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Ms Bonaros continues
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Connie Bonaros on wind turbines

Ms Bonaros, Member of the South Australian Legislative Council (MLC), was reported in the Port Pirie Flinders News and elsewhere as having made claims in the South Australian Legislative Council about a World Health Organisation (WHO) report on environmental noise of 2018 that totally contradicted what was actually written in the WHO document.

I would encourage readers to read the WHO report for themselves, or at least look at the relevant sections. I have summarised what I saw in the report below.

It seems that Ms Bonaros saw words and phrases such as "hypertension", "ischaemic heart disease", "permanent hearing impairment" and "tinnitus" associated with wind turbines and jumped to the conclusion that the latter caused the former. In fact what the WHO report said was that there was no evidence for such a conclusion.

Ms Bonaros moved a motion in parliament calling "on the Government to place an urgent moratorium on approval or construction of any new windfarms until an independent full and thorough review is undertaken and an updated planning and compliance regime is implemented." More on this below.

The fact that after Ms Bonaros has been informed of her errors (or lies) and more than a year later still has them on her Web pages does not say anything good about her ethical standards.

This page was written 2018/10/31, last edited 2020/06/04
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©
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Ms Bonaros is a member of SA Best, which was created by Nick Xenophon who, while being admirable in many ways, had some strange ideas about wind power.

The Federal equivalent of SA Best is the Centre Alliance.



Ms Bonaros is out of touch with what the great majority want

 
Poll; Flinders News Internet site.
Poll results
This is the result of a poll conducted in the Flinders News, in and article written by Piper Denholm and dated 2018/03/07.
Ms Bonaros made a speech in the South Australian Legislative Council on 2018/10/11 that called for "decisive and immediate action" from the Marshall Government over what she claimed were serious health problems documented in a World Health Organisation report, but that were actually no more than her fanciful interpretation of the report (see below). In her speech she particularly referred to the proposed Crystal Brook Energy Park, which is to include wind power, solar power and a battery, near Port Pirie in South Australia's Mid-North.

What the local people want

A Port Pirie newspaper conducted a poll on the Energy Park in March 2018 (results on the right) that showed very strong local support for the project. At the time of writing the poll results were available on a Flinders News online page titled Largest solar and wind powered hydrogen plant to be built at Crystal Brook. To see the result you will need to click on 'view results' on that page.

Update; another poll, August 2019

Another poll was included in a very biased and negative article in the Flinders News following government approval of the Crystal Brook Energy Park. In spite of the negativity of the article, by 2019/08/10 this poll was showing 74% approval.

What the South Australian people want

The Australia Institute conducted a poll of a sample of 624 South Australians and released the results in March 2019. The poll asked: Would you support or oppose a Renewable Energy Target of 100% by 2030?

The overall result was 69% support, 14% opposed and 17% undecided.

There was strong support for the renewables target even among Liberal/National party voters: 60% support, 25% opposed, 15% undecided. Support from other parties (with the unsurprising exception of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) was significantly higher at 77-79%.

What the Australian people want

A Lowy Institute poll carried out on 1,200 Australian adults on 2018/06/20 showed that 84% of Australians wanted the government to "focus on renewables, even if this means we may need to invest more in infrastructure to make the system more reliable". The Conversation provided a summary of the poll results on renewables and climate change. See the Lowy Institute site for the full results.

A summary of what the people want

So 83% of local people want the Crystal Brook Energy Park to be built, 69% of South Australians want a 100% renewable energy target and 84% of the Australian people want more renewable energy. Ms Bonaros, with her unjustified and dishonest opposition to the development, is totally out of touch with what the local people, her constituents and the Australian people want.
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Waterloo turbines and campsite
Wind turbines
Mark Parnell (another member of the SA Legislative Council), a few friends and I slept underneath these turbines on the evening of 2013/05/28. A good night's sleep was had by all, in spite of Mark's tent blowing down at one time.

World Health Organisation report on Environmental Noise in the European Region

I read the sections of the WHO report that related to wind turbines and that Ms Bonaros had apparently misinterpreted at the time of writing this page. I have summarised what I found below. In some cases, when the WHO report made a simple statement, I've quoted direct from the report, in other cases I've interpreted the rather technical and long-winded report into short summaries to the best of my ability.

Section 3.4 Wind turbine noise

Table 36 (page 77 of the report) indicated that (to the best of my understanding):
  • No studies were available to link ischaemic heart disease (heart attack) with wind turbine noise;
  • No studies were available to link hypertension with wind turbine noise;
  • Low quality evidence was available linking annoyance with wind turbine noise;
  • No studies were available to link permanent hearing impairment with wind turbine noise;
  • No studies were available to link problems with reading skills and oral comprehension in children with wind turbine noise.
Table 37 (p78) 'Night-time exposure levels for priority health outcomes from wind turbine noise"
On sleep disturbance; the evidence was deemed to be of low quality. "Six studies were available; they did not reveal consistent results about effects of wind turbine noise on sleep."

A fair interpretation of the WHO conclusions

  • There was no statistically significant evidence in the studies that had been done on the association between exposure to wind turbine noise and the prevalence of hypertension (high blood pressure) (p78);
  • No association was found between wind turbine noise and self-reported cardiovascular disease (p80);
  • "There is evidence rated low quality for an association between wind turbine noise and annoyance, but this mainly applies to the association between wind turbine noise and annoyance and not to the shape of the quantitative relationship." (p81)
  • "No studies were found, and therefore no evidence was available on the relationship between wind turbine noise and measures of cognitive impairment; hearing impairment and tinnitus; and adverse birth outcomes." (P82);
  • The quality of the evidence linking wind turbine noise to sleep disturbance was low, the risk of bias was high; no conclusion could be made based on the data available (p83).
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Ms Bonaros's claim

 

Open letter to Ms Bonaros, 2018/11/01

G'day Connie;

You probably haven't come across my response to your complete misinterpretation of the WHO report yet, so I'll point it out to you. http://ramblingsdc.net/Australia/ConnieBonaros.html

I wonder, does climate change, ocean acidification, sea level rise, the millions of deaths world wide each year from air pollution, damage to the Great Barrier Reef, increased frequency and seriousness of fires, floods and storms, thousands or millions of species going extinct, etcetera, all resulting from the burning of fossil fuels bother you at all? Or do you somehow see renewable energy to be a greater threat to the future of the planet?

David Clarke

By 2018/11/10 I had emailed Ms Bonaros twice and not received a reply.

Another Email to Ms Bonaros, 2018/12/15

Ms Bonaros

A half-page article was published in the Crystal Brook Chronicle with your name on it on 2018/12/12. The quote below was attributed directly to you.

"The renowned Geneva-based organisation [World Health Organisation] found that wind power turbines have the potential to cause serious health problems - including hearing loss, tinnitus, high blood pressure and even heart problems - to people exposed to excessive noise levels they emit."

I have informed you previously (2018/11/01) that this is not true; that you have, at best, completely misinterpreted the World Health Organisation report; at worst you have knowingly lied. I provided you with a more accurate interpretation of the WHO report's findings on my Net page: ramblingsdc.net/Australia/ConnieBonaros.html#WHO_report, and I directed you to the actual report at: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/383921/noise-guidelines-eng.pdf. And I believe that you have been corrected in the Legislative Council by Mark Parnell.

A summary of the section of the report dealing with wind turbines, in the fewest possible words is "No studies were available to link ischaemic heart disease (heart attack) with wind turbine noise; No studies were available to link hypertension with wind turbine noise; Low quality evidence was available linking annoyance with wind turbine noise; No studies were available to link permanent hearing impairment with wind turbine noise; No studies were available to link problems with reading skills and oral comprehension in children with wind turbine noise."

As you have previously chosen to not respond to my emails I will forward a copy of this note to the President and the Speaker of the Legislative Council.


As of July 2020 I have not received any replies from Ms Bonaros.
Ms Bonaros's claim, that is contradicted by the WHO report, as reported in the Flinders News and on Ms Banaros's own Web site in October 2018 was:
"SA-BEST today called on the State Government to urgently review laws governing the operation of wind farms in South Australia after a damning new report by the influential World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed significant health dangers they can cause."

"The renowned Geneva-based organisation found that wind power turbines have the potential to cause serious health problems – including hearing loss, tinnitus, high blood pressure and even heart problems – to people exposed to excessive noise levels they emit."

Misleading Parliament

I note that then Premier John Olsen was forced to resign as South Australian Premier back in 2001 for having mislead Parliament.

Should Ms Bonaros suffer some sort of consequence for her misleading of Parliament?

Lie of the month

Ms Bonaros's unfounded claims were worth a place in my page on Wind Power Lies. I've called it the Lie of the Month for October 2018.

Climate change and criminality

The burning of fossil fuels is one of the main causes of climate change, ocean acidification, sea-level rise, damage to the Great Barrier Reef and millions of deaths world-wide due to air pollution. Action to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy is urgently needed.

I have argued elsewhere on these pages that dishonestly opposing renewable energy should be considered a crime against humanity.

Since Ms Bonaros is interested in publications from the World Health Organisation I recommend that she reads this one: More than 90% of the world’s children breathe toxic air every day. The quote below is just one among many shocking key findings:

"Globally, 93% of the world’s children under 15 years of age are exposed to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels above WHO air quality guidelines, which include the 630 million of children under 5 years of age, and 1.8 billion of children under 15 years."
How much of this air pollution comes from the burning of fossil fuels?
Most of it.
How much of the air pollution comes from wind farms?
None of it.
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Ms Banaros's proposed moratorium on wind farms

On 2018/11/24 Ms Banaros moved a motion in the South Australian Legislative Council calling "on the Government to place an urgent moratorium on approval or construction of any new windfarms until an independent full and thorough review is undertaken and an updated planning and compliance regime is implemented."

There was a vote on the motion in the parliament on 2018/11/28. The only votes in favour of the motion were Ms Bonaros's and her Australia First colegue; all the other members who voted opposed the motion.

There is a small but very vocal and determined group opposing the Crystal Brook Energy Park; see elsewhere on these pages. It seems that it was these people who lobbied Ms Bonaros to move the motion. As mentioned elsewhere on this page, there is strong support in the regional and general community for renewable energy. I suspect that Ms Bonaros sees the anti-wind power lobby as potential supporters and played to their requests.
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If at first you fail, try again: Ms Bonaros continues

Not to be put off by her failed earlier dishonest (or very ignorant) attempt to stop wind power development in South Australia, Ms Bonaros in April 2019 was attempting to stop developers building taller (and more energy efficient) wind turbines in the state.

See an article in the Stock Journal for more detail.



Also in April Ms Bonaros was reported in two Port Pirie newspapers as saying that the proposed turbines of the Crystal Brook Energy Park "could dry out farmland". Where does she get her fantasies?
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What would Ms Bonaros have instead of wind power?

Ms Bonaros doesn't seem to say how she would like South Australia's electricity generated in the absence of wind power. Nor does she say if she cares about greenhouse emissions and climate change.

Would she bring back coal power, would she frack the South East for gas, would she have the state subsidise (highly uneconomic) nuclear, would she encourage more in-situ gasification of the Leigh Creek coal fields?
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This section added 2020/02/16

"A woman of very high integrity"?

In early 2020 Ms Bonaros was in the South Australian news over an allegation against another member of parliament, Sam Duluk, of sexual harassment. While I certainly do not condone sexual harassment at all I do have to wonder how this particular case compares in seriousness to lying to and misleading parliament?

While Mr Duluk is being severely punished, Ms Bonaros seems to be getting off Scott free.

An article on the ABC News discusses the sexual harassment incident. In the article deputy Labor leader Susan Close was quoted as stating that:

"Ms Connie Bonaros [is] a woman of very high integrity..."
Surely Ms Bonaros' lies about the WHO report detailed on this page would have to cast serious doubt on her integrity.

I note that Ms Bonaros' lie was still on her web site on 2020/02/16.

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