Embracing difference

Embracing difference

I reckon people applying for Australian citizenship should have the choice of taking the English test. Many people wanting citizenship have been through a pretty rough time, and although it would make life much easier if they learnt English, most people would pick it up pretty quickly (its a bit hard not too), but making it a requirement is just being pathetic. It seems as though the government is saying we want all Australians to be the same, with no multiculturalism at all.

Next theyll be saying were only allowed to eat sausages.

Sarah Hort


A shameful display

Last Thursday night it was reported on ABC News that the federal government had revoked a number or temporary protection visas for a group of East Timorese women, men and children who had come to Australia after the last wave of violence. These people apparently expected and wanted to return to their country when it became a safe place to live. They had asked the government to allow their children to finish the school year before leaving. This request was denied.

When I learnt that these people were being returned to their country to live in refugee camps I felt outraged and disgusted. While the government gives peacekeeping and humanitarian aid to East Timor, they are returning East Timorese people to live in camps where they are unable to support themselves.

Shame on this Liberal government which is clearly allowing Australia to become something other than a humanitarian and just society. I am sickened and ashamed of living in a country which has so little regard for basic human rights and needs.

Taran Tula


Council tarnished by rodeo refusal

The rodeo industry has consistently violated standards over many years, in NSW and across Australia the evidence is overwhelming (Echo, New rodeo restrictions unnecessary: council, Sept 14). Animals die and are injured, welfare standards are ignored. This is the reality. Cr Graham was clearly napping when Animals Australia made its presentation to Council last year.

Cr Irwin should be commended for trying to improve the standards of an industry which refuses to change. The proposal put forward was to improve welfare only. This should not be too much to ask of the Lismore community. The provision of water is a basic right to all, including animals, and how Cr Graham could possibly view this as offensive defies understanding. Cr Graham argues the electric prod should be used, yet manufacturer Hot-Shot is clear: we do NOT condone the use of our products at rodeos.

Only a few days ago the Australian Veterinary Association publicly condemned the industry for failing to make veterinary attendance compulsory. This condemnation was triggered by yet another horse that broke its leg at a rodeo, with no professional help in sight. The AVA is clear: rodeos should not go ahead where a veterinarian is not present. For Cr Graham to claim that such a proposal is ridiculous again defies understanding.

Cr Grahams old-fashioned ideas tarnish the Councils reputation and the community of Lismore.

Wendy Parsons

Parkside, South Australia

(On behalf of Animals Australia)

Rotary Park disbelief

In reply to Lib Ruytenberg (Echo, September 21). You dont say where you live. I live some five blocks, 600-700 metres as the crow flies, from Rotary Park and hate it when it rains as the smell from the bat droppings is that bad that you cant stay outside.

Also in response to Lawrence Pope (Echo, September 21) saying the smell is redolent (Websters Dictionary: redolent having a strong smell) of a shearing shed. Well I dont know what shearing sheds he has visited but I will take shearing shed smell nearby any day compared to the disgusting bat smell.

If someone tries to start a chicken farm or a dog kennel they find it almost impossible due to noise and smell, yet these businesses often employ locals and are also providing a service. These bats didnt live in Rotary Park four years ago when I moved into the area but now that they have us locals have to put up with their noise and smells and droppings on our clothes, cars and roofs (which often lead to water tanks).

I invite both Lib and Lawrence to a tent so they can spend a night or two in Rotary Park next time it rains. Then see what they say.

Michael Wawn


Christianitys dark past

Pope Benedict XVI has put his foot in his mouth big time by putting down Islam, using a quotation from a 14th century Byzantine Emperor to convey his thoughts. Australias very own Cardinal, George Pell, also supports the Pope and they both espouse that Christianity is a religion of love, tolerance, joy, peace and happiness. Both of these men are either ignorant of their own dark church history or they are trying to mislead the public in general.

My comment is: It all depends on which side of the sword youre on.

The Crusades lasted 250 years. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Jews were killed by Christian soldiers. The Catholic inquisition lasted 500 years, with people being killed by the sword, some tortured, then burnt alive at the stake.

To be convicted of heresy you simply had to be a non-believer of the Christian faith, question church dogma, be thought of as a witch, or be a Jew. There were six Christian wars from 1524-1648 in Europe, where Catholics and Protestants killed each other; the most notable incident was the Saint Bartholomews Day massacre.

In Paris, Catholics massacred several thousand Protestants in 1572. Then there were the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts in front of Christian Elders (all men).

Those considered as guilty were then carted to Gallows Hill for hanging. I rest my case.

Jim Lee


Thumbs up for LBH care

To all personnel at Lismore Base Hospital (hospital admission August 28 to September 8).

Anne and I would like to thank all staff of Lismore Base Hospital the ambos who, late at night in the rain, retrieved Anne from our car after a severe asthma attack; the emergency staff who stabilised her; and the Intensive Care Unit personnel whose total dedication, individual care and friendly attention to both Anne and myself helped us through an extremely traumatic nine days.

We got to know so many of you by first name, we felt as though we could have been a member of your own family. To absolutely all staff, doctors, nurses, physio, x-ray, pathology, cooks, cleaning staff, administration people, and all the other staff involved that we did not meet, we are eternally grateful for the total care that you all showed us. Thank you.

It has not been a great time for Australia with our recent losses but you are all very special people!

Anne and Paul McKay

Coominya, Queensland

PS: if we fall ill in the future we are coming back to you!

Were you a cadet officer or instructor?

May I request that every school teacher or other person who was an officer or instructor of school cadets, prior to 1975, who has access to a computer, contact me on For speed and costs, email is the only way we can function.

The government is investigating recognition for these people and we are lobbying for an earlier Recognition Medal to retain parity with the Australian Defence Medal.

Please contact me ASAP.

Dave Marrinon

Brunswick Heads NSW

Thanks for helping the blind

Thank you to all who have given their unwanted eye glasses, which have been forwarded to the Christian Blind Mission to help those in needy countries. They send their sincere thanks. If anyone has unwanted eye glasses please leave at Terry White Chemist in Lismore. Thank you for helping others.

Lois Keep


Nimbin police a good news story

As we all are aware, bad news can make more interesting reading than good news, particularly when the incident involves the NSW police.

My husband and I were privileged to experience the caring softness of two police officers who travelled from Nimbin on Saturday evening as a response to our daughters concern when she could not raise us on the telephone all day Saturday.

As she lives in outer Melbourne she felt powerless to know what the problem was, even though Telstra thought the phone could be off the hook.

As my husband has had open heart surgery a few months ago, she thought this an unlikely situation, so she rang the Lismore Police Station.

The officer who attended to her call offered to send a car out, and as we live closer to Nimbin, the car came from that village.

As one does, we were quite alarmed to have a young policewoman and young policeman arrive at our door when we were in our pjs as we go to bed early.

After realising that the call out was not bad news, I checked the phone yes, it was slightly off centre and I felt so bad about the outcome of this discrepancy, and of course, said so.

Both officers smilingly said they were so glad it was a positive outcome, as many of their calls are not, and the young lass told a story of how when she lived in Mudgee she could not raise her father in Ballina, and felt just as panicky.

We both praised their concern and help and they seemed rather pleased, as they said they did not often get praise. So, I do not know your names, but a great big thank you for a community service well done.

June Crawford


Real men respect women

The incidence of rape and other forms of cruelty to women is increasing dramatically across the world.

In Australia I recently checked records. In the 1950s there were nine that s right, nine only cases of rape or attempted rape across the whole country.

Now the rape and abuse of women and girls is extremely prevalent. Now there would be tens of thousands every year. Rape and murders of very young girls is common. Thousands of women, mostly young women, go missing and are never seen or heard of again.

Many in the male dominated media, who control social engineering, try to put across that it is natural for Australian males to rape women and that it has always been like that.

That is simply not true.

It is not in the nature of human beings to be violent towards women in any way. It is in the nature of men who are men to seek to protect women from danger.

Women are now warned not to walk the streets alone. Parents, fearful of the paedophiles who are never shamed, let alone listed, drive their children to school and other places. In indigenous communities the rape and sexual abuse of children is pulling communities asunder. What to do?

There is a crying out need across the whole globe for leaders to recognise that what happens in social contexts hugely impacts on what happens politically. In Australia, people like me, who could make a difference, should be supported, not blocked out for being truthful.

Lots of males have no right to call themselves men because they are more concerned with loyalty to mates who put their sadistic sexual gratification ahead of being authentically good human beings let alone real men.

Kathryn Pollard


PM thinks one size fits all

PM John Howards obsession of trying to convert all of us to his own values, which he ever so modestly refers to as Australian values, has reached another level of intensity, you might say insanity.

Diversity of values, in fact diversity as such, is an irritant to the fascist mind, because to him there is only one true and valid expression of everything in the universe. Hence the fascist minds obsession with the number one.

Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Fuhrer! (One People! One Empire! One Leader!) as the Nazi salute goes.

Thankfully, most people around the world have matured and grown out of that kind ofadolescent narcissism. There are some notable exceptions though, where the smell of gun-powder smokeand the whooping cries of cowboys and indians still dominate the brainwaves.

Howard says he wants to replace zealous multiculturalism with a clearly defined national identity. Defined zealously by none other than himself, of course.

Still, I think Howard couldve made that announcement more authentic by declaring it from a balcony in Rome, or from the podium of a Munich beer-hall.

Talking of Munich beer-halls:

Aspiring Australian citizens, who wish to educate themselves about Howards clearly defined national identity, only need to visit the Oktoberfest, where they can get glimpses of, through showers of urine and vomit, the kind of values they will need for passing the test.

Dont you love that expression: clearly defined?

Isnt that the name of fascist paradise, where the clear definition for everything is being protected by barbed wires and by a very clearly defined god who is rather fond of raising flags and looking after his devotees bank accounts?

Tom Koo


Testing times for migrants

The doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to the equality of the Englishman or the Chinaman... Nothing we can do by cultivation, by refinement, or by anything else will make some races equal to others.

Its obvious that Prime Minister Edmund Barton was not contemplating multiculturalism when he expressed these sentiments in Parliament on September 26, 1901. I think John Howard would have felt at home back then.

The 1901 Immigration Restriction Act required prospective migrants to sit a 50-word dictation test. The test was not necessarily in English. This guarded against the possibility of English-speaking non-whites being able to pass. A government memorandum of 1914 reported that all Asiatics failed the test.

The 1958 Migration Act abolished this test. It wasnt being used anyway. Immigration Minister Alexander Downer Snr, speaking in Adelaide the following year, said that ...there are between Europeans and Asians real differences of customs, culture, religion and economic standards which prevent assimilation.

Clearly, a dictation test hadnt helped much.

Now here we are, multicultural Australia, planning to re-introduce the dictation test and whatever else our PM decides migrants should know about our history and the values we supposedly hold dear. I wonder whether hell be as tricky with his tests as his predecessors were a hundred years ago.

What on earth will all this achieve? Will the government conduct free classes to help these people assimilate within Howards timeframe? Will it help combat terrorist acts on shores?

Those of us growing up in this country after WWII will remember the wogs, the dagos, the Balts and all the other reffos who, in their own time, together with the other migrants that followed, enriched our culture and played a big part in making multicultural Australia what it is today.

And we didnt need dictation tests to achieve that.

Barry Walsh


New mill no good for Tassie

Gunns Ltd wants to build a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley in the north of Tasmania. The proposed site is quite far from Gunns major plantations but is quite close to native forests, which should be protected in reserves rather than being felled for wood chips. If the mill goes ahead, each year it will consume over 3.5 million tonnes of logs, dump hundreds of tonnes of organochlorines into Bass Strait and emit thousands of tonnes of gases and particles into the atmosphere. The mill also plans to use outdated and dirty methods which use very toxic chemicals.

This is why I think that the mill is a very bad idea. Each year the mill will log around 8000 hectares of native forest. This would put a big strain on the vulnerable flora and fauna species. The mill will release dioxins and furans into the environment (these are highly toxic substances). This could cause abnormalities and diseases in fish, seals and other marine life as well as increasing the risks of acute respiratory infections, chronic obstructive lung disease, asthma attacks, cardiovascular disease, and lung cancer for humans in some areas of the Tamar Valley. The mill will also destroy jobs in industries that rely on Tasmanias clean, green image (such as tourism, agriculture and wine). The mill will consume 26 billion litres of water annually. This is many times the amount that the whole of Launceston uses each year.

The risks that come with this proposal far outweigh the benefits that it would bring. Gunns Ltd and some politicians will probably argue that the mill will create new jobs and be great for the areas economy. However, it is very important to note that these people are most likely only thinking of money and power. If the state government of Tasmania approves the mill, it will be obvious that they do not truly have the peoples best interest at heart

Y Lakefordei


Accessible preschools for all

According to last Thursdays Herald, Eddy Groves of ABC Learning, at age 40, is worth $260 million. Clearly there is money to be made in childcare. But how can that be when so many preschool centres run by parents in the Northern Rivers are struggling financially? The answer is that ABC conducts its centres in wealthier areas where double income families can afford high fees. Additionally, much of Eddys income comes from government subsidies.

This is a system that discriminates against children from less well off backgrounds. Thus begins a process whereby children are disadvantaged at the start of their lives by the fact that because of the high cost of preschool education often their parents cannot afford to work.

My opponent in the March 2007 elections, Don Page, recently announced that the Liberal-Nationals Coalition has made a commitment to invest an extra $362 million in preschools over four years if elected into government in March 2007. Eddy Groves will be pleased.

I applaud the increase in funding (although it is pitifully short on what is required) but unless it is directed to low income areas and to schools which need it, most of it shall end up merely increasing corporate profits. The funding should not go to centres that are milch cows for business.

The Greens believe that all children should have access to free, public, high quality preschool and that funding should be specifically targeted to that aim. It also believes that teachers need to have appropriate qualifications and receive significantly increased remuneration and status within their profession.

John Bailey

Greens candidate for Ballina

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