Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Julian Assange and Wikileaks have exposed nuclear scandals

What we know about nuclear weapons and the nuclear industry thanks to WikiLeaks

“The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on 11 October. Why I support the nomination of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.” Open Democracy, Felicity Ruby, 7 October 2019  The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on 11 October. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have been nominated for the prize again this year, as they have since 2010. As the first staffer of the campaign that won the Peace Prize in 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), I support this nomination for a number of reasons.

The vast majority of governments on this planet want nuclear disarmament negotiations to occur and produce results. ICAN has been mobilising this willingness to push for a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons. From the outset, the campaign deployed accurate information to mobilise public opinion and reeducate a new generation. In facing the truth about nuclear dangers, answers became available and courageous action was taken. Facing the truth about climate change similarly involves the public having accurate information and courageously acting on it.
WikiLeaks and Assange have made a great deal of information available about nuclear weapons and the nuclear industry. A search on the WikiLeaks site for the word ‘nuclear’ brings up 284, 493 results. These documents traverse the nuclear fuel cycle – from uranium mining to nuclear waste – with many thousands exposing nuclear energy industry giants, and nuclear weapon threat assessments, numbers, doctrines and negotiations.
Ten examples

Below are just ten examples of where WikiLeaks exposed wrongdoing on the part of governments and corporations that meant citizens could take action to protect themselves from harm, or governments were held to account:

– Chalk River nuclear reactor shut down – released 11 January 2008 – Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission on Chalk River reactor

After the Chalk River nuclear reactor was shut down for routine maintenance on 18 November 2007, inspectors verified the reactor’s cooling systems had not been modified as required by an August 2006 licensing review. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) did not start the reactor but said upgrades could be done as part of maintenance while still operating safely. This impasse lasted a month, with the government intervening to grant an exemption to the reactor to allow its restart. The responsible Minister for Natural Resources, Gary Lunn MP, fired Linda Keen, the President of the Nuclear Safety Commission. Their exchange of letters revealed much about the safety standards and routine practices of the Canadian nuclear regulatory system, and particular problems with the ageing Chalk River reactor previously unknown to the public.

– Footage of the 1995 disaster at the Japanese Monju nuclear reactor – released 25 January 2008
Following the 2008 announcement that the Japanese Monju fast breeder nuclear reactor would be reopened, activists leaked the suppressed video footage of the sodium spill disaster that led to its closure in 1995. Named after the Buddhist divinity of wisdom, Monju, located in Japan’s Fukui prefecture, is Japan’s only fast-breeder reactor. Unlike conventional reactors, fast-breeder reactors, which “breed” plutonium, use sodium rather than water as a coolant. This type of coolant creates a potentially hazardous situation as sodium is highly corrosive and reacts violently with both water and air. On December 8, 1995, 700 kg of molten sodium leaked from the secondary cooling circuit of the Monju reactor, resulting in a fire that did not result in a radiation leak, but the potential for catastrophe was played down the extent of damage at the reactor and denied the existence of a videotape showing the sodium spill. Further complicating the story, the deputy general manager of the general affairs department at the PNC, Shigeo Nishimura, 49, jumped to his death the day after a news conference where he and other officials revealed the extent of the cover-up.

– Serious nuclear accident lay behind Iranian nuke chief’s mystery resignation – released 16 July 2009 WikiLeaks revealed that a source associated with Iran’s nuclear program confidentially told the organisation of a serious, recent, nuclear accident at Natanz. Natanz is the primary location of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and the site targeted with the Stuxnet worm that contained 4 zero days and was designed to slow down and speed up centrifuges enriching uranium. WikiLeaks had reason to believe the source was credible, however contact with this source was lost. …………..

WikiLeaks and Assange have brought forward many truths that are hard to face, publishing well over 10 million documents since 2006. Often forgotten is that each one was provided by a whistleblower who trusted this platform to publish, and who sought reform of how political, corporate and media power elites operate. Each release has shared genuine official information about how governments, companies, banks, the UN, political parties, jailers, cults, private security firms, war planners and the media actually operate when they think no one is looking.

Assange is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because of these many releases of information, used as evidence in court cases, freeing prisoners and exposing scandals, torture, murder and surveillance for which redress is only possible when the wrongdoing is dragged into the light. For publishing this true information, Assange, an Australian based in the UK at the time of publication, is on the health ward of Belmarsh Prison, facing extradition and charges attracting 175 years in a US jail, an effective death sentence….. https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/what-we-know-about-nuclear-weapons-and-nuclear-industry-thanks-wikileaks/

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October 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Exposing misleading evidence to the federal nuclear inquiry

Big claims and corporate spin about small nuclear reactor costs, Jim Green, 19 September 2019, RenewEconomy https://reneweconomy.com.au/big-claims-and-corporate-spin-about-small-nuclear-reactor-costs-65726/

The ‘inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia’ being run by Federal Parliament’s Environment and Energy Committee has finished receiving submissions and is gradually making them publicly available.

The inquiry is particularly interested in ‘small modular reactors’ (SMRs) and thus one point of interest is how enthusiasts spin the economic debate given that previous history with small reactors has shown them to be expensive; the cost of the handful of SMRs under construction is exorbitant; and both the private sector and governments around the world have been unwilling to invest the billions of dollars required to get high-risk SMR demonstration reactors built.

To provide a reality-check before we get to the corporate spin, a submission to the inquiry by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis notes that SMRs have been as successful as cold fusion – i.e., not at all. The submission states:

“The construction of nuclear power plants globally has proven to be an ongoing financial disaster for private industry and governments alike, with extraordinary cost and construction time blow-outs, while being a massive waste of public monies due to the ongoing reliance on government financial subsidies. … Governments have repeatedly failed to comprehend that nuclear construction timelines and cost estimates put forward by many corporates (with vested interests) have proven disastrously flawed and wrong.”

The Institute is equally scathing about SMRs:

“For all the hype in certain quarters, commercial deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) have to-date been as successful as hypothesized cold fusion – that is, not at all. Even assuming massive ongoing taxpayer subsidies, SMR proponents do not expect to make a commercial deployment at scale any time soon, if at all, and more likely in a decade from now if historic delays to proposed timetables are acknowledged.”

Thus the Institute adds its voice to the chorus of informed scepticism about SMRs, such as the 2017 Lloyd’s Register survey of 600 industry professionals and experts who predicted that SMRs have a “low likelihood of eventual take-up, and will have a minimal impact when they do arrive“.

Corporate spin #1: Minerals Council of Australia

The Minerals Council of Australia claims in its submission to the federal inquiry that SMRs could generate electricity for as little as $60 per megawatt-hour (MWh). That claim is based on a report by the Economic and Finance Working Group (EFWG) of the Canadian government-industry ‘SMR Roadmap’ initiative.

The Canadian EFWG gives lots of possible SMR costs and the Minerals Council’s use of its lowest figure is nothing if not selective. The figure cited by the Minerals Council assumes near-term deployment from a standing start (with no-one offering to risk billions of dollars to build demonstration reactors), plus extraordinary learning rates in an industry notorious for its negative learning rates.

Dr. Ziggy Switkowski noted in his evidence to the federal inquiry that “nuclear power has got more expensive, rather than less expensive”. Yet the EFWG paper takes a made-up, ridiculously-high learning rate and subjects SMR cost estimates to eight ‘cumulative doublings’ based on the learning rate. That’s creative accounting and one can only wonder why the Minerals Council would present it as a credible estimate.

Here are the first-of-a-kind SMR cost estimates from the EFWG paper, all of them far higher than the figure cited by the Minerals Council:

  • 300-megawatt (MW) on-grid SMR:    C$162.67 (A$179) / MWh
  • 125-MW off-grid heavy industry:       C$178.01 (A$196) / MWh
  • 20-MW off-grid remote mining:         C$344.62 (A$380) / MWh
  • 3-MW off-grid remote community:    C$894.05 (A$986) / MWh

The government and industry members on the Canadian EFWG are in no doubt that SMRs won’t be built without public subsidies:

“The federal and provincial governments should, in partnership with industry, investigate ways to best risk-share through policy mechanisms to reduce the cost of capital. This is especially true for the first units deployed, which would likely have a substantially higher cost of capital than a commercially mature SMR.”

The EFWG paper used a range of estimates from the literature and vendors. It notes problems with its inputs, such as the fact that many of the vendor estimates have not been independently vetted, and “the wide variation in costs provided by expert analysts”. Thus, the EFWG qualifies its findings by noting that “actual costs could be higher or lower depending on a number of eventualities”.

Corporate spin #2: NuScale Power

US company NuScale Power has put in a submission to the federal nuclear inquiry, estimating a first-of-a-kind cost for its SMR design of US$4.35 billion / gigawatt (GW) and an nth-of-a-kind cost of US$3.6 billion / GW.

NuScale doesn’t provide a $/MWh estimate in its submission, but the company has previously said it is targeting a cost of US$65/MWh for its first SMR plant. That is 2.4 lower than the US$155/MWh (A$225/MWh) estimate based on the NuScale design in a report by WSP / Parsons Brinckerhoff prepared for the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

NuScale’s cost estimates should be regarded as promotional and will continue to drop – unless and until the company actually builds an SMR. The estimated cost of power from NuScale’s non-existent SMRs fell from US$98-$108/MWh in 2015 to US$65/MWh by mid-2018. The company announced with some fanfare in 2018 that it had worked out how to make its SMRs almost 20% cheaper – by making them almost 20% bigger!

Lazard estimates costs of US$112-189/MWh for electricity from large nuclear plants. NuScale’s claim that its electricity will be 2-3 times cheaper than that from large nuclear plants is implausible. And even if NuScale achieved costs of US$65/MWh, that would still be higher than Lazard’s figures for wind power (US$29-56) and utility-scale solar (US$36-46).

Likewise, NuScale’s construction construction cost estimate of US$4.35 billion / GW is implausible. The latest cost estimate for the two AP1000 reactors under construction in the US state of Georgia (the only reactors under construction in the US) is US$12.3-13.6 billion / GW. NuScale’s target is just one-third of that cost – despite the unavoidable diseconomies of scale and despite the fact that every independent assessment concludes that SMRs will be more expensive to build (per GW) than large reactors.

Further, the modular factory-line production techniques now being championed by NuScale were trialled with the AP1000 reactor project in South Carolina – a project that was abandoned in 2017 after the expenditure of at least US$9 billion.

Corporate spin #3: Australian company SMR Nuclear Technology

In support of its claim that “it is likely that SMRs will be Australia’s lowest-cost generation source”, Australian company SMR Nuclear Technology Pty Ltd cites in its submission to the federal nuclear inquiry a 2017 report by the US Energy Innovation Reform Project (EIRP).

According to SMR Nuclear Technology, the EIRP study “found that the average levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from advanced reactors was US$60/MWh.”

However the cost figures used in the EIRP report are nothing more than the optimistic estimates of companies hoping to get ‘advanced’ reactor designs off the ground. Therefore the EIRP authors heavily qualified the report’s findings:

“There is inherent and significant uncertainty in projecting NOAK [nth-of-a-kind] costs from a group of companies that have not yet built a single commercial-scale demonstration reactor, let alone a first commercial plant. Without a commercial-scale plant as a reference, it is difficult to reliably estimate the costs of building out the manufacturing capacity needed to achieve the NOAK costs being reported; many questions still remain unanswered – what scale of investments will be needed to launch the supply chain; what type of capacity building will be needed for the supply chain, and so forth.”

SMR Nuclear Technology’s conclusions – that “it is likely that SMRs will be Australia’s lowest-cost generation source” and that low costs are “likely to make them a game-changer in Australia” – have no more credibility than the company estimates used in the EIRP paper.

SMR Nuclear Technology’s submission does not note that the EIRP inputs were merely company estimates and that the EIRP authors heavily qualified the report’s findings.

The US$60/MWh figure cited by SMR Nuclear Technology is far lower than all independent estimates for SMRs:

  • The 2015/16 South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission estimated costs of A$180-184/MWh for large light-water reactors, compared to A$225 for an SMR based on the NuScale design (and a slightly lower figure for the ‘mPower’ SMR design that was abandoned in 2017 by Bechtel and Babcock & Wilcox).
  • A December 2018 report by CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator found that electricity from SMRs would be more than twice as expensive as that from wind or solar power with storage costs included (two hours of battery storage or six hours of pumped hydro storage).
  • report by the consultancy firm Atkins for the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy found that electricity from the first SMR in the UK would be 30% more expensive than that from large reactors, because of diseconomies of scale and the costs of deploying first-of-a-kind technology. Its optimistic SMR cost estimate is US$107-155 (A$157-226) / MWh.
  • A 2015 report by the International Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency predicted that electricity from SMRs will be 50−100% more expensive than that from large reactors, although it holds out some hope that large-volume factory production could reduce costs.
  • An article by four pro-nuclear researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy, published in 2018 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, concluded than an SMR industry would only be viable in the US if it received “several hundred billion dollars of direct and indirect subsidies” over the next several decades.

SMR Nuclear Technology’s assertion that “nuclear costs are coming down due to simpler and standardised design; factory-based manufacturing; modularisation; shorter construction time and enhanced financing techniques” is at odds with all available evidence and it is at odds with Dr. Ziggy Switkowski’s observation in a public hearing of the federal inquiry that nuclear “costs per kilowatt hour appear to grow with each new generation of technology”.

SMR Nuclear Technology claims that failing to repeal federal legislative bans against nuclear power would come at “great cost to the economy”. However the introduction of nuclear power to Australia would most likely have resulted in the extraordinary cost overruns and delays that have crippled every reactor construction project in the US and western Europe over the past decade – blowouts amounting to A$10 billion or more per reactor.

Nor would the outcome have been positive if Australia had instead pursued non-existent SMR ‘vaporware‘.

Dr Jim Green is lead author of a Nuclear Monitor report on SMRs and national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia.

September 19, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, reference, secrets and lies, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Revealed: Josh Frydenberg was behind the strange Environment Department decision to block wind turbines on Lord Howe Island.

September 19, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Ziggy Switkowski- Senior Nuclear Sales Executive – a Trojan horse for the nuclear industry

Paul Richards   Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch Australia  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/– 31 Aug 19 

It’s typical Switkowski Trojan Horse strategy, the goal is to remove Australian Federal Nuclear Non-Proliferation legislation so the corporate state can introduce sales channels of;

• energy
• waste
• weapons

By the time Switkowski had rolled out the TELSTRA privatisation, we knew we had been conned.

Switkowski will roll out the same business plan for implementing another energy monopoly ensuring there is no democratisation of the Australian national grid.

Because what he did with TELSTRA, Switkowski did with NBN Co.

By the time Switowski had got hold of this, then rolled it out, we lost FTTP^

The NBN modified outcome lost emerging generations post-2013, their direct engagement with the global business world and any technological advantage was rapidly lost for SME.

On The Plus Side

Any NBN advantage was handed off to do what Switowski specialises in;

• making money for the corporate state of listed companies

• Boards, CEO, CFOs, EOs, stakeholders and corporate couturiers.

It takes 40 years to achieve ‘proof of concept’ for any bespoke reactor, none have proved economically viable.

Switkowski, is claiming to reach innovation efficiencies just not possible in the engineering world regarding any product.

Let alone one as complex as a nuclear fission reactor, whose economies of scale have never been tested anywhere.

He is a Senior Nuclear Sales Executive, flogging advantage for his friends with benefits, in government, and the corporate sector, including the US Military-Industrial Complex.

As if Australia was a nation of over 80 million people! 

August 31, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear research reactor was always intended as the first step towards the nuclear bomb

The push for an Aussie bomb   It took former PM John Gorton almost three decades to finally come clean on his ambitions for Australia to have a nuclear bomb. THE AUSTRALIAN, By TOM GILLING  30 Aug 19,

In December 9, 1966, the Australian Government signed a public agreement with the US to build what both countries described as a “Joint Defence Space Research Facility” at Pine Gap, just outside Alice Springs. The carefully misleading agreement expressed the two countries’ mutual desire “to co-operate further in effective defence and for the preservation of peace and security”.

Officially, Pine Gap was a collaboration between the Australian Department of Defence and the Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, but the latter was a red herring meant to conceal the real power at Pine Gap: the Central Intelligence Agency….the truth was that the Joint Defence Space Research Facility was joint in name only and its purpose was not (and never would be) “research”. It was a spy station designed to collect signals from US surveillance satellites in geosynchronous orbit over the equator. ……

The building of an experimental reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney’s south was supposed to be the first step in a nuclear program that within a decade would see the development of full-scale nuclear power reactors. ……

During the 1950s Australian defence chiefs ­lobbied vigorously for an Australian bomb. When it became clear that the prime minister, Robert Menzies, had reservations, they went behind his back. Menzies did agree, however, to let Britain test its nuclear weapons in Australia — a decision, according to historian Jacques Hymans, taken “almost single-handedly… without consulting his Cabinet and without requesting any quid pro quo, not even access to technical data necessary for the Australian government to assess the effects of the tests on humans and the environment”……….

Gorton’s political reservations about the non-proliferation treaty masked a deeper fear: that signing the treaty might cause Australia’s ­nascent atomic energy industry to be “frozen in a primitive state”. Gorton and the head of Australia’s Atomic Energy Commission, Philip Baxter, were both committed to pursuing the development of an Australian bomb. Scientists at the AEC worked with government officials to draw up cost and time estimates for atomic and hydrogen bomb programs. According to the historian Hymans, they outlined two possible programs: a power reactor program capable of producing enough weapons- grade plutonium for 30 fission weapons (A-bombs) per year; and a uranium enrichment program capable of producing enough uranium-235 for at least 10 thermonuclear weapons (H-bombs)  per year. The A-bomb plan was costed at what was considered to be an “affordable” $144 million and was thought to be feasible in no more than seven to 10 years. The H-bomb plan was costed at $184 million over a similar period.

Aware of opposition to any talk of an “Aussie bomb”, ­Gorton carefully played down the military aspect and argued instead for the economic benefits of a nuclear power program. ………

a US ­mission did visit Canberra at the end of April 1968.   Officials from the AEC had impressed the US visitors with “the confidence of their ability to manufacture a nuclear weapon and desire to be in a position to do so on very short notice”.  

The Australian officials, they said, had “studied the draft NPT [non-proliferation treaty] most thoroughly… the political rationalisation of these officials was that Australia needed to be in a position to manufacture nuclear weapons rapidly if India and Japan were to go nuclear… the Australian officials indicated they could not even contemplate signing the NPT if it were not for an interpretation which would enable the deployment of nuclear weapons belonging to an ally on Australian soil.”

Eighteen months after Rusk’s fractious visit to Canberra, Gorton called a general election. He declared his commitment to a nuclear-powered (if not a nuclear-armed) Australia, announcing that “the time for this nation to enter the atomic age has now arrived” and laying out his scheme for a 500-megawatt nuclear power plant to be built at Jervis Bay, on NSW’s south coast. While the defence benefits of such a reactor were unspoken, there was no mistaking the military potential of the plutonium it would be producing.

The Jervis Bay reactor never got off the drawing board, although planning reached an advanced stage. Detailed specifications were put out to tender and there was broad agreement over a British bid to build a heavy-water reactor. A Cabinet submission was in the pipeline when Gorton lost the confidence of the party room and was replaced by William McMahon, a nuclear sceptic who moved quickly to defer the project.

It would be another 28 years before Gorton finally came clean on the link between the reactor and his ambition for Australia to have nuclear weapons.  . In 1999 he told a Sydney newspaper that “we were interested in this thing because it could provide electricity to everybody and… if you decided later on, it could make an atomic bomb”. Gorton did not identify who he meant by “we” (although Philip Baxter was almost certainly among them) but Gorton and those who shared his nuclear ambitions were unable to win over the doubters in his own government.

Australia signed the non-proliferation treaty in 1970 but even as it did so it was clear that Gorton had no intention of ratifying the treaty. Australia would not ratify it until 1973, and then only after McMahon’s Coalition government had lost power to Gough Whitlam’s Labor Party. As well as ratifying the treaty, the Whitlam government cancelled the Jervis Bay project that had been in limbo since McMahon became prime minister. And with that, Whitlam effectively ended Australia’s quixotic bid to become a nuclear power.

Australia never got its own bomb, although as late as 1984  the foreign minister, Bill Hayden, could still speak about Australian nuclear research providing the country with the potential for nuclear weapons. The Morrison Government is unlikely to let the nuclear genie out of the bottle, with a spokesperson from the Department of Defence telling The Weekend Australian Magazine that “Australia stands by its Non-Proliferation Treaty pledge, as a non-nuclear weapon state, not to acquire or develop nuclear weapons”.  …..    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/weekend-australian-magazine/gorton-and-the-bomb-australias-nuclear-ambitions/news-story/00787e322a41d2ff37a146c86a739f02 

August 31, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, politics, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

False statements on nuclear power by  Federal Liberal National Party MP Keith Pitt

August 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies, spinbuster | Leave a comment

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce’s heavy-handed repressive approach to community consultation

August 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Jervis Bay and previous governments’ secret plans for nuclear weapons

August 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, Opposition to nuclear, opposition to nuclear, politics, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Sydney Morning Herald article provokes Australian pro nuclear troll’s vicious attack on Dr Helen Caldicott.

It was remarkable that the Sydney Morning Herald finally had the courage to run an article by globally recognised writer on matters nuclear – Dr Helen Caldicott.  The Australian mainstream media generally runs pro nuclear articles, or, at best, steers clear of the nuclear topic altogether.

 

 

This was too much for Australia’s pro nuclear propagandist, Ben Heard. He prides himself on writing information – the facts – and claims to never use ‘ad hominem’ arguments against nuclear critics. But here’s what Ben tweeted yesterday:

Outrageous that ⁦@smh⁩ published the conspiratorial, unscientific train-of-thought that is Helen Caldicott.  Next week, climatechange by Lord Christopher Moncton?

Any rational person need only spend 5 mins listening to her before feeling the need to back away slowly without making eye contact.”

 

 

July 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | 2 Comments

The raid on journalist’s home by armed federal police

AFP emails shed new light on media investigations, show officers were armed during raids, SMH, By Kylar Loussikian and Bevan Shields, July 5, 2019 The Australian Federal Police initially classified its investigation into a high-profile national security leak as “routine” and of “low value”, according to a cache of documents that also reveals police were armed when they launched two recent raids on the media.

Emails obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age under freedom of information laws also offer fresh evidence that Annika Smethurst, a senior member of the Canberra press gallery, could be prosecuted for publishing secret government information.

The AFP is expected to be called before a parliamentary inquiry to explain the chain of events leading to raids in early June on Smethurst’s Canberra home and the Sydney headquarters of the ABC over separate stories based on sensitive and secret government information.

The search warrants sparked a major debate over press freedom, with media chiefs lobbying the Morrison government over recent days for swift legal changes to better protect whistleblowers and journalists………

Other documents reveal officers were armed when they entered Smethurst’s home as well as the ABC’s headquarters in inner Sydney. ……

Nine chief executive Hugh Marks, ABC managing director David Anderson and News Corp corporate affairs director Campbell Reid met with the Attorney-General at Parliament this week but were not given a guarantee that the journalists would be spared prosecution……https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/afp-emails-shed-new-light-on-media-investigations-show-officers-were-armed-during-raids-20190705-p524kc.html

July 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australia’s escalatede defence spending, Christopher Pyne and his convenient advice to Ey defence consulting

Pay Day: Christopher Pyne’s Defence bonanza a fee fillip for EY  https://www.michaelwest.com.au/pay-day-christopher-pynes-defence-bonanza-a-fee-fillip-for-ey/, Jun 27, 2019  It dwarfs all other government spending. It is secretive. A huge chunk of it does not even go out to tender. The lion’s share goes to foreign multinationals who pay no tax in Australia. It is defence spending. Michael West reports on the explosion in defence spending which has tripled to more than $60 billion in one year since the Coalition took office, and since Christopher Pyne became Minister for Defence Industry on July 19, 2016.

June 27, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Christopher Pyne – Defence Minister in May – Defence Industry Lobbyist in July

The Fixer in a fix over EY move https://www.afr.com/business/accounting/the-fixer-in-a-fix-over-ey-move-20190626-p521cj Edmund Tadros and Tom McIlroy  26 June 19 Former defence minister Christopher Pyne is under fire for taking a role at big four advisory firm EY that will see him consult to companies in the defence sector.

Despite the lion’s share of the defence sector stemming from federal procurement, EY said the former minister, who retired from politics at the election, would not be lobbying or meeting with MPs or the Defence Department.

The ministerial code of conduct requires cabinet members to wait for 18 months after leaving office before advocating or having business meetings with members of the government, Parliament, public service or defence force on any matters on which they have had official dealings.

Outgoing ministers cannot take personal advantage of information to which they have had access or which is not generally available to the public.

Mr Pyne’s two most recent ministerial roles were as minister for defence and minister for defence industry. He issued a short statement about the job on Wednesday after it was revealed by The Australian Financial Review: “I’m looking forward to providing strategic advice to EY, as the firm looks to expand its footprint in the defence industry.”

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Prime Minister, which administers the code of conduct, did not comment when asked if the role breached the code of conduct

“The rules for former ministers are clear and we refer you to the statements made by Mr Pyne and EY on his new position,” the spokeswoman said.

EY at first described Mr Pyne’s role in the context of “ramping up its defence capability”, but later clarified that Mr Pyne would only deal with the “private sector side of the business”.

“He will not be lobbying or meeting with public sector MPs, public service or defence force in his EY role. He is supporting the private sector side of the business,” the EY spokeswoman said.

Pyne to ‘lead conversations’

EY’s defence leader Mark Stewart said: “Christopher Pyne is also here to help lead conversations about what states need to do to meet the challenges and opportunities this huge defence investment will bring.”

He said EY was “ramping up its defence capability ahead of a surge in consolidation activity and the largest expansion of our military capability in our peacetime history … Large domestic defence players are actively looking for mergers to bulk up to deliver on the government’s $200 billion integrated investment program”.

June 27, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Victorian Liberal Democrat David Limbrick gets it wrong about nuclear power

” We are the only country in the OECD that does not produce nuclear energy,” Mr Limbrick said.”
All of these are current members of OECD.:

Denmark:  1985 law passed by the Danish parliament, prohibiting power production from nuclear energy in Denmark.

Austria has no nuclear power plants. As a result of a public referendum in 1978,Austria follows a strictly non-nuclear energy policy.

Greece
 has no nuclear power plants
Iceland has no nuclear power plants

Ireland  has no nuclear power plants

Victorian crossbenchers go nuclear, SBS  17 June 19, A couple of Victorian crossbenchers want to explore lifting the state’s bans around uranium and nuclear power in an effort to tackle climate change.

Two of Victoria’s crossbench want the parliament to explore lifting the state’s bans on nuclear activities in an effort to tackle climate change.

The Liberal Democrats this week in the upper house will table a motion to establish a parliamentary inquiry expand the nuclear industry including uranium mining, exploration and exports, power generation, waste management, industrial and medical applications.

“If we have these issues with climate change we need to look at all the options available to us and at the moment we’ve got laws prohibiting certain options and we think that those options should be on the table,” Liberal Democrats MP David Limbrick told AAP….The minor party is still working to garner support for their inquiry, but would hope if it gets up it would be completed in about 12 months.  https://www.sbs.com.au/news/victorian-crossbenchers-go-nuclear

June 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Home affairs minister Peter Dutton “knew nothing” about police raids on Australian media offices, and a home!!

Peter Dutton denies prior knowledge of AFP raids on ABC and News Corp, Guardian, Sarah Martin and Kate Lyons 5 Jun 2019  

Following two consecutive days of raids on journalists who had reported on defence matters, Dutton sought to distance himself from the police investigations, saying they were independent from government./////https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/05/peter-dutton-denies-prior-knowledge-of-afp-raids-on-abc-and-news-corp?CMP=soc_567&fbclid=IwA

June 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australia heads for authoritarian rule, as Federal Police under government control, threatens press freedom

The AFP media raids aim to suppress the truth. Without it we head into the darkness of oppression   https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/05/the-afp-media-raids-aim-to-suppress-the-truth-without-it-we-head-into-the-darkness-of-oppression

According to the Australian Federal Police Association’s president, Angela Smith, there was a widely shared feeling across the AFP that the body had “lost autonomy”. “It’s an embarrassing situation,” Smith was quoted as saying. “We look the least independent police force in Australia.”

In the wake of the AFP’s raids on a leading News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst on Tuesday and the ABC on Wednesday, the position of the AFP has gone from embarrassing to deeply disturbing.

Even Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the cheerleaders of the re-election of the Morrison government, seemed in no doubt as to the political purpose of the raid on Smethurst two weeks after a federal election. It was, News Corp said in an official statement, a “dangerous act of intimidation”.

Implicit in News Corp’s statement is that this is not an act of policing, but an act of politics.

What are we to make of two raids in two days as anything other than a symptom of deeply disturbing developments at the heart of our democracy?Smethurst’s story was over a year old. It was about a plan to allow the National Signals Directorate, for the first time, to directly spy on Australians by “hacking into critical infrastructure”.

In a statement the AFP attempted to justify its raid on Smethurst by arguing the disclosure of “these specific documents undermines Australia’s national security”. But how can our knowing about a possible major change to our freedoms as citizens in any way threaten our national security? The AFP doesn’t tell us because there is no argument they can make, only an unfounded assertion that they can repeat, mantra-like.

If mass surveillance is brought in, how will we know about it? Is national security best served by the inevitable abuses of such a scheme about which we are never told and which would go unpunished? Would national security be enhanced or weakened were Mr Dutton to use such powers for political advantage or to enable political persecution without our knowledge?

And if we cannot know the truth of such fundamental matters, what security as a democracy do we have?

If one raid was “a dangerous act of intimidation” what are we to make of two raids in two days – the second of our national broadcaster – as anything other than a symptom of deeply disturbing developments at the heart of our democracy?

The story in this case was not one but two years old, a major exposé of how Australian special forces soldiers had killed unarmed men and children in Afghanistan. On what possible grounds is it a good thing to not know atrocities have been committed by our nation?

How is our national security threatened by revealing crimes done in our name? Surely we are best served as a nation by a military that we can be confident acts within certain boundaries that are deemed acceptable in war and does not go beyond them?

In all this we cannot pretend to be surprised. The repression and culture of lying, deceit and evasion of public accountability that cloaked previous Liberal governments’ refugees policy is now coming home to haunt us all.

It was after all under Scott Morrison’s stewardship of the immigration portfolio that the notorious section 42 of the Border Force Act was enacted, allowing for the jailing for two years of any doctors or social workers who bore public witness to children beaten or sexually abused, to acts of rape or cruelty. The new crime was not crime, but the reporting of state-sanctioned violence on the innocent.

National security was invoked then to justify the enforcement of a national silence over what were no more or less than crimes.

And so it is again.

The consecutive timing of these acts represents not just a moment when a government crackdown on journalism began. The method may be to intimidate any whistleblower or journalist who would wish to reveal crimes committed by our government or in the name of our government.

But the aim is to suppress the truth.

And without the light of truth shining on what happens in public life we head into the darkness of oppression.

The Morrison government will soon seek to assume the high moral ground by diverting public discussion to the need for religious freedoms. But until I see Hillsong being raided by Dutton’s stooges, with the feds occupying their offices, accessing all their phone and computer records, I am not buying any of it.

This is a new government uninhibited, and it would now seem, unhinged. It does seem extraordinary that two cases, each of long standing, would immediately after an election, suddenly be activated to this level of public attention without ministerial knowledge. And yet, we have Dutton’s word it is not so. And were a news organisation subsequently to report, based on government documents, that the truth is otherwise, who knows who might come knocking on their door in the interest of national security?

Under his home affairs super ministry, Peter Dutton has more overt and covert power than any minister in our history. And this week officers of his ministry have been willing to use their powers recklessly against those practices that make us a democracy.

After the raids of the last two days, Australians would be justified in feeling fearful about their future. The politicians who might speak for us have long ceased to do so. And the journalists who still can, now risk everything if they publish political secrets that may be in our interests to know but are in our political masters’ to keep hidden.

Tweeting live from the ABC boardroom in which he was sitting with the AFP officers as they were going through the ABC’s files, John Lyons, the ABC’s executive news editor, wrote: “I have to say, sitting here watching police using a media organisation’s computers to track everything to do with a legitimate story I can’t help but think: this is a bad, sad and dangerous day for a country where we have for so long valued – and taken for granted – a free press.”

The Morrison government could not have signalled its turn to the new authoritarianism that is poisoning so many other democracies with any clearer message. Get ready for the future, because it may already be here.

June 5, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment