Australian news, and some related international items

Premier Jay Weatherill says that South Australia’s election will be a referendum on renewables

Weatherill: Why state election will be referendum on renewables, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 22 February 2018 


February 22, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Labor’s doublespeak about Adani coal mine plan

Greens use Labor’s Adani indecision to ramp up Batman campaign
Activists seize upon Labor’s contradictory messages on Queensland coalmine in battle for inner-city Melbourne,
Guardian, Katharine Murphy Political editor @murpharoo 21 Feb 2018 


February 22, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Townsville City Council censors documentary about Adani coal megamine plan

Anti-Adani documentary screening axed for safety reasons, not politics, council says, ABC News, 21 Feb 18 By Josh Robertson   Public safety concerns, not politics, were behind the axing of the screening of a documentary on the Stop Adani protest movement, a north Queensland council says.

February 22, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Mark Parnell outlines The Greens environment policy for the coming South Australian election

At the South Australian State Election Leaders’ Forum on the environment “South Australia: Our Future”, I outlined the Greens vision for an environment that is clean, healthy and resilient.

Protecting South Australia’s environment means:

• 100% renewable energy by 2025
• A healthy River Murray
• Valuing our wildlife and biodiversity
• Protecting the Great Australian Bight
• Opposing destructive and polluting industries
• Marine sanctuaries
• Investing in our National Parks and Reserves
• No nuclear waste dump 
• Enhancing urban open spaces and landscapes

February 21, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Eleven members of the Turnbull Government openly support nuclear power for Australia

In March 2017, eleven members of the Turnbull Government were listed as openly supporting the prospect of nuclear power in Australia. Listed politicians were: Andrew BroadJames PatersonTony PasinTim WilsonChris BackCraig KellyEric AbetzAndrew HastieWarren EntschBridget McKenzie and Rowan Ramsey.[34]

  Put nuclear in the energy mix, Coalition MPs tell Malcolm Turnbull. Massola. James. 15 March 2017. The Sydney Morning Herald. 3 September 2017. Gartrell. Adam. en-US.

February 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

From tears to cheers: three years since South Australia’s nuclear Royal Commission was announced.

8 Feb 18 Three years ago today SA Premier Jay Weatherill announced a Royal Commission into the nuclear industry and a major community campaign against plans for an international high level radioactive waste dump began.

The No Dump Alliance (NDA) has today released a book about this campaign. To view the book, click here. ‘Standing Strong’ covers the key issues championed by Aboriginal and civil society groups opposed to the plan including the lack of Traditional Owner consent, dubious economics, the risks to people and the environment and the impact on future generations.

The book shows how South Australians hit the streets, organised community meetings, got involved online, signed postcards, attended information sessions, door-knocked MP’s and breathed a sigh of relief in June 2017 when the Premier conceded that the plan was “dead” and that his government would not pursue the plan.

“This book documents how our community said no to the threat of radioactive waste,” said Yankunytjatjara woman and NDA spokesperson Karina Lester.  We know nuclear is not the answer for our lands and people, we have always said no. It is important that all politicians get the clear message that nuclear waste and nuclear risk is not wanted in SA.”

Today’s launch and anniversary comes amid escalating efforts to oppose Canberra’s plan to store and dump federal radioactive waste in regional SA.

The NDA has joined with communities in both the Flinders Ranges and Eyre Peninsula in welcoming recent comments from Premier Weatherill against future nuclear waste plans. The Premier has said that the government will consider legal action against the federal government to stop the attempt to impose a national nuclear waste dump in SA. The NDA also welcomes the successful move by NXT Senator Rex Patrick, with Labor and Greens support, to establish a Senate Inquiry into the planned national nuclear waste dump.

“Over the past three years a risky plan to import global radioactive waste was clearly defeated”, said nuclear campaigner and NDA spokesperson Dave Sweeney. “This was an important and comprehensive community victory.”

“Today the challenge is to convince Canberra to start treating radioactive waste responsibly and the SA community respectfully because SA is simply too good to waste.”

‘Standing Strong’ is dedicated to the life and work of Yami Lester – Yankunytjatjara Elder and Land Rights activist who sadly passed away in July 2017.

The No Dump Alliance will continue its work on nuclear issues in South Australia.

February 10, 2018 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Most Australians do not want the government to limit charities’ ability to advocate

Only One in Five Australians Favour Proposed Limits on Charitable Advocacy   Only one in five Australians support the Turnbull government’s proposed measures to restrict charitable advocacy, including just 36 per cent of Coalition supporters, according to a new poll. , 7th February 2018, Luke Michael

The Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform Bill 2017 aims to block donations by foreign entities attempting to influence Australian politics.

But the charity sector has strongly pushed to re-draft the bill, fearing it will curtail its ability to advocate on social issues.

In response, the Fred Hollows Foundation commissioned polling for the Hands Off Our Charities alliance to gauge the public’s opinion on the legislation and on charity advocacy.

YouGov Galaxy polled a nationally representative sample of 1,008 Australian residents between 29 January and 1 February 2018.

The poll found that less than one in five Australians believed charities took one-sided, political positions with their advocacy.

Despite it being a coalition policy, more than half (53 per cent) of coalition supporters said they believed Australian charities played a vital role in highlighting social issues to government.

Coalition supporters were also broadly against the proposed move to limit charitable advocacy, with only 36 per cent of supporters in favour of the legislation, along with just 14 per cent of Labor supporters and 12 per cent of Greens supporters.

Overall, only 20 per cent of respondents supported the proposed measures.

Fred Hollows Foundation director of public affairs Nick Martin, told Pro Bono News that these results highlighted the public’s support for charitable advocacy.

“What it showed is that people do see charities speaking out on key matters of public policy as very important for a vibrant democracy and for seeing issues that otherwise might not be considered by government or our political leaders,” Martin said.

“What’s also clear from the results is that people have a lot of trust and faith in charities’ work. The findings showed the Australian public does not agree that charities are one sided and rather they think charities are non-partisan and conduct their work fairly to all governments and all political actors.

“So any inference that charities might be partisan in one way or another was rejected in the research.”

Martin said the government should be taking “a good, hard look at the laws as they are [currently] drafted”.

“Whatever the intention of the drafters, the bills they’ve put before parliament go much further and would seriously restrict the ability of charities to legitimately do their work,” he said.

“Our view is that the laws the bill presents should be scrapped and they should be completely redrafted to meet the stated objectives the government put forward. The impact of the bill would be absolutely devastating for every charity in Australia.

“What we hope is that the government pays attention to the number of charities and other stakeholders who have raised their concerns about this. [Some] really important constituents in Australia are voicing their opposition right now through this survey and other means.”

Marc Purcell, the CEO of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) said the bill would “fundamentally alter how Australians participate in our democracy”.

“There is widespread opposition to this bill from every corner of Australian society. Australians support charities having a strong voice and believe they play a vital role in our democracy,” Purcell said.

“It’s clear that Australians think we would be a poorer place if we started down the dangerous path of silencing communities.

“This bill will bring in new harsh civil and criminal penalties, an increased red-tape burden, restrictions on funding sources and places a burden on everyday Australians making a charitable donation. We fear charities will stop advocating and contributing to public debate.”

These findings come as a recent Pro Bono Australia survey of the charity sector found more than two thirds (63 per cent) of respondents were unclear on how the bill would affect their charity.

A total of 79 per cent said they were concerned by the new obligations, while 96 per cent said their charity or not for profit had not been consulted by the government on the draft bill.

A parliamentary inquiry into the bill is currently underway with a report due by 2 March 2018.

February 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

The Adani Carmichael coalmine will not receive federal funding from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility for a vital rail line

Adani coalmine won’t get federal rail funding, Liberal minister says Concessional $900m loan cannot proceed without Queensland government approval, Karen Andrews says, Guardian,  Paul Karp  , 4 Feb 18, 

The Adani Carmichael coalmine will not receive federal funding from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility for a vital rail line, a Turnbull government minister has said.

The announcement by Karen Andrews on Sunday is a major blow to Adani, which has sought a $900m concessional loan for rail to link the Carmichael mine to port – and could spell the end of the project entirely if it can’t secure private finance.

The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, stepped up the opposition’s rhetoric on the Adani mine last week, first refusing to rule out stopping the project on Tuesday and then on Friday threatening the mine’s licence in a bid to boost the party’s environmental credentials for the Batman byelection.  Before its re-election last year, the Queensland Labor government promised to veto Adani’s application for a loan from the Naif.

Federal Labor, which has already ruled out providing a public subsidy or loan to the Adani mine, is now looking at further measures to block it……

February 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Labor Party branches want a new and more effective environment act and independent watchdog

Labor branches push for new environment act and independent watchdog. ALP’s internal advocacy group wants sweeping reforms to protect natural heritage to be adopted as policy at next conference, Guardian,  Adam Morton, 31 Jan 18

Bill Shorten is facing rising internal pressure to make the environment central to Labor’s election pitch after 250 ALP branches passed a motion calling for strong new national laws and an independent agency akin to a “Reserve Bank for environmental management”.

Branches from every state and territory have backed a campaign by the Labor environment action network (Lean), an internal advocacy group, for sweeping reforms to protect natural heritage to be adopted as policy at this year’s ALP conference.

It would be backed by a “science-fuelled and politically empowered” agency with the authority of the Reserve Bank and watchdog powers to police the law.

Felicity Wade, Lean’s national convener, said protecting the environment was a legacy issue for Labor. This dates back to Gough Whitlam’s introduction of Australia’s first federal environment laws and Bob Hawke’s protection of iconic sites and early work factoring sustainability into government decisions.

 “It’s time for Bill Shorten to recognise the environment has been central to modern Labor’s success and to work with us to make this happen,” she said.

She said the need to act was clear. “Australia’s identity is incredibly tied to this amazing landscape, yet things are crashing at an alarming rate,” she said. “We are one of the top 10 land-clearers in the world and we have one of the highest extinction rates in the world, yet we are one of the richest countries in the world.”

The Lean campaign was devised at a meeting of members in Canberra in August. It has precedent: in 2015, the group won the backing of 370 branches for a successful motion calling on the party to adopt a 50% renewable energy goaland an emissions reduction target for 2030 based on the advice of the federal Climate Change Authority.

………She said the need to act was clear. “Australia’s identity is incredibly tied to this amazing landscape, yet things are crashing at an alarming rate,” she said. “We are one of the top 10 land-clearers in the world and we have one of the highest extinction rates in the world, yet we are one of the richest countries in the world.”

The Lean campaign was devised at a meeting of members in Canberra in August. It has precedent: in 2015, the group won the backing of 370 branches for a successful motion calling on the party to adopt a 50% renewable energy goaland an emissions reduction target for 2030 based on the advice of the federal Climate Change Authority.

Wilderness Society’s national campaigns director, Lyndon Schneiders, said it would be a positive campaign. “We know 2018-19 is the once-in-a-generation chance to set up serious national environment laws,” he said. ……


February 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Govt funding for environment languishes, as mining companies receive double the benefit in tax credits

Miners receive twice as much in tax credits as Australia spends on environment
Analysis shows federal and state environment spending cut while industry awarded $2.5bn in fuel tax credits, Guardian,  Adam Morton, 2 Feb 18, 

Mining companies will receive more than twice as much in fuel tax credits as the Turnbull government will spend on environment and biodiversity programs this financial year, an analysis has found.

Coalmining companies alone are expected to get more back than the diminishing funding allocated to the federal environment department.

The analysis by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) found that, across commonwealth, state and territory governments, investment in environment and biodiversity programs was cut by 9% – from $6.95bn to $6.32bn – in the three years to 2016-17. Total budget spending rose by 10% in the same period, from $634.9bn to $701.5bn.

It adds to a weight of evidence that environment campaigners and political veterans say shows government support for environment protection is at its lowest ebb since before the landmark decisions to protect Kakadu, the Daintree rainforest and the Franklin river in the 1980s.

…….. The commonwealth’s state of the environment report last year found parts of Australia’s natural estate were in poor or deteriorating condition and there was insufficient public support for environmental management and restoration programs.

February 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

‘Merchants of Death’: Profiteering from the arms trade

Sisters of St Joseph   January 2018 ,  The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the religious Congregation founded by St Mary MacKillop, challenges the newly released plan of the Federal Government to increase weapons exports.

“Weapons are designed to kill and maim human beings,” said the Congregational Leader, Sister Monica Cavanagh. “We completely reject the philosophy which finds it acceptable to boost industry, create jobs, increase exports and protect local manufacturing via the arms trade.”

“We agree with Pope Francis that those who seek to benefit from trading in weapons are ‘merchants of death’,” she concluded.

Six major issues concern the sisters:

  • The “mutually assured destruction” of the last forty years cannot guarantee deterrence in the future. Violence is escalating in proportion to the availability and destructive effect of new weapons.
  • There is enormous difference between a defence manufacturing industry to protect Australia and the development of a weapons export industry.
  • It is a matter of great concern and sorrow that Australia’s overseas aid has dropped to its lowest level ever, while at the same time plans are underway to increase the sale of weapons.
  • The government’s assurances about establishing and maintaining “controls” over which nations access Australian weapons lack detail on methods of oversight and on how such controls would be policed.
  • Australian capacity to deal in arms ethically is not evident in Australian history. Australia continued to provide military hardware and training to Indonesia between 1975 and 1999 during the occupation of East Timor in which up to 182,000 people died violently.
  • Australia’s considerable design and production expertise would be better used in projects which promote peace among nations and care of earth, particularly in places and electorates where people lack employment opportunities.

The Sisters of St Joseph call on the Australian government to prioritise education, health and good governance initiatives among the deprived peoples and nations of the world, rather than spending billions of Australian people’s dollars on producing and exporting the means of destruction.

“We strongly urge the government to resist the hypocrisy of talking about peace while financing and supporting the arms trade,” Sister Monica reflected. “Over 90% of those who die in war zones are not soldiers, but civilians, including so many of the most defenceless humans – the children. It is reprehensible for government and industry authorities to pursue   financial and electoral gain through promoting the weapons which enable the escalation of violence.”

February 2, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, religion and ethics, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Polling shows that even Liberals now opposing Adani coal megamine project

Big surge in opposition to Adani, new polling reveals, Brisbane Times, By James Massola, A growing majority of Australians now oppose the construction of Adani’s huge Carmichael coal mine, while environmental groups are ramping up pressure on Bill Shorten and federal Labor to rule out support for the project.

A poll of 3312 people, conducted by pollsters ReachTEL on January 25 and commissioned by the Stop Adani Alliance, found 65.1 per cent of Australians opposed or strongly opposed Indian mining company Adani building the new coal mine in Queensland.

The figure represents a 13.2 per cent rise – from 51.9 per cent – in opposition to the project compared to March 2017. Significantly, the latest poll found an outright majority of Nationals (55.3 per cent), One Nation (52.9 per cent), Labor (75.6 per cent) and Greens (94.2 per cent) voters all oppose the mine.

More Liberal voters (43.2 per cent) said they opposed or strongly opposed the project compared to 34.7 per cent who said they supported or strongly supported it.

The findings come a day after Mr Shorten told the National Press Club the project had to stack up commercially and environmentally for federal Labor to support it, and that more needed to be done to protect the Great Barrier Reef, which environmental groups warn will be negatively impacted by the project.

“If it doesn’t stack up commercially or if it doesn’t stack up environmentally, it will absolutely not receive our support,” Mr Shorten said………

The polling also showed 73.5 per cent support for stopping the expansion of all coal mining and accelerating the construction of solar power and storage to reduce the threat of climate change.

Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said the poll showed  opposition to the coal mine was growing and was a reminder our to MPs that “they must listen to the will of the people and chart a course from our dirty coal fuelled present to a clean energy powered future”.

“We are encouraged by the comments of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten yesterday [Tuesday] that the ALP is scrutinising the merits of the dirty Adani project. Mr Shorten is right, you can’t have it both ways on climate change,” she said.

“He should reject the mine. A clear rejection of the mine and a pledge to stop it would be Mr Shorten’s Franklin River moment.”

If it goes ahead the mine would be Australia’s – and one of the world’s – largest coal mine.


February 1, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill may take High Court action against proposed Federal Nuclear waste Dump

Jay Weatherill changes mind on nuclear dump ahead of election, THE AUSTRALIAN 30 Jan 18, MICHAEL OWEN, SA Bureau Chief, Adelaide @mjowen

Jay Weatherill has held open the possibility of High Court action to stop a national nuclear waste dump in South Australia, despite his own failed proposal for the state to take the world’s most dangerous radioactive material.

The Labor Premier’s threat comes more than 13 years after his predecessor Mike Rann won a High Court challenge against Howard government plans to establish a national nuclear waste dump at Olympic Dam in the state’s north.

Radioactive waste is stored at more than 100 sites throughout Australia, with 656 cubic metres of intermediate waste at Lucas Heights in southern Sydney.

Asked if the state government would pursue a High Court case against the Turnbull government if a national facility were approved in South Australia, Mr Weatherill said: “We would have to explore our options to see what steps can be taken.”

The change of heart on nuclear waste, seven weeks before the state election, has taken the federal government by surprise as it considers three South Australian sites for a national low- and medium-level facility.

  • The state opposition accused Mr Weatherill of being “deceptive, sneaky and tricky”, noting the Premier had backed down last year on his own proposal to import the world’s nuclear waste only after a bungled community- consultation process and criticism from the state Liberal Party and Aboriginal groups.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan told The Australian the Turnbull government was running a bipartisan process in communities that broadly supported the placement of a facility, including three South Australian properties — two near Kimba, on the Eyre Peninsula, and Wallerberdina Station, near Hawker in the ­Flinders Ranges.

Senator Canavan said the second phase of consultation had started only after landowners volunteered their land for consideration and the community was found to “broadly support continuing the conversation”.

Up until now, the South Australian government has been supportive of this process … I wonder why the Premier would go against what is majority support so far in the communities around Wallerberdina Station and Kimba?” Senator Canavan said.

Mr Weatherill, who campaigned in regional South Australia this week, said his government now “opposed any further involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle, including waste repositories” whether high or low level.

This is despite establishing in 2015 a royal commission to pursue a greater involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle, including a proposal for South Australia to build a permanent facility to house the world’s high-level nuclear waste in return for more than $100 billion over 120 years. Mr Weatherill abandoned the plan last year. “The process they (federal government) have adopted is not one we support; it shouldn’t be driven by landowners, it should be driven by, essentially, communities and we think that the Aboriginal community also should be given special consideration,” he said.

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, legal, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

The Anti-Nuclear Coalition South Australia’s survey of political candidates and MPs

Antinuclear Australia and associated social media will be following with interest the responses of South Australian election candidates to this very important survey

Dear [candidate or MP]

In 2017 South Australians were asked to consider a number of nuclear options for our state.  With a State election to be held this year we consider that it is appropriate for all candidates contesting the election to clarify their position on nuclear issues.

Thus we respectfully ask all candidates for the S.A. 2018 election to provide answers to the questions on the accompanying Survey.  These questions relate to the policy you will take to the election on :

.uranium mining in S.A.?

.a national nuclear waste dump in S.A.?

.nuclear for defence industry?

.nuclear power generation?

We would greatly appreciate it if you could take the time to answer these questions by circling the appropriate responses on the included survey form.

Thank you for your participation. Mnem Giles (for Anti-Nuclear Coalition SA)  PO Box 504  MontacuteSA       5134




please circle either YES or NO for each of the following questions


  1. Expansion of uranium mining in S.A.? YES        NO
  2. Nuclear power generation in S.A.? YES        NO
  3. A storage facility in S.A. for international nuclear waste ?                            YES       NO
  4. A storage facility in S.A. for Australian nuclear waste?                                 YES       NO
  5. Increased isotope production at Lucas Heights for international market? YES       NO
  6. Construction of nuclear powered submarines in S.A.?                                   YES         NO
  7. Australia signing the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons? YES      NO

8  Upholding S.A.’s  Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 in the

case of the Federal Government wishing to impose a nuclear waste dump ?   YES       NO

Please return this form to:

The Anti-Nuclear Coalition SA

using the enclosed addressed envelope.


January 26, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Minerals Council lobbying hard for the coal industry

Minerals Council steps up coal advocacy despite BHP call for neutrality, MCA publicises report asking governments to commit similar resources to carbon capture and storage as to renewables, Guardian, Michael Slezak@MikeySlezak, The Minerals Council of Australia has stepped up its advocacy for coal power in spite of its biggest member, BHP, saying it will leave the group unless it shifts its stance to become technology-neutral.

January 24, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment