Archive for the ‘National’ Category

MP Susan Templeman represents Australia at landmark nuclear weapons ban treaty in Vienna 

June 24, 2022

MP Susan Templeman represents Australia at landmark nuclear weapons ban treaty in Vienna ttps://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au/story/7791272/mp-susan-templeman-represents-australia-at-landmark-nuclear-weapons-ban-treaty-in-vienna/Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman has attended the first Meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Joining the conference as an observer, the Labor MP’s attendance was welcomed by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). A spokesperson said they see see it as “recognition the newly-elected federal government is willing to engage with this critical meeting as a step towards signature and ratification [of the treaty]”.

Held from June 21 to 23 in Vienna, Austria, Australia’s attendance as an observer will provide insights into how states parties intend to address serious questions about the treaty, including:


  • the adequacy of the TPNW’s verification and enforcement regime;
  • interaction with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which the Australian Government considers to be the cornerstone of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime;
  • how states parties will work to achieve universal support, especially that of nuclear-weapon states.

“It was great to be in Austria to observe the first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on behalf of Australia,” said Ms Templeman.

“Australia shares the ambition of TPNW states parties of a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Australia is not a party to the TPNW and Ms Templeman’s attendance as an observer does not represent a decision to join the treaty.

ICAN Australia campaigner Jemila Rushton, who is also in Vienna this week for the historic meeting, welcomed the Australian government’s decision to participate.

“We’re delighted that Australia will be officially represented at this important meeting. It’s a first step towards our country becoming a TPNW state party,” she said.

Australia will also attend the fourth Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, hosted by Austria.

Australian government lobbying behind the scenes for Assange’s freedom

June 18, 2022
  “in the end the Americans can’t say no [to his release], given that President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning for exposing the very war crime that Assange went on to publicise worldwide”.

“It was in Priti Patel’s power to do the right thing,” she said in a statement. “Instead, she will forever be remembered as an accomplice of the United States in its agenda to turn investigative journalism into a criminal enterprise.”

further appeals in British courts could rely on media reports last year that the CIA had planned to assassinate the Wikileaks founder. “There’s absolute validity to these matters .

https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/federal-government-lobbying-behind-the-scenes-for-assange-s-freedom-20220618-p5auq3.html By James Massola and Latika Bourke, June 19, 2022

The federal government is lobbying US counterparts behind the scenes to secure the freedom of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, after the United Kingdom’s decision to approve his extradition to the United States.

The Trump administration brought charges against Assange under the Espionage Act relating to the leaking and publication of the WikiLeaks cables a decade ago.

The UK Home Office announced late on Friday (AEST) that “after consideration by both the Magistrates Court and High Court, the extradition of Julian Assange to the US was ordered”.

“In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange.

“Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.”

Assange’s legal team has 14 days to appeal the decision to the High Court and will do so while he remains in Belmarsh prison.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, while still opposition leader in December, said “enough is enough” and that it was time for Assange to be returned to Australia.

Asked about Assange’s extradition on Saturday, he told The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age that he stood by the comments he made in December.

At the time, Albanese said “he [Assange] has paid a big price for the publication of that information already. And I do not see what purpose is served by the ongoing pursuit of Mr Assange”.

Albanese met US President Joe Biden at the Quad meeting in Tokyo in late May, days after the federal election, but there has been no indication that he raised the Assange matter with him during their meeting.

A source in the federal government, who asked not to be named so they could discuss the matter, has confirmed to The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age that Assange’s case has been raised with senior US officials.

Former foreign minister Bob Carr said the discussions over Assange’s release would be “governed by sensitive, nuanced alliance diplomacy appropriate between partners”.

“I trust the judgment of Prime Minister Albanese on this, given his recent statement cautioning against megaphone diplomacy and his comments last December,” he said.

But Carr predicted that “in the end the Americans can’t say no [to his release], given that President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning for exposing the very war crime that Assange went on to publicise worldwide”.

“The Yank has had her sentence commuted; the Aussie faces an extradition and a cruel sentencing.”

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Friday that “Assange’s case has dragged on for too long and that it should be brought to a close. We will continue to express this view to the governments of the United Kingdom and United States”.

Albanese is due to attend the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of the month, which US President Joe Biden will also attend, though it is not clear if he will raise the matter there.

Assange’s wife, Stella Moris, hit out at UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for approving the extradition.

“It was in Priti Patel’s power to do the right thing,” she said in a statement. “Instead, she will forever be remembered as an accomplice of the United States in its agenda to turn investigative journalism into a criminal enterprise.”

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd tweeted that he disagreed with the decision to approve the extradition, even though he did not support Assange’s actions and “his reckless disregard for classified security information”.

“But if Assange is guilty, then so too are the dozens of newspaper editors who happily published his material.”

Labor MP Julian Hill said there could never be a legal solution to the case as it was inherently political and that “we should speak up for our fellow Australian and request that these charges be dropped and he not be extradited”.

Greens senator Jordon Steele-John said the extradition to the United States would set a dangerous precedent for press freedom and called on the prime minister to pick up the phone to his British and American counterparts.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, the chair of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group, has called Britain’s decision an outrageous betrayal of the rule of law, media freedom and human rights.

“This matter is so deeply wrong on so many levels … time’s up for the new federal government hinting at caring and then doing nothing,” he said.

“The new Australian government is now to be condemned for abandoning an Australian hero journalist facing the very real prospect of spending the rest of his life rotting in a US prison.”

Amnesty International is urging the UK to refrain from extradition and the US to drop all charges.
The secretary-general of the human rights organisation, Agnes Callamard, says allowing the Australian to be sent to the US for trial would put him at great risk.

“Assange faces a high risk of prolonged solitary confinement, which would violate the prohibition on torture or other ill treatment,” Callamard said.

“Diplomatic assurances provided by the US that Assange will not be kept in solitary confinement cannot be taken on face value given previous history.”

Adviser to the Australian campaign to free Mr Assange, Greg Barns SC, says Britain’s decision is unsurprising given past approaches.

“The UK does not regard the extradition as being political when it clearly is,” he told ABC News on Saturday.

He says further appeals in British courts could rely on media reports last year that the CIA had planned to assassinate the Wikileaks founder.

“There’s absolute validity to these matters … the real issue is do we let this matter go back into the court system for another couple of years or do we say there are important principles here.”

There had been a change in rhetoric on the matter from the new government and statements from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Ms Wong had heartened the campaign, Mr Barns said.

“We’re certainly urging and hoping that now is the time for Australia to get involved with its key allies in London and Washington and bring this matter to an end.”

More scathing comments from readers, about Scott Morrison’s foolish nuclear submarine deal

May 18, 2022

Here is another bunch of the many comments from readers, in reaction to Peter Harcher’s article  https://www.smh.com.au/national/aukus-fallout-double-dealing-and-deception-came-at-a-diplomatic-cost-20220513-p5al95.html

Lorenzo the Mag That’s what you get when you hire a marketing person.

KEEPITREAL Australia is facing an unprecedented debt disaster. Already $1.2 Trillion dollars in Sovereign debt the LNP want to add to that with perpetual weapons acquisitions that will cost hundreds of billions of dollars and lock Australia into agreements spanning many decades with evermore additional associated expenses. The 2024 Stage 3 tax cuts / vote buy will cost $20 billion / year in lost budget revenue whilst entrenching poverty.
This LNP insanity has to stop, their debt consolidation would only make sense if their plan is for Australia to become the North Korea of the South Pacific

Kim Australia is committed to paying whatever the US military complex want to charge, not just for the submarines but all the add ons as well. A blank cheque for the US to fill in the figures. No wonder the US official asked if Australian taxpayers can sustain the cost. How stupid is this government?

David AUKUS or in order of importance USUKA (you sucker) will cost us mega billions, only to see the subs never delivered because they will be yesterday”s technology by the time they are delivered.

MM55 Sooner or later nuclear subs have to return to base. They could be destroyed by hypersonic missiles sent from China direct. In 10 years they will be obsolete. Technology will see to that. In the meantime we keep the workers in the US submarine industry in a job.

Tahoe Why the need for absolute secrecy? Such strategic decisions need proper analysis.

The thing that Labor failed to understand is that the American subs use weapons grade uranium. It was never going to get past Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, not as far as Iran was concerned. The French *nuclear* subs used non-weapons grade uranium.

These US submarines ain’t never going to be actually delivered.

Terryroger#2 Last year, Morrison and Dutton effectively shunned and insulted France the only European power and the only nuclear power with territory and military and naval bases in the South Pacific. We’re now on the hook to buy nuclear submarines that were intended to be integrated into the US Navy to blockade China’s sea lanes. As a result China is building the capacity to block our sea lanes to the US. .
The French Barracuda subs would be far more suitable for defending and monitoring the maritime approaches to Australia, which is what our defence priority should be – independent self-defence.
Morrison and Dutton have shown themselves to be nothing more than ventriloquist dolls for Uncle Sam for it was they who were ‘conned’ by Trump and Bannon and Pompeo in to leading the way in the call for a Covid inquiry – well ahead of the rest of the world and of course the results were that Australia lost trade with China while the US gained those lost markets – some ally!
If Labor win the election, they could do worse than prepare a current Defence White Paper, based on the circumstances we now face and on our own interests rather than those of the US, and tell Macron that we may yet take the more useful, appropriate and delivered-on-time French subs.

fizzybeer…. anti lies and rorts, pro ICAC I would have expected a thousand comments on this series of revelations about the Morrison lies and incompetence with defence purchases and national security, are we becoming used to the lies or too tired of Morrison to take an interest?

EVAN SMITH Thanks Peter,
As if more proof was required about the PM’s unfitness for office, then this article by Peter Hartcher exposes it concisely and succinctly in this article.

The duplicitous conduct and lack of decency and respect that the Pm has for others, is laid bare by Peter Hartcher!

Vote this useless LNP mob out and restore Australia’s tattered reputation as a trusted ally!

@therealmclovin Another really important aspect to all of this, which I’m surprised isn’t even alluded to given what has been happening in our region in the last few weeks, is that France has a significant regional presence. New Caledonia and French Polynesia are both French territories. Setting aside which boats we needed to buy, if putting a regional partner offside seemed like a bad idea last year, it seems spectacularly idiotic now. Surely there could have been another way of handling this. We’ve created significant rifts within our region, this being just another example, that are being exploited and will continue to be exploited and we won’t even see these boats for 15 -18 years or more!

Even if the idea and technologies aren’t obsolete in two decades (and I’m not opposed to nuclear subs), given the amount of coastline we have (or the amount of area of the SW Pacific we operate in), we may in retrospect conclude we would have been much better off with 20 French subs for the price of 8 US/UK ones and in a conflict continue to be able to build and importantly fuel them ourselves.

Lorne Green As we have seen its not only the French who have been deceived but possibly the whole of the South Pacific region, not to mention a large chunk of the Australian population.
Well detailed analysis of the level of underhandedness our government went to in this affair – sounds like a masterstroke of deception worthy of intelligent services in WW2.
Is this a forewarning of the way we will be treated by the LNP, when they decide there is something we don’t need to know – there is a danger that we end becoming like our worst enemy.

No vision- No policies- No direction – How good is that! This confirms it – we have to get rid of this LNP rabble.😠
They can’t be trusted are underhanded and make terrible decisions that we will live with for the next decades.

The Greens oppose nuclear waste dump on Kimba, South Australia

May 5, 2022

Today’s thought: Australia, Liberal and Labor, mindlessly toes the USA propaganda line.

March 31, 2022

UKraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Australian Parliament – to enthusiastic applause, a standing ovation. Fair enough. He’s a brave guy, with a good cause.

Did any of those donkeys in the Parliament understand that Zelensky has been trying to negotiate a peace deal with Russia? A dea lthat would involve Ukraine NOT joining NATO, and would involve fair treatment and some autonomy for the ethnic Russian areas in the Donbas, and recognition of Crimea as part of Russia. (nb. Crimea was not ”annexed” by Russia. They overwhelmingly voted to join Russia).

Do Australia’s sycophantic politicians understand that Joe Biden refuses to join in those negotiations? Do they understand that this war could have been prevented by the USA? That this is another, more sophisticated version of the proxy wars that USA has been orchestrating for decades?

Anthony Albanese, spineless opponent of the Liberal’s blustering bully Scott Morrison, joined in the fervour, comparing Putin to Hitler. All agreed that Australia must send more weapons so Ukraine – must join USA in continuing its lucrative, preferably endless, fight against Russia – a fight to the last Ukrainian!

Ukraine war – a boon for Morrison to campaign on fear and war with China?

February 26, 2022

This changes everything, from the world stage to polling booths far from the fatal steppes, MICHAEL SWEST MEDIA, By Mark Sawyer, February 25, 2022   As the world watches in horror the Russian assault on Ukraine, it seems crass to discuss what it means for a little election in faraway Australia. But local political operators in the big parties and the small will be doing nothing else this weekend, writes Mark Sawyer.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a disaster for more than 40 million people, a threat to Europe, a challenge to the US and a catastrophe for the world.

It’s hard to imagine that Vladimir Putin’s war, while just about as far away from Australia as any world event could be, would have no bearing on the thoughts of voters in the expected May election. And it’s clear we were already gearing for a security election. The Coalition has installed one of its head-kickers, Peter Dutton, in the Defence post and his warnings are as much about the dangers of a Labor government as any foreign foe.

The government has stooped to describing Labor leader Anthony Albanese as China’s preferred Australian leader and deputy Labor leader Richard Marles as the Manchurian candidate. (A term now synonymous with being a traitor in the service of China, but its provenance is from a book and film about US soldiers brainwashed during the Korean War to become assassins back home). Memories of former senator Sam Dastyari’s dalliance with Chinese interests remain fresh enough for the government to exploit.

Opponents of the Morrison government will be wondering whether the Coalition will be saved by a military crisis. Labor fears being robbed of victory. Both sides will be thinking of the same election: 2001.

Khaki elections, Australian style: est 1914

In fact khaki elections have not always been bad for Labor.   In 1914 Andrew Fisher won the federal election held just a month after the outbreak of the Great War. He pledged Australia would ”stand beside the mother country [Britain] to help and defend her to the last man and the last shilling”. A year later, an exhausted Fisher handed over to Billy Hughes, who tried to introduce conscription……………….

   Billy Hughes, [originally Labou) styled as ”the Little Digger”, became the personification of the Australian war effort. In 1917 he won a decisive victory, and another one in 1919, fresh on the back of his participation in the postwar treaty negotiations.In 1943 Labor under John Curtin won a thumping vote of confidence for its handling of the most serious threat to the nation in white history. (The negative role of militant unions on the home front is a less storied aspect of Labor history.)…………………………………………………………………..

The last word should go to Calwell again. Remember, this speech was made in 1965:

The government justifies its action on the ground of Chinese expansionist aggression. And yet this same government is willing to continue and expand trade in strategic materials with China. We are selling wheat, wool and steel to China. The wheat is used to feed the armies of China. The wool is used to clothe the armies of China. The steel is used to equip the armies of China. 

Yet the government which is willing to encourage this trade is the same government which now sends Australian troops, in the words of the Prime Minister, to prevent ” the downward thrust of China “. The government may be able to square its conscience on this matter, but this is logically and morally impossible.https://www.michaelwest.com.au/ukraine-attack-changes-everything-including-australian-election/

Meet Australian Public Affairs, the lobbying firm that pushed the Kimba nuclear waste dump for the Federal Government

February 24, 2022

The representation by Australian Public Affairs of companies working within or directly linked to the energy, mining and uranium mining industries—many of which obviously have an interest in a nuclear waste dump—does not appear to have been disclosed to the public at any stage of their lobbying work for the federal government on the campaign for a national nuclear waste management facility.

Meet the lobbying firm that pushed the Kimba nuclear waste dump for the Federal Government while claiming “commitment to Indigenous Australians”. Matilda Duncan, 24 Feb 22,

Australian Public Affairs company officers: Tracey Cain, Phillip McCall, Kathryn Higgs, Nick Trainor, Paula Gelo, Matthew Doman, Dominique Wolfe,

Having pocketed six years worth of consulting fees campaigning on behalf of the federal government for their proposed nuclear waste dump in SA, Australian Public Affairs claims “success” as the Barngarla people of the Eyre Peninsula continue to fight the dump through the courts.

It’s a grim project brief few public relations firms would want: convince Australia it’s acceptable to establish not just a national nuclear waste dump, but an international dump site that would potentially accept nuclear waste from the United Kingdom and France.

The requirements of the job: advocate for a radioactive waste facility being built in the middle of one of Australia’s largest wheat and agricultural belts. Urge locals to support a nuclear waste dump near Kimba, despite the site neighbouring both a conservation park and a national park. Avoid publicly questioning why the company the federal government hired to assess the shortlisted dump sites has a U.S. parent company that manufactures nuclear weapons.

Think up methods of pushing the dump in a state that has already been subjected to the stress of a government nuclear waste dump site selection process an inexplicable 4 times in 23 years—and rejected it, to the point the Olsen Government passed legislation to prevent radioactive waste being brought into the state: the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000, which was subsequently strengthened by the Rann Government.

Sell the nuclear dump to the public in a state in which traditional owners have already been subjected to decade upon decade of trauma thanks to the nuclear industry and materials for nuclear weapons being sourced from their lands. Avoid mention of the damaging mining conducted at Radium Hill, the uranium mining that continues to this day at Olympic Dam, the grotesque takeover of land to establish a weapons testing range double the size of England, or the hideous government decision to allow Britain to test 7 atomic bombs at Maralinga and Emu Field without adequately warning the Indigenous people living there—bombs that, in a full circle of destruction, were made using uranium sourced from Radium Hill.

In the face of this depraved and dark history of governmental abuse, the job: tell the locals it will be worth it because the nuclear waste dump will bring “45 jobs”.

Tracey Cain and Alastair Furnival willingly took on the work.

For the past seven years, their lobbying firm Australian Public Affairs has been working behind the scenes for the Federal Government, providing media and campaign strategy advice to help the government promote the nuclear waste dump—presented as the “National Radioactive Waste Management Facility”—and steer them through what continues to be a long, flawed and troubled dump site selection process.

A married couple, Cain and Furnival share a property worth $5 million in Cremorne and equal ownership of Australian Public Affairs Pty Ltd. Furnival is also a staffer at another consulting firm, Elevate Consulting.

Their company made national headlines in 2014, during Furnival’s time as a federal government staffer. That year, Cain and Furnival’s company was lobbying for the junk food sector, representing Cadbury, the Australian Beverages Council and Mondelez Australia (formerly Kraft), while Furnival was working as chief of staff for the federal assistant health minister, Fiona Nash.

According to media reports, Senator Nash and Furnival intervened to pull down a food health star rating website less than 24 hours after it was launched, despite it having been in development for two years and approved by state and territory food ministers.

Furnival owned half of Australian Public Affairs while intervening in public policy decisions as Nash’s chief of staff. Furnival resigned in the wake of the scandal.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STAFFERS VS. LOBBYISTS WRITING SPIN

The Morrison Government appear to have given Australian Public Affairs plenty of latitude to complete their work promoting the nuclear waste dump, extending permission to act directly as Government spokespeople.

Numerous times over the past 2 years, media enquiries about the national nuclear waste management facility sent to the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) and it’s superseding [new] department have been responded to directly by an Australian Public Affairs staffer rather than federal government staff.

Media enquiries from this journalist were responded to directly by Australian Public Affairs Director Nick Trainor, who in an introductory email two years ago claimed to “work with” the federal government.

Trainor provided a response on behalf of DIIS and the “National Radiactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce” in that email, without disclosing that he was in fact working for a lobbying firm representing the federal government on the nuclear waste dump project…………………………………

A DISAPPEARING ETHICS POLICY

Sometime after 2015, Cain and Furnival removed an ethics policy for Australian Public Affairs from their company website.

The policy claimed Australian Public Affairs was ‘committed to an ethical and quality approach to servicing our clients’. The company would ‘refuse causes, ideas or programs which pose harm to the community’, the policy claimed, ‘never promote deception or unsupportable claims’ and ‘at all times act as a leader in the pursuit of ethical practice.’……………………………………

Australian Public Affairs’ Deputy CEO, Phillip McCall, previously worked for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) with oversight of the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor . APA’s client list has also included mining, gas and energy giants such as Santos—Australia’s second largest independent oil company and owner of the Moomba oil and gas fields in South Australia’s north-east.

APA staff were registered as lobbyists with the South Australian Government on Santos’ behalf from 2017 to late 2018. Uranium mining exploration projects in Santos’ Moomba gas fields were announced the following year, in 2019

APA also represented Santos on their Narrabri coal seam gas project.

Earlier this year—as their work for the Morrison Government on the nuclear waste dump continued—Australian Public Affairs began representing MaxMine (Resolution Systems), a mining technology company with offices in South Australia and South Africa. The company claims its “mission is to become the world’s biggest miner without owning a mine.”

MaxMine has been linked to Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group, after—according to MaxMine’s own promotional material—conducting work on their technology with Fortescue in 2010.

WASTE DUMP POLITICAL CONNECTIONS

Andrew Forrest has invested in uranium mining for years. In 2014, he bought EMA, the company that owned uranium deposits at Mulga Rock in Western Australia. Just two months ago, a new uranium mining operation commenced there. Forrest’s private company, Squadron Resources, has an interest in the uranium mining company working at Mulga Rock, Vimy Resources.

The former Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, was appointed to a CEO Position with Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation after he left public office.

Weatherill was behind the “unusual step” of setting up a Royal Commission in 2015 to consider South Australia’s potential role in the nuclear industry—despite the aforementioned decades of proposals for nuclear waste dumps being rejected by the community and legislation being enacted to ban nuclear waste being brought into the state. Weatherill spen much of his time as Premier pushing a proposal for a high-level nuclear waste storage facility in South Australia.

Weatherill has further personal connections to the current nuclear waste dump proposal. During his tenure as SA Premier, his wife Melissa Bailey was appointed to a position at AECOM Australia Pty Ltd—the company commissioned by the federal government to write site assessment reports for each of the shortlisted nuclear waste dump sites, covering topics like environmental impacts, climate change and wildlife impacts…………………………..

Questioned about the employment of Jay Weatherill’s wife at AECOM Australia Pty Ltd and why the federal government hired the company to assess the nuclear waste dump sites despite its association with nuclear weapons development, Australian Public Affairs responded on behalf of the federal government to both queries with the same phrase: “AECOM Australia Pty Ltd was selected to provide the required services through an open tender process and evaluation conducted in accordance with an approved procurement plan.”


The representation by Australian Public Affairs of companies working within or directly linked to the energy, mining and uranium mining industries—many of which obviously have an interest in a nuclear waste dump—does not appear to have been disclosed to the public at any stage of their lobbying work for the federal government on the campaign for a national nuclear waste management facility.

THE KIMBA COUNCIL

Remarkably, Cain has already claimed her company’s work on the government’s nuclear waste management facility project to be a “success”—even as the Traditional Owners, the Barngarla people, are again challenging the project through the courts.

For years the Barngarla people have repeatedly stated they have not been consulted about the storage of radioactive waste on their land. Representatives of the Barngarla people were excluded from a community vote to gauge local support for the nuclear waste facility—after the District Council of Kimba decided to exclude native title holders from the vote.

Despite major mainstream news outlets including the ABC, Guardian, Channel Ten’s The Project and NY Times visiting Kimba and publishing coverage of Jeff Baldock—the man who volunteered to sell his land at Napandee to the government for the nuclear waste management site—no attention was given by these outlets to his relative and business partner Graeme Baldock, a member of the Kimba Council that determined the Barngarla people would be excluded from the community vote on the nuclear waste dump………..

Graeme and Jeff Baldock had previously purchased thousands of hectares of land in the region near Kimba—in the region where the dump site is set to be established—according to information published in 2015 by the Baldock family farming company, Karinya Agriculture.

A member of the District Council of Kimba since 2010, Graeme Baldock was communicating directly with the federal government agency responsible for the nuclear waste management facility site selection process, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS), between 2017 and 2019.

In response to a freedom of information application made in early 2020 seeking access to Graeme Baldock’s emails with DIIS over two years, DIIS stated that the “documents contain personal information of certain individuals” and due to privacy provisions in freedom of information legislation, “8 third parties” would need to be consulted before the government might consider releasing the documents.

The Department of Industry then sought to impose administration charges of $500 to process the request for Graeme Baldock’s emails.

“COMMITTED TO CLOSING THE GAP”

As the Barngarla traditional owners pursue some semblance of justice through the courts, Tracey Cain continues to advertise her company’s services in the “Indigenous Affairs sector” today, writing: “Australian Public Affairs has extensive communications expertise with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, on behalf of traditional landowners and Indigenous organisations, and for governments, corporates and NFPs wishing to engage with these communities.”

It’s not just the Barngarla people APA’s work on the nuclear waste dump process has affected—the traditional owners of other sites shortlisted for the dump, like South Australia’s Adnyamathanha people, have already publicly described the stress it caused. “The emotional stress we’re feeling is off the charts,” Regina McKenzie, an Adnyamathanha traditional owner, told the ABC in 2016. “We’re still the custodians here; we’ve always looked at it that way.”

Australian Public Affairs’ company spiel continues: “Within this work, APA is particularly committed to social and economic initiatives which support the Closing the Gap agenda, to provide Indigenous Australians with the same level of opportunity as the rest of the nation: including in health, mental health, education and social policy.”

In another section of APA’s website, the company characterises an “increase in environmental concern – not least amongst farmers and indigenous communities” as leading to “a rise in red tape and cost of compliance”.

In addition to APA working on projects that have contributed to the disenfranchisement of Indigenous communities, Furnival—Cain’s husband and co-owner of Australian Public Affairs—worked for the Abbott Government, an administration that cut $535 million from Indigenous programs.

Cain was contacted for comment about her husband’s role with the Abbott Government and asked if APA staff were directly involved with negotiations with the Barngarla people and other local communities involved in the nuclear waste dump site processes.

Cain was asked if Australian Public Affairs staff made it clear to these communities that they were a lobbying firm, not federal government staffers, when responding to their enquiries and concerns about the nuclear waste dump. She did not directly address these questions.

HISTORY REPEATING

Australian Public Affairs is not the only public relations firm to have chosen to assist the Government to continue perpetuating the toxic legacy of uranium in South Australia. Michels Warren have taken on the task too—an Adelaide PR firm that first represented the Howard Government during their attempt to establish a dump in South Australia from the late nineties until at least 2004. Freedom of information applications revealed the company’s dirty campaign to “soften up the community” and sell something its own staff knew had no benefit to South Australians: “The National Repository could never be sold as “good news” to South Australians. There are few, if any, tangible benefits such as jobs, investment or improved infrastructure. Its merits to South Australians, at the most, are intangible and the range and complexity of issues make them difficult to communicate.”

Despite having their ugly tactics exposed, Michels Warren chose not to leave their involvement with the nuclear industry and nuclear waste in the past. They went on to represent the Weatherill Government’s aforementioned unusual Royal Commission into nuclear power in 2016—a decision that might be explained, in part, by their previous campaigning on behalf of the corporate owners of the Beverley and Honeymoon uranium mines in South Australia.

 IRATI WANTI

Almost two decades ago, the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a council of senior Indigenous women based near Coober Pedy in South Australia, were into their eighth year of fighting the Howard Government proposal to dump nuclear waste from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor on their traditional lands.

In April 2003, the council’s founders, Eileen Kampakuta Brown and Eileen Wani Wingfield, received the Goldman Prize for environmental activism—an award akin to the Nobel Prize—and $US125,000 to continue their campaign against the nuclear waste dump. The women were fighting the Howard Government into their seventies, with a campaign slogan of “Irati wanti” which roughly translated as “The poison – leave it”.

The founder of the prize, Richard Goldman, said the women had been chosen for a campaign that “exemplifies how much can be accomplished when ordinary people take extraordinary action to protect the health of our planet”.

Mrs Brown said at the time that she was talking on behalf of her ancestors so that her children and grandchildren might also be able to live on the land, telling the Sydney Morning Herald in 2003 through her granddaughter: “There’s a lot of life out there.” https://matildaduncan.net/stories/22/feb/23/australian-public-affairs-tracey-cain-nuclear-waste-dump

Nuclear Waste Dump Plan for Kimba – Craig Wilkins of Consrvation Council of South Australia

February 23, 2022

Monday 21st February 2022 on Peter Goers’ program ABC 891 with Conservation Council of South Australia CEO Craig Wilkins to discuss the Nuclear Waste Dump at Kimba.

Also presentation by Greg Bannon Flinders Local Action Group too, and others who contributed to the program. Interesting that Resources MinisterKeith Pitt, Sam Usher CEO · Australian Radioactive Waste Agency and MP Rowan Ramsey were no shows although they were invited to be involved!

The Conservation Council of South Australia has produced a new booklet on Nuclear waste – domestic Australian issues. Craig Wilkins was the prime author, though not the only author’

Transcript of interview. (basically accurate, but not absolutely word perfect)

CRAIG WILKINS: The book asks what is the best solution for Australia’s radioactive wastes. International best practice is to bury it deeply. That’s not the chosen option. Big difference between the low level waste and intermediate level waste.

PETER GOER. Kimba is very divided – hsad 300mm of rain.   We had calls from farmers asking what will happen if nuclear waste is buried there.

CRAIG WILKINS: Wallerberdina was rejected for a site because it was recognised as a flood plain area.

PETER GOER. Govts have seized on this idea and pushed through.  The benchmark of 65% community agreement was lowered as only 62% agreed.   What’s to stop us importing nuclear waste from overseas in the future?

CRAIG WILKINS This is what is called ”project creep”. The rules change over time. People are concerned about this, particularly the Bangarla who were given native title to this region 2015,  – this is one of the first true tests, about how seriously we consider that issue of native title. They did ask to be polled. but were deliberately excluded from the vote. They are fighting this legal battle now, in the Supreme Court. They say they weren’t consulted.

PETER GOER. you cite theUN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. tates should ensure that no storage of hazardous materials should be sited on indigenous land The former SA govt voted not to have a nuclear dump in SA. SA has not been consulted, only Kimba people have been consulted. Politicians have come on this show and mocked people who don’t live in Kimba, even though it’s a state issue, it’s a national issue surely.  This material is either to come by sea, or be trundled through 3 states to get here.

GREG BANNON of Flinders Action Group – This site is in the wrong place. It’s just not scientific.The Whole approach  has been to find a swilling community, and then try to make the facility  fit the geology there for a nuclear waste site. It’s just not scientific.    In the last month, Kimba has received record rain.  One of the IAEA guidelines state that a nuclear waste facility should not be sited where you’ve got cross country water flow, or subsoil water, – water table underneath. When the Industry Department had their sites examined by AECOM, they produced 3 reports –    the recent floods should be factored in.

Philippa.  phoned in – pointing out the success in Canada, marketing radioactive isotopes made not from a nuclear reactor, but from cyclotrons.  She mentions the risk of this dump becoming the thin end of the wedge – for importing other countries’ nuclear wastes.

Calls in, especially pointing out the risk to the Eyre Peninsula community   region’s clean reputation as an agricultural area.

PETER GOER. Also  this has divided Kimba. calls in – suggesting that Kimba has been bribed.  A struggling rural community – the promise of more and more money, and jobs. Also questions about how the promised jobs might not materialise –  larger waste facilities oversea employ fewer people than promised for this facility. Hard for people of Kimba to turn their backs on these ”rivers of gold”

CRAIG WILKINS It has been a disappointing process. The community there, like every other SA community, deserves a decent medical facility, decent services –  there’s been a package of support being offered, in return for them accepting this facility.- which contains investments by govt that should be standard for any community. That makes it a very challenging position for the Kimba people – to work out whether to accept it or not. There’s nothing more divisive than this whole question of nuclear facilities.  A previously very close-knit  community has had this bomb placed in the middle of  it and it has really divided them. It is a terrible shame.

PETER GOER.I do feel for the people of Kimba.  Soon Kimba is going to be known world-wide as the nuclear dump town, not the town that’s halfway across Australia, not the home of the big galah.  …..perhaps the butt of many jokes  Kimba. will be known for that one thing.

CRAIG WILKINS. Places associated with nuclear activity very soon get that name,  rather than being known as a        very successful agricultural region, rural town of the year fantastic people …

PETER GOER. Rowan Ramsey pointed out that the population of Kimbawas very knowledgeable.

CRAIG WILKINS. Queried this  – suggested that the truth was stretched.

Many calls in, mainly supporting the Conservation Council’s case 

CRAIG WILKINS responding to questions on waste disposal –   old mining sites not  necessarily a solution –   much research has to be done.

Kimba doesn’t have to accept this plan. It is not the solution, and is placing this community at a disadvantage.

Radioactive waste in Australia, Kimba as a Nuclear Sacrifice Zone

February 4, 2022

ANSTO, MInister Keith Pitt, and other political and corporate nuclear zealots are still working on making the small agricultural area of Kimba the nation’s ”nuclear waste sacrifice zone”.  It’s done with the curious appeal to both greed and patriotic self-sacrifice, perfected in Japan, with its notorious ”nuclear villages”.

Australia has the High Level Wastes  – now called Intermediate Level , created originally at Lucas Heights, and thr prospect of equally High Level wastes from its much touted nuclear submarines, to be purchased for $171billion from USA.

 Australia has a twofold problem with nuclear wastes deception.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and a few greedy politicians and businessmen are promoting the nuclear industry, in pushing the view that in Australia  there is no  problem. ANSTO’s nuclear reactor keeps producing high level toxic wastes, while they pretend it’s a medical necessity. ( only a very small percentage of isotopes produced are used in Australia’s hospitals, and of these, only a tiny few are used to treat illness).

Their other pretense is that they actually know how to deal with nuclear waste –  it’s all solved – it’s all safe.  But, in reality they don’t know, nobody really knows, for how long ‘high’ and ‘intermediate’ level waste will be safe in Holtec’s ‘temporary’ canisters.  ‘Temporary’ means for a hundred years, perhaps more – sitting in a rural area, a (formerly) agricultural community – stuck with this poisonous stuff, which gets transported across the continent, potentially exposing many communities to radioactive danger.

And by the way – they all realise now that the dump site is a flood-prone area, and totally unsuitable. But the Australian media and government don’t mention that.

Channel 10’s ”The Project” did have the guts to show Australia the Kimba nuclear waste dump story

February 2, 2022

How happy was the nuclear lobby, to keep this under wraps from the Australian public.!

In typical form, the nuclear lobby chooses a rather remote small rural community, and then blankets thenm with propaganda from ANSTO and any other pro nuclear institution they can find. Only the pro nuclear spin got to that community.along with lovely financial ”incentives”.

In the current floods, no media mention is made of the clear threats to a Napandee nuclear waste dump, from flooding – to add to the other threats, such as the ruination of the local agricultural reputation.

Only Channel 10 has had the guts. And I write as a person who is biased against the commercial TV channels. Always a fan of the ABC – I now see it as a rather timourouis organisation, always in dread of having their funding cut – as the Scott Morrison government continues in the good old Liberal tradition of death to the ABC by a thousand cuts.