Wow, Mr Swientek! I cannot believe your hypocrisy: Repealing the Development Control Plan for the Perradenya Estate at Caniaba would be bad manners and an indirect way of saying to hell with all of you, we dont give a stuff about you, not the way to do business with your ratepayers (Echo, August 17). No different an approach, I would say, to the insulting and demeaning way in which you argued (at the July 11 Council meeting) against giving those same ratepayers (and more!) some depth of consultation on how their drinking water is treated. You sound a little mixed up, Mr Swientek a little wobbly on how exactly you should be doing business with the ratepayers you represent.
Flying in the face of community
Lismore City Council has a staggering disregard for the opinions of the local community be it bats or fluoride. Without consultation with the Lismore community, the Council has applied to the Department of Environment and Heritage to move the (endangered) flying foxes from Rotary Park. They have done this because of a vocal minority of residents around Rotary Park.
Ill confess immediately that I am a lover of flying foxes. They hang around my house every night in large numbers eating, chatting and shitting. Every morning I clean away the remnants of their night-time activities from my deck and furniture. The kids scrub their trampoline. Its a small price to pay. Their continued existence is integrally linked to the environments survival and therefore our own. Bat droppings are full of seeds and rich fertiliser. Bats grow trees.
The bats would not have left Currie Park in the first place unless there was a problem. A much wiser and thoughtful strategy would be to address the problems at Currie Park. A smarter council would follow its own policies and conduct community consultation before making such an outrageous decision.
Christmas under threat... again
Christmas Island has already felt the negative impacts of a phosphate mine. This mine was banned from clearing any more of the islands rainforest in 1988 because of the damage that it was causing. Miners are now pushing for permission from the federal government to recommence bulldozing the rainforest in order to mine new sites across the island. This would immediately destroy 200 hectares of dense rainforest and kill an estimated 1.4 million land crabs in the process.
After 100 million years of isolation, Christmas Island has evolved to be a very special place. Of the thousands of plant and animal species on the island, many cannot be found elsewhere in the world. However, many of the islands unique plants and animals have become extinct since the island was first settled in 1888.
Christmas Island is lucky because it is still relatively intact. At the present, 75 per cent of the islands 135 square kilometres is still covered in undistributed primary forest.
Expert advice indicates that Christmas Island would qualify as a World Heritage site.
If the mine does go ahead, it will only be profitable for 5-7 years, after which the mine will most likely want to expand again, and again, and again...
The price of freedom
In response to the letter of Ness Lamia (Echo, August 17).
What is happening to David and Terry Hicks could happen to any of us working class folk. Its our battle too. It certainly would never happen to a wealthy man or his son. That rich business man who was kidnapped and tortured in Iraq they used the army, special police and their connections with Osama bin Laden to rescue him. (If you believe anything you see on the TV).
Same with Schapelle vs The Supermodel. The Supermodel had wealth, connections and powerful legal advisors. You might have noticed you never saw her parents on the TV. They were far too embarrassed, important and busy paying the right people the right amount of money. They are also very good liars. Schapelle told the truth and look where that got her. If she or her family were important people and had enough money to pay the right officials (ie. the political clout), shed be home safe and sound with her family now too.
Be mindful. All governments (ie. powerful people with vested interests) choose their victims and scapegoats carefully. To balance the equation they chose an Australasian Van Nguyen for execution, just to look even-handed.
The Australian Government have been exploiting the Aboriginal, Irish and Chinese people (to name but three) since January 26, 1788. We are a human resource first, human beings second. In the words of our mate Gough Its time!. Stand up and be counted. Vote on your feet before they have us all on our knees.
I think that the sports coverage men get compared to the amount women get is atrocious. Women have a tiny 10 per cent of their sports covered by the media while men have a much larger percentage of their sporting failures and wins covered. Did you know that the Australian womens soccer team the Matildas came two points away from a victory at the womens World Cup after a penalty shoot out? That would be just as interesting and suspenseful as the mens World Cup. I think the media should pay a lot more attention to womens sporting events. Men and women are equal and should get the same amount of coverage.
Also I would like to thank Jim Edwards for the letter he wrote. I appreciate your support.
Daisy Aczel Morris (aged 10)
Paging Mr Causley
Its beyond belief!
The North Coast Area Health is investigating (as an option) the gutting and renovation of a wing of the Mid Richmond Residents Village, Coraki, and relocating the current services from Campbell Hospital, Coraki, into our community and a federal government funded aged care facility.
Our senior citizens deserve better!
The disturbance to their lives (their home), the intrusion, the compromising of their lifestyle and the threat to their security caused through the suggestion of this move has increased anxiety and done nothing to ease the burden some residents already carry due to illness etc.
Healthcare is a state matter. The Residents Village is a federal matter.
Mr Causley where are you?
Responsible action needed
As a member of a group fighting to save the Mid Richmond Residents Village and Coraki District Campbell Hospital, I am dismayed at the lack of support those organisations have received from Page MP Ian Causley.
What about duty of care Ian?
Chris Crawford has stated his intention of relocating Campbell Hospital to the Village. To do that one wing of the Village has to be gutted, thus displacing elderly residents from their homes.
The hospital is a state-funded operation and as the NSW Government is systematically downgrading hospitals all over the state, it suits their purpose to attach it to a federally funded retirement operation.
Others and I have approached Ian Causley and have been fobbed off by him saying It is a state matter. Well Ian, the pain and anguish for the elderly in a federally funded Village in my opinion is your responsibility to support them. The community has at several public meetings and rallies empathetically said save our Village and our hospital, or build an MPS on existing hospital grounds. The state opposition have also not been very vocal in supporting the community either; maybe one of them being a Senator having close ties to Mr Crawford could have something to do with that.
Save the Campbell Hospital Coraki and Mid Richmond Residents Village Committee
Help the homeless animals
My name is Patrick and I am eight years old and I am feeling very sad about Animal Rights and Rescue. They need to raise $200,000 to build a shelter, if they are unable to, then they will have to close next month. So I am asking for all the people of Lismore and big businesses to please put in some money. My sister and I are going to put in all our pocket money to help Animal Rights and Rescue. Even though I want to buy a motorbike I would rather help all the animals that Animal Rights and Rescue care for. My mum and dad are also going to donate some money too because they love animals and think that it is a very important thing to do. In the last 12 years they have found homes for over 10,000 unwanted animals so I think they do a great job looking after all of the animals that have been dumped. I would like to ask if everyone in Lismore could give Animal Rights and Rescue just a tiny bit of money so that they can build a shelter. We have a cat from Animal Rights and Rescue that I love very much so please help Animal Rights and Rescue raise enough money for a shelter. There are over 43,000 people in Lismore so if we all put in some money to help they will be able to care for a lot more animals. My mum told me about a man called Gandhi, he said a society can be judged by the way people treat their animals. So if you share your home with an animal friend, give them a pat, tell them you love them and that you promise to do all that you can to help all of the homeless and unwanted animals. You can contact ARRG on 6622 1881 and their address is PO Box 16, Wollongbar, NSW, 2477.
Patrick Dunn (age 8)
A question of fairness
Daisy Aczel Morris (Echo, August 17) is obviously a very bright young girl. She is right on one level at least to say that there is no reason for discrimination or homophobia. Good on her for being concerned with injustice at such a young age. Heck, when I was her age I dont think I knew even how to spell these words let alone know what they meant!
But there are still some things that puzzle me about what she says. Clearly we dont want to treat people unfairly and at the moment some people in a wide variety of relationships (including same sex ones) are treated differently by the government when it comes to the recognition of their relationships. But is it right to try to resolve these discriminations by just declaring all of those relationships marriage when it is obvious that there are significant differences involved?
For example, we all know of people who love more than one person at the same time sometimes that involves members of the same sex and sometimes members of the opposite sex and sometimes both. These people also are just the same as you and me. The government opposes those marriages also. Is that discrimination? Does that opposition automatically mean that they are held captive to some sort of irrational fear?
In order to be truly fair wouldnt the government have to be fair to all these different forms of relationship?
Perhaps marriage may not be the best solution to all, or in fact any, of these situations including monogamous same sex relationships.
Id be very interested to hear what Daisy thinks about this. She might have some really good suggestions for our government.
BallinaTime for a tree change
The front page story (Echo, August 10) about loggers and conservationists both being angry about the new Draft Code of Practice on Private Native Forestry shows how clearly out of touch the logging industry in NSW is with the reality on the ground.
Every day I see truck loads of trees heading to the mill Mr Hurford owns at Casino, filling the piles of boards already stacked in the yard. All around me I see land becoming more and more degraded, fire prone and eroded as tonnes of trees disappear into Mr Hurfords log yards. Smoke now fills the air and the lungs of everyone living here including my newborn son. Will Mr Hurfords company compensate me when I end up in hospital with lung cancer from the burning off of logging waste that occurs here every time someone comes along and fells trees? He has a 20-year guarantee from the NSW Government to fill his yards and yet he does not believe that the public have a right to make sure that his company is made to follow the laws set out in the new code of practice. I wish I had a 20-year guarantee on my ability to makes oodles of money too. Like Chicken Little he cries the sky is falling when in fact the only things falling are trees, trees and more trees. Of course this says nothing about the damage his company does to forest undergrowth, habitat, wildlife, watercourses and our roads as their logging trucks thunder through narrow mountain roads which no doubt they think they own. Another point Mr Hurford ignores is that the land which his grandfather bought 50 years ago actually once belonged to the Bundjalung people and was stolen from them by a colonial government serving the monarch of Great Britain. Rather that wanting even more land and trees maybe Mr Hurford should consider giving some of it back to the original owners. Like every industry in NSW the logging industry needs to be regulated and Mr Hurford and his mates should simply accept that the days of uncontrolled logging of native forests is at an end and that the majority of the people in NSW want our native forests protected.
Re: Helen Coyle (Echo, August 10) where she gives our Prime Minister a blast about building so called prison ships to house illegal immigrants who are caught off our Australian coastline and also fisherman catching our fish, therefore depleting our own fish for the Australian trawlermen trying to make a living.
Where does she want to put these illegal immigrants? All in South Lismore? And what type of diseases do they bring with them, and does she know if there is a terrorist amongst them, to land here and to get first hand experience of all the likely targets to send back to his or her terrorist friends back in their homeland. Why shouldnt we protect our borders, nearly every other country does it. You havent read the papers or watched the TV news in the last week about the terrorist plots foiled in Britain. Australian police and the navy try to stop illegals entering our country but nobody, and I mean nobody, knows how many illegals have entered our country via the west coast and are hiding in the many rivers over there.
Recently I watched a program on Aunty TV about the west coast of Australia, where an Aborigine took the camera crew on a tour of the rivers. Here was this lone Japanese fisherman, living on a boat catching our crabs (thats the swimming type) and sending them back to Japan. He wouldnt be paying any freight etc on them as theyd have one of their whale chaser boats etc to call in to pick the crabs and anything else up. Nobody would know that he and others are camped in these rivers. I bet that they dont get a Census paper taken to them to fill out.
So Ill say to Helen and anyone else who is against the Australian Government detaining illegal immigrants, fishermen etc in whatever manner and wherever, that you people are not thinking of the consequences and the protection of Australia in the future. We should deport you and your colleagues overseas and see what kind of treatment you get at the hands of the Indonesian Government. It certainly wouldnt be a soft bed and breakfast.
Ask those Australian drug smugglers held in their prisons. The Indonesians havent changed their way since the 1940s era and never will.
Insanity reigns supreme
The mantra that we are being constantly fed from certain quarters is that the only obstacle to peace in the Middle East are the Arabs, the Muslims in general, and especially the Palestinians who have got no other purpose in life than the destruction of the Jewish state.
But a survey by the Development Studies Program at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank, that was conducted in February 2002, reveals something different:
In her book Israel/Palestine; how to end the war of 1948 the Israeli author Tanya Reinhart writes: ...an amazing and encouraging fact is that support for peace and reconciliation is still strong among the Palestinian people. ...77 per cent believe that both Palestinians and Israelis have the right to live in peace and security. 73 per cent find it necessary for Palestinians and Israelis to work together to achieve peaceful coexistence once a Palestinian state is established.
Nevertheless, I dont expect that such facts will change the mantra and the agenda of those whose better judgement, not to mention compassion, is being swayed and corrupted by primeval tribal loyalties.
While we are on the subject, I would recommend for the readers an article (online) titled The Israel Lobby by John Mearsheimer (professor of political science at Chicago) and Stephen Walt (professor of international affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard).
And if you are still wondering what is so special about the Israel/Palestine issue, then please consider this: During the 1973 Yom Kippur war between Israel and some of her neighbours, the Soviet Union protested about direct American involvement in the conflict.
President Nixon responded by putting US forces on nuclear alert.
In other words, America willingly risked an all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union because of Israel.
Of course, that would have meant the total annihilation of human life on Earth, including Israel echoing the insane words of an American officer in Vietnam: We had to destroy the village in order to save it.
Julie Nathan (Echo, August 17) again exemplifies the delusions necessary to sustain the crumbling edifice of Zionism.
The delusion that Arab Israelis are full and equal citizens: the 2005 US State Department Human Rights Report, citing, as well as gross inequality and prejudice, lack of equal citizenship rights in marriage, land use and immigration, stated that in Israel there was institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against the countrys Arab citizens.
The delusion that Israel trades land for peace: much of Israel consists of land stolen from expelled refugees, Israel occupies parts of Syria and Lebanon, and is busily building more Jewish only settlements and roads and the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank.
The delusion that the terrorist murder of 1000 Lebanese civilians was sparked by the most recent border skirmish: the July 21 San Francisco Chronicle reported that, more than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to US and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail.
The delusion that all Arabs want to exterminate Israeli Jews: while oppression and colonialism unfortunately always breeds some prejudice, nearly all Arabs believe in either a single Palestine for all, or a just and viable two-state solution.
The delusion that becoming a mercenary for US imperialism, hated by the Arab masses for many very good reasons, can offer any security.
But then the Zionists have always put their deluded dream of an exclusivist Jewish state on other peoples land ahead of even the lives and security of Jews: while in the 1930s the socialist left, including many Jews, campaigned against the US, UK and Australian racist immigration quotas that were trapping Jews in Germany, Zionists opposed this as diversion from immigration to Palestine, and even collaborated with the Nazis to secure a little immigration to Palestine rather than fight against the Nazis as the left, including anti-Zionist Jews, did.
Hamas has suggested a long-term truce, which would test out the viability of a two-state solution, a much more sensible idea than Julies apparent demand that all Arabs totally disarm before Israel has to withdraw from anywhere. While perhaps a just two-state solution might work, due to the complex entanglements of Israel-Palestine and the need to end Israels apartheid policies and resolve the refugee issue, I think the traditional Palestinian demand for a single, democratic, secular state in all of historic Palestine is the only real long-term solution.
Poetry in motion
Another fascinating Nimbin invention was played out in the cafs and School of Arts over the first weekend in August. The fourth annual Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup was a wonderfully contested major event for the village, with visitors and poetic contestants coming from all directions, including the one-man poetry show Thom the World Poet, from Austin, Texas.
As the event has grown over the past few years it has attracted some of Australias top performing poets. Last years winner, David Ghostboy Stavanger, assisted in drawing in some of the fine performance/writers from the Brisbane/Sunshine Coast area, and this years golden trophy heading off in the hands of Melbourne poet Emillie Zoey Baker (together with the $1500 prize) will certainly attract a bevy of Victorias poets to test their wordplay in Nimbin next year.
The World Cup was a grand bonus to the caf world of Nimbin, and the additional program of the Roving, Raving Poets Show saw a tribe of poets carving a poetic path throughout the whole village on the Saturday evening.
The success of the show is a testament to the tireless efforts of co-ordinator Gail M Clarke. Gail has also been managing the Nimbin Oasis Caf poetry readings for six years. Apart from the Summerland Credit Union $400 Peoples Choice prize (won by Sydneys Candy Royalle), the $4000 prize money was all sponsored by local Nimbin businesses and organisations.
It was a great show for Nimbin (and the world). Congratulations to Gail and all the local sponsors.
Nimbin Community Economic Development Officer
Same sex protest thanks
As the organiser of the same sex marriage demonstration in Lismore on Sunday, August 13, I would like to say thank you to the following people. Angela Pollard of the Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre, local gay and lesbian community activists, Dermot Ryan, Ian Gray and Tanya Lienert, author of Gay Rights as Human Rights Baden Offord, celebrants Rose Hogan and Nora Vidler-Blanksby, Reverend of the Community Church of Christ Vira Bourne, managers of the Winsome Hotel Simon and Matt, the more than 30 businesses in Lismore and Byron Bay who endorsed the action and the more than 25 gay, health, educational, family, community and legal organisations and institutions that supported the event. Id like to say thanks to The Northern Rivers Echo for publicity. Id also like to say thanks to ABC North Coast Radio, 2NCR, Bay-FM, 2LM and Triple Z for the same reason. Id like to congratulate the 15 couples, gay and straight, who had their relationship blessed by the celebrants and of course God. Id like to thanks Ian Causley for refraining from homophobic attacks against same sex attracted people in his electorate (during the day). Id also like to commiserate the lack of attendance by Ian and his National voting fan club. Id like to thank God/Mother Nature for providing such a perfect and sunny day and finally Id like to give a very big thank you to all the equality, gay and family activists who stood up for same sex couples and demanded that Johnny and Ian get their act together and treat all people, gay or straight, equally.
NSW Transport Minister John Watkins tells us that his government cant afford to re-open the Casino-Murwillumbah rail line, and is urging the community to lobby the federal government to foot half of the bill, a bill which he puts at about three times what was estimated in a 2004 study by Price Waterhouse Coopers. Well, even if the Minister is correct, his government still has more than enough money to foot the bill on its own; the money is currently allocated to the portfolio of another Minister, Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal.
Whilst our car-dependent community struggles with high petrol prices, our state government, with its two separate transport bureaucracies (one for Roads and one for Transport), continues to focus on building a new motorway. Meanwhile, people are looking for more transport choices to reduce their car-dependence.
Sure, the Pacific Highway is unsafe, and has insufficient capacity to handle any future traffic growth, but a new motorway is not the best answer. There is an alternative which can deliver similar benefits sooner and at far less cost.
Adequate safety and capacity improvements can be achieved by simply upgrading the existing highway widening it to four lanes with a barrier or median strip in the middle, and perhaps bypasses of towns and villages and other safety enhancements where necessary. This is cheaper, quicker to build and has less environmental and social impact than the proposed upgrades, which are really an entirely new motorway. The cost savings would be significant, and may run into billions along the entire highway. This money could be invested in sustainable transport projects to provide long-term answers to high fuel costs expanded local and regional bus services, the upgrading of the Sydney-Brisbane rail line to dual-track, and the re-opening of the Casino-Murwillumbah rail line and its extension to Queensland, just for starters.
Everyone wins, except the infrastructure firms in the motorway and toll-road business, and the interstate trucking companies who want the extra road capacity to try and stave-off the competition from rail freight for a little longer.
Get your act together Mr Watkins, Mr Roozendaal and Mr Iemma save money, save lives, help the community and invest in our future.