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Jubilee Statements

Let's Talk About Trade Justice

Release Date: 16-Mar-2017

Next Wednesday 22 March join us at the 3 Wise Monkeys Pub for a thought-provoking discussion on the future of trade justice now that trade justice campaigners (and President Trump) have killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

At our first ever Beers & Ideas event, we ponder the following questions: 
What would fair and equitable trade agreements look like? And how can we move towards them?

Jubilee Australia’s first Beers & Ideas night promises lively conversation over a beer and some pub grub!



Beers & IdeasTrade beyond the TPP
A discussion with Dr Patricia Ranald, Associate Professor Elizabeth Thurbon and Michael Whaites
6pm–7:30pm Wednesday 22 March
at 3 Wise Monkeys Pub, 555 George St, Sydney

FREE, but bookings essential



Dr Patricia Ranald is a Research Associate at the University of Sydney and the Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET), which advocates for fair trade based on human rights, labour rights and environmental sustainability.

Associate Professor Elizabeth Thurbon is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations and International Political Economy at UNSW and a member of Jubilee Australia’s research committee.

Michael Whaites is the Oceania Sub-regional Secretary for Public Services International, a global union federation that advocates for quality public services.

This event is made possible with the generous support of the 3 Wise Monkeys Pub.


We hope you can join us for what promises to be an interesting evening of Beers & IdeasBook Now

-- The Jubilee Australia Team

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More Concerns Raised about PNG LNG

Release Date: 16-Mar-2017

More troubling concerns have come to light about the Australian taxpayer-funded PNG LNG project in PNG's Hela Province.

Reporting continues to casts doubt on the official position that the situation is under control. Recently the ABC reported that the Hela Province Governor has suggested that the Australian Federal Police might be needed to calm tensions in the region.

Meanwhile, a research student at ANU, Michael Main who spent months in the project area in 2016, has provided Australians with a rare insight into the situation in the highlands in a recent article in The Conversation. Mr Main described a dismal scene in the area:

'What I encountered was abject poverty situated alongside of the largest natural gas extraction operations in the world. Combined with this was immense frustration, anger, corruption, mounting violence and widespread proliferation of weapons.'

In its 2012 Pipe Dreams report, Jubilee Australia warned that the unrealistic promises made by the Government of PNG and the project proponents about the benefits of the project may well lead to landowner discontent. Jubilee Australia further warned that this could lead to escalation and bloody civil conflict in the area.

Jubilee has opposed the project since 2009, in particular the financial support given to it in decisions by the Australian Government and Efic- Australia's export credit agency.

For more details from Jubilee's Pipe Dreams, see Chapter 5 of Pipe Dreams - especially pp 63-65 which can be downloaded here.

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Our Foreign Policy: What Needs to Change?

Release Date: 02-Mar-2017

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is currently undergoing a broad review of Australia's foreign policy.

Jubilee has made a submission to this review which details the important areas of our foreign policy where change is needed. We have highlighted four areas which are particularly problematic:

Business and Human Rights: Australia must do more to hold our companies to account when they are associated with human rights abuses overseas
Aid and Development: Since 2013, our aid program is moving in dangerous directions. Reforms must be made.
Global Economic Justice: The rules governing sovereign debt continue to favour the bankers and wealthy countries, and not the most vulnerable.
Australia's Trade Agreements: We support the work of our partner AFTINET about the problematic trade agreements Australia is still pushing.

For the full submission, including our specific recommendations, click here: Foreign Policy White Paper Submission 2017

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No Amendment to Efic Act without Meaningful Reform, Says Jubilee

Release Date: 17-Jan-2017

Jubilee Australia has demanded that no expansion of Efic's mandate be allowed unless the institution improves its transparency and due diligence. 

Jubilee's concerns, summed up in an article in the Guardian today, said that any changes to the Efic Act should include better transparency and accountability with regard to its social and environmental assessment processes and a removal of its exemption from the freedom of information act.

The demands were made in a joint submission with the Australia Institute to a Senate Inquiry into proposed reforms to Efic

The reforms propose allowing Efic to due social and environmental diligence on behalf of other commonwealth entities, such as the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund, or NAIF. It is widely reported that the NAIF plans to finance aspects of the Adani coal mine. The bill would also for the first time empower Efic to give loans to small businesses which are using overseas as a manufacturing base.

The joint Jubilee-Australia institute submission to the Senate inquiry may be found here: Jubilee TAI Submission on 2016 Efic Amendment

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Concerns Raised over Militarisation of PNG LNG Project

Release Date: 19-Dec-2016

One of the most ominous predictions of Jubilee Australia about the ExxonMobil PNG LNG project - that landowner discontent could lead to violence, a government crackdown, followed by bloody conflict - could be coming true.

Last Friday, the ABC reported that the PNG Prime Minister is deploying the PNG defence force for six months around the PNG LNG project areas in the country's highlands. The ABC, in the same report, said that dozens of people had died there recently as a result of 'tribal violence'.

Jubilee Australia Director Luke Fletcher questioned the characterisation of the violence as simply tribal. 'If that is so, why has it suddenly broken out now, just as landowner unhappiness with the project escalates? And why engage Exxon and Oil Search (project operators) to assist with policing the area?' 

'Jubilee has had concerns about the potential militarisation of the project since its inception,' said Mr Fletcher. 'We first raised these concerns in 2009 in our Risky Business report, and more fully developed them in 2012 with Pipe Dreams.'

In its 2012 Pipe Dreams report, Jubilee Australia warned that the unrealistic promises made by the Government of PNG and the project proponents about the benefits of the project may well lead to landowner discontent. Jubilee Australia further warned that if this discontent caused some low-level conflict, the PNG might send in the military, which could lead to escalation and bloody civil conflict in the area.

'DFAT, Efic and the Australian Government blithely dismissed our concerns about the project in 2009 and directed Efic, our export credit agency, to support the project. Australian taxpayers dollars funded this looming disaster,' he said.

For more details from Jubilee's Pipe Dreams, see Chapter 5 of Pipe Dreams - especially pp 63-65 and Chapter 3 of' Risky Business, especially p. 44. Both can be downloaded here.

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How Should We React to the Death of the TPP?

Release Date: 23-Nov-2016

The TPP has been defeated. What does this mean? Why do organisations like ours believe that this a good thing? 

And where do progressive opponents of the TPP differ in their analysis from people like Donal Trump?

In an article in The Conversation, Jubilee Research Committee member Elizabeth Thurbon and her long-time collaborator Linda Weiss discuss these questions and explain why deals like the TPP are not actually about free trade.

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Jubilee Protests Against Efic Plans to Finance South African Coal Mine

Release Date: 21-Nov-2016

Jubilee Australia has urged Efic to reject an application to take part in financing a new coal project in the Waterberg region of South Africa. 

Efic announced in September that it was considering financing the Boikarabelo mine, a project of the Joint Australian-South African company ResGen.

'We were encouraged to see that Efic had not to our knowledge financed a major fossil fuel project since 2009,' said Jubilee Director Luke Fletcher, 'which we felt was a step in the right direction.'

'But this new project would be a disaster for the planet. It would open up the entire Waterberg region, the fourth largest coal deposit in the world, to exploitation. If this project continues, we will have no chance of keeping global warming below the 1.5 degree threshold agreed to in Paris last year.'

See the joint submission made by Jubilee Australia and The Australia Institute here: October 2016 Submission to Efic on Boikarabelo

Watch footage of Federal Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon questioning EFIC on the project in Senate Estimates on 20 October (from approximately 21:30)


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Clarification to article in The Age regarding Jubilee's work in Bougainville

Release Date: 23-Aug-2016

On 21 August 2016 The Age published an article, Rio Tinto's Billion Dollar Mess: 'unprincipled, shameful and evil', noting Jubilee Australia's work in Bougainville. We would like to note a small clarification to an otherwise thoughtful and insightful piece of journalism. 

Dear Editors,

It was heartening to see your publication produce a probing analysis of recent events in Bougainville, through Danniel Flitton's 21 August article Rio Tinto's Billion Dollar Mess: 'unprincipled, shameful and evil'

Our organisation, Jubilee Australia, which was quoted in the article, has been engaging with the Bougainville/Rio Tinto's issue since 2013

In 2014, we published a report, Voices from Bougainville, that presented the collective results of research interviews that we conducted in communities that live near the troubled Panguna mine. One of the questions we asked of these communities was whether they thought future economic development of the island should be based on mining. 

Overwhelmingly, their response was that they wanted to see Bougainville follow other development paths - many mentioned agriculture. In reporting these responses, we only sought to amplify the views of the affected communities, rather than recommend a particular course of action. 

We feel that further study is needed of the relative pros and cons all the economic options that the island might pursue, so the Bougainvillean people might then be in a better decision to weigh all the options and choose their own future. 

Luke Fletcher Director, 
Jubilee Australia

See Jubilee Australia’s 2014 and 2015 research reports on Bougainville.
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Bougainvilleans should not be left with Rio’s cleanup bill

Release Date: 08-Jul-2016

In the wake of Rio Tinto’s announcement that it would divest itself of interests in Bougainville, much remains at stake, including responsibility for costly mine rehabilitation.
Rio Tinto is the controlling shareholder in the troubled company, Bougainville Copper Lim ited (BCL) which operated the Panguna copper and gold mine between 1972-1989, and which currently holds an exploration license in the Panguna region. Disputes over the mine and the company’s conduct in the late 1980s led directly to the bloody Bougainvillean civil war.
“On the one hand, we welcome the news that Rio Tinto has given up the unrealistic aim of re-opening Panguna,” Director of Jubilee Australia, Luke Fletcher said.
“Jubilee Australia research showed that the people of Panguna were opposed to the reopening of a mine that caused so much bloodshed and pain to the people on the Island, particularly by the very company whose actions precipitated and fueled the crisis.
“Rio's decision was the result of a tireless campaign waged by landowning communities opposed to the company's return. Their capacity to organise, resist and condemn the operation, sent a powerful message to international markets that Rio Tinto was not welcome, making any commercial case near impossible. 
“This again attests to the important role local communities can play in determining their own future, even when facing opponents with considerable financial resources and significant political capital.  
“Nevertheless, Jubilee Australia is deeply concerned by the way that Rio Tinto has pulled out of Bougainville.
“Rio has walked away from the mess that it helped cause, both environmentally and in terms of human lives. By doing so, they have further reduced the chance that there will be any clean-up of the significant environmental damage caused by the Panguna mine.
‘They have also walked away without acknowledging their role in inciting the conflict and providing logistic support to government security forces. This is not the behavior of an ethical or socially responsible company.
“International civil society, communities on Bougainville and governments, must now work together to create a plan to address the toxic legacies of the mine and conflict. And they must ensure that those liable for the destruction compensate victims,” Fletcher said.
Jubilee has also raised concerns with the way that Rio has divested itself of its BCL shares. Rio plans to distribute its shares in BCL equally to both the Governments of Bougainville and PNG.
“By splitting its BCL shares between the Governments of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville, Rio has created an extremely destabilising situation.
“The country has many paths to independence and economic stability. It is up to the people to decide whether or not this will involve mining and under what circumstances. Much remains at stake,” Fletcher said.
See Jubilee Australia’s 2014 and 2015 research reports on Bougainville.

Contact: Luke Fletcher - luke@jubileeaustralia.org

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Devil in the Detail

Release Date: 11-Nov-2015

After a 26-year absence of mining in Bougainville, and after the island suffered a brutal civil war, a new mining act has opened the door to tenement applications.

The Bougainville Mining Act, passed on March 26, 2015, raises serious concerns as local communities are largely unaware of its provisions that include hefty penalties and imprisonment for infringement of the Act.  

A new report produced by Jubilee Australia analyses provisions of the Act which could be in violation of international covenants and with Bougainville’s constitution. It also compares claims made about the Act by politicians and others, with its actual terms.

Executive Summary Available Here

“Given the bloody history and sensitivities around mining in Bougainville, it’s vital that the Act is understood,” Jubilee Australia CEO, Brynnie Goodwill, said

“The profound impact on the socio-ecological, cultural and economic wellbeing of local communities must be protected.” 

A number of provisions give rise to concern. Under the new mining law: 

  • Landowners do not have veto power over the grant of an exploration license, which can still be approved despite local dissent.
  • Attempts to withdraw consent to mining by preventing access to land or negotiating fairer terms after landowner permission has been given are criminalised and can attract substantial fines (250,000 kina) and imprisonment (5 years). 
  • Mining is also considered a 'public purpose', enabling the Autonomous Government of Bougainville to compulsorily acquire land for mining despite local dissent. 

“The Australian government should also be aware of the authoritarian and regressive aspects of the mining act, and should be raising these human rights concerns with the Bougainville authorities so that amendments can be made, and consent by local communities achieved, before any mining lease applications are accepted." 

“This law was drafted by Adam Smith International, funded by the World Bank, with the transitional mining act developed with assistance from Australian advisors funded by DFAT." 

“The UN Special Rapporteur, James Anaya, has published a report on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries, and the UN Mining Working Group recently published a ‘Rights-Based Approach to the Extractive Industries in the Pursuit of Sustainable Development.’” 

“These two reports provide a dramatically different approach to mining, and would be a more appropriate model for Bougainville,” she added. 

“Australian mining companies will undoubtedly be involved in future projects, and their activities, including their political engagement, should be held to the highest standard, given the history of engagement on the island,” Goodwill said. 

The re-opening of mining in Bougainville sits on the backdrop of unresolved issues stemming from the establishment and eventual closure of the Panguna Mine, a large-scale copper and gold mine operated by Rio Tinto subsidiary Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL). In 1989, after industrial sabotage by local landowners protesting conditions, the mine closed as the island plunged into a decade-long war, where up to 20,000 people, 10% of the population, died.  

A referendum on the independence of Bougainville will be voted on during the next five years. There is strong interest on the island for expansion of the once vibrant agricultural sector that returns revenue directly to landowners without disruption to land and culture, increasing production of cocoa, coffee and copra. www.worldorganicnews.com/?p=27359

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