Citizens jury trashes plan to absorb the world's nuclear waste in South Australia

Don't Dump on S.A.

The South Australian premier is refusing to abandon the idea of storing the world’s nuclear waste in the state, despite a citizen’s jury, which he appointed, overwhelmingly rejecting it. Labor’s Jay Weatherill says his government must consider other feedback before a decision is made. But pressure is mounting within the Labor party for Weatherill to dump the plan, senior party sources insisting it is now only a matter of the time and method. Two-thirds of a citizens’ jury have signed a report declaring their “lack of trust” in the government to manage nuclear storage, and discussed its fallout.


Expectably, a No Dump Alliance is jubilant at the jury outcome. “It has been a massive weekend with the Citizens' Jury giving a firm NO to Premier Jay Weatherill to pursue high level nuclear waste dump plans. 70% of the Jurors said that under NO circumstance would they recommend a dump proceed - on the grounds of the rights for Traditional Owners, lack of trust in the government and a poor economic case,” they comment.


The Alliance welcomed and congratulated the 350 member Citizens Jury for delivering a firm “No” to any plans to establish a high level international nuclear waste dump in South Australia after two thirds of Jurors voted No to the controversial plan at the final session yesterday in Adelaide.


“Jay’s jury has said No”, said Alliance spokesperson Tauto Sansbury, a prominent South Australian Aboriginal man. “The Premier should now listen to the people and respect this clear decision.”


Jurors also highlighted issues around the poor economics, lack of trust in government and public health and safety risks associated with nuclear projects. “This is a strong decision from randomly selected and very diverse group of South Australians who have had the benefit of studying the Royal Commission Report and hearing information from experts in various aspects of the proposal. It was positive to hear the jurors acknowledging the need for Traditional Owner’s voices to be heard. I thank the clear majority of Jurors for this decision,” said No Dump Alliance spokeswoman Karina Lester, a descendent of Aborigines killed and sickened by British atomic bomb testing in the state.



“Weatherill has said he will make an announcement in the next few weeks as to whether he will pursue a nuclear waste dump for South Australia. Now is a crucial time to take action and make your voice heard,” the Alliance urges.

It suggests:

  • Contacting Members of Parliament about nuclear waste. They need to know you are opposed to any nuclear waste dump in SA. Give them a call or email them by clicking here (you put your postcode in and voila, the email for your MP pops up). 
  • Send a message to the Premier Jay Weatherill: Phone: 08 8463 3166 or email or send a letter: GPO Box 2343 ADELAIDE SA 5001.
  • Sign the petition: Say NO to Nuclear
  • Tell family and friends to join the No Dump Alliance at





October 15th marked 63 years since the first atomic bomb was detonated on mainland Australia. Thousands gathered at the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide on Kaurna Country to send a clear message to the Premier and SA government.

The North Terrace traffic was brought to a standstill as people filled the street with brightly coloured placards and banners. The 'Ukes not Nukes' collective strummed out songs along with clap sticks holding the beat. The gathering was welcomed to Kaurna Country by Janette Milera.


Rally MC's Karina Lester and Craig Wilkins acknowledged that people had travelled from Yalata, Oak Valley, Hawker, Quorn, Port Augusta, Ceduna and around the state to take a stand. The speakers were strong and clear in their opposition to two nuclear dump proposals.

The rally heard from: 

  • Regina, Heather and Vivianne McKenzie from Yappala Station, the area proposed to dump Australia's national nuclear waste.

  • Robb Webb from the Hawker Community

  • Mima Smart and Keith Peters from the Yalata community who talked about the impacts from the bomb testing that continue to impacts lives and that today - they say no to the waste dump.

  • Dr Barbara Pocock from the Mothers for a Sustainable South Australia

  • Joe Szacaks, Secretary from Unions SA

The rally was concluded with a performance by renowned musical artist Johnny Lovett with the Yalata Band who sang the 'Maralinga' song


Events were held right across Australia, led and supported by Traditional Owner groups, unions, faith and community organisations, health and environment groups, caring individuals and so many more. This is a national issue, and it is clear we are not alone. Check out the updates at:



Hundreds of people hit the streets early Saturday morning to send a clear message to the Australian Labor Party at their state convention. Dump the dumps! - Keep existing policies that prohibit nuclear waste dumping in South Australia. Many motions were put forward in our favour, including a motion from the Maritime Union of Australia that called for the state government to 'cease and desist' any further action to consider nuclear waste dumps of any kind.

Alliance members and supporters spoke strongly at the rally. Dave Sweeney, of the Australian Conservation Foundation, told the crowd, “We will not be burying waste, we will be burying this idea.”

In the end Labor postponed any decisions on the day and endorsed a motion to have the issue put before a special convention at the conclusion of the community consultation process.


As part of the State Government's community consultation process the Citizens' Jury, made up of 350 South Australians, heard testimonies from over 20 Traditional Owners from around SA during a two hour session last Saturday.

The session started with a short video 'Poison', following the
Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta and the successful Irati Wanti campaign. Atomic test survivor, and No Dump Alliance ambassador, Yami Lester, recorded a short and strong statement from his home at Walatina. One after the other individuals representing their communities all over South Australia stood up, and spoke straight out.

This session was testimony to the strength and power of Aboriginal people from all over South Australia, and their commitment to work together to stop nuclear waste dumping on their land.

Biggest respect to everyone that stood up that day.

During the morning session the jury heard some
very critical presentations on economics, consent, safety issues. Many Alliance members and supporters also gave evidence throughout this session.

"I will speak strongly on behalf of my Anangu community that we strongly say no - the Poison, Leave it," said Karina Lester.

Hear Aborigines argue the issue. Quotes from many Alliance members.



Our newest member to join the alliance is Reverend Denis Edwards. Rev. Edwards is a Professorial Fellow in Theology at Australian Catholic University and is a priest of the Archdiocese of Adelaide.

"I am opposed to an international waste dump in SA, because I believe we are called by God to love and to respect this land as a gift, and to protect its integrity for future generations. As Pope Francis has insisted, “intergenerational solidarity is not an option, but a basic question of justice.” He insists on the priority and fundamental role of indigenous peoples in all such decisions about the land: “For them land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values.”



In an excerpt from the upcoming film 'Protecting Country' Tauto Sansbury highlights some of the concerns around the government's lack of consultation with Traditional Owners.


"Why is South Australia the only place on this planet looking for this? If it is so great why aren't every other nation and country stepping up to the plate?" Mr Tauto Sansbury, founding member of the No Dump Alliance.

You can watch his and other short videos here, which include Karina Lester, Regina McKenzie and Vince Coulthard.



During 2016 thousands of people have signed the 'SA, too good to Waste' postcards - calling on Jay Weatherill to drop any further engagement in the nuclear fuel chain. In mid-November the postcards will be handed over to the Premier so please make sure you have signed one and if you have any in your home, office - please return them to 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide. 


The Alliance’s full media release is here. Some media reports and analysis below:


Analysis by Steven Long


InDaily piece - Citizens Jury: 5 surprising things


An opinion piece by Alliance friend Dave Sweeney


Citizens’ jury overwhelmingly rejects nuclear waste storage plan

For mainstream media coverage of this development click here.



Clear growth in community concern and opposition

The Jury decision follows a clear growth in community concern and opposition to the global dump proposal that has seen a major rally outside the state Parliament, tens of thousands of protest cards and petitions, a hardening of trade union and civil society group opposition and Premier Weatherill forced to commit to hold a dedicated Labor party state convention if he wished to further move ahead with the plan.


Recent times have also seen sharp criticisms over the credibility and independence of the projects economic claims and passionate representations from many Aboriginal Traditional Owners – that part of our community with the longest history of the nuclear industry and who would face the most direct threat from the global dump push.


A flurry of speculation about how the decision will be taken by the Premier

Two-thirds of the Citizen’s Jury responsible for deciding whether SA should have a nuclear waste dump, voted against the decision “under any circumstances.

Since then, there has been a flurry of speculation about how the decision will be taken by the Premier and what happened behind the scenes.


Dodgy economic modelling and heroic estimates of how much money the dump would deliver


The economic modelling supporting the claims of hundreds of billion dollars in benefits was deeply flawed. The project was risky, involving high level waste being stored in above-ground ‘temporary’ storage for over 100 years.

That parts of the Nuclear Royal Commission’s report had actually been written by nuclear industry lobbyists.


Citizens' jury decision spells nuclear disaster for Premier

The citizens' jury bombshell has left Jay Weatherill facing an unwinnable political conundrum. He will have to abandon one of two projects most closely associated with his premiership.  


Clear-headed citizens' jury refused to be dazzled

The citizens' jury's rejection of a high-level nuclear waste dump for South Australia was based on courage and common sense.



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Ghillar November 2016 [COP22 is the UN Climate Change Conference] Anderson and the Pacific indigenous delegation had input in the official inter governmental COP22. 


By Ghillar Michael Anderson 


First it is important to know that the delay in countries signing the Paris Agreement was caused by both Australia and the USA threatening to walk away if other parties refused to permit various out clauses.


Notable and critical examiners of the Paris Agreement all agree that the symbolism was great for the world facing catastrophes because of climate change, especially those of the small Pacific Islands and low coast lands.


In reality the Paris Agreement leaks like a sieve and permits too many escape clauses for the major polluters and countries promoting extractive industries, despite the overall great objectives of the Paris Agreement.


As Aboriginal Peoples of the world the Paris Agreement acknowledges us in the preamble where it states:

              "The Paris Agreement affirms the importance of traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples as well as local knowledge systems in adaptation to climate change. Indigenous Peoples' traditional knowledge related to their food sources and subsistence practices, flora and fauna and relationships with their traditional lands, waters and other natural resources are the basis of their traditional economics as well as their cultures, identity and spirituality. Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights to their lands, cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, land, resources and subsistence practices are affirmed and recognised in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


The Paris Agreement specifically recognises the importance of Indigenous Peoples' traditional knowledge in adaption actions and in recognition of the need to strengthen such knowledge, technologies, and practices it establishes a platform for the exchange of experience and sharing of best practices on mitigation and adaptation in a holistic integrated manner."


Aboriginal Peoples' are also referred to and included in Article 7 at paragraph 136, decision of 1/COP21. It was agreed to in Paris, that governments should establish platforms for the engagement of Aboriginal Peoples' in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to climate change strategies.


This framework is intended to ensure Aboriginal participation in government strategic planning for Sustainable Development Mechanisms (SDM) under Article 6, paragraph 4 of the Paris Agreement. This strategic planning by National Governments do have serious implications for us and our land and environment, our waters, and eco-systems alike.


If any of our people in Australia are engaged in this program of engagement and planning, then we as communities Australia wide must be made aware of this engagement, because there are indeed some very serious implications for our Peoples' nationally.


It was disappointing to see NO Aboriginal political activists in attendance and only representatives from the Pacific Islands speaking on issues that also impact us on mainland Australia. My collaboration with the Pacific Island representative ensures a key discussion point in the continued impact of the extractive industries and we call for the total ban on issuing more coal and uranium mining licences and to stop Coal Seam Gas extraction because of the threat it poses to our aquifers especially in the Pilliga Scrub.


In regards to Aboriginal representation, not even Congress attended. I did, however, meet up with two representatives from the Kimberley, who were attending to promote their Carbon offsets, by showing the effects of traditional burning as a micro offset to mitigate carbon emissions and thereby contributing to the overall climate change objectives, while at the same time generating income which is derived from the commonwealth government program of Carbon Trading Offsets.


The Aboriginal Caucus here in Marrakesh have adopted the view that:

"Scientific data shows that collective ownership and integral titling of land, territories and resources of Aboriginal Peoples, as well as respect for customary use and management are the most effective ways of protecting fragile eco-systems and thereby contributing to adaptation and mitigation."


The Caucus also remonstrated that:

            "Reliance on carbon trading, carbon credits and carbon offsets should not be allowed. The National Determined Contributions (NDC) of governments should not be compromised by carbon offsets. States should not be allowed to use offsets and market mechanisms to dilute their reductions of emissions. It is time to cease many State attitudes, both developed and developing, and cease to see solutions to climate change as an opportunity for the generation of wealth."


The Caucus also argues that: 


           "True solutions to climate change require drastic reductions of emission of carbon and other greenhouse gasses, not more development that does little or nothing to reduce carbon emissions. As proven by the history of the Clean Development Mechanism and the use of carbon credits and offsets generally, these so-called solutions to climate change actually experienced an increase in emissions."


The Aboriginal Caucus of 2016 to the COP22 calls on National Governments to understand that Aboriginal Peoples of the world are under threat and argue that:


             "The Rights of Aboriginal Peoples' are seriously implicated in these matters and our concerns must be taken into account. The NDCs must ensure full and effective participation of Aboriginal Peoples in their development of their State strategies. The NDCs must not include false solutions such as building large scale Hydro-electric dams that displace Peoples' from their territories, nor should they effect the mining of uranium as an easy way to solving pollution by fossil fuels. The strategies must include guidelines for robust social and environmental safeguards for all Peoples."


Consequently, we must demand our participation in the planning of Australia’s climate change strategies, which they have agreed to, at the Paris conference.



Ghillar Michael Anderson

Convenor of Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia, Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic, co-founder and last survivor of the Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra


Mogila Station, Goodooga NSW 2838,  0499 080 660

Statement and questions to contractor’s board

On 3rd of November, Senior W&J Traditional Owner, Adrian Burragubba, attended the annual general meeting of the large mining and engineering company DownerEDI on behalf of the Wangan Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council. DownerEDI are set to garner the contracts from Adani for the construction and engineering should the Carmichael Mine ever go ahead.

He put this statement and questions to the board and the shareholders.

"I am Adrian Burragubba, a native title applicant for, and senior Traditional Owner of Wangan & Jagalingou country, where Adani Mining intends to build the Carmichael Mine in Central Queensland. I understand that Downer EDI has letters of award to construct this mine.

"I am, along with my people, other members of the native title applicant, and the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council, opposed to this mine, which would lead to the destruction our homelands, our culture, and the integrity of our laws and customs connected to the lands and waters of our ancestors.

"Downer EDI should be aware that we have taken our rejection of the Carmichael Coal Mine to the Courts in Australia and to the United Nations, and that your business associate, Adani Mining, still does not have what it needs to proceed, including our consent.

"Right now, I and others have submissions in the Queensland Supreme Court, before the full bench of the Federal Court, and with further Federal court actions under way. These challenge the authorisation of mining leases by the Queensland Government on the application of Adani over the express rejection by our people, three times, of a land use agreement with Adani. We are further challenging the purported negotiation and attempt to register an Adani Indigenous Land Use Agreement and ancillary agreements subsequent to this, which would have direct bearing on Downer EDI.

"We have also made submissions to the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders. ... "



Four environmental reasons why fast-tracking the Carmichael coal mine is a bad idea

Others have commented on the mine’s issues around employment, finance, and Indigenous and rural communities. But as ecologists, there are four good reasons why we believe the mine should not go ahead: Climate change, the Great Barrier Reef, water and threatened species.

Australia's coal politics are undermining democratic and Indigenous rights

Can Australia achieve fair and open decision-making when big coal players are involved? The case of Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine suggests the answer is no, and Indigenous land owners are bearing the brunt.

Growing up with family and culture is a human right. It's also essential for healing

Excerpt from The Guardian Australia

More than 15,000 Indigenous children in Australia will sleep away from their homes tonight.

Knowing who you are – a sense of self, a sense of place; of connection to ancestral culture – is an important right. It is a right that is unnoticed by many, and too often denied to indigenous children.

The numbers have climbed dramatically. Nationally, figures have more than doubled since 2008, with indigenous children removed from their families, communities and cultures at a rate nearly 10 times that of non-Indigenous children.

While many of you will know that this is the situation, many people in the country will find it shocking. They’ll find it hard to believe.

This is, at its core, about equity and fairness – things that our country claims to hold dear: the DNA of our nation. If that truly is the case, then the shame of this reality should unsettle all Australians.

The safety of children is paramount and our foremost priority. However, concurrently, care must be taken to preserve a child’s connection to family and culture. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been safely raising our children for 60,000 years.

Growing up with family and culture is not only a human right, but is also crucial to achieving well-being and assisting the healing process from inter-generational trauma caused by decades of injustice. Feeling strong and proud of who you are, knowing that you are loved and nurtured by your family and your culture, has profound impacts on a child’s wellbeing, development and growth.

Methods used to tackle these issues in the past have manifestly failed our children. Government policies have consistently ignored, or undertaken without sincere intentions, the need to genuinely work with our communities, Elders, and organisations to uncover and progress solutions together.

We strongly believe – and the evidence confirms – that our people, organisations and communities are best placed to provide services that safeguard and maintain the culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The solutions to this issue require a cohesive, national strategy to achieve not only a systems change but also a change in attitude. It’s something we can’t achieve alone. This needs commitment of all key decision-makers from the federal, state and local levels, and it needs community leadership – Aboriginal and mainstream.

We have the knowledge, expertise and drive to create a better present and future for our children, and to ensure the best interests of our children are kept in the forefront of our approach. It is imperative that we all work together to change this story; to stand together in solidarity, and make these calls in unison, to ensure our national narrative communicates a future of hope, rather than hopelessness, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.