Australian news, and some related international items

ANSTO gets a blank cheque for its nuclear waste production at Lucas Heights?

Greg Phillips,  No nuclear waste dump anywhere in South Australia , 13 Jan 2021, Congratulations Canada! “Cyclotron-produced technetium-99m approved by Health Canada”. Why rely on a global network of aging, unreliable, toxic spewing nuclear reactors when you can have a local network of clean, reliable cyclotrons? Especially when pandemics hobble global freight networks. From the article: “The process is safe and precise, employing stable targets and producing little to no long-lived radioactive waste. And, with the right target and extraction systems, these cyclotrons can be used to reliably create technetium-99m regionally and without the need for reactor-based materials.”
… I should explain further for those who might be unaware… ANSTO has plenty of room its reactor waste (for many decades). It is their plans to try and supply Technetium to the world that will produce large amounts of extra nuclear waste.
Unlike cyclotrons, ANSTO’s method produces lots of waste – it involves irradiating enriched Uranium plates and then dissolving them in a strong caustic solution. Imagine the complexities (and potential risks) of handling radioactive+caustic waste liquids. Australian tax payers are subsidising the production of isotopes for other countries, and also having to fully fund the waste disposal. It is madness that can only happen when government hands blank cheques to an organisation…

January 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, politics, secrets and lies, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Government’s Kimba nuclear waste dump slush fund – benefit goes straight to Kimba’s mayor

Community grants from the National Radioactive Waste slush fund..

Of particular interest in Kimba is the 2nd largest amount allocated = $141,667 – apparently for the Mayor to get a commercial bakery in his supermarket.

Whilst in the Flinders it appears that no $ allocations were given to any individual/family owned commercial premises.

Kazzi Jai  Fight to stop a nuclear waste dump in South Australia , 8 Jan 20 What the hell is going on when the Mayor of Kimba is a DIRECT RECIPIENT of the Community Benefit Program!
This is a BLATANT MISUSE OF POSITION AND GOVERNMENT RESOURCES!! For those who don’t know….Mayor Dean Johnson is owner of Kimba IGA which is to have a new bakery courtesy of the latest round of Community Benefit Program funding!
Pretty sure “community benefit” means “community” and not “individual advantage and advancement”!!

(From: National Radioactive Waste Management Facility New Community Benefit Program 2019-2022  )

January 9, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corpse rises in ABC Insiders !

What’s happening with ABC ‘Insiders’?  Independent Australia, By Alan Austin  2 January 2021  The capture of ABC Insiders by Murdoch’s minions was a topic of debate all year, with this April Alan Austin piece attracting in excess of 35,000 unique views.

…………Has the ABC’s Insiders program become a vehicle for the promotion of News Corp? Alan Austin has been watching with interest and alarm.

AN INTRIGUING development in Australia’s media landscape this year is that it appears ABC’s Insiders, a substantial television program paid for by taxpayers, has become a vehicle for the rehabilitation and promotion of Rupert Murdoch’s tawdry media empire.

The first 12 Insiders episodes since Speers’ arrival as host, have featured 36 guest appearances. Of these, 12 have been current News Corp employees and another four, recent departees. So 44 per cent of all guests from one stable.

There is no need for the ABC to reference anything from News Corp — certainly not as the key source of information. Australia has more than 30 important media organisations. It is itself a well-resourced generator of news and news analysis. Murdoch’s minions are entirely dispensable.

News Corp a legitimate news organisation?

News Corp is not a reliable source of information. It has long since abandoned any commitment to media codes of ethics. The Australian Press Council routinely finds News Corp outlets violate media codes of ethics. Fact-checkers in the UK and the USA have found the same.

Murdoch’s Fox News in the USA is the go-to outlet for President Donald Trump whenever he wishes to share his fabrications and falsehoods. According to the Washington Post, the U.S. President told 16,241 clearly identified lies in his first three years in office. Many of these were Fox exclusives.

In Australia, several senior Murdoch employees have been found guilty of serious falsehoods — and were then rewarded by their employer.

In the celebrated racial discrimination case Eatock v Bolt, Murdoch’s Andrew Bolt was found to have concocted at least 19 damaging false assertions against the Indigenous people he was attacking.

In the wrongful dismissal case of former editor Bruce Guthrie, the judge found two senior News Corp executives had been untruthful in their testimony before the court.

In Britain, Murdoch’s publications have lied, cheated, bribed police and engaged in an extensive range of criminal misconduct. A British Parliamentary Inquiry in 2012 found that Rupert Murdoch was ‘not a fit person’ to run a company in Britain.

As a result of police investigations into Britain’s phone-hacking scandal, a large number of News Corp personnel were arrested and convicted of criminal offences.

Political bias and the ABC

News Corp outlets spruik the commercial interests of the owners, which almost inevitably means supporting right-wing political parties. Normally this is not a great problem. Political biases are fine, provided they are balanced by other political biases. The issue with News Corp is much more insidious than just bias, as shown above.

Ruthless and remorseless

Among Australia’s most profound wrongdoings in recent times have been The Australian’s malicious condemnations of men and women who have served the nation well.

Professor Robert Manne of La Trobe University wrote this of the recent campaign against the Australian Human Rights Commission and its former president:

The attack launched by The Australian on Gillian Triggs and the Human Rights Commission has been obsessive, petty, relentless, remorseless and ruthless. In ‘Bad News‘ I documented similar campaigns – against Larissa Behrendt and Julie Posetti. But neither reached either the level of malevolence or the cultural significance of the current anti-Triggs campaign … What is happening to Gillian Triggs – a fine lawyer, a fine Australian, a fine human being – must be resisted with all the moral and rhetorical muscle liberal Australians can muster.

Other prominent people The Australian has sought to tear down with its frenzied campaigns of hate, include Carmen LawrenceJoan KirnerWendy BaconNatasha Stott Despoja, Margaret SimonsChristine NixonRoz Ward, Clover Moore, Margo KingstonAnna Bligh, Kristina KeneallyJulian DisneyEmma HusarYassmin Abdel-MagiedJulia Gillard and Jacinda Ardern. ………,14657

January 4, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

“Ecomodernists” – Ben Heard, Oscar Archer, Barry Brook, Geoff Russell, – Australia’s pro-nuclear fake environmentalists

even in Heard’s scenario, only a tiny fraction of the imported spent fuel would be converted to fuel for imaginary Generation IV reactors (in one of his configurations, 60,000 tonnes would be imported but only 4,000 tonnes converted to fuel). Most of it would be stored indefinitely, or dumped on the land of unwilling Aboriginal communities.
Russell’s description of Aboriginal spiritual beliefs as “mumbo-jumbo” is beyond offensive.
Silence from the ecomodernists about the National Radioactive Waste Management Act (NRWMA), which dispossesses and disempowers Traditional Owners in every way imaginable:
Now, Traditional Owners have to fight industry, government, and the ecomodernists as well.


December 29, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australia’s lying Minister for Resources gets an “F” in assessment of govt ministers

Peter Remta 26 Dec 20, How long can Keith Pitt remain with ministerial responsibility for such nationally important portfolios as water and mining and effectively the nuclear industry

He continues to make statements that are in many instances plainly wrong and show his ignorance and in some cases his complete disingenuity without attracting any parliamentary sanctions or chastising

His comments seem to be aimed purely at gaining public credibility and attempting to sway the senators opposing his ill advised proposals

He cannot rely on his advisers and ministerial staff for his comments as the ultimate authority and control lies solely with him as the responsible minister

No wonder The West Australian newspaper and its allied media sources gave Pitt an F for his ministerial efforts with the highest grading of course being A +

December 26, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Silent Steven Marshall – cowardly silence from South Australia’s Premier on nuclear waste dump plan

December 24, 2020 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Senator Rex Patrick calls on South Australian govt to come clean about nuclear waste dumping

Patrick has Kimba nuclear question,, Luca Cetta,  17 Dec 20, The state government has remained silent on its stance relating to the planned Kimba nuclear waste site and South Australian Independent Senator Rex Patrick has called on the government to make known its position on the proposal.

The federal government has talked with the Kimba community about creating the site near the town with a majority of residents favouring the facility.

Senator Patrick said he had lodged a freedom-of-information (FOI) request seeking access to correspondence from the time of the last state election in 2018 to today and was “surprised” there had been only a few pieces of correspondence between Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan and the federal government.

“I was very interested as there was a lot taking place between the federal government and the community in Kimba, and I was interested in what the state government has been doing through the process,” he said.

“The Liberal Party had a position before going into government and I wanted to see what they had to say. I found there has been almost no traffic.

“The state has a role to play … and I was surprised there was only one letter to the Premier and a letter from former federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan and response. That is all we have seen. That is the only part the state government has had to play.”

While acknowledging it was a federal facility and issue, Senator Patrick said the state government should be involved by way of communication with federal leaders and community engagement.

“While I respect it is a national facility, there is no question the state government has skin in the game and I question why there is silence publicly,” he said.

“They should come out and support or oppose it so their position is known.

“They do need to be engaging the community as well to make sure all state-related issues that will flow from the facility are addressed.”

He said parts of the correspondence included redactions relating to the proposed site.

In a letter from Mr van Holst Pellekaan to Senator Patrick, which has been obtained by the Whyalla News, Mr van Holst Pellekaan said “the FOI Act provides that an agency may refuse access to a document if it is an exempt document” and that there was cause to provide “partial access” to three documents.

The letter outlines why parts should be redacted, including that a document can be exempt if “it contains information from an intergovernmental communication to the Government of South Australia”, while he also pointed to how the Act notes a document could be exempt if it “would, or could reasonably be expected to, cause damage to relations between the Commonwealth and a State”.

Senator Patrick said Mr van Holst Pellekaan made a “fundamental error” in thinking the correspondence was exempt under federal law as he was “not entitled to make that decision”.

He said he would take the matter to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) to “uncover what is underneath this”.

“There should be transparency about what has been communicated between the government of South Australia and the federal government,” he said.

“The Minister has made a decision. He relies on the fact he thinks it would be exempt under federal law and he is not entitled to make that decision. You can’t say ‘I think it is exempt’, you have to say ‘I think it is exempt because it would harm release in a particular way…’.”

Mr Patrick said the state FOI Act granted people and parliamentarians a positive right to documents and was only subject to restrictions consistent with the public interest and preservation of personal privacy.

He said the Act burdened the agency with establishing their case if they wanted to restrict access.

Both Commonwealth and state constitutions establish a democracy underpinned by a responsible system of government. Democracy and responsible government both require participation by people and, just because this is communication between the state and federal government, it doesn’t mean it automatically gets to be confidential. The Minister does not meet his burden by simply stating that the communications are confidential,” he said.

“This is now a fight between myself and Mr van Holst Pellekaan. This is Senator against Minister in SACAT. The Minister needs to be transparent with me, but more important with the people of SA.

“Governments work for the people, everything they do is paid for by the people. The people have a right to know what it is they are up to and how they are going about what they are up to.”

Mr van Holst Pellekaan did not respond to questions for this article.

December 21, 2020 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s Industry Department is bluffing in employing staff for non existent nuclear waste project

December 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan resorts to threas when asked to be transparent

In response to a request for transparency, Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan has outrageously instructed the Crown Solicitor to threaten me with costs.
Everything the SA Government does it does for public purpose and using SA taxpayer’s money. As such, South Australians are entitled to see all that the State Government does, admittedly with some exceptions.
I asked Minister van Holst Pellekaan’s office to provide me with correspondance between the State and Federal Government on the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Kimba, using SA Freedom of information laws. At first he failed to respond to the request in the timeframe required by the law, then he made a decision that hid (presumably embarrassing) information from me.
I have asked SACAT, the State’s independent umpire, to review the Minister’s decision. Minister van Holst Pellekaan has now threatened me with “costs” if I proceed. That prompts two questions: 1) what’s he trying to hide and 2) if he’s prepared to threaten a senator seeking transparency, how would he treat a regular South Australian that reasonably requested information from him? –

December 19, 2020 Posted by | politics, secrets and lies, South Australia | Leave a comment

The Usual Suspects: oil and gas majors star in Australian tax heist

The Usual Suspects: oil and gas majors star in Australian tax heist,  Michael West 16 Dec 20, 

Angus Taylor’s rescue package for the oil industry is a testament to governments getting gamed by large corporations. The latest Tax Office transparency data shows oil and gas juggernauts are Australia’s biggest tax cheats, again, yet now they are crying for public subsidies – and getting them – to prop up their oil refineries. Michael West reports on the good and the bad in multinational tax dodging land.

December 17, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

2020 in Australia – a successful year for resistance to nuclear pollution

DAVE SWEENEY | Nuclear Free Campaigner, Australian Conservation Foundation |   15 Dec 20,

A year ago today the then federal resources/radioactive waste Minister Matt Canavan read the room in the Flinders Ranges and stated: “I will no longer consider this site an option for the facility”.

Viva!! This decision was a great tribute to Adnyamathanha, the FLAG crew and wider community resistance.

In the year since

  • Canberra has turned to Kimba where they are facing a stiff fight and have failed in an attempt to rewrite the laws to remove people’s right to legally challenge the waste plan
  • SA Labor, Unions SA and many more civil society groups and state and national voices have come on board against the waste plan
  • The Australian Human Rights Commission acknowledged the three sisters – Vivianne and Regina McKenzie and Heather Stuart as Human Rights Heroes for their radwaste efforts
  • ARPANSA – the federal nuclear regulator – has confirmed that Australia’s worst waste can securely remain at Lucas Heights ‘for decades”
  • Matt Canavan is gone and we have a new Minister – the sixth in as many years – if radioactive waste had the same longevity as federal ministers it wouldn’t be an issue.
  • Collectively we are stalling the deeply flawed federal plan and shifting the story from the search for a postcode to the need for a credible process

Congratulations to all those who successfully defended the Flinders – and strength to those now actively contesting the dodgy Kimba plan.


December 15, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, opposition to nuclear, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Liberal and National Parties got their arithmetic wrong on nuclear waste dump opinion polls

LIBS NATS FAILED MATHS,  Kim Mavromatis, 8 Dec 20, Where did these people go to school? – I expect they failed maths because they can’t do % sums.
452 in favour of the dump from 824 eligible Kimba voters = 54.85% of the Kimba community.
Not 62%.
And Barngarla Native Title Holders, who were deliberately left out of the Kimba ballot,
had their own vote : 0 in favour of the dump from 209 eligible voters.
Combined Kimba and Barngarla votes = 43.75% in favour of the dump from eligible voters,  Does Not equate to Broad Community Support.
No mention by Pyne that the Govt want to dump radioactive Spent Nuclear Fuel, and  reprocessed SNF on SA farmland that is 10,000 x more radioactive than uranium ore.
No mention by Pyne that the Dump legislation removes Judicial Review – no rights of appeal  or independent scrutiny.
No mention by Pyne that all SA surveys consistently overwhelmingly Do Not support the dump on SA farmland near Kimba.
And Christopher, my mum died of an inoperable brain tumour 2 years ago – using nuclear  medicine as an excuse to dump radioactive nuclear waste on SA farmland is BS.
Why on earth would you knowingly dump radioactive nuclear waste on SA Farmland????

December 8, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Senate Debate on Nuclear waste dump Bill postponed till at least February 2nd 2021

Kazzi Jai, NoNuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 7 Sec 20
Right at this moment, the Bill is not scheduled for this coming week’s Senate sitting (November 07th – 10th 2020)
This is the last Senate sitting for the year.
Next sitting is February 2nd – 4th 2021

December 7, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds announces hypersonic missiles for Australia

Australia to begin testing hypersonic missiles within months, The Age, By Anthony Galloway, December 1, 2020 Australia will begin testing hypersonic missiles that can travel at least five times the speed of sound within months under a new agreement with the United States to develop prototypes of the next-generation weapons…….

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds will announce the multi-billion-dollar plan on Tuesday, saying the Australian government is committed to “keeping Australians safe, while protecting the nation’s interests in a rapidly changing global environment”. …
The government hopes to begin testing prototypes of the air-launched, long-range missiles within months, with the Australian Defence Force wanting them as part of its arsenal in the next five to 10 years.
The new deal with the United States – known as the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE) – is the culmination of 15 years of research between the two nations on hypersonic scramjets, rocket motors, sensors and advanced manufacturing materials.

The Australian government will now begin talking with Australian industry about rolling out a range of technologies to bring the hypersonic missiles from the testing phase to the production line for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Defence will not reveal the estimated cost of developing the new hypersonic missiles but it is expected to run into billions of dollars. A total of $9.3 billion was earmarked in this year’s Force Structure Plan for high-speed long-range missile defences.

The ADF also wants to develop hypersonic missiles that can be launched from the sea and land……

Under the plan, the hypersonic missiles would be carried by the RAAF’s existing arsenal of aircraft including the Growlers, Super Hornets, Joint Strike Fighters and Poseidon surveillance planes. The missiles could also be attached to unmanned aircraft such as the new Loyal Wingman drones.

Senator Reynolds discussed the agreement with her US counterpart Mark Esper at the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations in Washington in July this year, but the deal was signed last week.

The Australian Defence Minister said the experiments with the US would include demonstrations to show how the weapon performs in operational conditions, which would then inform future purchases.

“Developing this game-changing capability with the United States from an early stage is providing opportunities for Australian industry,” she said…..

Michael Kratsios, the Acting Under Secretary for Research and Engineering for the US’s Department of Defence, said the agreement was “essential to the future of hypersonic research and development, ensuring the US and our allies lead the world in the advancement of this transformational war-fighting capability”. …..

December 1, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

No uranium or thorium mining for Victoria

Victoria blocks prospect for uranium mining, Australian Mining,    Salomae Haselgrove  

November 30, 2020   Victoria’s Legislative Council Environment and Planning committee has flagged that it is unlikely that the state will change its stance on uranium mining……..

According to the report, the current Australian market for uranium or thorium products is receiving enough supply via international imports and the Lucas Heights open-pool Australian lightwater (OPAL) reactor in Sydney.

“In this report, the committee makes no recommendations and does not take a strong position on nuclear power as an alternative energy source in Australia and particularly in Victoria,” the committee stated…..

The committee is not convinced that uranium and thorium exploration activities are economically or technologically viable in Victoria.

This was backed up by comments from the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) infectious diseases physician Tilman Ruff, who said export earnings did not even cover employment costs for miners.

“The industry has for over a decade never cracked close to $1 billion a year in export income,” Ruff said.

“They are a relatively small cohort. It employs, on the most recent estimates I have seen, a maximum of about 700 people.”

From the three operational uranium mines in Australia – Olympic Dam and Four Mile in South Australia and Ranger in the Northern Territory, which is closing in January – all uranium products are exported.

At present, the assessment and approval process for ministerial permission to develop a uranium mine takes at least three years.

With Victoria’s solid uranium mining ban, the Minerals Council of Australia stated that “Victoria effectively sends a message there is no point in investors considering Victoria in relation to uranium”….

December 1, 2020 Posted by | politics, uranium, Victoria | Leave a comment