Reverse triple somersault with double pike, or volte-face as we say in diplomatic circles, was performed by so-called Environment Minister Peter Garrett in approving the new Four Mile uranium mine in SA.
Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull was quick in pointing out a gaping hole in Garrett’s credibility from his anti-nuclear days, but then agreed with the decision, demonstrating again his unerring political opportunism.
“Oils ain’t oils”, as one headline had it. For Midnight Oil fans, think Blue Sky Mine (’nothing’s as precious, as a hole in the ground’) and Dead Heart (’uranium companies…got more right than people, got more say than people’). As Pete said, “look this is an old song”. Indeed it is, and now he’s a ‘team player’ who accepts government decisions.
The holes in our political and cultural landscape will be matched by a real hole in the ground, where radioactive waste from the uranium leaching process will be dumped into aquifers. Garrett’s approval does not require the mine owner to clean this up, and his bald-faced (oh yeah!) assertion that there is no credible threat to the environment takes on Orwellian tones.
Mine owner Heathgate Resources (75% US owned) is an affiliate of General Atomics, a US weapons and nuclear energy corporation, whose billionaire chairman James Blue supported the CIA-funded war against Nicaragua’s left-wing government.
The Rudd government remains on track to convert Australia’s economy to renewable, green energy, blah, blah, particularly with its low-key carbon pollution reduction scheme and clean coal technology, coming soon. And after all, the uranium is for export and only to nuclear non-proliferation treaty signatory countries. No chance of it ending up in nuclear weapons. As for waste disposal, well there’s a solution coming soon too.