Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s Defence Strategic Review and the loss of Australia’s strategic autonomy to the US, Pearls and Irritations, By John Menadue, Sep 8, 2022

Over the next two weeks we will be running a series of articles to focus on the Defence Strategic Review (DSR) which is headed by Sir Angus Houston and the Hon. Stephen Smith.

In becoming a US proxy, even patsy, we are on a risky and dangerous path.

Smith was Minister for Defence when the Gillard Government committed to US Marines in Darwin. As Minister he told us in 2011 that ‘Australian troops are making good progress in Uruzgan province…the Taliban is losing ground’. On the domestic front he told us in 2016 that Mark McGowan was a failed party leader. He offered himself, unsuccessfully, for ALP preselection for a State seat in order to defeat McGowan.

The review was announced on 3 August with submissions closing on 30 October.

But is it a genuine review? Minister Marles called it a ‘snap review’. Stephen Smith has told the Western Australian newspaper that a ‘draft report with initial findings would be given to the Minister for Defence Richard Marles on November 1’. That is one day after submissions close!

My major concern however is that this Review will be dominated by the Washington Club and its derivative media followers with the mistaken but widespread and spurious view that China is a military threat to Australia. The Club is very ignorant of Chinese history. It trash talks and goads China day after day.

This Review takes place against a successful anti China campaign in Australia waged by organisations like the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the Office of National Intelligence, politicians and importantly by our media including the ABC. There has been a colonisation of the mind by western media.

Our new Prime Minister is also not immune to the anti China infection. His first rushed overseas trip was to join the anti China group at QUAD and NATO.

As set out in the terms of reference for the Review on Critical information Requirements. ‘the review is to be informed by the intelligence and strategic assessment of the most concerning threats which challenge Australia’s security’.

It’s clear to everyone that the unstated assumption in setting up this Review is that China is a threat in some undefined way.

Although not naming China, Angus Houston was quickly out of the blocks after the announcement of the Review by commenting that ‘the deteriorating strategic environment facing Australia is the worst I have seen in my lifetime’.

But is that so? Is China a threat?

China may be a threat to the United States Empire with its 800 bases world wide, including 19 in Japan and ROK ringing China, but it is not a threat to the United States or Australia.

Countries of our region have built more balanced and better relations with China than we have.

In the last forty years the US has waged numerous illegal wars resulting in the death and displacement of millions of people. In that time China has not waged a single war.

China will become a threat to us if we continue on our present very dangerous path of acting as a US proxy and tying ourselves ever more closely to the United States a county that is the most violent in the world and almost always at war.

As Jeffrey Sachs put it in a recent interview, ‘A new database …has just shown that there have been more than 100 military interventions by the United States since 1991. It’s really unbelievable’.

On the domestic front the US is more and more a failing or failed state.

Will the US fall into the Thucydides Trap by refusing to accept its own decline and fearful of a rising power, China.

In considering the ‘China threat’ what is the evidence? What is China’s intent? What is its capability to threaten Australia? How does Chinese history inform us? Are China’s security concerns largely limited to its own borders and relations with buffer states?

In Australia today we are witnessing a new version of the “yellow peril’. We seem unable to shake ourselves free of our racist history.

As Hugh White has described it, our unthinking alliance with America means that we may be sleep walking to war with China.

We need to take resolute action to slow the rapid ceding of our national sovereignty to the US. In becoming a US proxy, even patsy, we are on a risky and dangerous path.

The series starts tomorrow.

September 8, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

PM grills Peter Dutton on location of power plants amid Coalition’s nuclear push

Albanese said after “22 failed plans” the Coalition now wants “to go towards nuclear energy”………………. we know they have to be near urban areas and water.”

the shadow climate change minister, Chris Bowen, ruled out consideration of nuclear power because he said “it is by far the most expensive form of energy”.

Guardian, Paul Karp, @Paul_Karp,Wed 7 Sep 2022

Peter Dutton has doubled down on Liberal support for nuclear power, pre-empting a review of its energy policy by arguing nuclear will be needed to support renewables.

Dutton told the Minerals Council on Wednesday that Australia needs a “frank debate” about nuclear energy, suggesting that it has a “wonderful opportunity to add value” to its uranium resources.

The comments sparked a demand from the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, in question time for the Liberals to nominate “where the plants are going to be”.

The Coalition didn’t do much on nuclear energy while in office. Why are they talking about it now?Read more

On Wednesday Dutton confirmed that he appointed Ted O’Brien as shadow energy minister in part because a committee inquiry he chaired in 2019 recommended the partial lifting of the moratorium on nuclear energy to allow for “new and emerging nuclear technologies”.

Dutton suggested nuclear energy could also help Australia “power up irrigation and open up thousands of square kilometres of export opportunities” before concluding the government should “at least allow” the community to have a debate about it.

In August the shadow climate change minister, Chris Bowen, ruled out consideration of nuclear power because he said “it is by far the most expensive form of energy”.

“I mean, this is economic illiteracy from an opposition searching for relevance,” he told ABC News Breakfast.

“[Nuclear] is slow to deploy. It couldn’t be deployed in Australia until 2030.

“The CSIRO has made it very, very clear renewables are the cheapest form of energy. Nuclear is the most expensive. Why with rising energy prices you would put in the most expensive form of energy available is beyond me.”

Albanese replied that the government stands by the modelling supporting the claim, and that Labor’s policy was based on the systems plan of the Australian Energy Market Operator, which identified it would “promote investment in renewables which is the cheapest form of energy”.

Albanese said after “22 failed plans” the Coalition now wants “to go towards nuclear energy”.

“And they can say, if you like, where the plants are going to be. I’ll look forward to their review, letting us know … [because] we know they have to be near urban areas and water.”

While Labor raised the spectre of campaigning on the location of putative nuclear power plants, Dutton accused the government of asking Australians to sign up to an Indigenous voice to parliament “sight unseen”.

“We have no idea what it means for the mining sector,” Dutton told the Minerals Council earlier.

“We don’t know whether a voice that doesn’t represent the elders that you negotiate with or that your agreement is with in a particular location, now, they might be usurped and [the voice will] exercise a veto, right? That would damage your employees, that would damage your business.”

Earlier, Dutton said it was an “inconvenient truth” for climate activists that “decarbonisation will require more mining”, due to critical minerals’ importance in renewable energy, batteries and electric vehicles.

“I take some delight knowing it must keep them up at night.”

Dutton said the Liberals don’t support “locking in” the 43% emissions reduction target in legislation because the “inflexible position” might disadvantage Australia if competitors did not meet their targets and it would make it “harder if not impossible” for government agencies to fund resources projects………………………


September 8, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

One legal win for Aboriginal people in South Australia gives hope to the Barngarla people who are fighting the Kimba nuclear waste dump plan

Nuclear waste site in spotlight following Barngarla court win, Traditional Owners say they fear the destruction that an accident at the waste dump could cause to Country.

By Keira Jenkins, Source: The Point,, 6 SEP 2022,

Barngarla Traditional Owners are fighting for access to a number of federal government documents regarding the proposed nuclear waste facility near Kimba, South Australia.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) and its lawyers have requested the documents that the federal government relied on to choose the 900 hectare site more than 400 kilometres north-west of Adelaide

The argument over the documents is part of a federal court challenge launched by Barngarla people.

Jason Bilney is the chair of the BDAC. He told NITV Barngarla people were not properly consulted about the facility, and were excluded from a community ballot.

“It’s very disrespectful, very hurtful to my people as a community and to my past and present Elders,” he said.

“It’s a disgrace.”

After the Supreme Court overturned authorisation to drill on South Australia’s Lake Torrens last week, Barngarla people are hopeful their fight can lead to protection for the Kimba site as well. 

Mr Bilney is joined in the fight against the facility by Lez and Dawn Taylor, who grew up in Kimba.

Standing at the site, which has been fenced off, Dawn Taylor said she’s deeply upset that nuclear waste could be stored on this Country……………………………..

Government officials didn’t talk to the Barngarla people for the study.

Barngarla Elder Harry Dare said the Traditional Owners of the Country should have been involved in this study.

“We know what’s on our Country, they choose not to let us go and have a look at that Country but we already know what’s out there,” he said.

‘I still feel strong’

But regardless of what has occurred up to this point, Jason Bilney said Barngarla people will continue to fight for their Country.

“[The government] think they’re going to put [the facility] there, they’ve still got a long drawn out process and for any government, it doesn’t look good to go against First Nations people,” he said.

“I still feel strong, I still feel proud to keep up this fight for our people, being up there and doing it for our community.

“It has taken its toll for a lot of our family. It’s sad but we’ve got to keep going.”

Barngarla woman Linda Dare said she hopes this fight means the voices of her people will be heard.

“We want them to stop what they’re doing, we want them to listen to us and hear us, take the time to sit down and listen and talk to us not disrespect us and put waste up on our Country,” she said.

September 6, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Is the Australian government aware of the human rights implications of the ill-chosen Kimba nuclear waste dump plan?

Peter Remta 3 Sept 22, Dr Marcos Orellana being the special rapporteur mandated as to the human rights
implications of toxic and nuclear waste is gravely concerned about the Australian
government’s proposals for Kimba which have been heightened by refusing his
proposed visit to Australia and the production of all appropriate documents.

In view of this I understand that he will be reporting the situation to the United Nations
Human Rights Commissioner which in turn will bring it before the full body of the United
Nations and may I add that this is being done with a view to embarrassing Australia at
the behest as I predicted of many of our Pacific islands “friendly” neighbours

What is interesting about the Kimba situation for the special rapporteur is that it does
not involve the rights of a minority group but covers the entire general community of the
region and that from information gained by him a large majority of South Australia’s
population is strongly against the federal government’s proposals for nuclear waste
management in that state.

Put bluntly this is the end of the Kimba proposal as in light of the foregoing IAEA and
other international bodies will prevent any licensing or other progress with the
government’s proposals with the appropriate public criticisms for justification.

There must be something clearly afoot as I understand that some European human
rights lawyers are already looking at possible actions within appropriate human rights
courts in Europe against the Australian government which invariably have a very low
standard of proving a successful claim.

My educated guess would be an award of €500 million against the Australian
government which again is another outgoing it can ill afford
I wonder how much of this is known by the federal government particularly at
ministerial level.

September 3, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

The Australian nuclear lobby’s embarrassing claim about Kimba nuclear dump plan and nuclear medicine.

Peter Remta 3 Sept 22, Apparently the Australian government has instructed its Geneva legation to inform both the special rapporteur and the Human Rights Commissioner’s office that any attempts to stop Kimba will lead to a disastrous world shortage of nuclear medicine which will predominantly affect third world countries including the Pacific island nations.

What a great diplomatic masterstroke!

This gets better than Days of our Lives as the latest claim is that the opponents of the Kimba proposals are being financed by the overseas competitors to ANSTO in producing nuclear medicine

ANSTO has still failed to explain that the nuclear medicine being produced by it is becoming obsolete since the medical profession worldwide is turning away from it towards cheaper and above all far safer alternatives.

One of the major failings by the government in promoting the Kimba facility is that it never explained the true and unsafe nature of reactor generated nuclear medicine to the community with former Minister Keith Pitt being the main culprit.

No wonder ANSTO is now turning towards cosmetics as its main undertaking.

September 3, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Britain “supports” Australia’s nuclear submarines – (UK and USA vying for the sale to Oz?)

Britain pledges nuclear submarines support, Canberra Times, By Paul Osborne, September 2 2022 , The UK’s international trade secretary has pledged Australia will get strong support from Britain to develop and sustain a nuclear-powered submarine fleet……….

But no decision has been made on using the British Astute class model or the US Virginia class.

An 18-month consultation period on the technology is due to wrap up in March.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan told a forum in Adelaide on Friday the British government was committed to seeing the project through for the long term.

September 3, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Humanity’s Moment: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope by Joëlle Gergis 1 Sept 22, If there is only one nonfiction book you read this year, it really should be this one. Its author, Joëlle Gergis, is one of Australia’s leading climate scientists and she believes this book is the most important one she will ever write.

Gergis has spent the last few years as a lead author working on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report. This work (done on a voluntary basis and on top of her day job as a scientist and university lecturer) has radically changed her outlook on life; it has kept her awake at night and led to feelings of anxiety and despair. Before the IPCC process, Gergis had found she could remain relatively emotionally detached from her work, but the cumulative effect of compiling the latest science on climate change from all over the world was overwhelming. She wrote an article about her emotional response and was contacted by other climate scientists who felt the same but were too afraid to share their feelings lest it might compromise the image of a dispassionate, data-driven scientist. With this book, Gergis wants to humanise and reframe climate change as a ‘cultural issue’, and she manages to do this beautifully by blending personal narrative with a distillation of the science.

Divided into three parts – the head, the heart and the whole – the book first outlines the latest science in clear and straightforward language. This is ‘the head’ and it makes for incredibly grim reading. ‘The heart’ looks at our connection to nature across different cultures and how this has changed over time. Here, Gergis outlines the ongoing catastrophes caused by colonisation and capitalism. Finally, in ‘the whole’, Gergis imagines what we as a community can achieve. She looks at the important role of art and literature to inspire us and the necessity of heeding Indigenous knowledge if there is to be a brighter future. Many of the solutions already exist and Gergis’ ultimate hope with this book is that it will remind us how ‘human history is an endless tug-of-war for social justice. We are each part of an eternal evolutional force that can transform our world.’ The first step may just be to read this book.

September 2, 2022 Posted by | climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Anti-AUKUS campaign ramps up over U.S.-China war talk

Independent Australia By Bevan Ramsden | 1 September 2022,

Given our massive commitment to military spending and continuous “war talk”, protests within the peace movement are growing to prevent Australia from entering another disastrous U.S.-led war, writes Bevan Ramsden.

INDICATORS THAT preparations are being made for war are coming thick and fast.

The 2021 announcement of the AUKUS (Australia, UK and the U.S.) military pact and Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines (either from the USA or the UK) has heightened and broadened public concerns about Australia’s deeper involvement in another potential U.S.-led war — this time with China.

Intensifying war talk and massive spending on war preparations have not gone unnoticed in the Australian community. It has provoked a response which is rapidly spreading that our foreign policies may be taking us into an unnecessary and avoidable war, not heading towards security and peace.

A recent Lowy Institute poll showed that just over half the Australian population is not in favour of supporting the United States in a war against China.

The city councils of both Newcastle and Wollongong are united in opposing the establishment in their cities of port facilities for nuclear-powered submarines and the Brisbane City Council has reaffirmed its commitment to a nuclear-free city.

A number of trade unions – the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) Queensland branch, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the NSW Teachers Federation to name only a few – have strongly condemned AUKUS and the planned acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines. 

Community organisations including Friends of the Earth, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Pax ChristiAustralians for War Powers Reform and the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) have likewise condemned the planned acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines.

Heightened public concerns and opposition to a war with China come largely in response to the formation of the Australian Anti-AUKUS Coalition (AAAC). 

More than 25 community, peace, faith organisations, trade unions and hundreds of individuals have united to campaign nationally against preparations for a possible war with China and to oppose nuclear submarines and the AUKUS war pact. Public anti-AUKUS protests have occurred in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Wollongong, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane and Darwin with more planned in coming months.

The AAAC is currently coordinating the gathering of hundreds of signatures from individuals and organisations for a national advertisement to be published in a major national newspaper on 16 September, the anniversary of the announcement of AUKUS and the purchase of nuclear submarines. 

The proposed advertisement reads as follows:

We call on the Government of Australia in the interests of peace and security for the Australian people and the region:

  • to advise its AUKUS partners that Australia will not be involved in a war against China over Taiwan or disputed territorial waters in the South China Sea or any other country and will not allow use of Australian territory for that purpose;
  • to sign and ratify the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; and
  • to cancel military spending for AUKUS war preparations, including cancellation of the acquisition of nuclear-propelled submarines, so that urgent domestic social needs (climate change mitigation, education, health including public hospitals and housing) can be better addressed.

Further, a petition initiated in November 2021 by IPAN in conjunction with the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition has received 25,500 signatures.

The petition is headed ‘No Nuclear Submarines; End U.S dominance; Healthcare not Warfare’ and reads in part:

‘The Australian Government must withdraw from AUKUS, stop the development of nuclear submarines and end integration into the U.S. military.’

The Australian Government’s commitment to purchasing billions of dollars in weaponry, mainly designed for offensive war and interoperability with the U.S. military – not specifically for the self-defence and sovereignty of Australia – is evidence of the Government’s preparations for a potential war against China thousands of miles away from Australia.

Previous governments have committed close to one-quarter of a billion dollars on so-called defence but these items suggest war preparations coordinated with the United States, aimed at containing and/or confronting China militarily.

Some of these commitments include:

  1. Upgrading the (RAAF) Royal Australian Air Force’s Tindal aircraft runway to take U.S. B1 bombers, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, at a cost of $1.1 billion.
  2. Building a huge fuel site in the Northern Territory to power U.S. fighter jets (estimated $270 million).
  3. Acquiring 135 U.S. M-1A2C Abrams tanks at a cost of $3.5 billion.
  4. Developing high-speed, long-range missile defence systems at a cost of up to $9.3 billion.
  5. Acquiring eight nuclear-propelled submarines at a cost that experts predict will blow out to $170 billion-plus (these hunter-killer subs are designed for operation at long distances from Australia and are too large to be effective in the relatively shallow coastal waters of Australia).
  6. $10 billion to build a port on the east coast of Australia to service nuclear-powered submarines — and we are told it will be made available to the U.S. and UK for servicing their nuclear-powered and probably nuclear-armed submarines.
  7. Seventy-two F-35 fighter bombers will be purchased from the U.S. at a cost of about $16 billion.
  8. Purchasing nine frigates at a cost of $35 billion.

The costs to Australia of having over 2,000 U.S. marines stationed in the Northern Territory each year are unknown as questions by IPAN to the Federal Minister for Defence evoked the answer: “It is a matter of national security and cannot be divulged.”

These foreign troops stationed on our soil are not under the control of the Australian Government. They take their orders from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command which has recently established a regional headquarters in Darwin.  

………………………………….. The strongest indicator of preparation for war has been Australia joining with the U.S. and UK in what purports to be a war pact – AUKUS – but appears purpose-built to contain and/or confront the Chinese militarily. This new alliance was entered into without any parliamentary or public discussion and has been imposed dictatorially upon the Australian people.

The change of government has not seen, as yet, any change in this general thrust to prepare for war. The Albanese Government supports AUKUS. And while PM Albanese and Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong have sought to use more moderate language towards our neighbours on their recent overseas tours in an attempt to heal relations broken by the previous Coalition Government, the thrust of their foreign policy has not changed.

In a speech recently in the USA, Defence Minister Richard Marles called for the integration of our ADF with the U.S. military rather than interoperability, which was the policy of the previous Australian Government.

This would mean loss of sovereign control of our own ADF to the U.S.

………………………………………….. Every stop should be pulled out to prevent Australia from being drawn into yet another disastrous U.S.-led war. The peace movement is growing rapidly to do its best to prevent that from happening.

If you wish to add your signature to the national newspaper advertisement protesting the military spending for AUKUS war preparations, including cancellation of the acquisition of nuclear-propelled submarines, click here…………………….

September 1, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Our Air Force is already ‘operating against China’ Pearls and Irritations By Mike Gilligan, Aug 26, 2022

Australia is seemingly as eager as ever to be pushed out on a plank by our American friends, professionally. Ever the faithful “patsy”.

What’s got into Australia’s defence administration, when our military believe that warlike actions against China is what is required of them daily in the South China Sea? The government has not declared China to be a military threat to Australia. How can there be such a disconnect between the Australian government’s policies and our military’s actions?

On 22nd August, ABC News reported that Air Marshal Chipman met with US Secretary for the Air Force Frank Kendall. The RAAF Chief warned China had established a “formidable aerospace capability” in the South China Sea, but military operations could still be conducted there:

“It doesn’t make it impenetrable and it doesn’t mean you can’t deliver military effects to achieve your interests when you are operating against China,”

At the highest level, our Air Force is planning and acting to penetrate China’s air defences. And publicly enthusiastic about it. While complaining that Chinese pilots were not behaving “professionally”. All within a ruse of preserving “rules”.

There is a well- known Australian military syndrome found mainly at the footslogger level whereby the infectious American military mindset induces our military to identify unquestioningly with US goals. The Service chiefs and Secretary of Defence have long had an important role in containing it. Yet here we find a Chief infected. The disease has grown to an epidemic with repeated US joint military exercising in northern Australia over recent months.

Apart from undermining foreign policy and diplomacy it is structurally damaging to our defence. Any sober strategic view of our security always returns to Australia having to stand alone. We cannot count on the US for a variety of substantial reasons.

A lot of effort and money has gone into creating that independent capacity. Much of it is idiosyncratic. The Jindalee surveillance network is an example, which has enabled a quantum leap in effectiveness of Australia’s defences. The US initially had embarked on that same surveillance course but changed tack to a space-based system. The two forces depend on entirely different systems for operations, in fundamental ways. So limits to interoperability exist which must be preserved if we are to retain a self-reliant defence.

The danger in wholesale embrace of the American way is that we are gutted of the hard-won pillars of self reliance. Who is looking out for that?

Indeed, is anyone in charge of Defence in Canberra? Once, a strong Secretary would have called a meeting of the Defence Committee to ask the military Chiefs how their organisations behaviour is furthering government’s security objectives. With the Secretary of Foreign Affairs alongside, who might have talked of the aim to “reset” with China.

However, as our military is already at war against China with the US, let’s get a fix on how it’s going. The US response to the Pelosi visit to Taiwan makes an interesting comparison with its reaction to the last Taiwan crisis in 1996. Then the US sailed an aircraft carrier force through the Taiwan Strait in a “get out of my way” demonstration of power. With no China military response. Now, twenty five years later China has reacted to Pelosi with a demonstration of defensive power – exercising with live firings in the same waters around Taiwan. America’s Nimitz-class super aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and an accompanying strike group were tucked well out the way in the Philippine Sea before heading back to port in Yokosuka Japan. The US claims it chose not to over react. Others say it knew that reacting as previously was not an option because of China’s defences. And it shows the US is already on the retreat. At least this notion would occur to Taiwan, and allies Japan and Korea.

It was President Lyndon Johnson who worried, sixty years ago, about sending “good American boys to fight for Asian boys” in its proxy war with China through Vietnam. Today a conflict with China which consumed American troops would be politically unthinkable (if anything is unthinkable today). If America can’t find a proxy to contain China then it will relent. The penny might drop for America’s Asian allies, the front-line proxy candidates. But not for Australia, seemingly as eager as ever to be pushed out on a plank by their American friends, professionally. Ever the faithful “patsy”.

September 1, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US admiral issues blunt warning on building Australian submarines in overstretched shipyards

ABC By defence correspondent Andrew Greene, 1 Sept 22,

A senior US Navy official has warned helping Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines could be too big a burden for America’s already overstretched shipyards.

Key points:

  • Constructing additional submarines would be “detrimental”, US program executive officer for strategic submarines says
  • Admiral Pappano’s comments are the strongest public intervention so far on the idea
  • The Defence Department is conducting an 18-month study on the best option for Australia to acquire nuclear-powered subs

During an online forum, the US program executive officer for strategic submarines was questioned on America’s shipbuilding workforce and the implications of the AUKUS partnership with Australia.

Rear Admiral Scott Pappano said the ambitious plan could hamper his nation’s own nuclear submarine program, as well as the United Kingdom’s, in comments made to the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

“If you are asking my opinion, if we were going to add additional submarine construction to our industrial base, that would be detrimental to us right now,” Admiral Pappano said.

The rear admiral added that significant investment would be needed to provide “additional capacity, capability to go do that”

“I won’t speak for the UK, but I think that exists for both the US and the UK where we’re looking right now,” he said.

The Defence Department is currently conducting an 18-month study on the best option for Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarine capability, with a report due to hand down official recommendations in March.

Earlier this year former defence minister, now Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton claimed he was confident Australia could secure two American-built Virginia-class nuclear submarines by 2030.

Mr Dutton insisted that if the Coalition had remained in office, it could have been “in a position to make an announcement around July-August” on acquiring US-built nuclear submarines.

Private reservations

US naval figures have long held private reservations about allowing Australia to join an American production line for nuclear-powered submarines, but Admiral Pappano’s comments are the strongest public intervention so far…………………….

UK says submarines a ‘collaborative program’

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace remarked that Australia’s future nuclear-powered submarines, under the AUKUS agreement was “not an either, or type question” between British or American designs, but could be a collaborative program between the three nations………………………………

September 1, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian submariners to train onboard British nuclear-powered submarines under AUKUS deal

ABC, By Jack Hawke in London, 1 Sept 22,

Australian submariners will train onboard British nuclear-powered submarines for the first time in the latest announcement under the AUKUS security pact.

Key points:

  • Royal Australian Navy submariners will train with British Royal Navy counterparts on nuclear-powered subs
  • Australia will be provided with its own nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS agreement
  • Defence figures have warned Australia is facing a capability gap because of ageing submarines

Under the deal, Royal Australian Navy sailors will join their British counterparts on the Astute-class submarines after completing specialised nuclear training courses.

Defence Minister Richard Marles met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on Wednesday in Barrow-in-Furness in England’s north-west to attend the commissioning of the latest Astute-class submarine, the HMS Anison.

Mr Marles said Australia was “eager to learn from our counterparts”.

……………………………………. But where exactly the new submarines will be built and whom will build them will not be revealed by the federal government until at least March next year.

Concerns have also been raised by some defence experts over the timeframe for the delivery of the next generation submarines, which may not happen until the 2040s……………..

September 1, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

AI Group Unveiled: a propaganda service for Defence, big business and the Coalition

Michael West Media, by Michael West | Jul 22, 2020 ,

Is AI Group just a front for big business and foreign weapons manufacturers? Michael West reports on the rise of government and business propaganda outfits who are suddenly mute when the subject turns to the delicate matter of who funds them.

“Given the tone of the questions and misspelling of Willox you can list it as “no response”,” sniffed Tony the PR man for AI Group.

“Dang!” we muttered … “Willox, Willox, Willox. No “c”!”

And two “ns” in Innes too! This was indeed a grave error, a double-banger, getting the name of a PR guy wrong in an email to a PR guy. Unforgivable!

Albeit unsurprising. Lobbyists are famously taciturn when it comes to the subject of their own affairs, even as their views are plastered weekly across national media.

Our questions were about who funded them and how much of their hefty $72 million in annual revenue comes from big business, multinational weapons makers and the Government itself.

These questions are important because AI Group and other lobbyists such as the Australia Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) are sermonising constantly about the way governments and everybody else should be conducting their affairs.

ASPI too is largely funded by foreign defence contractors and the Federal Government. It was little surprise therefore that, hard of the heels of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s urgent yet vague warning earlier this month that Australia was the victim of menacing cyber attacks, it was ASPI which promptly named China as the culprit and affirmed the urgent nature of the unnamed threats.

Looking at the 2019 financial statements for AI Group, which you will not find on its website, the “peak employer organisation” made $14.3 million from Federal Government contracts last year, which rather helps explain why it is rare to see any criticism of government policy, other than a spot of whining at decisions which do not favour big business enough.

It is by no means alone in this. The Big Four consulting firms Deloitte, EY, PwC and KPMG are in the same boat, reeling in some $700 million in fees annually by consulting to the Government.

On top of its taxpayer take, AI made $38 million from “consulting, management services and training businesses”. So, not only is AI a lobby group but it is also is running businesses for profit, even a law firm while it pays no income tax.

This self-appointed not-for-profit (NFP) is sitting on cash and liquid assets of $76 million and it notched up income of $72 million last year. What did it spend it all this money on?

Some $55 million went on employees. The next biggest item was “Communications” at $5.6 million. They do do a lot of communicating and when it comes to having their voice heard in mainstream media, AI – and particularly its chief executive – Willox are slick operators, perhaps the best in the business lobby.

But unlike the Business Council of Australia, the Minerals Council, and think tanks such as the Sydney Institute and the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA), they actually get large government consulting deals as well as running profitable businesses.

In this, they are similar to the NSW Business Chamber, which boasts revenues of $237 million a year, also runs a law firm and vocation businesses and is even a registered charity…………………………………………..

September 1, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian government working with pro-nuclear zealot Jonathon Mead to plan US/UK nuclear submarines for Western Australia.

Australia’s defence forces investigating Garden Island nuclear submarine capabilities. Peter Law, The West Australian, Fri, 26 August 2022,

The strategic review of Australia’s defence forces is investigating the capacity of HMAS Stirling at Garden Island to simultaneously receive multiple nuclear-powered submarines from the US and UK.

The Henderson maritime precinct, south of Perth, has also been identified as a potential site for maintenance work on Australia’s planned nuclear submarine fleet, former defence minister Stephen Smith revealed.

Mr Smith and retired Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston were earlier this month appointed to lead the sweeping review of the army, navy and air force, which will report to the Albanese Government by next March.

Speaking at the Indian Ocean Defence and Security Conference in Perth on Friday, Mr Smith said a draft report with initial findings would be given to Defence Minister Richard Marles on November 1.

Mr Smith said the review was working “hand in glove” with a separate task force chaired by Vice-Admiral Jonathan Mead, which is looking at the options for Australia acquiring a nuclear submarine powered capability.

The pair this week visited Garden Island to see what infrastructure improvements were needed in the short and long term, “if a number of nuclear submarines, UK or US, would arrive at HMAS Stirling tomorrow”.

“We also are interested in, ultimately, on the basis that at some stage Australia acquires nuclear submarines, what potential do we have for maintenance and sustainment on the Henderson maritime strip,” he said.

Similar visits will take place in Port Adelaide and Brisbane in coming months, as well a tour of the nation’s “northern and western approaches”, including at RAAF bases Curtin and Learmonth…………………..

August 27, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ranger Mine uranium-contaminated waste trucked to Darwin suburb.

finding 50 kg of uranium tailings waste off-site is not a “small scale” event as claimed by ERA, and near three months for this radioactive event to make the media…

Potentially ‘deadly’ toxic waste accidentally trucked into Darwin

Energy Resources Australia is investigating how Ranger Mine toxic waste came to be transported through the Kakadu National Park and left on a truck in a Darwin suburb.

RADIOACTIVE waste has been transported through Kakadu National Park and left on a truck in Winnellie.

In June an excavator at Ranger Mine used to dig uranium tailings, was removed from the site with 50kg of mixed material still inside the vehicle.

The removal of any toxic waste is a major breach of Energy Resources Australia’s Ranger Mine rehabilitation plan as it poses a deadly contamination risk to people and the environment.

According to Energy Resources Australia the compacted waste was in a steel encased void of an excavator and not detected by radiation screening before leaving the site………………………

Supervising Scientist Keith Taylor said the breach was “regrettable” but he was confident there was no risk posed to people or the environment.

“There have been other incidents of this nature, most notably the 2004 prosecution which is of public record,” he said.

“There have been others as well but that is the most notable.”

Mr Taylor said scientists and ERA were working together to review the ‘clearance processes,’ which includes a radiation screening.

Mirarr Traditional Owners and the NLC were made aware of the incident on June 3.

In February, ERA announced the rehabilitation plan for Ranger Mine had blown out to an estimated $1.2bn.

It left the company scrambling for cash and relying heavily on its major shareholder Rio Tinto.

August 27, 2022 Posted by | Northern Territory, wastes, uranium, - incidents | Leave a comment

Nuclear bomb tests at Emu Field remain obscured by Maralinga and the mists of time ABC Radio Adelaide / By Daniel Keane, 22 Aug 22,

In hindsight, Michael Parkinson’s TV talk show hardly seems the likeliest forum for sober reflection on nuclear annihilation. 

But in 1971, the celebrity interviewer welcomed onto his celebrated stage journalist James Cameron, a man who had, 18 years earlier, witnessed the first atomic blast at Emu Field in outback South Australia.

Nuclear weapons, he told Parkinson, were “the ultimate punctuation mark” in humanity’s “progress towards perdition”.

The words echoed his front-page report for The Age on October 16, 1953 — the day after the test:

“The familiar mushroom column climbed unsteadily for 15,000 feet, leaned and dropped, and the world stumbled one more step towards the twilight.”

Codenamed Totem, the two Emu Field bomb tests have, in the view of James Cook University author Elizabeth Tynan, been regarded for too long as mere precursors to the more notorious detonations at Maralinga.

Her new book seeks to correct this by establishing Operation Totem as a portentous episode in its own right.

“The tests there pre-dated Maralinga by three years and they caused enormous difficulty and disruption and tragedy to the Aboriginal people of the Western Desert,” Dr Tynan said.

The Secret of Emu Field is the product of extensive archival excavation, including in the United Kingdom.

Amid Cold War hardships and anxieties, British officials were desperate to develop an affordable nuclear arsenal for their new fleet of jet bombers.

“They were looking to create a workable weapon; I call it the austerity bomb,” Dr Tynan said.

“They wanted to do it quickly because they had the V bombers coming, they had a number of political pressures and geopolitical pressures as well.”

Among several remarkable occurrences at Emu Field was the flight of a Royal Air Force Canberra bomber through the Totem 1 mushroom cloud barely six minutes after detonation.

“In colour it was a dark red-brown,” Wing Commander Geoffrey Dhenin, who enthusiastically piloted the plane, later wrote.

“Until just before we emerged, the forces on the elevators increased to such an extent that I thought I might lose control.”

One of the aims of that mission was to determine the threat from fallout in atmospheric testing to commercial airline traffic.

In an unforeseen irony, the atomic cloud from Totem 1 — which kept its mushroom shape “for 24 hours because of wind conditions” — was spotted by airline passengers passing over Oodnadatta.

The black mist

Today, it isn’t a cloud but a mist that remains one of the few aspects of the Totem tests to endure in the collective consciousness.

The so-called “black mist” was reported by nearby Aboriginal communities, but it wasn’t until a 1980 report by The Advertiser that it came to public attention.

The 1985 royal commission into British nuclear tests was equivocal on the health effects, but concluded that “Aboriginal people experienced radioactive fallout from Totem 1 in the form of a black mist or cloud at and near Wallatinna”.

Bruce Lennon was a young boy at the time and likened the impact to “having a really bad flu”.

“We were close to Emu Field; dad was a contractor, we did a lot of moving around,” he said.

Also in the area, at Mabel Creek station, was the family of Sister Kenise Neill.

“My father at the time of the Emu Field [tests] would have been 22. There’s a story that my grandmother used to tell about him,” she recalled.

“He was out fencing with Aboriginal people around the station and came home covered in a black, slimy, greasy stuff.”

Murray Neill was 24 when he died in 1956.

His daughter said it was now almost impossible to know whether the story told by her grandmother was an account of fallout.

“I didn’t really know about Emu Fields … and because our family had left before the [later] Maralinga testing, it didn’t make sense,” Sister Neill said.

“I presumed the black fallout with my dad wasn’t nuclear.

“It’s really only through reading Elizabeth Tynan’s book that I thought that my dad could have actually died from radiation.”

The persistence of secrets

The black mist may have dissipated, but other mists still cloud the Totem tests.

Dr Tynan said British files she inspected during her research had since been “withdrawn from public view”, and that there were unanswered questions about the second test and the plutonium fuel.

“The Operation Totem tests at Emu Field were intended as a comparative trial to test two different kinds of nuclear fuel,” Dr Tynan said.

I can’t say that I ever got to the bottom of what was happening with Totem 2. From the documents I’ve seen, [it] was a very, very secret weapon.”

By the time of the second test on October 27, James Cameron and the rest of the press pack had long since departed.

But the bomb had left its mark on Cameron’s mind.

In a piece published the day after he died, in the same year as the royal commission into British tests, Cameron reflected on the nuclear age with typical grace and resignation:

“I personally witnessed the explosion of atom bombs, and did nothing about it, and could do nothing except protest, tiresomely and uselessly.”

This article is the second in a two-part series, the first of which focused on the tests at Maralinga.

August 25, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, reference, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment