Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Greens exposed as Bob Brown baulks at turbines in his backyard

Environmental crusader Bob Brown has exposed a conspiracy of silence by the Greens and their supporters on the true cost and ­unintended consequences of ­renewable power.

Dr Brown yesterday stood by his comments slamming a proposed $1.6 billion Robbins Island wind farm in Tasmania’s northwest. The response from the Greens party and environment groups to Dr Brown’s outburst was as quiet as a wind rotor on a dead-calm day.

The Greens and Australian Conservation Foundation refused to criticise either Dr Brown or the project, slated to be one of the ­biggest wind farms in the world if it goes ahead.

In the past, federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale has likened investigating complaints about wind farms and noise to taking ­seriously alien abductions.

He refused to support the appointment of a wind farm commissioner to handle public com­plaints. His staff yesterday said he did not wish to comment on his former leader’s protest.

A spokesman for the ACF said “we don’t have a view” when asked about Dr Brown’s objections to the project. “We don’t know enough about it,” he said.

The ACF “can’t say definitely either way” if it had ever objected to a wind farm development.

Political adversaries criticised Dr Brown for displaying not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) hypocrisy in warning against the Robbins ­Island plan, but bird lovers who have been fighting wind farm ­developments across Australia for a decade would like the anti-­development, anti-coal powerhouse to extend his concerns beyond Tasmania. When Hamish Cumming tried to interest Dr Brown’s foundation in the plight of Victoria’s endangered brolgas, which he says are threatened by wind farms, he was ignored.

By publicly opposing the Robbins Island development, Dr Brown has unleashed a decade of pent-up frustrations of nature lovers who fear industrial-scale projects are transforming rural Australia for the worse.

Dr Brown yesterday defended his fight against the wind farm proposal, which he compared to the Franklin Dam. The Hong Kong-based UPC Renewables Robbins Island and Jim’s Plain Renewable Energy Parks project will be one of the world’s biggest renewable ­energy developments.

It will include up to 200 wind towers, each stretching 270m from the ground to rotor tip.

Electricity generated from the project will be exported to the mainland via a new interconnector as part of the “battery for the ­nation” project supported by the federal government.

To get to the interconnector, electricity from the wind and associated solar farms must travel through some of the most spectacular scenery in the region.

The project is also located in a significant area for raptors and ­migratory birds. UPC said it had been conducting eagle surveys, with white-bellied sea eagles and Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagles nesting on Robbins Island.

The company said there would be a 1km exclusion zone around each nest

Dr Brown shocked many with his public protests against the ­development because of its visual impacts and the threat the massive windmills pose to birdlife. “I’m a big supporter of renewable energy and energy efficiency but this massive wind farm goes too far,” he said. “It’s comparable to the Franklin Dam for hydro-energy … you have to look to the environmental, economic and social consequences of this wind farm.”

Dr Brown said as well as the environmental impacts, he was concerned profits from the project “will not go to Tasmanians, but to the multinational building it”.

Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor yesterday said: “This is a classic case of Greens’ hypocrisy. The Greens love nothing more than to lecture Australians about their preferred source of energy generation, but when it’s in Bob Brown’s backyard, wind farms are suddenly a bad idea.”

Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz ridiculed Dr Brown’s protests. “Consistency, integrity and facts are the three ingredients regularly missing from Bob Brown’s advocacy,” Senator Abetz said.

“And if he still believes in his slogan of ‘think globally, act locally’, the fact that the energy produced from the Robbins Island wind farm would be exported from Tasmania is irrelevant.”


The Federal Court has dismissed action by Aborigines against a nuclear waste dump in SA

The Federal Court has dismissed a bid by a group of native title holders to influence and potentially block the construction of a nuclear waste dump on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula.

The Barngarla people had argued that a poll of residents planned by the Kimba District Council, to gauge local support for the dump, was unlawful because it excluded native title holders.

Two sites near the town have been short-listed as potential locations for a low-level radioactive waste storage facility, while a third is near the Flinders Ranges town of Hawker.

The federal government is yet to reveal its preferred location but following the court ruling said it was mindful of the need to reach a decision.

It has also vowed to continue to consult with all stakeholders as it thanked local communities for their patience.

The Barngarla had claimed their exclusion from the Kimba ballot was based on their Aboriginality and would impair their human rights or fundamental freedoms as native title owners.

But on Friday, Justice Richard White ruled that the council's actions did not contravene racial discrimination laws.

Justice White found the council had not excluded the Barngarla because of their Aboriginality but had reasonably restricted the ballot to members of the Kimba community who had the right to elect council members.

"An enlargement of the franchise for the purpose of the ballot would have required a number of subjective judgments about the extent of the enlargement and raised issues concerning the proper identification of those within the expanded franchise," the judge said.

The federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said it would study the judgment in detail before advising communities on the next steps in the selection process.

Jeff Baldock, who has nominated his Kimba farming property as one of the possible sites, welcomed the ruling and urged the government to move forward.

He said the project had good support in the local community and was a "once in a lifetime opportunity to secure Kimba's future."

Mr Baldock said the waste facility would potentially provide jobs and much-needed revenue for the region, which was beginning to lose businesses and services, for hundreds of years.

But the Greens said the court decision had sidelined traditional owners and called for an independent expert panel to take over selection of the waste site.

"The entire process has been badly botched from the start, with community concerns ignored and the Adnyamathanha and Barngarla people sidelined," South Australian Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

"South Australia is not going to just roll over and be the country's dumping ground. This plan would lock generations of South Australians to nuclear waste."

The Kimba council had been about to distribute ballot papers for a vote on the dump when the ballot was halted by a South Australian Supreme Court injunction last year.

The council said on Friday it would make a comprehensive statement on the court judgment in the coming days and would continue to liaise with the federal government on the conduct of the ballot.


PM stands firm on constitutional recognition

Prime Minister Scott Morrison insists his position on constitutional recognition of Australia's indigenous people has not changed and hopes to make progress in a "good faith way".

But says he does not want to raise expectations of what can be achieved.

"I am a constitutional conservative on these issues, which should come as no surprise," he told reporters after addressing the state LNP convention in Queensland on Saturday.

"I am not going to raise peoples expectations on this, I am going to be very clear about where we are and provide a space, which we have done ... that can hopefully see this progress."

Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt committed to holding a referendum on constitutional recognition within the next three years this week. But he and the prime minister will not support a constitutionally enshrined indigenous voice to parliament, as proposed in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Conservative Liberals and Nationals have also raised concerns an indigenous advisory body could become a "third chamber" of federal parliament, with one MP threatening to campaign on the "no" side of a referendum..

Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman concedes it is going to be hard to find the right model for constitutional recognition but it will be a process that does involve more consultation.

"What I'd encourage everyone to do is to sometimes `sit back and take a breath'," he told ABC television.

"What we don't need is a knee-jerk reaction to every proposal or proposition that comes along." He is also conscious of the tricky road that constitutional referendums have had in Australia.

"The majority of Australians - anyone under 40 - will never have seen a successful referendum passed in the country, which gives rise to a little bit of caution," he said.

Labor opposition frontbencher Amanda Rishworth says any discussion has got to start from the principle that Australia's first people got together and put forward the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

"We do have to respect that," she told ABC television.

"In saying that, I think we need to keep an open mind. We want to achieve this. And so we need to go forward with making sure that people aren't closing off to where we can get to with this."

Mr Morrison says he is focused on young indigenous people committing suicide in remote regional communities and making sure enough kids are turning up at school every day to get the education to set them up for the future.

"It's these very practical issues that are my top priority," he says.

Labor pushes on with indigenous `voice' proposal

Labor and key Aboriginal leaders have stared down Scott Morrison's rejection of a constitutionally enshrined "voice to parliament", declaring they would keep pushing the government to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Opposition indigenous Australians spokeswoman Linda Burney yesterday said it was "too early" to give up on a constitutionally -enshrined voice after The Australian reported the Prime Minister would veto a referendum on the proposal.

"I have (seen) what the Prime Minister has said and I have heard what a number of people in the -Coalition have said, but Labor's position is crystal clear. We -embrace the Uluru statement and I will continue to work in a collaborative bipartisan way -towards what the Uluru statement says," Ms Burney said.

"It doesn't take away for one minute - whether the Prime Minister has said what he has said or not - the collaborative nature of how I want to move forward.''

Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt on Wednesday committed himself to a referendum in this term of parliament on the recognition of indigenous Australians in the Constitution.

Mr Wyatt left the door open to the model of a constitutionally -enshrined voice but warned he would only proceed with a "pragmatic" model that would receive broad public support. He said yesterday that legislating a voice to parliament could be a "better way" than enshrining it in the Constitution. "If the voice fails in any referendum, then it is folly. We cannot do that, we have to look at practical solutions that realise better outcomes for our people,'' he told ABC radio.

Senior government sources said on Thursday that Mr Morrison was opposed to the voice proposal and it would not be part of the government's push for indigenous constitutional recognition.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton yesterday said the government did not support a "third chamber or a separate voice".

Three members of the Referendum Council - Noel Pearson, Patricia Anderson and Megan Davis - responded yesterday by declaring "there is nothing to fear from the voice".

"It is not a third chamber in parliament and would have no veto or legislative power. The legislation that establishes the body of the voice will be capable of change, so it is not about cementing into the Constitution a static body," they said in a statement.

"The details around the voice were purposely unfinished as it was always intended that they would be defined through a consultation process with the Australian people and it is through the government's commitment to a co-design process that this can be achieved."

The three indigenous leaders said the government's -com-mitment to a referendum was a "great step forward" in achiev--ing constitutional recognition.

Former Liberal indigenous -affairs minister Fred Chaney said the voice would be a "natural, -appropriate and measured" change to the Constitution. "Properly constructed, there will be little to worry about. The change to the Constitution will be but an authorising provision -empowering the federal government to establish the voice," he writes in The Weekend Australian.


Labor refuses to rule out backflipping on law designed to make it easier to deport immigrant sex predators, paedophiles and violent thugs

A proposed law to give the government more discretionary powers to deport convicted rapists, killers, pedophiles and violent thugs may now be backed by Labor.

Labor Senator Kristina Keneally on Monday would not rule out supporting the Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill, reintroduced after Parliament reconvened following the election.

The Bill gives the government the power to kick out any convicted criminals who are not citizens and whose crime carries a potential jail sentence of two years or more, regardless of time served.

On Monday, Labor's position shifted as Opposition home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Kenneally would not rule out supporting the new laws, which appears to be a reversal of Labor's previously reported stance

Under existing laws, the Department of Home Affairs must cancel visas when a non-citizen is jailed for at least a year.

Criminals already stripped of their visas under the current system include Apex gang member Isaac Gatkuoth, born in Sudan.

Bikies Danny Mousley, Alex Vella, Aaron Graham and Sonny Otene have also had their visas cancelled. 

Both police and the Government are concerned that violent offenders sentenced to penalties of less than a year in jail can avoid being kicked out of the country.

Police Federation of Australia chief executive Scott Weber said he was concerned that courts may impose lesser sentences on offenders to stop them being deported. 

'The judiciary should be putting adequate sentences on these offenders and should not be concerned about it going over the 12-month threshold,' Mr Weber told the Herald Sun.

Immigration Minister David Coleman said in October that the changes were aimed at criminals who pose a risk to the Australian community and would give the Government clear grounds to cancel a non-citizen's visa if they were convicted of violent and sexual offenses.

'The government will not tolerate criminal behaviour of noncitizens,' he told Parliament.

'This bill sends a clear and unequivocal message on behalf of the Australian community that entry or stay in Australia is a privilege granted only to those of good character.'

Labor opposed the legislation with MPs suggesting in February that they would reject the changes as the government already had the power to cancel visas on character grounds, the Herald Sun reported.

On Monday, Labor's position shifted as Opposition home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Kenneally would not rule out supporting the Bill, which has been sent to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and a report, which is due September 13.

'The Government has never put this legislation forward for a vote in the Parliament,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

'Along with the Government, we await the report in September at the conclusion of the committee's considerations.'

The Committee has already considered the legislation when it was first put before the Parliament last year.

In January it published a report recommending the legislation be passed despite concerns from advocacy groups, legal journal Lawyers Weekly reported.

As the Government has resubmitted the legislation to the Parliament it has also resubmitted it for review to the committee.

Daily Mail Australia asked Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton whether the discretionary nature of the new powers would weaken the provisions of the legislation, and was referred to Immigration Minister David Coleman.


 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

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