Joe Hockey [Federal Treasurer, 2013-2015]:
… I find those wind turbines around Lake George to be utterly offensive. …
I think they are just a blight on the landscape. …
[Unfortunately, we] can't knock those ones off … because there's a certain contractual obligation (I'm told).
('Ideology' driving energy policy: Australian Solar Council, 8 May 2014)
Erwin Jackson [Deputy CEO, Climate Institute]:
Over the next 15 years [the Chinese have committed to building] a power sector the size of the United States completely powered by renewable energy.
(Australia to support UN Green Climate Fund, 11 December 2014)
Who Speaks for the Dead?
We have heard a number of comments from Iraqis … saying that their lives are better today — free of Saddam Hussein.
Peter Kilfoyle [former Defence Minister under Tony Blair]:
Many thousands of people would agree with that.
But there's many thousands who are dead, who are not in a position to agree or disagree. …
It's wholly specious of people to say, somehow 10 years ago, the evidence was not there to suggest that they were wrong.
What's more important is the evidence was not there to show that they were right.
They should have erred on the side of caution … and they never did.
(Ten years in Iraq: Peter Kilfoyle, 20 March 2013)
John Rasko: Doctors concerned over Trump pharmaceutical plan
State of Denial
Deliberately Doing Harm
Ten years in Iraq: Patrick Cockburn
Ten years in Iraq: Peter Kilfoyle
India uranium sales
- Lawyers representing five-year-old Iranian asylum seeker sue Government for negligence, 20 May 2015.
CSIRO cutback, 28 May 2014.
Michael Borgas: President, CSIRO Staff Association.
- Fears that women and children on Nauru are still at risk of being sexually assaulted, 23 March 2015.
Misha Coleman: Executive Director, Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce.
- Alarming new fossil fuel figures, 12 January 2015.
Paul Ekins: Professor of Economics; Director, Institute for Sustainable Resources; University College London.
- Nationals Senator protests ABC cuts to rural services, 25 November 2014.
Bridget McKenzie: Senator for Victoria.
- Australian coal investments at risk of becoming 'stranded assets', 24 March 2014.
Ben Caldecott: Programme Director and Research Fellow, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.
- Options for big cuts in emissions by 2050, 14 March 2014.
Bill Hare: Visiting Scientist, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
- Climate change activist nominates for BHP board, 17 October 2013.
Ian Dunlop: Former Royal Dutch Shell Executive.
- I Am Malala, 11 October 2013.
Malala Yousafzai: Education Activist.
- Thank You For Your Service, 7 October 2013.
David Finkel: Author.
- Charities commission faces the axe, 2 October 2013.
- World tracking for dangerous climate change: IPCC, 30 September 2013.
Abbott's boat policy would create 'unnecessary conflict', 27 September 2013.
Dewi Fortuna Anwar: Senior Advisor to Indonesian Vice President Boediono.
- Tim Flannery to head up new privately funded Australian Climate Council, 24 September 2013.
- Climate Commission axed — Climate Change Authority next, 20 September 2013.
Professor Will Steffen: Executive Director, Climate Change Institute, Australian National University.
Australia's Climate Commission was shut down yesterday …
And signing his first Ministerial Brief yesterday, Greg Hunt directed the Environment Department to start preparing legislation to axe carbon pricing and close down the Climate Change Authority. …
This week, in an opinion piece in the newspaper Maurice Newman [— the Prime Minister's top business advisor —] said that much of the public service would be resistant to change on this because of their 'vested interests' …
Would you like to know more?
- Biggest solar PV farm in Southern Hemisphere, 1 August 2013.
Scott Thomas: General Manager of Power Development, AGL Energy.
- 'No advantage' policy may leave asylum seekers destitute: mental health experts, 8 May 2013.
Patrick McGorry: Professor of Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne; 2010 Australian of the Year.
Asylum seeker families with children under the age of 16 will be released into the community on bridging visas.
The move will free up detention centers which are full to capacity.
Asylum families will largely be left to fend for themselves, under the government's new 'no advantage' policy.
[They] won't be able to work or have access to [welfare] payments under the new arrangements. …
[The] government, and the [opposition], are grappling with the tension between wanting to reduce the flow of people coming on boats, and how harshly you can get away with treating them in Australia …
This is a terrible dilemma …
You can only go so far in relation to deterrence — call it 'no advantage' …
The Expert Panel expected this to have an effect on boat people flows but [its clearly not working. …]
How far [are] onshore punitive policies … going to have an effect on this?
I would have thought the solutions lie in relation to activities in neighboring countries, and in relation to the flow of people in the first place. …
[Families] and children … show the reality more starkly than anyone else …
[If Australians actually saw] the reality of what … happens to people [as a result of] this policy of onshore deterrence and punitive behaviors [— it wouldn't have] the support [it currently does. …]
Certainly no one who has had any contact with refugees has felt that way. …
The consequences [of not being allowed to work are] severe, not just on families, but everyone who's in that situation.
It's demoralizing not to be able to work [or to] live in a decent way. …
[The] kind of squalor people are forced to live in, if they're denied these sorts of rights. …
No one, on either side of politics, questions the evidence that these punitive policies … have destructive effects on mental health.
I saw a man from Sri Lanka last night who has spent 2 years in detention centers and is an absolute mess from a mental health point of view.
He's probably going to be accepted as a refugee in Australia, ultimately.
He has a very strong claim. …
His family are back in Sri Lanka.
They're under constant harassment from the government because [he needed] to flee. …
He's going to be accepted, but he's going to be a very damaged person.
What's the sense in that? …
There is evidence that detention beyond three to six months starts to show really serious effects on mental health. …
The location of detention centers is a big problem.
Whether they're on Manus Island or Nauru — obviously very harsh conditions in both those places — or in very remote parts of Australia.
That is also part of this punitive aspect of the policy. …
- Ten years in Iraq: Patrick Cockburn, 20 March 2013.
Foreign Correspondent, The Independent.
Paul Bremmer [former Administrator, Coalition Provisional Authority]:
The Iraqis are very, very resilient people.
The violence, which certainly strikes those of us who live in places like Australia and the United States is extremely high.
Is, in fact, about a third the level it was in 2007 before the surge.
So the Iraqis have seen much much worse and real benefit to the Iraqis is on two fronts.
First of all political, and second, economic.
And those are areas that will benefit the Iraqis going forward.
Al Queda [in Iraq] has kept up its attacks, and they are getting worse over the last three months. …
Mainly because … of Syria, destabilizing Iraq once again. …
At the height of the civil war … in 2006 and 2007 [the] highest total in one month was 3,700 people killed.
So its better than that.
But then almost anything would be better than that. …
To run Iraq, you've got to keep three big communities, the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds …
And they've got to get on, and they're not getting on.
[They've getting] about $100b in oil revenues a year. …
The money all disappears, either it goes out in salaries, or it gets stolen, massive corruption …
[Up] in Kurdistan, there's a lot of development, down south in Basra there's some development.
But whole center of Iraq, where half the population live, is really in a very bad way indeed. …
You can't divide up Iraq neatly, because there are still areas that are contested or mixed.
It does feel as is though the country is disintegrating. …
There are real elections …
And on the other hand … its very easy to arrested under an anti-terror law.
[A] secret informant [says] that you support terrorism.
[Then] you're almost certainly going to be tortured.
[If] you want to … get out of jail you … need to bribe somebody.
[Those who confess under torture] get long prison sentences.
There's deep resentment about this. …
You still have de-Ba'athification process that was originally meant to be targeted at people at the top end of the Ba'ath party.
The Ba'ath party had 800,000 people under Saddam Hussein.
But actually it's been used against people with some humble job, as a school teacher or something.
And suddenly after 30 years they get a little piece of paper saying you're sacked and no pension. …
[The effect of that policy has been] catastrophic. …
Bremmer, by dissolving the army, de-Ba'athification, meant that the Sunni were completely marginalised. …
He reduced these people to desperation.
And as the Shi'ite took power, they took all power, there wasn't any sort of power sharing at the beginning.
Then the Americans made things worse, by imagining that the new government they were setting up was non-sectarian.
But, actually it was wholly sectarian, because the Shi'ite government, the government had its own death squads and so forth.
[Later] on, in about 2007, we have the surge, which was successful in the sense that American policy had been so self-defeating before, that there were a lot of things they could put right quite easily.
Like defending the Sunni community against the Shi'ite. …
So that had a measure of success.
But it's … success was really a measure … of how disastrous things had been before. …
Iraq has had 30 years of war, civil war, sanctions, occupation – it takes time for any society to improve.
[In Iraq] in so far as it is happening at all, it's happening really slowly.
- Ten years in Iraq: Peter Kilfoyle, 20 March 2013.
Former Defence Minister, Blair government.
Peter Kilfoyle is a former junior Defence Minister in Tony Blair's Labour government and as an MP moved an amendment in parliament opposing Britain's military involvement in Iraq.
That amendment was defeated, and two days later the invasion began.
The one thing thing that did come out of it, which is very important, is that I don't believe that British Prime Minister could ever go to war without going before parliament to getting a vote to sanction it. …
It would be inconceivable for them to go war, in the same way, without a full debate on all of the issues. …
[BBC Panorama has reported] that Western intelligence agencies had intelligence coming from two high level sources in Saddam Hussein's inner circle telling them that there were no weapons of mass destruction. …
Tony Blair used the weapons of mass destruction argument as a pretext. …
The real reason for him going war was for him, as he put it, to stand shoulder to shoulder with the American government of George W Bush.
[Everything] else was secondary to that. …
He has a capacity for holding two mutually exclusive propositions in his head at the same time.
He tends to justify things … as, if he believes they're right, they somehow become inevitable. …
It's not based on rational argument, debate, and arriving at consensus.
That's his view.
People follow it. …
That was the case over the Iraq War.
He'd taken a view.
He'd plighted his troth to George W Bush.
End of the story.
What he needed to do in terms of the general public was to find some kind of palatable excuse to try and justify it.
I'm convinced … that he was fully aware that the WMD argument was a fallacious one.
[But it] was the only one on which he could sell that kind of an escapade to the British public. …
- India uranium sales, 15 November 2011.
Joseph Cirincione: President, Ploughshares Fund.
[When] the US made such a deal with India in 2008 [it encouraged] India to expand its nuclear weapons program …
Its helping to fuel … a nuclear arms race in the South Asian sub-continent …
In the US deal, and in now the Australian deal, there is a similar phony guarantee, the idea that [we can] separate the military uses from the civilian use …
You can't really do that, uranium is fungible, uranium that you sell to India for use in civilian reactors frees up uranium [to make] weapons. …
[You] see the ripples, China is now … saying its going to sell nuclear reactors to Pakistan.
Its judging that it can make the same kind of deal with Pakistan, that Australia and the US are trying to make with India, it undermines the restraints …
Pakistan is making nuclear weapons faster than any country on earth, and India is pressing to keep up.
The [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] is probably the most successful security pact in history … more countries have given up weapons or programs in the last 20 years than have tried to acquire them …