Good policy, not dogma, the answer

Good policy, not dogma, the answer

I read many letters in the Echo questioning our state and federal governments policies on almost every issue. Our governments always leave some section of our community out when making their policy because they approach everything with blinkers on, the blinkers of their beliefs and preconceived dogma. They dont even want to listen to any ideas or consequences that dont fit with their ideology. Inevitably this exclusion fosters injustice and alienation.

The solution is making policy based on all the evidence available from all the diverse perspectives available. This is how Australian Democrats make their decisions and we are unique in Australia in our approach. We are beholden to no groups and no dogma.

Our methods involve hard work and our Democrat MLC Arthur Chesterfield-Evans has been recognised as the hardest working politician in NSW. Unfortunately, the work that is being done is in inverse proportion to the politicians who get the media attention. Voters owe it to themselves, their community and their future to find out more about our work and our achievements by visiting before voting on March 24.

In the same way that every persons vote makes a difference, the Democrats balance of reason makes a difference in parliament.

Julia Melland

Australian Democrats candidate for Lismore

Use your vote wisely

One quarter of residents in the Lismore electorate are below voting age. Keep them in mind when you vote, because its their future you will be deciding.

It will be four more years before you get another chance to vote. Dont let that be four more years of government inaction on carbon emissions because the corporations that donate to their coffers dictate policy demanding business as usual and dependence on coal.

Voting 1 for the Greens is not a wasted vote if you use your preferences. Voting 2 for the major party of your choice will ensure your vote is not wasted if the Greens are not elected, and will send a clear message to whomever wins government that you want real action on reducing carbon emissions to tackle climate change.

Andy Gough

Greens candidate for Lismore

Fred Nile praised

No-one deserves to be re-elected to the NSW Parliament, as much as the leader of the Christian Democratic Party, Rev Fred Nile. No-one from any party and from either house of parliament, has driven more miles, spoken at more meetings, and come face to face with more electors across the state than Fred.

Not the Premier, not the Leader of the Opposition, not any other politician.

After 25 years in Parliament, Fred is not resting on his laurels as one of the most recognised faces in NSW. Nor is he depending upon the fact that people know well what it is that he stands for. He is treating this election like every other one he has won, and has taken his program to the people face to face for their comments and approval.

Fred is known by all in Parliament as a straight shooter and as one who stands up for Christian values and on those issues he thinks are just and right.

Rev Fred Nile is unique among politicians, and for the sake of all we hold dear, we must re-elect him, and his second on the ticket, retired police inspector Gary Raymond, OAM, APM. Gary will make an excellent addition to the Legislative Council.

With a record number of candidates for the Christian Democratic Party standing in the lower house for 70 of the 90 seats in NSW, this is a wonderful opportunity to make the Christian voice heard.

P. Gosper


Flogging off the railways

Will Treasurer Costa try to flog off Byron railway property to developers? He closed the Murwillumbah line down when he was Transport Minister. To make it viable it does need to be extended to join the Brisbane system, maybe at Robina.

Railways are the most energy efficient means of moving heavy, bulky or dangerous goods or people over long interstate distances, and with the coming carbon taxes we need to retain rail corridors for the future.If the hot rockgeothermal power generation proves as good as expected in South Australia,large carbon-free base-load power stations may be built in SA, NSW and Queensland, which could then be used to power electrified rail right up the east coast from Wollongong to Cairns, without carbon emissions.Most of Queensland is already electrified, but from coal fired generators.

Such a transport system would be a great use of this coming geo power, saving diesel fuel and pollution and highway congestion.

We need to keep our rail corridorsfor the future

Ken Macdonald

Lennox Head

A different shade of green

The letter titled Bite the bullet and vote Green by Greens candidate Andy Gough (Echo, March 8), is a bit over the top. Firstly I am not affiliated withnor a member of any political party. Come nowMr Gough, you are a nobody, how can you say Thomas George has no voice in parliament, he is already there, who are you?

We all know the current governments attitude to the north coast, lost the train, lies on repairs, no bypasses and so on.

Who dredged you up and what are your credentials, how will a vote for the Greens help me and peoplewho have the same interests as me? Surely not the Greens. You stand against everything I legally enjoy doing. Regardless of the permits and licences I have to get, you still want to take my pastimes away from me. Is that a democratic process whereby a few radicals think they have the power to decide the futures and pastimes of the majority?

Greens rhetoric and unfounded statements put much doubt in peoples minds, butI believe the majority of voters have had enough of the boy who cried wolf.

Dont you remember when you hijacked the TV news article on farmers aid for the drought, hinting the drought was caused by the farmers, then you had the hide to have your alternate residence shown on prime time TV as the example on how to live.

We are not all like you and your ilk, there are a lot of us who differ to your radical green views nor do we want to live like you.

Can I kindly have the figures on how much energy it took to make your solar cells, how much it took to make your lead acid batteries, how much earthmoving and mining was involved in sourcing the raw materials for your house and finally, the resultant pollutant levels thatresulted in you being able to live your alternate lifestyle? See, you are not green, just using it as the alternate flavour of the month!

John Elfes


Rail promise a Trojan train

The National/ Liberal Coalition is promising to reinstate train services on the Casino to Murwillumbah line and have enticed Greens voters and courted the Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT) group.

People concerned about rail infrastructure and public transport are to be applauded and supported but they need to be aware of what else comes with the Coalition promise. The Nationals are using the North Coast train issue as a Trojan horse to sneak in policies that are abhorrent to supporters of public transport.

Thomas Georges Trojan train contains a nuclear power scenario for NSW, watered-down native vegetation legislation, ramped up coastal development with less environmental controls, private school funding over public schools and Howards industrial relations laws that erode workers rights.

The Nationals promise to the people of the Northern Rivers, the Greens, and to TOOT is a poisoned chalice, grasp it at your peril.

Eric Kaiser


Nurses and industrial relations

Many years ago I trained as a registered nurse under the old apprenticeship system a wonderful four years of learning and establishing enduring friendships.

It was also four years of no overtime, no penalty rates, split shifts and to ensure we did not have much free time to get into mischief, all lectures were rostered for our days off and between shifts. You were not allowed to get married and had to give up sports in case we injured ourselves and were not available for our next shift.

At the end of this time we were very well trained and pretty poor. Over the years the wages and conditions have gradually improved and always at the instigation of nurses and their professional and industrial body, the NSW Nurses Association, and in the spirit of collective bargaining. At no time did any government give us these conditions without agitating and using our industrial might.

Currently nurses in the public health system are protected under the present state government from the spectre of federal IR laws. They will not have this right if a coalition government wins office. Nurses in private hospitals and the aged sector do not have this protection and some are already very disadvantaged.

I think of our children and grandchildren and also of our ageing families as the pension is indexed to basic wages. No matter what way nurses have voted in the past or may vote in the future, it is very important for the sake of themselves, their families and other essential service providers that they consider very carefully before casting their vote on March 24.

Helen Colbourne

Blue Knob

Issues facing RFS volunteers

Duringa visit to Casino I was speaking to a RFS volunteer. He informed me of two issues facing these volunteers that I was unaware of and which are not acceptable.

The first is that they are not always issued with standard equipment which is necessary for them to do their job effectively and with as little impact on themselves andmembers of the community. The situation the man spoke to me about was quite disturbing and completely avoidable with the provision of standard equipment.

The other issue is the fact that some of these volunteers are forced to use annual leave and sick leave to attend a call out. If they have no leave left they are faced with two choices. Attend the call out and not be paid or not attend the call out, both unacceptable. The employer should be able to recoup the cost of a casual replacement and/or wages paid when an employee is attending a call out.

The employee should never be asked to sacrifice family holidays or sick days when performing a vital, voluntary community service. Neither party has mentioned or addressed this issue. I will ensure this issue is raised and raised again until it is suitably addressed.

Craig Howe

Independent Candidate for Clarence

Fair industrial relations for all

Labor makes much of its opposition to PM Howards Work-choices and seems to be drawing blood. But when it comes to fair industrial relations for all citizens in this state, Labor takes us for a mob of fools.

If a fully qualified homosexual person applies to teach at a private school (often church-run) the school can say get out of our sight, faggot scum or rot in hell, dirty lezzo and the Anti-Discrimination Board is powerless to act.

Private schools are exempted from employment provisions in NSW anti-discrimination law. That is unjust and inhumane, and the Greens have urged government to reform it.

Sydney Star Observer newspaper ran a candidates questionnaire and Labors Education Minister Carmel Tebbut said she and her party will retain this law the way it is. Labor policy denies gays and lesbians the right to work and equal rights at work.

Id like to know before March 24 what Melanie Doriean (Ballina ALP Candidate) has to say. If her resistance toward legalising same-sex unions clearly stated at Ballina Churches Meet the Candidates is any guide, she appears to lack interest in equal rights.

Social justice, the life-blood of any civil society, is a key plank in the Greens platform. Both Labor and the Coalition are still scratching around in the dirt.

Lee Andresen


Bring back peoples radio station

I am writing in strong support for the close-bonded volunteers and families associated and connected with Richmond Valley Radio 88.9 FM Bora Ridge Coraki.

I think this valuable radio service has proven itself past and present by caring and kind worthy deeds such as the great support to save the Coraki Hospitals 24-hour accident and emergency service and the staffs jobs and livelihood, the support for the NSW Police Service Richmond command with serious emergencies as well as terrible car and traffic accidents and especially the support for the volunteers and families who are members of the SES that rescue people trapped in flood waters in the Richmond area and other towns, not to mention the brave acts by our local bushfire brigades displayed battling fires of every type.

Thats why I think the Australian Radio Tribunal should offer and grant 88.9 FM RVR another licence as it is truly a people station.

Tony Paden


Climate change bandwagon

So finally the coalition and the ALP have jumped on the climate change bandwagon.

Of course they dont want to actually do anything that might interfere with the rights of their big business mates to rape and pillage the environment, but they are beginning to pay lip service at least.

It is also good to see that the misnomer Global Warming is being phased out. I can only presume that the Greens arent jumping up and down and shouting I told you so because of the candidates high level of personal integrity, like our own Andy Gough.

The Greens have been trying to bring this issue to the attention of the rest of the public for over 15 years. I pose this question: Who do you trust on climate change?

Gray WilsonLismore

Sorry Day and Thankfest are separate

In reply to comments made by Judith Light (Echo, March 15) in regard to events planned for Sorry Day and the National Day of Thanksgiving in Lismore on May 26.

The National Day of Thanksgiving Committee advise this community that at no time was it ever planned or suggested to have Sorry Day changed to Thanksgiving Day.

National Day of Thanksgiving is a separate event to the planned activities of Lismore People for Reconciliation for Sorry Day.

We can only conclude that any misinformation has come from a letter of invitation from our committee to the committee of Lismore People for Reconciliation, inviting them to nominate young people that they felt were eligible to receive a special award of thanks for their work in the community, along with other nominated youth from the community who will be acknowledged at Thanksfest 2007.

National Day of Thanksgiving will be celebrated in Lismore with a family festival in Magellan Street Mall on May 26 from 10-2pm. Proceeds from this day will be allocated to our nominated charity for 2007 Southern Cross LADS Inc. The objective of Thanksfest 2007 is to provide an opportunity for the expression of thanks throughout our community.

We wish the organisers of the Sorry Day event all the best and want to reiterate that these are two separate opportunities for our community to be involved in, expressing what is relevant to their designated day.

Joy Stiles

National Day of Thanksgiving Commitee


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