anyone harm”, writes journalist and author Nozomi Hayase, what Wikileaks did do in 2010 was expose thousands of previously unreported civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. These deaths included the nonchalant gunning down of children, journalists and their rescuers, and other “indiscriminate violence… torture, lies [and]bribery”, writes Chris Hedges. According to Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Elsberg, the leaks exposed “a massive cover-up over a number of years by the American authorities”.

Julian in ‘critical danger’, new rules ‘torture’ – Assange mother *AUDIO*

The Psychology Of Getting Julian Assange, Part 2: The Court Of Public Opinion And The Blood-Curdling Untold Story, New Matilda, By Dr Lissa Johnson February 25, 2019  In her ongoing special investigation into the detention of Julian Assange, Dr Lissa Johnson turns to the art of smear, and how to corrupt a judicial system.

On Friday 14th February, the Editor in Chief of news website Consortium News, Joe Lauria, visited Sydney to host a ‘Politics in the Pub’ event: Whistleblowing, Wikileaks and the Future of Democracy. The event took place in anticipation of upcoming rallies to free Assange…….

. It is imperative that we pressure the Australian government to make sure its citizen, Julian Assange, is protected from the lawlessness of the American Empire.” Continue reading

April 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics international, reference | Leave a comment

How Sky News and Peter Ridd try to mislead Australians about the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef: Sky News and Peter Ridd are deliberately misleading, Independent Australia, By Graham Readfearn | 6 April 2019According to misinformation from sources such as Sky News and scientist Peter Ridd, the Great Barrier Reef is in perfect health, writes DeSmogBlog’s Graham Readfearn.

AUSTRALIA’S GREAT BARRIER REEF is in some serious trouble, with the latest research in the journal Nature showing the number of new corals has dropped by 89%.

In 2016 and 2017, the Reef was smashed by back-to-back mass bleaching events and heat stress caused by global warming that killed about half the corals.

‘Dead corals don’t make babies,’ said James Cook University’s Professor Terry Hughes, the paper’s lead author.

‘We used to think that the Great Barrier Reef was too big to fail — until now,’ added colleague Professor Morgan Pratchett.

The paper was just the latest in a steady and, many would agree, depressing parade of findings for the World Heritage icon. And if the scientific papers don’t do it for you, then there are always the pictures.

But the release of the study served as a remarkable contrast to the way the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sky News, furnished with material from climate science denial think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, has been “reporting” on reef science in the past week.

On at least five occasions, the channel has interviewed the IPA’s policy director, Gideon Rozner, who has been updating the channel on the case of Dr Peter Ridd, a marine scientist specialising in sediments who was fired in March 2018 from James Cook University.

According to the various interviews, the Reef is in great shape, the science is probably wrong, and Ridd is a “world renowned” Reef expert in a historic fight for freedom. None of this is true, yet the claims have been allowed to stand unchecked.

The saga of Peter Ridd

Ridd’s saga is a long one, but here’s the short version (and, while we’re here, in the interests of full disclosure, in the time since I first started writing about Ridd’s case, I’ve taken a part-time job at an Australian marine conservation charity as a media adviser).

Ridd does not think that human-caused climate change is a problem and he thinks the Reef is in fabulous health. This has been his public position for at least a decade.

But in 2017, Ridd started to publicly accuse his scientific colleagues, some of who were based at his own university in Townsville, of being untrustworthy. This went against the university’s code of conduct. The university censured him. Ridd refused to back down and made more statements. He published “private” university correspondence on his website. He was further disciplined, so he sued his employer. Then they fired him.

Last week, Ridd’s case was finally heard in court with three days of hearings. A judgment is expected in the coming months.

Now, the IPA has gone all out to create a narrative around Ridd’s case. …….,12545

April 7, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Friends of the Earth congratulates “The Advertiser” on its coverage of the safety dangers of Kimba nuclear waste dump plan

Jim Green shared a link. Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia  Unpublished letter to The Advertiser  … Congratulations to The Advertiser for exposing the terrorist risks associated with Canberra’s plan to establish a national nuclear waste dump in SA. The government’s claim that the dump would pose “no security or safety risk to the community” is contradicted by the plan to station 14 security and safeguards officers at the site.

The nuclear dump would be subject to aircraft strikes and intrusions. It would also be a target for terrorists removing drums to make a radioactive “dirty bomb” ‒ risks that have previously been flagged by nuclear engineers Alan Parkinson and John Large:

”If terrorists can raid a nuclear waste repository or store and steal radioactive material,” Mr Parkinson said, “they can easily spread it by conventional explosives.”

Nuclear terrorist hazards also apply to nuclear waste transportation. In 2006, a reporter succeeded in planting a fake bomb on a train carrying nuclear waste in north-west London.
A NSW Parliamentary Inquiry found there “is no doubt that the transportation of radioactive waste increases the risk of accident or incident – including some form of terrorist intervention”.
Premier Steven Marshall did himself proud by standing up against the dangerous plan to turn SA into the world’s nuclear waste dump. Will the Premier now stand up to Canberra and oppose the plan to turn SA into the nation’s nuclear waste dump?
Jim Green, Friends of the Earth

February 28, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, media, South Australia | Leave a comment

News Corps Adelaide Advertiser is well in the grip of the nuclear lobby, as is The Australian

Noel Wauchope, 19 Feb 19 Today’s Adelaide Advertiser makes it clear. Adam Creighton , Economics Editor at The Australian, is quoted approvingly, as he calls for Australia’s laws against nuclear power to be removed – “for the public good”

According to Mr Creighton – nuclear power is ” ‘the best, most reliable, emissions-free form of power’”

Never mind that nuclear power is hugely expensive, takes decades to set up, lacks the flexibility needed in modern energy systems, and produces toxic wastes  –

Emissions free?  That’s a lie . more –

February 19, 2019 Posted by | media, South Australia | Leave a comment

Attacks on scientists by News Corp – bias in supporting Adani coal mine

News Corp attacks scientists assessing Adani coalmine – and ignores science, Guardian, Sarah Bekessy Hugh Possingham, James Watson, Georgia Garrard and Alex Kusmanoff, 16 Feb 19  Damaging the credibility of scientists when we need their fearless advice more than ever is socially irresponsible and morally reprehensible.

Scientists unite against Adani attack on report into endangered finch  The relentless, sustained, needlessly personal attacks on the scientists analysing the impacts of the Adani coalmine undermines the role of science – and scientists – in important decisions that affect our future.Mediawatch last week called out the Courier Mail’s bias in reporting on the proposed Adani coalmine in northern Queensland, including blatantly false statements. One example is a claim that the “endangered black-throated finch faces extinction if the Adani coal mine does not go ahead”, when mining is the very thing threatening the future of the species.
What Mediawatch did not report is the pointed attacks on the scientists engaged to critically assess the likely impact of the mine. The following sentence in the Courier Mail on 27 January is just one example: “If you were in the bunny hugging business and were hiring you’d look at Prof Wintle’s resume and say “impeccable”.In the past month, there have been numerous News Corp articles published about the review under way regarding the impacts of the Adani coalmine on the critically endangered southern black-throated finch. Most have attacked the scientists behind the review or quoted statements undermining the scientist’s integrity. We could find none that have critically discussed the science, apart from one article that cites an anonymous ecologist who claims that the mine is the only way to conserve the species. No evidence is provided to support this claim.
The attacks have consisted of unsubstantiated efforts to smear people instead of addressing the substantive issues. Wintle’s comical tweet of school children protesting (“I’ll stop farting if you stop burning coal”) is the only evidence provided that he is indeed a “self-proclaimed anti-coal activist”, as claimed in the Queensland Times on 21 January and again on Friday mentioned in the Australian. Yet, apparently“questions still loom as to whether Professor Wintle, an open anti-coal activist, would be able to carry out the review with impartiality”.In addition to seeking to degrade political debate and balanced decision making on important topics, this kind of journalism also seeks to damage the credibility of science and scientists in the eyes of the general public. This is arguably socially irresponsible and morally reprehensible, but importantly may also discourage scientists from engaging in policy and planning processes where their expertise is essential………

February 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media | 1 Comment

Independent media is here to stay – and to keep the politicians honest

Australian independent media on the rise, Michael West , Feb 1, 2019 The coming of the Internet was the media world’s first real game-changer.  Profits enjoyed from the 1970s to 2000s were gone and anyone could start an online news site for little cost. Independent digital media sites not only flourished but did something novel:  they engaged with their readers — especially via social media. Today, these sites attract three to four times more visitors via social media than mainstream media. Kim Wingerei reports.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Exciting South Australian film project “Unwilling Nation”

Kim Mavromatis Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders 10 Dec 18 Ranges SELECTED FOR DOCULAB 2018 – We are really excited to be one of 6 teams selected to participate in the South Australian Film Corporation and Screen Australia Doculab Initiative.

OUR PROJECT : “Unwilling Nation” – a film about the 40 year fight to stop Nuclear Waste getting dumped in South Australia.
PROJECT KEY CREATIVES (Participating in the Doculab) :
Kim Mavromatis and Quenten Agius (Producers). 
Robyn Ravenna (Writer / Researcher).

Supporting the development of a range of documentary and factual projects in South Australia, Doculab is an intensive three day lab for factual screen-makers.

Courtney Gibson (SAFC Chief Executive ) said “Doculab is about putting weight behind SA documentary projects and teams, bringing them together as a community to provide latest market intelligence and develop their projects to optimal creative strength before they’re out to market, and we’re so pleased to be partnering with Screen Australia to make this happen”.

Sally Caplan (Head of Content at Screen Australia) said “The calibre of content emerging from SA is both locally and internationally recognised and it’s important to continue nurturing its vibrant screen community. The Doculab initiative is committed to developing the skills and knowledge of diverse documentary filmmakers. We firmly believe that incubating people and projects through mentorships, funding and fostering pitching skills to penetrate specific markets is essential. We’re excited to see new South Australian projects develop from this initiative that we hope provide longevity for the industry.”

December 10, 2018 Posted by | Audiovisual, media, South Australia | Leave a comment

In Australia, when they can’t control fires releasing nuclear radioactive ash, they control the media

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 19 Nov 18

News of fires in the radioactive contaminated red forest of Chernobyl get a mention. News of fires on the radioactive ground of California get a mention. Yet this year the media has suppressed the news of two separate fires on land contaminated with radioactive materials released from Lucas Heights. Is this the typical case of when they can’t control nuclear they try to control the media.?

November 19, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | 1 Comment