Southpaw Backhander

The return of the Liberal Party government in Tasmania with a bare, reduced majority was not an unalloyed catastrophe for the progressive forces in the island State. Labor was returned with an increased minority on an issue of principle, pokies reform. This confirms the strong leadership of Rebecca White, who is arguably well poised to regain government at the next election, circumstances permitting; the Green vote was alarmingly static, not to say worse. There is the consolation that losing with a sound policy at least leaves a legacy to build on. But it is nonetheless a setback for progressive forces in Tasmania and nationally. It once again shows that excessive tension between Labor and the Greens only benefits the Tories, in keeping with the maxim that disunity is death. It is unhealthy that the Hodgeman dynasty administration has been returned to office, with its plans to log wilderness extensively and restrict the democratic right to protest to appease capital. Despite Hodgeman’s denials that the election was bought, there is no doubt that the massive advertising campaign by the gambling lobby, led by the Federal Group which owns the island’s two casinos, was a powerful factor.

Labor and the Greens can now only govern together. Labor’s primary vote has fallen to historic lows, while Bob Brown’s ambitions to `replace the bastards’ are illusory. Labor and the Greens are as doomed to serve the public together as the Liberals and Nationals are condemned to loot the public purse on behalf of vested interests as Coalition partners in crime. As a Tasmanian expat I have been arguing this case like Cassandra since my teenage years in Tasmania during the rise of the Greens in the 1970s. These basic political principles have national implications. As the 2018 Tasmanian General Election shows, they are ignored at the peril of the interested parties and the public, not to mention the environment.… Read more >>

Memorial/Adelaide Festival

Review by David Faber

Helen Morse

Memorial/Adelaide Festival 

Starring Helen Morse

By Alice Oswald

Direction by Chris Drummond

Director Chris Drummond has dramatically realized upon the stage poet Alice Oswald’s compelling elegy to the fallen of the Iliad. The author has succeeded in interpreting the atmosphere of the epic, by stripping it of narrative detail.

The narrator, her words echoed by a numerous chorus and small orchestra, recounts the humanity of the dead warriors, the horror of their injuries and the grief of their loved ones in a dirge of mourning for the human cost of war, never sufficiently accounted for in the millennia of slaughter which continue to traumatize the human race. It is fitting that the production has been brought to Adelaide in this year which sees the centenary of the final year of the Great War, in which so many Australians amongst others were sacrificed.

The problem of war and peace is an environmental issue, as was demonstrated in the wake of the shock and awe visited by Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, when catastrophic pollution was unleashed during the destruction inflicted upon the invaded country being `liberated’. Moreover while the calculus of conflict preoccupies policy makers, the environmental crisis facing us is unlikely to receive due attention. This well received play helps move us nearer to a proper appreciation of the preciousness of life, a perspective which represents our last best hope.
David FaberRead more >>

Senate Enquiry National Rad Waste Facility

Mara Bonacci, the CCSA’s  Nuclear Waste campaigner writes:

On  6 February 2018, the Senate referred an inquiry into the selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia to the Senate Economics Reference Committee for inquiry and report by 14 August 2018.
This is welcome.
Submissions are due by Tuesday 3rd April.
It would be wonderful if you  could write a submission.
The terms of reference can be found here
Some points to consider including are:
  • A single individual or property owner should not be allowed to nominate a site for a nuclear waste dump.
  • The federal government have not made a clear or compelling case that we need a national nuclear waste dump in SA.
  • The consultation process has been deficient and has caused division in our communities.
  • The federal government plan lacks social licence or community consent. Traditional Owners have flagged concerns over cultural heritage issues.
  • The project has not considered the full range of options to best advance responsible radioactive waste management in Australia. Australia’s worst waste should be dealt with better.
In addition, I have set up on online submission system that is pre-filled but can be edited.  I encourage as many people as possible to take a few minutes to complete.
It would be great to get as many submissions to the Senate Standing Committees on Economics as possible so collectively we can end this terrible process and get the federal government to finally take a responsible approach to radioactive waste management.
Please contact me if you have any questions or need any help with this.
thanks and regards,
Mara Bonacci
Nuclear Waste Campaigner
Usual Hours Monday – Wednesday 10am – 3pm
Conservation Council SA
The Joinery / 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide SA 5000
(08) 8223 5155  mobile: 0422 229 970
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REGARDING THE NATIONAL RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITY

A summary of the letter from MAPW to Industry Minister Matt Canavan
Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW),                                        23 Feb 18 

 

 REGARDING THE NATIONAL RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITY (NRWMF )

1) The process is very divisive. Repeated, highly damaging processes imposed on previously cohesive communities are causing significant harms.

2) Considerable amounts of persistently misleading information have been and continue to be presented to communities. Incorrect and incomplete information does not result in genuine consent.

3) There is a failure to observe international best practice standards for the highly radioactive long lived intermediate level waste (ILW) management. There is no disposal plan whatsoever for ILW, leaving the problem for many future generations.

REGARDING THE EXPANSION OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE PRODUCTION FOR EXPORT

1) There is a lack of demonstrable “Net benefit”. The proposed 40 year-long expansion of medical isotope production needs genuine cost/benefit analysis to make sure this is not a heavily subsidised product being sold into the global market at the expense of the Australian community both now and in the future. Independent NEA/OECD economic modelling finds only 10-15% cost recovery of isotope manufacture when there is genuine inclusion of all costs.

2) The expansion will create 40 years of significantly increased production of ILW.

3) ANSTO has a narrative of global shortages, yet given falling demand and increasing global supply there is no shortage of Mo99. The NEA/OECD predict a significant oversupply.

4) Again, there is no plan whatsoever for disposal of the additional ILW generated.

Both processes are unacceptably flawed.

Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW)  urges

  • A halt to the current NRWMF process until such time as world’s best practice is followed. There is sufficient capacity at the Lucas Heights facility, once regulatory approvals are met, to store Low Level Waste (LLW) and Intermediate Level Waste  (ILW) well into the next decade.
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Concern over gas exploration in the SE

As you may be aware, a number of residents in the South East have concerns regarding any mining or petroleum activities, particularly with large swaths of exploration licences over their properties.  The most concerning area is water security.  When there are droughts, the South East residents are fully dependent on the groundwater.  Health concerns, keeping the South East’s world renowned  clean and green image for export growth, and impacts on the economy are other concerns.  2015 – 2016, the value of agriculture in the SE, was  $3.2 billion, which was 51% of the total gross value of agricultural production in SA.
The geology and hydrology, including limestone, cavernous systems, and fault lines are not suitable for any drilling or mining and petroleum activities, apart from extractive mining for road and building materials.  With both mining and petroleum activities, there are risks to the groundwater, soil and air, through loss of well integrity, any dewatering of the aquifers, waste water disposal from gas or oil activities and no suitable way for safe disposal, contamination from tailing and benefication ponds for mining, salt impacts and landscape changes. Emissions and waste water ponds may impact bird life.  There has been a shocking disaster in Canada, where 7500 song birds flew into a gas flare at a gas processing plant and died.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/7-500-songbirds-killed-at-canaport-gas-plant-in-saint-john-1.1857615
All gas needs flaring. I understand, if there is viable amounts of gas, the Katnook Gas Plant will be upgraded. In other places, including Australia,  my colleagues have told me that there have been a number of animal and bird deaths that may have died through road kill and extra traffic on the roads, and also through drinking water from the contaminated waste water ponds.
I would like these concerns to be on the agenda in the South Australian Parliament, after the election.  
Read more >>