W #Australia New minister should bring fresh approach to radioactive waste debacle. #nuclear #uranium

New minister should bring fresh approach to radioactive waste debacle

Australian Greens spokesperson on nuclear policy Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam. 25 March 2013.

The departure of Martin Ferguson from the Cabinet presents a circuit breaker for the Federal Government to progress a real solution for Australia’s radioactive waste problem, the Greens said today.

“If responsibility for the waste site is to remain with Mr Gary Gray’s portfolio, he should immediately move to drop the campaign to dump the waste at Muckaty Station,” said Australian Greens spokesperson on nuclear policy Senator Scott Ludlam.

“Rather than Mr Ferguson’s coercive approach, which is years behind schedule and embroiled in a Federal Court action, Mr Gray should take up the Greens proposal for an independent commission with the technical expertise to find a world’s best standard solution for Australia’s inventory of radioactive waste.

“The job of building an appropriate facility and finding an appropriate site for dealing with the country’s radioactive waste material clearly belongs in the science portfolio – currently held by Mr Greg Combet. The Government now has a chance to fix that mistake.

“The Greens will work with any minister who is willing to make a clean break with the terrible debacle left behind by Martin Ferguson.”

Media contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302

#australia #Uranium sales to #India: illegal, immoral, irresponsible @SenatorLudlam

Uranium sales to India: illegal, immoral, irresponsible

Australian Greens spokesperson for nuclear policy – Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam. 21 March 2013.

Negotiations to sell uranium to India that commenced this week must be abandoned immediately, said Australian Greens nuclear policy spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam.

“The Fukushima nuclear disaster began March 11, 2011, and more than two years on 160,000 people are still unable to return to their homes because of contamination of a vast area of Japan. There was Australian uranium in all four reactors at Fukushima, yet the Australian Government has learnt nothing. They are embarking on a deranged project to sell uranium to a country that has nuclear weapons, refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has an appalling track record on nuclear safety,” said Senator Ludlam.

“Foreign Minister Bob Carr has defended India’s non-proliferation record, but India has produced plutonium for weapons from a Canadian-supplied reactor it pledged to use only for ‘peaceful purposes’. Minister Carr has also forgotten that just eight years ago, K. Subrahmanyam, former head of the national security advisory board in India, said: ‘…it is to India’s advantage to categorise as many power reactors as possible as civilian ones to be refuelled by imported uranium and conserve our native uranium fuel for weapons-grade plutonium production’. Make no mistake; Australian uranium would boost India’s nuclear weapons capacity.

“By pouring uranium into India, Australia would fuel an industry that India’s Auditor General strongly condemned in September 2012. There is no national policy on nuclear and radiation safety, and inspections, safety standards, emergency response plans, the supervision of licensing of nuclear sites, and the disposal of nuclear waste are all dangerously sub-standard.

“Hundreds of thousands of Indian men and women have mobilised in peaceful anti-nuclear protests – and they have been subject to severe, brutal repression from police. Five of the activists have been murdered since 2010 in the struggle against the nuclear industry in Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and Gorakhpur (Haryana).

“Australia selling uranium to India is a violation of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference commitment to require full-scope safeguards as a condition of supply, and would be illegal under Article IV of the Treaty of Rarotonga which obliges signatories to not supply equipment or material to countries not under full scope safeguards.

“Selling uranium to India would be illegal, immoral, irresponsible, and would cause the people of India far more misery than good – all to squeeze out a few dollars more for Australia’s tiny and declining uranium sector.”

Media contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302

#Australia #Indigenous #mining @senatorludlam Koongarra’s inclusion welcome, but Kakadu remains incomplete

Koongarra’s inclusion welcome, but Kakadu remains incomplete

Australian Greens spokesperson on nuclear policy – Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam. 14 March, 2013.

The Greens today welcomed the inclusion of the Koongarra mineral lease in Kakadu National Park, but said Kakadu would remain incomplete until the Jabiluka and Ranger mineral leases are returned.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam praised the efforts of Djok Traditional Owner Jeffrey Lee, who had been in the public gallery when the Bill was introduced in early February.

“When Mr Lee came to Canberra a few weeks ago to witness this Bill being introduced, he said ‘Money comes and goes but the land is always here… If we look after it, it will look after us.’ …It’s difficult to comprehend the pressure Mr Lee withstood so we could get to this point, but I want to pay tribute to this fine and courageous man, a softly spoken and gentle man, who stood up to some of the most powerful interests on earth, and won,” Senator Ludlam told the Senate.

Koongarra was finally recognised in June 2011 by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for having both cultural and environmental significance. Mr Lee has acknowledged the support from the Mirarr people; especially their senior Traditional Owner, Ms Yvonne Margarula.

“The 1,228 hectare area of Koongarra should have been in Kakadu long ago, but will finally have the protection it deserves upon passage of this Bill. This is a step forward for the integrity of the Kakadu World Heritage area, but Kakadu will not be ‘complete’ until the Ranger and Jabiluka mineral leases have been reincorporated into the Park and custodianship restored to the Traditional Owners of the area.”

“Ranger uranium mine is a toxic blot on the landscape that leaks up to 100,000 litres of radioactive water into the park every day. There have been over 150 leaks, spills and licence breaches since the mine opened. Despite ongoing problems and aging infrastructure, ERA is considering expansion at Ranger. I call on the Environment Minister to protect Kakadu from the ongoing threat of Ranger,” Senator Ludlam told the Senate.

“Rehabilitating the mess at Ranger will be a long and difficult task, and one that won’t begin until the Government gets it right and returns it to the Park. For today though, we can all celebrate this outcome.”

Media contact; Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302

Important event for #Perth #MenalHealth – #Suicide prevention is everyone’s business: Free community forum

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Free suicide awareness community forum

Suppose you are concerned and want to reach out to a mate – what then? Join the local Ellenbrook Health & Wellbeing Community Group to promote the importance of mental health and wellbeing by attending this free community forum on recognising the signs that someone is thinking of suicide and how to keep them safe from harm. Learn about reaching out, giving support and getting help in this one hour awareness presentation.

This Read the Signs community forum is free for the public to attend thanks to the generous support of Tsokos Property and the initiative of the City of Swan.

When: 7-9pm, Tuesday 19th March 2013

Where: Community Meeting Room, Upstairs from Library Room, Ellenbrook

For more information or to RSVP contact:

Angie Roche on angie.roche

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Greens stand up for community radio

Greens stand up for community radio

Australian Greens communications spokesperson Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, Deputy Leader Adam Bandt MP. 13 March 2013.

The Australian Greens will call on the Federal Government to fund community broadcasters’ digital radio services in Parliament today, marking the national day of action for community radio.

Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam and Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt will move motions in the Senate and the House recognising the great contribution made to Australian civil society by community broadcasters and calling on the Government to commit to adequate support for the sector.

“In the 2012 budget the Government left a funding shortfall for community digital radio services of $1.4 million per annum, making it impossible to maintain all of the current services. Community broadcasters are not-for-profit organisations and stations have already invested scarce resources to develop and support the production of content for their new digital radio services – without proper Federal support, that will go to waste and that waste could prove fatal,” said Senator Ludlam.

“Australia’s community broadcasters are an absolutely vital part of our media landscape and provide services that include specialist music, Indigenous media, multicultural and non-English language programs, religious, educational and youth services, print disability reading services, and community access programs. Their contribution is immense, and immensely important to civil society,” said Mr Bandt.

“At a time in which control of the mainstream media is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a shrinking number of oligarchs, the alternative voices provided by community broadcasters are more important than ever. The Federal Government must commit to keeping these vital services on the air,” said Senator Ludlam.

Media contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302

#australia media remains a corporate toy….1 year & 2 reviews later – media reform has been delayed long enough

One year and two reviews later – media reform has been delayed long enough

Australian Greens communications spokesperson Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam. 11March 2013.

The Australian Greens today urged the Federal Government to finally take action on media reform.

Greens communication spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said the Government had sat on the Finkelstein report and Convergence Review long enough to produce a response.

“It is time the Government brought forward the full package of media reforms; a package that should promote media diversity and prevent further concentration of media ownership, protect the ABC and SBS, and promote community broadcasting.

“In regards to the broadcast reach rule – the 75 per cent rule – while in an age of convergence the current system may be becoming obsolete it is essential that local and regional news and content is protected through new ‘enforceable undertakings’ from the networks.

“The Greens are ready to work with the Government to get genuine reform. Such reform would include a new ‘public interest’ test on media acquisitions and mergers. We need action to prevent further concentration of media ownership but the Government is in danger of blowing this opportunity.”

Senator Ludlam said in addition to meaningful local content quotas, introducing a minimum spend for Australian children’s television and documentaries on subscription television would be good news for the arts and the economy.

“In the absence of meaningful local content quotas Australian production of original programmes will suffer when it’s cheaper to import from the US or UK."

Media contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302

#Australia #uranium – Two years on, major parties must face the facts of Fukushima

Two years on, major parties must face the facts of Fukushima

Australian Greens nuclear policy spokesperson Senator or Western Australia Scott Ludlam. 11 March 2013.

On the second anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam has urged the Government and Opposition to take responsibility for the consequences of Australian uranium exports.

“Australian uranium was in each of the reactors at Fukushima on March 11, 2011. Two years on there are still 160,000 displaced people unable to return home, and the plants have now become an open-ended liability.”

Senator Ludlam will give notice of a motion in the Senate tomorrow proposing an immediate review of uranium supply agreements to assess the risk of future disasters in customer countries.

“It would appear the Australian Government has learned nothing from the experience of supplying the uranium to fuel the Fukushima reactors.”

Media contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302

#Australia Public & community broadcasting “more important than ever” @SenatorLudlam as ABC Inquiry begins # auspol

Public and community broadcasting “more important than ever” as ABC Inquiry begins

Australian Greens communications spokesperson Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam. 7 March 2013.

“Public and community broadcasting is more important than ever as the ownership of the private media becomes increasingly concentrated,” Australian Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today as he attended the Inquiry into the ABC.

“Media diversity is vital to the health of our democracy and civil society and in this country media diversity is in retreat.

“The number of people controlling the commercial media is shrinking at an alarming rate. The role of public and community broadcasters in presenting a diverse range of viewpoints from across the country – particularly remote and regional Australia – is more crucial than ever before.

“We need our public broadcasters to be properly funded and resourced and to be free from political interference, and we need our community broadcasters to be supported in their work to provide a forum for local content, local artists and fresh perspectives on the events that shape our lives.”

Senator Ludlam said he welcomed the contribution of the Friends of the ABC Western Australia, Sandy Cotton, Dr Harry Cohen AM, and the Community and Public Sector Union of WA.

“For ABC staff to do their job properly – a job absolutely vital to the community – they need secure employment, independence, and adequate resources.

“The ABC’s charter enshrines the importance of providing services to regional audiences. Regional services have suffered with studio closures and staff-cuts. We want to see more regional production and more local content. The ABC is the national broadcaster, not the Sydney-Melbourne broadcaster, and resourcing needs to reflect that.”

Media contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302

Barnett Govt strips dignity from #disabled… “People with incontinence left without help” @AlisonXamon #wapol

People with incontinence told to go on waiting list as program runs out of cash, say Greens

6 March 2013

Potentially hundreds of people are having their quality of life destroyed by the State Government’s failure to adequately fund a support scheme for people with incontinence.

“Incontinence is not something people like to talk about but is it a common problem and for people who live with this every day, it can ruin their quality of life,” Greens spokesperson for Disability Alison Xamon said.

“The necessary incontinence products can cost up to $40 or more per week, which is quite clearly an impossible expense for people on low or fixed incomes to afford.

“There is a State Government scheme which provides means-tested assessments and subsidies for people with continence problems.

“The Continence Management and Advice Service (CMAS), which is run by Silver Chain, consists of a subsidy for up to $490 a year for products.

“It has come to my attention that since December Silver Chain has not been funded to take on any new clients for this program.

“They can assess people and determine that they are eligible for assistance, but then instead of receiving the subsidy, these people are put on a waiting list.

“We are talking about potentially hundreds of people on low or fixed incomes languishing on a waiting list for an unknown period of time while their life becomes increasingly difficult.”

Ms Xamon said the lack of funding was disgraceful and she called for funds to be made available as a priority in order to provide the necessary support for the WACMSS program.

“I find it appalling that while Colin Barnett is swanning about at the top end of town, making literally billions of dollars in election promises, his Government has put the axe through this small but essential program.

“While Mr Barnett focuses on spending the riches coming his way as a result of the mining boom, once again the Greens see that the little people are failing to receive even the most basic services.

“People deserve better and here we are talking about a very basic quality of life issue for some people with disability or health issues who are struggling to make ends meet every day.”

Hon Alison Xamon MLC

Member for the East Metropolitan Region

Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051

Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931

Phone: (08) 9272 1718

Fax: (08) 9272 1719

Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services, Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering

W.A. Greens launch Transparent and Open Government Action Plan

Greens launch Transparent and Open Government Action Plan

6 March 2013

The Greens (WA) today launched their Transparent and Open Government Action Plan which will provide a robust framework to enhance public confidence in government decision making.

Greens WA spokesperson for Electoral Affairs Alison Xamon MLC said that through the creation of a rigorous regulatory regime for lobbyists, the Greens would ensure the activity of all lobbyists, not just third party lobbyists, was appropriately regulated.

“Government integrity, accountability and transparency are vital to a healthy democracy,” Ms Xamon said.

“The Greens (WA) believe it is important that people have access to government. We believe that ongoing public participation should underpin the making of laws and policy.

“However, to guarantee fair and equitable government access for all stakeholders we need transparency in government.

“The Western Australian public is entitled to know who can get access to the Premier and other government representatives, and the circumstances of such access. We have to know who is engaged in the lobbying process, on whose behalf and for what purpose. We should not be expected to blindly trust government officials to do the right thing.

“A lack of transparency undermines public confidence in government decision-making, and creates the potential for unethical or even corrupt conduct.

“The Greens see better and genuine regulation of lobbyists as a crucial step in achieving a more open and honest government that allows for all people to be directly involved in the economic and political decisions that affect their lives.

“To ensure there is adequate focus and prioritisation of this important area, we will advocate for the creation of an independent Commissioner of Lobbying.

“We will also legislate to regulate access to ministers so that selling access to Ministers cannot be used for the purpose of political fundraising.

“The Greens are committed to creating a strong lobbyist regime that WA people can have confidence in.

“We do not wish to remove lobbyists from the political arena. We recognise and value their legitimate role in our political system. But we do need vastly improved regulation of their activities.”

The Transparent and Open Government Action Plan is available at http://www.alisonxamon.org.au/greens-launch-transparent-and-open-government-action-plan

Hon Alison Xamon MLC

Member for the East Metropolitan Region

Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051

Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931

Phone: (08) 9272 1718

Fax: (08) 9272 1719

Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services, Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering

Open and Transparent Government Greens.pdf

Save our Swan: Greens reveal action plan for the Swan-Canning rivers @AlisonXamon

Save our Swan: Greens reveal action plan for the Swan-Canning rivers

3 March 2013

Greens (WA) Water Spokesperson Alison Xamon MLC today released an action plan for reversing the decline of the Swan and Canning rivers due to excessive build-up of nutrients.

"Perth’s urban drain network is a major source of the excessive loads of nitrogen and phosphorous entering the Swan-Canning rivers," Ms Xamon said.

"For too long, responsibility for the drains has been a grey area with the main arterial network owned by Water Corporation, and the much larger local drain network managed by local governments.

"In both cases, there is no obligation under law for the drain manager to ensure water quality reaches a certain standard, and even if there was, there is currently no agency empowered to monitor to ensure those standards are met.

"Local governments cannot be expected to cover the enormous cost of retrofitting better drain design, so we need to see the State Government step up.

"The Greens would ask the Economic Regulation Authority to analyse a range of funding possibilities including some of the profit currently returned by the Water Corporation as a dividend to Government.

"We also want an independent management body with catchment-wide responsibilities to oversee the drain network, and collate information about each drain’s status centrally.

"Right now, the rivers are on life support; more and more oxygenation machines have been installed to try to keep fish alive and algal blooms at bay.

"But we have to fix the cause of the sickness, and that means catchment-wide fertiliser control as well as retrofitting drains as ‘living streams’ with vegetation to capture nutrients before it reaches the river."

The Greens’ plan for drainage, Save Our Swan, can be downloaded here:

http://greens4eastmetro.org.au/action/save-our-swan

Hon Alison Xamon MLC

Member for the East Metropolitan Region

Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051

Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931

Phone: (08) 9272 1718

Fax: (08) 9272 1719

Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services, Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering

Save our Swan Action Plan Greens.pdf

Jewish Voice for Peace US National meeting April 19 Will you be here?

From my friends in California…

Jewish Voice for Peace
Please join me at JVP’s Membership Meeting April 19-21.
In order to come, you need to become a 2013 JVP member.

Dear Tony,

That’s me in the picture, eleven years ago, when I helped lead a bunch of JVPers make headlines by shutting down the San Francisco Israeli Consulate, and then blocking traffic–as visible Jews saying "No to Bush and Sharon"–supported by hundreds of others. We were protesting the brutal Israeli army attack on Jenin refugee camp. I think it’s safe to say that action put JVP on the Bay Area map.

Although I’ve always had great hopes for our movement, I couldn’t then visualize an organization with over 35 chapters nationwide, with a Rabbinical Council, with a growing team of Young, Jewish, and Proud activists.

That’s what makes JVP what it is today–the people who are in it. You and me. That’s why I want to see you at the JVP National Membership Meeting in Berkeley this April.

We’ve come a long way from the days when JVP was only in the Bay Area, or even when we had a few chapters in Northern California. But I don’t have to tell you: the challenges remain.

I’m so looking forward to meeting you and making the connections between standing up for Palestine solidarity and holding a principled position against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, between deepening our work inside Jewish communal institutions and strengthening our interfaith networks, between our movement for justice and equality in Israel and Palestine and parallel struggles in our country, in our own communities, and in our own backyards.

Berkeley/Oakland is my home turf, and I join the local chapter in welcoming you.

Will you be here?
Penny Rosenwasser
JVP-Bay Area
and JVP Founding Board Member

P.S. The special hotel rate will only be available through March 29. So register soon!

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