Australian news, and some related international items

Scott Morrison’s hypocrisy, chops and changes about nuclear power

No plans to change law to allow nuclear power stations, says PM, RICHARD FERGUSON, APRIL 18, 2019 

Scott Morrison has clarified comments suggesting he was open to nuclear power.

The Prime Minister earlier today said nuclear power was “not ‘not’ on the agenda” and he was “fine” with energy generation “wherever it comes from.”

But after backlash from Labor, Mr Morrison moved on Twitter to declare he had no plans to change the law to allow nuclear power stations.

“Labor are getting desperate, and we are only 8 days in. This is not our policy and we have no plans to change that,” he tweeted.

Mr Morrison’s original comments came on Tasmanian radio on Thursday morning.

When pushed on whether he would be happy to take proposals from the nuclear industry on going ahead with power projects, the Prime Minister said it would be allowed to do so.

“It’s not ‘not’ on the agenda, wherever it can come from is fine, but it has to be self-sustaining,” Mr Morrison told Launceston FM.

“If they want to put them forward they can. (Nuclear physicist) Ziggy Switkowski did a major report for the Howard Government on this issue, and it came back and it didn’t say it could support itself.”

Nuclear power has been an almost untouchable issue in Australian politics for decades and Labor was quick to leap on the Prime Minister’s comments.

Opposition environment spokesman Tony Burke said Mr Morrison would need to change the law if he were ever to accept a nuclear power station proposal.

“Nuclear power is against the law in Australia. It is extraordinary that Scott Morrison is now contemplating changing the law to allow nuclear power stations in Australia,” he said.

“Several places have been identified in the past for nuclear power stations — like Jervis Bay, Townsville, Bribie Island, Mackay.

“Where is Morrison proposing to put his nuclear power plants? Which coastal community is under threat?”


April 20, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Candidates and MPs supporting the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

April 18, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019, weapons and war | Leave a comment

ABC’s Vote Compass finds that environment is a high issue amongst voters

Vote Compass finds voters are split on economy and environment as most important issue [interesting graphs] ABC News 

Key points

  • The environment and the economy are the top issues for Australian voters
  • Health and super are next on the list
  • The environment is the number one issue for those yet to decide how to vote

For One Nation voters, immigration is the most important issue.

The environment is rated as the number one issue by 29 per cent of Vote Compass respondents, a massive shift from just 9 per cent in 2016.

It is closely followed by the economy, which includes government spending and taxation, on 23 per cent.

Health care and superannuation, each on 8 per cent, are next.

Crucially, the environment is nominated as the top concern among undecided voters — 30 per cent of them say it is the most important issue, as opposed to 19 per cent who nominate the economy.

The Vote Compass survey is based on a nationally representative sample of 119,516 respondents.

Andrea Carson, a political scientist from La Trobe University and a member of the Vote Compass academic panel, said the environment was a potential “wedge issue” for the Coalition.

“Even though overall [Coalition] voters don’t tend to nominate the environment as their most important issue, the Coalition — in order to win seats — need some of those undecided voters………

Millennials are most concerned about the environment

Age is a big factor in what voters care about, too, with 39 per cent of respondents aged under 35 nominating the environment as their greatest concern…….

April 18, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Liberal seats held by vacating and conservative MPs have extremely high levels of concern for climate change.

Now Adani has been approved, these are the nine at-risk Coalition seats most concerned about climate change, ABC By political reporter Jackson Gothe-Snape, 10 Apr 19, Liberal seats held by vacating and conservative MPs have extremely high levels of concern for climate change.

Key points:

  • New research shows seats where climate change concerns are most common
  • “Keeping day to day living costs down” is the issue most often identified by Australians as a concern
  • Concern over the quality of governance is growing

And global warming fear was increasing even before the Federal Government approved the Adani coal mine this week.

Electorate-level research released on Wednesday shows the extent of concern for climate change as the election looms.

The polling, completed by Roy Morgan during 2018 as part of the democracy non-profit Australian Futures Project, shows “keeping day-to-day living costs down” is the most pressing concern across Australia, ahead of “improving health services and hospitals” and “open and honest government”.

Climate change is the next most commonly identified issue.

At least one in three people (33 per cent) have climate change concerns in nine Liberal seats that are potentially vulnerable at the coming election.

That is significantly above the national average of approximately one in four people (26 per cent).

A majority of these seats have either conservative MPs recontesting or new candidates replacing retiring or ousted MPs…..

April 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Morrison, Taylor ‘tied up in knots’ on EVs, says Mike Cannon-Brookes

 Fin Rev 8 Apr 19, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and energy minister Angus Taylor have tied themselves up in knots over electric vehicles since Labor announced a target of 50 per cent electric vehicles by 2030, contradicting their own past advocacy for the technology, software billionaire and clean energy campaigner Mike Cannon-Brookes says.Mr Taylor posted a steady stream of tweets ridiculing Labor’s EV policy, suggesting it would leave campers with electric vehicles reliant on highly …. (subscribers only)

April 9, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019 | Leave a comment

‘Shame’: Anti-Adani protesters storm Morrison speech

 SBS News , 8 Apr 19 Anti-Adani protesters have disrupted a Scott Morrison speech, as Coalition tension mount around the controversial project. Anti-Adani protesters have disrupted Scott Morrison at a Brisbane business lunch, but the prime minister appeared to take in his stride.One woman carrying a Stop Adani protest flag managed to reach Mr Morrison’s side, saying “we care about the climate. This will be a climate election … Shame”.

She was dragged away by security as a second protester stood to yell “stop Adani”………

Australian Youth Climate Coalition organiser, Melanie McAuliffe, said they wanted to highlight LNP government’s inability to react on climate change.

“We just had a summer of unprecedented heatwave, bushfires and floods and yet this government still continues to ignore what we need to do to address the climate crisis.”…….

Several teenagers said they were looking for action to save the planet.

Jo, from Cleveland, told the crowd outside the business lunch that all she wanted was a future.

“I am 17 years old and I want is for our government to do what they need to to save the planet,” she told the crowd.

“This is our home, this is what houses us, we have a responsibility to care for it.”………

Anti-Adani protesters disrupted a business lunch speech by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Brisbane on Monday. ………

April 9, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

How last-minute Adani approval could be the final big call of the Morrison Government

ABC News, By political reporter Jackson Gothe-Snape 8 Apr 19, Adani’s controversial mine awaits its final Federal approval this week, days before the election is called.

Key points:

  • Only one significant approval remains for Federal Government to approve Adani mine
  • Securing sign-off before the federal election is called would mean Queensland MPs in marginal seats could campaign on the issue
  • Queensland State Government still has two outstanding approvals

Approval from the Environment Minister, Melissa Price, is one of the final hurdles before the project can commence.

And pressure is growing from some of her colleagues for her to approve the mine so Queensland MPs can talk up the project during the election campaign.

This is the latest on what exactly is needed before the Adani mine can go ahead.

Federal groundwater hurdle

The last major federal environmental approval required is around how the mine will affect the local water system.

It’s formally called the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan (GDEMP).

The Federal Government has asked the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia to assess the plan, but the decision to approve or deny the plan rests with the Environment Minister.

It’s not clear what these organisations have concluded, but a spokesperson for the Department of Environment told the ABC the department “has provided its assessment” to the Minister.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday the Government would be “relying on the scientific evidence”.

The ABC has previously reported the CSIRO had found flaws in the plan………

April 9, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Coalition spends millions on electric vehicles despite claiming Labor push will ‘end the weekend’

 SMH, By Nicole Hasham April 8, 2019 The Morrison government’s derision of Labor’s electric cars policy has been undermined after it emerged that the Coalition has spent millions of dollars encouraging Australians to use the vehicles and its MPs routinely spruik the technology.The government has aggressively criticised Labor’s election pledge that half of all new cars sold in 2030 would be electric, claiming it would “end the weekend” by forcing Australians to stop driving petrol-guzzling 4WDs……..

April 9, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Australian voters back Labor to deal with climate change

Ipsos poll: Voters back Labor to deal with climate change, The Age, Michael Koziol, 7 Apr 19 
Only half the Coalition’s voters believe it is the best to handle climate change, as the Morrison government struggles to manage a damaging split over the Adani mine and shift the focus back to Labor’s energy policies…..

an Ipsos poll taken last week – after Labor released its climate policy on Monday – shows voters have firmed in their view that Labor is better than the Coalition on climate change, with 42 per cent saying the opposition had the superior policy of the two major parties.

Only 25 per cent felt the Coalition’s climate policy was preferable – a decrease of 12 percentage points from when the question was asked in 2012. …

Climate and the environment have returned to the fore as Prime Minister Scott Morrison prepares to call an election, with Labor wheeling out its energy policy and the government exposed to internal divisions over the final ministerial approvals for the Adani coal mine.

Queensland Liberal National MPs and candidates are agitating for Environment Minister Melissa Price to rubber stamp the process quickly while they work to defend vulnerable Coalition seats up north, but Liberals in capital cities are urging a delay to avoid the issue blowing up just as the campaign begins.

Cabinet sources indicated they did not want to “elevate” Adani in the national mindset, nor risk any decision being challenged in the courts because it had been rushed……..

The Ipsos phone poll of 1200 voters found Labor supporters were much more likely to back their party’s climate policy than Coalition supporters: 72 per cent of Labor voters said their party had the best policy, while 5 per cent backed the Coalition and 23 per cent didn’t know.

People who lived in capital cities, had a university degree or earned more than $100,000 a year were significantly more likely to say Labor had the better policy on climate change.

April 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg passes the buck on Adani coal mine to Minister For Coal , Melissa Price

Adani mine in minister’s hands: treasurer,  SBS News 7 Apr 19, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the final approvals for the Adani coal mine are in the environment minister’s hands, defending an apparent delay on the project.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has defended a hold-up in final approvals for the Adani coal mine in Queensland.

Mr Frydenberg said all major boxes had already been checked, and the environment minister was now working through “sub-approvals” in consultation with scientists.

“That’s in the hands of the minister,” he told the ABC’s Insiders on Sunday……

April 7, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Where do candidates stand on nuclear waste dumping? Friends of the Earth are finding out

Sounding out candidates on nuclear, Louis Mayfield  3Apr19

April 4, 2019 Posted by | election 2019, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Coalition government rejects Clive Palmer’s call for nuclear power for Australia

Clive Palmer’s nuclear power plan for SA knocked back by Coalition, Chris Russell, The Advertiser, March 31, 2019 

A push by the United Australia Party for nuclear power has been swiftly rejected by the Federal Government.

A spokesman for the party led by Clive Palmer confirmed nuclear was on the agenda.

“South Australia has a major energy problem and we, as a party, are discussing nuclear,” he said. “Australia has uranium reserves and nuclear is emissions free.

“Kristian Rees, our number one senate candidate is speaking with his SA candidates and party members on major issues like cheaper power, manufacturing and jobs.”

A planned announcement on nuclear power, reported by the Sunday Mail, was revealed early by Professor Adrian Cheok who quit the party despite being the No. 2 Senate candidate in SA.

The party spokesman said it was “disappointing someone who didn’t get what they wanted leaked confidential discussions”.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor rejected the nuclear call.

“Nuclear power remains illegal in Australia and highly expensive to build and operate,” he said.

The Government has short-listed electricity generation projects that could warrant underwriting — but the program specifically excluded nuclear.

Last financial year, SA generated more electricity than it used, exporting the excess to Victoria.

Wholesale prices were 11 per cent lower than the year before, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s report on SA electricity.

Mr Palmer is the national leader but has yet to nominate for a seat. His options include his former seat of Fairfax, on the Sunshine Coast, and Herbert, based in Townsville.

The Senate ticket for Queensland also is unresolved.
A party spokesman said Mr Palmer was expected to be endorsed “very soon”.

April 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Government ‘failing’ on climate change: poll 

  SBS News, 1 Apr 19, As the federal election approaches, new polling shows how public attitude to climate change are shifting.  Only 13 per cent of Australians believe the Morrison government is doing a good job in addressing climate change, according to a new poll.Results from an Ipsos poll released Sunday framed public perceptions of climate change in the leadup to the federal election, due in May.

It found almost half of Australians now feel that “honouring the Paris Climate Agreement should be a key priority” for this country.

And many Australians want to go even further. Forty per cent said they would like to see an emissions reduction target set that goes beyond reducing emissions by 26 per cent – 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 as set out in the Paris agreement.

In a statement, Ipsos said the poll “uncovered a growing momentum for action on climate change and acceptance of the role of humans in causing it”.

“We also [found] that the majority of Australians believe that they will not be negatively impacted by a move towards renewables and that support for climate action by the government is on the rise.”…….

April 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Clive Palmer will promise to build a nuclear reactor in South Australia

April 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2019 | Leave a comment

Bill Shorten’s climate policy, much better than Liberals’, but it might appeal to some Liberal voters?

Bill Shorten treads gently with careful climate change plan,, By Shane Wright, March 31, 2019 The environment has claimed many political victims since the 2007 election.

John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Malcolm Turnbull and even Tony Abbott were all, to an extent, brought down by their response to climate change. And if Scott Morrison is defeated at next month’s election there’s likely to be a mention of the issue in his political epitaph.

Which means Bill Shorten is well aware of the dangers around Labor’s latest climate change approach, which is being made public in the shadow of the federal budget and just six weeks out from an election.

Hence the absence of a carbon tax, the use of safeguard mechanisms which were introduced by Turnbull, the exclusion of agriculture except for where farmers and landholders may be able to turn a buck, handouts to trade-exposed businesses and credits to firms that over-achieve.

By targeting vehicle emissions, Labor is tapping a worldwide trend which already has countries such as China and Britain effectively outlawing the sale of new petrol-driven vehicles from 2040.

Labor isn’t even going this far. Instead, it is setting a target of 50 per cent new car sales being electric while also looking to lift overall vehicle emission standards.

The demise of the Australian car manufacturing industry means any fight against the proposed changes will have to be led by the government if it dares.

But arguing against tighter emission standards would run the risk of the Coalition looking like those who bemoaned the removal of lead from petrol in the 1980s.

Not that the government won’t try. While the $100 lamb roasts may be gone, it’s already trying to claim that a snag at the local school fete could go through the roof under Shorten.

Labor’s policy is as much an effort to neutralise the political attack as to find ways to truly reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Bill Shorten doesn’t want his name added to the list of those MPs claimed by Australia’s climate wars.

April 1, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2019 | Leave a comment