‘Tony Abbott Go Back!’: the call of Indian civil society in response to Australian PM Tony Abbott’s visit to New Delhi this week to sign a uranium deal with the Indian government was echoed by activists in Byron Bay, Australia’s easternmost point, in a spot action. The action took place at the iconic drum and dance circle with a spectacular early spring sunset as a backdrop.
An activist from BOOM (Byron Against Nuclear Group) said: ‘Uranium is toxic for three good reasons:
1. Uranium is used in unsafe nuclear reactors, eg in Fukushima
2. Uranium ends up as radioactive waste, and
3. Uranium is used in nuclear weapons.’ He added: ‘India is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, yet the Australian government is happy to sell uranium to India. What’s the guarantee that it won’t end up causing a nuclear weapons race in the subcontinent, with the frightening prospect of nuclear war?’
The activist said the Australian government is mining uranium against the wishes of the traditional aboriginal custodians of the land.
‘They have said: leave it in the ground! And the people of India clearly don’t want it too. They have been fighting their government and big uranium corporations for decades to stop them commissioning nuclear power stations powered with failed technology.’
He said Tony Abbott is the most unpopular PM in Australian history and he does not have the Australian peoples’ mandate to sell uranium to anybody. Besides, the people of India have sent a clear message: Tony Abbott, go back!
One wag was heard to say: ‘The Indians don’t want Tony. But do the Aussies want him back?’
Harsha Prabhu, Byron Bay