The bad, the good and the...?

The bad, the good and the...?

Sheik Hilali deserves the criticism, such as John Hannafords letter (Echo, November 2), for his cat-and-meat comments.

On the other hand, correct me if I am wrong, but I dont remember Mr Hannaford also praising the Sheik when he deserved it. A year ago, that is, when the Sheik saved Douglas Woods life in Iraq, by risking his own in the process.

Also, as P De Gray (Echo, November 2) has revealed, a Jehovah Witness pamphlet describes gays and lesbians as the worthless fruit of a rotten tree.

I find that description of my fellow human beings just as offensive as the Sheiks remarks.

What about you Mr Hannaford?

Tom Koo

Alstonville

Echo typo not on

Oops! Its nice to find your letter featured in the green box but some of the gloss was lost when a little word not appeared that wasnt in my original letter.

The third paragraph should have read in part: Im sure most Australians would accept that Uluru is a sacred place to the Anangu...

Publishing this correction could save me from much abuse from most Australians and any visiting Anangu people.

Barry Walsh

Lismore

Iemmas double trouble

Dear Mr Iemma,

Perhaps you would be kind enough to tell me why two of your ministers, Hickey and Roozendaal, are still in a position of responsibility. A couple of weeks ago, four young men were killed in a terrible motor vehicle accident. Roozendaal was all over the news saying more maturity was needed to operate a vehicle and rules should be changed to do so. Roozendaal was in trouble twice in a very short period of time for driving inappropriately, ie driving as a single person in a transit lane. As minister of transport he should know better where is his maturity? Hickey was arrested for doing nearly 50 per cent above the speed limit where is his maturity? Hickey says hes sorry. I dont want a character reference! Why does your government continue to pass laws that the police cannot enforce due to the sheer number of new laws? If you cannot keep your ministers in line, how will you keep your state on an even keel? Personally, I will voice my opinion at the next state election.

Michael Wright

Mt Nardi

More Inconvenient Truth

Unlike Simon, Mia et al I found this movie very worthwhile. A fact I found particularly interesting was that the CO2 emission of China and India, added together, were well below that of the USA.

The way John Howard has been going on, I had wrongly assumed (as he no doubt intended) that these two were the biggest CO2 polluters. Not by a long chalk!

In my opinion Al Gore is doing a great job, and certainly not just preaching to the converted. The recent large turn-out at the global warming rallies 12,000 in Sydney alone was due to stirrers like him raising awareness of this threat to our globe.

On ya, Al!

Marijke Fitzgerald

Upper Mongogarie

Time for a change

I recently saw the film by Al Gore, The Inconvenient Truth. I was shocked to see how much the world is changing and what it will come to in my generation. It makes me sad to think that some people do not want to make a difference to the world and change bad habits. I definitely will make a change and persuade others to do the same.

I think Al Gore is an amazing person that has the ability of making a change in the world we live in today. If only people would stop worrying about themselves so much, and co-operate with the changes we need to make.

The movie was really well put together, and helped me to understand a lot more about global warming and its consequences.

I have talked to a few people about this movie, but mostly my mum. She said what a tragedy it was for the human race and the planet that Al Gore lost the election. We could already have made many changes.

I urge people to follow in the footsteps of Al Gore who is trying to make a difference and trying to change the world.

Karinya Oldfield (aged 14)

Nimbin

Betraying the people

I heard John Howards comments on how he would be betraying the economy (or something along the lines of that) if Australia was to sign the Kyoto protocol. Betraying the economy?? Is that your pathetic excuse? Well, by not signing it, you are betraying your country and the citizens of it, betraying the future and the people of it, betraying nature and the rest of the world, and also betraying yourself and your family.

Money wont matter when the world ends it wont count. What really matters is not whether you have a plasma screen TV, a leather lounge and a Mercedes Benz to go in the driveway of your mansion on the beach (which will eventually be underwater anyway), but whether we are living at a healthy temperature, that nature is living at a healthy temperature, and that our grandchildrens children will live in a safe, happy and healthy world.

Think of the future, and the future will think of you.

Sarah Hort (aged 13)

Lismore

State school hijack?

So the Christianised Howard Government wants to introduce chaplains (clergy) into state schools. The question that I raise is this: Is this a back door approach by Christian politicians to take control of the education system, pushing to the fore mythological religious dogma? In my opinion if we are to address the problem fully, we must recognise chaplains for what they are, and for their limitations as counsellors, in regards to skilled secular guidance. Childrens education should be more important than dogmatic religious laws, creeds, theologies, and beliefs put forward by chaplains as a way of counselling the young. This is a controlling spirit of fear because children are led to believe that without Jesus they will be punished in the eternal fires of some supposed Hell. As there is no real evidence for any of this religious dogma including a God, it should not be taught as truth by way of counsel. Chaplains would be a handicap in the advancement of honest education. Many laws and regulations in our society today are based on religious doctrine, which is a law that is not shared by all people in our land and this law becomes repressive and becomes self defeating by undermining respect for the law in general. Would Christian school teachers, students and parents tolerate an Islamic counsellor on their staff?

We also have Queensland Premier Beatie urging people to pray for rain. Just how simple-simon can a politician get, and still remain a sensible politician?

Jim Lee

Alstonville

Credit where credits due

Re a personal altercation outside the back of a local hotel on October 27 at around 9.30pm over a suspected diseased paedophile.

My whole hearted thanks to those teenagers and others that witnessed the irrational behaviour of the said person in question. After witnessing an assault on myself, now suffering a suspected broken finger and bruising, these teenagers (who know who they are) came to help in my hour of need. They deserve medals.

This was a personal vendetta and should not have had to be witnessed by these switched on youth. We only ever hear about our youth when they do the slightest thing wrong, never about the duty of care to others, which in this instance blew my mind.

Again, many many thanks to the very caring kids who are quite obviously against sexual predators or the like.

Jacqui Cornelius

Alstonville

Let men Reclaim the Night too

On Monday, October 30, a friend of mine and myself were discussing the Reclaim the Night rally that happened recently in Casino where men were invited for the first time to take part in the march.

The talk got around to the banner in Uralba Street, Lismore, advertising Reclaim the Night. It says on the banner about respecting women and children yet when it comes to the actual march men arent invited to join, which makes me think that there is a bit of feminism going on here and a bit of male bashing.

Because I dont know how to contact the organisers I am writing this through the newspaper. Children grow to become adults and many have lasting effects of abuse. Such effects are costly on society. Many estimates put sexual abuse on girls as being one in four and boys one in seven. Isnt it time that organisers here allowed men to participate in the march?

The legacy of abuse is incalculable to society. In Melbourne men are encouraged to participate in Reclaim the Night marches why cant it be done here? Many male survivors of child abuse do grow up with awful legacies. All of my brothers were bashed as kids and as a result my middle brother grew up an angry young man who, now middle aged, is still unable to deal with the legacy of his childhood. My oldest brother, who is mentally challenged, has vivid memories of his abuse. Me myself, well, I am a survivor of physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse as a child. I think both men and women should be encouraged to march together in the upcoming march. And by the way, on the sign over hanging Uralba Street there is no date mentioned for the march, so how do people know when its on so they can attend? I couldnt attend the Casino march but I congratulate the Casino organisers for having the courage to include men in their march. Many men I have met over the last few years have faced their devastating pasts and they deserve to be allowed to participate in the upcoming march!

Helen Coyle

South Lismore

An open apology from CASPA

To those members of CASPA who missed the opportunity to attend the AGM, we offer our sincere apologies. It appears that during the past two months, mail posted at Lismore Post Office has either been seriously delayed or has never reached its destination. On checking with Lismore Delivery Centre we were told that staff shortages had resulted in a mail backlog of a couple of days. We are therefore unable to explain the discrepancy between a couple of days and delays of a few weeks, nor the non-delivery of some mail. We at CASPA try to keep members of the public informed at all times, and at this stage simply do not know how we can remedy this situation. We hope you understand and appreciate our concerns.

Sue Wilkins

Chairperson

CASPA

No fair go for welfare recipients

Apart from Muslims, refugees, Aborigines, gays, David Hicks, unions and the ABC, no group has copped more flak from the Howard Government than welfare recipients over the past decade.

Our carefully woven welfare safety net has been meticulously undermined by the federal governments demeaning propaganda and tough new welfare legislation. Designed to reinforce unflattering stereotypes, the Dob in a Dole Cheat campaign and the novel concept of downward envy has transformed compassion and sympathy for retrenched and unemployed workers into resentment and loathing for lazy non-productive dole bludgers. Now we have Centrelink pension cops raiding homes to crackdown on single parents who share accommodation and living expenses!

It is alarming and shameful to watch the federal governments ongoing assault on welfare recipients. Instead of providing incentives and real assistance to encourage people back into the workforce, Howard has embedded fear, intimidation and bullying into Centrelink Welfare to Work contracts. Inflicting onerous obligations and harsh financial penalties on struggling single parents, people with serious health problems, and disadvantaged under-employed workers clearly benefits no-one and is totally unnecessary, unwarranted and unhelpful.

Despite the booming economy, over two million Australians still rely on the welfare safety net. In Howards brave new world, each individual is held responsible for their circumstances. The failure of governments and the free-market to provide jobs, and basic services, including affordable housing, transport, and health and dental services is yet to be acknowledged or addressed.

Taking on the corporate cowboys, reigning in tax evasion and business welfare requires real strength and commitment and would save billions of dollars, but Howards Cowards prefer to pick on the easy targets and chase the small change.

Unfortunately Mr Howards leadership does not engender respect and admiration, only fear and loathing.

Michele Grant

North Coast Social Equity Alliance

No sacred cows here

It was all those years ago, in an ashram in India. The venerable Maharishi whats-his-bloody-name tried to weasel his way into Mia Farrows knickers.

Yep: history is a garbage dump of holy rollers, mystics, muftis, sages and other assorted illuminaries, all trying to shove dear old Jack back into his box. But, as we know, long periods of solitary confinement makes twisted fetishes out of us all.

That includes everybodys darling, the essence of one hand crapping: the Dalai Charmer. Poor old bloke turns a whiter shade of prudishness every time masturbation is mentioned. By comparison, it makes Pope Benedict-stop-it-or-youll-go-blind-Ratzinger of Rome look like the camp champ of sexual liberation.

And what to say about the self appointed high priest of protestantism, president of the United States of Fat? The great George W junior, boss cocky of the Coalition of the Willing. It certainly doesnt matter how willing Africans are theres no aid money for them if theyre caught holding a condom.

Just where is the Big W at? Has he turned the entire CIA into a bunch of namby-pamby culturally sensitive bed sniffers? Is that why theyre having intelligence failures?

As for the toast of Sydney town, the mufti with the mostest, just what type of meat was he talking about? Surely it wasnt a pork chop? Therell be no backyard barbie for a bad boy like him.

And talking of Barbie it fell off the back of a truck only yesterday, a container load of Barbie Doll deodorant.

Send me all your credit card details, and its yours.

Catch ya later, Im off, as quick as a brides nightie on her wedding night.

Frank Cook

South Lismore

Desex your cat now

Warmer weather heralds kitten season, and local animal welfare groups have already started the rescue and rehousing of hundreds of unwanted babies. In one morning alone, the Animal Rights & Rescue Group took into care a four-week-old abandoned kitten and three beautiful nine-week-olds dumped inside a box. While accidents happen, now is the time to spey/neuter your cat to prevent those unwanted litters (and to also prevent tom cats wandering, fighting and spraying!)

Unfortunately there just arent enough good homes for all the kittens (and puppies) born each year, with shelters and pounds around the country swamped with discarded animals. It is an old wives tale that having a litter makes an animal more settled, or that they are in some way missing out by not breeding. For anyone who says Id like for my children to see kittens being born I say take your children to a pound to see the ones euthanased because there arent enough homes for them. To anyone who says I dont have a problem finding homes for them, I say spend a week with ARRG (or any other animal welfare group) and see the puppies, kittens and adult animals that are brought to us, found in cardboard boxes, taken to Council pounds or vets, or dumped to turn feral.

Talk to a vet the advantages of desexing far outweigh doing nothing, and the cost is minimal for a loved family member who will live with you for around 15 plus years. For pet owners in genuine financial need, assistance with desexing can be provided.

Please check out ARRGs website www.animalrights.org.au or contact us on 6622 1881 for more information. We are a non-funded organisation of volunteers who rescue and rehouse unwanted, lost and neglected companion animals. Many of our animals awaiting adoption can be viewed on the website.

Michela Brown

Alstonville

Open letter to Transport Minister, John Watkins

Dear Mr Watkins,

We have it on good authority from a veteran rail engineer who has inspected the now closed Casino-Murwillumbah rail line that it would cost less than $500,000 to make the line (including bridges) safe and operational, which could be achieved in less than two weeks and return trains to our tracks. Apparently most of the materials required for the work have already been delivered and are located on site.

The closure of this rail line, and refusals from the NSW Government to reinstate the line, do not bode well for Labors chances at winning the seat of Lismore in March 2007 from the Nationals. The demise of this rail line and Labors refusal to contemplate its reinstatement in the immediate future prove to many that Labor has indeed abandoned the North Coast. Indeed, it seems to me that this government believes NSW stands for Newcastle, Sydney and Woolongong.

Why has the government ignored all the petitions, submissions, proposals and letters from the many people of the North Coast affected by the closure of this line and advocates of public transport for this region while still managing to find plenty of money for rail services in the city? Why is the government refusing to release its engineering report on the line that came up with theexorbitant estimate of $21.7 million to repair the line? Why wont the government commit to beginning repairs to the line immediately, rather than playing politics with the federal government over cost splitting? Why, after all the proposed expenditure on the line, is the government only considering returning the nightly XPT service, and not investigating a commuter service? Sydney is not the only destination North Coast people want to travel to. And lastly, how do you explain that there was absolutely no community consultation before closing the rail service?

This rail line is vital infrastructure which will be crucial again in the not too distant future as fuel prices rise, road traffic increases, climate change worsens and tourism flourishes on the North Coast. It is short-sighted, and to my mind reprehensible, that the NSW Government should abandon this vital public transport infrastructure for the North Coast and its ever growing numbers of residents and visitors. I look forward to your answers to my questions.

Andy Gough

Greens candidate for Lismore

Living Library a first in Oz

Last Friday, Lismores own Living Library was officially opened by its patron, Lismore MP Thomas George. As a member of the organising committee and one of the Living Books, I am very delighted with the obvious success of this outstanding community project.

The Lismore Living Library was entirely the initiative and work of community members and supported by Lismore City Council and the Lismore Library. The concept was first proposed by Sabina Baltruweit from The Channon. Her idea to start this in Lismore was based on the original project initiated by the Danish youth NGO Stop the Violence in the year 2000. Since then, it has spread to other countries in Europe. Notably, this is the first of its kind in Australia and coincidentally followed the ABC Enough Rope program shown earlier in the week where Andrew Denton interviewed a Living Book and reader from Sweden. Lismore Councils community development officer Shauna McIntyre managed to have Lismores project placed on the ABCs website, and has since had numerous enquiries from around Australia.

The idea is a very simple one based on principles similar to a normal library; the difference being that instead of lending out a library book, a person may be borrowed out as a living book for about a half hour session. The borrower sits down at a table with the living bookand asks questions on all sorts of matters. Unlike a normal book, you can direct your own questions on aspects of the books life.

This project excited me because it is a way of encouraging a very different approach to community interaction and promotes a new form of community dialogue. It is especially valuable in presenting opportunities to develop trust and social cohesion. It enables anyone in our city the opportunity of a new experience and the prospect of opening our minds to a much wider community beyond ones familiar circles.

I have attended many community activities over the years, but for me personally, this was a unique event and I believe my colleagues share this view. There were many books including senior citizens, disabled people, Aboriginal youth, a farmer, people of various religious backgrounds, gay men and lesbian women, migrants, a female police officer and even the Superintendant of Police. Many locals young and old attended, such that it was difficult to move around. There was an excitement and vibrance in the crowd. It all showed to me the deep need within people to talk about their lives and for others to listen and respect. In so doing, on this day at least, a new sense of community was created. Lismores Living Library has a great future. Announcements will be made as to future venues and opening times.

John Jessup

Lismore


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Community groups rally for homeless

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Art recognises the memory

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Give me Fisherman's Co-op over swanksville any day

hygge is the Danish word for enjoying life's simple pleasures

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