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Nobel prize winner Beatrice Fihn urges Australia to join the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, as public support for it grows

Australian government urged to heed public support for treaty banning nuclear weapons. Nobel prize-winning anti-nuclear campaigner Beatrice Fihn says ‘change is not only possible, it’s inevitable’    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/may/06/australian-government-urged-to-heed-public-support-for-treaty-banning-nuclear-weaponsDaniel Hurst Foreign affairs and defence correspondent@danielhurstbne Thu 6 May 2021

The Australian government is being urged to rethink its opposition to a new international treaty banning nuclear weapons, with a leading campaigner warning of the “indiscriminate destructiveness” of such arms.

Beatrice Fihn, the head of the Nobel prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican), will use a speech in Tasmania on Thursday to implore the government to heed strong public support for joining the treaty.

“Change is not only possible; it’s inevitable,” Fihn will say when she presents the annual Red Cross Oration at the University of Tasmania.

The Australian government has not joined the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a relatively new agreement that requires parties not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.

So far, the treaty has been signed by 86 countries, of which 54 have formally ratified it – but it has been snubbed by the nuclear weapons states including the US, Russia and China.

“Australia does not support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Wednesday.

The Australian government argues the new treaty “would not eliminate a single nuclear weapon” because none of the nuclear weapons states have signed it and because it “ignores the realities of the global security environment”.

The government also says the treaty would be inconsistent with its US alliance obligations. However, campaigners point out that several US allies, such as New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines, have already ratified the treaty.

Fihn, who is based in Geneva and will be addressing the University of Tasmania via video link, will call on the government to act on the “strong and growing support that exists in Australia for this crucial new piece of international law”.

According to prepared remarks provided to Guardian Australia in advance, she will describe the treaty as an “incredible step forward towards a world without nuclear weapons”.

Fihn will say the countries that have joined the treaty are “leading the way forward to a world without nuclear weapons”.

“Meanwhile, in countries that have not yet joined the treaty, including Australia, people are speaking up against nuclear weapons and calling on their countries to join,” she will say.

“Cities around the world, including Berlin, Paris and Washington DC are adopting resolutions calling on their governments to join. In fact, the very first city to sign our Cities Appeal was Melbourne, followed soon after by Sydney – and we’re delighted that the City of Hobart is also on board.”

Polling commissioned by Greenpeace in 2017 found 72.7% of 1,669 Australians surveyed said they supported a ban on nuclear weapons as a step towards the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

“From Australia to Canada, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, polls show that the majority of people want their government to join,” Fihn will say.

“Thousands of parliamentarians have pledged to work to bring their respective countries on board. In Australia, 88 of the current members of parliament have taken Ican’s pledge.”

The Ican pledge commits parliamentarians “to work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by our respective countries”.

The federal MPs and senators who have signed up are mostly Labor politicians, including the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, who has been campaigning against nuclear weapons since early in his political career.

The list also includes the Greens leader, Adam Bandt, and crossbenchers. The Liberal National party MP for Flynn in central Queensland, Ken O’Dowd, has also signed up.

In Thursday’s speech, Fihn will also emphasise the need to “amplify the voices of First Nations peoples in Australia and the Pacific who continue to suffer the horrendous impacts of nuclear tests carried out on their lands and in their waters by the United Kingdom, the United States and France”.

More than 75 years after the US bombing of the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945, she says, nuclear-armed states are spending billions of dollars each year to build new weapons and to keep the 13,000 existing weapons.

But Fihn says nuclear-armed states “do not prepare for what comes next, after the bombs are dropped”, citing reports that about 80% of hospitals were destroyed in Hiroshima. Out of 300 doctors in the city, 270 died or were injured; out of 1,780 nurses, 1,654 were killed or injured.

“They do not prepare for the hundreds of thousands of burn victims, for the blasted hospitals, for the injured and dying medical professionals left to heal an entire city,” Fihn says.

“The trauma of overwhelmed hospitals and overburdened doctors and nurses around the world who are struggling to meet the needs of patients during the Covid-19 pandemic shows just how impossible it would be for medical infrastructure to respond to even one nuclear weapon detonation.” The Australian government and other non-signatories are being encouraged to send officials to attend, as observers, the first meeting of parties in Vienna early next year.

Guardian Australia understands Australia will consider attendance closer to the event.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

French nuclear giant EDF unveils first wind and battery project in Australia — RenewEconomy

French nuclear giant EDF buys 280MW wind project in central Queensland, the first of a major pipeline of wind, solar and storage projects in Australia. The post French nuclear giant EDF unveils first wind and battery project in Australia appeared first on RenewEconomy.

French nuclear giant EDF unveils first wind and battery project in Australia — RenewEconomy

May 3, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, France, renewable | Leave a comment

Double standards on radioactive waste disposal in Australia

This is very interesting. They say it’s ”low leve” – presumably ”safe”. Yet for the residents of a posh Sydney suburb, its worth a century-long fight to get it removed – and sent to America !! Makes you see why the residents of Lucas Heights , – now called Bardon Ridge – might be keen to have their much higher-level radioactive trash foisted on distant rural Kimba, South Australia

Hunters Hill radioactive waste to be removed  sent to United States  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-30/hunters-hill-radioactive-waste-to-be-removed-sent-to-us/1001
BRani Hayman  1 May 21,

Key points:

  • The land was the former site of the Radium Hill refinery, which closed in 1915
  • The removal will begin in the coming weeks and take 12 months
  • Melinda Pavey said the issue had taken a long time to resolve because it was “complicated”

Several properties on Nelson Parade at Hunters Hill were built on land contaminated by a former uranium processing site, which closed in 1915. 

The area was also occupied by a carbolic acid plant until the early 1900s and a tin smelter until the 1960s.

Residents have spent decades fighting for the state government to remove the affected soil.

Finally, their calls have been heard, with the waste due to be excavated and sent to the United States.

Philippa Clark from the Nelson Parade Action Group said she was pleased the issued had finally been resolved.

“This is the way you deal with this kind of contamination and the best way possible for us and the environment and future generations,” she said.

The NSW government said the process would begin in the next few weeks and was expected to take 12 months. 

The Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the health and safety of the community would be the main priority during site remediation works and the transportation of the material.

“The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) will supervise the excavation and packing of the contaminated material into sealed bags and containers prior to transport to the USA,” she said.

While there is a sense of relief within the community, the decades-long battle has put strain on the affected residents.

When asked why it has taken so long to find a solution, Ms Pavey said: “Because it was complicated.”

A parliamentary committee in 2008 called for a comprehensive remediation plan for the site and in 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a management order to Property NSW to commence the works — although it said the development consent still had not been issued.

A plan to move the contaminated material to Kemps Creek in Sydney’s west was also abandoned in 2014 following community backlash.

The Mayor of Hunters Hill, Ross Williams, said the residents were looking forward to the area being rehabilitated.

“It’s been a health issue and a legacy issue for all that time.

It’s low-level radioactive material and it came from an industry that was essential [really?] back in those days,” he said.

“In modern times the environmental consequences wouldn’t have been tolerated.

“Once it’s totally cleaned up it will be available for any use.”

Ms Clark is pleased with the outcome despite how long it has taken.

“The government has listened to what we all wanted and what the parliamentary inquiry recommendation had been,” she said.

“We overwhelmingly just want to see ordinary houses and [go] back to [living in] an ordinary street, but without the stigma and without the constant anxiety that we’ve had to live with.”

May 1, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

Australian government plan for a nuclear waste dump tears apart a small country community

Kimba: A town torn apart by nuclear waste proposal  https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/kimba-a-town-torn-apart-by-nuclear-waste-proposal-,15027 By Noel Wauchope | 28 April 2021 

Bogged down in the Australian Senate is a Bill that selects a farming area, Napandee, near Kimba, South Australia, as Australia’s national radioactive waste dump. If that Bill becomes law, that matter will be settled, and there will be no possibility of legal appeal against it.

From a small close-knit community, in a top Australian wheat-growing area, Kimba has become a place of tension. In 2016, a farmer, Jeff Baldock, offered part of his land, Napandee, for the radioactive waste facility, and the offer was accepted by the Federal Government. From then on, the debate has raged in the area, and beyond it. It’s not always a reasonable discussion, and social media has made this worse. Now, years later, there’s no sign of a resolution to this matter. Residents try to get on with their lives, in this uneasy situation. Some people have left town, some are not speaking to former acquaintances. Opinions are black and white, or the subject is avoided completely  – there’s no middle ground.

The Federal government’s plan for a nuclear waste facility at Kimba hit the Aboriginal community of the Eyre Peninsula hardest. The Barngarla people, Native Title holders, were excluded from the government’s ”community ballot” held in 2019. Voting was restricted to those living within the Kimba local council area . The Barngarla held their own ballot, resulting in a unanimous ”No” to the dump. Nevertheless, some Aboriginal people supported the plan, and this dispute has divided families.

  ”As an ally and advocate for Indigenous peoples for more than 30 years, I was appalled at the terrible toll fighting the nuclear waste facility took upon my friends.  I watched one of my closest friends visibly age as she surrendered her art practice and her enjoyment of life to dedicate herself to challenging it. ”

 – Felicity Wright – Submission to Senate Committee on National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions] Submission 98

The non indigenous community has been equally affected. There were two community ballots held, 2017 and 2019. While in both cases the result favoured the nuclear waste facility, it was far from overwhelming support. At the final ballot, 824 people were eligible to vote: of 735 votes accepted, 452 said “Yes”.

The plan for the facility was pitched to the community as a medical necessity for Australia. It was an attractive idea. On the one hand Kimba could proudly provide a service to the nation. On the other hand, it was bringing a new industry, and new jobs, to a sometimes drought-stricken agricultural area. More immediate benefits: the farmer who volunteered land would be paid at 4 times the market value. A Community Benefits scheme brings up to $11 million to the town, over the next 4 years, and $20 million when the dump is up and running.

The plan was greeted with enthusiasm from some residents. They relied on the copious information provided by the the Department of Industry Innovation and Science, and by the former Resources Minister, Matt Canavan. When it was pointed out to Mr Canavan that some residents close to the selected site were ineligiblt to vote, he promised that their views would be included. But then he left that Ministry.

The Industry Department has controlled the information reaching the community, and has provided the visiting experts. There has not been any debate provided, with opposing views. Still, there is strong opposition, led by farmers. The group No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SAis optimistic thar Kimba, despite the prevailing mood of anxiety, can survive and go ahead, without the waste facility.

The group, of 5 years’ standing has researched the issue, and sent submissions to Parliament. Radioactive waste is not recommended for agricultural land. There are concerns about possibile environmental pollution, damage to groundwater. Perception of the area is important, and the presence of a radioactive waste dump could be very damaging to its clean, green image .

Community understanding is at the heart of this problem. The current Resources Minister, Keith Pitt, enthused about the facility, describing it to the Nationals Federal Conference on 27 March 2021 as “a low-level nuclear waste facility to house the by-products from cancer treatment.”

That’s a misleading statement. The waste proposed to be taken to the nuclear dump is waste generated from the industrial production of these isotopes. – not their usage!

There is uncertainty about the toxicity of the nuclear wastes to be placed in “interim storage” at Napandee, with the classification of these wastes as “intermediate level”, but the same wastes classified in Fance as “high level”.

The Kimba community remains troubled, as this nuclear waste problem remains paralysed in the Senate. Freedom of Information documents revealed that the government is well aware of mental health problems likely to be caused by the issue.

Minister Pitt has the option of clearly designating Napandee as the site for the nuclear waste dump. That could solve the problem, and certainly bring clarity to the Kimba community. But, the hitch for the government is that if he does this, it will be possible for opponents of the plan to take legal action against it.

April 29, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | 1 Comment

Australian-Chinese company Greenland Minerals to be thwarted in its bid for uranium and rare earth mining in Greenland.

Telegraph 17th April 2021, Overlooking the small fishing town of Narsaq, next to painted houses and slow-moving icebergs, lies one the last great untapped deposits of rare earth materials. About a quarter of the world’s rare earth minerals are thought to be found here, deep in the southern fjords of Greenland, providing key ingredients needed to build everything from wind turbines or electric vehicles. These deposits are crucial to Britain’s dream of developing the technologies required to become a green economy while reducing our rare-earth reliance on China.

But one man could be about to scupper the UK’s plans. Múte Bourup Egede, the 34-year-old leader of the Left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit party, won a snap election in Greenland lastweek. At the heart of his election campaign was a pledge to halt the Kvanefjeld project by Greenland Minerals, an Australian company with Chinese ownership.

But for Greenlanders, strategic relevance was eclipsed by concerns surrounding the mine’s uranium contents. The territory’s anxieties around radioactive materials can be traced back to the 1968 Thule plane crash, when a US plane carrying nuclear bombs crashed into the sea ice in Greenland’s north. Even though the nuclear material did not
detonate, as part of clean up efforts the US Air Force collected 1.6m gallons of contaminated snow.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2021/04/17/battle-rare-earth-minerals-turns-radioactive/

April 19, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, AUSTRALIA, politics, Uranium | Leave a comment

Unrelenting dishonest propaganda leading us to war against China


Not sleepwalking but marching with eyes wide open to war. Independent Australia, By William Briggs | 13 April 2021  
While the USA moves towards war, anti-China rhetoric grows on a daily basis and the idea of war is being sold as the “right” thing, writes Dr William Briggs.

A LIE told often enough can become accepted, but it can never be the truth. China has been declared a threat to all that we hold dear, but it is just not so. China, for all its faults, is not a threat and nor is it practising genocide!

The Uyghur genocide claim gets bigger as each day dawns. Peter Hartcher, in The Age on the 10 April, writes of this genocide and of ‘the evil genius of the system of genocide with Chinese characteristics.’ The “genius” according to Hartcher is that the Chinese are allowing the Uyghurs to live. What a clever and cunning genocide that is!

The plight of the Uyghurs is but the latest lurid episode in a sustained and enormously successful push to demonise China in the eyes of the world. The motivations behind this are simple enough. China’s economic star is rising and America’s best days are behind it.

The world is certainly on the edge of a precipice. There is a broad acceptance, despite an embarrassing lack of evidence, that China is an enemy and, as an enemy, a threat. Nobody is ever eager for war, but people have often enough been persuaded that war is an acceptable option. This is particularly so when an existential threat exists, or in this case, is manufactured. The potential for war, justifications for it and warnings of how it might almost “accidentally” become a reality have come to dominate thought……..

If the USA goes to war with China, it will not be by chance. It has been meticulously planned, costed, budgeted for and the weapons, including “low-yield” nuclear weapons, have been manufactured and deployed by the USA. The world should be aghast at such blatant preparations, but it is not. Those who would take us to war need first to convince us that we have no option, that we are protecting freedom, that we are standing for justice and that a threat exists that the enemy is engaging in genocide.

In the space of just a decade, the people have come to accept this. China has gone from economic saviour of the world to arch enemy. Governments begin the process but could not be expected to convince the people alone. Television and print media: editorials, opinion pieces from leading journalists and international editors, columnists and experts, have all played a decisive role.

A recent poll by the Lowy Institute showed that in 2018, 52 per cent of Australians believed that China would act responsibly in the world. Two very short years later and that figure had dropped to just 23 per cent! The polls are then used by the same anti-China crusaders to prove that a problem exists. They are happy to ignore the effect that a daily barrage of anti-China campaigning can do and how it can shift people’s views…….

The most recent reporting of the treatment of the Uyghurs is that the Chinese are engaged in a campaign of genocide. Genocide was practised in Nazi Germany, in Kampuchea, in Rwanda, in Armenia, in Australia, but to suggest that the Chinese behaviour towards the Uyghurs, while quite possibly repressive, even reprehensible, is genocidal is ludicrous.

There has been discrimination and persecution. Life, for the Uyghurs, has never been easy. However, the West paid little or no attention to these people until about the time that the USA began to talk of “containing” China. It was, for the USA, a fortuitous discovery.

The Chinese, at the end of the 20th Century, waged a campaign against Islamist separatist groups that had become active within the Uyghur population. Violence met violence and conditions worsened for the Uyghurs. None of this concerned Washington. What happened to make things change so dramatically? The Chinese, in all likelihood, did step up repressions but the USA have manipulated events to suit a specific propaganda purpose.

Uyghur stories become more and more horrifying. The Western media was once content to rail against the existence of “re-education” camps. Then it was reports of campaigns of mass rape and then mass sterilisation programs. This morphed into claims of social genocide. Reports of forced labour emerged and evolved into stories of slave labour. The term “social” genocide came into use but has now been shortened to genocide.

This ramping up of rhetoric has one real purpose. China must, at every turn, be shown to be a malignant force. The editorialists, international editors, columnists and journalists have become a willing and shameless weapon in this campaign. If it all ends in war it will not be a chance thing. The world will not be “sleepwalking”. 

Nobody wants war but we are being prepared for it. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/not-sleepwalking-but-marching-with-eyes-wide-open-to-war,14982#.YHZ_2MRzAdY.twitter

April 15, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

There’s a long and devastating history behind the proposal for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia,

There’s a long and devastating history behind the proposal for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, https://theconversation.com/theres-a-long-and-devastating-history-behind-the-proposal-for-a-nuclear-waste-dump-in-south-australia-158615,,,Katherine Aigner

PhD candidate Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy, Australian National University   On Saturday at the Adelaide Festival there will be a public showing of Australian Atomic Confessions, a documentary I co-directed about the tragic and long-lasting effects of the atomic weapons testing carried out by Britain in South Australia in the 1950s.

Amid works from 20 artists reflecting on nuclear trauma as experienced by Indigenous peoples, the discussion that follows will focus on the ways in which attempts at nuclear colonisation have continued in South Australia, and are continuing right now.

For the fourth time in 23 years South Australia is being targeted for a nuclear waste dump — this time at Napandee, a property near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula.

The plan is likely to require the use of a port, most probably Whyalla, to receive reprocessed nuclear fuel waste by sea from France, the United Kingdom and the Lucas Heights reactor in NSW via Port Kembla.

The waste will be stored above ground in concrete vaults which will be filled for 100 years and monitored for a further 200-300 years.

Nuclear waste can remain hazardous for thousands of years.

The Barngarla people hold cultural rights and responsibilities for the region but were excluded from a government poll about the proposal because they were not deemed to be local residents.

The 734 locals who took part backed the proposal 61.6%

The Barngarla people are far from the first in South Australia to be excluded from a say about proposals to spread nuclear materials over their land.

It’s not the first such proposal

Australian Atomic Confessions explores the legacy of the nine British atomic bombs dropped on Maralinga and Emu Field in the 1950s, and the “minor trials” that continued into the 1960s.

After failed clean-ups by the British in the 1960s followed by a Royal Commission in the 1980s, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency conducted a cleanup between 1995 and 2000 it assures us was successful to the point where most of the contaminated areas at Maralinga fall well within the clean-up standards applied for unrestricted land use.

But experts remain sceptical, given the near-surface burial of plutonium and contamination remaining across a wide area.

The Tjarutja people are allowed to move through and hunt at the Maralinga site with their radiation levels monitored but are not permitted to camp there permanently.

We are told that what happened in the 1950s wouldn’t happen today, in relation to the proposed nuclear waste dump. But it wasn’t our enemies who bombed us at Maralinga and Emu Field, it was an ally.

In exchange for allowing 12 British atomic bombs tests (including those at the Monte Bello Islands off the northern coast of Western Australia), the Australian government got access to nuclear technology which it used to build the Lucas Heights reactor.

It is primarily the nuclear waste produced from six decades of operations at Lucas Heights that would be dumped onto Barngarla country in South Australia, closing the links in this nuclear trauma chain.


Nuclear bombs and nuclear waste disproportionately impact Indigenous peoples, yet Australia still has not signed up to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The declaration requires states to ensure there is no storage or disposal of hazardous materials on the lands of Indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.

Nor has Australia shown any willingness to sign up to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which came into force on January 22 this year after a lobbying campaign that began in Australia and was endorsed by Indigenous leaders worldwide.

Aboriginal people have long known the dangers of uranium on their country.

Water from the Great Artesian Basin has been extracted by the Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine for decades. Fragile mound springs of spiritual significance to the Arabunna People are disappearing, posing questions for the mining giant BHP to answer.

Australian uranium from BHP Olympic Dam and the now-closed Rio Tinto Ranger mine fuelled the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Senior traditional custodian of the Mirrar people, Yvonne Margarula, wrote to the United Nations in 2013 saying her people feel responsible for what happened.

It is likely that the radiation problems at Fukushima are, at least in part, fuelled by uranium derived from our traditional lands. This makes us feel very sad.

The Irati Wanti (The Poison, Leave It!) campaign led by a council of senior Aboriginal women helped defeat earlier proposals for nuclear waste dumps between 1998 and 2004.

There remains strong Indigenous opposition to the current nuclear waste proposal.

Over the past five years, farmers have joined with the Barngarla People to protect their communities and the health of the land.

In 2020 the government introduced into the Senate a bill that would do away with traditional owners’ and farmers’ rights to judicial reviews and procedural fairness in regard to the use of land for the facility.

Resources Minister Keith Pitt is deciding how to proceed.

April 10, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, history, indigenous issues, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima 

Mirarr senior Traditional Owner Yvonne Margarula ‒ on whose land in the Northern Territory Rio Tinto’s Ranger mine operated ‒ said she was “deeply saddened” that uranium from Ranger was exported to Japanese nuclear companies including TEPCO.
overseas suppliers who turned a blind eye to unacceptable nuclear risks in Japan have largely escaped scrutiny or blame. Australia’s uranium industry is a case in point.
The mining companies have failed to take any responsibility for the catastrophic impacts on Japanese society that resulted from the use of their uranium in a poorly managed, poorly regulated industry.
Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima  https://theecologist.org/2021/mar/09/australian-uranium-fuelled-fukushima, Dr Jim Green, David Noonan 9th March 2021
The Fukushima disaster was fuelled by Australian uranium but lessons were not learned and the industry continues to fuel global nuclear insecurity with irresponsible uranium export policies.
Fukushima was an avoidable disaster, fuelled by Australian uranium and the hubris and profiteering of Japan’s nuclear industry in collusion with compromised regulators and captured bureaucracies.

The Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission ‒ established by the Japanese Parliament ‒ concluded in its 2012 report that the accident was “a profoundly man-made disaster that could and should have been foreseen and prevented” if not for “a multitude of errors and wilful negligence that left the Fukushima plant unprepared for the events of March 11”.

The accident was the result of “collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO”, the commission found.

Mining

But overseas suppliers who turned a blind eye to unacceptable nuclear risks in Japan have largely escaped scrutiny or blame. Australia’s uranium industry is a case in point.

Yuki Tanaka from the Hiroshima Peace Institute noted: “Japan is not the sole nation responsible for the current nuclear disaster. From the manufacture of the reactors by GE to provision of uranium by Canada, Australia and others, many nations are implicated.”

There is no dispute that Australian uranium was used in the Fukushima reactors. The mining companies won’t acknowledge that fact — instead they hide behind claims of “commercial confidentiality” and “security”.

But the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office acknowledged in October 2011 that: “We can confirm that Australian obligated nuclear material was at the Fukushima Daiichi site and in each of the reactors — maybe five out of six, or it could have been all of them”.

BHP and Rio Tinto, two of the world’s largest mining companies, supplied Australian uranium to TEPCO and that uranium was used to fuel Fukushima. Continue reading

March 11, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Uranium | Leave a comment

Australian federal and state governments keeping laws banning nuclear power, despite Murdoch pro nuc

Renew Economy 25th Feb 2021, State parliaments in NSW and Victoria have completed nuclear inquiries over the past two years but the governments of both states have no intention of repealing laws banning nuclear power.

The Morrison government established an inquiry into nuclear power in 2019 but made it clear that the federal ban would be retained regardless of the findings of the inquiry.

Nevertheless, supporters continue to campaign for the repeal of federal and state laws banning nuclear power. The Murdoch papers and Murdoch’s Sky News have ramped up their campaign to have those laws repealed.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/legislation-banning-nuclear-power-in-australia-should-be-retained/

February 27, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics | Leave a comment

Australian government’s brazen duplicity concerning Julian Assange

What Assange and WikiLeaks said about Australia, https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books/what-assange-and-wikileaks-said-about-australia-20210129-p56xyo.html, By Jessie Tu, February 4, 2021 He has been called “truth-telling hero”, “evil and perverted traitor”, “heroic, trickster, mythical – reviled”. Robert Manne called him the “most consequential Australian of the present time”. The new US President has called him a “high-tech terrorist”.

The protean narratives of Julian Assange, who will be 50 in July, have been brewing since 2010, when his website published “The Afghan War Diaries”, “Iraq War Logs” and “Collateral Murder”, a video showing the US military killing two Reuters employees in Iraq.

December marked 10 years since Assange has been “arbitrarily detained” in Britain, according to Felicity Ruby and Peter Cronau in their introduction to A Secret Australia – a collection of 18 essays that survey the impact WikiLeaks has had on Australia’s media landscape and the consequences of our government’s attraction towards America’s intelligence and military empire.

The potpourri of authors and thinkers includes Julian Burnside, Antony Loewenstein, Scott Ludlam and Helen Razer, who critique “the powers opposed to openness and transparency” and examine the evidence, “not the likelihoods, the probabilities, the suspicions, and assumptions” around the “subversive, technology-based publishing house”.

WikiLeaks invented a “pioneering model of journalism” – one that embodied the “contemporary spirit of resistance to imperial power”, says Richard Tanter, from the school of political and social sciences at the University of Melbourne. It brought renewed debates on free speech, digital encryption and questions around the management and protection of whistleblowers who risk their lives to expose covert, deceitful actions by governments.

The documents exposed the “brazen duplicity” of the Australian government towards its citizens and presented “off-stage alliance management conversations”, Tanter writes. They invited the layperson into the green room of the performance that is politics and international diplomacy.
WikiLeaks unmasked reports that showed governments recommending media strategies to deceive the public, demonstrating their unethically utilitarian approach to international diplomacy and governance and “enlightened the public on the dark corners of wars”, writes journalist and author Antony Loewenstein.

Assange is still in a cell at London’s Belmarsh Prison, facing an appeal by the United States in its bid to extradite him to face charges for the 2010 publications. He is continuing to be “denied adequate medical care” and “denied emergency bail in light of the COVID-19″, says Lissa Johnson, a clinical psychologist and writer for New Matilda – one of the few Australian publications that have paid genuine attention to the WikiLeaks saga.

In Australia, there’s been a “striking absence of a solid debate on WikiLeaks in the mainstream public discourse”, according to Benedetta Brevini, a journalist and media activist who insists that our concerning “lack of a thorough and sustained debate” is incomprehensible. Loewenstein calls Australia’s lack of journalistic solidarity with Assange “deeply shameful”. He says we have an “anodyne media environment” – perhaps not unsurprising, considering our highly concentrated media market, one of the most severe in the world.

Most of the essays expostulate on the same things: Assange is a journalist, not a hacker. He’s won a Walkley Award (at least six mentions of this). We have an undeniable legal obligation to him. His persecution is a “gruesome legal experiment in criminalising journalism” – a long and tortured legal process that Ludlam declares “has degenerated into an unworkable shit-show”.
The standout essays come from Guy Rundle and Helen Razer – whose amusing voice cuts through the somewhat parched tenor of cold academic-speak that lightly threads through the other essays. Her addition is a breath of fresh air in the middle of a chain of same-same arguments.

The most useful essay is Rundle’s take on the historical basis for WikiLeaks. He surveys the swirling currents of Australian history that led to its founding, identifying WikiLeaks as a continuation of political activist Albert Langer’s resistance to capital.

“We need a whole new organisation of how recent Australian history is told,” Rundle concludes, seconding Lissa Johnson’s opinion that we demand citizens who “cut across the acquiescence and consent, remove the deadbolt on the torture chamber door, turn down the music and expose what is going on inside”. This collection of polemics, though at times repetitive, takes us closer to a future where these demands no longer seem beyond reality.

A Secret Australia: Revealed by the WikiLeaks Exposes

Eds., Felicity Ruby & Peter Cronau, Monash University Publishing, $29.95

February 15, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, media, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Rupert Murdoch gets phoney Australia Day Award, thanks to fossil fuel and finance industries

Murdoch’s Australia Day award — brought to you by miners and bankers
Those who promote and profit from fossil fuels have appropriated the phoney awards handed out by the obscure Australia Day Foundation. 
https://www.crikey.com.au/2021/01/27/rupert-murdoch-australia-day-foundation/ DAVID HARDAKER, JAN 27, 2021

There’s no faulting the Australia Day awards for throwing up some real doozies but lost in the Margaret Court drama this year has been a so-called lifetime achievement award for Rupert Murdoch from the Australia Day Foundation.

On the face of it it looks to be an extraordinary decision: a prestigious honour bestowed on the media mogul whose recent hits in the United States include helping fan an insurrection against democracy via Fox News and in Australia leading the way on climate change denialism in cahoots with the Morrison government it supports.

The Australia Day Foundation, though, is not as it seems. It is a not-for-profit organisation in the UK, set up as a networking base for Australian business and high achievers. Losers need not apply.

The foundation and its awards are backed by a group of international conglomerates including mining giants BHP, Rio Tinto, Woodside and Anglo-American. Australia’s big banks, the National Australia Bank and Westpac, are also in on the act. Another leading name is CQS, the wealthy London hedge fund founded by Australian business figure Sir Michael Hintze.

Hintze is not well known in Australia, but he is at the centre of a powerful network of business and conservative UK and Australian politicians. As we reported last year he has been a force behind the climate-sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation which has given voice to the views of Tony Abbott and Cardinal George Pell.

Nominally a business outfit, the foundation also blurs the lines with government. It is sponsored by Austrade and uses Australia House, home to the Australian High Commission, in London to hand out its “Australia Day” awards to UK and Australian figures of its choosing.

This year it gave its honorary Australian of the Year in the UK award to Conservative British MP Liz Truss who promoted the cause of Abbott as a trade adviser to the UK government. Past recipients have included Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Hintze is not well known in Australia, but he is at the centre of a powerful network of business and conservative UK and Australian politicians. As we reported last year he has been a force behind the climate-sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation which has given voice to the views of Tony Abbott and Cardinal George Pell.

Nominally a business outfit, the foundation also blurs the lines with government. It is sponsored by Austrade and uses Australia House, home to the Australian High Commission, in London to hand out its “Australia Day” awards to UK and Australian figures of its choosing.

This year it gave its honorary Australian of the Year in the UK award to Conservative British MP Liz Truss who promoted the cause of Abbott as a trade adviser to the UK government. Past recipients have included Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Hintze is not well known in Australia, but he is at the centre of a powerful network of business and conservative UK and Australian politicians. As we reported last year he has been a force behind the climate-sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation which has given voice to the views of Tony Abbott and Cardinal George Pell.

Nominally a business outfit, the foundation also blurs the lines with government. It is sponsored by Austrade and uses Australia House, home to the Australian High Commission, in London to hand out its “Australia Day” awards to UK and Australian figures of its choosing.

This year it gave its honorary Australian of the Year in the UK award to Conservative British MP Liz Truss who promoted the cause of Abbott as a trade adviser to the UK government. Past recipients have included Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

 

January 28, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste: corruption in a small Australian town

Kazzi Jai, Antinuclear, 1 Jan 21, Maree Barford is the current Kimba Community Liaison Officer for the dump since 2017. She along with her husband Shaun bought the lease for the Kimba Gateway Hotel in 2014.
 – they are receiving $75 000 from the last Community Benefit Fund! ….under “Audio and visual refit of the main function room of the Kimba Gateway Hotel, to modernise and expand conferencing and event capacity for community groups and business.”
They applied for it under “Muffolphin Pty Ltd (as trustee for Barford Family Trust)”
How the F%$# does that work??
Mayor Dean Johnson IS also a personal recipient of money from the last Community Benefits Program! To the tune of $141 000 dollars in fact!! To put a new bakery in the Kimba IGA supermarket which he is owner of!

Kimba’s Maree Barford new nuclear community liaison officer, Eyre Peninsula Tribune, Kathrine Catanzariti.  AUGUST 24 2017 

A Kimba local has been given the job of liaising between the community and government on all things nuclear.

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce general manager Bruce McCleary announced on Thursday Maree Barford had been employed as community liaison officer – the first job created as a result of the community consulation on a potential National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Kimba.

The announcement was made at the opening of a new project office in Kimba.

Mrs Barford moved to Kimba in December 2014 with her husband Shaun after they bought the lease for the Kimba Gateway Hotel.

She said she applied for the job because it would be great opportunity.

Her role will be to liaise between the community and the government.

“I’ll be engaging with the community and then letting the government know what is happening in the community and their views,” Mrs Barford said.

She will start her role on Monday, working full-time from the project office.

“I think I can be the voice for the community, being the link between the town and the government.” ……

Barford would provide a permanent, local presence to help keep the community informed and involved in all activities, alongside the project team and other experts who would continue to visit Kimba……..

January 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes | Leave a comment

Australia’s environmental scientists intimidated, silenced by threats of job loss

Australia’s environmental scientists intimidated, silenced by threats of job loss, Michael West Media, by Elizabeth Minter | Jan 17, 2021 The silencing of environmental scientists, as revealed in a study late last year, profoundly damages our democracy, wastes taxpayers’ money, takes a huge personal toll, allows fake news to proliferate and short-changes the public. Elizabeth Minter reports.

“I declared the (action) unsafe. I was overruled and … was told to be silent or never have a job again.”

“We are often forbidden (from) talking about the true impacts of, say, a threatening process […] especially if the government is doing little to mitigate the threat.”

“I was directly intimidated by phone and Twitter by (a senior public servant).”

“… governments allow (industry) to treat data collected as commercial in confidence. This means experts most able to comment on the details of big mining and construction projects are hopelessly conflicted and legally gagged from discussing these projects in public.”

“(Government) staff are rewarded or penalized on the basis of complying with opinions of senior staff regardless of evidence.”

“I proposed an article in The Conversation about the impacts of mining […] The uni I worked at didn’t like the idea as they received funding from (the mining company).”

All in a day’s work

All these comments, straight from the mouths of some of Australia’s most esteemed scientists, highlight the threats faced by ecologists, conservation scientists, conservation policy makers and environmental consultants, whether they are working in government, industry or universities.

The scientists were responding to an online survey as part of a study conducted by academics Don Driscoll, Georgia Garrard, Alexander Kusmanoff, Stephen Dovers, Martine Maron, Noel Preece, Robert Pressey and Euan Ritchie. In an ironic twist, one of the research team’s initial members declined to contribute to the project for fear of losing funding and therefore their job.

As the study’s authors note, scientists self-censor information for fear of damaging their careers, losing funding or being misrepresented in the media. In others, senior managers or ministers’ officers prevented researchers from speaking truthfully on scientific matters.

This means important scientific information about environmental threats often does not reach the public or decision-makers, including government ministers. This information blackout, termed “science suppression”, can hide environmentally damaging practices and policies from public scrutiny.

Survey methodology……….

Ministers not receiving full information

Some 75% of the scientists surveyed reported having refrained from contributing to public discussion when given the opportunity – most commonly in traditional or social media. A small number self-censored conference presentations (9%) and peer-reviewed papers (7%).

For scientists working in government, the main reasons they didn’t comment was because of attitudes of senior management (82%), workplace policy (72%), a minister’s office (63%) and middle management (62%).

Fear of what would happen to their career prospects (49%) and concern about media misrepresentation (49%) also discouraged those working in government from speaking publicly.

Almost 60% of scientists working in government and 36% of scientists in industry reported that internal communications were modified…………

Critical conservation issues suppressed

The most common issue on which information was suppressed was threatened species. About half of industry and government scientists, and 28% of academics, said their commentary was constrained.

Scientists working in government also reported not being able to comment on logging and climate change…………..

The system is broken

Of those scientists who had spoken publicly about their research, 42% had been harassed or criticised for doing so. Of those, 83% believed the harassers were motivated by political or economic interests…….

Change is needed

As witnessed by the past four years of Donald Trump’s presidency, it has never been more important to ensure that the public are exposed to facts and information from trusted sources…….

The study was published late last year in Conservation Letters, a journal of the Society for Conversation Biology. https://www.michaelwest.com.au/australias-environmental-scientists-intimidated-silenced-by-threats-of-job-loss/

January 18, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties | Leave a comment

How will Entry Into Force of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty impact non weapons states parties, including Australia?

January 16, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison could stop the persecution of Australian citizen Julian Assange

January 7, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, Legal, politics international, UK, USA | Leave a comment