Tall stories

Tall stories

John Hannaford (Echo, April 27) has turned his hand to writing Bill and Ben fables to help readers better understand his muddled ideas about same-sex unions. No wonder he finds the idea hard to accept. He makes it all sound so complicated and confusing. Ill try to simplify it a little for him.

Imagine that Bill is straight and he marries Beryl, his childhood sweetheart. The law, on the other hand, wont allow Ben to marry Boyd because theyre both gay. Thats discrimination on the basis of their sexuality. As a result of not being able to marry, Ben and Boyd are denied certain benefits available to heterosexual couples. Again, thats discriminatory. These laws are man-made. Theyre not sacrosanct. And they should be changed.

Same-sex unions/marriages will eventually be legalised in this country. Any adverse reaction by the rest of the community will last as long as a John Howard promise. What I find amusing is that most of us wouldnt recognise a gay person if we saw one. Most of them seem so so well normal. They look pretty much like you and me.

Come to think of it, apart from that hang-up weve got about sex, theyre really just like us. If only we could keep our minds out of their bedrooms, we might realise that.

Barry Walsh

Lismore

No love lost

So many of the arguments advanced by the gay lobby for same-sex marriage sound right but when you examine them they just dont hold up.

Consider Lee Andresens recent tirade (Echo, May 4). If you ignore the numerous red herrings and personal attacks, the heart of his argument is that gays (unlike straights) do not have the right to marry the person they love. The assumption of this argument is that marriage is all about love.

Initially, this seems hard to deny. In our culture, love is often the immediate motivation for marriage. On reflection, though, its clear that love and marriage dont always go together. In fact, they seldom do.

If marriage were about love, then billions of people in the history of the world who thought they were married were not. Most marriages have been arranged. Love may percolate later, but only as a result of marriage, not the reason for it.

Further, if love were the indispensable condition of marriage, no for better or for worse promises would be needed at the altar. Vows arent meant to sustain love; they are meant to sustain the union when love wanes. A pledge keeps a family intact not for love, but for the sake of children.

The state doesnt care if the bride and groom love each other. There are no questions about a couples affections when granting a license. No proof of passion is required. Why? Because marriage isnt about love.

Yes, love may be the reason some people get married, but it isnt the reason for marriage. It may be a prime constituent of a happy marriage and the best environment for children, but it isnt the purpose of marriage. Something else is.

John Hannaford

Ballina

New World Disorder

The Australian Government is escalating its grand assault on ordinary people everywhere. Things we Australians took for granted and worked and paid taxes for, such as affordable preschool care, aged care, non privately-owned schools and hospitals. Privatisation is becoming the norm. Soon, all of our essential services will be privatised.

Some McDonalds employees are getting $6.50 per hour. How are these young people ever going to get out of the poverty trap whilst corporation McDonalds is making millions? Will these young people ever be able to first afford their rents, let alone dream of buying a house or car, educating their kids, paying for private health insurance, paying for the petrol for their car, not to mention what life will throw at them? Is this what the youth of Australia have to look forward to?

Young Australians, and ordinary Australians, no longer have a bright future. We have become, in a lot of industries, the working poor.

The government is eroding workers rights, unions rights, abolishing civil liberties.

We no longer have the certainty that we will be looked after in our old age.

Soon, itll all be user pays.

What is so wrongwith public hospitals and public schools? No huge profit, I guess.

And of course, theres our totally unhealthy support for the US occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Next, another war with Iran. No doubt, theyll find something there to go to war about.

Yet another bloodbath.

And now there are the 110 troops, 80 police officers and the 120 government advisors making up the Australian Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands. The word mission scares me.

And then the government will, of course, refuse to give safe haven to the refugees of these wars.

And if thats not enough, the world governments will continue to wage wars, cause death and mutilations and despair worldwide whilst the rich get filthier richer and gloat in their ivory towers and the poor get poorer, more maligned, more used, more abused.

It actually makes me feel ashamed to be part of this culture, this human race.

Alas, all inevitable under our New World Order, of globalised, Americanised free-market capitalism.

Barbara Elliott

Collins Creek

via Kyogle

Ferry fantasy

Cr Howes has never been one to allow the facts to get in the way of an outrageous beat up. Her opinion (Echo, May 4) concerning the South Ballina ferry is no exception. Bursting with indignation she sets out the proposition that we will be without a ferry because of some unspecified thing I have done. Then she waxes lyrical about things I did not say or do.

Firstly, there is no plan or proposal to cease ferry operations. Staff were asked to evaluate all options concerning the ferry as a way of ensuring all the relevant facts were obtained and tabled. The resulting staff report makes it clear that continued operation of the ferry is not an issue.

Thus Cr Howes lyrical fantasy about ambulances, fire brigade, police and repair crews access by ferry has no basis.

The issue is ferry charges. What the staff report shows is that the average cost of each vehicle crossing is $2.20. However, the revenue is $3.20 per casual crossing and 16 cents per resident (with season ticket) crossing. Net result is a loss $200,000 per year and rising.

There are simply not enough casual users at $3.20 to make up the difference between the 16 cents resident users pay and the cost of $2.20. The highest percentage of ferry use is, by far, residents.

Council staff have now been charged to evaluate an alternate approach to the way users of the ferry are charged, and report back to Council with their evaluation and recommendations. The motion that tasked the staff contains a part concerning operating hours put their at the specific request of Cr Felsch.

This part asks for evaluation of a reduced operating schedule for the ferry. In due course we will see what the assessment of the consequences of this proposal is, at which time no doubt, Council will decide if a reduction in ferry operating hours is appropriate. Meanwhile, I emphasise there is no plan to remove the ferry service.

Cr Keith Johnson

Ballina Shire Council

What a riot

Whacko! I was a volunteer at the Nimbin MardiGrass and it was fabulous. A wonderful crowd of visitors, great food, lots of entertainment and the weather is what the North Coast is all about. I wish the MardiGrass budget was as big as the one the police had for the event. If we could have sold a weekend pass to the huge contingency of the thin blue line wed have made around $1200 and could have presented that to the youth club to finish up the skatepark for the kids!

Blueys intelligence from many directions, in regards to a Cronulla type riot, was probably Thomas George ringing from different phones with a disguised voice, and a local health worker noted that the police in attendance looked like first day students at boarding school. Now doesnt that paint a vivid picture?

I guess the laws wont change and well have to party/protest again next year. Didnt see very many chronologically challenged (old) hippies this year, hope to see more next year, and maybe some of the boys and girls in blue will wear a Bob Marley T-shirt under their overalls.

Hippy, Happy MardiGrass.

Michael Wright

Mt Nardi

Love, peace and armed police

For me, MardiGrass went off with only one minor hitch. The police had spent squillions on conga-lines of blue-clad storm troopers who snaked around town in groups of a dozen or more. Everyone was tolerant of this invasion by an armed force honed for trouble and met them with smiles. Thomas George, former legal drugs baron and now MP for somewhere near here, had told everybody that we were a Cronulla waiting to happen and we needed a million police now. The incident occurred on the Sunday after a weekend of tolerant hippies enjoying their annual Harvest Festival and Drug Law Reform Rally in the overkill company of aforementioned blue caterpillars.

Everything was going swimmingly, we had a laugh at them and they stared back through overkill shades and delivered repetitive phrases in a zombie-like manner.

Scary. Right at the end of the weekend, Sunday afternoon, they were compelled to use mace and shiny tape handcuffs (cheaper by the thousand) as they swarmed over a poor unfortunate who only needed a mental health worker.

The really scary bit was when I approached a corporal (two stripes) and said I thought that was overkill as they bundled him away in an unmarked paddy wagon. The paramilitary corporal called me by my first name. He had the name tag, not me. Freaky man.

Am I right to feel paranoid?

We had a ball at the Harvest Ball on Friday night, which I compered and nominally organised. The band I work with, Maxx Mango and The Seedless Variety, were top of the bill but when I found out how good Love Bus were, I shifted them to top of the bill so we could all move to their groove late into the night. Thats the way it works up here. The Recliners were good too. Their leader, Alan Glover, also played the Oasis Comedy lounge and compered the highly successful Hemp Olympix. Zero Tolerence and the Riot Squad are two puppeteer/musicians with a message.

Love, peace and brown sugar.

Maxx Mango

Nimbin

ARCing up

While the time to submit to the FNC Draft Regional Strategy has passed I would urge all residents with a concern for the future of the region to keep the pressure up to help ensure our say is taken into account by the city centric planners. So far the draft strategy largely ignores much of the good work done over many years by people who actually live here and want for a truly sustainable future. We already have a perfectly good locally generated Regional Environment Plan (REP) to stand behind and develop further.

The strategy being thrust upon us in its place is sorely lacking, a de-spirited and uninspired document, in denial of everything from global warming to peak oil, hardly mentioning public transport, of trains on our tracks, or of the possibility of generating power locally from renewable sources. Lets empower ourselves to ensure our future is not in the hands of forces outside our region, of state planners, developers, multinational investors, and show some real vision and drive.

The Autonomus Regions Coalition (ARC) has been formed to research options and generate discussion on the best ways to achieve and maximise local autonomy in the regions of Australia, starting here in the Northern Rivers. Our next meeting is at the Pioneer Hall at Mullumbimby at 7pm next Thursday, May 18. Come and add your voice and share ideas on how we can achieve self-reliant and self-governing regions and a real grass roots democracy.

Garth Kindred

Rosebank

Worked up

As a veteran of WWII (RAAF), I and all ex-service members wish to congratulate Bob Mowle for thanking the people of Lismore both at the dawn service and the main march for their support. He took the time to, because of his knowledge, write the letter we would all have wanted to write. But! To the board of management of the Workers Club (the club that has the capital to own the remaining three major clubs in the area) who must have sanctioned what occurred at the breakfast after the dawn service.

Are you so dominated by the mighty dollar that you could not let us think that our club was showing to us what the people of Lismore had shown?

Instead, you rattled a bucket under our nose, not once but three times, for a donation to help with the cost of the breakfast! The whole 60 odd of us.

Is it now $Lest We Forget$?

Vexed Vet

(Named and address supplied)


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The Kiss

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