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SA Premier coopts democracy for nuclear nefariousness

25 May 2016 | Michele Madigan

Maralinga Painting, by artists Mima Smart, Tjunkuna Rita Bryant and othersJust how strictly controlled the process is becomes obvious when it emerges that the task of the 50 member Citizens' Jury will be to produce 'a short independent guide to help every South Australian understand the recommendations raised' by the report. ABC news has dubbed this whole process the Premier's 'public relations exercise', and surely they're not wrong. He is urging all South Australians to remain 'open' about the proposal. But are they, including the Citizens' Jury, allowed to be open to refusal?

Dumped-on Elders down but not despairing

02 May 2016 | Michele Madigan

Aboriginal elders oppose dumpAs fifth century BC Athenian historian and general Thucydides said: 'The strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must.' 'I'm sitting here trying to eat my weetbix and keep my thoughts calm,' said Enice Marsh, Traditional Owner for the Flinders Ranges area of SA. Enice and the other Adynamathanha Elders had just received the news that former Liberal Senator Grant Chapman's property Bardioota is 'at the top of the list' to be the site of Australia's national radioactive waste dump.

Five reasons the LNP's carbon scare campaign is doomed

02 May 2016 | Greg Foyster

Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt throws lumps of coal from a bag held by Tony Abbott at Bill Shorten's solar panelsIt was as if Australian politics had regressed four years overnight. No sooner had Labor released its new climate change plan than the Coalition was resuscitating Tony Abbott's 'carbon tax' line. The Coalition's attempt to revive the defining debate of the 2013 federal election won't work. As other commentators have noted, Labor's plan has been carefully crafted to avoid the carbon tax sledge. More importantly, external factors have changed to make a scare campaign less potent.

The boat people from paradise lost

22 April 2016 | Lyn Bender

Lyn Bender and Ursula RakovaUrsula Rakova told how the sea that had been the friend of her people, was turning against them. It had crashed through and divided her island in two. Coconut palms were collapsing at the new shoreline. Food gardens were lost, as the soil was increasingly rendered infertile by salty tides that washed over them. The land that had been handed from grandmother to daughter, would bequeath no legacy to the granddaughters. The homeland of generations was disappearing before their eyes.

Depp dog stunt distracts from real ecological violence

20 April 2016 | Bronwyn Lay

Johnny DeppIn the face of the increasing environmental destruction legally occurring within Australia's borders, chasing actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard for bringing their undeclared dogs into Australia in breach of biosecurity laws comes across as a curated media stunt. Like everywhere in the world, Australian environmental law is at a crossroads. On one hand government regulations that permit violence against habitat increase, and on the other, legal challenges against this destruction rise.

Sulphur sunshade is a stupid pollution solution

13 April 2016 | Greg Foyster

Pollution cartoonGeoengineering means intervening in the Earth's climate to offset global warming. It's hacking the planet on a monumental scale. The most widely studied proposal is spraying sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight, cooling the planet. The idea comes from huge volcanic eruptions, which can blast millions of tonnes of sulphur into the stratosphere, creating a kind of chemical sunshade. After decades of being taboo, this outlandish scheme is now being taken seriously.

Bob Ellis and the other nuclear royal commission

07 April 2016 | Michele Madigan

Edie MilpudieThe passing of Bob Ellis recalls his faithful accompanying of the 1984-1985 royal commission into the British nuclear tests conducted in South Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. His article on the Wallatina hearings described what he named as the commission's 'worst story of all': Edie Milpudie's telling of herself and her family camping, in May 1957, on the Marcoo bomb crater. Re-reading the Ellis article, tears stung my eyes. It's so good when truth is recognised and held up for our freedom.

A word to the wise on selling climate action

10 March 2016 | Greg Foyster

Protestor with sign saying Climate change is a hoax but global warming is realThe best known examples of framing come from American cognitive linguist George Lakoff. He argues that George W. Bush replaced the phrase 'tax cuts' with 'tax relief' to reframe paying tax as an affliction. Embedded in those two words is a neo-conservative worldview against government intervention in the private sphere. If you accept the term, you absorb the worldview. In a similar way, a few words could build political will to tackle climate change. The problem is no one is sure what they are.

Greg Hunt and the Sheikh Back-Scratching Theory

14 February 2016 | Greg Foyster

Greg Hunt receives awardIt would have made a great April Fools joke, if it wasn't February. On Wednesday, we woke to the news that Greg Hunt, environment minister in the most anti-environment government in Australian history, had been awarded 'World's Best Minister' at an international summit in Dubai. But maybe the award had nothing to do with Hunt's track record at home. In the grubby way of politics everywhere, maybe it is a favour returned. A thank you from an oil-rich nation for making it look good in the past.

Nuclear waste danger knows no state borders

09 February 2016 | Michele Madigan

Map of Australia with green blotch spreading from South Australia to other statesThe South Australia Royal Commission into the nuclear fuel cycle will give its interim report at the Adelaide Town Hall next Monday. It is likely the Commission will recommend that the South Australian Premier's plan to import international high-level radioactive waste proceed, despite obvious risks and clear dangers. It would be a mistake for anyone living outside of South Australia to think that this is just a South Australian problem. Transport and containment risks are hugely significant.

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