Moral dilemma

Moral dilemma

The government of Israel has been accused by the UN and anti-landmine campaigners of deliberately dropping cluster bombs on residential areas of Lebanon. Many of the bomblets contained in these bombs dont explode immediately but remain a great danger to civilians, particularly to children. Has anyone heard the bleeding heart pollies who oppose scientists using female eggs for life saving medical research objecting to the slaughter of living children by the Israel bombs and the US who manufacture them? Maybe our local member could explain the difference in this moral issue.

Bob Duncan


Wilson Parks wonderful art

A huge congratulations to the students of Wilson Park Public School for the truly wonderful artworks on display at Armisteads Gallery in Lismore. The students self portraits on paper and canvas in minimalist black or in colour show both great delicacy and bold confidence.

This exhibition, open for a full fortnight, gives the students, their schoolmates, their families and Lismore art lovers an opportunity to see the wonderful work the students continue toproduce under the careful guidance of their teacher Gail Allan.

Thank you Armisteads for joining with the school to bring the artwork to a wider audience. Do yourself a favour Lismore dont miss it!

Jenny Dowell


Protecting themselves

The fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001, is just around the corner.

No doubt we will be reminded, in dramatic speeches and rantings, how the world has changed into a dangerous place, by our so called leaders who have so unselfishly volunteered to protect us, or rather, to protect those whose power and privilege depends on creating the fantasy of an evil other for a fearful and obedient public.

Being an obedient citizen myself, I never fail to shine a torch under my bed every night, looking for those elusive terrorists. And I pray to all-mighty Ruddock to take away the burden of whatever civil liberties there are left, so I could feel safe again.

Finally, with all that hype about the War on Terror, it might be worthwhile to remember that, in 1987, at the peak of concern over international terrorism, including state-sponsored terrorism, the United Nations General Assembly passed its major resolution on the matter, condemning the plague in the strongest terms and calling on all nations to act forcefully to overcome it.

The resolution passed 153-2.

The only two countries who voted against it were, wait for it, the United States and Israel.

Tom Koo


Political irony

Re: John Lenons letter (Echo, August 24).

People arriving on our shores in leaky boats are not immigrants either legal or illegal. The government spin doctors would have us believe this but they are asylum seekers, a not so subtle difference. If these people are held in detention camps in Australia they are in quarantine and there is no risk of them spreading diseases. When they were held in camps on our mainland, I cant remember any escaping and carrying out terrorist acts. The terrorist acts and plots in England were not carried out by illegal entrants to that country but by citizens of that country.

I agree we need to protect our shores against illegal fisherman and drug smugglers. These people are jailed when caught because they have broken our laws. Would you suggest we have jails of the same standard as Indonesia? Our treatment of asylum seekers is meant to frighten us into voting for the present government, the government who made us a target for terrorists.

Ironic isnt it?

L Clarke


Tunnel vision

As we enjoy the rain coming down on the Far North Coast, spare a thought for the poor farmers in 90 per cent of NSW who are doing it hard in the continuing drought. I heard climate specialists on Radio National on Tuesday morning saying that the El Nino drought conditions, which have been going on since 2002, will last through this spring to at least the end of the year. Weather forecasters can see no big drought breaking rains at all.

It reminded me of that recent decision by the NSW Government to pump even larger quantities of water from the Shoalhaven River, on the south coast of NSW, to quench the thirst of Sydney industries and residences during this time of drought. And to do this, they will have to build another tunnel.

What is it with Carr and Iemma and tunnels? Is it more dodgy deals with large corporations and banks? Surely it would make better economic and environmental sense to recycle Sydneys stormwater and grey water and leave the Shoalhaven River alone.

John Bailey

Greens Candidate for Ballina

A sad, sad state

Morris Iemma is not the premier, he was never elected, therefore he is acting premier. The acting premiers parents left Italy because of the political regime of the time. Now their son is re-establishing the same sort of fascist regime in NSW.

I believe that because of the peoples apathy, unwillingness to see more than one side of an issue, and general lack of intelligence we have the government, state and federal, that we deserve and it is a very sad state indeed.

Perhaps we should drug test, and this includes alcohol, the parliament, before they decide on the new drug testing laws to see if they are under the influence. Or take away drunk drivers money and licence with the same gusto as a pot smoker. I dont suppose mushroom eaters or having a couple of valium with a beer for breakfast could muddy someones judgement? But they can still drive!

Michael Wright

Mt Nardi

Highway threatens country life

The proposed Pacific Highway upgrade (six lane tollway) threatens to wind its way through some of our regions most spectacular countryside. There is not an area between Coffs Harbour and the Queensland border that has not been, or is going to be affected by this super truck tollway. All North Coast residents need to ask themselves the question, Why do I choose to live here? If the answer lies somewhere in between enjoying the country lifestyle, breathing fresh air, and escaping the rat race of urban life then this is an issue that affects you.

The proposed toll road will impact heavily on our community. Along many sections of the proposed route, the tollway will consist of six lanes, often built many metres above the current ground level. It would appear that the Pacific Highway Upgrade should be re-termed to describe what it actually is. How about the Pacific Highway Reconstruction For Trucks Tollway or Super Truck Tollway or Unsustainable, Multicorporate, Jobs for the Boys Tollway.

Do we want our rural landscape to change from what we know and love to that of a massive concrete vein? And what about the flow on effects of such an upgrade... more trucks, more pollution, quicker roads, more development.Its starting to sound a bit city like isnt it...

Mark Bayley

Meerschaum Vale

No fear; just do it

Mr Morrison (Environmentalists and farmers at loggerheads, Echo, August 31) is the one who is whipping up a fear campaign. A 2003 study by the Australian National University (How private landholders use and value the native forest that they own) revealed that the average length of forest ownership was 26 years; that 90 per cent of respondents used their forest to observe animals and plants, to seek solitude and enjoy nature; and that 40 per cent had undertaken conservation activities and 75 per cent had expressed an intention to undertake conservation activities in the future. Of the respondents, 90 per cent agreed their forest was part of a bigger natural system, and that their actions could affect others; and 90 per cent expressed the view that the individual plant and animal species on their land were important to them. So Morrison is tilting at windmills.

He draws an analogy between whalers and Greenpeace but there are precedents for productive collaboration. Many years ago, when I arrived in Denmark to take up my first professorship, the WWF and the Hunters Association announced their collaboration to foster more game, bigger game, and more habitat for game. They recognised that what they had more in common was more important than their differences. Most Australians value trees, big trees, and our unique plants and animals. The plan put forward by the Southern Cross Group would encourage landholders to retain trees and to let them to grow big; to report the presence of endangered plants and animals, and to provide more habitat for them.

This is something we all want, so lets just do it.

Jerry Vanclay


Saving Rosebank shop

The day Rosebank corner died was the first day of spring 2006. The day it started dying was about 10 years ago when the shop changed from a freehold business to a leasehold business. Corner stores in remote villages are just not viable as business enterprises. I have worked for every owner of that store since it became leasehold and I have seen the best of intentions on every owners part dissolve under a mound of overheads to be replaced by apathy, bitterness or both. We can rant and rave all we want about the loss to our community but we are failing then to remember that what we considered to be the centre of our community was actually not a community based not-for-profit organisation but a family business and at the end of the day thats where the buck stopped. They are the ones that had to be there day in, day out. They are the ones that had to foot the bill to give us that cozy little sense of community we all felt sitting on that verandah.

Having seen the workings behind the counter I can only suggest (and Im no business woman, so I could be wrong) that the only way the store can run as a viable business is if it were owned freehold by a large family who have the bucks to make the post office an online facility, get a liquor license , build a coolroom and a public toilet. So basically we need a very rich guardian angel to fall in love with Rosebank to the point that they will outlay a lot of money that they wont see returned for many years. Oh yeah, and they need to be able to get along with everybody and not mind spending a lot of the day involved in non moneymaking activities like getting peoples mail out of their box when they forget their keys and giving directions or providing a shoulder to cry on during relationship problems, two shoulders actually, one for each party. The shop is not a community service. Its a business.

If Rosebank wants a shop that is a community service then someone in this community needs to donate some land to the community and the community needs to get together and build themselves a co-operative. Dunoon did this and now have a sports club. I hear that Upper Tuntable have a co-operative store. These are my suggestions for what they are worth.

Im still hoping for the guardian angel because I love that shop. I will be purchasing a lottery ticket this week with that in mind.

Michelle Fitness

Former Rosebank resident

Both to blame

L Clarkes solution is that Israel withdraws from all Palestinian territory, not just Gaza, as it was ordered to do in 1967. She states that this would remove any reason for Hamas and Hezbollah to attack Israel. (Echo, August 10, and subsequent letters).

This is an often repeated view which unfortunately does not bear up to scrutiny if one examines the voting patterns of the Israeli and Palestinian populations. There have been elections in the last year in both communities. In Israel the majority of voters returned a government led by Kadima, whose policies favour a two state solution, not on 1967 borders, but at least its a start. On the other hand the overwhelming majority of Palestinian voters elected a Hamas government that does not recognize Israel and whose stated view is that it wishes to create an Islamic state in the whole Israel-Palestine area by 2020 thus eradicating the state of Israel entirely.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a complex issue that has not been solved in over 60 years. It is unfair to blame Israel as the sole cause of the conflict. An equal share of the blame must be born by the Palestinian population, who in their hearts and minds do not accept that there is an Israel in the first place.

Colin Cussel


Two states the only solution

L Clarke, I do not dismiss your solution. I wish it was as simple as Israel withdrawing to the 67 line for there to be peace between Israel and the Arabs. Unfortunately, wed be no closer to peace unless from the Arab side there was a reciprocal movement, that of recognising Israels existence and giving up any idea of destroying Israel.

UN Resolution 242 requires Israel to withdraw from territories captured in the 1967 war. Often ignored is what the Resolution requires of the Arab states to cease their belligerency against Israel, to recognise Israel and to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Israel is required to withdraw from territories as part of a peace settlement, as happened with Egypt. The Oslo Accords and the Roadmap were designed to implement 242 through stages.

Read the charters of Hamas and Fatah, read what the Palestinian Arabs say in their own media, sermons in mosques, curriculum in schools. When they refer to ending the occupation they dont just mean the West Bank or Gaza, but all of mandate Palestine, including 67 Israel. Not only is hatred of Jews spewed out on a daily basis, but also calls for the murder of Jews in Israel or anywhere. Martyrdom is glorified, and children are raised on this death cult. A whole generation of Palestinian kids have been subject to the vilest abuse with the inculcation of murderous hatred.

Gaza was, in effect, a test case to see what the Palestinians would do when no longer under Israeli control. Instead of working toward statehood and improving the lives of the Palestinian people, the Gazan Arabs imported weapons to continue attacking Israel. Given the Hamas charter, perhaps this is hardly surprising.

As to Nadir Martello, given his longstanding and unsavoury views of the Jewish people, it is hardly worth responding to his letter where he blames Israel seemingly for all the worlds ills.

The only solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict is a two state solution Israel next to a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. The great majority of Israelis support a two state solution. Unfortunately, the majority of Palestinians, and Arab states, still seek the destruction of Israel and its replacement with an Arab state, free of Jews, in all mandate Palestine. Hence the continuing conflict.

Julie Nathan


Innocent prisoners

Arent you glad you have a nice warm bed to sleep in, that you can walk down the street whenever you like, wearing whatever you like, that soldiers cant randomly walk into your house and kill or torture you, that you have plenty of food to eat, and that you have the right to speech and an education?

I sure know I am.

But the people of Afghanistan dont have these rights.

Some decide to escape to have a better life in a nice paradise... a country like Australia.

Only when they make this sacrifice to give up everything sometimes even their family they arrive in Australia, looking forward to their new life, but they are just chucked in a detention centre in the middle of nowhere.

A detention centre a place for criminals. These innocent little children and their families are anything but criminals. Philip Ruddock is the real criminal. Trying to make a better life for yourself and your loved ones is not a crime, and is certainly not against the law.

And we complain about a shortage of nurses, doctors, teachers and other vital professions? Well, open your eyes, these people had jobs, and they have perfectly good qualifications. So free them from detention centres where they are a number, not a person with a name and you may find, not only will they help society, but the Australian Government will save money. Its more expensive to keep these people in detention centres than for them to be living freely in society even if they live on Centrelink benefits.

Maybe Philip Ruddock should spend some time as a number in a horrible detention centre in the middle of nowhere. Im sure hed love it! He might last a week if hes lucky.

The people of Afghanistan have had to last for years some over a decade and theyre still waiting.

Sarah Hort


Ocean outfall red alert

I am very concerned at the way councillor workshops are being used by Ballina Shire Councils staff and consultants to push through the ocean outfall and discharge to Fishery Creek for release of surplus treated effluent under the Urban Water Re-Use Management Plan currently being drafted. As I understand it, the people have made it quite plain that discharge to any form of waterway should be phased out asquickly as possible and replaced with constructed wetlands.

This new Urban Water Re-Use document is very important as far as future direction of effluent water re-use is concerned because, once it gets adopted, thats it! Its the way of the future. To date I have not seen any mention of constructed wetlands in it. Every time I ask where are the constructed wetlands? the reply comes back constructed wetlands are not re-use, but the ocean outfall isnt re-useeither. The document as it currently stands appears toaim to discharge more treated effluent out via Fishery Creek than via the ocean outfall, so how do the people of Ballina Island feel about this?

When this document gets to the public exhibition stage I urge the people to have their say. In particular I urge the Ballina Environment Society, who took the Council to court in 1993 over the ocean outfall, the Surfrider Foundation, the WATER group and other environmental groups to examine this document very carefully.

Ihave watched the process where one particular councillor isadamant that the people want the cheapest form of disposal of surplus treated effluent, which isthroughthe ocean outfall.

Anyone who has been toa public meeting up and down the coast regarding ocean outfalls will know this is not the case.

Its no good bringing The Big Poo out of the closet once thismanagement planis adopted, because you wont be able to win in court.

This is red alert! Read the document and haveyour very importantsay when it appears.

Margaret Howes

Lennox Head

All talk, no action

In last weeks article Council cops flak for Fly In cancellation your readers may have been left with the impression we havent been having a chat with Richmond Valley Council about the exorbitant fees and charges they want to impose for use of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome for the GreatEastern Fly In. Not so. Weve put repeated concerns to Council, including its tourism officer, without success. The fees and charges will kill off the event. No-one will come. It costs a lot of money to put it on. Thats why we called it off. We cant take the risk. Other councils with similar events waive charges because they recognise economic benefit to the community. They actively support their fly ins.

Yes, Council agreed some time ago to provide $2000 toward self-promotion. But at our last meeting with Council on August 14 there was no evidence of Council lifting a finger to facilitate the event. Not a hint. Councils supposed to be encouraging and facilitating the Great Eastern Fly In according to its Plan of Management for the aerodrome. Youd never know it.

Theres no doubt Councils anti-aviation. Years of neglect tell a convincing story. Council has no aviation representative, or community representative for that matter, on its aerodrome management committee. It completely ignored a $50 million dollar airpark proposal during the planning process. Its tried to shorten the main runway. It has restricted the kind of aircraft that can use the aerodrome. Its discouraged the RAAF from using the aerodrome for training. Its finalising approval for a retirement home to be built 155 metres from the main runway, a guaranteed noise and safety conflict with aviation. [The plan for the village shown to us by Councils consultants was one third actual size]. Its planning housing development around the aerodrome, a no-no for aviation. And now it wants to irrigate part of the airfield with effluent that destroyed Salty Lagoon in Broadwater National Park. This ill-conceived proposal increases the risk of damage to runways because of water table changes, and removes a cross-wind alternative for landing for light aircraft. And so on. The list is long.

Its a bit rich to now hear from the general manager that Council wanted to take a co-operative approach and work with the event. Thats news to us and difficult to hear above the din ofCouncil vilification, both private and public. Does any of this sound like co-operation?

Richard Gates


Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee Inc

Do gooder disgrace

To Helen Coyle (Echo, August 31) in reply to my letter (Echo, August 24) about illegal immigrants that are coming into Australia any which way they can, and the idea that Howard wants to put them all on so called prison ships. So you consider my remarks ugly bile and offensive to you and your friends? Well here is more for you to digest.

I hate tree hugging, illegal immigrant lovers and do gooders like you that are destroying this country with your do gooder attitude. You are destroying the lives of all farmers by not allowing them to run their farms the way they want to, allowing imported fruit and vegetables into our country and anything else that affects their livelihood.

Im glad that I dont know you personally, because you have a lot of hatred for people like me that respond to you do gooders. There are thousands of people in this country who agree with me about immigration it should be stopped completely and we should deport you do gooders overseas to help these illegals.

So dont call me gutless Im replying to your vicious attack on me and the millions of serving men and women of the armed forces and all ex-service personnel. If not for us you and your friends would be speaking Japanese by now and be like M Mizzi from Tabulam. So get your head out of the Sunday comics page and stop watching South Park on TV and go down to your local library and get out any book about our fighting men and women and their history and you may learn a few things. Or go to an Anzac Day, Vietnam Veterans Day etc and ask the ex-service people there what they think about your attitude. I suppose that you were one of those that spat on and threw paint on the the returning Vietnam vets at the time. It wouldnt surprise me in the least.

If the Howard Government gave back the people of Australia the right to vote on allowing immigrants into Australia, you lot would lose like a mudslide.

At least I served my country in a time of need you dont know a thing about the armed forces. As I said, get your head off the comics page and go and read a proper book.

So have a good day and get over worrying about all your incoming terrorist mates and dont attack the Howard Government on his stance. He is, like me, trying to protect Australia more than I can say about you.

Im going down for a surf shortly, would you like to come down here and enjoy it also? If not go and have a swim in a duck pond.

John Lenon

Evans Head

Tarkine wilderness in danger

The Tarkine is a large wilderness area in the far north-west of Tasmania. The region gets its name from the Tarkiner Aboriginal tribes that once inhabited the region. It is a very unique place with expansive areas of temperate rainforest, several wild rivers and high mountains. The wilderness covers around 450,000 hectares. Most of this wilderness faces threats from logging, mining or grazing. It is the largest remaining temperate rainforest in Australia and it is also the second largest temperate rainforest in the world.

The Tarkine is Tasmanias largest unprotected wilderness area. It satisfies the entire cultural and natural heritage criterias which makes a region eligible for inclusion on the World Heritage list. The area was first put forward for listing on the World Heritage list by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in the early 1990s. This was followed by a formal proposal by The Wilderness Society in the early 1990s also. A proposed Tarkine World Heritage National Park area is 377,000 hectares. However, as each day goes by the chances that this reserve will ever exist grow slimmer. The Tarkine rainforests were recommended for World Heritage status by the Regional Forest Agreements World Heritage expert panel. The Australian Heritage Commission describes the Tarkine as one of the worlds great archaeological regions due to the number and significance of ancient Aboriginal relics in the area, many of which pre-date the pyramids.

In May 2005, the federal government protected an additional 73,000 hectares of forest from logging in the Tarkine. While this sounds like part of the Tarkine will be saved, there is a twist. The federal government has not given this area full protection as a National Park but as a conservation reserve. Although this means that the area cannot be logged, it can still quite easily be mined and the Tarkine is very rich in mineable resources. No, the Tarkine is not saved. Up to 40,000 hectares of old growth forests continue to be logged, while the mining industry, cattle grazing, introduced pests and careless drivers of 4WD vehicles all threaten the Tarkines World Heritage values. Less than five per cent of the Tarkine currently has full protection as National Park.

You may help to save the Tarkine by writing a letter to the Federal Environment Minister, Ian Campbell. Ask him to give further protection to the Tarkine wilderness and to investigate the areas World Heritage qualities.

T Scuner


High standard schools

At the conclusion of so many conversations when the problems of society are being discussed someone is likely to say, Ya know, they ought to teach it in schools. Respect for road rules, how to avoid obesity, how to counter racism, how to do resuscitation, how to fill out a tax form, how the legal and electoral and banking systems operate and so on, are all some citizens idea of what schools are supposed to teach.

Someone investigated a years supply of newspapers and counted about a hundred new things that, They oughta teach in schools. The public wanted school children to learn: how to cook healthy meals, sex education, how to dance, how to save water, how to resolve conflict and even how to avoid magpie attacks.

Each of these skills and hundreds more have been recommended for inclusion in our schools. The curriculum is crowded long before the teachers break out their chalk and computers in order to offer our students some reading, writing and arithmetic.

Remarkably our public school teachers manage all this. Our local public schools bring about small miracles on a daily basis. Year after year, local public schools graduate local kids who are literate and numerate, confident and competent.

So when we read that the NSW Government has just spent money on ventilation for the darkroom at Kyogle High School, a toilet upgrade at Richmond River High School, lighting the steps and paths at Wyrallah Road Public School, line marking and paving and handrails for Eltham Public School, we can be assured that schools in the Lismore electorate are seeing the benefits of this extra investment of the public purse.

Recent maintenance decisions mean that very soon Modanville Public School will have roofing repaired, Woodenbong Central School will have concrete repaired, Whian Whian and Tuntable Creek will have a fence replaced.

This is Lismore taxpayers money well spent. In fact $1.09 million will be spent this year to improve facilities at local public schools.

Our local public schools continue to be second to none in the region, in the nation and internationally.

Peter Lanyon

Lillian Rock

Telling it like it is

When are we allowed to call a spade a spade, a death a death and a murder a murder. Even though the war in Lebanon has gone off the media dial the horror goes on. The United Nations has sounded the alarm about the growing emergency of carnage and death due to an abundance of cluster munitions remaining on the ground in Lebanon.

There have been so many apologists in the press for Israels actions either as biased press releases or totally misguided letter writers. In our culture we are already in the grips of an attitude and way of being very similar to pre-war Nazi Germany.

Patti Davis, the daughter of Nancy and Ronald Reagan, wrote in Newsweek about the heartless administration in power in America who abandoned their own citizens in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. A government that is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people simply didnt care about thousands and thousands of mostly poor, mostly black people. Davis writes that school children should be taught the hard truths of what went on a year ago in New Orleans. They should know that even a country that was founded on honour and respect can become arrogant and callous.

In our own country, when Cyclone Larry hit Innisfail, a mostly white farming community, the government was quick to help out. In Maningrida, where Cyclone Monica (the most intense cyclone ever recorded in the Top End) swept over destroying many houses, government support was lax in the mostly Aboriginal community. More than a month after, many people were living in tents or in severely overcrowded houses and still waiting on blankets.

Nazism was a way of being that slowly built up in Germany and can happen anywhere. It started up in little ways. Corrupt acquisitions of power by the right-wing Nazis were overlooked by the population, instigation of racial superiority for white Germans and demotion of so-called inferior races was allowed to fester and gradually increase. Brain washing in the form of propaganda was very cleverly used.

Our white collective guilt over the whole matter has meant Germans have been suffering blame and prejudice ever since and Israel has been allowed to get away with the equivalent practices of early Nazism in Palestine with Americas and other western countries approval.

We are actively creating Armageddon, the scene of a decisive conflict on a great scale, by our abuse of the earth and its varied inhabitants. Innisfail, meaning Isle of Destiny in the ancient Celtic tongue, should have been a wake-up call for changes in behaviour we have to make.

Bombing a country flat using an enormous amount of explosive ammunition is a criminal act in a time of looming resource shortages and accelerated global warming. Already, our climate is in a state that was not expected to occur until 2085, when climate change was originally predicted in 1988.

Since the time of that prediction America has waged non-stop wars in the Middle East, destroying culture, resources and making the lives of millions of people absolutely miserable. The view of future historians will not be kind to us for wasting precious time on selfishness.

Lynne Oldfield


Art finds science in Quad

Art finds science in Quad

Arts vs science festival is set to explode

NEG means many things to many

NEG means many things to many

NEG can be an abbreviation of either negative or negligible

Help's at hand in many forms for farming families

Help's at hand in many forms for farming families

Those needing help should visit the Drought Hub website

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