Let’s talk nuclear, says ex-governor Kevin Scarce THE AUSTRALIAN Verity Edwards DECEMBER 13, 2014 AFTER seven years of political silence in his role as governor of South
Archive for the ‘National’ Category
Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop using Climate Summit to further the interests of coal (and nuclear) lobbiesDecember 13, 2014
The speed at which Australia has lost the respect of the international community on global warming policy is truly embarrassing.
This decision to raid the foreign aid budget instead of committing new funds will cause a lot of pain in aid circles, coming as it does on the $7.6 billion cut in the budget, and it may not achieve Australia’s aim of buying back credibility.
While the rest of the world has declared ‘game on’ for the 2015 climate summit in Paris, Captain Abbott is doing as little as possible in the field, because he’s not playing to win for people or the planet, he’s using tactics to fix the game in favour of the fossil fuel industries at the big end of town.
Abbott’s attempt to buy relevance at climate change talks in Lima http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2014/12/11/4146692.htm CHRISTINE MILNE Tony Abbott has tried to buy his way into relevance at the international climate change conference in Lima. But it may not work.
THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT has finally caved in to international pressure and begrudgingly committed money to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help developing nations deal with the impacts of global warming.
The announcement has come only days after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop echoed Prime Minister Tony Abbott in declaring Australia would not support the GCF.
I am glad they have. But why they did so is the issue.
It is clear that they have realised that they are so far on the outer that they will have no influence in the negotiations and will not be able to weaken rules or edit texts unless they contributed in some way. (more…)
Northern Land Council accuses Senator Nigel Scullion of breaking election promise on land rights, ABC News By the National Reporting Team’s Kate Wild 11 Dec 14 Australia’s largest Aboriginal land council has accused Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Nigel Scullion of breaking a promise that the Coalition, if it won government, would not review or amend the Land Rights Act.
Holding a copy of Senator Scullion’s press release, titled No changes to NT Land Rights and dated August 14, 2013, Northern Land Council (NLC) deputy chairman John Daly accused the Minister of proposing a review of land rights legislation without the consent of traditional owners.
“Prior to him getting in as the Minister, this here says he wasn’t going to do any reviews or anything like that without the consent of traditional owners and the land council,” he said.
Really there isn’t, and hasn’t been, any conversation with Aboriginal people about the future of the Land Rights Act.Joe Morrison, NLC chief executive
“And this is just another broken promise from this government.”
The comments were made today at a full council meeting that Senator Scullion did not attend………..
NLC’s questions are ‘pressing for the nation’
NLC chief executive Joe Morrison said council members wanted to put questions to the Minister they believed were “pressing for the nation”.
These included Federal Government plans to water down the Land Rights Act, pressure on Aboriginal towns to sign 99 year leases, and the Federal Government’s use of Aboriginal money earned from mining royalties, he said.………….
He said a stand-off between the Federal Government and land councils on who administers Aboriginal land could have a negative impact on the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal Australians.
Since the Prime Minister’s announcement in October other states had shown interest in joining the review of the administration of Aboriginal land, according to Mr Morrison.
“Really there isn’t, and hasn’t been, any conversation with Aboriginal people about the future of the Land Rights Act,” he said.
“Yet again we’re going through this discourse nationally about Land Administration arrangements when we’ve continuously proved that the Land Council system is able to deliver on leases and third party interests.”
NLC ‘disappointed’ and ‘frustrated’ by Scullion no-show
Mr Daly said the full council, which had prepared a list of pressing questions, had been told the Minister would not be attending half an hour after he was due to arrive…………..
“It’s no longer good enough for the Minister and the Prime Minister to stay away.
“We need to deal with these issues now.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-11/nlc-accuses-scullion-of-breaking-election-promise-on-land-rights/5961088
Perth council to seek mandate on renewable energy for new homes, ABC News, 10 Dec 14 720 ABC Perth By Emma Wynne A Perth council is hoping to radically alter its planning scheme to require new homes to have their own energy supply.
Nedlands council, which covers some of Perth’s wealthiest suburbs, will apply to the WA Planning Commission to alter their planning scheme to require installation of onsite power generations, such as solar panels or wind power, in all new home building…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-10/perth-council-hopes-to-mandate-renewable-energy/5954842
Business groups want Government to ‘get out of the way’ of nuclear power ABC NewsBy political reporter Nick Pedley 4 Dec 2014,
The organisation’s chief executive, Nigel McBride, has welcomed the comments from senior figures within the Federal Government.
“I do welcome what is, to me, a very important sign from the Prime Minister that this Government is not closed to what could be a significant game-changer in our fight for affordable energy,” he said.
At the moment legislation bans nuclear power from becoming a reality.
Mr McBride’s view of the legislative ban is blunt.
“What we need from Government is we need governments to get out of the way,” he said.
Business SA is pushing for a debate about building a $3 billion micro reactor known as a Prism power plant designed by General Electric and Hitachi.
The plant converts used nuclear fuel rods and surplus plutonium into energy.
Mr McBride argued the proposal would pay its own way after five years.
He said the technology was safe and innovative and would also see nuclear nations pay Australia to take their spent fuel rods.
Tony Abbott welcomes nuclear energy ideas……….
Mr McBride has reassured the Prime Minister there would not be a push for government assistance.
“We’re not asking for subsidies,” he said.
“We’re asking for the Government to allow this to proceed.”
Engineers call for ‘simple legislation change’
The body that represents the nation’s engineers, Engineers Australia, has joined the call for Government to remove the legislative barriers to nuclear power.
Tony Irwin from Engineers Australia said the Prime Minister’s comments showed nuclear power was “seriously being considered”.
He also called for “simple legislation change”.
Mr Irwin said there were already regulators in place who could monitor the industry.
“We need a process to see how we’re going to change the legislation,” he said.
Mr Irwin is also the technical director of a company called SMR Nuclear Technology…………
He said it might be difficult to win support for the micro reactor because it was new technology and there was not enough regulatory approval in other nations for the Prism plant.
The Opposition’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, earlier this week dismissed nuclear power as an alternative.
“I don’t think it’s a viable option for Australia,” Ms Plibersek said.
“We know that it’s expensive.
“It takes a long time to get nuclear energy underway and in fact countries that have been relying on nuclear energy like Japan and Germany are actually retreating from the use of it.”
Senior Labor frontbencher Jenny Macklin said it was unnecessary for more nuclear energy in Australia.
She also wanted to know where the power stations would be located.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-05/governments-urged-to-embrace-nuclear-power/5945072
Christina Macpherson, 26 Nov 14 What has happened to our democracy when a truly not representative person like Jacqui Lambie can get the power to sabotage Australia’s renewable energy programme?
Jacqui Lambie, a failed trier for the Liberal party in Tasmania, was picked up as a member for Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party, and was elected to the Senate in 2013.
She got in through (a) her membership of the Clive Palmer push, and (b) on a horde of preferences from other parties, – in the disgusting and undemocratic shemozzle of preference deals.
The PUP’s Jacqui won the seat – just short of the vote of the sex industry’s Eros Foundation. All fine and dandy. The PUP pledged to vote for keeping the Renewable Energy Target.
Now we find Jacqui Lambie potentially in a position of great power – she can do deals with Tiny Abbott – ostensibly to support soldiers’ wages and conditions. All very good. I want the soldiers to have fair wages and conditions too.
But at what price? And – Jacqui’s not over-burdened with ideas of her own – who is putting the pressure on her?
Backgrounder: Why was Maralinga used for secret nuclear tests?SBS News 5 Nov 14 “…….
What happened to the people who lived there?
The nuclear testings lead to widespread dispersion of radioactive material in the local environment. The Anangu Aboriginal people who lived the area called it “puyu” or “black mist”.
UK servicemen, Australian soldiers and civilians, including Indigenous people, were all exposed to radiation. Illnesses reportedly included cancer, blood diseases, eye problems, skin rashes, blindness, vomitting, which are all symptoms of radioactive poisoning.
Between 1953 and 1957, two nuclear devices were detonated at Emu and seven at Maralinga, the Department of Industry reported. According to the Australian Radiationn Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) these “major trials” have largely decayed and are “no longer a significant health risk” as these nuclear devices were conducted at higher altitudes (from balloons).
However, the biggest cause of contamination was from “minor trials”, which were weapons development trials that investigated the performance of various components of a nuclear device. Although minor trials didn’t involve nuclear explosions, they did contain radioactive material.
Since contamination remains on or close to the ground surface, there is a significant health risk for locals. Three sites, Taranaki, TM100/101 (TMs), and Wewak remained highly contaminated with plutonium 40 years later……..
Were victims compensated by the British government?
Aboriginal people exposed to British nuclear tests in South Australia during the 1950s are being told they have no hope of compensation. British firm Hickman and Rose had hoped to represent more than 150 civilians, if a huge class action by 1,000 British veterans had succeeded.
But the class action was blocked – the UK Supreme Court ruling that 60 years after the event their claims were too late, the causes of their illnesses apparently unprovable. (Read the full judgment here)
The Australian Greens’ nuclear spokesman Scott Ludlam said the dangers of radiation are well known and it’s unfair to ask Aboriginal people with scant medical records to prove a direct link between exposure to fallout and subsequent sickness.
“The British courts have blocked the application from Defence personnel and Aboriginal people in central Australia by saying you can’t prove those radiations exposures are what caused your illness,” he said. “Now, we know that ionising radiation is harmful for health – we know that for a fact. The right thing for the British Government to do is make an Act of Grace payment to the people who they injured in their nuclear weapons tests.”
In response, UK Defence Personnel Welfare and Veterans Minister of State Mark Francois said: “[The] Ministry of Defence’s position with respect to paying compensation is unchanged. I am sorry to have to send a disappointing reply, but I hope I have explained the reasons for doing so.”……http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/11/05/backgrounder-why-was-maralinga-used-secret-nuclear-tests
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Many organisations, including church groups join in Alternative G20 Summit, call for Climate Change to be on G20 AgendaNovember 6, 2014
Australia: Alternative G20 ‘People’s Summit’ planned for Brisbane, Asian Correspondent, By Rowena Dela Rosa Yoon Nov 04, 2014 BrisCAN-G20 will stage Visioning Another World: The G20 Peoples Summit, a three-day festival packed with events. Programs include conversations, symposiums, creative activities, cultural performances, education, and peaceful demonstrations. It will take place in various locations in Brisbane, aiming to bring together local and international thinkers to collaborate on broad themes such as the economy, growth vs sustainability, environment, climate change, earth rights, dispossession decolonisation, and other issues of social justice. BrisCAN–G20 is concerned about social and economic disparities perpetuated by G20 and the systems it represents.
Various groups and NGOs will join the summit including the Friends of the Earth, OXFAM, National Congress of Australia’s First People, International Trade Union Confederation, Australian Greens and Palm Island Community.
Church Communities call for stewardship
Church groups have also been pressing for environment to be included in the G20 summit.Eleven Brisbane ministers from five churches have formed alliance to call for the Abbott government to pay attention to one of the most pressing issues of the time.
The dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Reverend Peter Catt, who also serves as the group’s spokesperson, said the government did not understand how the economy and the environment are deeply linked, and how the economy operates and how it depends on the environment. Dr Catt views the environment as the foundation of economic growth, prosperity, and “human flourishing”. Noting Christianity’s principle of stewardship, he said, “the Earth is a precious gift and that humans are called to act as stewards.” He added:
Climate change is a deep concern. The G20 leaders should be showing leadership and discussing it at the top of their agenda when they meet in our city.“It would be wonderful if a meeting held in our city led the way to sustainable life and a healthy economy.
The ministers call on the Australian Government, which has control of the agenda, to deal with climate change as a priority. http://asiancorrespondent.com/127944/australia-alternative-g20-peoples-summit-set-in-brisbane/
As the intergovernmental panel on climate change comes out with a compelling new report, Australia’s nuclear lobby renews its pressure for nuclear power. Of course, Michael Angwin and the nuclear lobby are a bit handicapped in this. Australia’s Prime Minister, puppet of both the fossil fuel and nuclear lobbies, has gone all out to please Big Coal, by promoting climate change denialism.
It wouldn’t be good form for Angwin and co to now promote nu clear power as the cure for climate change – they wouldn’t want to naysay their puppet P.M. (They’ll keep the climate change argument for later, when they feel that it has become “politically correct” – that is – when Abbott has safely destroyed renewable energy and any real climate change action.)
Still, they can lay the groundwork, with a lot of nonsense talk about Australia’s future energy needs. (Never mind that Australians are using less electricity, not more)
Part of the groundwork will be their goal to remove environmental protection – as evidenced in today’s call from Gary Johns in THE AUSTRALIAN, (strangely worded almost exactly as Michael Angwin’s letter in The Age today) : -
“……...The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, for example, states that the minister must not approve the construction or operation of a nuclear power plant. Such prohibition is unwarranted.
In its green paper, the Abbott government has promised to “review the current regulatory framework that governs nuclear and waste facilities to remove any duplication and streamline regulations”. This is not good enough. The ban on nuclear power must be lifted. These laws are based on old politics and old science. It is time that prohibition was repealed so all sources of power are on the table and assessed according o commercial and environmental risks..…”
Note the pretense here, that nuclear power’s environmental and commercial risks are no different from any other industries’
Tell that to the Japanese, and to the world’s insurance companies!