Living in Wyrallah, a village only roughly 9kms outside Lismore, I was surprised at the remarks that surrounding villages to Lismore had broadband. This is incorrect and even some people very much closer are unable to receive broadband.
On phoning Telstra I was informed that they had to receive at least 200 requests before they would consider giving us broadband. Therefore, how come The Channon gets it with only 150 asks?
Martha seems to have her facts wrong.
I was quite disappointed when I learned that Gardasil had been rejected from the PBS. This isa drug that could save many lives, and prevent cervical cancer to many a woman. I believe Gardasil should be on the PBS no questions asked. Whats wrong with the world?
Theres hardly anyone that can afford the hundreds of dollars to purchase Gardasil, and for families with more than one girl in it, it would be near impossible to pay for the vaccination.
I hope that Gardasil is reconsidered for the PBS and is placed on the scheme quite soon, as cervical cancer is fast becoming a problem.
No winners from water restrictions
Lismore City Councils decision to introduce water restrictions, on the 1/12/06, beggars belief, especially when the source of supply, Rocky Creek Dam, is 95 per cent full.
The dam, situated in proximity to the coast, usually receives regular falls of rain to replenish supply, thereby not necessitating restrictions except on very rare occasions.
In the circumstances it would seem to be a totally illogical decision to penalise residents unduly, as gardeners in particular are going to be severely inconvenienced unnecessarily for an indefinite period, perhaps permanently.
Obviously there will be no winners as a result of this injudicious imposition to be thrust upon us, for a number of reasons.
1. Lismore City Council will lose the sale of water.
2. Providing inspectors to ensure rules re water usage are abided by, could be costly.
3. Residents will be severely inconvenienced and irritated by restrictions.
So, the question needs to be asked: Why interfere with current arrangements to the detriment of all concerned?
NSW Government in critical condition
So Roads Minister Roozendaal is now to pop up in the corridor in Macquarie Street to see his mate Planning Minister Sartor and raise with him the need to declare the upgrade of the Pacific Highway a critical infrastructure project under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
With this discussion and Franks (undoubted) approval of Erics (brilliant?) idea, we will see the stripping of any rights of community appeal or protest at the appallingly unsustainable proposals that our esteemed and trustworthy (e.g. Cross City Tunnel) agency of roadbuilders (the RTA) have come up with for the North Coast of NSW.
What a horrifyingly damaging and untrustworthy juggernaut the NSW Labor Government have become over the last 18 months.
Mark S Graham
Searching for the real John Hannaford
John Hannafords letter (No-one is worthless, Echo, November 16) radiates civility and righteousness.
It is in sharp contrast, in its content, not to mention mannerism, with the letter I have received from Mr Hannaford in the mail.
Then again, perhaps I have just misunderstood the subtleties of Mr Hannafords style; so I will make his letter public, and let the readers decide for themselves.
So here it is:
My dearest Tommy,
You must stop blubbering like the little boy you are and learn not to believe all you hear my boy! Sheik Hilali is nothing but a fool and had absolutely nothing to do in rescuing Douglas mud-guts Woods.
Stop hanging off every word A Current Affair tells you and learn to discriminate fact from fiction. We should get together for a beer sometime, yet I imagine you to be a gin-slurping old bugger!
Chin-up my boy.
Okay, would the real John Hannaford then please stand up.
True or false?
Is it true silky oak trees attract lightning? I first heard this claim many years ago and was extremely sceptical. I still am.
Maybe its a leg-pull. Country folk have been known to take the mickey put of their city cousins when they see an opportunity.
I recall having a drink with a mate of mine in a country pub out west when the conversation turned to snakes. He claimed there was hoop snake that could take its tail in its mouth, make the shape of a hoop and then roll away out of danger. When I suggested that he was talking nonsense he became quite agitated and insisted that hed actually seen one do it. Maybe he had; he was fond of a drop.
But some things are definitely not believable. A wheat farmer out at Gravesend once told me hed lost his wristwatch while trying to cross the flooded Gwydir River. He found it three years later wedged in the fork of a small sapling and keeping perfect time. He explained that the winder kept rubbing gently against the branch whenever a breeze blew. I mean really. How gullible did he think I was! How could the watch manage the change to daylight saving time and back? Huh!
But silky oaks? Sure Ive seen the odd one thats been struck but so have I seen the top blown out of eucalypts.
Maybe some readers with a scientific bent can answer this one. But please, no bullshit. Im not that easily taken in.
A dazzling display of Nimbin fashion
Once again Nimbin has had another big year of cultural/community events. Last weekends 14th annual Nimbin Fashion Show was the final show on the events calendar, and what a show! Standing-room-only crowds filled each of the three shows. Twenty designers and over 100 models featured on the catwalk in an all choreographed/musical/spotlit program. Together with established designers such as Pol, Barbara Mills and Christina Chester, there were also six young designers from Tuntable Primary School including six-year-old Zeneka McNeil-Hulme.
Fabulous is a much used word in the fashion world, but dazzling would aptly describe this years Nimbin Fashion Show, with such a diverse and fascinating array of designs, and particularly with the fresh-faced vitality of scores of young Nimbin catwalk models.
Considering the scale of the program, the two co-ordinators David Hyett and Christina Chester did a wonderful job steering so many models and costumes along the catwalk.
Congratulations to the production team, the designers and all their models.
Community Economic Development Officer
Last chance to save Lismore parkland
The Draft Plan of Management for Lismore Park is open for public comment until November 30. The main point of interest is the proposal to completely close off Crozier Oval for recreation purposes.
The $1.75 million development is used about 12 to 15 days per year for competitive sport. At all other times it will be locked up, including the full five months during the football off-season. What a tragic waste of public land this will be.
I outlined my concerns to Lismore City Council in a recent public address. I also made it clear that the vast majority of vandalism occurs at night and is due to Councils own inability to maintain the security fence. I stressed to Council that the more people are encouraged to use the space the less vandalism will occur.
In the last few months Council has picked up its act, and vandalism has been kept to a minimum, maintaining the fence and security in a responsible fashion.
Crozier Oval is constantly used by the residents of Lismore for general recreation. This includes walking, soccer, skateboarding, football, various forms of training, sprinting and athletics. However because these activities are not organised sport Council refuses to acknowledge that they take place within Crozier Oval. During the recent school holidays the youth of Lismore were utilising this space every day for the above activities.
I urge anyone who values Lismores dwindling public open space to write to the General Manager, or email email@example.com re the Lismore Park Draft Plan, requesting that Crozier Oval be kept open to the public during daylight hours.
Please assist local residents to keep this valuable section of Lismores parklands as public open space.
Rotary rubbish response
In response to Bridie Webbs letter (Echo, October 19) about Rotary Park rubbish: the rubbish bin at the park is there because I personally hassled Lismore Council to put it there some years ago. I believe a lot of the rubbish in the park gets blown down the bank from the road. I also asked Council (in a letter) to put a fence along the footpath, as it is next to an embankment leading down to the park, which is dangerous. There was no reply. Later, a large man went over the edge in a wheelchair, and then they erected a partial fence.
I also asked Council whether the public can co-operate any way if they catch someone littering? Again no response. I believe there are just a few people living in this area who walk to the Square and back, dropping their litter all the time. How I would love to catch them! But then what? And I wonder would they use the bin if they saw one? However I encourage you to hound Council about a bin there, it might work. They are reluctant to place bins because they say people from out of town fill them up! This is why there is only one rubbish bin for the whole of South Lismore shopping precinct! The only reason Union Street is sometimes tidy is that we pick up the roadside rubbish ourselves. It is important to stop polluting the river! So remember there was a time when there was no bin at Rotary Park now it is there, because someone cared.
Historical book created with the utmost care
I am very disappointed to hear negative community comments about incorrect information that may be printed in the sesquicentenary limited edition of Historys Ebb & Flow on the Richmond River 1856 Ballina & District-2006 by Bookmen Publishers.
As a member of the Book Committee I assure you that Carol Brown, Esme Smith, Rose Lesson and myself as members of Richmond-Tweed Family History Society, Blackwall Historical Society, Alstonville Plateau Historical Society and the Ballina Naval & Maritime Museum have spent countless hours researching, providing photographs and editing the information provided for this publication.
Mr Kenneth Brien, director of Bookmen Publishers, has taken the committees work seriously and included our history points.
Care has been taken in obtaining correct information, however, some history records do vary, therefore we do not accept responsibility for any omissions and/or errors in this publication.
So please support local heritage and reserve your copy of this publication at Ballina Naval & Maritime Museum, Ballina Visitors & Information Centre or Crawford House Museum at 10 Wardell Road, Alstonville. The deadline for pre-paid book orders is November 28 2006. Please phone me on 6686 0027.
Ballina Sesquicentenary Book Committee
Special gifts from God
I warmly welcome John Hannafords assertion (Echo, November 16) that gays and lesbians are fellow human beings whom as members of a common humanity Johns God evidently loves very much indeed. Thats a starting point for dialogue.
My claim and that of other gay men and lesbian women is that this admission, excellent though it is, goes nowhere near far enough. Can our protagonists take the necessary further steps?
My understanding as a gay man is that I am not merely one of a common humanity that Johns God loves so very much. Rather, the special gifts God has given me are gifts that God delights in whenever I use them. God made me gay. In my actions as a gay man I uniquely express and reveal something of the nature of God.
So, whenever I love another man (or whenever my lesbian sisters love another woman) this is the exercise of a god-given capability. I do that act of loving to the glory of God (regardless of whether or not I believe in John Hannafords particular God). In so doing I help fulfill the purpose for which God sent me into the world and created me the way that I am.
In short, God delights in my capability to love other men. Just as He delights in the blackness of the skin and the connection with country of my Aboriginal friends, in the proud womanliness of my feminist colleagues, and in the manifold disabilities of my disabled mates.
So, Im really glad to see John standing for generic human rights from a god-talk perspective. But human rights is not a battle of generic humanity against some non-human enemy. Its the battle of every dispossessed, marginalised and excluded group within humanity to be proud of what and who they are, and to demand a respected place at the common human table. We are all part of the grand diversity that God created.
Thats a real challenge to those who are not so different from the norm to the extent that we are. Are they up to meeting it?
On Monday, December 4, Mr Hannaford and I have arranged to meet at a coffee shop to discuss both gay marriage and the abuse that I endured in Christian education classes. Mr Hannaford approached me at the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission consultation after hearing my story about the homophobia I experienced at school. He informed me that he was interested in documenting my story as he was surprised by it. But before we meet I have decided to tell my story to everybody.
Every time scripture teachers discussed sodomy and that such a practice is sinful I was ingrained with shame; every time I heard a teacher teach that men grow up to marry women I felt rejected from manhood; every time I heard teachers ignoring students homophobia I felt pressured to go under the radar; and when I finally decided to say something the school informed me that he was just teaching the good word of the bible and if I didnt like it then I could simply ask my mother to withdraw me from that subject.
This second class treatment by school, work, government, society etc led me to experience depression, panic attacks, dental problems and shingles, and the reason this happened is because our society has NO place at all for gay and lesbian young people. No charity that raises awareness of their plight; no national protests to condemn their treatment and demand change; no where to meet our own kind; no resources in schools to tackle homophobia; no action plan on how to tackle the eight times more likely to commit suicide rate; and no idea on how to stop repeating history.
So this is my and many other young peoples story Mr Hannaford. What do you say? Is this Christian? Is stopping gays from marrying more important to you than gay and lesbian children and adolescents safety? (And yes, I knew I was gay at age 10). Is Harry Potter, and Charmed even, a threat at all to our society or is extremism and child abuse, mental and physical, the real threat? Should churches spend time and church funds on campaigning against homophobia and not homosexuals? Because if you believe otherwise, then Jesus asks you to read the bible and to stop twisting his message of peace love and equality.
(The only gay youth activist I know of)
A memorial worth saving
The unique war memorial Norfolk pine at Boulder Beach will be protected, to the credit of all involved.
That tree is the survivor of a pair planted by the remarkable Charles Bulwinkel and wife Wilhelmina, on the first Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, marking the end of World War I.
The companion pine was destroyed in a fierce 1988 storm.
In 1916, a case against Charles, 71, of being a person of enemy origin who should be struck of the electoral roll, was dismissed.
Born 1844 in the Kingdom of Hanover (later absorbed by Germany) he began London training as a sugar refiner. He became a naturalised British subject before fighting in New Zealands Maori Wars. After engineering training in Melbourne, he helped establish three Clarence sugar mills. In 1884 he accepted managership of the large Rous Mill.
In 1888 his sugar won Melbournes Centennial Exhibition award from 500 entries world-wide.
He became an Alstonville farmer/philanthropist from 1892. In 1910 he began the Boulder Beach settlement, building a two-storey cottage on the existing concrete pad.
A granddaughter, Wilhelmina Blanch, of Ballina, who died last January aged 90, listed 14 settlement cottage owners.
When development of a nearby house was proposed, I contacted the Richmond River Historical Society, Lennox Head Residents Association, Ballina MP Don Page, Ballina RSL Sub-Branch, Ballina Shire Council and newspapers in that order, seeking protection of the tree and settlement signage. All responded positively and promptly.
The Council will investigate the tree and settlement remains in its Shire-wide Community-Based Heritage Study.
When Skennars Head expands the unsurpassed beauty of the site could make it suitable for future Remembrance Day ceremonies. Signage could add interest to a walk/cycleway along Boulder Beach.
It is becoming increasingly, and sadly, tiresome listening to and reading the debate re: young P-plate drivers injuring and killing themselves and other more responsible road users. Most of the excuses for these road crashes given by parents and some others I read and hear, including the media, seem to focus the blame on the authorities educators, the RTA, police and anyone else they can think of for the P-platers demise.
Most of what are called accidents are, in fact, not accidents but unnecessary road crash incidents cause by drivers disobeying one of a hundred or so road rules specifically designed to keep us all safe and stop road crashes. If everyone obeyed all the rules all the time there would not be any crashes. Societys laws are for the good of all, as boring as this may sound to many.
Experience and maturity is a wonderful learning tool, but a very young bullet-proof, freedom-at-last driver can only be a recipe for disaster if an attitude of not obeying all the rules is taken. If a person under 18 years of age is, by law, considered a child and therefore is not deemed responsible for his or her actions, how can this child be responsible to take charge of a motor vehicle? Therefore should not the minimum age of learner drivers be 18 years?
Drive our local roads anytime, day or night, and you will most likely observe a P-plate vehicle crossing double lines, speeding, or otherwise somehow not observing some of the most simple and basic but danger reducing road rules.
The arguments of additional driver learning such as defensive driving and advanced driving courses is nonsense if the learner, or newly learned driver, is incapable of doing the right thing all the time and has an attitude in this regard. Most comments by parents are, and will continue to be, Oh, they are good kids and they all do the right thing. The truth however for many young people is if they are kids they should not be in control of a motor vehicle, and when finally free, licensed and away from mum and dad they will not always do what is right. What a pity we cant psychologically test all learners to see if they are suitable for responsible motor vehicle operation.
I really do feel for family and friends of victims of road crash incidents everywhere, but we need to focus and admit that the cause of these terrible events are preventable not only by driver training but by surveillance before, after and whilst training, of the attitude of the person learning to operate and drive a motor vehicle at age 18.
Change the climate or change the government
So now its official. The planet is heating up. Climate change has finally become mainstream. Its no longer children and environmentalists and green leaning thinkers who accept, understand, relate to and incorporate into their lives the needed changes. Climate change is everybodys baby well, almost.
John Howard and the official line of the National/Liberal Coalition still dont get it. Their ignorance is appalling. Their inability to see beyond short term, corporation driven balance sheets is obscene. The importance and immediacy of the issue continues to escape them.
The British Sterns 600 page review of the economics of climate change was as much about politics as about the environmental issues facing us all. It was a report aimed at Washington in yet another attempt to cause the worlds biggest polluter to understand the issues and to commence mitigation of global change as a direct result of carbon emissions.
On a global level Sir Nicholas Stern invited the only two developed nations who are still outside Kyoto (the US and us) to think again. The message was clear; fail to initiate either a carbon tax or a regulation based, cap-and-trade system, at your peril.
Sir Nicholas went on to invite us to invest in sustainable technologies and to consider technology subsidies as crucial elements in any greenhouse gas policy.
NSW Labor currently supports subsidies for solar panels. The subsidies can be improved upon; less red tape, more easily obtained, more broadly based. NSW Labor can do more, but it is getting on with the job.
Although the electricity and the water in my own home is solar generated, at our local primary school, where I am principal, it is not. That has to be the next step. The children need to see how efficient solar power and other sustainable energy sources can be.
How is it possible that a country blessed with a continent full of sunshine, winds, tides, hydro or geothermal conditions could ever contemplate going nuclear? How dare they treat us with such contempt! What kind of people do they think we are?
How dare the National/Liberal Coalition at both federal and local levels deny my family, my state, my country an environmentally sustainable and economically sound future?
If they continue to change the climate, then we shall change the government.
Country Labor candidate, state seat of Lismore
Catholic group continues
If one wants to attract attention and feel good about oneself in our secular society, there are a few expedients. Get a few tattoos on your body (the lower the parts the better); pierce your face and tongue with a few rings; shave or dye your hair bingo, youll have hundreds of eyes staring at you
Now in the Catholic religious context in Lismore, those guidelines dont apply. If one wants to attract the attention of the Reverend Dennis Carroll, administrator of Lismore Cathedral, one must instead do the very Catholic work that the Catholic Church has done for 20 centuries, without compromising truth. In other words this work is the respect for human life, especially for the unborn child.
Now, my wife Angela and I have being doing the very work under the banner of Apostles for Life here in the Lismore Diocese in the last seven years. This apostolate has always followed the Catholic Church guidelines; under the former bishop John Satterthwaite, and with the approval of the present Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett, until recently.
Now, for some strange reason, this apostolate has been banned from the Lismore parish, and according to the Vicar General Dennis Carroll, there are anti-Jewish views expressed in Apostles For Life website. He also states that the group is discontinued.
I would like to correct the misunderstanding that the group is discontinued because it no longer meets at the Cathedral and Parish Centre. Apostles For Life is simply a group of faithful Catholics, united in a common cause, that is the protection of human life.
My understanding is that the Apostles for Life problem is related to being genuinely Catholic and not the watered down version that evolved before our very eyes over the last 40 years in the neo-church, to which Fr Dennis Carroll belongs. If anyone is a genuine Catholic, ie follows the traditions which are older than 40 years, one is seen as a dire threat who would be better excommunicated. Doesnt matter if one is a heretic, a child molester, an atheist, an abortionist, a sodomite, a Satanist, or a Freemason Come as you are says the song; as long you keep quiet about the atrocities going on in this valley of tears.