Australian news, and some related international items

What is Scott Morrison doing in New York? Nothing on climate, it seems.

While other world leaders arrive in New York to discuss cooperation on Covid and climate, Morrison will trying to patch up his submarine blunder. The post What is Scott Morrison doing in New York? Nothing on climate, it seems appeared first on RenewEconomy.

What is Scott Morrison doing in New York? Nothing on climate, it seems — RenewEconomy

Scott Morrison has landed in New York for a week of meeting with international leaders, but the prime minister is likely to spend the time trying to mend damaged diplomatic relationships rather than engaging with other world leaders on climate issues.

World leaders are convening in New York this week for the next session of the UN General Assembly, which will largely be focused on the ongoing response to the Covid pandemic, fostering economic recovery,  and preparations for the next round of climate change negotiations that will be held in Glasgow in a few weeks time.

Several critical meetings have already been held, including a call from the UN for leaders to “stop ignoring the science.” But, like his last visit to New York,  when Morrison avoided a UN climate meeting in favour of dinner with Donald Trump, he has other priorities.

Morrison major focus now will be dealing with the ongoing fallout from the cancellation of Australia’s submarine deal with France. This self-inflicted blunder has seen relations sour with the broader European community while implicating allies the United States and the United Kingdom, and possibly putting a climate deal with China at risk.

The mishandling of that deal means Morrison arrives in New York with a new level of unpopularity amongst world leaders, and now needing to navigate a frosty diplomatic relationship with European leaders threatening to scuttle a free-trade agreement between Australia and the EU that has been years in the making.

Morrison will meet with leaders from Sweden and Austria and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who has already described Australia’s treatment of France as “unacceptable”.

The European leaders could look to punish Australia on two fronts – to send a message over the cancelled $90 billion submarine deal, as well as following through with the introduction of export tariffs on Australia’s carbon intensive exports to account for Australia’s virtually non-existent price on carbon pollution.

While in the US, Morrison will meet with other leaders of the “quad” strategic dialogue, which includes US president Joe Biden, Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to discuss regional security measures.

However, it is unlikely that Morrison will engage in any discussions that relate to climate change policy – with Australia already on the outer of international talks due to a refusal to adopt stronger climate change targets.

Morrison is not listed to address the UN General Assembly, and Australia was not invited to participate in a climate change roundtable convened by UN secretary-general António Guterres and UK prime minister Boris Johnson………………

September 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Ballarat Council considers supporting the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Question raised as to why Ballarat councillors are discussing nuclear weapons, arms will be on the agenda at Wednesday night’s City of Ballarat council meeting, with one councillor labelling it a waste of time.

Councillors will vote on whether or not to support a treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

Cr Ben Taylor says it’s disappointing they are dealing with items that have nothing to do with Ballarat.
“We’re in the middle of a lockdown, people are worried about their jobs and their kids not going to school and Ballarat City Council seems to want to put their attention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.”
“It’s got nothing to do with Ballarat and nothing to do with Australia,” Cr Taylor said.

September 21, 2021 Posted by | politics, Victoria, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison’s AUKUS deal designed to win election, not make Australia safe

That Fella Down Under! Scott Morrison’s AUKUS deal designed to win election, not make Australia safe
By Michael West| September 17, 2021  

Strap in for a media blitz on the threat from China. Prime Minister #ThatFellaDownUnder Scott Morrison and his merry band are about to take a war to the election. Michael West reports.

US President Joe Biden might have forgotten his name but, in the Canberra Bubble, Scott Morrison is unforgettable, a marketing maestro, a prince among men; literally, because there don’t seem to be any women among his phalanx of advisers.

The PM’s army of propagandists has been working around the clock over the past two days marketing the latest announcement to a fawning press: AUKUS, a new “Alliance for the Ages as China Threat Grows”, according to The Australian. And what results! 

Christian Porter’s secret legal payments are off the front pages, as is the JobKeeper mega-rort, the biggest transfer of wealth in history from working Australians to wealthy Australians and foreign corporations. 

Early Thursday morning there was no AUKUS. The AFR did have a scoop though, splashing with: “PM to announce $90b French submarine deal is dead”. 

That story soon vanished from the website. Bad headline. Around 7.30, The Australian was trumpeting “A major coup for Australia”. A veritable onslaught of gushing PR ensued: the new “Forever Alliance” as Nine put it, or “Friends in Freedom” as The Australian glowed. 

“Australia confirms landmark nuclear submarine deal and it’s ‘China’s worst nightmare’,” declared a truckling

That Fella Down Under

The funny thing was that US President Joe Biden seemed to have forgotten Scott Morrison’s name as he announced this new AUKUS alliance with Boris Johnson. “That Fella Down Under” he called him, casually gesticulating in Scott Morrison’s general direction.

Perhaps it was a deliberate thing, such was the PM’s unctuous toadying to the buffoon Donald Trump. 

n any case, Australia’s massive $90 billion submarine deal with the French had been junked in a jiffy. Good thing too, because if the French had got involved in this new alliance for freedom it might have been more appropriately monikered FAUKUS.

What that will cost in tearing up this contract with the Gauls, who knows? Probably in the billions. We’ve toasted $2b so far.

What will the new subs cost? Probably more than $100 billion. As jobless Australians are degraded with their measly $4 a day rise in welfare payments, you can count on one thing; the sheer, incontestable incompetence of this government will ensure a new maelstrom of waste and spending.

They struggle to get anything right, except announcements, media relations, scare campaigns at election time. 

That King of Lemons the F-35 Strike Fighter is a gilten cadaver now, debunked even by the top military figure in the US. The chair of the Armed Services Committee Democrat Adam Smith reckons they should stop throwing money down “that particular rat hole”.

For Australia, the cost of those 72 lemons is $17 billion, before running into the hundreds of billions to be maintained for life, if they can fly.

Where is New Zealand?

In light of the long-standing ANZUS treaty there was one notable omission in the AUKUS line up, New Zealand. Notwithstanding that NZAUKUS or AUKUSNZ is far too ugly an acronym, the Kiwis are too sensible to blow up their biggest trading partner, China, as the Coalition Government here has proven so adroit at doing.

Unlike #ThatFellaDownUnder, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern would have the sense to ask her people first if they wanted to poke the bear, tear up billions on last century military hardware and park nuclear submarines in their harbours. They don’t. They are sticking to their no-nuclear policy and won’t even let the subs in their waters, said Ardern

The whole thing is so last century, and so dangerous in geopolitical terms. To deflect from their abominable policies at home, to deflect from the retinue of scandals the likes of Christian Porter, JobKeeper, Team Australia, as the AFR calls them, or Team #ThatFellaDownUnder on Twitter, now appears certain to fight the Election by beating up the China military threat.

Murdoch loves it, Keating not

There is nothing like an enemy to exploit for political purposes, a military threat, no matter how ludicrous and unlikely. Naturally, it plays well for the craven Murdoch press which adores a war; has cheered avidly every failed US invasion from Vietnam, through Iraq to Afghanistan.

Gird the loins then for the daily barrage of provocative, misleading nonsense in the corporate media, to be followed daily – with a tad less fervour – on the airwaves of the ABC.

China has zero intention of invading Australia but already, thanks to this reckless messaging by a suborned corporate media, half the country thinks they might…………..

What is this deal which #ThatFellaDownUnder has signed up for, besides electoral fodder and domestic distraction value? Presumably we buy defence tech from the US, so it’s commercial for them. If the F-35 debacle is anything to go by they will control our submarines anyway. We weren’t allowed to control the software in our own billion-dollar jets.

AUKUS reaffirms ties with the “Mother Country” Great Britain, which has ballsed-up its own markets thanks to Brexit.

Er … uranium?

It begs the question of uranium. Do we use our own uranium, breaking tradition with decades of sensible nuclear policy? What do we do with the toxic waste? Where are these things going to be berthed? South Australia, at the bottom of the country, or at the top, somewhere near the Port of Darwin which the Coalition sold to the Chinese?

The warmongers lobby is loving it. Chief among them the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) whose executive director Peter Jennings suddenly enthused: “AUKUS sets a better direction for Australia’s defense”.

But of course, ASPI is funded by Defence, the department that is – it is paid by the Government to lobby the Government – and by foreign weapons manufacturers and the media leaks are already foreshadowing a big escalation on defence spending. The irony is that Jennings himself, a champion of the French subs deal, was awarded France’s top honour, Le Légion d’Honneur.   

“Vive Australia’s choice of a French submarine,” headlined the story in The Australian.

The silence of the Labor

That Fella Down Under has also managed to wedge Labor. Not matter how foolish and provocative is AUKUS, you won’t hear a ruckus from Albo. The Opposition Leader is sticking steadfastly to his small target tactics, as well he would. Were he to kick up a stink about China provocation and cuddling up to the US and the Poms, Albanese would be pounced upon as a chicken, anti US, pro China.

And so billions will be squandered and hostilities will increase with our major trading partner and there is unlikely to be a squeak of disapproval from Labor. That of course leaves it open slather for a PMO media campaign to scare as many Australians as they can while delivering enormous profits to foreign weapons manufacturers.

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics | Leave a comment

$90 Billion Nuclear Powered Subs To Bring Australia Out Of Lockdown In Time For Christmas

$90 Billion Nuclear Powered Subs To Bring Australia Out Of Lockdown In Time For Christmas, BURKE |.

Locked down Australians are getting ready to say a big hello to freedom as $90 billion worth of nuclear powered submarines are coming to our nation girt by sea.

During a teleconference that many mistook for the worst episode of Gogglebox yet, US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and our very own Scotty from Marketing announced they had formed a new security partnership called AUKUS with the first item of business to set Australia up with $90 billion worth of nuclear powered submarine freedom.

Despite the fact the three nations recorded a total of 317,060 new cases between them on Monday alone, the three world leaders really put their heads together and decided what their constituents really needed was to splash out big on some top-secret subs.

“I’m actually really excited for them!” said one local weirdo who, thankfully, does not live near any schools.

“Oh no, you’re not one of those anti-nuclear guys are you? Seriously? In 2021? I blame Chernobyl. The show.”

According to Scotty, this historic new alliance is great news for freedom loving Australians as we partner closer with the most hated nation on Earth and a country led by a man who literally cannot count the amount of illegitimate children he has. 

When asked if the USA were a good military ally based on very recent events, Scotty was quick to remind our reporting team that we should be out of lockdown in time for Christmas.

“It’s all about perspective,” stated Scotty, as he thumbed through a sample book of the best submarine photo-ops. 

“Christmas is coming and Santa is riding in on a nuclear sub pulled by water-breathing reindeer and in his big red sack is a present for you; family.” 

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarines may never eventuate; it’s just Scott Morrison’s giant new election ploy


The timing of Mr Morrison’s announcements also merits some consideration. In our view, this project is a political stunt aimed to distract from Covid failures, please coalition constituencies, and split the Labor Party and render the Greens shrill and sidelined.

In reality, it is likely that after a passage of years of staged announcements and pseudo-planning there will be little to show for it, and the enormously expensive, strategically ill-considered, and force-structure distorting project will quietly die.

But, to use Prime Minister Morrison’s phrase, “let us be clear,” in terms of Australian security, it is a gigantic nuclear election stunt that in the long run may increase the risk of nuclear war while drawing Chinese return fire on our vulnerable export sectors, including iron ore.

To be clear” again, it is utterly mendacious of Prime Minister Scott Morrison to say that these forces have nothing to do with nuclear weapons because Australian submarines won’t be so armed, assuming it does not cross that barrier in the future if the submarines ever come to pass. As noted above, they may play a crucial role in US nuclear strike and defence operations……..

Scott Morrison’s Giant Nuclear Election Ploy, APLN Asial Pacific Leadership Network. 19 Sep 21,

Even leaving aside the fiscal profligacy and defence opportunity costs for Australia of the literal blank cheque issued by the Morrison government, the nuclear submarine decision takes Australia into the heart of naval warfighting in East Asia and Southeast Asia.

Further, the Australian nuclear submarine decision will have knock-on effects in Japan and the Republic of Korea, leading them not only to move their already highly capable submarine fleets to nuclear power, but also thereby heighten the likelihood they will then equip those submarines with nuclear weapons.

For several decades the US has been concerned to negate two military advances the Chinese regard as essential protection against literally existential threats. The Australian submarines will be designed primarily to contribute to negating both of those military advances.

Continue reading

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

We need a full and transparent Inquiry into the nuclear submarine deal

But the uncertainties are huge. We don’t know whether it’s proposed to acquire a US or a British submarine. We don’t know how many might be constructed. We don’t know the cost, although we know it’s going to be huge. We don’t know the delivery schedule, though it’s been suggested the first boat won’t be completed until 2040 and not operational for several years after that.

Putting the schedule into perspective, by the time Australia’s first nuclear submarine goes into the water, Aussies will have voted in at least seven federal elections. Scott Morrison will be 72 years old, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be 76 and President Joe Biden will be a venerable 98.

Nuclear-level spin masks a massive failure,

This week’s nuclear submarine announcement raises questions that need full and transparent examination. What is certain, writes Rex Patrick, is that the Federal Government’s atomic marketing efforts are designed to cover a huge mess of its own making.

In many respects Scott Morrison’s nuclear submarines announcement fits the Prime Minister’s standard modus operandi.

Having presided over a huge shambles, he’s always ready to pull down the curtain and then present something new and shiny to the electorate as a distraction to the failure.

In this case, however, he’s taken his marketing strategy to a new atomic level.

I’ve been a strong critic of the French submarine deal. The projected delays and cost overruns, jointly the fault of Defence and Naval Group, were huge and unacceptable. The Government managed to achieve Australia’s worst-ever defence procurement disaster – which is saying a lot.

Although they repeatedly refused to admit it, and fought tooth and nail to prevent the release of information about the problems with the Future Submarine Program, the Government knew they had a total lemon on their hands – a lemon of their own making.

To deal with the strategic possibility of conflict with China, the Government contracted the French to redesign one of their nuclear submarines to create a completely new long-range diesel-electric submarine. That was always going to be fraught with difficulty, with inevitable cost and time overruns.

It wasn’t Australia’s changing strategic circumstances that have driven a shift to the US/UK nuclear submarine option – that was already factored into the French program – it was complete project disarray.

The PM’s atomic marketing is intended to mask the Government’s own mess.

The distant and uncertain future

We now have to be very careful not to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

I don’t underestimate the significance of the joint announcement of a new strategic and defence technology partnership between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. It’s a big commitment with long term national security, geopolitical, and economic consequences.

But the uncertainties are huge. We don’t know whether it’s proposed to acquire a US or a British submarine. We don’t know how many might be constructed. We don’t know the cost, although we know it’s going to be huge. We don’t know the delivery schedule, though it’s been suggested the first boat won’t be completed until 2040 and not operational for several years after that.

Putting the schedule into perspective, by the time Australia’s first nuclear submarine goes into the water, Aussies will have voted in at least seven federal elections. Scott Morrison will be 72 years old, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be 76 and President Joe Biden will be a venerable 98.

And by 2040, the first of the Collins-class submarines, HMAS Collins, will have been operating for 44 years. The Royal Australian Navy will be trying to stretch out the life of the Collins-class subs far beyond what was ever intended.

At least the Government has finally decided to end the nonsense of shifting Collins-class full-cycle dockings from South Australia to Western Australia. We’re going to have to preserve and nurture all the submarine expertise we have to keep the Collins boats ticking over. The risk of a major capability gap is significant.

The nuclear question

The PM says the new nuclear-powered vessels will be built in Adelaide. It is unclear whether this would involve manufacturing or just assembly of pre-manufactured modules supplied from the US or UK.

If it’s the latter, this would have a huge impact on the extent of technology transfer and the shipbuilding workforce in Adelaide. The Australian local manufacturing content for nuclear boats is certainly likely to be much lower.

If the project proceeds there will be operating nuclear reactors sitting on hard-stands at Osborne and moored in the Port River.

Acquiring, operating and maintaining a nuclear submarine fleet without a domestic nuclear power industry is a challenge that must not be underestimated. The nuclear safety and non-proliferation safeguards issues are unquestionably complex and likely to be controversial.

This decision will likely reignite debate over nuclear power options for Australia. It can’t be said there is much political consensus about that.

There are many significant issues that will need to be properly considered and I fear that they haven’t yet. The proposed initial US-UK-Australia joint study to be undertaken over the next 18 months will take place after Australia’s election. But that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be rigorous and wide-ranging scrutiny of the Government’s decision now.

I am going to press for the Senate to open an immediate inquiry to ensure that all the angles, including alternative conventionally-powered submarine procurement options, are fully explored and understood.

We need such an inquiry to inform Government, Opposition, the Parliament and, most importantly, the Australian people before the next election.

This is a huge decision taken in response to a Liberal Party own goal which has cost the taxpayer and national security dearly. We don’t want an even bigger repeat of a failure and this massive project should not proceed further without full transparency and scrutiny.

Rex Patrick, a former submariner, is an independent senator for South Australia.

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australia to lease nuclear submarines from USA, UK?

Dutton may consider leasing nuclear subs, Canberra Times, Colin Brinsden  19 Sept

  The federal government is prepared to lease nuclear submarines from the US while its own fleet is being built, Defence Minister Peter Dutton says.  Last week, Australia entered into a surprise regional security pact with the US and the UK, known as AUKUS, which includes building US nuclear submarines but these will not be ready until the late 2030s.

Asked on Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program whether the government would consider leasing nuclear submarines in the interim, Mr Dutton said: “The short answer is yes”.

“There is all of that discussion to take place in the next 12 to 18 months,” he said………

The technology used by Britain and the US means the reactor does not need to be refuelled for the life of the submarine – about 35 years.

“Therefore, we don’t need a domestic industry around nuclear,” Mr Dutton said.

“That is a game changer for the Labor party and we wanted to make sure that this was a bi-partisan effort.”

While Labor backs the government’s decision, one of its frontbenchers, Ed Husic, said it is typical of the coalition that as soon as events start to unravel, they try to shift responsibility to someone else.

September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Anger grows over Australia’s submarine deal 

Anger grows over Australia’s submarine deal

It’s not just the French who are angry about Australia’s submarine deal with the US and UK. Now, the outrage is closer to home.

When news broke that the US and UK will help Australia build nuclear-powered submarines by sharing their technology and knowledge, the French were furious. But they’re not the only ones.

As part of the new trilateral security agreement – known as AUKUS – the submarine deal will allow for the design and construction process to be sped up. It will help ensure the West maintains it’s edge in combat under water.

As part of the new trilateral security agreement – known as AUKUS – the submarine deal will allow for the design and construction process to be sped up. It will help ensure the West maintains it’s edge in combat under water.

Australia’s decision to tear up a deal for the French submarines in favour of US nuclear-powered vessels sparked outrage in France, with President Emmanuel Macron recalling the nation’s ambassadors to Canberra and Washington in an unprecedented move.

There’s also anger brewing from China, with Beijing describing the new alliance as an “extremely irresponsible” threat to regional stability. China has also quenstioned Australia’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, warning the Western allies that they risked “shooting themselves in the foot”.

Closer to home, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has warned Scott Morrison to keep the nuclear submarines away from her country’s waters, CNN reports. New Zealand has been a nuclear-free zone since the 1980s.

And right on our doorstep, many Australian residents and antinuclear groups are angry, concerned it may be Trojan Horse for a nuclear power industry. Because while Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines will not be nuclear-armed, the small reactors used to power them do produce weapons-grade uranium as waste.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Australia tweeted about the deal: “The nuclear-powered submarine deal raises serious concerns over nuclear proliferation as the UK and US’ models use highly enriched uranium.

“This is not prestige, this is provocation.”

The nuclear-powered submarine deal raises serious concerns over nuclear proliferation as the UK and US’ models use highly enriched uranium.
This is not prestige, this is— ICAN Australia (@ican_australia) September 17, 2021

“Important questions remain over construction of the submarines and the potential imposition of military nuclear reactors on Adelaide or other cities, making construction sites and host ports certain nuclear targets,” said Gem Romuld, Director of ICAN Australia.

“Military nuclear reactors in Australia would present a clear nuclear weapons proliferation risk and become potential sites for nuclear accidents and radiological contamination long into the future.”

Green Party leader Adam Bandt even likened the move to putting “floating Chernobyls in the heart of Australia’s cities”

Dr. Jim Green, National nuclear campaigner, Friends of the Earth Australia, said that nuclear powered submarines typically use highly-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel. This would undermine global efforts to phase out the use of HEU because of WMD proliferation and security concerns.

“The government wants to build nuclear submarines in suburban Adelaide. Does that put a target on our back? Is it prudent to build nuclear submarines in a city of 1.3 million people?

“What alternative locations have been considered, if any?”

Regarding waste products, Dr Green said: “The government has been silent about disposal of the high-level and intermediate-level nuclear waste generated by a nuclear submarine program.

“ … Waste from a nuclear submarine program would be dumped on Aboriginal land, as is the case with the federal government’s current plan to dump Australia’s nuclear waste at Kimba in SA despite the unanimous opposition of Barngarla Traditional Owners.


September 20, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, opposition to nuclear, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Greens pick anti-nuclear candidate to challenge Treasurer Josh Fraudenberg

Greens pick anti-nuclear candidate to take on Frydenberg,  The Age,  By Annika Smethurst, September 17, 2021 Melbourne lawyer and activist Piers Mitchem has spent years researching global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and now he wants Josh Frydenberg’s job.

Days after the Morrison government unveiled plans for a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, the Greens will announce on Saturday that Mr Mitchem is its candidate for Kooyong – the seat in Melbourne’s affluent, leafy eastern suburbs held by the federal Treasurer.

………. Speaking to The Age ahead of the Greens announcement, Mr Mitchem described the Morrison government’s decision to purchase a new fleet of nuclear submarines as “a deeply, deeply worrying announcement” that could have profound implications for nuclear proliferation globally.

“The risk is that other countries, who have much stronger incentives to build nuclear weapons than Australia does, would rely on this precedent as a pretext for developing their own nuclear capabilities,” he told The Age.

“These submarines are likely to run on highly enriched uranium [HEU] – the same grade of uranium used in nuclear weapons – which would shatter a decades-long practice of non-nuclear states refraining from using HEU for military activities.

“Many Australians would also rightly be concerned at the prospect of these nuclear reactors floating in the harbours of their capital cities at any given time.”

Mirroring the party’s election strategy in the neighbouring seat of Higgins, the Greens will try and convince the well-heeled voters of Kooyong, which includes the suburbs of Hawthorn, Kew, Balwyn, Canterbury and Camberwell, that the Morrison government is beholden to the National Party, particularly on climate policies.

The Greens campaign is expected to focus on the return of Barnaby Joyce as the minor party tries to convince more progressive Liberal Party supporters voters to reject the Coalition.

In a direct attack on Mr Frydenberg as Treasurer, the Greens will also campaign on JobKeeper payments paid to big businesses during the pandemic which Mr Mitchem described as “one of the most unforgivable policy failures in the history of this country”…….

Greens leader Adam Bandt accused Mr Frydenberg, who suffered a sizeable swing at the 2019 election, of failing to deliver on climate change promises made during the last election……

September 19, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s anti-nuclear movement ready for a big battle.

Anti-nuke campaigners prepare for a new battle,  Mark Ludlow and Julie Hare, AFR Sep 16, 2021 ,

Veterans of the protest movement of the 1970s and 1980s are appalled at the Morrison government’s decision to sign up for nuclear-powered submarines, saying it is a slippery slope towards a nuclear energy industry in Australia.

Former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, who first campaigned against nuclear warships visiting Tasmania in the 1970s, said the Australian public had been blindsided by the move.

Former Greens Leader Bob Brown says there will be a groundswell of opposition to nuclear submarines. Dominic Lorrimer.

“I think it’s very cowardly what the government’s done,” Dr Brown told The Australian Financial Review. “It’s made a decision without reference to the public, knowing the public would oppose it.

“In some ways, nuclear submarines are worse than nuclear power stations because the public gets no say. There has been no public consultation on this announcement.”

The government’s new defence deal with the United States and Britain was announced early on Thursday morning, with nuclear submarines expected to be made in Adelaide in the next 15 to 20 years.

Dr Brown, who was leader of the Australian Greens between 2005 and 2012, said supporters of a nuclear energy industry would use the submarine deal to once again push their cause, especially as Australia moves away from fossil fuels such as coal and gas.

‘There is a big stoush coming’

But he warned environmental and anti-nuclear campaigners would be re-energised by the decision, which would match any battles to fight uranium mining or radioactive waste dumps in the 1980s.

“Australia is not putting its toe in, but jumping into this. There is no dividing line. I think there will be enormous opposition to this. There is a big stoush coming,” he said.

“What are the people of Balmoral in Sydney going to think about nuclear

submarines parking at the bottom of their street? Or, indeed, everybody in Sydney.”

Dr Brown, who fasted for a week in 1976 on top of Mount Wellington in Hobart in protest against the arrival of the nuclear-powered warship USS Enterprise, called on capital cities to ban the new subs from docking.

The Nuclear Disarmament Party was at its most active in the 1980s, rallying against uranium mining and nuclear testing in the Pacific.

The party contested seven federal elections between 1984 and 2007, electing Jo Vallentine as a senator for Western Australia in 1984. (She later defected to the Greens).

It attracted star candidate and Midnight Oil lead singer Peter Garrett in 1984. He polled 9.6 per cent in NSW but was unsuccessful in winning a Senate seat…………

Queensland Conservation Council director Dave Copeman said the nuclear submarine announcement was “trading a bad idea for something worse” and could set a dangerous precedent.

“Australians don’t want nuclear power in Australia. It’s unsafe, expensive, uninsurable and creates radioactive waste that has 10,000-plus-year half-lives,” Mr Copeman said.

“While the Prime Minister said the announcement ‘does not signal a move towards domestic nuclear power’, seriously concerning questions remain, like how and where the radioactive nuclear waste from these submarines will be managed and stored.”

The QCC called on the Palaszczuk government to ban nuclear power and mining in Queensland.

The trilateral deal to build nuclear-powered submarines in Adelaide will increase Australia’s risk factor as a terrorist target, could prove to be a slippery slope towards the acquisition of nuclear weapons and will be viewed with hostility by other countries in the region, according to a leading expert on nuclear non-proliferation.

Tilman Ruff, who co-founded the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, said there is a global movement to reduce the amount highly enriched uranium in circulation which, if it falls into the wrong hands, could be repurposed for nuclear weapons.

Dr Ruff, from Melbourne University, said the submarines to be constructed in Australia were based on old technology that was developed in the US in the 1950s and which had been shared with the UK in 1958.

“This is very old technology. The US has undertaken a pretty significant global effort over several administrations to try and reduce the amount of highly enriched uranium in civilian applications around the world,” Dr Ruff said.

Currently, are 174 nuclear ships and submarines in service across the world, he said.

“It has significant implications for Australia. It will be viewed with great hostility and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a sharp rebuke from China and also raised the potential for a significant change in our relationship with New Zealand,” Dr Ruff said.

“But I fear might be a kind of slippery slope towards Australia potentially acquiring nuclear weapons itself.”

He said the best way Australia could clearly and unambiguously signal that it would not go down this path would be to become a signatory to the treaty on prohibition of nuclear weapons.

September 18, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarine deal – the start of Morrison’s election campaign

Wrong way, go back on nuclear subs 17 Sep 21,

The Greens have slammed the Morrison Government for upping its assault on lutruwita/Tasmania’s oceans and waterways.

As stated by Greens Senator for lutruwita/Tasmania, and Greens spokesperson for Healthy Oceans, Peter Whish-Wilson:

“Make no mistake today’s announcement is the unofficial start of Scott Morrison’s election campaign.

This is clearly sabre-rattling, preparing Australia for a khaki election and designed to be a distraction from the fact this Government is plagued with scandal and corruption.

“Short on detail but deeply concerning in its intent; building nuclear submarines in a new alliance with the US is a major provocation that ups the ante in a regional arms race and makes all Australians less safe. This in particularly risks the health of our oceans and coastal communities.

lutruwita/Tasmania’s oceans have been under constant attack from this Government.

“The last thing we want is dangerous nuclear reactors lurking off our coastlines.

“This is the contempt the Liberals hold for Tasmanian communities: they want to blast our oceans with seismic testing, expand oil and gas drilling in Bass Strait, pollute our waterways with fish farm expansion, and now they want to expose our oceans to floating nuclear reactors.

“The potential for accidents is significant, as has been shown recently with hundreds of safety issues reported in Scotland, and the European Union found that further research was needed on the impact of radiation on oceanic ecosystems resulting from nuclear submarines.

“A nuclear submarine accident off any coastline could spell disaster for the thousands of Tasmanians and Australians whose livelihoods depend on our fisheries and healthy oceans.

“The Greens are a party of peace and non-violence and have a long history of opposing nuclear submarines and nuclear energy projects. We simply won’t let this stand.”

September 18, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear good, batteries bad: Morrison’s subs deal is thin edge of wedge

The Coalition’s attitude to batteries has been hostile and ignorant. There’s no reason to believe its consideration of submarine propulsion technology has been any more adult. The post Nuclear good, batteries bad: Morrison’s subs deal is thin edge of wedge appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Nuclear good, batteries bad: Morrison’s subs deal is thin edge of wedge — RenewEconomy

r. Jim Green 17 September 2021  A 2019, a federal government-dominated parliamentary committee released a report on nuclear power titled ‘Not without your approval’. The report emphasised that nuclear power would not be pursued without community support.

But now, the government has secretly decided that Australia will acquire nuclear submarines, with or without your approval, and any consultation will be tokenistic. This is the DAD ‒ Decide, Announce, Defend ‒ approach which is the antithesis of good government.

We only need to go back to the 2016 decision to purchase French-designed submarines to see how poor decisions can be made even when tens of billions of taxpayers’ dollars are at stake.

Rex Patrick ‒ a South Australian Senator and former submariner ‒ said: “The main question about @ScottMorrisonMP’s nuclear sub announcement is simple. Why should we expect his ministers and defence bureaucrats to do any better with this deal than their previous procurement disasters? No grounds for confidence there.”

Despite the government’s secrecy and obstinacy, the plan for nuclear subs could easily collapse for any number of reasons including economics (eight nuclear subs will cost north of A$100 billion, and decommissioning and waste management could cost just as much), the availability of comparable or superior options, and public and political opposition.


Because the internal discussions and international negotiations have been secret, we have no way of knowing whether alternative options have been properly considered. These include the options of building fewer submarines (or none at all), and advanced lithium-ion battery technology.

The Coalition’s attitude towards batteries for energy storage has been hostile and ignorant, and there’s no reason to believe that consideration of advanced battery submarine propulsion has been any more adult.

A majority of Coalition MPs support repeal of federal laws banning nuclear power even though it is vastly more expensive than renewables ‒ and significantly more expensive than renewables plus backup stored power.

Put this all together in the mind of defence minister Peter Dutton and it’s a culture war: nuclear good, batteries bad, own the Libs.

Simplistic, ideological thinking appears to go beyond the Coalition culture warriors. I’m told by the author of a book on Australian submarines that “there’s a phenomenon I refer to as “nuclear zealotry” which seems to be alive and well in parts of the Australian submarine community”.

Nuclear power

All countries operating nuclear submarines ‒ the five ‘declared’ weapons states plus India ‒ have both nuclear power and weapons.

Then Defence Minister Christopher Pyne noted that in 2019 that Australia would be the only country in the world with nuclear submarines but no domestic nuclear industry to back them up. Hence the earlier preference for non-nuclear subs.

Building a domestic nuclear industry to support nuclear submarines would be astronomically expensive and problematic in other respects.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisted that the nuclear submarine proposal won’t translate into a push for nuclear power plants in Australia. But within hours of the AUKUS announcement, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) called for the repeal of laws banning nuclear power in Australia ‒ laws which might need to be amended to accommodate nuclear subs.

“Now that Australia is acquiring nuclear submarines which use small reactors, there is no reason why Australia should not be considering SMRs [small modular reactors] for civilian use,” the MCA said, adding that SMRs “will provide some of the cheapest zero emission 24/7 power available.”

Even by the standards of the pro-coal, pro-nuclear, anti-renewables MCA, that’s a grotesque lie. Power from SMRs would be far more expensive than that from conventional nuclear ‒ which is far more expensive than renewables.

Hence the paucity of investment in SMRs and the insistence of would-be developers that taxpayers should shoulder the risk.

The far-right culture warriors will argue that it is absurd to pursue submarine reactors but not land-based reactors for power generation. They will argue that it is absurd to pursue military reactors but not civil reactors.

Sane Coalition MPs understand that nuclear power is hopelessly uneconomic and a political non-starter. Their patience and resilience will be tested as the nuclear culture wars drag on and on.

Nuclear weapons

Does the government secretly want to bring Australia closer to a nuclear weapons capability via a nuclear submarine program? Does that partly explain why the Morrison government refuses to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and has actively undermined the Treaty at every step? (In the late 1960s, John Gorton’s government actively pursued a nuclear power program and Gorton later acknowledged a hidden weapons agenda. Gorton opposed Australia signing the UN’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.)

Nuclear submarines would certainly bring Australia closer to a nuclear weapons capability, whether or not that is part of the plan. At a minimum, staff trained for a nuclear submarine program could later find themselves working on a weapons program.

The northern suburbs of Adelaide would become Australia’s second hub of nuclear expertise along with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s research reactor site south of Sydney. (ANSTO’s predecessor, the Australian Atomic Energy Commission, was heavily involved in the push for nuclear weapons in the 1960s.)

Will the Morrison government insist on some degree of technology transfer as part of the submarine negotiations, such that Australia develops some degree of nuclear reactor manufacturing capability? That will be a test of the government’s true intentions, but of course the negotiations will be conducted in secret and the rest of us can only speculate.

Will Australia’s pursuit of nuclear subs encourage other countries to do the same? Will Indonesia take steps to move closer to a nuclear weapons capability as Australia deliberately or inadvertently does the same? If so, Indonesia will likely seek to acquire nuclear subs or nuclear power or both.

Uranium enrichment

Most nuclear subs use highly-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel. The use of HEU fuel in nuclear subs is a huge problem, accounting for a majority of the non-weapons use of HEU.

So, will Australia insist on the use of low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel ‒ which is still problematic since it presumes the existence and operation of enrichment plants, but is preferable since LEU cannot be used directly in weapons? If so, what are the implications for submarine performance, reactor lifespan and refuelling requirements, etc.? Or will we contribute to the proliferation of HEU?

There will be another push for uranium enrichment in Australia. In the mid-2000s, then Prime Minister John Howard likened uranium enrichment to value-adding to the wool industry ‒ an absurd comparison since enrichment provides a direct pathway to fissile material for weapons, in the form of HEU.

Australia’s involvement in enrichment R&D began in 1965 with the ‘Whistle Project‘ in the basement of Building 21 at Lucas Heights. Those in the know were supposed to whistle as they walked past Building 21 and say nothing about the enrichment work.

The government claims that the pursuit of nuclear-powered subs won’t undermine the UN’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But a decade ago, Australia colluded with the US to take a sledgehammer to the NPT by allowing nuclear trade with (and uranium sales to) India, a violation of the NPT principle of prohibiting nuclear trade with non-NPT states.

And even if the NPT is not further weakened by the pursuit of nuclear-powered subs, immense damage can be and often is done within the framework of the NPT. The proliferation of HEU is a case in point.

Nuclear waste

The government has been silent about disposal of the high-level and intermediate-level nuclear waste generated by a nuclear submarine program.

No country in the world has a repository for high-level nuclear waste. The only deep underground nuclear waste repository in the world ‒ the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in the US, for disposal of long-lived intermediate-level nuclear waste ‒ was shut down from 2014 to 2017 following a chemical explosion in a waste barrel, with costs estimated at $2 billion.

Waste from a nuclear submarine program would be dumped on Aboriginal land, as is the case with the federal government’s current plan to dump Australia’s nuclear waste at Kimba in SA despite the unanimous opposition of Barngarla Traditional Owners.

It speaks volumes about the crude racism of the federal and SA Coalition governments that they are prepared to ignore unanimous Aboriginal opposition to a nuclear dump.

The federal government even fought to exclude Traditional Owners from a so-called ‘community survey’. SA Labor’s policy is that Traditional Owners should have a right of veto over any proposed nuclear facility including a nuclear waste dump.

The high-level and long-lived intermediate-level nuclear waste generated by nuclear submarines would cost many billions of dollars to dispose of, based on cost estimates overseas.

For example, the cost estimate for a high-level nuclear waste repository in France is A$40 billion. The US government estimates that to build a high-level nuclear waste repository and operate it for 150 years would cost A$130 billion.

The South Australian Nuclear Fuel Royal Commission estimated a cost of A$145 billion over 120 years for construction, operation and decommissioning of a high-level nuclear waste repository.

It is highly unlikely that the government has considered these massive long-term costs in its secret deliberations. Submarine decommissioning is also likely to be an expensive and potentially dangerous nightmare for future generations to grapple with.

September 18, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Minerals Council quick to see nuclear submarines as step to nuclear Australia

The nuclear option: will submarines be a Trojan Horse for reactors?  Crikey,  KISHOR NAPIER-RAMAN SEP 17, 2021
The PM has said the deal doesn’t mean nuclear reactors for Australia, but many Coalition MPs want the moratorium on nuclear power to end.

Scott Morrison tried to be very clear yesterday: Australia’s nuclear submarines would not be a Trojan Horse for a military or civilian nuclear program. That didn’t stop his announcement making people excited.

Within hours, the Minerals Council of Australia’s CEO Tania Constable called the move “an incredible opportunity for Australia’s economy”. “Now that Australia is acquiring nuclear submarines which use small reactors, there is no reason why Australia should not be considering small modular reactors for civilian use,” she said……. (subscribers only)

September 18, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear-powered submarines a ‘terrible decision’ which will make Australia ‘less safe – Australian Greens

Nuclear-powered submarines a ‘terrible decision’ which will make Australia ‘less safe’

Greens leader Adam Bandt has raised concerns over Australia’s acquisition of technology for nuclear-powered submarines from the US and UK, calling it a “terrible decision” which will make “our country less safe”.

While there have been no serious incidences with the UK and US nuclear-powered submarines in their history, Mr Bandt pointed out New Zealand will not allow the nuclear vessels in their waters.

“Australia will be writing a blank cheque, we will be spending untold billions on a fleet of floating Chernobyls,” Mr Bandt told Sky News Australia.

Mr Bandt said Australia was buying “a nuclear reactor in a box” and noted if the US decides to change the technology or withhold support, “we are at their mercy”.

“It’s really concerning the Prime Minister is calling this ‘a forever partnership’, because it means if another Donald Trump comes back in the United States, we are now … a small arm of their nuclear capacity.”

September 18, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

”No need to relax the ban on nuclear energy ”- Scott Morrison

There’s no need to do that’: Prime Minister rejects calls for nuclear power in Australia,  Prime Minister Scott Morrison has quashed the hopes of Australian nuclear energy advocates, despite agreeing to a new nuclear-powered submarine deal with the Unites States.Sky News 17 Sep 21

Australia contains a third of the world’s uranium, but the Prime Minister told Ben Fordham “there’s no reason for Australia to need to” relax the ban on nuclear energy.

The reactors powering the new submarines will be built overseas and imported.

“This doesn’t require the development of Australia’s civil nuclear capability.

“Australia has capability here – we don’t come to this new –  but in terms of going ahead with a civil nuclear capability, that is not something that is linked to this decision.”

September 18, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment