Showing posts with label people power. Show all posts
Showing posts with label people power. Show all posts

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Liberals, Nationals and Labor all agree they would rather chill political activism to the point of hypothermia


At both state and federal level Australian citizens are finding their right o speak truth to power is being seriously eroded.

This is just the lastest move.....


Bills passed by the Australian Parliament 28 June 2018:




The Guardian, 26 June 2018:

The espionage bill could criminalise protests and communication of opinions harmful to the Australian government, representing a threat to the limited protections on freedom of speech, according to legal advice produced for the activist group GetUp.

The advice comes after deals between the Coalition and Labor on the espionage bill and the foreign transparency register…..

Although the shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, has rejected GetUp’s claims that peaceful protests could be criminalised, his view has been contradicted by both the founder of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Kate Eastman SC, and the advice for GetUp by Wentworth Selborne chambers.

The advice to GetUp said that sabotage offences could cover “a wide range of protest activity” because the “damage to public infrastructure” element includes merely limiting or preventing access to it.

“For example, a person who intentionally blockaded the entry to a coalmine ... with the ultimate intention of ending the sale of coal by Australia to another country ... could be charged with an offence of this kind,” it said.

The advice suggested the significant penalties of up to 20 years prison “is likely to have a chilling effect on protest activity” such as blockading a farm to stop the sale of live animals to another country.

The advice to GetUp suggests that espionage offences in the Coalition bill may breach the implied freedom of political communication because of broad definitions in offences that criminalise dealing with information that may harm national security.
It warned that the definition of harm to national security did not distinguish between harm to Australia and to its government, meaning “espionage offences [appear] broad enough to capture reputational damage and loss of confidence in an Australian government.”

The bill could criminalise publication of information, including opinions or reports of conversations, to international organisations “which may pose little or no threat to Australia’s national security or sovereignty,” it said.

That could include information and opinions about food security, energy security, climate security, economic conditions, migration and refugee policies because these may affect Australia’s “political, military or economic relations with another country”.
Eastman told Guardian Australia those concepts “could cover almost anything” that embarrasses Australia in the eyes of another country.

Eastman cited examples of reporting that Australia spied on the Indonesian president and his wifespied on Timor L’Este, criticism of Australia’s human rights record connected to its role on the United Nations Human Rights Council, or its treatment of foreign investment and major projects such as the Adani Carmichael coalmine.
Even dealing with the “substance, effect or description” of certain information is banned, a further bar to reporting.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Apparently NSW Minister for Lands and Forestry Paul Toole thinks voters are gullible fools


When approached by ABC journalists sometime before publication of this online article concerning recent changes to regulations under the NSW Crown Lands Management Act 2016, a spokesperson for NSW Minister for Lands and Forestry, Minister for Racing and Nationals MP for Bathurst Paul Toole stated the new provisions were:

"substantially the same as the provisions in the existing Crown Lands By-law 2006."

Adding words to the effect that the suggestion that new regulations were designed to ban protests was wrong.

It appears that the minister and his staff think that voters across the entire state (and particularly those living in the Northern Rivers region) never learnt to read, write or comprehend simple sentences.

What other reason could there be for such a bald-faced political lie?

This is the by-law referred to in the spokesperson's statement supplied to ABC News.


Current version for 25 June 2018 to date (accessed 28 June 2018 at 00:26)
Part 3  Division 1  Clause 22

22   Conduct prohibited in reserve

(1)  A person must not, without reasonable excuse:

(a)  damage, deface or interfere with any structure, sign, public notice, descriptive plate, label, machinery or equipment in a reserve, or

(b)  obstruct any authorised person or employee of, or contractor to, the reserve trust of a reserve in the performance of the authorised person’s duty or the employee’s or contractor’s work in the reserve, or

(c)  pollute any fresh water, tank, reservoir, pool or stream in a reserve, or

(d)  bring onto a reserve any diseased animal or any noxious animal, or

(e)  walk over, mark, scratch or otherwise mutilate, deface, injure, interfere with, remove or destroy any Aboriginal rock carving, its surrounds or any other Aboriginal object in a reserve, or

(f)    (Repealed)

(g)  remain in a reserve or any part of a reserve or any building, structure or enclosure in the reserve when reasonably requested to leave by an authorised person, or

(h)  bring into or leave in a reserve any refuse, waste material, scrap metal (including any vehicle or vehicle part), rock, soil, sand, stone or other such substance.
Maximum penalty: 5 penalty units.

(2)  A person must not in a reserve for a cemetery:

(a)  interfere with any grave or monument, or

(b)  open any coffin, or

(c)  disturb or interrupt any service, procession, cortege, gathering, meeting or assembly, or

(d)  bury any human remains (whether cremated or not).

Maximum penalty: 5 penalty units.

Now spot the very significant differences in the new regulation.

Excerpts from Crown Land Management Regulation 2018 under the Crown Land Management Act 2016:

9 Conduct prohibited in dedicated or reserved Crown land

(1) A person must not do any of the following on dedicated or reserved Crown land:

(a) damage, deface or interfere with any structure, sign, public notice, descriptive plate, label, machinery or equipment on the land, or

(b) obstruct any authorised person or employee of, or contractor to, a responsible manager of the land in the performance of the authorised person’s duty or the employee’s or contractor’s work on the land, or (c) bring in or on to the land any animal that is diseased or a pest, or

(d) walk over, mark, scratch or otherwise mutilate, deface, injure, interfere with, remove or destroy any Aboriginal object in or on the land, or

(e) remain in or on the land or any part of the land or any structure or enclosure in or on the land when reasonably requested to leave by an authorised person, or

(f) bring into or leave on the land any refuse, waste material, scrap metal (including any vehicle or vehicle part), rock, soil, sand, stone or other similar substance.

Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.

The list under the heading Activities that can be prohibited on Crown land by direction or notice under Part 9 of Act (1) contains 36 banned activities, including sitting on a picnic table.

However four in particular are activities often associated with community meetings, gatherings expressing local concerns and public information events.

Each of the activities specified in the following Table is prescribed for the purposes of sections 9.4 (1) (b), 9.5 (1) (b) and 9.5 (2) of the Act:

3 Holding a meeting or performance or conducting entertainment for money or consideration of any kind, or in a manner likely to cause a nuisance to any person

4 Taking part in any gathering, meeting or assembly (except, in the case of a cemetery, for the purpose of a religious or other ceremony of burial or commemoration)

6 Displaying or causing any sign or notice to be displayed

7 Distributing any circular, advertisement, paper or other printed, drawn, written or photographic matter


 Note.
Clause 6 of Schedule 7 provides for certain land under Acts repealed by Schedule 8 to become Crown land under this Act. Section 1.10 then provides for this land to be vested in the Crown.
Land that will become Crown land under this Act includes land vested in the Crown that is dedicated for a public purpose. This land was previously excluded from the definition of Crown land in the Crown Lands Act 1989. See also section 1.8 (2).

So there you have it - very clearly set out.  

An extension of government power and, a wide delegation of that power given the extended definition of Crown land, which will see community gatherings challenged, shut down and people moved on if local police, council officers or representatives of government departments/reserve trusts decide either the message or the visuals are considered politically unpalatable by government.

Oh, and I hope North Coast Voices readers have noticed that the maximum fine which can be imposed on an individual has been increased from 5 penalty points ($550) to 50 penalty points ($5,500).

ABC News - ABC North Coast, 26 June 2018:

The new regulations will apply to all crown-owned land, which amounts to about half of all land in New South Wales.

The 35,000 crown reserve sites include parks, heritage sites, community halls, nature reserves, coastal lands, sporting grounds, government infrastructure and showgrounds.

Mr Ricketts said the new regulations were bigger and broader than those imposed under the Bjelke-Petersen era in Queensland in the 1970s.

In September 1977, then Queensland Premier Johannes Bjelke-Petersen proclaimed the day of the political street march was over.

"Anybody who holds a street march, spontaneous or otherwise, will know they're acting illegally," he said.

The statement was echoed by the acting police commissioner and was police policy until April 1978.

During the two-year ban, 1,972 people were arrested.

Mr Ricketts said he expected a similar reaction in New South Wales, if the new regulations were enforced.

"They banned street marches for the right to march — which led to violent policing," he said.

The Knitting Nannas protest group joined the chorus of concern.

Spokeswoman Judi Summers said she was shocked to learn about the new rules.

She said the group's strategy of holding weekly knit-ins outside the offices of local politicians might not be possible under the new regulations.

"Well it would have shut us down basically," Ms Summers said.

"We've been knitting outside of Thomas George and Kevin Hogan's [parliamentary] offices for the last sort of six years.

"Every Thursday without a miss, and if these laws had been introduced way back then, we would have been moved on right from the start."

Lawyer and NSW Greens candidate for Lismore, Sue Higginson, said over the years, she had represented hundreds of protestors in court, through her work with the Environmental Defenders Office.

"I see time and time again, the courts — generally speaking — have a real concern about having to penalise people who have found that they are in a position of having to break laws to stand up for an issue or to protect the environment or to protect a civil right," she said.

"So where we are criminalising really benign behaviour, and behaviour that people have a right to do, it becomes a real problem for the courts."

Ms Higginson said a good example was the role of town halls played during the coal seam gas protests on the Northern Rivers.

"If you look back to how the community in the Northern Rivers mobilised to protect the land and water here from coal seam gas, a lot of that organisation and the information and the those meetings — they were held in those town halls."

Ms Higginson said under the new regulations, meetings could be banned or dispersed from town halls.

"People should definitely be alarmed and the biggest problem about this kind of thing is it's difficult to understand the application these laws will have until you're impacted," she said.

Monday, 11 June 2018

The Turnbull Government is about to decide what is in the "public interest" and what is "fair and accurate reporting"...


And how the Turnbull Government couches these definitions in relation to national security and classified information may decide if a whistleblower or journalist ends up spending two years in an Australian gaol.

Excerpts from National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017 currently before the Parliament of Australia:

122.4 Unauthorised disclosure of information by Commonwealth officers and former Commonwealth officers
 (1) A person commits an offence if:
(a) the person communicates information; and
(b) the person made or obtained the information by reason of his or her being, or having been, a Commonwealth officer or otherwise engaged to perform work for a Commonwealth  entity; and
(c) the person is under a duty not to disclose the information; and
(d) the duty arises under a law of the Commonwealth.
           Penalty: Imprisonment for 2 years.
(2) Absolute liability applies in relation to paragraph (1)(d)
Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in 10 this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3)).

122.5 Defences
Powers, functions and duties in a person’s capacity as a 4 Commonwealth officer etc. or under arrangement……
Information communicated in accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013
(4) It is a defence to a prosecution for an offence by a person against this Division relating to the communication of information that the person communicated the information in accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.
Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in 24 this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3)).
Information communicated to a court or tribunal
(5) It is a defence to a prosecution for an offence by a person against this Division relating to the communication of information that the person communicated the information to a court or tribunal (whether or not as a result of a requirement).
Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3))......

Information dealt with or held for the purposes of fair and accurate reporting…
(6) It is a defence to a prosecution for an offence by a person against this Division relating to the dealing with or holding of information that the person dealt with or held the information:
(a) in the public interest (see subsection (7)); and
(b) in the person’s capacity as a journalist engaged in fair and accurate reporting. Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3))......


SECRECY OFFENCES - DEFENCES AND OTHER MATTERS

Recommendation 26
5.87 The Committee recommends that the following proposed defences be broadened to cover all dealings with information, rather than being limited to communication of information:
§ proposed section 122.5(3) – relating to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner,
§ proposed section 122.5(4) – relating to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013,
§ proposed section 122.5(5) – relating information provided to a court or tribunal, and
§ proposed section 122.5(8) – relating to information that has been previously communicated. 

Recommendation 27
5.90 The Committee recommends that the Attorney-General’s proposed amendments to the defence for journalists at proposed section 122.5(6), and the associated amendments at 122.5(7), be implemented. This includes expanding the defence to all persons engaged in reporting news, presenting current affairs or expressing editorial content in news media where the person reasonably believed that dealing with or holding the information was in the public interest.
The Committee also recommends that the Government consider further refinements to the proposed defence in order to
§ make explicit that editorial support staff are covered by the defence, including legal advisors and administrative staff,
§ ensure editorial staff and lawyers, who are engaging with the substance of the information, be required to hold a reasonable belief that their conduct is in the public interest, and
§ allow administrative support staff working at the direction of a journalist, editor or lawyer who holds the reasonable belief, to benefit from the defence.

The Australian Attorney-General and Liberal MP for Pearce Christian Porter sent out this media release on 7 June 2018:

Attorney-General, Christian Porter, welcomed the release today of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security on the Government’s National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017.

"This is a major step forward in securing passage of this critical legislation and protecting Australia’s democratic systems from Foreign Interference, and it is my expectation that the Bill will be considered and passed during the next sitting period later this month," the Attorney-General said.

"The Committee has made 60 recommendations, the large majority of which are minor changes to definitions and drafting clarifications. The most substantive changes are those that adopt the Government’s proposed amendments which I submitted to the Committee as part of its deliberations earlier this year.

"Those Government amendments expanded the public interest defence for journalists and created separate graduated offences for commonwealth officers and non-commonwealth officers. The amendments were designed to strike the best possible balance between keeping Australia safe and not impeding the ordinary and important work of journalists and media organisations.

"In addition to minor drafting amendments and the adoption of the substantive Government amendments that I provided earlier this year, the additional substantive changes now recommended include that:

*There be a reduction to the maximum penalties for the proposed new secrecy offences, and to require the consent of the Attorney-General to any prosecution under these proposed new secrecy offences;
* That all secrecy offences in other Commonwealth legislation are reviewed; and
* Clarification that the journalism defence extends to all editorial, legal and administrative staff within the news organisation.

"Even in the time that it has taken to consider the Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill, the threat environment has changed and become more acute. As senior ASIO officials have said repeatedly in recent months, we now live in a time of unprecedented foreign intelligence activity against Australia with more foreign agents, from more foreign powers, using more tradecraft to engage in espionage and foreign interference than at any time since the Cold War."

"Given the rapid change in the threat environment it is the Government’s intention to consider the report and recommendations for amendments very quickly and my expectation is that the Bill, in essentially the form now recommend by the Committee, should be passed through Parliament during the next sitting period later this month; noting of course the primary and most significant recommendation of the report is that the Bill be passed."

The Attorney-General said this Bill and the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill were both critical to modernising our national security laws as part of the Turnbull Government’s commitment to keep Australians safe and the Attorney-General wanted to make particular note of the hard work of the Committee in the last two weeks to produce this most recent Report.

"Safeguarding Australia’s national security will always remain the Turnbull Government’s number one priority and the Committee’s role in considering and making amendments to national security legislation is at the centre of a process that has seen ten tranches of national security laws passed since 2014, with the Government accepting 128 recommendations of the Committee, resulting in 293 Government amendments," the Attorney-General said.

"This process was conducted squarely in the national interest and represented a real fulfilment of Australians expectations for cooperative bipartisan conduct when serious national security issues are at stake. On this point I would like to personally thank the Chair Andrew Hastie MP, the Shadow Attorney–General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP, and Deputy Chair, the Hon Anthony Byrne MP, for their skilled and good faith dealings with my office to deliver recommendations which ultimately improve the Bill."

It goes without saying that incorporated community organisations, grassroots activists and social media bloggers/commentators are not afforded the protection of any detailed set of defences set out in the bill or in report recommendations.

On 8 June 2018 this was how the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and World Wildlife Fund - Australia saw their position under the provisions of this bill and review recommendations:

WWF-Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation say charities who hold the Australian Government to account on its environmental record, could be charged under proposed foreign interference and espionage laws.

Both groups say changes recommended by a bipartisan committee, to address “overreach” concerns with the Bill, don’t go far enough.

“We could still be charged with espionage just for doing our job, which is a ridiculous situation,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.

Charities such as WWF-Australia and ACF are often sought out by international bodies to provide independent analysis and a scientific assessment on the Australian Government’s environmental performance.

If either organisation briefed the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on failings to address threats to endangered species they could be charged with espionage. 

Or if they gave evidence to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on shortfalls in Australia’s record on the environment they could face espionage charges. 

“Providing independent analysis is core business for environmental organisations trying to save Australia’s forests and threatened species,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“Would the 2050 Plan to save the Great Barrier Reef have happened without attention from UNESCO?”

ACF Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dr Paul Sinclair said: “Protests and advocacy may make some politicians uncomfortable, but they are essential ingredients of a vibrant democracy and healthy environment.

“Our security is of course important. But restricting civil society advocacy in its name is dangerous and would limit the community’s ability to hold the powerful to account for any damage they cause to our clean air, clean water and safe climate.

“All parties must work to rewrite this bill to strengthen protections for the public oversight, free expression and peaceful protest that makes our democracy strong.”

These conservation organisations have some reason to be concerned as committal for trial for an espionage or foreign interference offence is essentially a political decision taken by the Attorney-General, given s93.1 of National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017 requires consent from the Attorney-General to proceed.

Given the antipathy displayed by the Abbott and Turnbull Coalition Governments towards any form of organised political, social or environmental activism, it is not hard to imagine a scenario in which a federal government would act maliciously against those opposing its policy positions or actions and use the provisions in this bill to effect such an act.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

CONSERVATION GROUP FOUNDED TO COMBAT PULP MILL CELEBRATES ITS HISTORY


"No Pump Mill" memorabilia - image supplied

The Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition celebrated its “almost” thirty years of activity at a Re-Weavers’ Awards Dinner in Grafton on 1st June.

The Re-Weavers Awards, which are held annually on the Friday nearest to World Environment Day, recognise the valuable contribution individuals and groups have made to environmental protection over many years.

The Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition was founded almost thirty years ago because of a proposal for a chemical pulp mill in the Clarence Valley.

On 30th August 1988 The Daily Examiner’s front page headline shouted: “$450m valley mill planned by Japanese”.  Daishowa International had made an in-principle decision to build a chemical pulp mill on the Clarence River near Grafton. This, it was claimed, would create about 1200 direct and indirect jobs in the region.

This fired up the local community.  Some community members welcomed the announcement, claiming the mill would provide an enormous boost to the local economy. 

But not everyone welcomed it.  Many feared the impact such a large industrial development would have on the local environment – not just of the Clarence Valley but of the whole North Coast because it was obvious that such a large mill would be drawing its feedstock from across the region.  Concerns included the amount of water this mill would use, the decimation of the forests, the likelihood of poisonous effluent being released into either the river or the ocean and air pollution.

On 19 September 1988 concerned people met in Grafton to discuss the proposal and consider what action should be taken.  This meeting resulted in the formation of the Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition (CVCC).

Rosie Richards became its President.  She was an ideal person for the job in many ways.  In the conservative Clarence community she was not publicly associated with any of the recent or on-going conservation issues. While she was concerned about environmental impacts, both short and long-term, and made no secret of the fact, she did not look like a greenie – or the conservative view of what a greenie looked like. Rosie was 56 years old.  She was a grandmother. Her background was not that of a stereotype greenie either. She grew up in Pymble and in the early fifties was a member of the Liberal Party Younger Set.  Her other life experiences included years as a farmer’s wife and the wife of a professional fisherman.  (Her husband Geoff had been both.)

Rosie’s personality also qualified her for this leadership role in the pulp mill campaign.  She ran both the CVCC committee and general meetings efficiently.  She was calm, sincere, friendly, articulate and very much “a lady” in old-fashioned terms.  But she was also determined and possessed a “steel backbone”.  This “steel backbone” and her courage were very necessary in the campaign to obtain information and disseminate it to the North Coast community. 

Courage was necessary to the campaigners because those promoting the benefits of Daishowa’s plans attacked the CVCC, referring to its spokespersons as scaremongers and “a benighted group who distort the facts.” Those in power locally and at the state level weren’t in any hurry to provide facts but they decried the efforts of community members who were trying to find information on pulp mill operations.  However, this did not deter the CVCC.  It sought information on pulp mills and pulping processes from around the world, asked questions of those in power and disseminated information to the community.

Other important campaigners included media spokesperson Martin Frohlich and Bruce Tucker whose time in Gippsland had shown him what it was like to live near the Maryvale Pulp Mill. Others who played vital roles were John Kelemec, Rob Lans, Geoff Richards and Bill Noonan as well as core members of the Clarence Valley Branch of the National Parks Association. These included Peter Morgan, Stan Mussared, Celia Smith and Greg Clancy.

Public meetings were held in Grafton, Iluka, Maclean and Minnie Water as well as in other North Coast towns.  In addition the group produced information sheets, issued many media releases, participated in media interviews, distributed bumper stickers, circulated a petition, met with politicians both in the local area and beyond, and wrote letters to politicians and The Daily Examiner.

And there were many others who wrote letters of concern to the paper as well as some who wrote supporting the proposal.  It was an amazing time as there was a deluge of letters to the Examiner. There has been nothing like it since!!

One of my memories is taking part in a Jacaranda procession, probably in 1989.  We used Geoff Welham’s truck which was decorated with eucalypt branches, and driven by Rob Lans with Bill Noonan beside him. Others of us, wearing koala masks, were on the back.  As we drove down Prince Street, Bill had his ghetto blaster on full volume blaring out John Williamson singing “Rip, rip woodchip.” I think we drowned out music of the marching bands.

Following Daishowa’s announcement that it would not be proceeding with its pulp mill proposal, CVCC President Rosie wrote to the Examiner (4 April 1990) praising the efforts of the community in defeating the proposal:

“It has been an interesting nineteen months; a period that has seen the resolve of north coast people come to the fore; we have seen People Power used in a democratic way to say ‘No’  to something that we knew would harm our existing industries and our air and water.  If it had not been for the people of the Clarence Valley and their attendance at public meetings, their letters to politicians, to newspapers in Tokyo and our own Daily Examiner, and their strong support of the Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition, we may have had a huge polluting industrial complex set down in our midst, without a whimper.”

People Power did do the job – but Rosie Richards and the others on the Coalition Committee played a very important part in organizing and channelling that people power.

The lessons of history never seem to be learned.  Those campaigning to protect the environment from the greed of pillagers face the same problem today.

What Rosie wrote in a letter to The Daily Examiner in November 1990 still applies today:

“It seems that every time we stop for breath another issue crops up that summons us to speak up for common sense and common interest.  Most of us would much rather be doing other things besides acting as watchdogs for what we see as poor bureaucratic decisions and flawed advice to governments.”

In the same letter she answered a criticism that conservationists were “greedy”:

“We speak out as we do because we believe that the people of today’s and tomorrow’s Australia will not be well served by a country whose finite resources have been exhausted by sectional interests that have until now not had to make long term plans for the sustainability of their industries.”

The pulp mill campaign was significant both in the Clarence and further afield.  It reinforced the message of the other earlier environmental victory – the success of the Clarence Valley Branch of the National Parks Association in campaigning to save the Washpool Rainforest.  Both of these campaigns showed the state government and local councils as well as the North Coast community in general that there were people who were prepared to campaign strongly for effective protection of the natural environment.

            - Leonie Blain


Leonie Blain (left) & Lynette Eggins (right) - image supplied

Thursday, 31 May 2018

The people of the Liverpool Plains versus Santos and its irresponsible domestic and international shareholders


Oil and gas mining corporation Santos Limited is currently seeking approval to drill up to 850 natural gas wells on est. 425 sites over 95,000 hectares in the Pilliga Forest region of north-west New South Wales. 

Pilliga Forest is consdered a rare example of intact temperate forest and covers an est. 300,000 hectares sitting atop a recharge area of the Great Artesian Basin.

Santos presents itself as an Australian company, yet two affilated Chinese companys hold over 624 million voting shares in the companyand its top institutional shareholders contain the usual mix of international banks, finance and investment companies2.

In its 2017 annual report Santos admits; A range of environmental risks exist within oil and gas exploration and production activities3

This is the response of the people living on the Liverpool Plains. 


The backyard of New South Wales is facing its biggest threat yet – invasive gasfields. Betrayal by governments has meant protectors are fighting to save the things they love. The Pilliga, Great Artesian Basin, Liverpool Plains – all are at risk. This is a David and Goliath battle to save our land, air and water from destruction. It’s also a fight for the soul and future of Australia. In this film we meet the experts and people living in the sacrifice zone and uncover the truth behind the real gas crisis confronting ordinary Australians.

https://youtu.be/h3h1FxwI1CE

Footnotes
1. As of 27 June 2017 Hony Partners Group, L.P and ENN Ecological Holdings Co Ltd acting in concert
2. At Page 130 https://www.santos.com/media/4319/2017-annual-report.pdf.
3. 15 February 2017 Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection fined Santos  $12,190 for non-compliance with a Soils Management Plan.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Noble Caledonia Limited changes its mind about Port of Yamba-Clarence River?



noble-caledonia.co.uk, 27 May 2017

Noble Caledonia Limited’s “Australian Coastal Odyssey” twenty-two day cruise from 9-31 October 2018 - flying from London to Cairns to Port Moresby, then sailing through the Torres Strait and down the east coast of Australia to berth in Melbourne before returning home on 31 October - is still being advertised online and it just got a lot cheaper.

In an apparent effort to fill cabins aboard the vessel MV Caledonian Sky, the UK-based cruise line is now offering across-the-board discounts of £1,000 per two-person cabin.

There has also been a change in the ship’s itinerary for Day 16 - 24 October this year.

All mention of entry into Port of Yamba-Clarence River was removed from the cruise line's website sometime between 21 and 27 May and, Trial Bay, South West Rocks inserted instead for both its October 2018 “Australian Coastal Odyssey” and October 2019 “Australian Coastal Discovery” east coast cruises.
Caledonian Sky has already booked port berths/moorings in Queensland and Victoria as well as for two of the six official ports along the NSW leg of the 2018 cruise – Port of Newcastle (7am 25 October) and Port of Eden (7am 27 October). There is no published booking for Port of Yamba which requires piloted entry for sea-going ships.

Which has set Lower Clarence residents to wondering about the reasons for this welcome change of plan.

Some think it may be a public relations feint by Noble Caledonia to dampen expression of local concerns and it may yet decide to slip into the Clarence River estuary on or about 24 October this year.

Others point to the level of risk always associated with bringing ships like the 5-deck high, 91 metre long, est. 4,200 gross tonne Caledonian Sky across the entrance bar while avoiding collision with the culturally important Native Title reef “Dirrangun” and, the possibility that the cruise line’s insurance company might not be impressed if that risk were to be realised and it was faced with a second reef maritime incident in less than nineteen months involving the same ship.

Given the protracted negotiations between Noble Caledonia, its insurer and the Indonesian Government over a reported £350 million ‘fine’ incurred when the Caledonian Sky damaged over 18,000 sq. metres of pristine coral reef in the Raja Ampat island chain in March 2017, it is understandable that Noble Caledonia Limited may have reassessed the original “Australian Coastal Odyssey” itinerary and decided it preferred a less problematic short-stay mooring for Day 16.