Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s Liberal Coalition govt cosying up to coal megaminer Adani

Adani met with environment department 40 times in six months
Coalition ‘holding Adani’s hand’ through mine approvals, Greens senator says,
Guardian, Lisa Cox and Ben Smee, Tue 11 Dec 2018 
 The federal environment department had 40 meetings in six months with Adani representatives to discuss the Carmichael coalmine project, according to responses to a Senate estimates committee.The department met Adani executives in person at the company’s Brisbane offices, as well as conducting teleconferences, on matters including Adani’s groundwater management plans, the mine’s progress and proposals for the management of the threatened black-throated finch.

The environment minister, Melissa Price, and energy minister, Angus Taylor, met the company once each in Canberra. The meetings occurred between 7 May and 7 November this year and were tabled by the department in response to questions on notice from the Greens senator Larissa Waters.

Waters had asked at an estimates hearing in October if the department, minister or assistant minister had “met with Adani representatives or lobbyists in the past six months”.

She said on Tuesday the number of meetings suggested the department was “holding Adani’s hand through the approvals process”.

The number of meetings was evidence of the “cosy relationship” Adani had with the federal government, Waters said.

“The environment department is supposed to be a regulator and protector of our environment yet it’s holding Adani’s hand through the approvals process to get this mega coalmine off the ground.

“It shouldn’t be facilitating the development of a new dirty coalmine, it should be standing up for the best interests of our people and planet.”

The company announced late last month it would self-finance its controversial coalmine but it still requires approvals from state and federal governments for its groundwater-dependent ecosystem management plan and its management plan for the black-throated finch before significant work can start at the site.

The Queensland government is also under renewed pressure to rule out two potential subsidies to Adani.

The Mackay Conservation group released polling of marginal central Queensland electorates on Tuesday that showed 60% of people oppose any form of government subsidy. Only 22% supported subsidies, and 18% were unsure.

An Australia Institute report has found a potential royalties deferment deal would effectively be a low-interest loan to Adani, worth up to $385m.

The report also looked at $100m in road upgrades being considered by the Queensland government. It analysed approval plans for the Carmichael mine and found Adani’s vehicles “would be nearly all of the traffic on the road”.

Researcher Tom Swann, the author of the report, said: “The Queensland government has said repeatedly that it will not provide taxpayer funds to Adani, but Queenslanders are on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars because of these deals.”

The state government’s public statements on Adani have been sceptical in recent weeks since the announcement it would self-fund a slimmed down version of Carmichael.

The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said last month, “We will believe it when we see it”.

The royalties deal, which has not yet been signed, was premised as support for the “first mover” in a coal basin……….


December 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s dirty tricks in Poland: getting away with no reduction in greenhouse emissions

December 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | 1 Comment

It’s time: why Labor must join the global push to outlaw nuclear weapons Robert Tickner, 10 December 2018 The key political players and decision makers of the Australian Labor Party are about to gather in Adelaide for their 48th national conference from next Sunday. They will consider Labor’s stand on a humanitarian issue that has been the focus of the party’s ideals and aspirations for decades. Will it back a new global move to outlaw nuclear weapons?

Support for signing and ratifying the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has already been endorsed by 78 per cent of members of the parliamentary Labor Party. They include national president Wayne Swan, deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, Tony Burke, Mark Dreyfus, Mike Kelly, Joel Fitzgibbon, Linda Burney, Catherine King, Brendan O’Connor, Anthony Albanese and Patrick Dodson. More than 20 leading trade unions have joined the ACTU in this cause. Continue reading

December 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Students lead anti-Adani protests, vow to remove Liberal Party from power

Stop Adani protesters gather in cities, take aim at Scott Morrison’s activism comments, ABC News, 9 Dec 18 By Kevin Nguyen Student activists who felt the Prime Minister was condescending last week over climate issues have vowed to remove the Liberal Party from power — and keep it out — as long as it maintains its current policies.

Key points:

  • A national survey showed a majority of respondents supported student protests on climate change
  • Rallies took place in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns
  • Junior activists said the Prime Minister’s comments compelled them to march

Thousands of protesters gathered in capital cities on the east coast on Saturday in a coordinated march against Indian energy giant Adani’s Carmichael mine and rail project.

At the end of last month, Adani announced the scaled-back $2 billion controversial coal mine in the Galilee Basin would go ahead and would be 100 per cent self-financed, with work starting before Christmas.

While the attendees at the rally were diverse, it was school-aged students who were leading the crowds.

“It’s awful to see our leader feels like we shouldn’t have opinions and we shouldn’t care and they shouldn’t listen to us,” 14-year-old Jean Hinchliffe said in response to Mr Morrison’s calls last week for “less activism in schools”.

“It’s just atrocious. As students we are very informed and very educated and that’s why we’re taking action.

“We’re fighting for our own futures.”………

PM’s comments galvanised students

Like Jean, many young students who appeared at the rallies on Saturday were part of the thousands of Australian students who defied Scott Morrison’s call to stay in school.

While school-aged students will not be eligible to vote in next year’s federal and state elections, they are becoming the face of the Stop Adani and climate strike movements determined to make it a persistent election issue.

Daisy Jeffrey, 16, from Conservatorium High School in Sydney, said she was interested in a future in politics and Mr Morrison’s comments had galvanised her, and dozens of her peers, to take to the streets.

“It wasn’t disheartening, it made us more angry and more determined to go out on the streets,” Daisy said.

In addition to Sydney, rallies were held in Brisbane, Melbourne and Cairns.

n Melbourne, hundreds of people sat down in the middle of the busy Flinders Street intersection, blocking traffic in a bid to draw attention to their cause………

December 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

No Australian policy on climate change as Melissa Price, Minister For Coal, heads off to U.N. climate talks

No climate consensus at ministers meeting–spt.html, Angus Livingston, , Australian Associated Press, 7 December 2018

Australia’s state environment ministers are refusing to agree to a joint statement on climate change until the federal minister comes up with a plan to tackle it.

Melissa Price met with her state counterparts in Canberra on Friday and asked them to endorse a statement for her to take to a climate meeting in Katowice, Poland, on Saturday.

They refused because the government has no plan to tackle the problem.

“What I had suggested was that we had an agreed statement that we would all work together to determine an action plan with respect to climate, with respect to things that we can do individually and collectively,” Ms Price told reporters on Friday.

“Sadly that was not agreed. There was not an agreement on the words that I proposed, and no one proposed alternative words.”

The Labor governments of Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT released a joint statement condemning the lack of action.

“The science is frightening, unequivocal and clear – we are running out of time,” the statement said.

“Yet the response of successive Liberal prime ministers has been one of delusion and deliberate inaction.

“It is unacceptable that any action on climate change has again been left off the agenda at today’s meeting.”

The states demanded a boost to Australia’s overall output of renewable energy, stronger energy efficiency targets, and action on emissions across all sectors.

“It is time for the federal government to stop ‘noting’ the science around the impacts of climate change, and actually step up and take action,” Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said.

“It is unacceptable that there has been no progress on climate change by the federal government.”

Ms Enoch said she asked Ms Price to come back to the next meeting with an action plan of how to respond to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report’s findings about the dangers of 1.5 degree global warming.

“Unfortunately, the federal environment minister would not agree to undertake that important work,” she said.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | 1 Comment

The fightback against Adani and Aurizon steps up

Margaret Gleeson, December 6, 2018, Issue 1206,

“A reported 20,000 students, many of them with their parents and grandparents in tow, took to the streets with a powerful message to Adani and policymakers: ignore us at your peril.

This was followed by a sit-in at Parliament House in Canberra on December 5.

Another round of #StopAdani rallies has been called in BrisbaneCairnsMelbourne and Sydney on December 8. …

Adani has jumped the gun and started work illegally. Its use of groundwater is also the subject of a federal investigation. …

“The Supreme Court must decide if Aurizon, an enormously powerful and well connected corporation, should have the power to deny a small community group the right to inform Australians how to help to prevent this climate crisis.

“Obviously the people who make up FLAC have a direct interest in the outcome, but should this corporation succeed in gagging free speech to this degree, we will all be the worse for it.

“Finally, Aurizon’s action is based on the assumption that if FLAC stops training concerned citizens on how to take non-violent, safe, direct action, people will stop taking action. Unfortunately what may well happen is that people continue to act to prevent a climate catastrophe, but do so without the training, discipline or principles of non-violence.” … ‘

ReadMuchMuchMore of  Margaret Gleeson‘s comprehensive article at the #GreenLeft

December 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Labor backs Greens plan to block Coalition from underwriting coal power 

Guardian, Katharine    Murphy Political editor @murpharoo, Tue 4 Dec 2018

Crossbenchers are being asked to support a bill preventing the signing of contracts before the next election Labor and the Greens will attempt to prevent the Morrison government from underwriting new coal-fired power as the energy policy battle moves into its next phase.

Labor on Tuesday resolved to support a Greens bill stopping the commonwealth from providing financial assistance to coal-fired power plants, and there is an effort to secure the requisite parliamentary numbers for an upset as the Morrison government moves ahead with its controversial energy package. Negotiations are under way with crossbenchers in both chambers.

The government secured a rubber stamp from the Coalition party room on Tuesday for policy measures aimed to reduce power prices, including a contentious divestiture power, but Guardian Australia revealed on Monday night ministers had to rework the original proposal substantially to head off a backbench revolt…….

The energy minister, Angus Taylor, who has signalled coal will be in the mix, with a possible indemnity against the risk of a future carbon price, declined to answer questions from journalists on Tuesday about whether the government would enter binding contracts with proponents before the next election, which would be difficult to unwind if the Morrison government loses next year.

The Greens, with support from Labor, are attempting to head that sortie off at the pass with the new private members’ bill. Discussions with the crossbench are under way in both chambers – but it is unclear whether the foray will succeed.

Greens MP Adam Bandt, who could be a crucial vote for the government on the divestiture package because the party is not opposed to the idea, warned the Coalition not to “rely on support from the Greens on energy issues while … trying to sign contracts for new coal-fired power stations”. ……..

December 6, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, election 2013 | Leave a comment

Students left hanging during Canberra trip to confront Morrison on climate change

Guardian, 5 Dec 18,  Group rallies outside Parliament House after being told they needed to have a prearranged meeting organised. High school students from across Australia calling for emergency action on climate change have travelled to Canberra to confront the prime minister after he criticised them for skipping school to stage national strikes.

Students from Scott Morrison’s southern Sydney electorate of Cook – as well as Townsville, Melbourne and Brisbane – arrived at Parliament House on Wednesday morning to meet with him.

Morrison said he would sit down with the school students……..

But one group of 11 students gathered out the back of Parliament House in the hope of speaking to Morrison had not yet had any luck.

Fourteen-year-old Tully Bowtell-Young travelled solo from Townsville for the chance to share her concerns with the prime minister – using her own pocket money to help cover costs.

“I think it’s worthwhile because nothing I have now is going to mean anything if I don’t have a future in this world,” she said.

The striking students want federal policymakers to stop the Adani coalmine and move Australia from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy.

“We have been trying so much for the possibility of meeting with [Scott Morrison] but if we don’t get that opportunity after coming so far and going through so much to be here I think we will be a bit disheartened,” she said.

The group of students tried numerous times to call the prime minister’s office but were told they needed to have a prearranged meeting organised – in some instances they were hung up on.

Senator Jordan Steele-John and independent MP Kerryn Phelps both came out to meet with the students.

December 6, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Weird responses of righteous fury, against students who protested about about climate change

The weirdest right-wing takes on the student climate protest , Australia’s free speech warriors took a righteous stand against children fighting for their future. Crikey, DEC 03, 2018   After years of apocalyptic headlines and government intransigence on climate change, the sight of thousands of high school students packing Sydney’s Martin Place last Friday provided a jolt of much-needed hope for the future. Armed with loudspeakers, and some incredibly creative posters, the strike — which also took place in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Coffs Harbour, Bendigo and other city centres — represented part of a global surge of student-led climate change protests.

It also caused a surge of righteous fury among conservative politicians and commentators; a feeling that was not shared by most Australians who are more worried about climate change than ever, and increasingly are in favour of more renewable energy. Here’s a selection of the responses from those who chose to take a stand against the children advocating for their future: … (subscribers only)

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

Striking school students are more likely to have successful careers

School strikers are going places but the dole queue isn’t one of them,, By Clive Hamilton 2 December 2018 The resources minister, Matt Canavan, last week told students that the only thing they’d learn by skipping school to protest over inaction on climate change would be how to join the dole queue.

The history of protest in Australia shows the opposite. The protest leaders of the 1960s and 1970s, including many high school students, were denounced by conservatives as long-haired layabouts who would never amount to anything. In fact, they became the next generation of leaders in politics, universities, media, the public service, NGOs and even business.

Take the 1965 Freedom Ride, for instance. “Look at em,” said one RSL stalwart when students turned up to protest against the ban on black diggers. “The brains of Australia! God help you if you ever end up under em.” That’s exactly what happened. The Freedom Ride’s leaders included Jim Spigelman, who would go on to become Chief Justice of NSW and chair of the ABC, Ann Curthoys, later an eminent professor, and Charles Perkins, who became an Aboriginal leader, leading public servant and one of Australia’s Living National Treasures.

Student protesters have become newspaper editors, cabinet ministers, prize-winning poets, much-loved cartoonists, publishers, world-famous authors and Supreme Court judges.

There’s a reason they develop into leaders. It’s those young people who throw themselves into civic engagement who become the best citizens and most productive members of our society. They are the passionate ones willing to stand up. They are not content to “work, consume, die” but commit themselves to making a better Australia.

When we hear Canavan tell 2GB the protesters are “not actually taking charge of their lives” and they should get a real job, he’s telling them they should not be active, motivated citizens but docile consumers who leave politics to the politicians.

The protesting school kids, tired of watching the sacrifice of their future by a government dominated by climate science deniers, had some sharp answers to that, waving placards reading “Why should we go to school if you won’t listen to the educated?” and “I’ve seen smarter cabinets in Ikea”.

The students are carrying on a noble tradition. The great social movements that defined modern Australia—the movements for women’s liberation, gay rights, Indigenous rights, and environmental protection—all inspired school students to get out on the streets, wave banners and chant slogans.

Without those courageous youths, Australia would be a backward place. You would think that political leaders would welcome young people becoming engaged in the civic life of the nation. Instead, they were denounced in Parliament in an angry tirade from the Prime Minister. Nothing could be more damaging to the future of our democracy than for budding citizens to be told by the powerful to get back into their boxes and shut up. Thank God the kids have decided they won’t be bullied. More power to them.

Clive Hamilton is the author of What Do We Want? The Story of Protest in Australia and professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra.

December 3, 2018 Posted by | art and culture, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, politics | Leave a comment

Government Divides Hawker and Kimba Communities While Hiding Suitable Alternate Radioactive Waste Sites

28 NOVEMBER 2018, Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick today called on the Australian Government to reopen consideration of the 122,000 square kilometres of the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) as a location for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF).

Documents released under FOI to Senator Patrick show the Department of Industry undertook analysis of a number of sites, including the WPA, as potential homes for a NRWMF. In a very shallow response to the Department of Industry, Defence dismissed the WPA for its “impracticability” and “intolerable risk”.

Defence’s analysis cannot be reconciled with the fact that Woomera Test Range is already serving as a radioactive waste storage site. CSIRO is storing 10,000 drums of low and intermediate level waste in a hangar at Evetts Field, 1.3 kilometres from the Woomera Range head, while Defence is storing 35 cubic metres of intermediate level waste in a bunker 5 kilometres down range. Both the CSIRO and Defence waste has been stored there for 24 years.

“Defence’s claims are disingenuous and are nimby in attitude,” said Rex.

“If storing radioactive waste in the WPA represents an intolerable risk, why has this considerable store of waste been allowed to stay there for 24 years?”

“It seems that Defence is never stronger in defending territory than when it comes to defending its own.”

At question time today Senator Patrick today revealed the existence of a 414 page report undertaken for the former Department of Education, Science and Training that examines locating a NRWMF inside and nearby the WPA. It recommends Evetts Field inside the WPA as a preferred location.

The 414 page report contradicts Defence’s shallow analysis and addresses all of Defence’s concerns, and more.

“How can the Government tell the deeply divided communities of Hawker and Kimba that there is absolutely nowhere within the more than 122,000 square kilometres of Woomera that would be suitable for a radioactive waste facility,” Rex asked.

“Noting Minister Payne’s apparent lack of knowledge of the Evetts field option in the Senate today, I will definitely be pursuing this further.”

The relevant FOI documents and reports can be found here.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Concerned citizens of Kimba petition the Senate to remove Kimba site from radioactive waste site shortlist

ENuFF South Australia  No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia

Australia = South Australia 27 November 2018 In the Senate:

“Radioactive Waste
This Petition of Concerned Citizens of Kimbo District, Eyre Peninsula. South Australia and Australia, draws the attention of the Senate that:

The petition of the undersigned concerned Citizens of Kimba District, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, draws the attention of the Senate to our opposition to the siting of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility on agricultural land in Kimba or South Australia, as currently proposed. We are particularly concerned about the risks this proposal presents to Kimba and Eyre Peninsula’s clean and green reputation, on which our export industries rely.

We therefore ask the House to:
Your petitioners ask the Senate work to remove both Kimba sites from the shortlist to host the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, We request that the Federal Government undertake a proper process to seek the best possible site for disposal of all our Nation’s Waste, where it cannot impact on local agriculture, industry or community cohesion. We sincerely hope that this will allow the Kimba community to return to the harmonious, cooperative and civil community life that existed prior to the introduction of this proposal.
by Senator Hanson-Young (from 1039 citizens) (Petition No. 869)”    Page 38 of the Hansard record.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Resources Minister Matt Canavan scorns children who protest for climate action

school students protest climate change
A Deadshit Senator Says Students Striking Today Are Headed For The Dole Queue  ,Pedestrian,  

By Cam Tyeson, 30/11/2018

Matt Canavan, the federal minister for resources, has a considered take on today’s student protests against climate change that currently remain on-going across major Australian cities. Unsurprisingly, it’s a piss-awful one.

Canavan, a Liberal senator representing Queensland which is currently being belted by catastrophic and unprecedented bushfires, took to 2GB earlier this morning to make his thoughts on the Strike 4 Climate Action protests, in which thousands upon thousands of school children are literally screaming at politicians like Matt Canavan, abundantly clear.

Chiefly, the big dumbass reckons that students who attend today’s protests are only going to learn one thing: How to join a dole queue………The Minister for Resources then followed that up by suggesting activism solves nothing and instead the students should be in school learning how to build mines and drill for gas which, again in his words, “is one of the most remarkable science exploits in the world.” Incredibly wild that he quite literally used the word “exploits” there……..

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

Australia’s school students not impressed with PM Scott Morrison’s criticism of their climate change activism

Students hit back at PM after ‘less activism in schools’ climate change comment, SBS,  28 Nov 18 Hundreds of students are planning to leave school this Friday to protest government inaction on climate change. There’s a storm brewing between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and school students planning a national strike on climate change inaction this Friday.

Hundreds of students are vowing to put the books away and converge on MP offices and parliaments around the country in the Big School Walk Out for Climate Action.

On Monday, Mr Morrison implored children to stay in class rather than protesting things that “can be dealt with outside of school”.

What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools,” he said.

But students aren’t happy with the response.

Melbourne student Jagveer Singh, who will take part in the protest, said Mr Morrison’s broadside made him “want to go on strike even more”. [We want to] demonstrate that we’re not happy with the federal government for not listening to us and demand that we get a safe climate,” he said.

“It’s our future. We are the ones that will be facing the consequences of the decisions that are made today, and that is why we need to have a say.

“The time that they’re using to debate this issue is time that’s being wasted … We need to act on this.” …….

November 29, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Crossbench joins Julie Bishop and Labor in renewed push for energy agreement

November 29, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment