Selfless service

Selfless service

US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld told American servicemen stationed in Iraq, in his Christmas message to them, that they should be proud of themselves for what they have so selflessly given to 25 million Iraqis.

Rumsfeld didnt specify, but naturally, 25 million Iraqis must include those 30 thousand innocent civilians who have so selflessly been killed during the invasion and occupation.

It must also include the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis who have been injured and maimed; and the millions of innocent Iraqis who have lost loved ones and who have lost all their lives work in an instant, as a result of the American led war; a gross act of international state-terrorism.

A kind of terrorism that has already produced far more innocent victims than even Bin Laden could conjure up in his wildest dreams.

And we must not forget that it was and still is, an act of state-terrorism, within which John Howard and many of his colleagues participated so eagerly.

There is nothing new, of course, about the shameless impudence of Rumsfeld and his fellow neo-conservatives. Once Heinrich Himmler the leader of the Nazi SS, congratulated and thanked the men of his death squads for their selfless service to humanity.

Tom Koo


Lake Ainsworth master plan

Now is the time for all those who care about Lake Ainsworth to give their opinion on the Lake Ainsworth Crown Reserve (Draft) Master Plan.

Our organisation supports some of the draft plan ideas, for example:

No parking or traffic near the lake edges.

Road Option 3, which would mean a part of the south road remains. We suggest modifying this option so that the south road is at least 20m away from the lake banks.

More space for the public. However, we think there is still not enough to allow for parking and to spread out usage to avoid erosion and pollution.

Best urban water sensitive design to clean up stormwater and runoff before it goes into the lake.

Replanting reeds and other appropriate vegetation in and around the edges of the lake.

Educational information about how each person can help protect the reserve.

We believe the draft master plan leaves out some very important issues. It needs to address:

A sustainability assessment for the whole of the lake and catchments.

An integrated management committee of all stakeholders.

A clearly stated, integrated and detailed draft plan based on the sustainability assessment to go on public exhibition. It should include timelines, budgets and a village road network that works for residents. This present draft plan is only about concepts for a plan.

Public parking places and public space are grossly underestimated for our ever-expanding population and visitor numbers.

We urge you strongly to write to Ballina Council on this important matter. The closing date to put your submission in to Ballina Council is January 13, 2006.

Lyn Walker

Lake Ainsworth Community Access Group

Lennox Head

Seize the day

Dear Prime Minister,

Despite political differences we may have, I share one central commitment with your Government, one which I believe all good Liberals from RG Menzies to the present day would also espouse.

The Union Jack adorns our national flag, we proudly speak English as our mother tongue, we respect and obey a Common Law passed down from Anglo-Saxon times. We share with the people of the UK and the Commonwealth the bounty of a thousand years of British history, with its core values of tolerance and respect for law, decency and human dignity.

I accordingly appeal, on the impregnable strength of this common base rooted in history, tradition, law and custom, that you will now respect what your British colleagues have done in legalising the unions of same-sex couples. Call it any name you may wish, but make it legal.

Either you accept that what the Mother of all Parliaments has now done is wise and consistent with that great British legal and moral tradition, or you reject it and turn your back on a proud legacy of progress in the growth of equality and the evolution of compassionate and humane laws.

I look forward, during the next session of Federal Parliament, to the introduction of a Same-Sex Unions Bill that will bring this country into line with the values now espoused by those across the sea who guard the unique cultural ancestry we in this country have inherited. Carpe diem, John.

Lee W Andresen

East Ballina

Work it out

John Howard has finally got his way and is nailing the worker to the floor. Leading to this point he told electors to be:

Relaxed and comfortable.

Trust me.

Never ever (no GST).

I believe in a fair go for everybody.

Defined a job as at least one hours work per week.

Do we need to list more horrors to realise what a con job has been perpetrated on the electors by the Coalition?

John Howard claims greater productivity under the latest legislation and more people in the workforce. How? By having the same small bucket of money shared by more workers, thus reducing an individuals rate of pay but increasing productivity for the wealthy?

When full-time workers are forced to trade off, for example, overtime, penalty rates, annual leave etc. and are reduced to a flat rate and rostered to work any hours in a seven day working week suffering a loss of family life, leisure time and a fair go, and are virtually put into a cycle akin to casualisation remember it was the Howard Federal Coalition Government which put you there.

Remember it is the Howard Federal Coalition Government that has enabled casualisation of the workforce to the detriment of full-time positions.

Correct this gross destruction of Australias society by putting the Coalition out of power at the next federal election in 2007.

Don Hains

East Ballina

Wasted laws

Happy New Year. Im not in jail. Yet! The gram grew to 700 when the flotilla of detectives, the day before my birthday, came with a warrant through the door. It could have been worse. There was no punch, just the pinch. I would even go as far as saying the police were respectful.

So Im making my point clear: I believe the cannabis laws to be a frivolous waste of societys time and resources. As a pot smoking parent in a free democracy, I find it abhorrent that our police spend more time controlling my behaviour than protecting children from paedophiles. If only the blind could see.

The fact is cannabis decriminalisation is one of the best PR moves available to authority if they want to effectively fight this war to make us scared.

The truth is the hundreds and thousands of otherwise good people in this country arent very good at remembering important information that may prevent a terrorist attack when all they can think is, go away police.

All because of a bong and a trivial amount of alcohol substitute.

The truth is that five years ago I moved back to Lismore to become an anti-globalisation protester.

Ironically, somewhere along the path I was democratically elected by my peers to become their cannabis supplier. Now that time is done. Cannabis is truly the last bastion of free trade in this country.

With 5000 primary producers between Grafton and Tweed there are no monopolies.

Ive learnt much in the past five years, about ethics, about character, about community and about myself.

So I dont deny having sold cannabis.

I do however feel ethically bound to the community as a political activist to show strength of character and stand up to defend myself. So with the game now snooker, me being snookered. Honesty will be the only policy.

I did it. I in no way feel guilty and believe my actions to be guided by jurisprudence.

Let the trial begin. PS: political activist for hire.

Marcus Davis

North Lismore

Wholl take up the watch

West Ballina Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) is the last active group in Ballina. The other two groups are Alstonville and Evans Head in our Richmond region.

West Ballina group is faithfully supported by the loyalty of a small band of residents. Our group is assisted by 11 local businesses who assist with the costs and production of our modest six newsletters per year.

Alstonville has a much stronger following and their well-presented newsletter is a credit to their area coordinator. A police station/residence caters for two police.

Evans Head has a small but equally loyal and elderly group. When the police station is not manned, any problems can be investigated by nearby stations.

Everyone is aware of the saying age shall not weary them but to NHW members this is reality speaking. Groups are not attracting members. Take the instance of the effort to reactivate Ballina Island and East Ballina a total of two people turned up.

Is membership declining due to the pressures of modern everyday living? Too many others calls on parents time? Perhaps those elderly residents of the area who may have been encouraged to attend and help at meetings have exhausted their get up and go? Is it apathy? Could be let someone else do it. As a community, what do we do now?

Laurie Mountford

Richmond Region Committee of NHW coordinator and coordinator West Ballina NHW

Pet dumping disgrace

Again for the second time in a month some cowardly person has dumped their unwanted pet/s at my home. The first lot was a motherless litter of five kittens. This time I have no idea because no-one was home at the time. We presume it was another litter or adult cat; all we came home to was a empty card board box that something had escaped from. Let me also add it was on one of the hottest days that this pet was taped inside this box so if it hadnt escaped it certainly wouldnt of survived. Oh yes, the kindly coward did leave a tin of food in the box. So to the person who did this just know whatever you dumped got away and it is now out there somewhere hungry and not knowing why this has happened.

I am so fed up with these cruel people who think dumping animals is a solution. It may be to them but the animal, if it survives, is in for the worst possible life you could give them.

Why is it so difficult for common sense to kick in and for these people to just desex their pets and stop all of the unwanted litters being born?

I am sick of hearing:

1. We couldnt afford it. The sensible thing would be dont get one and if your financial circumstances change when you have got one ask for help. There are two local groups that advertise regularly their subsided desexing programs.

2. We want out child to see the miracle of birth. Yep, I cant tell you how many times Ive heard this one. The answer is to show them a video or have another one yourself because animal carers are so tied of seeing the horror of death.

3. We didnt know she could get pregnant so young. Answer: educate yourself so you know more than your pet food and water needs.

4. We heard it was best for her to have a litter. Answer: an old wives tale, and any vet will tell you this.

So please wake up people. Too many companion animals are being euthanased every day because of irresponsible ownership. Desex your pet, give them basic training to make both your lives easier, love and care for them and then sit back and enjoy the love that a pet has to give you.

To people that find themselves in need of financial help to desex their pet before an unwanted litter is born phone 6681 1860 for assistance.

Robyn Mostyn

Northern Rivers Animal Services

Fluoride facts

Heather McIntosh (Echo, Nov 3) thinks my views on fluoride are racist, bigoted and offensive. On the contrary, I was trying to point out that both sides of the fluoride argument appear to be armed with totally contradictory facts, and that in a sane society, there should be some attempt by the authorities to provide a forum to discover the truth, instead of this a priori propagandist approach , before they go breaking the law and poisoning us all. McIntosh asks what are my scientific, university and dental qualification. My information was from a senior member of SWAB (Safe Water Action Network), Lismore health professional Dr Colin Locke. I invite Ms McIntosh to take up her bad science issues with him hopefully less hysterically. I dont need a university degree to use the internet, or to be aware of my rights under the Australian Constitution. Regardless of opinions, the crucial point is that mass medication is illegal. (Perhaps someone could remind Tony Abbott of that too.)

The consultation process with the community (carefully costed by John Irving and co) appears to be a random survey of 500 people being asked loaded questions on the telephone! More lip service! This is outrageous when, I repeat, 98 per cent of Europe is non fluoridated, you would think they must have reasons? If fluoride is so great, why is there an issue at all? Now above the article Water fluoridation survey begins (Echo, Nov 24) is the heading Exercising free speech. This was about the 100 protestors who turned up to see Phillip Ruddock in Lismore, with his eight security officers armed with machine guns, and were told they must say nothing. The misleading use of language may fool some people, but the rest of us still have brains.

Officially we still have a democracy. Guard your rights! (Before the next referendum which will be designed to take them away). The authorities are not going to do it for you.

Jane Jennings

South Lismore

Jazz thanks

As vice-president of Lismore Jazz Club Id like to take this opportunity of thanking everybody who has helped to make the recent 60th Australian Jazz Convention such a success. It would not have succeeded without your help and encouragement. Special thanks to John Bancroft and his coleagues, to our coordinators Lisa Audus and Matt Dobson, to our Army of Volunteers who worked tirelessly, often in steamy un-airconditioned venues, our valued sponsors, to Lismore City Council for their generous support and The Northern Rivers Echo who gave us much free publicity. We thank you all, sincerely, from the bottom of our hearts.

Many hundreds of musicians and delegates came to Lismore from all over Australia and overseas. Many visited our city for the first time and braved a week of hot, sweltering conditions to play for us. These diehards get together at this time every year. Some have done so for the complete 60 years and are already looking forward to doing it all again next December in Adelaide. Judging by their favourable comments it seems that everybody enjoyed themselves and some even expressed a desire to come back and repeat things once more.

In conclusion may I thank those of you who bought tickets to the various venues across town. Im sure you all enjoyed yourselves, as we did. The Lismore Jazz Club meets at the Lismore City Bowling Club in Molesworth Street once a month. Our new season kicks off in February with the ever popular Unity Jazz Band. New members are always welcome so come along for a Sunday afternoon session. You can reach us at PO Box 922, Lismore, 2480, or on the web at or by simply phoning our hard working treasurer, Sue Brennan, on 6687 4997.

Syd Syeamore

McLeans Ridges

New Year praise

Congratulations to the organisers, Apex of Alstonville, and the many sponsors of the Alstonville Family New Years Eve Festival for a safe, friendly, alcohol-free and fun filled evening.

This event attracted families with babes in arms, young children, teenagers, adults and grandparents. From the warm friendly welcome at the entrance gates through to the fireworks it was obvious that all were enjoying themselves at the Alstonville Agriculture Showground on the typical balmy summers evening we experience in this area.

Food stalls, rides and entertainment catered for all who attended. The Stingrays band were a hit, not only for those children dancing on the portable stage, but throughout the crowd. The not so young were handclapping and foot tapping to the familiar rock and roll tunes of the past.

It was a pleasure to see so many people supporting the festival and once again I would like to congratulate those responsible for its success.

Barbara Worthington


Mob's got ScoMo all worked out

Mob's got ScoMo all worked out

Have ScoMo's scare tactics gone to far?

Strength in diversity

Strength in diversity

Multicultural women's group offers support to newcomers to region

'Together we have achieved a lot'

'Together we have achieved a lot'

Thank you to everyone