Australian news, and some related international items

Australian govt introduces legislation to increase spying on Julian Assange

Last week the government introduced legislation to define ASIO’s role more broadly to include collection of intelligence ”about the capabilities, intentions or activities of people or organisations outside Australia.”…

ASIO eye on WikiLeaks,The Age 23 May 11, “………declassified official briefings do not support Ms Gillard’s public assertion that Assange broke Australian law by publishing leaked US government secrets.Confirmation of Australian intelligence reporting on WikiLeaks comes as the government moves to broaden ASIO’s ability to spy on Australians involved with activities outside Australia that are of interest to the government. Continue reading

May 23, 2011 Posted by | civil liberties | | Leave a comment

Liberal Party attack on environmental education in school

Mr McKim said “But what [Mr Ferguson] has now revealed is that if there was a Liberal education minister, they would be sending out directives to schools saying we are banning you from making decisions about who you invite into your school and what they can say.

Libs lash ‘green’ schools push,  The Mercury,  SUE NEALES   |   May 20, 2011 THE State Opposition has warned parents their children are at risk of being brainwashed by extremist environmental groups now Greens leader Nick McKim is Education Minister. Continue reading

May 21, 2011 Posted by | civil liberties, Tasmania | | Leave a comment

Julia Gillard not sticking up for Julian Assange

…..”You have cast aside the presumption of innocence and prejudiced his right to a fair trial,” she said in a piece written in reply to the Prime Minister…….

Ms Gillard has said she will not raise the Assange matter while she is in the US.

Assange’s mother hits out at Gillard, The Age, Michelle Grattan, March 7, 2011, JULIAN Assange’s mother has lashed out at Julia Gillard, accusing her of ”character assassination” and prejudicing her son’s right to a fair trial. Continue reading

March 7, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | | Leave a comment

ANSTO had to reinstate whistleblowing workers

allegations follow claims by whistleblower David Reid, the staff-elected health and safety officer who is suspended on full pay, that he was stood down because he raised safety concerns.

Backdown at Lucas Heights over safety claims Amos Aikman  The Australian  March 03, 2011 TWO employees of Australia’s only nuclear reactor facility who were suspended after raising safety concerns will return to work in what amounts to a tacit admission by the plant’s administrators that the accusations against them were overstated. Continue reading

March 3, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | | Leave a comment

Bullying, cover-ups, safety lapses at Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

Science Minister Kim Carr said last week that the issues raised in the Comcare report were serious enough to warrant the launch of an independent inquiry into practices at ANSTO,

Lucas Heights nuclear reactor staff ‘bullied over safety concerns’ Amos Aikman and Leigh Dayton The Australian * February 28, 2011 At least six employees of Australia’s only nuclear reactor claim they were bullied by management and, in some cases, suspended from work after expressing concern about the safety of the plant’s operations. Continue reading

March 1, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | | Leave a comment

London court rules on Julian Assange’s extradition to Sweden

JULIAN ASSANGE: Why is it that I am subject – a non-profit, free speech activist – to a $360,000 bail? Why is it that I am kept under electronic house arrest when I have not even been charged in any country?

Wikileaks founder to appeal extradition decision, ABC  25/02/2011 TONY EASTLEY: A London court has ordered that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be sent from the UK to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault.His defence lawyers have argued the former computer hacker won’t get a fair trial in a country where they say he’s regarded as “public enemy number one”.Mr Assange has already flagged he’ll appeal against the British ruling. Continue reading

February 25, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, people | | Leave a comment

USA seeks personal information from Twitter

the new tactic is an “attack on the right to freedom of association – a freedom that the people of Tunisia and Egypt, for example, spurred on by information from WikiLeaks, have found so valuable”…..There is serious concern among Mr Assange’s legal team that other internet companies, including Google and Facebook, may have buckled under the US Patriot Act and surrendered their information without contest.

US targets Twitter in bid to trap Assange, Sydney Morning Herald, Paola Totaro in London,February 15, 2011 The US government’s legal hunt for Julian Assange will begin in a magistrates court in Virginia today when its Attorney General seeks a disclosure order on Twitter to obtain the names, dates and locations of anyone using its services to communicate with WikiLeaks. Continue reading

February 15, 2011 Posted by | civil liberties, Wikileaks | | Leave a comment

Civil liberties trampled in Australia’s nuclear issues, and ANSTO’s secrecy

Federal resources minister Martin Ferguson plans to put the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill before Parliament this week….Mr Ferguson persists with the fiction that Traditional Owners support the dump…… He has also said that he will consult Traditional Owners after a decision has been made on the proposed Muckaty dump − a thorough reworking of the traditional concept of consultation.

Blowing the whistle on Australia’s nuclear industry, Jim Green, 12 Feb 2011, It’s a sad truth that whistleblowers have provided the public with more information about accidents at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor site on Sydney’s outskirts than the site’s operator − the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).− ever has. Continue reading

February 12, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | | Leave a comment

ANSTO treated nuclear whistleblower unfairly

Nuclear whistleblower treated unfairly, investigation finds Herald Sun, AAP * February 09, 2011 A MAN who went public with safety concerns about Australia’s only nuclear reactor was denied procedural fairness when he was suspended from his job on bullying claims, an investigation has found.Australia’s commonwealth workplace regulator, Comcare, investigated the case of Dave Reid, a health and safety representative for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Radiopharmaceuticals.It found ANSTO breached health and safety laws in its handling of the case. In the report, obtained by ABC Television, the investigator found Mr Reid was denied procedural fairness when he was suspended from his role after bullying allegations were made against him by other employees. Nuclear whistleblower treated unfairly, investigation finds | Herald Sun

February 9, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | | Leave a comment

Peace medal awarded to Julian Assange

“Assange has championed people’s right to know and has challenged the centuries-old tradition that governments are entitled to keep the public in a state of ignorance.”…….

Julian Assange awarded Sydney peace medal, Sydney Morning Herald, February 2, 2011 In the estimation of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stands alongside the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. Continue reading

February 9, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, people | | Leave a comment

Mastercard and Visa help govt efforts to suppress Wikileaks

these credit companies have a monopoly on the credit card business – so while Visa and MasterCard can “boycott” WikiLeaks their customers don’t have the same freedom.

What price is free speech?, Sydney Morning Herald, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, January 11, 2011 “……..supporting free speech and the protection of whistle-blowers: priceless! As the US and Australian governments got grumpy about their dirty laundry being aired by leaked cables to WikiLeaks, MasterCard and Visa last month chose to block their cardholders from donating money to the whistle-blowing organisation.

A spokesman for MasterCard, Chris Monteiro, was quoted as saying the company’s website suspended dealings with WikiLeaks because “MasterCard rules prohibit customers from directly or indirectly engaging in or facilitating any action that is illegal”. Continue reading

January 12, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, Wikileaks | | Leave a comment

Julian Assange upholds a fundamental human right to freedom of information

WikiLeaks has taught us valuable lessons about the suppression and manipulation of information, and how such activities pose a threat to the common good.

Don’t shoot the messenger, award him the Nobel Peace Prize, Eureka Street, Michael Mullins,  December 06, 2010 WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange are being demonised by what appears to be a slanderous propaganda campaign being waged at the highest levels of governments around the world. Continue reading

December 6, 2010 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | | Leave a comment

Australians who refuse airport radiation scanning will be denied boarding plane

instead of ordering persons who refused body scanning to submit to a hands on experience, the Australian way will be to deny boarding to the passenger, who will be told to leave the terminal…..

Official: No sexual feelings at Australian airports – Crikey – Plane Talking, 19 Nov 10, “A spokesperson for the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, confirmed that Australia would not go down the same path as the US Transportation Security Administration, Continue reading

November 21, 2010 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | , , , , | Leave a comment

Did Notre Dame University chicken out on Kimberley uranium debate?

a public forum was scheduled to run at Notre Dame University’s Broome campus but the university has since pulled out

Green group blasts Uni over forum pull-out ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Jul 13, 2010 The Australian Conservation Fund says it is disappointed by a university’s decision to pull out from hosting a forum on uranium mining in the Kimberley, amid controversy over the subject. Continue reading

July 14, 2010 Posted by | civil liberties, uranium, Western Australia | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whistleblower on ANSTO’s nuclear radiation leak now dubbed a “security risk”

Ansto whistleblower now ”security risk’‘ St George & Sutherland Shire Leader, BY ROSITA GALLASCH, 09 Jun, 2010 DAVID Reid, the whistleblower who raised safety concerns about yje Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s radiopharmaceuticals and industrials (ARI) facility last month, is now regarded as a security risk.

ANSTO’s chief executive officer Adi Paterson said Mr Reid, who was a safety officer for six years and an employee for 28, now posed a security threat.

“I cannot be satisfied, from a security point of view, of him entering a nuclear facility,” Dr Paterson said. Continue reading

June 10, 2010 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment