Thursday, December 14, 2017

Australia still ‘totally radioactive’ 60 years after Hiroshima-scale nuclear tests (?!)

This is hysterical rubbish. A few sites in the desert were  decades ago used for small nuclear tests.  But due to their isolation, very little radiation "leaked" far from the original sites.  Some desert-dwelling Aborigines living near the sites were however affected.

Radioactivity levels in 99% of Australia today are no different to anywhere else.  And the tests have long ago been stopped so have no relevance to current uranium mining. And Australia has no nuclear weapons. The guff below is just irrational attention-seeking, mixing up totally different things

AUSTRALIA is a “totally radioactive” country riddled with hidden cancers and birth defects that risks becoming worse for future generations if the government does not limit uranium mining and the use of nuclear weapons.

That’s according to nuclear test survivor Sue Coleman-Haseldine, 67, who was raised in the shadow of British nuclear tests carried out at Emu Field and Maralinga in the 1950s and 1960s, where bombs on the same scale as Hiroshima were detonated and led to fallout known as “black mist”.

The Kokatha woman grew up in a community where people were blinded, killed or made sick from radiation poisoning with fertility problems and birth defects now common in the district.

The devastating effects she’s witnessed first-hand drove her to advocate for an end to weapons and mining on an international stage.

“Australia is totally radioactive,” she told “There’re so many deaths from different cancers. Myself and my granddaughter don’t have thyroids as they’ve been removed. The defects in newborn babies are heartbreaking.

“If you ask one of the young ones [in her South Australian community], ‘What do you think you’ll die from?’ they’ll say ‘cancer’ because that’s what everyone else dies from. The government is doing nothing at all. They don’t want to know.

“As people of Australia, we all need to join forces — everybody: black, white and brindle — and shame the government to sign this treaty to ban nuclear weapons.”

The stark warning has helped capture global attention, with the Australian International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) recently scooping the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo for their efforts. Coleman-Haseldine said it was “absolutely wonderful” to travel with the group of around 100 non-governmental organisations and gain global recognition for those sent like “lambs to the slaughter” to work on nuclear testing sites during British operations in Australia.

“People hadn’t even heard of Maralinga, which was absolutely mind-boggling,” she said. “We’ve been poisoned once, no more. I’ve lived under the shadow of Maralinga all my life. I don’t want the future generation living under a toxic waste dump that they wouldn’t even see coming.”


The British government carried out 12 nuclear tests, including seven at Maralinga, two at Emu Field, both of which are in South Australia, and three at Monte Bello in Western Australia, over the 1950s and 1960s.

The first “operation buffalo” at Maralinga involved a 15 kilotonne atomic device that was the same strength as Hiroshima, to test the “red beard” tactical weapon. It led to radioactive clouds being sent towards the east coast with subsequent clean-up operations in 1964 and 1967 only making the contamination worse according to Dr Liz Tynan, who wrote a book about the Maralinga story called Atomic Thunder.

More than 60 years on, the Australian-founded group won the world’s top peace prize despite problems that persist in Australia. The win was based on ICAN’s work persuading the UN to adopt a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which provides a “pathway” to a nuclear-free world.

ICAN’s Asia-Pacific director Tim Wright has been involved with the campaign since its inception and Australia remains a “big part of the problem” when it comes to nuclear weapons. While the country does not have its own, it is protected under the US “nuclear umbrella” that would mean the US retaliating with nuclear weapons if Australia was attacked.

“We believe that Australia should take a principled stand against them just as it’s done for biological, chemical weapons, cluster bombs and landmines,” he said, adding that “you can’t have 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world” and avoid them being used.


Power bills prices to fall after Australia receives unexpected gas surplus

A big new gas mine was about to come on stream in Queensland about now so that may be a large part of the change

Australia has narrowly avoided a crippling gas crisis that would have forced multiple businesses to close their doors, according to a new report by a consumer watchdog.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says wholesale gas prices have fallen by about 50 percent since September, with a forecast shortfall turning into a potential surplus.

Australian families can eventually expect to see benefits of this surplus with reduced power bills, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said.

“We will see reduced pressure on power bills for Australian families,” he said.

“We’re already seeing more gas being made available as a result of the intervention of the domestic gas market. This is very significant. “But we’re not out of the woods yet.”

It follows threats by the Turnbull government to impose export controls on gas giants, diverting gas to domestic markets.

The ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the companies had taken action to address a looming shortfall, claiming “things have improved significantly” since. “We now have a situation where a potential shortage seems to have disappeared and companies are able to get gas,” Mr Sims said.

“So that’s more supply, lower prices and that’s good news. But the market is still tight and prices are still probably higher than they should be.”

Mr Sims said a number of industrial companies had narrowly avoided going out of business, calling the situation “extremely dire”. “You’ve got a lot of commercial industrial customers making glass, bricks, paper, fertiliser – a whole lot of products we take for granted – if they didn’t get gas by January 1, 2018, they (would have) had to close,” he said.

“Virtually all of the companies that were struggling to get gas now have gas.”

Shadow Energy Minister Mark Butler said the government had failed to deliver on its promise to halve gas prices for Australian manufacturers this year.


Hysteria over Beijing’s influence can be costly

EARLIER this year a Newcastle University lecturer complained about being “confronted” by a Chinese student during a discussion about the status of Taiwan.

In a lecture, the academic had called the island off the Chinese mainland “a country”, which does not reflect the view of most Chinese or many Taiwanese.

After the lecture, the student approached the academic and complained. There is no evidence of anything amounting to intimidation – no raised voice, as has been suggested.

This is one of four recorded occasions when Chinese students have “waged war” against “politically incorrect” lecturers in Australia.

Some perspective is needed. As academic James Laurenceson points out in a Lowy Institute post, there are, right now, 108,269 Chinese students studying at more than 30 Australian universities.

Despite this, only four events classed as intimidation or other threatening behaviour have been reported, including the Newcastle example cited.

This kind of over-reaction is all too common in Australian-Chinese relations.

We fret about the Chinese buying all the property in capital cities, making housing too expensive for our sons and daughters.

There are breathless reports of the Chinese wanting to buy our farming land and scoop up minerals and other resources.
Chinese tourists, students and business are worth billions to Australia’s economy. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning

There’s no doubt the Chinese have interests in Australia and look at our myriad resources as targets for investment and purchase.

After all, China has one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, estimated at about $US3 trillion.

However, as suggested by the facts about Chinese students, the reality often does not match the common perceived wisdom.

At the moment there’s a mild panic spreading through the political and intelligence communities about the Chinese.

There’s no doubt we should be vigilant about possible Chinese interference and any attempts to meddle in our politics.

Like other countries, they will be in it if there’s an opportunity and, with useful idiots like New South Wales Senator Sam Dastyari – who was yesterday forced to quit Parliament because of his careless associations with the Chinese – there’s an abundance of potential.

The Chinese crave attention and influence. They want to have their interests heard and reflected in policy-making in other nations.

They also aren’t very good at working the system. As a one-party state they think they can snap their fingers and get their way.

It can be ugly, as it was when the bussed-in Chinese students disrupted the 2008 Olympic torch parade in Canberra with red flags.

It can also be comical, on a Peter Sellers “Inspector Clouseau” level, as we saw with the Dastyari autocue news conference on the South China Sea.

The danger in all this is that we overreact and unnecessarily put the Chinese off-side.

After all, as the Parliamentary Library reminds us, we can’t do without China economically.

“Today, China is Australia’s largest trading partner in terms of both imports and exports,” says a recent Library report.

“Australia is China’s sixth largest trading partner; it is China’s fifth biggest supplier of imports and its tenth biggest customer for exports.

“Twenty-five per cent of Australia’s manufactured imports come from China; 13 per cent of its exports are thermal coal to China.”

The Chinese have reacted very negatively to comments from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and resulting media reports about proposed laws to curb foreign interference in Australia’s politics.

While Turnbull said these laws were “not about any one country”, there has been an anti-Chinese flavour about the Government’s rhetoric which has not gone down well in Beijing.

Following Turnbull’s statements last week the Chinese Canberra Embassy took the extraordinary step of issuing a formal response.

Attacking claims of “so-called Chinese influence and infiltration”, the embassy said they were made up and reflected an anti-Chinese hysteria.

The embassy argued recent reports had “unscrupulously vilified the Chinese students as well as the Chinese community in Australia with racial prejudice, which in turn has tarnished Australia’s reputation as a multicultural society”.

The danger in loose words about China is that the reaction can be unfairly harmful.

China is a Communist command nation and economy. They can turn taps on and off, whether they are for resources or services.

It is easy for the rulers in Beijing to get the word out that Australia is not a good destination for tourism or the best place to send children for tertiary studies.

In respect of tourism, about 1.4 million Chinese visit Australia each year resulting in an average spend of about $8000 for each visit. This is serious money.

Education services for Chinese students are worth more than $6 billion a year for Australia and this figure is expected to climb significantly under the new China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Yes, Chinese activity in Australia should be closely monitored, and Beijing should be kept in line on all fronts, whether it’s donating money or seeking influence.

However, the short step to hysteria can carry a very heavy cost.



NSW govt won't back down on shark nets

Once again the Green/Left want to toy with people's lives by introducing unproven safety measures.  The whole point behind their activism is to save the lives of other creatures that get caught in the nets.  Who cares if a few people get attacked?  Greenies think people are pollution

The NSW government won't stop its shark net meshing program despite a Senate inquiry report finding nets provide a false sense of safety.

A shark expert has called on the NSW government to change its approach to shark prevention, insisting shark nets can't be relied upon to provide safety to beachgoers.

The criticism follows the release of a Senate inquiry report on Tuesday, which had been charged with examining shark mitigation and deterrent measures.

The report recommended shark nets across NSW beaches be phased out as their effectiveness was difficult to evaluate, but the significant damage caused to other marine wildlife was clear.

The NSW government has refused to put an end to its controversial netting program, noting on Wednesday there had only been one shark attack fatality at a meshed beach in NSW since the 1930s.

University of Sydney shark bite researcher Christopher Neff has slammed the government's decision, insisting the nets are not a "reputable approach" to beach safety. "If the government ignores the most comprehensive study on shark prevention in Australia, they need to rethink their approach," Dr Neff told AAP on Wednesday. "There is absolutely no evidence to support that shark nets are the leading beach safety option."

He urged the government to consider drones as an inexpensive early warning direction system that would work "phenomenally" with shark shields on surfboards.

The Greens-dominated Senate committee found the measures implemented by some governments, including mesh nets in NSW, provided beachgoers with a false sense of security.

But NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair has remained firm in the government's decision to keep the meshed nets in place.

"I find it insulting to the staff that have been researching this area, insulting to the investment we've put in and more importantly it's insulting to the communities that have been affected by shark attacks," Mr Blair told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

Following concerns about the amounts of by-catch caught up in the nets, the government made modifications to reduce the effects on marine wildlife and continues to investment in SMART drumlines and drone technology as part of a suite of measures to make beachgoers safe, Mr Blair said.

Marine conservationist and drone operator Dean Jefferys also championed the use of drones as a "ridiculously cheap" option but said it was about time the government came on board and phased out the nets.

"If the government refuses to implement the recommendation of the Senate inquiry, we will launch an international social media campaign urging tourists and locals to not swim at beaches with shark nets," Mr Jefferys told AAP on Wednesday.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

No comments: