The con in constitutional reform
The farce that is the ‘Recognise’ campaign and why there is a push for Australia to become a Republic, by Vanessa Kairies.
Once I started reading about the ‘Recognise’ campaign, I realised that there is a huge con in constitutional reform. It wasn’t hard to find. ‘Recognise’ reads as a promotional tool for the mining companies. There is war of terror happening in this country – terror against the land and against the people. And it was instigated by the Abbott government; the biggest environmental terrorists of them all.
(For those of you that didn’t have a chance to read my first article The biggest scam against Aboriginal Australia you may wish to read before proceeding, and for further information the Guardian’s article on Indigenous Australia’s response to ‘Recognition’).
Let’s take a look at some of the sponsors of the ‘Recognise’ campaign and their current activities in Australia.
They are Rio Tinto, BHP, Transfield, Chevron, Woodside, Lendlease and KPMG to name a few.
Some of these also donate to the Liberal and Labor parties.
Is there a conflict of interest?
My word there is. Here is why.
Australia is the world’s largest supply of uranium, and we sit at number three for the world’s top uranium producer, supplying about 30% of the world’s demands. Nuclear power, by the way, emits three times more greenhouse gases than wind power.
In March this year, the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission began in South Australia.
It was established as an independent inquiry into South Australia’s future role in the nuclear fuel cycle.
The commissioner is Kevin Scarce, friends with Julie Bishop and former Governor of South Australia. He has no recognisable formal background or training. He does however own shares in uranium miner Rio Tinto, one of the sponsors of ‘Recognise.’ It is hardly an unbiased report.
Renewable energy advocate Matthew Wright accused the Commission as using bias in order to promote the interests of uranium exploration and mining.
Kevin Scarce in the past has said “There would be no opportunity – in my view – without bipartisan support both at state and federal level to make the investment that would be necessary.”
Bi-partisan support just like the ‘Recognise’ campaign. The ‘Recognise’ campaign has cost the donors millions of dollars, I’d say they are vested now.
The Nuclear Industry in Australia would require both State and Federal legislative change to succeed.
George Brandis is working on that now. The government is currently trying to change it. The Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 prohibits certain nuclear actions unless federal approval is obtained.
There have also been proposals to build an international high level nuclear waste dump in Australia, most likely on Aboriginal land. They looked into it in the Northern Territory. Woomera in SA has been suggested by Kevin Scarce. The Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (prohibition) Act 2000 needs to be taken into account: an act to protect the health, safety and welfare of people in SA. I wonder if they will try to change it?
The current SA Labor premier, Jay Weatherill has gone against the Labor platform, which is anti-nuclear and has embraced the nuclear lobbyists. By doing this, he has made the pursuit of nuclear energy bi-partisan. There’s that word again.
In response, ‘Ngoppon together Inc’ (Walking Together Reconciliation Group) wrote a submission for the Royal Commission. I have copied my findings from it.
BHP: A ‘Recognise’ sponsor
BHP owns the SA Roxby Downs/Olympic dam uranium mine and have recently put in a proposal to expand. This included:
- the rezoning of land to allow Roxby Downs township to expand
- the establishment of a new temporary workers’ village for up to 10,000 people
- the establishment of a new airport.
The planned expansion is currently delayed.
BHP Billiton is intending to use an incredible 250 million litres of water a day.
This was to be provided from the desert state’s water and leave a 44 sq kilometre mountain range of 76 million tonnes of radio-active waste uncovered, to be blown about by the fierce spring winds of the SA desert. This would also have used one quarter of South Australia’s electricity. The article goes on to talk about the health problems local communities could face if this proposal is approved. The full submission is in the link below.
Then I read an article from 2014. What a revelation it was. Again word for word from the article below.
The Energy Policy Institute of Australia (EPI) suggested in its formal submission to the Energy White Paper, that small modular reactors (SMRs) are particularly suitable for use in mines and towns in remote locations around Australia. What is the Energy White Paper? It is an overview of the Australian Governments vision for the energy sector. Well, you have to read it to believe it. What a joke. The link is below. http://ewp.industry.gov.au/ The BHP-funded Grattan Institute’s submission envisages a string of these little nuclear reactors, connected to the grid. Keith Orchison reports on the Grattan Institute submission: ‘The Abbott government is being told that now is the time to flick the switch to “technology neutral,” opening the way for nuclear options.’ It also goes on to talk about nuclear storage dumps. Funded by BHP, a ‘Recognise’ sponsor.
This article shows that the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission reports are misleading.
RIO TINTO: A ‘Recognise’ sponsor
The Ranger uranium mine has generated over 30 million tonnes of liquid tailings waste. Rio Tinto subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) runs Ranger. Ranger is in the NT and is surrounded by Kakadu National Park. In 2005, ERA was found guilty and fined for a contamination incident in March 2004 where 150 people were exposed to drinking water containing uranium levels 400 times greater than the maximum Australian safety standard. Twenty-eight mine workers suffered adverse health effects including vomiting and skin irritation as a result
CHEVRON: A ‘Recognise’ sponsor
Chevron is the largest holder of untapped natural gas resources in Australia. For 30 years Chevron has been a joint venture participant producing natural gas for domestic use with partners in the nation’s biggest operational LNG project to date, the North West Shelf Venture (NWSV). For 25 years, the NWSV has been exporting LNG to international customers in the Asia-Pacific region. They are now developing the Gorgon Project, an LNG and domestic gas joint venture based in the Greater Gorgon gas fields off Western Australia’s Pilbara Coast, which contain more than 40 trillion cubic feet of gas, or 25 per cent of Australia’s total known gas resources. They also are developing their majority-owned and operated Wheatstone Project as an LNG and domestic gas operation near Onslow on the mainland of Western Australia. They also run a program to explore offshore opportunities and operate Australia’s largest onshore oil operation at Barrow Island in Australia’s north-west region.
SODEXO: A ‘Recognise’ sponsor
Sodexo is a company that offers camp construction, transport, logistics and waste management for remote mining sites. Sodexo offers the following products and services to the mining sector: Camp construction, camp operation and maintenance, mechanical and electrical maintenance, utilities management procurement,logistics,transportation services, waste management (removal and disposal) and welfare.
TRANSFIELD: A ‘Recognise’ sponsor
Easternwell a subsidiary of Transfield Services has been awarded a new Drilling Services Agreement with Roy Hill Iron Ore. Transfield Services, holds a $2bn contract for operational,maintenance and welfare services on Manus Island and Nauru. They have appeared before the Senate inquiry for public hearings. Three senior officers, were unable to answer a series of questions about the serious allegations raised at the centre, instead opting to take most questions on notice.
LENDLEASE: A ‘Recognise’ sponsor
Lend Lease’s Services business is a specialist maintenance and asset management contractor, providing services to the roads, water, power, telecommunications and industrial and resources sectors. With around 3,500 employees, the Services business has operations in every Australian state. Additionally, i.Power Solutions range of energy, control and power distribution products are installed at mining, utility and industrial sites throughout Australia.
KPMG: A ‘Recognise’ sponsor
KPMG member firms provide professional services to 80 percent of 50 Oil & Gas companies in the Forbes 1000. 78 percent of Oil & Gas companies in the FT Global 500. 74 percent of the largest Oil & Gas companies in the Fortune Global 500. Source: KPMG number of offices and country listing and headcount, Global Finance Team, 2013.
WOODSIDE: A ‘Recognise’ sponsor
Woodside hold a significant number of exploration permits offshore in Western Australia in the Browse and Offshore Canning Basins, the Exmouth Plateau and the Beagle, Dampier and Exmouth Sub-Basins. They are maintaining a program of exploration drilling in offshore Western Australia to build their gas volumes and maximise the value of their Australian assets, with recent discoveries in the Pyxis-1 well in the Dampier Sub-Basin and the Toro-1 well in the Exmouth Sub-Basin. They continue preliminary interpretation of the Fortuna 3D marine seismic survey (4,050 km2) which was completed in May 2014, providing the foundation for future North West Shelf exploration and appraisal programs.
In 2012 Australia created the world’s largest network of marine sanctuaries, protecting our marine life and way of life.
The Abbott Government has suspended our national network of sanctuaries, despite ten years of science and overwhelming community support (including from the majority of fishers).
National icons like the Kimberley, Geographe Bay, Perth Canyon, the Coral Sea, Lord Howe Island and the Great Australian Bight are all at risk.
Here are four proposals for uranium mines, currently underway in WA. Wiluna – Lake Way/Centipede (conditional approval) + Lake Maitland/Millipede (scoping phase) Kintyre (under assessment) Mulga Rock (scoping phase) Yeelirrie (pre- scoping)
KINTYRE URANIUM MINE, WA: The Martu people oppose the building of the Kintyre uranium mine in Western Australia. The WA State Governments proposed uranium mine and its inevitable environmental damage, is causing extreme social disharmony in remote communities. Martu country extends over 15 million hectares of the Western Desert encompassing the Gibson, Great Sandy and the Little Sandy Deserts. The traditional owners have lived here for up to 60,000 years. In 1985, Rio Tinto discovered uranium 60km south of Telfer. Since 2008, the site, known as the Kintyre uranium deposit, has been owned by Cameco and Mitsubishi Development. In March, WA Minister for the Environment, Albert Jacob conditionally approved mining activities on the site. This plan to mine uranium comes on the heels of WA Premier Colin Barnett and Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying they will close 150 Aboriginal communities.
WILUNA URANIUM MINE, WA: Toro Energy Limited (Toro) proposes to extend the Wiluna Uranium Project located near Wiluna, Western Australia. Following an assessment by the EPA (EPA Assessment 1819) and EPA Report 1437, the Western Australian Minister for Environment gave Toro approval in October 2012 to construct and operate a uranium mine consisting of two deposits, Centipede and Lake Way, respectively located approximately 30 kilometres south and 15 kilometres southeast of Wiluna (Ministerial Statement No: 913). The Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities also approved that proposal (EPBC 2009/5174) in April 2013. Since initiating assessment of that proposal, Toro has acquired two additional deposits, Millipede, also approximately 30 kilometres south of Wiluna, and Lake Maitland, 105 kilometres southeast of Wiluna, and proposes to integrate those deposits into an extended Wiluna Uranium Project. Ore from Millipede and Lake Maitland would be processed at the same plant as ore from Centipede and Lake Way. The capacity of the processing plant already approved in EPA Assessment 1819 and EPBC 2009/5174 would not increase under this proposal to extend the Wiluna Uranium Project. The plant’s operating life would double to beyond 20 years, the period during which sequential mining would be undertaken at the Centipede, Millipede, Lake Maitland and Lake Way deposits. During that period, the operation would produce up to 1200 tonnes per annum of uranium oxide concentrate. Construction and pre-mining are scheduled to begin at Centipede in late 2016 and at Millipede at the same time, subject to government approval and market conditions.
MULGA ROCKS URANIUM MINE, WA: Proposal: The mine would have a 15 year life cycle with nine open pits (mine voids,) 14 waste rock piles, in pit storage of radioactive mine waste – unclear if this will be one pit or 9 pits. Land Clearing would be 2,000 ha. The mine would use 9.5 million Litres of water per day and produce 1390 tonnes of uranium a year (total approx. 20,000 tonnes).
YEELIRRIE URANIUM MINE, WA: The Yeelirrie uranium proposal was referred to the WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in November 2014 by Canadian uranium miner Cameco. Cameco want to double the rate of production that was proposed by BHP Billiton, this means increasing water demand, increased number of trucks from Yeelirrie to Port Adelaide. The open pit would be 9km long and 1.5 km wide and 10 m deep and have 14 million tonnes of overburden. 7,500 tonnes per year of Uranium Oxide would be produced. 11.1 Million Litres of water a day would be used. 4 road trains a week as traffic. The mine would create 126,000 tonnes per year of Co2 emission. Tailings will be stored in the open pit – tailing on average contain 80% of the radioactivity of the ore Clearing of 2089 Ha of land. 17 -19 years life cycle. (2 years construction – 15 – 17 years mining and production) Highly variable work force – for the majority of the life of the mine the workforce will be between 225 and 300. A 9km stretch of open pit mining of a radioactive mineral in a highly mobile calcrete form in a region with high winds and the frequent occurrence of dust storms means significant public health risks and a high level of public interest.
OIL AND GAS MINING IN WA: There are some of the other mining interests in remote North Western Australia, this time for oil and gas. The land grab is on.
These interests sit on the Canning Basin. Covering some 530,000 square kilometres, the Canning Basin is the largest sedimentary basin in Western Australia extending almost to Port Hedland in the west and Fitzroy Crossing in the east. To the north is Derby and the Dampier Peninsular, and the Basin extends about a thousand kilometres south west of Broome. About a hundred thousand square kilometres of the Canning Basin is under the sea to the west of Broome.
Rey has a 25% interest in two highly prospective Canning Basin petroleum permits known as the ‘Fitzroy Blocks’ (EP457 and EP458). These interests are held in joint venture with Buru Energy Limited (Buru) and Diamond Resources (Fitzroy) Ltd a subsidiary of the global company Mitsubishi.
Members on the Board of Directors of Buru Energy previously worked for Woodside Energy Ltd and APEAA along with many other companies. Their contacts in the industry are immense. The Hon. Mr Peter Jones AM, also on the board of directors was a member of the Western Australian Parliament from 1974 to 1986 during which time he served as the Minister for Resources Development, Mines, Fuel and Energy. He has served as a Member of the West Australian Legislative Assembly and was a Minister of the Crown. He has connections to politicians.
FRACKING: In WA, the fracking industry is currently active and unregulated. Shale gas fracking in Western Australia could pollute the groundwater with toxic chemicals and threaten the health of the community. There could soon be thousands of fracking wells across iconic areas of WA, like the Kimberley, Ningaloo and farmland and wildflower country in the Mid West. Fracking will change these landscapes forever. Under state legislation, landowners can’t say ‘no’ if a gas fracking company wants to drill on their land. Farms, native title land, and national parks are all up for grabs.
COLLIE MINE PROPOSAL, WA: The proposed massive expansion of the Collie coal mine would take it from 4 Million Tonnes of coal per year (mostly used for domestic electricity), to up to as high as 20 Million Tonnes per year. This new production will be sold internationally and will be the first time that WA will be the home to a major coal export industry. Western Australia wants to be part of the solution to climate change, not to add fuel to the fire.
KIMBERLEY, FITZROY RIVER VALLEY, WA: Extensive coal tenements are being explored by Australia’s Rey Resources in the West Kimberley. These proposed coal mines are on the traditional lands of the Nyikina-Mangala people adjacent to the Fitzroy River. The river is sacred and culturally significant to a number of traditional owners groups.
Rey Resources plans to establish large-scale coal mining operations in the area and in May 2009 announced their intention to commence pre-feasibility studies for development of the estimated 500 million tonne (Mt) Duchess-Paradise coal reserves in the Canning basin.
Rey Resources propose to export 2 Mt (metric tonne) per annum of thermal coal to India through the existing port in Derby. However a proposed coal terminal at Point Torment would enable exports to rise to 6 Mtpa (metric tonne per annum) in the medium term and 10Mtpa in the longer term. Rey Resources propose to mine the coal using both open cut surface mining and high wall mining. If allowed to proceed this mine would displace hundreds of millions of tonnes of soil and waste rock. Even if the company backfills the open cut pits with waste rock, the potential for landscape collapse and alteration to groundwater flow patterns will still exist.
Water extraction from the Fitzroy river is likely to skyrocket because coal mines require the use of very large amounts of water. Add to this the increase in dust, pollution, noise, and traffic along the Great Western highway, and the impact will be felt across the Kimberley region.
We also have the new fleets of submarines which are still out to tenure. I wonder if the proposed submarines are nuclear propelled? The design is yet to be selected and we will find that out at the end of the year.
These are the acts (refer to the Constitutional framework for the regulation of the Australian Uranium Industry) that have been passed over the years. Changes to the Constitution could affect these, depending on the government’s agenda.
Tony Abbott supports nuclear power for Australia. In 2013, the Liberal party led by Tony Abbott gained power and re-opened discussions about the future of nuclear power in Australia. Several current members of the Abbott government have openly advocated for the consideration or nuclear power development, including foreign minister Julie Bishop.
There are a few questions that the politicians need to answer.
The first questions are to Bill Shorten. Bill, is the Labor Party intending to pursue nuclear energy in the future? Is the Labor Party planning to approve fracking? It appears the answer to the pursuit of nuclear energy is yes. That would give nuclear energy bi-partisan support.
The next question is to both the Liberal and Labor parties. Why did you lock out the Greens from the initial referendum into constitutional change? I’d say that the truth of the ‘Recognise’ campaign wouldn’t have sat well with them.
The final questions are for the Senator Richard Di Natale and all of the Greens senators. Will the Greens representatives still support the ‘Recognise’ campaign when it is intended as a land grab for new mining ventures? It goes against all of your policies. Will the Greens call a Royal commission into the ‘Recognise’ Campaign? It is long overdue.
There are serious Human Rights being abused around the country. The government has planned its way around that. After Abbott and Brandis’s attack on Gillian Triggs, the government appointed one of their own. Tim Wilson is now the Human Rights Commissioner. He spoke at a Liberal Party cocktail function with cheques payable to the Liberal Party. This seems to have gone unnoticed. He was promised Gillian’s job before she had left.
It is another way of silencing people. It was all part of the grand plan. Heaven forbid, if she was allowed to stick around and report on the happenings of today.
This is what Gillian Triggs thought of intervention in the NT.
George Brandis, the man responsible for the attack on Gillian, has appointed a new part-time commissioner of the The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC). Emeritus Professor Anura Surindra (Suri) Ratnapala is now part-time Commissioner until the conclusion of the review of Commonwealth Laws for Consistency with Traditional Rights, Freedoms and Privileges. Another person who has no understanding of culture. The interim report is out, it is in the link below, as well as the native title reform.
Another recent event is the attempt to change the Environmental Protection and Bio diversity Conservation Act. George Brandis quotes: “The Government has decided to protect Australian jobs by removing from the Environment Protection and Bio diversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) the provision that allows radical green activists to engage in vigilante litigation to stop important economic projects,” Protecting Australian jobs, nice try George. Important economic projects, at the expense of the environment. Haven’t you heard George? No-one’s buying our coal anymore. This has come on the back of the Carmichael mine being rejected. Abbott is claiming green groups were using the law to “sabotage” the coal industry. So they should, perhaps the government is concerned about the climate litigation that has commenced. It worked in the Netherlands. It will work here too. It’s another attempt to shut down the voice of Australia.
It is all one big stitch up. The Liberal party has moved beyond being far-right to being Fascists. Here is the definition for the nay-sayers. Fascism:an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization. (in general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.
Intolerant alright, to the Australian people and to the asylum seekers.
As far as the political parties go, The Greens are the best aligned to protecting the culture and the people from persecution. They need education and fast. People need to see them come out publicly and make a stand against the ‘Recognise’ campaign. We have and are going, to continually watch communities close and the land desecrated bit by bit. It is not going to happen all at once, that would be too obvious. Situations can be fought one by one, or people can unite to put the party in power, that may be able to overhaul the whole political system. It is desperately needed. You don’t hear much about the Greens in the media, thanks to funding restrictions and to Murdoch. They don’t receive the dodgy donations to run their campaigns like the others do. Give them the funding and see what happens. A vote for the greens is not a wasted vote, I’ve heard it all from the supporters of the Labs and the Libs. Besides, I can’t support a party that backs the Liberal’s policies on the asylum seekers. Are you listening Labor? Read the Green’s policies, you will be surprised and inspired by the possibilities of what Australia could become. Mention this in the public arena and you’ll get hammered. Humanity is afraid of change. It is a normal psychological behaviour. I am more afraid of what is going to happen if there is no change. What sort of country do you want to live in? Political apathy is killing our country. The Greens have never been in power, it’s time we gave them a go. Nothing could be worse than the way it is now.
I believe the forced closures of 150 communities is now a matter for the International community. There is no-one left In Australia that can or is prepared to help. The UN and the ICC need to be called in. The violation of human rights reported. The Queen needs to be notified and the advice from the crown all those years ago honoured.
The politicians don’t seem to care that homes and culture will be destroyed and people will be forced to live somewhere else. They have no understanding of how the culture works. I wonder how the politicians would react, if their churches were taken over, if they were forced from their family homes, if they were arrested when they tried to protest. I am sure they wouldn’t behave in the same peaceful and dignified manner that the First Nations folk do. It is a consistent series of taking with nothing being given back in return. The trust has been broken time and time again. The promises are never kept or they are broken with no serious commitment to anything that will be beneficial. It has gone past the point of discussion. It was never an issue to be politicised. The lores and culture were ignored. Everyone knew them, they were respected. If they were broken, there was punishment. The tribes survived this way for thousands of years. The first settlers bought the politics with them.
I look at the case of Adani, at their proposal for the Carmichael mine. Mention the Great Barrier Reef and people were outraged. How many were aware, that the proposed mine, was going to destroy the ancestral home of the Wangan and Jagalingou people?
The population in the 150 communities to be closed are small, Australia needs to rally behind them and help. Here are a couple of petitions you can sign. Spread the word folks, get that bush telegraph working.
- Stop the closure of the homelands. State and Federal governments must fund services in remote Aboriginal communities.
- The Hon. Tony Abbott, MP Prime Minister of Australia, please stop the closure of Indigenous communities in W.A. and commit to providing the basic services they need to live. We would like you to make a stand to uphold Indigenous human rights.
Australia’s attitude needs to change too. This article on The AIMN sums it up perfectly.
I am not a journalist. I worked in the production of television news and currents affairs for twenty years. I have seen things that the public don’t get to see as a result. I’ve followed politics for most of my life. I am an artist seeking answers to questions that the government refuses to answer. I started a series of cartoons to release my anger at the state that Australia is in. They became the hub for my research and media reports. Most portfolios are covered. Inside each one, in the previous comments, is where I store the information I have discovered. I have read it all. I know who I will be voting for from doing this. That was the intention. I am now trying my hand at writing and have been fortunate enough to have the support of The AIMN and others. I know how the media operates in this country. I have had first hand experience in being told what you can and can not put to air and why. It is for this reason I contacted the independent media sites. Ones that Rupert Murdoch has no interest in.
Australia has become stuck in its ways, we are moving backwards, not forwards. Before you criticise, open up these links, read it all, know what I know and you too, will feel heartbroken for our country.
Here are the cartoon folders with all of the information inside them.
- Mining in WA and the forced removal of 150 communities
- Mining throughout Australia
- First Nations issues including culture
- The asylum seekers
- Political Party policies and donations
- Climate change
- Climate change denial
- Media ownership
- Marriage equality
- The TPP and the Free Trade agreement with China
- The Economy
- Unemployment, homelessness and other social issues
- Domestic violence and women’s issues
- Communications and government control of technology
- Racism in Australia
- Hub for all of the political cartoons
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