Sarah an inspiration

Sarah an inspiration

I am very impressed by the correspondence received from Sarah Hort in Lismore which has inspired me to respond with regard to her desire to interact with elderly people. First, let me say that Sarahs extraordinary energy is quite intoxicating to read about, as she connects with groups by volunteering in the community. Second, her powerful vision as a young woman who appears to value the aged is quite commendable.

The service that visits aged people in nursing homes and hostels in Lismore, Casino and Suffolk Park the Community Visitor Scheme is another volunteer organisation that would benefit profoundly from Sarah and her peers. I encourage all 17-year-olds with compassion and kindness in their hearts to contact me for details. Sarah, I hope that you are in that age group, your attitude is like a magnet and I trust that you will always attract good people to you.

Nora Vidler-Blanksby

Coordinator, Community Visitor Scheme, Lismore

On the ball

In reference to Sarah Horts letter (Echo, March 2). Go Girl! Sarah, what a great response to M. Wawns criticism of your efforts to make the world a better place. Unlike some individuals who feel the need to write ad nauseam about religion and sexual orientation (whose business is another persons sexuality anyway?) you discuss meaningful topics, which hopefully may start people questioning the status quo.

Your letters attempt to get others to examine closely, and hopefully change for the better, their own behaviours and attitudes and this has a flow-on effect. Surely this can only lead to a more tolerant and peaceful world? Unlike many hypocrites, you sound like you walk the talk. Keep writing and being an advocate for those who are disadvantaged and marginalised in our society I look forward to your next letter.

T. Rowney

Alstonville

Is boredom behind anti-social behaviour?

I read recently of anti-social behaviour in all of the Northern Rivers. Is it because of the number of unemployment or the claims of youth of today who say there is nothing to do? (Oh yeah, football clubs, cricket, swimming, PCYC, beaches) or is it too much TV or Playstation games, I wonder?

From my observations there appears to be a lot of youths wandering around. What about a job, I ask? But I guess to walk to town, grab a carton of grog and go home, thats the day gone. And go out on the town, wreck property, trespass, smash windows, steal and dump cars etc, the list goes on.

Even when caught, they go before a panel, say sorry and off they go again only to come back again later. What is the answer? Dare one mention vigilante groups, God no. One cannot protect ones own property any more - if you hurt them, you can be charged, what a joke. It cannot and must not go on in todays society.

Allan ONeill

Ballina

Rental and other crises

Youths going violent, rampant vandalism, welfare crisis, housing crises, epidemic drug and alcohol abuse is there any connection?

Since WWII Australia and the western world have moved away from a great degree of social cohesion, where everybody was pulling on the same string, towards a more and more divided society of Haves and Have Nots. Never has the divide between rich and poor been greater. Never before have we seen individual wealth of such extreme proportions and such absolute misery on the other end of the scale.

As I write this, some 1,000 families and individuals just in Lismore are in desperate need of a roof over their head. Even working couples or families find it more and more difficult to afford the elementary need for shelter.

At the same time, thousands of kids grow up in families where they have never seen a parent working, with the result that their parents often retreat to anger, domestic violence, substance abuse and a general dont care attitude.

Hundreds of kids are born every year because single mums and dads find it increasingly hard to live on the dole once their youngest child has turned 16, while the government in their infinite wisdom has decided to subsidise each and every birth with $4,000. How handy, if the car or the washing machine breaks down! Will these kids ever be loved?

Dozens of support agencies do a great job of holding their hands for a while, but they cannot change the underlying picture of desperation and no hope. Police can only curb the wildest excesses. Can we blame these kids for turning aggressive and anti-social? To run amok and hit back at society in the only way theyve ever learned?

Gordon Brown, the opposition leader in the UK, talks rightly of a contract between the state and its citizens, with both having equal rights and responsibilities. Every citizen and resident of Australia has the right to have his or her fundamentalneeds such as clean air, food, water, shelter and education met by the government. In turn they have the responsibility to obey laws, pay taxes and defend Australia in war times.

Tens of thousands of Australians are homeless, many more are living in unsustainable conditions with relatives or friends, hundreds of thousands are under employed and struggle to make ends meet while the big end of town is reporting two-digit increases in profits every year. In a civil court, every judge would clearly find for a breach of contract.

If a contract is continually breached, shouldnt we be prepared for a new age of violence, aggression, anger and antisocial behaviour as a result?

As a nation, Australia has never been wealthier. Its the unfair distribution of this wealth that creates misery where there should be none, and obscene riches on the other hand. Weve moved from a form of government moderated and controlled capitalism to its brutal, unchecked brother. Unless Australia can provide a roof over the head for all of its residents, jobs for everyone who wants to work, a fair pay that allows them to meet basic family needs and adequate income support for those in dire straits through no fault of their own, we will see more and more Australians making life hell for those around them. And, frankly, I find it hard to blame them!

Michael Qualmann

ModanvilleEdited for length

Donations a corrupting influence

The Greens in NSW have taken a strong stand against corporate donations. We feel that corporations already have too much influence in the political process influence which has manifested in spectacular wastes of public money and the restriction of rights and services for the people of NSW.

The Greens have decided not to accept donations from corporations and other large organisations. As a grassroots party, our donations come from real people, from party members and people who support our campaigns and initiatives, not from large corporations.

Westrongly believe government policies, election outcomes and political decisions must be independent of donations from the private and non-government sectors in Australia. For this reason we have never accepted donations from property developers, gaming interests, hotels, tobacco and large corporations.

The Greens are pursuing our campaign to tighten donation disclosure laws. We believe that voters have a right to see who is funding parties and candidates before they vote on election day. So we are publishing our donations as we receive them on our website at www.nsw.greens.org.au.

Every party is required to report any donations received over $1500 and every election candidate is required to report any donations over $200 to the Election Funding Authority after the election is finished. These donations are not made public until months after the election.

Were calling for the major parties to disclose their donations immediately so that we dont have to wait for over a year to find out who the big donors are. Rapid disclosure would start to restore the balance in the publics favour by revealing how and when these cash inducements are being used to distort our democracy.

Find out more about political donations atwww.democracy4sale.org.

Andy Gough

Greens candidate for Lismore

Missing the point on health care

Both major parties are missing the point on health care.

Bricks and mortar, while necessary and welcome, do not provide health care. People provide health care. Both parties are spruiking that they will provide extra nurses for NSW. Big deal. How many are coming to the Clarence and Richmond Valleys, and what about doctors? The problem of not being able to entice doctors and nurses to rural areas is just an excuse.

The scholarship scheme I have publicised will provide local students with the opportunity to study for free and also solve the problem of rural doctors and nurses. It is a self-refilling scheme and will provide a constant stream of doctors and nurses to staffthe refurbished hospitals. All for the tiny cost of around $1.3 million per year. The fireworks display on new years eve that our tax dollar helped fund for Sydney could finance this scheme for nearly four years.

Another seriously neglectedhealth care issue is that of mental health. This area of health care is badly lacking inprofessionally trained staff. The people with mental health problems are being left tofend for themselves for 12 out of 24 hours without carers. This is dangerous both for themselves and the community.These are the lucky ones. Ifa person has a mental health problem, say schizophrenia, caused by drug use, they are excluded frommental healthfunding as they supposedly have a drug and alcohol problem and therefore are not eligible.

There are numerous suicides each year in our electorate of people left without help in this situation. It is about time both major parties faced up to the reality that ignoring these people will not fix the problem.Adequate funding is required now for both thesufferers and the communitys safety.

Craig Howe

Independent Candidate for Clarence

No backroom deals

At the opening of his election campaign office, Thomas George said, in relation to the Nationals intention to axe 20,000 state public service jobs, they wont affect country areas but (only) the backrooms of Sydney.

His comments are appalling. Its an insult to all of us on the Northern Rivers. Does he know nothing of the solidarity between all Australian working families, regardless of where they live. What kind of people does he think we are?

Does he actually believe that we think its acceptable to axe jobs just because theyre not in Lismore? How can he know so little about the values of working people.

And what are these backroom jobs anyway? Are they merely clerical assistants at primary schools? Are they only clerks at police stations? Are they simply workers who prepare meals at your hospital?

I and my Country Labor colleagues are fighting to protect all jobs on the Northern Rivers.

And on top of it all, The National Party has agreed to hand over the one million workers still protected by the NSW Industrial Relations system to John Howards extreme Work Choices regime.

Peter Lanyon

Country Labor candidate for Lismore


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