- whether there is any potential for the expansion of the current level of exploration, extraction or milling of minerals containing radioactive materials in South Australia, any circumstances necessary for such an increase to occur and to be viable, any risks and opportunities created by expanding the level of exploration, extraction and milling, and the measures that might be required to facilitate and regulate that increase in activity.
- the feasibility of the further processing of minerals and processing and manufacture of materials containing radioactive and nuclear substances (but not for, or from, military uses) including conversion, enrichment, fabrication or re-processing in South Australia, any circumstances necessary for that further processing or manufacture to be viable, any risks and opportunities associated with establishing and undertaking that further processing or manufacture, and any measures that might need to be taken to facilitate and regulate the establishment and carrying out of further processing or manufacture
- the feasibility of establishing and operating facilities to generate electricity from nuclear fuels in South Australia, any circumstances necessary for that to occur and to be viable, the relative advantages and disadvantages of generating electricity from nuclear fuels as opposed to other sources, including with regard to greenhouse gas emissions, any risks and opportunities associated with that activity (including its impact on renewable sources and the electricity market), and any measures that might need to be taken to facilitate and regulate their establishment and operation.
- the feasibility of establishing facilities in South Australia for the management, storage and disposal of nuclear and radioactive waste from the use of nuclear and radioactive materials in power generation, industry, research and medicine (but not for, or from, military uses), any circumstances necessary for those facilities to be established and to be viable, the risks and opportunities associated with establishing and operating those facilities, and any measures that might need to be taken to facilitate and regulate their establishment and operation.
Lowest Australian uranium production for 16 years, World Nuclear Association 23 Jan 15 Due to the shutdown of ERA’s Ranger plant to June, and despite the rich Four-Mile deposit coming on line, Australia’s uranium production in 2014 at 5897 tonnes U3O8 (5000 tU) was the lowest since 1998. Two thirds of it was from Olympic Dam, where uranium is a by-product of copper. Production from Four Mile is recovered at the Beverley plant, replacing output from that mine at about double the level. http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=140c559a3b34d23ff7c6b48b9&id=e08ac096b6&e=ae5ca458a0
In her book of poems, Love Dreaming, aboriginal writer Ali Cobby Eckermann from Australia writes, “Every grain of sand in this big red country is a pore on the skin of my family.” Her writing and her new book, Too Afraid to Cry reflect the alienation of the ‘Stolen generation’ of children who were selectively taken away from their families and raised by white people and also the plight of her people who are waging a war over land rights.
Thousands of people from indigenous communities plan to hold massive protests over land issues on Australia Day on January 26, she says. Protests are continuing in various parts of Australia over mining uranium and minerals and even Kakadu National Park, on the UNESCO World Heritage Site is under threat.
In New Delhi to deliver the annual Navayana lecture, she told The Hindu in an interview that a serious lack of understanding between cultures persists in Australia at a political level and with mining it has expanded. “We worry for our children. Now the Western Australian government wants to use bulldozers and close 150 or 180 small aboriginal communities — they say it is not sustainable to keep these communities going. Where do these people go? They can wander to the city to become a makeshift community under tarpaulin as they are not going to rehouse them,” she says.
The sudden move, she suspects, is to do with mining and removing people from the area so that even that little bit of resistance is gone. That’s the scary part but the aboriginal people will survive. It’s all about land, the war is over land, she says and no one really articulates it like that. “Why would they want these remote areas which are mineral rich to be emptied of people. Western Australia is among the richest mining areas but why is not the government saying some percentage of that mining rights should go to the community. That doesn’t happen, the miners don’t pay tax and we watch the money fly away,” she points out.
Referring to the civil nuclear deal between India and Australia, she said, “Please consider when you support nuclear energy in India what happens to our culture. There will be a slow erosion of human rights but we will fight for the right of our children to have rights of lands.”
The government has given approvals for uranium mines in western Australia. Hailing from South Australia, she said this was a place of ancient knowledge. “In aboriginal culture we do not own the land, we belong to the land and the land does not belong to us, the land is our heart, “she says.
The struggle for land in the mid 70s when people drove to Adelaide and demanded their land back had resulted in some rights being restored. There was a strong law in place on mining but unknown to many communities the government in 2008 has sneaked in amendments which do not provide for negotiations as in the past. “So if a community agrees to exploration it has virtually given away the right to mining as well,” Ms. Eckermann adds.
In Northern Territory some ten years ago the government had proposed nuclear waste storage sites but a group of women pensioners living in old age homes got together with support from Friends of the Earth and fought the government and managed to convince them that this was not a good idea. Ms Eckermann who has learnt a lot from what she calls the “struggle of my grandmothers”, says the women essentially told the government from a cultural perspective their aversion to the nuclear waste dump on their lands and part of that was because they were young girls when the Maralinga atomic testing took place by the British in the 1950s. Many had lost their family in the nuclear fallout and for these women, it was an environmental war- and a cultural war and they were so dignified in their protest, she says.”I don’t know how they did it. They said never raise your voice except to sing traditional songs and they told the government to “get your ears out of your pockets.” It was a such a grass roots victory and there was no more room for lying and deceit. This was a jury of traditional women, against younger white men and the women won,” she grins.
Thousands of people from indigenous communities plan to hold massive protests over land issues on Australia Day on January 26 which many also call Invasion day for that’s when Captain Cook arrived on the country’s shores. ……..
“Land is like my family, that rock is like my grandfather and that sand dune is my mother. We have our ways and they can be customised to modern life but the core wisdom won’t change. We have to stop the intergenerational social impacts but every time the government meets us they have no concept of land or the people. And then we are called ungrateful, “she concludes. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/waging-a-war-over-land-rights/article6800001.ec
Australian government trying to kill renewable energy, but funding thorium nuclear power research in China
Isn’t this just dandy? The Australian government can’t afford to fund services to the needy in health, education, and is doing its darndest to kill clean energy, but is quietly promoting nuclear energy. And not conventional nuclear energy, which is bad enough, but the untested, hugely costly thorium experiment – the same one that was tried and found unviable 50 years ago
ANSTO-SINAP Joint Research Centre, 16 Jan 15 In December 2012, ANSTO signed a memorandum of understanding with the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP) for cooperation in the area of materials research and development.
Canada transparency laws force ASX companies to disclose tax bills, The Age December 26, 2014 Georgia Wilkins Business reporter Two Australian mining companies will be forced to disclose how much tax they pay in every country around the world by new transparency laws introduced in Canada.
Paladin Energy and OceanaGold, both dual-listed in Australia and Canada, will have to comply with new Canadian laws requiring all oil, gas and mining companies to report payments they make to governments overseas, including taxes, royalties, bonuses, regulatory charges and licence fees.
The Australian government is being pushed to introduce similar rules.
The legislation aims to tackle corruption and tax avoidance in poor countries, as well as payments to indigenous groups. It follows mounting global pressure by transparency organisations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to introduce a country-by-country reporting regime.
The new rules are expected to come into force by June 2015 after passing through the Canadian parliament on December 16.
Claire Spoors, a spokeswoman for advocacy group Publish What You Pay, said the Abbott government should consider introducing similar laws in line with Canada’s.
“Australia, as a mining giant, could make a real difference in helping resource-rich but poor countries prosper by ensuring there is greater transparency,” she said.
“Well-managed and properly accounted-for resource revenues can be invested in health, education and putting countries on sustainable development pathways.”……….
the Abbott government has signalled it could water down transparency laws introduced under Labor. The tax disclosure laws would mean that from July, companies with $100 million or more in turnover would have their tax information disclosed on the Australian Taxation Office website.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told Fairfax Media the government would review the laws following complaints by private business owners that they could be kidnapped and held for ransom when people realised how wealthy they were from their published tax information.
Senator Cormann said the laws showed a “ham-fisted, ill-thought-out approach trying to crack a nut with a sledgehammer”.
But advocates say greater transparency will boost confidence in the broader community that large companies are paying their fair share of tax.
Australia has endorsed the OECD’s reporting regime, which is not due to be introduced until 2018.
It has also signed up to the OECD’s common reporting standard for governments sharing tax information, after criticism that it delayed the process by consulting big business.
OceanaGold has operations in New Zealand, the Philippines and Australia. Paladin Energy has projects in Namibia, Malawi, Niger, Canada and Australia. : http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/canada-transparency-laws-force-asx-companies-to-disclose-tax-bills-20141224-12akhd.html#ixzz3OBT5BW5V
The lake provides water for drinking and domestic use to millions of Malawians. Part of the lake is protected as a national park, and it is inhabited by more than 850 cichlid fish species found nowhere else on Earth.
Malawi: Paladin Accused of Discharging Uranium-Contaminated Sludge in Lake Malawi http://allafrica.com/stories/201412301012.html A coalition of Malawi civil society organisations (CSOs) has accused Paladin Energy Ltd, a company that is mining Uranium ore at Kayerekera in the northern district of Karonga over reports the mining company is secretly discharging into Lake Malawi uranium contaminated sludge from the tailings dam at the mining site.
Renowned human rights activist, Rafiq Hajat shared a report compiled by a members of the Natural Resources Justice Network (NRJN) in which it is alleged paladin is discharging uranium sludge from Kayerekera into Lake Malawi.
“A radius of 35 km from the Boma, you will be shocked to see fish of different species dead with some communities along the lakeshore collecting [the fish]. Collectiong as part of their relish. The cause not yet known. Reports from the Beach Village Chairman indicates that this started in late November but Government was not forth coming (sich)” reads part of the post.
Paladin had aroused the wrath of the coalition of the CSOs under the banner of Natural Resources Justice Network (NRJN) over reports which emerged late November that Paladin Energy was planning of discharging uranium mining sludge into the Sere and North Rukuru rivers.
The toxic substances that would flow from the tailings pond at the Kayelekera Uranium Mine into Lake Malawi 50 kilometers (30 miles) downstream include waste uranium rock, acids, arsenic and other chemicals used in processing the uranium ore, the coalition fears.
“It is rumored that Paladin secretly have started discharging the so called purified water and the trip was one of the verification. This is terrible news and may have catastrophic ramifications if not checked immediately.” Reads the statement shared by Hajat.
However, in a statement issued last month, Paladin Energy stated that water from its tailings dam at Kayelekera uranium mine which is discharging into the North Rukuru River poses no human or environmental risks.
The process has been reviewed and agreed by relevant agencies of the Government of Malawi, which is imposing conditions regulating critical water quality parameters, including uranium, consistent with international guidelines” a statement issued in November by Paladin Energy stated.
The company also said that it plans to start discharging the water in early 2015 and that reports it is discharging the contaminated wastes are not true.
Lake Malawi in eastern Africa is the world’s ninth largest lake, some 580 kilometers (360 miles) long, and 75 kilometres (47 miles) wide at its widest point. It extends into Malawi’s neighbours Tanzania and Mozambique.
The lake provides water for drinking and domestic use to millions of Malawians. Part of the lake is protected as a national park, and it is inhabited by more than 850 cichlid fish species found nowhere else on Earth.
Paladin Africa is the Malawi subsidiary of Australian mining giant Paladin Energy Ltd, with 15 percent owned by the Government of Malawi.
Last year, Paladin Africa’s Kayelekera Mine in Karonga produced 1,066 metric tonnes of U3O8, triuranium octoxide, a compound of uranium. One of the more popular forms of yellowcake, U3O8 is converted to uranium hexafluoride to make enriched uranium for use in nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons.
The co-signatories “support the broad conclusions drawn in the article ‘Key role for nuclear energy in global biodiversity conservation’, published in Conservation Biology.” The open letter states: “Brook and Bradshaw argue that the full gamut of electricity-generation sources − including nuclear power − must be deployed to replace the burning of fossil fuels, if we are to have any chance of mitigating severe climate change.”
So, here’s my open letter in response to the open letter initiated by Brook and Bradshaw:
– – –
Dear conservation scientists, Continue reading
USA pressure forces Auzstralia’s climate denialist PM to make one tiny concession on Climate Change, at the G20
Government resists calls for climate change to be listed as a major agenda item, but agrees to include in final communique Australia has reluctantly conceded that climate change can be included in a single brief paragraph of the G20 leaders’ communique after heavy lobbying by the US and European nations.
The government had resisted any discussion of climate at the Brisbane meeting on the grounds that the G20 is primarily an economic forum, but other nations argued leaders’ agreements at meetings like the G20 are crucial to build momentum towards a successful international deal at the United Nations conference on climate change in Paris next year.
The final wording of the leaders’ statement after the meeting is still being finalised but it is believed to simply recommit to addressing climate change through UN processes.
The outcome – and Australia’s resistance – have been attacked by the leading climate economist Lord Nicholas Stern, who has written for Guardian Australia that the latest “synthesis” report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should be “high on the agenda” for the G20 meeting.
“The G20 is the most effective forum for the discussion of the growth story of the future, the transition to the low-carbon economy. Yet the local politics of a country of less than 25 million is being allowed to prevent essential strategic discussions of an issue that is of fundamental importance to the prosperity and well-being of the world’s population of 7 billion people,” he writes.
Australia has agreed the G20 should discuss climate-related issues as part of its deliberations on energy efficiency, but this also appears to be wrapped up in a general commitment that countries consider taking action in the future on some of a long list of areas where energy efficiency improvements might be made……
In a special “message” about the G20 release on Sunday, Tony Abbott also did not mention climate change……..
US president Barack Obama’s international adviser, Caroline Atkinson, has insisted publicly that leaders around the table at the G20 will raise climate change. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/02/g20-australia-makes-token-concession-on-climate-change-after-us-lobbying
Coal exports a killer for thousands’, says ANU academic Elizabeth Hanna Sid Maher THE AUSTRALIAN NOVEMBER 04, 2014 TONY Abbott’s declaration that coal is good for humanity has been attacked by Australian National University academic Elizabeth Hanna, who warns thousands of people will be sentenced to death if Australia keeps exporting it.
Dr Hanna, whose research was included in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, predicted Australia faced days hotter than 50C within 10 or 15 years under continuing global warming and this would dramatically increase the number of heat-related deaths.
If that happens, “we are at risk of mass-death events in Australia, similar to the death tolls due to extreme heat overseas’’, she said.
“In 2003, 70,000 people died in Europe and 55,000 died in Russia in 2010 due to extreme heat.”
Asked on Radio National about the Prime Minister’s support for coal, Dr Hanna said that Mr Abbott’s government was “captive to the vested interests” and eventually would be held to account. “Now if they continue to ignore this message they are sentencing thousands and thousands to their deaths,” she said.
Dr Hanna, the president of the Climate and Health Alliance, in a following interview with The Australian, stood by her comments and went further:…….http://m.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/coal-exports-a-killer-for-thousands-says-anu-academic-elizabeth-hanna/story-e6frg6xf-1227111379081
http://www.pozible.com/project/187985 The story of the project At the ANFA (Australia
Nuclear Free Alliance) meeting in Oct 2014 Indigenous Elders called for documentation of the health effects from the Maralinga and other atomic bomb tests in the 1950’s and 1960’s. See https://ausnukefreealliance.wordpress.com for the meeting statement.
Permission was never sort from the Aboriginal nations.
“Just remember that the fallout at Maralinga affected the whole lot of us. Black, white, brindle; we all breathe the same air, and we’re all being affected in various ways, even though that happened a long time ago. It’s still around.” Sue Coleman-Haseldine (Kokatha Mula – Ceduna)
From 1952 to 1963 atomic testing covered vast areas of South Australia including Maralinga and Emu Fields test sites.
In November 2014 there will be a 3 week road trip to archive the stories of the people from Arabuna, Walitina, Ceduna, and Yalata country to produce film, audio and digital documentaries. We will begin a data base of the families affected, the geographical distributions of fall out and detrimental health repercussions of these unconsented tests.
Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause, and in their uniquely persistent, spreading, genetically damaging radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons.
For more information on nuclear weapons, including an article on Yami Lester, one of the survivors of the nuclear tests in South Australia, see http://www.icanw.org/au/
Many Aboriginal people in South Australia still rely on bush foods – plants and animals sourced from land that still is contaminated. The possibility of bioaccumulation is very real. Certainly the stories of early death from cancer, thyroid disease and congenital deformities are continuing.
“I’ve lost a lot of my family members through early death – and a lot of it was through cancer, and I do blame the Maralinga fallout.”
Aunty Martha – Arabana (Lake Eyre) Contact us at: email@example.com
Brisbane G20: Airport vetoes #onmyagenda climate change billboard, Brisbane Times November 3, 2014 Tony Moore brisbanetimes.com.au senior reporter Brisbane Airport Corporation has vetoed a “political” billboard asking for climate change to be added to this month’s G20 conference.
The billboard – backed by nine national and international conservation groups – was planned for Brisbane International Airport.
A second billboard is being unveiled in Peel Street at South Brisbane on Monday.
The groups wanted world leaders and their delegates to see the billboard as they arrived in Brisbane. The #onmyagenda campaign encourages people to tweet G20 leaders asking them to include climate change as a stand-alone item on the G20 agenda.
Climate change issues have been on the agendas at eight previous eight G20 summits.
It is not on the agenda in Brisbane.
The decision comes as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Sunday released its most recent report on the impact of climate change.
The report found that the world must stop almost all greenhouse gas emissions through a phased elimination of fossil fuels by 2100 if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged companies to disinvest from fossil fuel-based industries.
In broad terms, the UN IPCC report finds there are “multiple pathways” available to keep global warming below two degrees.
All of these pathways require “substantial” cuts to greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades, and “near zero” emissions by the end of the century, the report’s authors concluded.
BAC told Fairfax Media the billboards were rejected last Wednesday because they were deemed to be “political”.http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/brisbane-g20/brisbane-g20-airport-vetoes-onmyagenda-climate-change-billboard-20141103-11fzdm.html#ixzz3I9Xt6bP9
Commandos and Black Hawk helicopters stage operations in Brisbane CBD as G20 security ramps up http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-03/g20-security-ramps-up/5861514 By Francis Tapim G20 security preparations are ramping up in Brisbane, as commandos and Black Hawk helicopters flooded the Eagle Street Pier area in a counter-terrorism training operation last night.
Around 50 personnel dressed like commandos, armed with semi automatic rifles and wearing body armour staged the training exercise on Sunday.
Courier Mail photographer Marc Robertson stumbled on the operation, and said there were four helicopters “only a few feet from the buildings”.
“I counted about 50 blokes wearing paramilitary uniforms, combat pants, and wearing body armour carrying full automatic weapons,” he said.
“They are not wearing any insignia at all… there was a lot of action in amongst the buildings.
There was no official information about the operation, but Queensland police confirmed they had been assisting with traffic control for a G20 training exercise in the CBD.
Meanwhile, the RAAF said the public would notice increased activity in the skies over south-east Queensland in the lead-up to the summit.
It said fighter jets, Black Hawk helicopters and surveillance planes would increase patrols, and conduct training exercises. Commander of ADF support to the G20 Major General Stuart Smith said the training period would allow the military to sharpen their response skills.
Patrick Moore, fossil fuel and nuclear mercenary, tours Australia, courtesy of front group Galileo Movement
Moore’s trip to Australia has been financed through the climate science denial organisation the Galileo Movement.
Moore is almost always described as a co-founder of Greenpeace, despite Greenpeace itself contesting that he wasn’t a co-founder.
An archive of Moore’s CV shows his work for corporations and organisations in logging, pulp and paper and mining. He has also been an advocate for the nuclear energy industry.
Climate Science Denialist Patrick Moore Tours Australia After Comparing Students to the Taliban http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/10/23/climate-science-denialist-patrick-moore-tours-australia-after-comparing-students-taliban#disqus_thread Canadian climate science denialist Patrick Moore is at the beginning of a tour around Australia speaking to audiences across the country.
But here’s a warning.
If you do find yourself in the audience and don’t want to be compared to the “Taliban” then don’t even think about walking out in protest.
Less than two weeks before flying to Australia, Moore spoke on the campus of Amherst Collegein Massachusetts.
When members of the college’s environmental group decided they had heard enough and walked, Moore said they had a “Taliban mindset”.
When he was later asked to apologise, a report in the Amherst College student newspaper says Moore instead chose to double-down on his remark.
“Fifty people walk out, and I say that’s a pretty Taliban thing to do,” Moore is reported to have said, characterizing the behavior of the young students to that of the fundamentalist regime that massacred thousands and committed brutal repression of women.
Who is Patrick Moore?
Moore has no scientific credibility on climate change and has never published a scientific paper on the issue.
Yet Moore claims there is “no scientific proof” that humans are causing global warming and that “throwing bones on the ground” would have a better predictive ability than most climate models.
His opinion on the science runs against all the major national science academies in the world and about 97 per cent of all the peer reviewed studies on climate change carried out since the early 1990s. Continue reading
THE FORGOTTEN COUP Little Darwin, John Pilger 24 Oct 14 – How America and Britain crushed the government of Australia Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.
Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.
Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor Party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain’s colonisation of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent’s vast natural wealth. …………………….
US diplomatic cables published last year by WikiLeaks disclose the names of leading figures in both main parties, including a future prime minister and foreign minister, as Washington’s informants during the Whitlam years……….Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” the prime minister warned the US ambassador, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”.
Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House… a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion.”
Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were de-coded by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was Christopher Boyce, a young man troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally”. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr”…………………..
The Americans and British worked together. In 1975, Whitlam discovered that Britain’s MI6 was operating against his government. “The Brits were actually decoding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office,” he said later. One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told me, “We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans.” In the 1980s, senior CIA officers revealed that the “Whitlam problem” had been discussed “with urgency” by the CIA’s director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield. A deputy director of the CIA said: “Kerr did what he was told to do.”…………………
On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.http://littledarwin.blogspot.com.au/
Whitlam, the CIA and Nugan Hand http://nuganhand.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/whitlam-the-cia-and-nugan-hand/ November 11: Coup? What coup? [Green Left Weekly], November 21, 2010 By John Jiggens“………Lest we forget.
Former Australian prime ministers Robert Menzies, Howard Holt, John Gorton, Bob Hawke and John Howard all compliantly sent Australian troops to fight US wars. But in the early 1970s, Whitlam’s government had the courage to bring Australian soldiers home from the US war in Vietnam.
For this audacious action, Labor would never be forgiven by then-US president Richard Nixon, the CIA, Rupert Murdoch, the CIA, and corrupt conservative premiers Bob Askin (NSW) and Joe Bjelke-Petersen (Queensland) — who all hated Whitlam as though he were Che Guevara.
Whitlam’s election in 1972 began a short-lived era in which the stated aims of the new Labor government were to promote equality and involve the people in decision-making processes.
Within two weeks of Whitlam’s election, conscription was abolished and draft resisters released from jail. Voting rights were extended to all Australians over 18, and university fees abolished.
Whitlam’s youth constituency also gained community radio stations, and the Whitlam government intended to decriminalise marijuana. Aborigines were granted land rights in the Northern Territory.
Whitlam was less subservient than his Liberal predecessors to Washington’s foreign policy directions. He took a more critical line in foreign policy, condemning Nixon’s 1972 bombing offensive against North Vietnam and warned he might draw Indonesia and Japan into protests against the bombing.
The People’s Republic of China was recognised and the Whitlam government spoke up in the United Nations for Palestinian rights. The French were condemned for testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific, and refugees fleeing the CIA-backed coup in Chile were welcomed.
Nixon and the CIA found such independence intolerable. After Whitlam was re-elected in 1974, and Jim Cairns became his deputy, Nixon ordered the CIA to review US policy towards Australia. Although the CIA’s response to Nixon has never been released, it seems it began a covert operation to destabilise the Whitlam government began then.
The puppet masters who led the coup were Ted Shackley and Marshal Green. Nixon appointed Green as US Ambassador to Australia in 1973. Nick-named “the coup-master”, Green had been involved in several countries where the CIA had masterminded coups, such as Indonesia (1965) and Cambodia (1970).
Green’s goals were to maintain US bases in Australia and to protect US economic interests.
Green let it be known that if the Labor government honoured one of its key election pledges to reclaiming ownership of oil refineries and mining industries, the US would respond. Green carefully cultivated the Fairfax, Murdoch and Packer dynasties that controlled the Australian media.
Ted Shackley, known as the “Blond Ghost”, joined the CIA in 1951. Over the next two decades, he emerged as the agency’s “dirty tricks” specialist, directing the CIA’s campaign against Cuba and Fidel Castro’s government in 1962.
In 1966 he became Chief of Station in Laos and directed the US secret war there — earning his other nickname, “the Butcher of Laos”.
In 1971, he became head of the CIA’s Western Division (covering North and South America) where he plotted the overthrow of Allende. In 1974, Shackley became head of the Eastern Division of the CIA, covering Asia and Australia.
Shackley’s speciality was financing black operations through the drug trade and he learned the dark art of running drug armies during the secret war in Laos. One of his foot soldiers in Laos was Michael Hand, co-founder of the Nugan Hand bank.
Michael Hand helped forge documents used by the media to discredit the Whirtlam government, while his partner Frank Nugan was the conduit for CIA money to the Liberal Party. Millions of dollars flowed to the conservative parties via Nugan Hand.
Shackley played a key role in the security crisis of November 1975, which revolved around the US military base at Pine Gap. Whitlam had threatened that if the US tried to “bounce” his government, he would look at the presence of US bases in Australia.
The lease for Pine Gap was due for renewal in December 1975. On 10 November 1975, the day before Whitlam was sacked, Shackley sent an extraordinary cable from the CIA to ASIO’s director general, threatening to remove ASIO from the British-US intelligence agreement because he considered Whitlam a security threat.
The cable was published by the Financial Review in 1977 and has been widely reprinted. It shows Shackley’s involvement in the security crisis.
Shackley was furious that Whitlam had accused the CIA of funding the opposition conservative parties and had claimed CIA money was being used to influence domestic Australian politics. In particular, Whitlam was asking questions about the close relationship between Richard Stallings, who ran the so-called joint facility at Pine Gap, and National Party leader Doug Anthony.
“The CIA has grave concerns as to where this type of public discussion may lead”, Shackley’s cable said.
In his 1977 speech calling for a royal commission into the activities of the CIA in Australia, Whitlam called Shackley’s cable “a clear example of the attempted deception of the Australian Government by the American intelligence community … The message was offensive in tone, deceitful in intent and sinister in its implications.”
For the Australian media, the message of Remembrance Day 2010 was clear: sleeping dogs must be allowed to lie. There could be nothing nobler to aspire to than the service of our imperial overlords, and to remind the Australian people that these imperial overlords had subverted a democratically elected government was well off message.
[John Jiggens has been involved in civil liberties and anti-corruption campaigning for many years. He is the author of a number of books, including the recently released The Killer Cop & the Murder of Donald Mackay, about the drug trade, Nugen Hand Bank and the overthrow of the Whitlam government.]
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