Heres a timely proverb for B Cooper (Echo, November 23) that he may want to consider for his forthcoming little latte tete-a-tete. Its very old I know, but seems somehow apt.
When you sup with the devil, be sure to bring a long spoon!
No nukes please!
Both the federal and the NSW state ALP have energy policies that do not include nuclear power. The Howard Governments Switkowski report into nuclear power is a stunt to facilitate the development of the nuclear industry in Australia.
Not much has changed in the nuclear power debate since the 1970s when we had the Ranger Uranium Environmental Inquiry that found that long lived radioactive waste and weapons proliferation were severe risks of all nuclear industry.
Are we going to sell out our childrens socio-political and environmental futures and vote for a nuclear power industry? Lets send a clear message at the next state and federal elections by voting Labor and rejecting a nuclear polluted future.
Right of reply
Without trying to re-open a debate that most readers would be tired of by now, I must respond briefly to three challenges in last weeks Echo (November 23).
To Tom Koo Im sorry to disappoint you, but I didnt write that personal letter to you expressing those views. I suspect it to be the work of someone who either possesses a strange sense of humour or who is deliberately trying to create mischief.
To Lee Andresen your argument is with a fellow called David Hume who successfully argued long ago that you cant get an ought from an is. Otherwise in this case you end up with a God who also celebrates such things as polygamy, homophobia, racism and most forms of violence in fact anything you can argue which could have its roots in nature.
To Mr Cooper I have no intention of debating your personal struggles in public, but I am keen to listen to your story not to document it as you claim, but simply to learn from it and grow in understanding.
Mark S Grahams letter NSW Government in critical condition (Echo, November 23) is right on the money. The growing arrogance of the NSW Government and particularly the Minister for Planning Frank Sartor is stunning.
Frank has put in place planning legislation which allows him to do pretty well as he pleases. The communitys been stripped of rights of appeal to a whole range of planning decisions.
Franks Draft Far North Regional Strategy is nothing short of a joke. It contains bugger all about sustainability or quality of life. Franks quite happy to approve just about anything even if it is inappropriate and damaging to the environment on which we depend.
Frank must be wetting himself with excitement about the prospect of his extra 60,400 people for our little north eastern corner of NSW. No matter we have a backlog of infrastructure needs we cant jump over including water and sewerage problems that are not about to be fixed any time soon. New development wont fix this problem. Developers rarely pay their way. Just look at whats happening in south east Queensland.
Frank cant demonstrate his strategy obeys the principles of ecological sustainability, a policy the NSW Government endorsed many years ago. I know, I asked one of his staff. I wonder if Frank even knows what these principles are!
In the meantime be prepared for a lot of stuff our grandchildren are not going to thank us for. Trouble is, he wont be around to be accountable.
Dr Richard Gates
Spreading anti-Jewish sentiment
Nadir Martellos pathetic little tantrum (Echo, November 23) is like the little boy who keeps deliberately riding his pushbike into people, then is upset because his bike is taken away from him.
Mr Martello has long held extremely hostile attitudes towards the Jewish people. His personal website is nothing but a hate-fest against Jews.
Angela and Nadir Martellos Apostles for Life group and website, while masquerading under the umbrella of the Catholic church until Father Carroll obviously stepped in, also contains virulently anti-Jewish content.
An article on this website accuses Jews of plotting to control the world and of committing genocide against Christians. It refers to Jews as beasts and rabid, wild pit bulls who had been rightfully kept leashed and muzzled in ghettoes. It accuses the Jews of neutralising the Catholic church, of controlling the media, and seducing Christians to fight Muslims.
Any rational person can see that such sentiment is clearly and highly hostile to the Jewish people, promotes hatred of Jews, and is full of blatant and outright lies.
It appears the Martellos have only themselves to blame for their little group being castigated and officially removed from any connection with the Catholic church.
Father Dennis Carroll has rightly acted against this Martello group which seeks to dehumanise and vilify a section of humanity.
What will it take to slow down?
Do our roads have to be completely dotted with memorials to people killed by speeding drivers before the message that speed kills get through? When will drivers racing through our residential areas wake up to themselves and realise that pedestrians and cyclists have equal rights to use the roads without risking life and limb? How full do our hospitals have to become before some action is taken to properly enforce the speeding law?
Have you ever wondered what happens to your precious motor cars when you have them serviced? Well just come down to Keen Street, south of Ballina Road, and you will see some of these mechanics thrashing the guts out of them. Watch, as they race past the school and the sporting field. Watch, as they run over plover chicks and other wildlife trying to cross the road. Complaints about their behaviour to companies they work for, the council and the police have failed to dampen their enthusiasm to speed in your car in the name of road testing. Residents, over a long period of time, have been forced to endure the noise of thrashed engines and transmissions, as they push the pedal along this stretch of road. And this is a 50km/h zone.
Things must change, but dont hold your breath. In the mean time build your memorials to your lost loved ones and place flowers at these sites on their birthdays and at Christmas, and ask yourself, what could I possibly have done to avoid this awful tragedy.
Australia left behind on same-sex equality
On November 14 South Africa became the worlds fifth country to legalise same-sex marriage.
Thats no surprise; its where people of different races were once jailed if they married. It has a far stronger sense of the value of human love and commitment than this poor fella my country that we call Australia.
Their new law allows the voluntary union of two persons, which is solemnised and registered by either a marriage or civil union. Same-sex couples in South Africa already have adoption rights and full domestic partner benefits.
South African churches can refuse to perform same-sex marriages. Thats a private matter for them. What churches like or dont like cannot dictate public policy in a secular democracy. Our constitution, too, requires separation of religion and state.
As with climate change, so with human equality. Australia under this blindfolded, medieval-minded government continues to slip further and further behind the rest of the world. Every day sees another step towards neo-fascism. Human rights get regularly traded off for economic gain (or the holy cow of security).
The best thing in sight for relationships justice will be early next year. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission will report on the reform of all federal legislation discriminating against same-sex couples.
What this government decides to do with it will be another matter. Well respond to that come next Octobers federal election, when Howard gets dumped on the scrap heap beside Bush and Blair.
Candidates challenge on gay youth issues
In last weeks Echo (November 23) I informed the readership of my personal story about schooling and growing up as a gay youth in Lismore. This week I have decided to ask our local federal and state candidates for their views and policies on: How to tackle the eight times more likely to commit suicide rate? How to tackle homophobia and heterosexual supremism in schools? How to make the Northern Rivers safe for the lesbian, gay, sisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) youth? And how to help bring LGBTI youth out and together?
I ask that each candidate please submit their views and policies in regards to LGBTI youth and the questions that have been put forward. I ask that each candidate keep in mind that 1) We have a significant LGBTI community in Lismore. 2) All children and adolescents safety is highly important regardless of sexual orientation, gender status, race, religion etc. 3) That each policy submitted must end in a positive outcome for Northern Rivers LGBTI youth.
I also ask each candidate to read my letter titled Mixed messages in last weeks Echo to get an idea of what its like.
If there are any LGBTI youth who are reading this letter and are wanting to meet other LGBTI youth or just need assistance in finding gay friendly support then please dont hesitate to drop into ACON, a gay and lesbian health promotion organisation, located at 27 Uralba Street, Lismore, near the hospital and the Shopping Square. LGBTI youth can ring ACON on 6622 1555.
Children need us to lead by example
I recently attended, with my son, a rugby league training day at Lake Ainsworth Sport and Recreation Centre. At the end of the training session I overheard a comment by another (male) parent made to a group of under 13 players that I found totally disgusting and degrading. The boys had been given the option to have a swim and were obviously discussing the girls who were already using the pool. One of them made a comment that they were all fat chicks. This was bad enough, it being a disrespectful and derogatory way to describe anyone. What made it worse was this parent who was standing near them, who said in quite a loud voice, You wait mate, they all become fat chicks after you marry them.
What is the mentality of a parent who makes that kind of comment to impressionable 12 and 13-year-old boys? That kind of comment is the sort of thing that teaches boys that it is okay to disrespect women and that looks are the only thing that is important in choosing a partner, and that someone who is overweight is stupid or ugly. Domestic violence is on the increase and parents think its okay to have those attitudes themselves and pass them on to their (and other peoples) sons. Young boys and youth involved in sport need positive role models who will set a good example of how to behave and treat other people. Boys will model their behaviour on adults they like and admire so it is imperative that those adults own behaviour is above reproach. Within the sport of rugby league there already exists a culture of drunken and violent behaviour, disrespect and arrogance amongst top level players. No wonder, when this sort of thing is going on so early in the sport.
All I can say in finishing is, firstly to that parent who made the comment, wake up to yourself and think before you speak. Changing your attitude wouldnt be bad either. To other parents and coaches, dont tolerate this sort of attitude and comment. We need our young boys to grow up as whole and well-adjusted human beings who have a respect for others and are polite and well mannered, and for the great game of rugby league to have a good name.
Name and address supplied
Get serious about sustainable power
The two outstanding stories on European news recently about Australia have been the failure of Howard and cronies to sign up to climate change protocols and the riots during a protest against globalisation where I saw a police officer thrust his truncheon into the abdomen of a protester standing idle, committing no offence against anyone except using their right to protest against the satanic behemoth of global capital.
Interesting to see the legacy that Bob Carr has left the people of NSW while he swans around making oodles of cash from the consultancy he has at Macquarie Bank. Definitely a true blue Labor man that one! Then I read in your latest letters pages the load of baloney from Country Labor candidate for Lismore Peter Wotshisname, who seems to have woken from a deep sleep, about the Labor Governments subsidy for those wishing to set up solar power in their homes, businesses and schools in NSW. What Mr Wotshisname fails to say is the prohibitive amount a person or organisation has to spend upfront before any subsidy is offered. Last time I looked it was about $15,000 and then the government rebated some paltry fraction of that amount. If Labor is serious about climate change and changing over NSW from fossil fuels to sustainable power sources why are they commissioning so many new coal-fired power stations in NSW and elsewhere they govern? Why have they not instituted a scheme of pure grants with no strings so that solar power can be set up by everyone in sunny Australia? Until Labor puts our money where its rhetorical mouth is no-one with the environment at heart will take them seriously. The Greens appear as an increasingly wonderful alternative to the singular philosophy of the two party system in Australia. If Mr Wotshisname from Country Labor wants to oust the other nondescript lackey to the coal industry-unions coalition of troglodytes he should get serious and propose a Bill to make his colleagues in Sydney take the concerns of the citizens of NSW seriously and act accordingly. Otherwise, letters such as that in The Echo are simply politically motivated rhetorical hot air adding more to the corporate flatulence of mega business.
Tabulam, via Germany
Dont be conned on health products!
I filled in a health survey form which came in the mail. Last week I was asked to allow a demonstration in my home of a health product.
The product was interesting and very expensive, probably best described as a massage unit. A pad to place on a chair and another gadget for feet and hands. Two very pleasant, high pressure salesman did the demo. They were aware of my health problem and assured me they had many years of experience and advised me to use this gadget and I would not need any medication. They proceeded to give me a rundown on what dreadful things my medication was doing to my body.
I was reminded numerous times that my health was the prime importance. In a very charming way they pressured me into buying the goods. I insisted numerous times that I would not dream of buying such an expensive item without sleeping on my decision overnight. I think their sales pitch was hypnotic. I imagined no longer needing to take medication and all the pain gone. I wrote a cheque. Against all my principles I actually paid up front without the overnight sleep on it. Next morning I was horrified at what I had done.
I impulsively spent a large sum and I am not even pleased with the purchase regardless of the money.
If I was told these salesman were hypnotists, I would believe it. I certainly was in a muddled state of mind to do such a foolish thing. I have learned an expensive lesson. Part of the deal was follow up and I was to have a phone call three days later. Five days later no phone call.
My reason for sending this letter is to warn anyone considering a similar purchase. At least do not make a decision without at least an overnight time out and even better, time to discuss with a friend or family member. I do wonder is it ethical for salesmen, regardless of their training, to advise anyone to use this product rather than prescribed medication? If this letter stops one person in this area being conned it will be worth printing this warning.
Name & address supplied
A change of image
In addition to comments about the Australian Standard could this be added to highlight a commonly visible standard and could it be noted there is no wish or desire to damage, debase or defame any church of Christ?
Amongst many things the cross of Christ represents a full-stop to physical existence and the beginning of the spiritual. The emphasis on the nailing details can be seen to help drive home the message that nothing about that individual would go any further. As a symbol or device like the horizontal fore-arm across the other vertical or a planners mark it means time-out, the end of the run or, this is a dead end right now.
This image that is all around us also represents our more base nature and our guilt and perhaps has had its day lest we start repeating old mistakes. Think instead of the image of the cruciform Christ and in that image allow the hands of the Christ figure to come free from their fixed points to come together, palms touching, above the head. Think of a ballet dancer performing a pirouette, think of the sacred Ankh and the DNA coil.
There is an ancient device that captures the spirit of the dancer, looks like the DNA coil and is wholly dualistic, and that is the Caduceus. Already used by our healers, the Medical Association, would this be a good standard to live and worship with and a more positive image for the church of today to practice under?
Richard Brough De Appleby Moore
Help ARRG help animals
This letter is simply urging anyone who reads it to please support the fantastic selfless work done by the Animal Rights and Rescue Group. AARG is a voluntary organisation which rescues and re-homes abandoned and unwanted companion animals. They are a no-kill group founded in 1995 and advocates of low-cost desexing programs as the only real solution to the tragic plight of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens that will never find loving permanent homes.
AARG has no shelter and no means to secure one financially as all money raised by donations and fundraising efforts just enables them to pay for food and vet bills for the thousands of animals they rescue annually. They also lobby government to address the unwanted animal problems.
Hundreds of thousands of animals are destroyed each year around Australia as a result of unwanted litters and abandonment. AARG disagree with killing as a solution. The shelter they envisage would be one of the first no-kill shelters in Australia and would implement educational programs in addition. At present the rescued animals live with voluntary carers throughout the region, who have over one hundred animals in care constantly.
Time is of absolute essence in this appeal please act now and help to save, strengthen and realise these wonderful, dedicated peoples vision for our dear companion animals future.
At this fast approaching time of giving, when so much is not needed, please give generously to those who really are in need. All donations over $2 are tax deductible. Send them to ARRG, PO Box 16, Wollongbar, NSW, 2477.