Home Earth/ Climate The Dumping of Toxic Waste and “Public Opinion” in Australia

The Dumping of Toxic Waste and “Public Opinion” in Australia


flindersThe Flinders Ranges

by Dee McLachlan

While I was working in rural NSW on a film, I had the privilege to work, and become good friends, with a very talented production designer.

As he has a property in the Flinders Ranges, many evenings were spent discussing his distaste for the proposed dump for nuclear waste in that area.

In May 2016, news.com.au wrote:

“Now that the Royal Commission has confirmed that building a nuclear waste dump in South Australia could bring in an extra $100 billion over 120 years, it will be up to citizens to decide whether the money will be worth the risk.

“Australians have a choice, and it’s a choice only they can make.”

No. That is not how it works. I don’t believe Australians get to make many choices. Choices are usually made for them. Special interest groups “buy” interest and will use every trick in the book to get their way. And this is usually achieved through the propagandist mainstream media (MSM) to persuade and swamp-wash public opinion.

Take the Iraq war as an example. The most disastrous government adventure in decades. Disregarding HUGE popular protests, the press continued to be dishonest — allowing Canberra to go to war. This resulted in the murder of a million people.

So a nuclear dump is small potatoes.

In April this year, the ABC announced that a cattle station in South Australia had been earmarked as the possible site for the nation’s first nuclear waste dump. The Wallerberdina station in the Flinders Ranges (one of six sites in Australia) was picked after months of consultation.

“…and local residents would be given 12 months to negotiate a community package.” [Consultation on the dump or the package?]

But no surprise.

“The station is jointly owned by former South Australian senator and Liberal party president Grant Chapman.

Back in the 1990s a group of Aboriginal women created fierce opposition to a Federal Government plan to build a nuclear waste dump in the South Australian outback. They were successful then, and now many are still protesting.


Emily Austin, (C) in the photo above, said,

“We were telling them that’s poison and you’re going to bury it in our country?”

Karina Lester’s father was blinded by the British nuclear tests at Maralinga half a century ago, and is the granddaughter of one of the women who campaigned in the 90s. On the Aboriginal people’s tortured history with the nuclear industry, Karina said,

“Maralinga’s had a huge impact because people speak from first-hand experience.”

Today they may not be successful. The machinery of power is different — especially after 9-11. And any campaign that might enrich someone or a sector, the process of “choice” becomes tainted.

The Federal Government is still in the “voluntary” process of finding a site, but South Australia’s outback is still viewed as the ideal location.

Erin Brockovich (the lawyer of the movie fame) visited the area and told the media:

“We simply cannot continue to use our waterways and environment to dispose of our waste and leave citizens as guinea pigs to wait and see the outcome of health impacts from polluting.”

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s campaign says this plan

“…will leave Australian people a toxic legacy for 300,000 years.”

A Done Deal?

Then, nothing like adding a little pressure from the Federal Government. The ABC reported on the 11th of October 2016, that,

“The first shipment of Australia’s nuclear waste has left France and is set to arrive on our shores next month. [to be temporarily kept at Lucas heights] The return is putting pressure on the Federal Government to find a location for a permanent dump in Australia…  The South Australian Government is holding a Royal Commission investigating further involvement in the nuclear industry…”

But it seems the decision has already been made.

This is a common modus operandi. Kleptocrats and government make decisions, and then persuade the public to believe they have supported that decision. This is usually achieved through fear-mongering or financial “blackmail.”

It is all about controlling the people “to our will without their knowing about it”. That is what American journalist, Edward Bernays, was claimed to have said about “engineering the consent.”

As expected the backers of the dump are spending millions on advertising, shopping centre stalls, and “citizen juries”. The usual well-resourced operation is being rolled out to sway public opinion — possibly for something that has already been signed off.

So who is actually to gain from this dump? And is Australia really going to have a choice?

UPDATE (12:00 pm, 2/11/16)

My fiend has provided some clarity as to the dump:

The dump at Wallerberdina is a Federal Government project for Australian waste, based on a concept from USA — that is to find a naive community in relative isolation and bribe them. This was done initially with $2 million, then a further $10 million offered. If the majority in this “community” agree to have the dump, it is a done deal. [And it is going to bring in $100 billion?]

There was no consultation with the original people or with the station owners who also oppose the dump.

It is for low level and intermediate level toxic waste, with the intermediate level stored temporarily above ground for at least 40 years. This most likely means dumped there and forgotten.

This is so flawed. This concept that this community make this decision on an issue that will be a blight on the land forever and in an area that is prone to earth quakes and flooding is extraordinary.

The second proposal is a South Australia state plan to import high level waste from all over the world. This will be stored above ground for up to 100 years before it goes underground.

Politicians are saying that it will make the state rich. But no other country on earth wants it.

My friend concludes: “We are governed by fools. …they are the biggest impact since white settlement on the aboriginal people and on the land. Both these proposals do not have the agreement from the aboriginal people of this land… we white people have a lot to answer for.” [end of update]

Dr David Suzuki was at a protest in Campbelltown a few days ago and talked about a mindset.

A suggestion: If it is safe enough for the peoples of South Australia, it should be perfectly safe for a nuclear dump to be placed under the parliament buildings in Canberra. It just happens to be a secure and guarded area. Let them vote on that.

The map below indicates the epicentres of earthquakes with magnitudes of 3.0 or more from 1841 to 2001.


The campaign.

Photo credits
The ABC, The Weekly Times &
Geoscience Australia




  1. Quoting Suzuki from the clip above:

    “Got to get over the mentality that is ultimately destroying this planet.”

    “We no longer see the Earth as sacred, as our mother, as the source of all our well being. — which it is.”

    • Pardon me.

      Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
      Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
      Conspiring with him how to load and bless
      With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
      To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
      And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
      With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
      And still more, later flowers for the bees,
      Until they think warm days will never cease ….

      Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
      Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,

      … And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
      Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
      The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

      John Keats (1795-1821) Lived to the age of 26.

  2. We are talking about the most deadly substance known to man, but the industry which should not have been born and politicians all around the world keep lying about how safe it is.

    Any country that has bought this poison should bury it in their own backyard. Mind you it should never have been mined to sell to anybody but our “leaders?” believe anything that the Americans tell them and if there is a “quid” to be made, they would sell there own mother-in-laws.

    Not only have they been lying about it’s safety, but also about the so called economic benefits of producing electricity cheaply. That is probably the biggest lie of the 20th century. To produce electricity, water needs to be boiled to produce steam and using uranium is the most expensive way to boil water. Even Einstein admitted that. The real reason for using uranium in that industry is to have the waste product to convert for use as nuclear armaments.

    As far as the people being allowed to make the decision, I have never heard such baloney. We are not even allowed to enforce the law of the Australian Constitution.

    No leader in the world has taken any notice that our planet will be suffering from the effects of the Fukushima explosion for centuries and the worst is yet to come.

    The west coast of North America has had it’s ocean environment completely destroyed by radiation from Fukushima. You cannot eat any fish safely, which may have survived so far, taken from the western coastline waters.

  3. May we assume that ex Senator Grant Chapman has no heirs? If so, he may well ensure that they do not live for the next 300,000 years, plus, in Australia, but on another planet.
    We do not have a nuclear power station, we do not have nuclear weapons, we have no obsolete nuclear outdated nuclear warheads, so who do those who have, want us to be their garbage dump?
    We are a sovereign country, we will decide who dumps here.
    (Apols: John Winston Howard)

  4. The one hundred billion dollars will never trickle through to the general public the money will be absorbed by military, police, CEOs, and bureaucracy, the system is designed to keep the social fabric in a state of economic and social repression, if you do not get this simple idea you are not realistic and are the politicians dream? that is a gullible second rate citizen, politicians job is to sell you the dream of things getting better and their is always a reason why you will become increasingly be oppressed otherwise dream on and deny your integrity of self? and the realization of what is.

      • It is seen as the pot of gold for the SA people but the financial gain is hotly debated and can easily become a financial disaster that will make the collapse of the state bank childs play

    6th November 2016
    Citizen Jury says NO to nuke waste dump plan

    The Citizen Jury set up to consider a nuclear waste dump for SA has comprehensively rejected the idea, with a thumping 2/3 majority saying no under any circumstances.

    “This is a clear and comprehensive rejection by ordinary South Australians of the Royal Commission’s nuclear waste dump dream,” said Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive of the state’s peak environment body, Conservation SA.

    “The Royal Commission has put forward a deeply flawed plan, and the citizen jury has comprehensively rejected it.

    “The dollars don’t stack up, the safety concerns are enormous…
    “The message to Premier Weatherill is clear: it’s time to stop nuclear-wasting our time and money.

    “Well, ordinary, everyday citizens have spoken and it’s time for the Premier to listen,” he said.

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