South Australia: our first nuclear state … Nuclear-powered submarines to be followed by nuclear waste plant … Local government elections test for Coalition, Labor and Greens … NSW Labor Party unredacted … Henry Kissinger, war criminal … Great Bores continued …
SA: State of nuclear secrecy
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Premier Jay Weatherill seem determined to turn South Australia into Australia’s first nuclear state.
It is a two-stage plan:
– Lock in the $50 billion contract with French war manufacturers to build 12 submarines;
– Build a nuclear reprocessing plant as a prelude to establishing a nuclear power station.
French and European nuclear industry executives are astonished that plans for a nuclear state in strategically located SA aren’t being debated in Australia by politicians, scientists or the media.
Last April Turnbull overturned Tony Abbott’s promise to give the subs contract to Japanese defence contractors and switched to France’s DCNS consortium. In return for locating submarine construction in SA, Weatherill privately agreed to allow remote Crown land to be used for nuclear waste reprocessing.
French and European warship builders are also convinced that DCNS will build nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered submarines for the RAN.
If they are right, politicians and the media have lied to the Australian public. We have been told the French Shortfin Barracuda subs will be diesel-electric powered because nuclear-powered engines are noisy and diesel-electric are virtually silent.
While this was true 10 years ago, it isn’t now. During war games last year between the US and French navies, a nuclear-powered French submarine, Saphir, evaded US sub-detecting planes and ships and managed to fictionally attack and sink the US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.
The embarrassing incident was deleted from government websites but not before it was spotted and copied by defence wonks.
Does anyone in Australia seriously believe that ADF chiefs will buy inferior diesel-driven submarines instead of the 21st century nuclear-powered ones?
By the way, Adelaide’s disruptive string of electricity outages in July was a scandalous attempt by the power cartel to 1) damage SA’s successful commitment to wind and solar power; 2) create community angst and; 3) soften public opinion in favour of the “certainty” of nuclear.
Turnbull’s government is saying the subs contract is worth $50 million. In London last month I was told that the cost of EACH completed sub will be around $10 billion turning the overall taxpayers’ bill into a staggering $120 billion. Just imagine that money being spent on education, health, the arts and renewable energy.
Psst, hear about council elections?
Local government elections will be held across NSW on September 10 with 2,079 candidates contest seats on 76 councils, many of which have been recently amalgamated.
Where merger plans are still under consideration – or facing legal challenge – elections will be held next year.
All the mainstream parties – Labor, Liberal and National – are approaching the elections with an air of haughty disdain, pretending they don’t really matter.
But Premier Mike Baird’s Coalition is bracing itself for a grim result across metropolitan Sydney, the Illawarra and the Hunter.
That’s because a host of negative issues are on voters’ minds – forced council mergers, local-out laws for pubs and clubs, broad-scale clearing of native vegetation, sale of Crown land and public assets and savage funding cuts to TAFE.
National voters face continuing coal seam gas (CSG) uncertainty plus water, land and greyhound racing issues.
Labor’s campaign is suffering from a lack of funds following the expensive federal election in July when Team Shorten picked up an additional six NSW seats to finish with 24.
The Greens are fielding candidates across metropolitan, regional and rural areas, hoping to build momentum following a 10.2% vote at the July 2 federal election. Their vote is being challenged by the rise of single-issue independents from a crop of protest movements of the right and the left.
My tip? Approach right-wing independents with care: they are usually being financed by well-heeled reactionary movements with origins in the gun-owning, anti-abortion, anti-vaccination, anti-environment, homophobic US bible belt.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull desperately needs some good news, but he’s unlikely to get in from next month’s council elections in his home state.
Dumb award to Tweed Shire
The first hilarious scandal of the local government elections has occurred in Tweed Shire on the NSW far north coast.
The local council has a chequered history: it was sacked in 2005 and placed under the control of three administrators, including Lucy Turnbull, wife of the current Prime Minister, for three years. It has also come to the attention of the anti-corruption watchdog, ICAC, on more than one occasion.
When it comes to disgraced NSW councils, Tweed Shire is on the podium with the likes of Wollongong, Liverpool, Auburn and Warringah which holds the dubious record of being dismissed in 1967, 1985 and 2003.
Tweed Shire’s current embarrassment began last week when a full-page colour advertisement appeared in the Tweed Daily News mid-week edition unveiling the candidacy of the Pryce Allsop Group.
The advert declared:
“Pryce Allsop – Working for Tweed. I will:
– ¬Work for small business
– Cut council red tape, freeze residential rates
– Get council back to basics;
– Re-develop and beautify Murwillumbah CBD
– Develop a masterplan for South Murwillumbah”
Allsop is a Murwillumbah businessman whose team included Rory Curtis, a former National Party electorate chairman for the Tweed.
Although the Allsop team presented itself as independent, locals sniffed National Party involvement. [The Nats have rejected the suggestion of any official entanglement].
One day later the NSW Electoral Commission declared 61 candidates for the Tweed Shire Council election, the largest field in northern NSW. Candidates were clustered in 12 groups (or parties) and four were stand-alone contestants.
But at the draw for the order on the ballot paper, there was public dismay when Team Allsop failed to show up.
Amid great hilarity it was revealed that someone in the businessmen’s team had failed to lodge their nominations so they had missed the ballot.
Recriminations are now swirling around. “We were gobsmacked,” a flustered Mr Allsop told Echonetdaily reporter Luis Feliu.
“My teammates were really, really disappointed that the forms weren’t lodged. I can’t understand why. I’m not a happy chappy.”
No, but voters are.
NSW Labor Party unredacted – Part II of a series
Wandering absentmindedly through the door of a yum cha restaurant in Dixon Street, Chinatown, I’m greeted by a shout from a crowded table in the far corner: “Mitchell, come over here and join us.”
I can’t rotate on my heels and walk out: there is no escape. “Hi,” I reply hesitantly, “are you sure?” and walk over.
I catch one of the nose-baggers whispering to his neighbour, “He’s a fuckin’ journo. He’s not one of us.”
It’s the weekend of the State ALP conference and this is an informal meeting of faction leaders from the left and right.
“Whaddaya drinkin’, maaaate? Red or white? Or do you want a schooner of piss?”
I settle for the white which tastes like a varietal of vinegar and radiator coolant. “Best chardy in the house,” someone boasts.
Blair, a right-winger from the Toecutters Union, starts a discussion on refugees: “We need unity on this one, comrades, or the Tories and the Murdoch press will kill us. We should unite behind the platform and keep the refugees as far as from Australia as possible. Has anyone investigated sending them to Madagascar? It’s worth a try.”
Anna from Humane, the union representing foreign aid workers, chips in: “Blair’s right, we must have a unity ticket on refugees. Keep the bludgers out. They will take up all the spare public housing and pre-school places and be a burden on the welfare budget. We can’t say that publicly, of course, but we’ll be voting in line with the platform. Party unity and all that.”
Hugh from Mastercare, the private health workers’ union, piped up: “But what about the kiddies? Shouldn’t we open a special offshore home for them? I propose we offer to buy one of those Club Med resorts and pack them in there. Who could object to that?”
After angry growls and more plates of deep fried prawns, the Club Med idea is shelved. “We can’t sell it,” is the verdict.
A long silence is broken by Steve from head office, “By the way, have you heard the news about Hardo? He’s got terminal cancer. Apparently it’s spread from his arse to his balls and now to his liver.”
“Ah Jeez, maaate, that’s shocking news. The poor bastard,” says Pauly from the Amalgamated Union of Second Hand Car Restorers (AUSHCR).
But Anna disagrees. “There is an up side to this. With Hardo in hospital there is a vacancy on the conference arrangements committee. I’d like to nominate Harriet.”
The nose-baggers from the left and the right all agreed: Hardo was out and Harriet was in. “You see,” smiled Anna, “there’s always a silver lining.”
For its complicity, the right-wing faction now demand something in return: “We’ve put up a late resolution to postpone a decision on gay marriage until after the next election in 2019. Is that Okay?” asked Blair who was enthusiastically supported by Dom, the delegate from Reformed Catholic Unity (RCU). The rest of the table listened intently as Dom explained the ecclestiastical dimension: “Marriage is one of our lord’s holiest sacraments, for Chrissakes.”
Jason from the Sex Workers’ Alliance interrupted: “Can we change the subject? Same sex fucking – Yuk. I’m eating here, comrades.”
“Well, that’s settled then, no legalised mano-on-mano or lesbo-on-lesbo shagging for three more years,” concluded Blair. “Let’s have a couple more bottles of Chardy. Then we should smash the joint up, turn over a few tables and chairs, scatter around some Greens business cards and after that we’ll call the cops and the media.”
This provokes loud laughter and cheering while some bang the table with their fists.
“Hey, who’s going to pay the bill?” I ask.
“You are, you fuckin’ prick,” shouts Gazza from the Centre Right spraying from his mouth a mixture of fried rice and white wine.
The raucous laughter wakes me up. I’ve been having a nightmare. But I can’t help thinking: “It was all so real …” Then I spot a stain of sweet and sour sauce on the pillow.
Next week Part III: NSW Greens
Great Bores – 10
Olympic drug cheats should be banned for life. If they take illegal drugs then they shouldn’t be allowed to compete at the Olympics, the world championships or national titles. Sydney held drugs-free Games in 2000, why can’t everyone else? Okay, there was a bit of a problem with Marion Jones from the US. She won five athletics medals in Sydney, three of them gold, and she was jailed in 2008 after lying to a grand jury about taking performance-enhancing drugs. The IOC removed all of her medals and vacated her performances, including Sydney 2000. I thought that was going too far. The authorities should show some discretion. They shouldn’t test popular American athletes like Marion and they should not be testing rugby league players or racehorses either. The PC crowd have taken over sport and ruined it. It’s bloody pathetic.
Anthony Bourdain, the US celebrity chef and writer, said in his 2002 book, A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines:
“Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose [TV interviewer] or attending some black-tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia – the fruits of his genius for statesmanship – and you will never understand why he’s not sitting in the dock at The Hague next to Milosevic. While Henry continues to nibble nori rolls and remake at A-list parties, Cambodia, the neutral nation he secretly and illegally bombed, invaded, undermined, and then threw to the dogs, is still trying to raise itself up on its one remaining leg.”
Unlike Bourdain, I wish no physical violence against Dr Kissinger. But I do feel that he should be brought to trial at the International Criminal Tribunal as a mass murderer along with more recent unindicted war criminals such as George W Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard.