Letters to the editor - Nov 22

Corporate thuggery

The coal seam gas mining opponents seem to have perfect tunnel vision and totally ignore the tens of thousands of farmers, property owners and family home owners whom have high voltage transmission lines, mobile phone towers and highway upgrades imposed on them by the same legislative and corporate thuggery the CSG mining industry employs. All the negative stuff the CSG opponents have been bleeping about over the past two years, we the above mentioned property owners, suffer and live it every day, year after year. If it is OK for us landowners to be abused, threatened, subject to government and 'corporate terrorism' (the protesters' words, not mine) just so they and the community may enjoy the convenience of electricity and mobile phones etc, then consequently it is now their turn to be screwed by the same authorities so the community at large may enjoy the convenience of a gas supply.

B. Lowly



World of doom

If the human race were a person they would be put on immediate suicide watch in a psychiatric institute.

It is with amazement I read of plans for massive coal, gas and uranium mines in areas that are vital as agricultural, biological and social resources. This is occurring in an era that is being shaken by nuclear meltdowns, an unfolding climate crisis and dangerous global conflict. These are clear threats to our existence, yet we continue to wage this senseless, unnecessary war on our life support systems.

Like a dangerous psychotic, driven by a destructive obsession, we fail to see the world of doom we are building. The mantra of economic growth and free trade are masks for their opposites. Pumping more materials and energy through an economy in obsessive faith that it will deliver societal benefits is like revving an engine with a burnt out clutch and expecting to go faster. It doesn't. It breaks the engine.

Australia is a central node of this self destruction. Yet, with the profound agony of a schizophrenic, we also embrace probably the world's best wind, wave and solar energy resources. With political will, Australia could be carbon neutral and energy self sufficient in a few decades. Sadly the opportunity to save ourselves is slipping away.

Deluded and broken, the human race should be committed to immediate psychiatric care. Our mentally deranged patient only exhibits token signs of recovery to impress the doctors. A few wind farms, some government departments. As our therapist would say, "I think we need to address some underlying issues here".

David Julian



Not a drop

As the Nationals candidate for the Page electorate, I will vigorously defend the Northern Rivers from attempts to divert flows into the Darling catchment system.

The NSW Governor, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, publicly called for water from the Northern Rivers to be pumped into the Darling River during a recent inspection of the Menindee Lakes in far western NSW.

While I have the utmost respect for Her Excellency Marie Bashir, I must voice my vehement opposition to any plans to pinch water from the Northern Rivers.

These plans have been rehashed time and time again, and each time the people of the Northern Rivers have made their position loud and clear - not a drop of our water should be diverted to the Darling.

Ms Bashir's comments may have won a few fans in Menindee, but she's in for a shock if she thinks they will get any sort of a hearing within our local communities.

Anyone with grand designs on our water should consider themselves on notice - Northern Rivers' people won't stand for it, and I will be doing my utmost to make sure it is never allowed to happen.

I would call on the local member to offer a similar guarantee, rather than standing idly by and allowing these outrageous plans to go unchallenged.

Kevin Hogan

Nationals' candidate for Page


Social responsibility

Origin Energy's share prices have dropped, and investors are concerned. Origin's CEO, Grant King, is blaming the share price drop on the fact that huge infrastructure projects to get the gas flowing off shore from Gladstone have not yet been completed, and share holders will have to sit tight until this is done (another 12 to 18 months) before the gas can begin to flow offshore and any dividends can begin to be distributed to share holders.

While this is partly, or maybe even mostly true, there are some concerns starting to be expressed by share holders as to the safety and ethics of the industry as a whole, thanks to massive public opposition and campaigns from national and community groups. This is as vulnerable as one of the energy giants is ever likely to be, so it would seem now is the perfect time to persuade share holders that the long term risks associated with this industry are not worth the short term gains. And that the industry will never have social licence from the communities in which it wishes to operate.

As well as the preposterous risk the industry poses to ground water in an arid country that already has huge issues with salinity, there is now evidence starting to link CSG extraction to elevated atmospheric methane levels. Methane is 20 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Accountability must be made clear, anyone who reaps a profit from this short sighted greed will have to take some responsibility for the long term irreversible damage it will cause to our aquifers, agriculture and atmosphere, leaving behind an industrialised toxic landscape for future generations.

Look what happened to Gunns when their rape and pillage was exposed for what it was.

Scott Walters



Big picture

'I won't be told what I can and can't do on my land' is a disturbing attitude in opposition to Local Environment Plans. I suggest that our custodianship of the fertile lands, waters and biodiversity in the Northern Rivers is a privilege and responsibility that needs to be put into global and historical perspective.

The fact that we humans can rarely see the big picture jeopardizes our collective future. Right now, the cumulative impacts of every human activity threatens to tip the balance from functioning ecosystems to drought, flood and famine.

The unexplained scrapping of the E2 and E3 environmental zones by Planning Minister Hazzard (yes the same guy who is approving CSG) threatens to open up all areas of native vegetation outside of National Parks and Reserves in the Northern Rivers to many varied forms of intensive agricultural and industrial exploitation. Is this what we want for our region?

Many have worked long and hard to protect what is left and regenerate what was damaged during the slash and burn era of the 1800 -1900's. Hence we have at least some quality water flowing from our catchments, some topsoil on our slopes, some acid sulphate soils undisturbed, some wildlife corridors and some functioning wetlands. If you're not sure about how these ecosystem services benefit you directly, it's time to do some research! Our region is in a hell of a lot better condition than many other degraded parts of the country yet all this could come undone if this decision slips under the carpet. Submissions are due by November 24th. More info at www.northcoastnature.org.au.

It is apt time to remember this custodianship, for most of us, is not our birthright but the birthright of those who are now marginalized and displaced from their traditional lands by our superimposed colonial paradigm and system of land ownership. Respect to the clans of the Bundjalung nation who co-existed with nature and walked lightly upon this land.

Wren McLean



Sick society

Published facts from Bravehearts state that one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused in some way before the age of eighteen. It also states that in 95% of the cases the offender is a relative or trusted friend known to the child.

Other published statistics from Adults Surviving Child Abuse 2011-12 confirm that 96% of perpetrators are immediate family (62%), extended family (22.7%) and family friend (11.3%). These are absolutely shameful figures and surely must indicate that we certainly are a very sick society.

Please explain, when the vast majority of the abuse occurs in the homes of ordinary families, why is the Catholic Church being attacked by the media?

Although the Prime Minister is to be commended for calling a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse, there is no commissioner appointed, no terms of reference, no timetable and no funding.

It's also another classic back flip by the Gillard Labor government as they choose to prevent a private members bill, introduced by Senator Nick Xenophon, from proceeding in June last year. This bill called for an enquiry into the Heiner Affair and the Goss cabinet's shredding of documents relating to child abuse and the rape of a young Aboriginal girl at the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre in Queensland.

One surely must wonder, just what has changed now?

Ken Wallbridge

Richmond Hill


Baby bonus

The article 'Folksinger with a Plan' (Echo, November 15) was a source of wry amusement. Where it was written "...she's pregnant with her third child..." all I could think was 'environmental vandalism'.

Then when I read "It comes with a downloadable free gift to the total value of about $5000", I thought 'Yes and it's called the baby bonus'.

Paul Recher



Many faces of abuse

I applaud the recent announcement of a Royal Commission into child abuse in religious organisations and state institutions, but sadly, vulnerable children can also suffer abuse at the hands of their own parents and the Family Court.

Particularly appalling is the prevalence of false allegations of child abuse being raised to gain advantage in Family Court proceedings. It is an absolute insult to those who have suffered real abuse. In family law circles, such allegations are referred to as the 'magic bullet' for resolving custody battles. Whoever makes an abuse

allegation against the other parent first, wins custody of the children.

Courts focus on the 'best interests of the child', so where there may be any perceived threat, there is a presumption of guilt against the accused parent, and they are withheld from contact with their own children. This often delivers full care of the child to the parent telling the lies as the reward for their perjury. For the alienated parent, the allegation may as well be a conviction.

For dispossessed parents who don't just walk away or take their own life in despair, it can then take years just to have the matter heard by the court, before they even have a chance to defend the allegation. The child loses a loving parent, just like that. This is called parental alienation, and it is in itself a form of child abuse, but one that is not recognised by the courts. Devastated and dispossessed families fall by the wayside as faceless, nameless victims of the secret Family Court process.

Family Court outcomes need to be included in the terms of reference of this Royal Commission, because the court itself has no records of the outcomes of decisions it makes in secret, often handing care of vulnerable children into the hands of the alienators and abusers. Hardly in the 'best interests of the child'.

What is urgently needed is dramatic reform in family law, a whole new approach. After all, courts are for criminals, not families.

Andy Gough




There is a great amount of vilification being directed lately against the Catholic Church over child abuse which amounts to a kind of Catholicophobia.

Child abuse is rampant and is covered up everywhere not just in the Catholic Church, however it is obvious the Catholic Church must change. The first thing is to do away with the ridiculous policy of priestly celibacy. This drives good men away from the priesthood and ensures that priests are condemned to spend their lives frustrated and unhappy.

Furthermore every priest is a kind of social worker who goes into peoples' homes and gives them advice on how to live their lives - what qualification does a priest who has never married and brought up children have to give advice to others on marital problems and on how to bring up children?

In addition, a good wife would be an asset to any priest to help him in his parochial priestly duties and if a priest is a good man wouldn't it be a good idea to let him produce some good Catholic children?

The confessional should also be done away with as it has no beneficial purpose but to make it easier for believers to commit sins - as if you know you can assuage your conscience by confessing afterwards you might be more inclined to commit the sin in the first place.

I am not a Catholic, but I have as much right to criticise the Catholic Church as I have to criticise Islam.

Bob Vinnicombe



Parasite industry

Parasite - an organism which lives in or on another organism and derives substance from it without rendering service in return. (Webster's Dictionary)

We in the Northern Rivers (and other areas of NSW) are being invaded by a parasite industry.

This industry comes uninvited onto our properties and into our communities. This industry can clear our land without restriction, use our water without restriction, pollute the air with poisonous gases and uncontrolled long term industrial noise.

This industry is exempt from the land water and air acts that govern the rest of the community. It turns our rural and natural landscapes into industrial landscapes. It disposes its polluted waste water into our rivers, (and there is lots of it).This industry owns little and uses much. It does not own land or buildings, so it pays no rates.

It is a very heavy user of public roads and does much damage to small rural roads that were never designed to carry such quantities of heavy traffic. It leaves the community to bear the cost of repair.

The Inland Petroleum (Onshore) Act is the work of Nick Griener's government. It is this act that allows the parasite to take over our properties and damage the aquifers and land

The exploration licences were issued by previous Labour administrations whose ministers for mining and energy, Eddie Obied and Ian MacDonald are presently under investigation for corruption.

No scientific baseline studies on the effects this industry has on underground water, air, human and animal and plant health have been carried out. 'Trust us' the industry says.

When scientific data is produced that contradicts this industry's claims that it is 'clean and green' it shrieks that the science is inappropriate, but it does not produce scientific evidence to support its own claims.

A parasite can eventually suck all the nourishment from its host where upon the host dies.

The name of this invading parasitical industry is the coal seam gas mining industry and it needs to be removed from the host now, before it sucks the life from it.

Simon Chance

Richmond Hill

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