A short reminder

A short reminder

Please remember this. After the next election and those to follow, another word for budget blowout is mismanagement!

Michael Wright

Mt Nardi

What a relief

I can hear Australias sigh of relief the federal government has changed.

The Coalition is imploding having hidden under a thin, crust-like veneer for eleven and a half years, and as for the truth in their policy, i.e. WorkChoices, said to be the greatest benefit to Australias workers, the remainder of their parties are prepared to support Labor to throw it out. Need I say more than thank you Australia.

Don Hains

East Ballina

Alternative birthing options

I congratulate Tamlin Mackenzie on her letter (Echo, November 8) on her water birthing experience asking why it is not an option at Lismore Base Hospital. In the meantime, Lismore has an alternative option. The Natural Birth Education & Research Centre, in collaboration with the hospital, has been satisfying the growing demand for water births for some years now. They offer best practice with two midwives in attendance (including childbirth classes and water births) plus one week supported accommodation for considerably less than the $4000 Tamlin quoted.

Stuart Gibbons


Congrats and thanks on election win

On behalf of Maclean Branch of the ALP and NRUN Grafton I would like to thank all the booth workers who worked in the Grafton and Lower Clarence regions for their outstanding efforts on election day in the seats of Cowper and Page. Many of you handed out how-to-votes for the first time and you all played an important role in securing Kevin Rudds well-deserved victory. I look forward to working with you all in future campaigns.

Congratulations also to Janelle Saffin for an excellent campaign and a magnificent victory in Page.

Finally a word of warning to Luke Hartsuyker. If you continue to neglect workers and the disadvantaged in our community you will do so at your own electoral peril.

Mark Kingsley


Birthday thanks to a great business

Congratulations George Gooley on 50 years successful trading.

You have shown that by giving personal service, honesty to customers, and value for money you can compete with the multinationals.

The company policy has always been look after the customer and the customer will look after you.

I worked for the company for 32 years, along with many other staff who have been with the company for 15 years or more.

I think this proves that the company is doing something right. Congratulations George Gooley on 50 years successful trading and look forward to the same service, and value for money, for many more years.

Jack Piper


Make me proud

With Howard and his minions gone, perhaps Rudd and company can give me reason to once again feel proud to be Australian.

A decade of shame at the outgoing governments screwing of the workers, its fomenting of racism and xenophobia, its blatant disregard of the environment, its denial of equal rights for gays, its regression on Indigenous peoples rights, its utterly shameful abuse of refugees, its meanness and divisiveness, its abandonment of publicly funded education for all, its selling off and running down of the nations infrastructure, its sucking up to George Bushs haemorrhoids and the US war of terror... have left me completely ashamed at being an Aussie.

I look forward to rebuilding that pride.

But Kevvie, dear, dont get too carried away with your win I do not believe you and your party are the cats pyjamas. Remember what it was that cost the Howard Government office, and dont make similar mistakes.

It was also good to see the irrelevant Democrats get their just desserts for doing that deal on the GST, and the ratbag godbotherers scoring poorly.

Righto now for a new, justifiably proud Australia! Rah!

Gordon Haynes


The battle of good versus evil

The issue of global warming should have been addressed politically a decade ago. Our acceleration towards a catastrophic global greenhouse is already evident by the melting of polar ice caps leading to sea level rises, the aridity of our river and water systems and an increase in cyclonic andtectonic activity. Consider that one hectare of forest stores 60 tonnes of water. You clear that and you allow for evaporation and a heating of the earths crust. This warms the oceans leading to further evaporation and the release of methane which is a realgreenhouse gas 90 per cent of which resides in the sea. The deforested lands get dry and brittle leading to earthquakes and fires. Add to that excessive development, mining, unsustainable monoculture farming, carbon emissions and the economic plundering of the third world and we are left with a grim picture. We are going to see super cyclones and earthquakes in the near future that will remind us of how very pathetic every political leader has been in the face of what is essentially an issue of commerce over an ethical and human response to unsustainability. This is an issue of good versus evil but the evil guys are so much bigger than the puppets in government.

Geraldine Bigelow

South Lismore

Homing in on bad language

Australias pigeon owners are concerned. It seems they cant get their feathered friends to come home to roost. And its all because the birds are confused.

From time immemorial these birds have known themselves to be homing pigeons; theyve known what it meant to home in on good old Tfol Ruo. (Pigeons have a subtle sense of humour, too.)

But frequently these days they hear on the radio (even the ABC) and read in the press, that people dont home in on their targets anymore; they hone in instead!

One pigeon, a regular at the SCG, recently read in the SMH that the spat came as Muralitharan hones in on Warnes Test wicket-taking record. No wonder the birds are confused. Whats their raison detre now?

If homing pigeons of the world dont unite and home in on the idiot who first wrongly honed in, and do to him what it is that pigeons do best, then they run the risk of being known to future generations as honing pigeons.

The last thing the rest of us need is a sky darkened by flocks of swooping pigeons homing in on innocent folk because we couldnt get the word right.

Barry Walsh


Change becomes possible

More power to the Archbishop of Canterburys condemnation of Bush and cohorts. Australian support of White House policies has been distressing for so long now its hard to recall when the greatest of all me toos began. Lets hope that change now becomes possible; at least to the constant toadying.

Be great if more so-called Christian dissent was heard. The Christian right is a neither said a bumper sticker when Bush first fraudulently achieved office.

The cracks now appearing within the ranks of those who claim to have a mortgage on truth are such relief. It needs to go further.

Here in Australia we can avoid sinking to such mass levels of religious self righteous deception. A new La Haye/Jenkins book, for example, will sell 60 million copies or more in the United States of narcism. Talk about philistine misinterpretation! Brethren, Family First, Hillsong etc. pay attention you lot.

Stuart Wales


PS: I aint no US hating lefty; some of my best friends are American, and even Christian to boot. Imagine that.

Balancing the ledger

To borrow from the editors headline (Lets keep it clean, Echo, November 15), I agree. From the beginning let it be quite clear, I am a member of the Nationals. Like the anonymous writer of the letter titled Vandalism shows true colours, I have had posters of Chris Gulaptis ripped from internal structures, where private property had to be entered to gain access to them, on the same night that Labor posters were erected, in Ballina. Mr Anonymous, and his rottweiler, might like to come down here and guard our posters for us? So its a stupid and non-productive thing to do, but to try to make some point that Labor supporters are angels, pitted against the dark forces? Really!

On the general matter of clean and balanced, I did a count of articles in the general news columns, which mentioned, or were about, political matters or current political issues. There were 11 on my count. I believe I was more than fair in my assessment of their content, looking to see which side they supported. Any doubt in my mind, then I scored them neutral. It went like this: eight neutral, three against the Nationals, zero against Labor. Thats not bad for a newspaper that would never project itself as a right-wing publication.

Letters to the editor. Now this is another matter. Of 14 letters, two were neutral, 10 were against the Nationals, and two were against the Labor party. So, in total, we have 13 letters or articles against the Nationals, and two against the Labor Party. Now, unless that sort of percentage is reflected in the voting on election day, it seems that the editor may well be able to keep the campaign clean, but balanced? I think not.

By the way, that doesnt include Mungo!!

Jim Cross


What is a life worth?

Recently a doctor at St Vincents Hospital Lismore stated that the new angiogram machine installed at the hospital would only be available for private patients as the cost to public patients would be $3,500.

We live close to Lismore and early last year my husband was referred by the cardiac specialist to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane for an urgent angiogram.

Following this he was booked in for open heart triple-bypass surgery.

The hospital doctors told us that they were over stretched with Queensland patients but would not refuse people from NSW, and so passed on the cost of any treatment to theNSW Government department of Medicare.

I am sure the same applies to public patients sent to Sydney; that Medicare pays costs.

As I see it, St Vincents Private Hospital will not allow public patients to have the convenience of the new angiogram machine as possibly the rebate from Medicare would not be sufficient.

I might add that the effort of travel to Brisbane or Sydney plus accommodation also costs, which if you are lucky, the government department of health, Isolated Patients Assistance Program, subsidises!

Once again the money god rules in private hospitals.

What price life?

June Crawford


Drumming ban shows deep prejudice

I am writing to express my deep concern about the fact that the issue of the drumming ban at Mullum market is still unresolved. This is despite the goodwill shown by members of the Drum & Dance Collective and the energy put in by Byron Shire Council, Inspector Jago, Cr Lazarus and others towards a resolution of this issue.

The 1500 support signatures, the well-attended demo, the support from Mullum market stallholders all point towards one fact: the drums need to be back at the markets, and pronto.

By all acounts, Mullum market has lost its heart without the positive vibe created by the drummers and dancers.

I fail to understand Brunswick Valley Historical Societys logic in dragging their feet over this issue.

This is an untenable situation and clearly reflects a miscarriage of justice on the part of BVHS. Justice delayed is justice denied...

The Mullum market is supported by the alternative community of the region. BVHS is happy to live off the proceeds from the market, but is willfully involved in suppressing the popular culture of the region, which gave rise to the markets in the first place!

BVHSs stand smacks of deep prejudice. I am not in Australia at the moment, but if I were, I would be involved in calling for another, even bigger demo to challenge this nonsensical ban.

Harsha Prabhu

Byron Bay

Christianity has no place in state schools

I fully endorse Lee Andresens letter to the editor (Echo, November 15) regarding the sausages, rock and roll and Jesus propaganda.

If such a thing as sin existed then Christian fundamentalism is as sinful as they come. Its an addictive lifestyle that promotes surrender to simplify the complexities of life by letting someone else do your thinking for you. The typical fundamentalist will extol this state of mind as surrender to a God. In other words its simply intellectual laziness.

As societys moral outlook degenerates, the fundamentalist maintains that they have a sure thing in their relationship with Jesus and Christian propaganda. Everything may be out of control in this world, but they speak assuredly of their salvation and their escape from reality because theyve accepted a mythological Jesus as their saviour and are guaranteed eternity with God.

Sadly, youd never know they had found such peace because as a whole they are among the most strident crusaders in judging and condemning other people. (Perfect example here. Echo, November 15, page 32, displaying the advert run by the Christian Democratic Party. Christian love in action?) Their fervor is easily mistaken for anger. Proselytising evangelists work too hard at convincing you that theyre right because theyre really still trying to convince themselves.

Once indoctrinated the fear tactic of everlasting punishment in the eternal fires of the Christian hell are introduced as a method of keeping the converted converted. Even more worrying is the introduction of chaplains into state-run schools as another back door approach to evangelise Christian propaganda on young children in 2008.

Jim Lee


United at the ballot box

Union is not a dirty word! This country has proved it at last. I dont think those battlers were ever Howards, but the voters who flocked back to Labor surely did so to prove my point. Lets hope those same people now flock back to unions. ACTU exit polling showed that when asked whether the Liberals advertising attacking unions made any difference to the way they voted 76 per cent said it made no difference and 20 per cent said it made a difference. Only five per cent of voters said it was more likely to make them vote Liberal, while 12 per cent said it was more likely to make them vote Labor. Your Rights At Work volunteers fought a fair and tough campaign, proving that union membership does not make you evil it shows you care. As ordinary folk, we stood beside our Labor and Greens colleagues with pride. We are a diverse bunch of people who come together for the common good in our workplaces and communities. Without unity, workers would still endure unregulated hours devoid of fair breaks or recompense for their precious time. Older voters showed this recognition as they went to the ballot. Younger voters showed an understanding that they must be ever vigilant against losing their workplace inheritance. At this historical point in time, I invite all union members to re-commit with enthusiasm via their local organiser. I also invite those non-members, who know in their hearts they believe in the cause of collectivism but have been uncertain of its value, to join or re-join your union and experience the strength of people power from the ground up. Big personal thanks for the contribution through the YRAW campaign and to everyone who voted to reject WorkChoices and improve the quality of Australia. Lets build on the momentum and remind people that we are strong. United the people will never be defeated!

Punita Boardman

Union Organiser, campaign volunteer, mother of two and ordinary member of the community

Aunty a much-needed resource

I am writing about the funding crisis facing the Aunty Program, which will mean its closure if more funding cannot be secured. Locally, there are many girls waiting to be given an Aunty, as well as many committed women wanting to train as Aunties. I was fortunate enough to receive the excellent training last year and to be matched with my girl.

This program is about friendship and support. It aims to help young girls develop a strong sense of self-esteem through having a caring woman in their life and through opportunities to participate in activities which will help them develop a range of life-skills. For some girls facing real challenges (especially teenagers), the Aunty provides a much-needed sounding board, and for a few girls (where there is instability and sometimes abuse at home), the Aunty has been almost a life saver.

As a teenager I found a wonderful mentor (in my best friends mother) who helped me through a range of emotional challenges, including my parents divorce and many school difficulties. She also provided a solid, non-judgemental presence at a time of huge emotional turmoil. It was pure luck that I found this relationship and I believe it was this that made the difference between my ending up with a functional adult life, rather than not.

The Aunty Program allows for luck to be taken out of the equation. It is run by dedicated women who offer the Aunties and families excellent support and the benefits of a mentoring program are considerable and measurable. For Aunty to continue, it requires funding of $80,000 per annum for the next three years.

I hope that this letter raises awareness, generates some discussion of the benefits and helps attract the funding the program deserves to continue to train women and match them with girls and thereby provide our community with a much-needed resource.

Lex Hall


Accepting truth heals national conscience

Accepting truth heals national conscience

Prominent commentator comes to Lismore to support exhibition

Stars dance for Cancer

Stars dance for Cancer

Community event beings stars together for great cause

Lantern Parade route available

Lantern Parade route available

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