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Commentary :: Human Rights
Rudd “Sorry” and will dump nuclear waste to prove it
16 Mar 2008
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had much of the Australian population in tears with the long heralded “Sorry Day” commemoration. Of course, successive Australian governments have so much to apologise for, suggestions are now coming forth to make “Sorry Day” an annual event.
Aside from the historically recent grim days of the stolen generation, indigenous people in Australia have had a rough trot. One of the most extreme crimes against indigenous people and Australian servicemen were the nuclear test detonations at Maralinga and Emu Field in the 1960s. So soon after “Sorry” day we need to ask why the Rudd government is yet again planning more stinky policies, set to divide and conquer aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Cynical observers make note of the recent Howard interventionism in that territory which seems to fly in the face of a ‘fair go’ and also the federal Anti-discrimination Act. And with Rudd picking up Howards old bat and continuing with plans to dump nuclear waste in the now militarised north, what was the actual purpose of saying sorry?

As with the Native Title Act, to fast-trek mining activities across the nation in return for royalty crumbs to the traditional owners, we are seeing the same old formula used again to set community against community, in the inevitable process of site selection for a nuclear waste dump which history will prove to be as large an injustice to indigenous Australia as the un-notified nuclear explosions of the sixties. All this coming from the ALP, a political party that in recent history was totally against uranium mining and only last year conveniently modified its two mines policy to afford more space for the ‘come and get it!’ uranium policy of the South Australian ALP. The consequences of the party trying to run before it can even walk evidenced in the blatant dumping (Marathon Resources) of low level core samples by a uranium consortium granted free licence to run amok in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.

Just today we have actor Kirk Douglas (ala The Man from Snowy River) patting Rudd on the back:

“We are in a period of chaos in the world that our children and grandchildren will inherit,” Douglas wrote in the letter.”Your courageous act of an apology for the long history of injustice to the Aborigines will reverberate around the globe.”

Thanks Kirk! Kind words for our PM but nuclear explosions also ‘reverberate around the globe’ and if you you were to do your homework you would find that despite Australia being a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty we are about to contravene it by selling yellow cake to China and India and just about anyone else that puts their hand up. Also, as above, check out the devastation in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary by a bunch of Uranium Rush Cowboys that seem to have escaped prosecution from the EPA and PIRSA, the mining regulator.

The Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) is well aware of the formula and how it will be applied in the NT:

An anti-nuclear group says the Federal Government’s promise of community consultation around a nuclear waste facility location is meaningless.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett says he cannot rule out the Northern Territory as a possible site for a facility, but says no community will have a waste dump forced on it.

Dr Tom Kearney from the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, says there is a risk that some communities may be easily persuaded. (royalty money being the ‘pursuader’ and ‘divider’, proven most successful with the Native Title Act)

Dr Kearney says the Federal Government’s process of selection and consultation needs to be closely monitored. ( What Dr Kearney means to say is full disclosure of who approaches who and who is handed some nice little cash incentives and softeners)

“You have to look at a federal agenda and you have to look at the desperate state of many Aboriginal communities,” he said. (Correct..divide and conquer has been used successfully for 200 years so why stop now!)

“You have to put it into the context of an interventions and that makes me cynical of the Federal Government’s intent. (Yep, once people have been intimidated and had their social welfare payments threatened we are ripe for a ‘cash for dump’ scenario)

“I think we just have to be rigorous about the processes involved in looking at how and where a waste dump will be decided.” (The problem here is that rigorous is the last thing the federal government is…try to unravel the machinations of a Native Title Settlement for example)

With Uranium Mine exploration approvals exceeding one hundred in South Australia and two fresh mines approved south of Alice Springs, Australia is fast becoming the most nuclear hot spot on the globe. Aboriginal creation stories in South Australia make clear reference to the process by which these uranium deposits came about and the same stories also make a clear statement that the uranium should not be touched. Ignoring this wisdom and demonstrating ongoing disrespect, our government continues to use the same old tactics to take advantage and divide aboriginal communities to further its own high risk agenda…and all this after having just said ‘Sorry’?

ABC Story quoted : Anti-Nuclear Group wary of Garrett’s assurances
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