Reporting of ALP uranium mines debate so far ignores duress on sovereignty, domestic nuke weapons agenda
Topic: election Oz 2007
Picture: "Reactors are uninsurable, gas chief warns" article page 4 The Australian 23rd April 2007, offline for some reason.
A constructive and realistic way for Big Media to frame reporting of the upcoming ALP national conference debate on expansion of uranium mining is in terms of
- existing duress on Australian sovereignty if we ban U mines, and
- domestic nuke weapons agenda if the Coalition win the election.
The observation that ongoing uranium mining is in fact related to these has been taboo up till now in a subliminal forelock tug to USA military industrial supremacy and diplomacy. And it is so pathetic and dishonest.
No wonder the ALP want to debate the extent of mining given these profound implications above, and seek to constantly review the situation.
No wonder leading figures with huge political experience are having real trouble already over where to strike a balance with Premier Beattie here doing two backflips in 2 months: This was March 07 pro-u mining PM - Beattie changes tune on uranium mining. This is April 07 no u mining: The World Today 23rd April 07:
"Beattie wants no new mines policy to stay Even before the vote, Queensland's Labor Premier Peter Beattie has upset uranium companies in his state. Mr Beattie has written to the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union to say he will continue the no new uranium mines policy in Queensland, if he's given the choice."
The World Today, with apparently some argy bargy with staff what his real position is regarding a Palladin corporate takeover situation.
Similarly see the fancy footwork by Alan Carpenter Premier of WA who till now has been 'reliably' anti u mining: Rudd 'won't force uranium mining' | NEWS.com.au and Carpenter stands tough on no uranium mining policy. 23/03/2007 ... but see this slightly more equivocal report WA rejects uranium mining legislation | NEWS.com.au
To suggest glibly as PM Howard does that it is all so easy and his party did all this "25 years ago" is not only trite but shows how really irresponsible and indeed mad, vain and corrupted by power he has become. The arguments against the whole nuke cycle are very compelling and well put by Anthony Albanese MP and Peter Garrett MP (and many others) as per this yesterday Interview: Anthony Albanese
Watch video , and here Anthony Albanese: Proliferation must shape the nuclear debate, and the image of former Nuclear Disarmament Party MP Peter Garrett on the front of the Sydney Morning Herald loyally supporting the union Work Choices campaign wouldn't hurt either: Rudd keeps on rockin'
Picture: Image in Sydney Morning Herald page 1 today, long time anti nukes Peter Garrett MP (ALP) soothes the masses on industrial relations with rhetoric, rock and roll, sharing the platform with Unions NSW leader John Robertson (not shown) yesterday 22nd April 2007.
Au contraire PM. If we could avoid this uranium resource curse the better off we would be, but we can't avoid it. It's our lot.
First there is changeable duress on our sovereignty: The USA as the global top dog is so into the nuke cycle it's an article of faith for its allies to demonstrate loyalty by getting into the nuke cycle as well whether it is right or wrong. If the ALP, vying for real national govt power banned uranium mines (which I doubt they would ever do), we would soon have a very shaky sovereignty via takeover and undermining by the CIA/USA military industrial complex overlords of this SME economy. Nor are we as small as NZ to duck this one. Some of we citizens like this writer would be happy to have that struggle to repudiate the clammy embrace of Uncle Sam, most of us would not, being rusted on to the USA alliance.
Ex PM Bob Hawke has already made that political judgement (remember "Yellowcake Bob" on the sticker buttons?) for the electability of the ALP under the skirts of the Australia-USA alliance in 1983 and following: Save the Franklin River by all means but expand uranium mining too throughout the 1980ies to stay sweet with the USA hawks, and lesser extent business here. Rudd and the ALP heavyweights will know this policy history.
That is not to say all business leaders here think promoting the nuke cycle is an unqualified grown ups economic decision in the big bad world of commerce: There is this heartening report in today's The Australian on page 4, from a rival energy supplier, but don't look for it on their website, its been censored by the looks:
"Reactors are uninsurable, gas chief warns" The head [Paul Anthony] of the nations's biggest energy retailer, AGL Energy, has downplayed any prospect of the nation switching to nuclear in his lifetime, saying the power plants are "uninsurable". ..."so the government has to take a deep breath and say: 'We're going to underpin the uninsurable risk of the nuclear sector'"
On the other hand Australia is likely big enough that if the ALP allow ongoing U mining and take the pro industry political capital that entails, and win an election then such a government will still have sufficient political space from the centre left, and global stature, to politely decline nuke weapons on our soil that this writer feels sure PM Howard and the Bush regime is angling for. This is the second political threat of uranium mining. An incremental excessive embrace of the nuke cycle Howard style leads to domestic weapons proliferation ... in Australia.
Domestic nuke weapons are a real prospect under the Coalition not some greenie fantasy or fear mongering. Respected defence expert Professor Hugh White for one acknowledges nuke weapons here are a very real question even if he generously assumes no such hawkish intent by Howard Don't mention the bomb - Hugh White - Opinion - theage.com.au dated March 1st 2007:
“once the fissile material is available, designing and building the bomb is relatively straightforward. So we should be quite clear about this - building an enrichment plant would take Australia a huge step closer to the capacity to build nuclear weapons. With such a plant, an Australian government would at any time be able to expel the international inspectors and turn the plant over to producing weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium. It would shorten the lead time for Australia to build its first bomb from 10 years or more to perhaps two years or even less……
:Hugh White is a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute and professor of strategic studies at ANU.
Prof Hugh White is surely 'wrong', or we suspect pulling his punches about intent of this hawkish Coalition government. Howard or his protégé in the future would surely jump at a nuclear weapon role for Australia on the world stage. Howard has the vanity. He has the time still, and the means. White himself qualifies:
“The question, of course, is what happens if Asia changes? The growth of China and India, the strategic re-emergence of Japan, and uncertainty about America's post-Iraq trajectory all raise doubts about whether the next 30 years will be as peaceful in Asia as the past 30 or will be as turbulent as the 30 before that.”
And add to this nuclear Taiwan, North Korea, Iran, Israel and Indonesia aspiration for 'nuke power' by 2015 a mere 8 years hence. The next big nuke military industrial complex play is star wars 'defence shield' first strike capacity that China and Russia are freaking about already, hardly reported here but notice: Missile shield sparks new cold war threats | Defence | The Australian
Australia is certainly in the ‘shield’ (read first strike) plan, which seriously suggests nuke weapons capacity here sooner than most think.
Howard and Rudd are both following the nuke cycle script from 'Rome' ie Washington, to save their own careers, and Howard was always enthusiastic anyway. But Rudd is more likely to decline nuke weapons proliferation in Australia. That's the grim real geo politik reality of living under Uncle Sam's skirts if not hegemony via nuke weapons enforced military industrial complex.
This reality will change as global warming is found to be the biggest power on the face of the planet even greater than nuke weapon soft and hard power or even affluence. When that happens not only will the “social licence” for fossil fools be withdrawn but no one will give a hoot about economic imperialism via arms sales and nuclear protection rackets. Sustainability will be the catchcry.
It's nuke weapons and mining with the Coalition, or uranium mining. under the ALP, until we flip the political paradigm to real ecological sustainability.
The most disturbing thing for our democracy just now, in this writer’s view is not the export of uranium as such, as rotten as that is and wrong,
but that Rudd met
- US VP Cheney with a secret agenda about our democracy, and
- has done so again with Rupert Murdoch with a secret agenda just this weekend.
Howard habitually does too. That's the really scary thing about how uranium and nuke weapons and other policy is actually made by Big Politics and Big military industrial Business.
It is why our democracy is broken.
But the ALP conference debating how far to get into a bad business is fair enough, and mature. The idea this should be decided in isolation 25 years ago as per PM Howard is a joke. In an ideal world we would be totally out of the nuke cycle, as per the green movement and the ALP Left. But realistically to sustain our sovereignty in the now we have to balance how far to get in and that’s a judgement that is continually changing and necessary to review.
The fact the ultra hawk Bush is in power until January 2009 is even more relevant than who has the numbers at the next ALP conference.
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 11:16 AM
Subject: [Greens-Media] Senator Milne comments on Nuclear Power andRenewable Energy
RE: ALP Conference and Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Australian Greens climate change and energy spokesperson, Senator
Christine Milne, said:
"The Greens support this morning's call from the former vice president
of the International Court of Justice, Christopher Weeramantry, for a
new Nuclear Weapons Convention. Australia has 40% of the world's high
grade uranuium. We have a moral obligation to try to eliminate weapons
of terror not to feed their proliferation. Real leaders would leave the
uranium in the ground.
"The world is less safe and more vulnerable to nuclear disaster today
than it was at the time that the ALP first introduced its policy of no
new mines. The policy then was to halt expansion and to phase out
uranium sales, recognising that driving the nuclear fuel cycle globally
was contrary to the principles of peace and disarmament.
"With North Korea failing to meet its deadlines for halting its nuclear
programmes, Iran's pursuit of more nuclear reactors and the growing
threats of nuclear terrorism, now is not the time to push more uranium
into a deteriorating security environment.
"The ALP will be seen as hypocrites if they argue that nuclear reactors
and nuclear waste are not safe for Australia but put profits before
principle when it comes to supporting the very same reactors overseas."
Greens welcome call for 25% renewable energy target
Senator Milne said:
"The Greens call on both the government and Labor to reconsider their
opposition to the 25% Mandatory Renewable Energy Target in the Greens
Climate Bill currently before the Senate and advocated by a coalition of
environmental groups today.
"Neither Labor nor the Coalition is currently supporting this target.
Although Labor keeps saying the renewable energy target needs to be
increased from 2%, it has refused to put a figure on the increase
"Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are essential to avoid
catastrophic climate change, and credible policies to achieve those cuts
must be implemented.
"Contrary to the Prime Minister's constant refrain that acting on
climate change will cost the economy too dearly, a 25% MRET will create
new jobs and investment just as has occurred in Germany, Japan and
"California has legislated to require energy utilities to purchase 33%
of energy from renewable energy generators by 2020 and has poached
Australian expertise and innovation to do so. Why can't we benefit from
Australian innovation in our own country?"
Senator Milne will tomorrow release a new report that sets out the
'what, why and how' of real, science-based action on climate change and
Re-Energising Australia will be launched at Parliament House at 11 am in
Committee Room 1S3.
For more information, contact Tim Hollo on 0437 587 562
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 11:13 AM
Subject: [Greens-Media] New reactor opens as ALP lines up to nuke environment and peace movements?
“While John Howard opens the new nuclear reactor today, the Labor party are lining up for the biggest nuclear policy betrayal since their national conference in Canberra in 1984”, said Greens MP and environment spokesman, Ian Cohen today.
“The concerns of Australians about nuclear waste, weapons proliferation and the nuclear fuel cycle are falling on deaf ALP ears.
“Despite the song and dance routines of high profile ALP anti-nuclear campaigners, we are tragically confident that a reversal of the three-mines policy is a foregone conclusion. The end of the ALP National Conference on the 29th April will mark the death of principled Labor party opposition to the nuclear fuel cycle.
‘The Greens passionately believe that there is a strong link between the mining and export of uranium, nuclear power and nuclear weapon proliferation. Members of the ALP that agree with Greens’ policy on this issue, should be thinking about quitting their party, and coming over to the green side of politics.” Mr Cohen said.
In addition, Mr Cohen made a statement in support of the Victorian Greens, who are under fire from the Victorian ALP on nuclear issues.
“We strongly support our Victorian counterparts’ amendments to the Bracks Government's bill* on nuclear prohibition.
“Greens amendments will mean that if there is to be a Victorian plebiscite on nuclear activities, Parliament will decide the question. Victorian ALP attacks on the Greens are a proliferation of nuclear lies”. Said Mr Cohen.
Further Information: Nic Clyde: 0417 742 754
Ian Cohen: 0409 989 466
NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES (PROHIBITIONS) AMENDMENT (PLEBISCITE) BILL 2007.
This Bill will trigger the calling of a plebiscite of Victorian voters if the Federal government takes various actions in support of a nuclear facility prohibited under the Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act 1983
See also Victorian Hansard, Legislative Council from Wednesday 18 April 2007 http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/hansard
Declaration: This writer is principal of ecology action Australia as here with determined anti nuclear stance nuke free Oz. In mid 1998 we provided pro bono legal advice to over 100 arrested protecters at Jabiluka anti uranium mine protests in Kakadu world heritage area in the Northern Territory. (We had permission of the sitting magistrate not being a local legal practitioner.) We also created a legal database of another 300 arrestees.
Postscript #1: Good report of the State government's WA and Qld versus SAust on Fran Kelly Radio National this morning 24th April 07: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/breakfast/
Posted by editor
at 2:42 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 24 April 2007 10:38 AM NZT