Arabunna man Peter Watts is the co-chair of ANFA, the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance. Formed in 1997, ANFA (formerly the Alliance Against Uranium) brings together Aboriginal people and relevant NGOs concerned about existing or proposed nuclear developments in Australia, particularly on Aboriginal homelands. This year, Watts represented ANFA at the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World, held in Yokohama, Japan, in the wake of the Fukushima disasters.
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on November 16. * * * "PM Julia Gillard's policy backflip on the sale of uranium to India, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), is yet another sorry betrayal of ALP policy on the mining and export of uranium," said Socialist Alliance national convenor Peter Boyle. "This will become yet another reactionary bi-partisan policy, in a parliament dominated by two big parties for the corporate rich.
November 19 marks the seventh anniversary of “the police murder of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island”, says Sam Watson, a prominent Queensland Murri leader and Socialist Alliance member. In Brisbane, supporters of Aboriginal rights will rally that day to demand governments implement all 339 recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Black deaths in custody. Watson told Green Left Weekly: “It is important that Aboriginal people and their supporters mark this solemn day with a rally and march to continue our urgent call for justice for all Aboriginal deaths in custody.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard's arguments in favour of uranium sales to India are dangerous and dishonest. She fails to even acknowledge the crucial problem – India's refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT is the main international nuclear treaty and is routinely described by Australian political leaders as the "cornerstone" of the non-proliferation system. The NPT has its flaws, not least the failure of the nuclear weapons states to take their disarmament obligations seriously, but that is no reason to junk the treaty or to disregard it.
The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance released the statement below on October 11. * * * In the wake of the approval of BHP-Billiton’s Olympic Dam expansion, the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) is calling for a moratorium on uranium mining due to the long-term impacts associated with the nuclear industry. Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, Arabunna elder from Lake Eyre and president of ANFA, addressed a rally at parliament House in Adelaide on October 11 held in response to the approvals announced by the state and federal government:
The land around Muckaty Station, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, was nominated as a possible site for a nuclear waste dump by the Northern Land Council in May 2007. This was accepted by the federal government in September 2007. Natalie Wasley from the Beyond Nuclear Initiative told Green Left Weekly: “A small group of traditional owners, hoping for cash for their impoverished community and improved services like roads, housing and education, agreed to the dump site. However, many other traditional owners remain opposed to the plan.
Five activists from Anti-Nuclear NT (ANNT) gathered outside the offices of Energy Resources Australia (ERA) on August 9. They were congratulating the company on its decision to abandon plans to use acid heap leeching at its Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu national park. Acid heap leeching uses thousands of tonnes of highly toxic acid to release uranium oxide from the soil. It would have sent hundreds of acid-filled trucks along the Northern Territory’s Stuart Highway each day.
The NSW government was evasive for several days on whether it would allow uranium exploration and mining, banned since 1986. This followed the call by federal resources minister Martin Ferguson in May for NSW and Victoria to rethink their uranium mining bans. Premier Barry O’Farrell and resources minister Chris Hartcher finally said on August 5 they would not overturn the uranium mining ban. In mid-June, Hartcher met the chief executive of the Australian Uranium Association Michael Angwin, who is lobbying to overturn the ban, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
The Environment Centre Northern Territory released a new document on July 20 that detailed several disastrous events over the recent wet season at the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu national park. The document revealed ongoing seepage from the tailings storage facility at the mine. It also said the mine was unable to effectively deal with the millions of litres of contaminated water generated.
Footprints for Peace, an international grassroots group that organises walks, bike rides and runs around the world, invites families and people of all ages, background and cultures to come and support traditional owners in their opposition to uranium mining in Western Australia by taking part in the “Walk away from uranium mining” that begins in Wiluna on August 19 and finishes in Perth on October 28.