Issue #1571 31 October 2012
No more uranium through the Port!
Tracey Smallwood is a member of the Communist Party’s West Adelaide Branch. For over a year, members of the Branch have been campaigning to stop the export of uranium “yellowcake” out of Port Adelaide. The issue was taken up in the state election campaign in 2010 and earlier this year when the Party stood a candidate in the by-election for the state seat of Port Adelaide. Tracey spoke with Bob Briton of The Guardian recently about her involvement in the Branch campaign.
Bob Briton: What has sparked your enthusiasm for this campaign?
Tracey Smallwood: I had a degree of awareness about the issues surrounding uranium but earlier in the year I attended a forum at the Resistance National Conference with Dr Helen Caldicott. It opened my eyes and gave me a huge slap in the face with the reality. I knew it had to be stopped; I had to do something about it.
BB: What sorts of things have you and the Branch been doing to raise public awareness?
TS: We made this fantastic, huge sign that took several of us to hold up with the radioactive danger symbol and the slogan “No More Uranium through the Port” painted on it. We had a great response to this. We dropped it from a local bridge and every second car tooted support. We even got a “woohoo!” from one guy on a bike. Since then we’ve been making signs – leftover election signs – one side yellow with the nuclear danger symbol, the other side white with the campaign slogan on it. We’ve been putting out a few of these a week and the impact has really been building up.
BB: What’s the next stage in the campaign?
TS: We sent out emails, inviting emails for other groups to become involved; groups that would have a similar attitude to the exports. Hopefully we can band together and become one hell of a united force.
BB: You know there’s a number of aspects to this question – there’s the threat to the health of local residents and the workers, there’s the question of the opposition of Aboriginal communities to uranium mining and there’s the threat to peace with uranium exports to nuclear armed states. Does one stand out more than others for you?
TS: There’s two actually. Aboriginal land rights are right up there but I am very concerned about the transport of the uranium. Some of it will come from WA across the Nullarbor. Trucks break down. Trucks roll over and crash. Anything can happen and this stuff is not safe.
BB: Are there any breakthroughs you’d like to see happen in Port Adelaide through the campaign?
TS: Yes, no uranium whatsoever through Port Adelaide in the same way it is banned from Fremantle and Esperance in WA. My main concern is the poor buggers driving trucks. It’s their livelihood. They’re going to have a lot of exposure to uranium and will start to get sick. Will the government recognise this and look after them in future? No! The government has been ignoring or downplaying the problems. We also want the local mayor to become a Mayor for Peace* and take a stand on nuclear issues.
* For more information go to www.mayorsforpeace.org
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