Category Archives: social justice


MEDIA 16 December 2009


The Greens today welcomed a statement from US Indigenous communities condemning the nuclear industry as neither ‘clean’ nor ‘green’ and outlining the horrific impacts of uranium mining on indigenous peoples in the US.

Robin Chapple, Greens MLC for the Mining and Pastoral Region, said that the statement could not be more timely for his electorate and Western Australia at large.

“This authoritative and heartbreaking document sets out in stark terms the legacy of the nuclear cycle – radioactive hotspots, cancer clusters, failing nuclear waste facilities and an unaccountable industry – on already vulnerable communities across the United States.”

“This is the legacy the Barnett Government and the uranium miners want to leave the Western Australian community, most of all to the Indigenous communities upon whose land the uranium lies.”

“Moreover, this document sets out in no uncertain terms why embracing the dying nuclear industry as a climate change fix is the stuff of fantasy.”

The statement entitled ‘Ruling out the Nuclear Option – Not Clean or Green: The Legacy of Nuclear Energy, Nuclear and Chemical Weapons Upon US Indigenous & Communities of Color’ was released by BASE (Building Action for Sustainable Environments Initiative) at Copenhagen yesterday.

2009 Copenhagen Position_Paper_complete.doc

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At last some good news on suicide – Mental Health programs save lives.

There is new hope for people in poor mental health as Australia’s suicide rate falls by almost half in ten years. see story below.


The good news is tempered by serious problems in dispensing opiates recently revealed in W.A. and the lingering, deadly stigma of being mentally unwell.

But isn’t it great and encouraging that the death toll is finally falling.

And please check this link for a preview of some amazing stories and useful first hand advice from those who are unwell and hear the voices of their children.

the very welcome abc item follows…

Reaching out for help as Australian suicides fall

By John Stewart for Lateline

Lateline |

Posted 3 hours 28 minutes ago
Updated 3 hours 15 minutes ago

A young woman rests her head in her hands in a depressed pose

Despair: But Australian youth suicide rates have tumbled in the past decade (ABC News: Giulio Saggin, file photo)


During the past decade the suicide rate among young Australians has almost halved.

It is an extraordinary public health achievement, but one which has received little publicity.

Experts say a massive public education campaign and improvement in the treatment of depression are the key reasons for the success.

But with bad economic times upon us, psychologists are warning the suicide rate may begin to rise.

Doug Millen, a 20-year-old university student based in Melbourne, is studying hard and his life is back on track.

But during his final years at high school he suffered from depression and did not know who to turn to.

“I did what young people do and I jumped on the internet and Google for some kind of help,” he said.

He found a website called Reach Out, which had been set up to prevent youth suicide and help young people suffering from depression.

“When I was feeling like I wouldn’t achieve in year 12 and trying to figure out my sexuality, Reach Out was great because it was there when I needed it,” he said.

“It’s completely anonymous and I didn’t have to talk to anyone.”

The online advantage

The Reach Out website now gets 130,000 visits per month from young people.

The website’s managers say being online is a big advantage.

“For a young person who suspects things are not OK, they might not know who to turn to or be afraid to talk to someone about it because they are afraid they will be judged,” project manager Anna McKenzie said.

“So to be able to simply go online, Google something and have a look without anyone needing to know, that’s really invaluable and that’s what a lot of young people are doing at Reachout.”

The Reach Out website was set up 10 years ago when Australia had one of the highest rates of youth suicide in the western world.

But that rate has seen a massive decline in the decade since 1997.

Professor Ian Hickie from Sydney University says suicide rates have fallen internationally, but Australia has benefited from one of the best public health campaigns in recent times.

“In general, a period of strong economic growth and a period of increased awareness around mental health problems and a need to focus on suicide reduction has contributed in most developed countries throughout that time,” he said.

“Additionally in Australia there have been extra efforts in the medical world to treat depression, identify problems and respond appropriately, but also, in Australia, a tremendous community response.”

The Howard government‘s tightening of gun laws after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre also contributed to the decline in suicides, especially among young men.

“After the new gun laws were introduced, the rate of gun suicide dropped twice as fast,” Sydney University’s associate professor Philip Alpers said.

“If you reduce the availability of firearms, especially to impulsive young men, then the number of people dying by gunshot reduces.”

But suicide rates in many Aboriginal communities are still high and despite the overall drop in the suicide rate, reports of depression and anxiety are on the rise.

More than 12 million prescriptions for anti-depressants are filled in Australia each year.

“We’ve just had a national survey of mental health in Australia, rates of illness are as high as they ever were,” Professor Hickie said.

“The good thing is that rates of suicide have gone down so we haven’t yet dealt with the underlying problem, but we have got better at dealing with one of the worst outcomes.

“The greater availability of anti-depressants is also believed to have played a role in lowering the suicide rate, but prescribing the drugs to young people is controversial.”

Experts are concerned that if more jobs are lost, the suicide rate may begin to rise.

It is a trend that has already started overseas and workers at Reachout fear that stressful times may be ahead, especially for young Australians trying to find their first job.

For more information, head to the Reach Out website.

Tags: community-and-society, suicide, youth-issues, australia

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Western Australia’s planned Uranium mines under scrutiny

Rockingham media pick up on the debate that Colin Barnettt doesn’t want.

So many questions on Uranium Colin Barnett has to answer
So many questions on Uranium Colin Barnett has to answer

Thanks to Mark Winter  ( ) for the heads-up nd his ongoing activism. Also see for more info,  YouTube video and ways to have your say about the mine that will start at Wiluna next year

Please visit WA’s peak anti-uranium group and get involved 🙂

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ANALYSIS-In big green push, Australia thinks too small on solar | Reuters

SOLEL make 300MW solar thermal plants for base load, AUSRA is close behind  -why aren’t they being used?                                    Image –  jdlasica via Flickr

ANALYSIS-In big green push, Australia thinks too small on solar | Reuters .

* New laws promise boost for solar investment

* Complex rules limit size of installations

* Little incentive for commercial solar projects

By Leonora Walet and Bruce Hextall

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US Beats Australia To The Punch Again! Climate change, clean energy, carbon issues.

Australian Greens
Sen. Milne Wikipedia

From; Mark Winter Speaks out

US Beats Australia To The Punch Again!.

America last week publicly announced their draft of the “American Clean Energy and Security Bill”

In response, Greens Senator Christine Milne said

“The world is moving on and leaving Australia behind. It is time the Rudd Government opened itself to the prospect of real domestic and global action to prevent climate catastrophe.”

The Draft Bill is a great leap ahead in comparison to the much debated deeply flawed schemes which the Rudd-Wong collaboration has “laboured” to produce. more from Mark by clicking the blue links above

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West Australian Govt lies about cutting scrutiny of Uranium & other projects – Greens WA’s MLC elect Robin Chapple speaks out – we all need to speak out or suffer the consequences

Robin Chapple Greens MLC elect speaks on uranium & other projects by stealth

Click the above link for short interview. Phone numbers, SMS and email for talkback to follow.

From Perth’s Sunday Times ( supporting documents to be posted soon.)

More leaked documents add to drama

Article from:
Narelle Towie, environment reporter

March 28, 2009 04:28pm

MORE leaked documents have cast doubt on statements made this week by the State Government about proposed changes to mining approvals.

Last weekend The Sunday Times reported that a government-appointed industry working group (IWG) – tasked with devising a plan to streamline and speed-up mining approvals – favoured moves to dilute the power and role of the Environment Minister among other far-reaching changes.
The next day the Minister for Mines and Petroleum Norman Moore stated that a leaked document referred to in the newspaper report was not produced by the IWG.

He said the document, marked confidential, was a submission to the IWG by industry associations.

He said it had not yet been properly considered by the IWG or the government.

The Sunday Times has ascertained that the document was the end product of a workshop involving key members of the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA).

The workshop, which also included at least one IWG member, took place in January and the document has been the focus of much attention by the IWG.

Moreover, further leaked documents show recommendations in the confidential report have been adopted by the IWG – in some parts, word-for-word – and are at odds with the Minister’s statement.

– See both group’s recommendations
– See more recommendations
– See the lead agency model submitted to the industry working group

Up until yesterday Mr Moore and his media advisor were insisting there was “no draft report or draft recommendations.”

The Sunday Times has obtained a copy of the IWG’s “working draft report” dated March 6, which includes an executive summary and eight key recommendations.

The incomplete report proposes similar sweeping changes to how mining applications are processed, though no specific mention is made about the role of the Environment Minister.

Parts of the document’s recommendations appear to be copied almost verbatim from the workshop report the Minister insisted on Friday had not yet been “properly considered or endorsed” by the IGW.

A spokesman for Mr Moore yesterday confirmed the existence of the draft – after a week of denials. He said the Minister was relying on advice from the IWG.

IWG chairman Peter Jones said there are working drafts within the group but the Minister doesn’t know anything about them.

Shadow Environment Minister Sally Talbot last night hit-out: “Last week Minister Moore denied that this report existed and now we have had it confirmed.

“We have a real fear that there is going to be a watering down of the authority for the Minister for the Environment,” she said.

Ms Talbot is calling on the government to come clean on what plans are being put together by the industry working group.

Mr Moore, who is due to receive the IWG’s recommendations in May, said there were several hurdles to be surmounted before any recommendations were implemented.

They would first be considered by him and a cabinet sub-committee before full Cabinet. And any legislative amendments would need the approval of parliament.

Mr Moore said he was aware IWG were considering transferring large parts of the Department of Environment and Conservation’s role to the independent Environment Protection Agency, which is currently an advisory body.

“I’m not sure that that is a good thing if you want the approvals process to move quickly,” Mr Moore said.

Mr Moore said he could not guarantee that the powers and the responsibilities of the Minister of Environment, when dealing with approvals processes, will not be diminished at all by the reforms being considered.

“It is not within my power to provide cast-iron guarantees about issues of this nature. The granting or relinquishing of Ministerial power is a matter for Cabinet and Parliament. That said, the aim of this exercise is not to diminish the level of scrutiny applying to the environmental conditions related to mining approvals,” he said.

MLC member for mining and pastoral region Robin Chapple said the IWG’s intentions were quite clear.

“The community at large must be very seriously concerned that the environmental controls and parameters that have been established over the years are going to done away with,” he said.

Robin Chapple Greens WA MLC elect warns on hijack of approvals

Amy & Tony talking about thriving after surviving major clinical depression

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Here’s two people talking.

Amy Kiel    @Abeeliever
Amy Kiel @Abeeliever

Amy and Tony

22 min 22 sec  download,share,digg us,

we’re you yours !    =D

I’ll post details and links soon, including info on how anyone can record & produce quality interviews with anyone anywhere on things close to their heart.

If anyone has input on providing some visuals, slideshow,etc…we’ll youtube it.

We spoke live, Skype to phone, and the only editing I did was cutting a few seconds where we lost the link and adding a few little things for you.

To life…and the cool fools in the twitterverse =D @perthtones

My Twitter is @perthtones follow me for links to amazing folk and info
My Twitter is @perthtones follow me for links to amazing folk and info

© 2009 Amy Kiel & Tony Serve    This audio is free to copy and share as long as it’s not for commercial advantage.

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Stigma and shame leads to tragedy for mentally ill people “sane” people need to “get over it” :*)

An important event in Perth W.A. to discuss ways to reduce shame & stigma

shame can kill - help us reduce stigma
shame kills - help reduce stigma & visit

I interviewed Dr Alun Jones using Skype & Call Recorder on  a MacBook.   ( see above for related local forum info)

You are welcome to listen to, download, or better still, link to the audio below. ( click the blue link and the blue link it goes to )

Dr Alun Jones speaks to Tony Serve on the stigma of Mental Illness          *Recorded March 24 2009 for    23 mins 44 secs

Comments, feedback and guest posts on mental health are very welcome –

{ especially you ” Abeeliever” 😉  and all the twitter folk }

Phone or Skype calls are welcome to my auto-recorder which has up to 10 minutes time for your comments, stories, questions.

Skype perthtones or phone +61 8 94672264

Meanwhile…think of the Children

It’s common sense that an ill parent will have an affect on the entire family, but all too often around the world, the children of people being treated are left out in several ways.

There are further complications because it is often the case that genes determining aspects of mental health are shared by some family members

Follow this link to coverage of new research on affected families and suggestions for professionals on more effective, holistic treatments.

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Colin Barnett turns tyrant on project assessment – including nukepower & uranium


Dracula in charge of the blood bank: WA Greens expose horror plan for the State Government’s assessment processes

A confidential document viewed by the WA Greens (attached here  -> pdf ) has revealed radical plans to overhaul legislation so that the Premier would have sole power to decide which projects are allowed to go ahead in WA.

The proposal, developed by the Government’s hand-picked Industry Working Group committee, indicates that the Premier should become the decision-maker on every major project in the State.

Under the plan, the Premier would only be obliged to merely consult with the Environment Minister.

“If the recommendations of this report are accepted, then every mega-project Colin Barnett ever recklessly dreams up – be it a Kimberly Canal or a nuclear waste dump, or anything else – could go ahead,” Greens Upper House MP-elect Robin Chapple has warned.

“This document is truly horrific,” Mr Chapple continued.

“It is proposing that mining and petroleum activities be exempted from planning approval by local government.

“Now, I wonder how local government will feel about being dictated to by the Premier?

“Quite clearly, these recommendations mean massive legislative changes and the Government must be salivating as they wait to take control of the parliamentary Upper House on 22 May so they can ram through amendments to legislation.

“This Liberal minority government, aided by the National Party, seems intent on orchestrating the death of what remains of our state regulatory authorities.

“This proposal will enable the Premier to push through the Kimberly gas hub, the Gorgon development on Barrow Island, the Oakajee Port and ship lead out of any port of his choosing without a second thought.

“This will lead to unbridled excesses in climate change impacts from a government that just doesn’t get it.

“No wonder they have kept this secret until now, this plan is just like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank.”


Robins Contact Details: Mobile 040 9379263, Work 08 93712615

Key points:

– [page 3] “review mining tenement conditions for conservation reserves”. Do they mean they will review and possibly change the conditions that apply to mining in existing conservation reserves? If so that would seem to be an extraordinary legal situation; it would effectively gift to those mining companies an increase in the value of their privately owned property rights.

– [page 3] It’s alright to talk about EPA timelines but often the delays in the process are because of industry failures to properly address EPA questions / requests for more information. Also, any talk of timelines must make adequate allowance for the need for proper consideration if the matters are technically complex. Sometimes it will be hard for the EPA to have enough staff with expertise in the relevant area. Presumably this will be a real issue for uranium mining, at least in the short term.

‘Minor’ legislative changes [better described as major changes!]

– Removing an appeal right if the EPA decides something could be managed under the clearing provisions sounds good in theory, as the clearing decision will of course be subject to a separate appeal. But the first appeal right is about the EPA’s decision not to formally assess under Part IV, not about the issues that will later be dealt with under Part V. Removing an appeal right would effectively create a massive loophole in the EP Act; if the EPA wanted a project to sail through it could say that the clearing rules would manage it even if the project had impacts on say water quality or something else not related to the proposed clearing. Such a decision would have the effect of quarantining those non-clearing issues from any further public scrutiny, save the possibility of judicial review, and we know how hard that road is!

– Removing appeal rights against the setting of a level of assessment would be an outrage and a fundamental shift in the EIA regime that has served the State for over 20 years. There are few things more important than the level of assessment, as that scoping decision determines the process from then on.

– [page 5] new approvals framework for [ESE] could of course be good in theory but not if it means economics winning out in a Premier-led process that involves no appeal rights!

– [page 6] one decision maker; well, not if the decision relates to issues beyond the expertise of the decision-maker.

– [page 6] proportionality based on… importance to the State. This could be very dangerous; are they saying bigger projects should attract less environmental scrutiny? This would be an unprecedented and very dangerous move.

– [page 6] special consideration for major projects – ditto.

– [page 8] melding works approvals and clearing permits into mining approvals; currently two quite separate technical issues for different departments!!

– [page 8] exempting mining and petroleum activities from planning approval; It will be interesting to see what WALGA and the local govts think about this!!

– [page 8] appeals to SAT; not necessarily a problem with Part V decisions but this takes Part IV appeals out of the hands of the Env Min and into the rarefied apolitical air of a Tribunal. Do they propose to resource the SAT with environmental specialists who aren’t all just former industry representatives?!

– [page 9] Premier obliged only to consult with the Minister for Environment on major projects!!

– [page 10] Applicants can appeal against the conditions of approval but what about the decision to approve? I.e. can the SAT only ever change the conditions of approval but not say no to something? If so that would be an absolutely fundamental negative change!!

– [page 11] appeals to SAT only for “significant activities”; this could mean a significant constraint on appeal rights!!

– [page 11] timelines; do these factor in SAT appeals? We hope not!!

– [page 12] approvals reform group; notice no community representation!

Industry Working Group Committee (Hansard Wednesday, 26 November 2008)

· Peter Jones (chair) (Water Corp Chair 2002) (former resources Minister for Mines, Fuel and Energy for Western Australia to the Sir Charles Court government) (Peter Vernon Jones elected 30/03/1974 Narrogin for NCP became a Liberal in 1985)

· John Bowler (deputy chair) (Kalgoorlie member and former Labor mines minister)

· Derek Carew Hopkins (Department of Environment director general) (former Appeals Convenor) (adviser, Office of the Minister for Regional Development)

· Mark Gregory (Special Counsel to Minter Ellison, his practice has focused on the land access needs of his clients. This includes advising clients on complex government approvals processes; assisting clients to obtain necessary land tenure and mining tenements and dealing with compulsory acquisition matters.)

· David Parker (former Chamber of Minerals and Energy director) (government and public affairs manager, Apache Energy)

· Richard Ellis (Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s WA director) (also in 2004 Colin Barnett’s former chief of staff was called Richard Ellis, may or may not be the same)

· Ian Wight-Pickin (former or current Secretary of the Dawesville Branch of the Liberal Party) (chief of staff, office of the Deputy Premier and Minister for Indigenous Affairs)

· Ian Fletcher (former adviser to the Pangea Nuclear Waste Dump company), (former CEO of the Kalgoorlie/Boulder Town Council), (Premier Richard Court’s principal advisor), (Vice-president of government relations in WA for BHP Billiton)

· Tim Shanahan (Minerals Initiative director and former Chamber of Minerals and Energy) (director, Energy and Minerals Initiative, University of Western Australia)

· Chris Clegg (principal consultant, Statewide Tenement and Advisory Services)

· Doug Koontz (was on the DME Minerals Environment Liaison Committee in 2000 representing the Minerals Industry) (currently chair of the Environment & Water Policy Committee for AMEC and a councillor on the AMEC executive council) (principal environmental consultant Aquaterra Consulting an international water and environment consultancy, operating with offices in Australia, UK, Ireland and Mongolia)

· Noel Ashcroft (former Executive Director, Major Projects, Department of Mineral and Petroleum Resources, heavily involved in the development of the Burrup as an industrial hub) (chief executive of government relations and market development for the Griffin Group)

· Tony van Merwyk, (partner in Freehills)

Robin Chapple

Greens Member Elect

for the Mining & Pastoral Region

Approvals process for WA – READ IT AND WEEP pdf file

West Australian Mining Town says NO to URANIUM – go figure! Maybe it ISN’T safe!!!!!

Thanks to eco warrior Robin Chapple for the newstip.

Thanks to WIN television for covering it – this is a good yarn, and I’m not sure mainstream media will cover it or understand it’s significance

Please share this news as a wake up call that BigNuke is on the move, thrashing around like a dying dinosaur.

Net censorship – australia – Could The Clean Feed Bypass Parliament? |

Senator Scott Ludlum Greens WA

Could The Clean Feed Bypass Parliament? | .

Ziggy Switkowski says you want Nuclear Power Plants – did he ask? thanks to ABC for covering it.

Aussies will accept nuclear power, conference told – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

not even Barry Obama has a plan for nuclear waste,where's Ziggy's
not even Barry Obama has a plan for nuclear waste,where's Ziggy's

Is he TELLING us we will accept nuclear power?

Who is he talking to?

He admits a new Nuke plant would take 15 years – by then the cost of clean renewables will be less than dirty atom splitting.

Notice how various professors and community ” leaders” are suddenly speaking up, almost spookily singing the same words.

It’s also scary that some of my colleagues in mainstream media leave some crazy claims unchallenged and out of context. Question everything!

IF WE DON’T RAISE OUR VOICES the only ones heard will be the heavily backed and resourced Uranium and Mining complex.

contact me for info on using talkback and new media to have YOUR voice heard ( even if you disagree with me – it’s a hippie thing )

West Aussie voters please see copy and use the letter in the right column to send a message to Colin Barnett, but cc ALL MP’s – their ears are full of slick-helled lobbyist noise and they need yours for balance


This article may be from 2007 but it’s so relevant for us in WA right now

The Barnett Government plans to give miners the “green” light to dig up, process and transport uranium.

Politically there is clear evidence the mighty nuclear industry is taking advantage of the fear of global warming and the global recession.

See the Greenpeace UK story & video by clicking

uranium | Greenpeace UK.

See how a Greenpeace co-founder has been drafted in to push for nuke power here, is he right, if not who’s speaking up?

20+ More videos here

Uranium waste to be dumped in Western Australia? say it ain’t so!

IT APPEARS SO – see for the gory details. and Speak out radio 6PR talkback 24/7 922 11 882 ( producer )

For excellent videos on yuranium and nuclear waste – visit

YouTube post on Pangea’s plans to store nuclear waste in Australia

The safety dealbreaker for uranium mining has again been highlighted  with the news of new radioactive leaks in the world heritage listed Kakadu National Park.

Then there’s what to do with the long lasting toxic waste ( see post on US nuclear waste plans in disarray earlier in this blog )

This accidentally released video shows Pangea spending good money to promote storing nuclear waste in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Please subscribe to this blog ( above right ) and keep in touch with the no-uranium movement ( google ANAWA and hang in for new website, blogs and activism ) that has been stung back into action by Colin Barnett’s mad plans to ship yellowcake on our roads and through our ports when we can’t even transport lead ore safely!

Uranium mine water leaking into Kakadu – ABC News

aap pic of Kakadu by Tara Ravens

Uranium mine water leaking into Kakadu – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Please let Colin Barnett know his plans have sprung a leak – see post and video below

Pregnant woman throws up on youth who refused to give up his bus seat

The barfed-upon boofhead got his comeuppance ( throwuppance )
Barfed-upon boofhead gets his comeuppance / throwuppance

pregnant woman unleashes projectile karma on Perth radio 6PR

Please click the link above to download the 30 second audio file to your iTunes and listen in as Kellie, who’s 5.5 months pregnant describes her “contact” with a private schoolboy ( iPod attached ) on a Transperth bus ( hat tips to for the story and and  for the audio )Click here for more great interviews by Simon Beaumont on Perth’s radio 6PR

Murder in Nairobi: Wikileaks related human rights lawyers assassinated – Wikileaks

Murder in Nairobi: Wikileaks related human rights lawyers assassinated – Wikileaks.

It’s still not OK for Aussie stars to be gay, even with an Olympic Gold

Sad story but true from

check it out below and please comment whether you agree or not.

It’s still not OK for Aussie stars to be gay | Celebrity |

Nuclear Waste – would you like some from West Australia too?

Click below for A sobering item from the US on waste as West Australia considers allowing uranium mining against the wishes of voters.

We need also to remember that in the years it will take to build any sparkling new nuclear power stations, the world economic dynamic will have changed so that truly clean and renewable alternatives are a lot more competitive and practical.

Please comment on whether we in W.A. should mine Uranium and send it overseas, sometimes to nuclear armed countries with unstable governments and with no clear direction on how to deal with waste that will still be deadly in thousands of years.

For other info on our “friend” uranium Google “depleted uranium Iraq” – be careful if you’re a sensitive soul – it’s not pretty and it’s very real for the children and families affected.

People in WA are now gearing up to remind the Barnett Govenrment why this state has been free from Uranium mining and nuclear power all these years – watch this space! You may also like to visit this youtube link

Nuclear waste dogs US energy policy

Yucca Mountain was supposed to be where the highly toxic material was sent. But Obama’s energy budget leaves it out.

Crazy poll on drug abuse – do drugs make you crazy or do you have to be crazy to use them

Does substance abuse cause mental illness, or do the ill simply reach for anything to feel better? Click here to vote   ( note –  tongue firmly in cheek on this poll )

The UK has upgraded it’s rating for Cannabis so it’s classed as a jailable offence to have it, despite top medical advisors warning against the move see here for BBC story   ( yeah good one Britain  – who needs dope when you can kill yourself a lot quicker with cigarettes, booze and prescribed anti-depressant meds )

A few highly publicised bits of “research” in recent years have us believing that cannabis will make you schizophrenic and increase chances of paranoia, anxiety and depression. They are dangerous part-truths.

For men, about 1 in 5,000 develop psychoses according to another recent BBC report, but the greater reality is that people with mental illness will reach for any substance, legal or illegal, to ease their pain.  We advocates deal daily with hurting folk who self-medicate.

What is REALLY crazy is that research also shows that adolescents smoking tobacco raise their risk of depression later in life, but ciggies are legal across the planet.

Meanwhile an important related issue is the deadly stigma attached to mental illness –

I addressed a meeting recently and suggested that

” no-one in their right mind abuses drugs ”

Imagine my surprise when a voice was raised in indignation along these lines;

” hey wait a minnit, I have friends who are junkies – how dare you say they are mentally ill.”

It’s enough to drive you nuts!

Meanwhile click here for a radio interview with a key australian advocate on “schizophrenia” as understanding grows that hearing voices and other psychotic episodes are not schizoid.

For help for those hearing voices and for info on debunking “schizophrenia” go to

 Finally I never advocate illegal drug use, whether you’re sane or silly. ( I also don’t advise you to use anti-depressants, dexamphetamines,ritalin, SSRI’s, Alcohol or tobacco.)

President Barack Obama blogs too! And America please remember he didn’t promise “he” can, he said “we” can – so don’t leave it all up to him.

Shepard Fairey/Obey, Barack Obama campaign posters, 2008
Shepard Fairey/Obey, Barack Obama campaign posters, 2008


President to Muslim World: “Americans are not your enemy”

“My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives,” President Obama told Al Arabiya, an Arabic-language news channel based out of Dubai. “My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy.”

Click here to go to the first EVER blog of a US President

Brain Training, Plasticity and You – how have you changed your life by changing the way your brain works

In the last 8 years I’ve recovered from PTSD ( Clinical Depression and Anxiety ) to the stage where my health is actually better than before I became ill.

we CAN change the way we think  

The three main areas that have kept me alive and then allowed me to thrive again are based on Brain Plasticity, the ability to “rewire” your own  brain. ( see the website for Norman Doidge’s inspiring book on the subject in the right sidebar of this blog )

Prescribed drugs may help some, but without proper diagnosis using fMRI it’s guesswork, and my Doctor guessed wrong – the SSRI’s made me suicidal.

The therapies/treatments that have allowed me to build new ways of thinking are neurofeedback, cognitive behaviour therapy and meditation/hypnotherapy.( see my guided imagery page – also in the right sidebar )

Since going public with my illness 8 years ago and on  talkback radio here in Perth recently I have been swamped by people struggling with depression, panic and many other challenges. Almost without exception they have received little help and only grief from the “system” of health professionals who often just hand out potentially deadly pills, even giving SSRI’s to infants!  Just last week a mate who was close to the end of his tether was told by his family doctor to “get over it” – I wonder if someone with a broken leg is told to “run away”

When I return to fill in at 6PR there are always calls from my fellow travellers battling the “black dog” and the common theme is that very few doctors, hospitals or health systems have any idea what to do in the short medium, or long term.

Anyway it’s become clear that the most reliable and effective help available comes through fellow sufferers or their devoted families and carers.

So let’s do something about that.

I am keen to work with anyone who has stories and info on recovery and resilience. I will post text audio and video here and you can make a big difference if you are able to pass on details of your journey and links to any useful sources of help or inspiration.

Clinical work on brain plasticity ( the ability to forge new neuronal pathways in the brain ) by amazing people all over the world has provided us with the means to share effective treatments for illnesses and genetic disorders such as;

depression, panic, anxiety, schizophrenia, epilepsy, autism, tourettes, closed head injury, head trauma, genetically related disability, stroke, paralysis, alzheimers, dementure, addiction, OCD, bipolar, bulemia, anorexia, fibromyalgia, body dysmorphia and more.

So please join in and contribute, especially if your story or info can help sufferers and reduce the deadly stigma that comes with brain related illness.

Please comment by clicking the button below, and you’re welcome to submit text pics, audio or video.

You’re welcome to send comments or materials by email to

You can also call and leave your spoken thoughts or info on my recording service +61 8  9467 2264 – you have several minutes to speak and I’ll post the audio here for you.

Anyone can contribute, so don’t feel your input isn’t valuable because you’re ill or feel small inside, we need to hear from you and welcome questions or solutions equally.

I hope to hear from you soon… and you’re welcome to join me on my last 4 nights at 6PR midnight to dawn – that’s 882 6PR in Perth, globally at    

local time is daylight saving and it’s midnight to 0600 sat & sun, then midnight til 0500 mon & tue.

 Perth time is GMT/UTC PLUS 9 hours

Early Sunday morning I’ll have 2 teenage guests in the studio who have worked out effective ways to overcome eating disorders and depression. Join me, Travis and Alicia and about 30 thousand listeners and see if we can make a difference.

Research shows Parents who can’t deal with Gay children create tragedies – so GET OVER IT!

New research outlined in the Scientific American shows that young gays are being driven to despair and even suicide by unaccepting parents.

This is not rocket science, if you didn’t accept your child had red hair  – you would cause problems for them because they HAVE red hair whether you choose to see it or not.

Meanwhile, colouring the hair and pretending it isn’t red doesn’t stop the person being a redhead. So please stop trying to convert or reprogramme people with a gender difference just because you can’t understand a reality more complex than dogma.

In a way it’s a mental health issue because it’s clear that people who don’t accept homosexuality are in denial of the provable facts or simply ignorant.  

Click here for more on the research from Scientific American, and please share the story with anyone you know who is still blind to the realities of gender difference.

John Lennon asks us to join One Laptop Per Child – well sorta, and it’s OK with Yoko ONO

The One Laptop Per Child group has produced a new ad  ( click here to view it on Youtube ) featuring a remixed voice and video package that at least gives the feeling that the Beatle was supporting it.

It’s not exactly slick, but if it continues to focus on the needs of children it’s okay with me too Yoko.

By the way, here in Australia John Lennon’s “Double Fantasy” Album was number one on this day back in 1980, the year I started as a radio journalist.

Click here for the website of One Laptop, and see the mission statement below.

To create educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. When children have access to this type of tool they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future.


We all know that the biggest challenges for children in our world are war, disease, famine, drought and neglect.

We desperately need energy money and resources there, but this campaign looks worthwhile for some fairly obvious reasons.

Please let me know if you support or see other advocacy and advocate stuff that might be worth republishing here.


BlogBack talkback to this blog – you are most welcome to;

email submissions ,

post new material in comments,

share websites or media,

leave a voice comment  – phone +61 8 9467 2264

contribute in any way.

I’m particularly keen to hear from people who are working in area of mental health with stories or help finding useful treatments based on brain plasticity.

Everything from meditation to; neurofeedback, analysis, CBT and guided imagery works on “rewiring” the neuron circuits of the brain after damage, disease or deterioration.

Exciting and hopeful clinical work being done in many areas, such as stroke and HI recovery and many  “disabilities” are turning out to be treatable conditions.

It’s been exciting to see mainstream media at least begin to pick up on the great work being done, and the ongoing success of Norman Doidge’s book ( and PBS special ) has been an important starting point or focus for those unaware of the new treatments that continue to evolve.

That  “brain training” software and games we see being advertised are just a small part of the real and repeatable effects of “rewiring” the brain.  They are becoming more and more widely used as theraputic devices in private homes, business, hospitals and nursing homes.

The possibilities, even in the short term, for better treatment and some cures are inspiring, but there will soon be debate about some key elements of life and law.

It’s become clear that all crime and substance abuse are related to mental health.

It is self evident that no-one in their right mind kills, rapes, tortures or neglects. No-one in their right mind uses substances that make them ill, violent, impulsive or an addict.

It stands to reason that Governments as providors of health care could ( and I say should) be held accountable for not

providing mental health care when someone comes to grief.

Maybe that will be a good thing in the this risk averse corporate world.

Perhaps if lawyers and activisits around the world began a concerted series of claims for individuals and groups based on their known mental health issues not being addressed we may see less seriosuly ill people released from jail or hospitals and into a new tragedy.

Once again it comes down to whether we care enough about our safety, health and the future to spend money and energy on better diagnosis and treatment for brain related illnesses.

We have the knowledge, but the will is yet to come and there are  also the hurdles of  stigma and cost. Change will come though, we’re evolving. 

Anyhow, I’m just a madman with a will to make a difference, it’s what YOU think and do that will make a difference.

Australia web censorship – #$%$# the filter, focus on facts had this gem on censorship ( click link to the left for story “on site” or see text & links pasted below ) that not only covers material posted on this blog, but wraps up the nonsense that has led regulators down the wrong track. “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Contact the Greens or GetUp to force a much needed reality check so the meagre resources put into child protection are not frittered away on a filter that will do more harm than good.

Note to regulators spend the money on targeting P2P nets, providing support for abused children, research on abusers – you know – something useful!

Stilgherrian writes: 

Gloves-off time. The purveyors of pervasive internet censorship — handful that they are — have burned their goodwill. It’s time to call them out on their lies and demand to know why they’re not advocating the real solutions to child s-xual abuse.

Bernadette McMenamin of ChildWise, you’ve crossed the line, defaming everyone who’s protested the government’s plans. “Most of these people are not fully aware of the facts and secondly, those who are aware are, in effect, advocating child p-rnography,” you said. How dare you!

Ms McMenamin, to really stop child abuse we need to spend our resources efficiently. Let’s run through it one more time. And let’s skip those hysterical, made-up “statistics” you still peddle. Child abuse is bad enough without heading into your paranoid fantasyland.

Kiddie-p-rn is hard to find. As Inspector John Rouse, former head of Queensland Police’s Taskforce Argos told the authors of The Porn Report, “the chances of stumbling across this material… are minimal as it isn’t really distributed on web pages.” P-dophiles use peer-to-peer software and, as Crikey reported six months ago, none of the filters can deal with P2P. The filter will not work. The. Filter. Will. Not. Work.

Every single dollar wasted on a demonstrably unworkable filter isn’t just wasting taxpayers’ money in tough times. It’s a dollar that hasn’t gone to the police so they can do what does work. Good old-fashioned policing and the kind of undercover sting that resulted in 19 arrests last week, including a retired QC and a NSW police officer.

But, as blogger Jon Seymour points out, Ms McMenamin has a vested interested in moral panic. “An ineffective filter is actually a very good thing, because it means the oxygen that sustains the flames of moral panic, and her organization ChildWise, will never disappear,” he writes.

“Perhaps McMenamin and ChildWise have done worthy work in the past. Perhaps they do some now. But why should anyone continue to be charitable about a person who unapologetically accuses her opponents of being witting or unwitting supporters of child p-rnography?”

“Public intellectual” Clive Hamilton has been the other public face of censorship since 2003. In Crikey last week he deconstructed Paul Kelly’s writing about emissions trading, saying “Kelly’s spray could be used as an exemplar in a course on how to use debating tricks to try to win a losing argument.” The same could be said for Hamilton’s own writing in support of censorship.

In a piece for ABC News, Hamilton cherry-picks blog comments to construct an anti-censorship straw man of such awesome proportions his hay fever will last a century. He fails to even mention the rational arguments he should be addressing, and then admits, “I have deliberately not considered the question of whether it is feasible to effectively filter extreme and violent p-rnography on the internet.” Let’s not let reality get in the way, shall we Clive? Fortunately the post’s 275 comments re-introduce that reality.

And finally the minister, Hamilton claims Senator Stephen Conroy is boldly going ahead with filtering trials billed as a “live test”. But no, it’s another closed network test and won’t involve actual customers. Even the list of “10,000 sites” is a made-up number.

Opposing the filter are the Opposition, The Greens, Save the Children (who’ve rolled up their sleeves and done the dirty work of protecting kids since 1919), the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre and even ultra-conservative Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi and Glenn Milne.

Why is taxpayers’ money still being spent on this farce?

Ben Cousins’ Dad on radio 6WF – great work as usual by our ABC

If you’d like to hear Ben Cousins’ dad Bryan talking to abc local radio’s Russel Wolfe click here.

The interview reveals a great deal about a parent’s battle to support a child through almost unprecedented levels of pressure and scrutiny.

Please pass the link on to others, particularly those standing on soapboxes or flinging rocks from glazed domiciles, and to those whose mouths seem unconnected to any human brain let alone their own.

Congratulations to Ben and family, Kevin Sheedy, the mighty Tigers and kudos to Perth’s abc radio.

visit Richmond’s website here, and don’t be shy about joining the club or at least sending a message of support.

oh, one last thing… watch out for vultures! There are media people already drafting stories about Ben’s future failure – certain that it will come and that they will profit from his failure.

The best way to dreal with these flying vermin is to ignore them – so choose your media wisely

Ben Cousins saved by Tigers after abuse by Weasels

Ben Cousins has been selected to play for the Richmond AFL club.


Story and Video here from my colleagues at WA Today ( Fairfax Digital/Radio )


I’m not a joiner, but I will become a member at the Victorian club to show both; support for their bold action, and  send a message to the Eagles and AFL that they should not expect a Christmas card.


Listen in to sports tonight on local radio 6PR from 1700hrs local


( 1000 UTC/Greenwich ) to hear the full story.


click here for the link and then click on “listen live.”


Remember, Ben has been battling an illness, has not been convicted of anything and yet has been villified and isolated by big sections of the Media, AFL and various Club administrators.


I trust these big tough aussie men who run these shows will abandon their own children if they get hooked on drugs and make sure they can’t continue their careers. They may also realise their institutionalised booze drinking is a drug addiction and sack themselves.


Many of them will be waiting for Ben to fail so they can crack a tinnie and say ” told you so!”

Ben Cousins abandoned by the AFL and gutless administrators

There is a growing number of people who see the AFL’s abandonment of  ill champion Ben Cousins as a tragic mistake.

Even among media colleagues, people are stepping back and asking some crucial questions after the feeding frenzy of the last 2 years where logic, compassion, and often, the truth were missing.

I am not alone in being concerned about the demonstrably sick AFL community as much as Ben.

Fairfax Digital’s Tim Lane makes some key points in the article posted here – please read it and pass it on. If you are so motivated, contact your MP, media, footy club or friends and ask a few questions yourself.

click here for Tim Lane’s excellent article

So, what hope is there in australia for more ordinary mortals who admit drug use but are not convicted – do we ban them from their job forever and expose them to unwarranted ridicule, do we keep pretending people with mental health issues are dangerous madmen? – please read the article below for more on that.

click here for my earlier piece on Ben’s case being a major blow for social justice and the aussie fair go.