Letters to the Editor - June 3

Sporting chance
At the last Sports PAG meeting it was brought to our attention that Lismore City Council is considering cutting funding to local sports clubs that has always been available through the Urban and Rural sports grants. Considering how much sport contributes to the local economy and that one of the reasons we are able to attract so many sporting competitions here is the quality of our facilities, it seems ridiculous that the Council would consider cutting funding to those community sports clubs that do so much to provide those facilities from which the community benefits. For the relatively small amounts of money which the clubs receive, they have achieved amazing results over the years and are often able to attract further Sport and Rec funds which are then used to further improve their facilities.  
If you care about health, fitness and opportunities for sport for all in our community, write to the LCC Councillors and urge them to keep the proven benefits that the Urban and Rural sports grants provide.
Therese Crollick

Natural resource
Norway – a country which owns its natural resources. It also has great education, healthcare, social security. I groan as I think of the overseas ownership of Australian resources. Rex Jackson was vilified, why didn’t his vision become a priority for the government so that every Australian would benefit?  
Christine Russell

Facts please
The Rudd government’s planned Resources Super Profit Tax (RSPT) will effectively replace the royalties mining companies currently pay, so it is NOT a tax on top of another tax. Incidentally, Santos announced it would delay exploration for gas because the ETS was scuttled by the Opposition and they wanted certainty. Did other companies react in this way? We hear very little comment about this aspect. It seems Rudd is simply trying to get a better deal for the people of Australia and the resulting tax is for good long term infrastructure. Judge a policy on the facts not the simplistic half truths of those opposed to it.
B. Guy

Mining madness

Following the announcement of, surprise, surprise, the obscenely rich mining magnates’ fortunes becoming even more obscene in magnitude, Julia Gillard proclaims that to be a “good thing”.
It is a good thing to extract wealth. It is a good thing to pay your workforces far less than is being extracted from the world’s citizens for the goods they produce. It is a good thing for multi-national companies to seek out the most desperate, impoverished people in the world to pay the lowest wages, that will keep them in abject poverty in a subsistence existence. It is a good thing for money to be drained from people world-wide to enhance obscene wealth.
Where else does this wealth come from, Ms Gillard? Where else but from extraction from the population at large? How else other than by taking from the rest of the world far more than you pay out?
Taking people’s money, Ms Gillard. Not creating money, taking money that people once had. People in countries like Greece, Italy, Spain ... creating the poverty we are now seeing.
This is a good thing. This good thing is capitalism. The extraction of money from the masses for the benefit of a few. Nearly all of the people involved in the creation of the goods bringing this wealth will get only a small fraction of the wealth generated by the goods they created. This is capitalism. This is a good thing.
Capitalism is not a good thing. Capitalism, once again, is destroying our world. Socialism has been demonised by capitalists because sharing wouldn’t allow their wealth. But sharing Australia’s wealth, for example, would mean we could all have affordable housing, a car, a decent living. All that is fast disappearing. Because we have no alternative to capitalism. But, believe Julia, capitalism is a good thing.
Doug Burt

Vino veritas
I am surprised and disappointed by The Echo’s decision to discontinue Moya Costello’s wonderful wine column. Not only does she supply useful information about affordable wines, she has cultivated an extremely humorous, entertaining and clever variation of the wine appreciation genre. It is rare to craft such a fine balance between a passion for the grape; wit and charming self parody of the critic’s role, and some memorable turns of phrase. I will miss this column, there is nothing else like it in the region, whereas CD reviews are already very well represented. I certainly hope that Moya finds a new home for her marvellous musings and I suspect Dionysus (or Bacchus as the Romans preferred) may concur.
Andrew Jones

Empty glass
Please reconsider the decision to cease the “RYG” column by Moya Costello and replace with a CD review. As a loyal reader of this newspaper, I found this particular column most helpful when choosing a wine to enjoy. Perhaps there could be enough space to have both – might keep us all happy in our reading.
Liz Patch

Reading lesson

Don Halliday, I actually pity you for your views. Please try to read a book that isn’t so easy reading, like a dictionary, and contains more than simple word meanings. Peter Mullins, once again thumbs up.
K Hourigan

Casting stones
Don Halliday (Echo, May 27) exerts that Lee Andresen “is not at liberty to rewrite the dictionary to suit his own lifestyle” yet he himself seems to have rewritten the bible to adhere to his own narrow minded perceptions. Halliday quotes Corinthians (6:9-10) as “Neither the sexually immortal ... nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders... will inherit the kingdom of God.” However, in the King James Version, the Kings James Revised Version and Darby Bible Translation the word “homosexuals” is never mentioned nor are specifically “male prostitutes.” Halliday also proclaims that Leviticus (18:22) is a passage prohibiting gay marriage. “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman.” To me, this passage only speaks against adultery; do not sleep with a man while he sleeps with another woman.   
Evidently, the bible has many interpretations but I do believe the one thing that cannot be misread is that God would never condone any harm or hatred being brought unto another. This includes the hate and prejudice that is constantly inflicted upon homosexuals in “God’s name.” It is not up to us to pass judgement unto others. Thus, everyone should have the same rights and then perhaps this truly will be a free country.
Tace McNamara
East Lismore


I don’t know what useful purpose Don Halliday imagines is served by the quotation of snippets of scripture out of their context (‘Boundary Rider’, Echo, May 27).
Then there are the problems of translation. Homosexuality, as we know it, was not even recognised in Greco-Roman times. Don Halliday quotes 1 Cor. 6:9. Here, my Jerusalem Bible uses the terms “catamites and sodomites”. The French version of the Jerusalem Bible translates the same original Greek as “depraves” and “gens de moeurs infames” (“the depraved”, “people of unspeakable morals”) – not necessarily the same at all.  
Whatever the translation, we can be sure that every text in the Bible dealing with homosexual activity also refers to aggravating circumstances such as idolatry, sacred prostitution, promiscuity, violent rape, seduction of children and violation of guests’ rights. As a result one can never be sure to what extent the condemnation is of homosexual activities as such, or only of homosexual activities under these circumstances. Nowhere is there a specific text which explicitly rejects all homosexual activities as such independent of the circumstances.  
So the “plain commands” that Mr Halliday insists on are, to a more careful reader, not so plain at all. Surely God expects his most intelligent creation to live in accordance with thoughtful morality rather than in slavish adherence to some dumbed-down rule-book?
Peter Mullins

Poor language
Re: Indigenous bbq promotes mental health awareness (Echo, p4, May 28) “There is a big stigma surrounding mental illness,” Community support worker with New Horizons Craig Tozer said.
Yes, he did. And you repeated it. Why?
He has been trained to say it, teach it, you have been trained to repeat it.
How do we untrain you, him? Where do we begin?
There are considerable misunderstandings about   mental illnesses, above is one, from a professional. Why we continue to teach them puzzles me. Are they really that important to us?
Apparently they are.
Harold A. Maio, retired Mental Health Editor, Ft Myers Florida

Stand tall
Once again you have touched an issue I saw (in my official capacities) coming decades ago. The pillaging of a community institution (asset) by profit creaming, greedy political predators (opportunists). Just as in transport, power, water, education, “health”, security, defence (and a little in vets affairs), food production and distribution, “justice”, foreign affairs, welfare etc ad nauseam. Ingrained criminal corruption backed by US guns. Even the Mafia don’t play the savage games of government and the Corporate Taliban (Global Super Mafia if you prefer) and their callous, cruel jackals (as in “Day of the....”). Australians! Stand united against these vile servants of Mammon! Stand by your Tall Poppies, including volunteers!
Dr Maarten de Vries

Pattern emerging
Your report Slap on wrist for illegal logging, by Andy Parks, Echo May 27 on the totally inadequate response form DECC in regards to forests NSW breaches is indicative of the set pattern the NSW ALP has taken to this issue while in government and points to another reason they should all be sacked at the next election and replaced by the Greens. Basically the ALP enacts laws and then sets up under resourced agencies to police them as is the case with DECC.
This entire process is nothing short of corrupt as it flaunts the requirements of the Act that regulates this noisome forestry activity and shows that when it comes to forestry in NSW and indeed Australia very little has changed since the 1970s. As Mr Pugh states there are definitely more breaches happening regularly in every state forest between the coast and up to the Northern Tablelands and throughout the state as State Forests NSW rampages across the landscape destroying the ecological integrity of our state forests. Of course they and their logging mates do not see it that way. Within their corrupt and outlaw culture they still think that our forests are their exclusive domain. This is illustrated typically when State Forests NSW routinely close forests during logging destruction so that no one from the public can legitimately monitor their compliance, as happened at Ewingar when I went in to film them destroying lyrebird habitat and encroachment into buffer zones marked to protect water courses. On latter inspection these areas are now degraded, weed infested wastelands whose top soil has been totally bulldozed away into gullies which eventually erode into the Clarence River and down into the mouth of the river further silting it. The fact that Clarence State MP Steve Cansdell indicated to me that he is pro-logging shows just how insidious and entrenched the culture of cronyism is here on the North Coast amongst both the major political parties. It also shows how more than ever neither of the major political parties are fit to control government in this state and that this control needs to be given to the Greens to bring some honesty, integrity and transparency to government in NSW.
This applies not only to forestry but to just about every aspect of governance in this blighted, ill managed and morally bankrupt state.
M Mizzi

Tree Change
I read with interest your article by Andy Parks “Slap on the wrist for illegal logging” and it further undermined any modicum of faith I may have left in the NSW Government and their Department of Environment and Climate Change to adequately manage our forest estates.
We are having similar difficulties down here in the south of the state. How long do we have to endure the incompetent bungling of Forests NSW in supposedly sustainably managing our forests?
In the past few weeks, we have seen this renegade department illegally send contractors in to log critical koala habitat at Mumbulla Mountain without following the procedures set down as requirements under the NSW Government regulations.
Protestors at the site have reported breaches by contractors and staff of Forests NSW own regulations and Harvest Plans for these compartments on almost a daily basis.
Now this week we have the disturbing news that the logging has been taking place in an area gazetted as an Aboriginal Place under Sec. 84 of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.
Administration of this Act is the responsibility of the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water and its Minister, Hon Frank Sartor MP.
Surely a NSW Government Department that has gone rogue, regularly breaks the laws of this state and lost $14.5 million of taxpayers’ money just last year must be reined in as soon as possible before the last of our old growth trees, critical endangered species habitat, crucial water catchments and sacred Aboriginal places are trashed beyond recognition and sent to the Eden woodchip mill.
We have been trying desperately to get this message through to the NSW Government for many years without success and I ask the assistance of your readers in phoning or writing to the Premier, Kristina Keneally as a matter of urgency to ask her to step in and put an end to this bungling incompetence before it’s far too late. Contact details are available at the South East Region Conservation Alliance website www.serca.org.au.
Seán Burke
Central Tilba

Footpath dining

I would like to lend my support to the proprietors of the River Junction Cafe in Coraki in their attempt to gain an exemption from Richmond Valley Council to provide patrons with BYO dining at their al la cart facilities in Richmond Terrace.
Other letter writers supporting the concept at the picturesque venue have touched on various issues such as, attracting tourism through the provision of quality services, fostering small business, adding to the amenity of their constituents, the experience and ability of the proprietors to administer RSA laws, the small scale (six seats) and limited hours (40/week) of the proposal and the fact the exemption has been successfully operating for the last six years under previous management, with no incidents.
While all these are valid arguments in support of the exemption and deserve to be taken into account, I would like to focus on two other aspects of the council decision to reject the exemption, on the casting vote of Mayor Col Sullivan, quoting ‘Police advice’.
Firstly, the seemingly two-faced actions of Mr Sullivan and secondly the apparent double standards of the local Police in their administration of the alcohol free zone in Richmond Terrace and the adjoining park.
I may be naive, but I would like to think that I can believe in and trust both our system of local government and our Police force and to this end, I would like to put the following questions on the public record to be answered by Mr Cox and the Coraki Police.
(1) Why did Mr Sullivan advise the proprietors in a face to face meeting that he felt “Common sense should prevail and the application should be approved without even going to a council meeting” and then vote against it?
(2) Why after six years of incident free operation   has the exemption been re-imposed?
(3) Does Mr Sullivan want to foster and support local small businesses within Richmond Valley Council?  
(4) Why was alcohol consumption in the alcohol prohibited zone tolerated by the Coraki Police during the recent Bridge to Bridge event?
(5) If no Police were allocated to supervise this annual event where alcohol consumption is known to occur, why not?
I have submitted several photos of people at this event drinking literally in front of the Police Station and can provide numerous more of alcohol being consumed in the Park and on the street during the Bridge to Bridge.
Why is a small operation such as the River Junction Cafe, run by two industrious local women who had the foresight and guts to re-open the venue and try to provide a quality service, being singled out as a potential threat to the peace by the Council and Police, when much larger scale events such as the Bridge to Bridge seem to attract a blind eye?
I look forward to improving my understanding of this seeming paradox with your responses.
Mark Robinson
Lismore Heights

- (Mark Robinson is the brother of one of the owners of the River Junction Cafe and an employee of The Northern Rivers Echo)

Clear information

The proponents of the current McLeans Ridges development application recently declared that there has been misguided information surrounding their application. Perhaps they are referring to their submitted document that claims that our tiny hall is adequate for a population of 10,000 or perhaps it refers to the fact that the application fails to mention that its 62 on-site septic systems are located on steep land in the Wilson’s River drinking water catchment.
Not all development is good development. The Lismore community should not be out of pocket for developer gain and community safety should never be compromised for developer profit.
The problem is that this DA does not comply with policy. Without the implementation of policy that is designed to avoid poor planning and despite years of debate, McLeans Ridges could become a large totally car dependent community with an urban character and yet lacking necessary infrastructure to facilitate the growth of a safe, cohesive community. The developer contributions and additional rates collected will not cover essential upgrades of local roads and intersections impacted by this development, maintenance of roads and community lot, garbage collection and monitoring of septic systems. 
This development will constitute a significant net expense to council!
The developers propose to widen and straighten the section of Cameron Road adjacent to their subdivision. This is to accommodate the 19 driveways and 3 intersections that contravene the Lismore Rural Housing Strategy not for the benefit of the community as they suggest. As a result Cameron Road will alternate dramatically from a slower winding rural road to a section of straight wider faster road fronting the subdivision and community lot and then suddenly back to a narrow winding road. Perhaps the RTA may agree to reduce the speed limit- this is not guaranteed-but how would it be enforced?
With regard to the required community lot, the developers have chosen to make available a very steep block and then propose major earthworks to provide two curving, narrow flat areas divided by a rock retaining wall (in an area where brown snakes are common). As a result of very controversial decisions made by the previous council the community lot is required to be purchased with public funds and paid off by future development. It is situated on what will become a busy intersection on a road that cars could travel at higher speeds than they currently do. Unfortunately as there is no provision for parking and as it is so steep, lacking in toilet facilities and poorly located it will be unsafe and present difficulties for parents with prams or elderly people to either access themselves or to supervise young children or even for local teenagers to safely access independently.  
The irony is that many McLeans Ridges residents do not even contribute to the Lismore economy due to its proximity to Wollongbar, Alstonville and Ballina.
C Dalton
McLeans Ridges

No goal

Oh, spare me. Here we go again. It’s nearly World Cup time and here comes more interminable hype generated by a bunch of namby-pamby, milksop, limp-wristed, perfumed, pomaded, prancing pony drama queen nancy-boys diving at the merest whiff of physical contact and swooning in anguish at any kick that comes within 20 metres of what they laughably call a goal.
Compared to our fine football codes of Aussie rules particularly, and rugby union and league, soccer is vastly inferior and I intend to take a stockwhip to the blather it is. For starters, it’s too easy! The ball is round and bounce is predictable.
Any buffoon can kick the bloody thing. You just nudge it with your foot and it rolls along the ground. My grandmother’s quite good at it. And dribbling is for babies and the occasional nonagenarian. Real Men (like Barry Hall and Jonathan Thurston) Don’t Dribble. They do manly kicks like drop punts, torps, banana kicks, and grubbers.
 In soccer you don’t have to pick up a ball, throw, catch, or heaven forbid, punch it. Can’t ruin an expensive manicure or wisk spwaining our wists, can we? The game is dumbed down by the removal of that manual dexterity which elevates us to the pinnacle of the animal kingdom. Chimps can be trained to play it expertly in no time at all apparently. God wouldn’t have given us opposable thumbs if we weren’t meant to use them in ball games. As for ‘heading’, the higher incidence of brain damage in soccer players is appallingly obvious if you’ve ever listened to an interview with Diego Maradona, so enough said about that.
 I could write a thesis on the deeper psychological ramifications of the unpredictability of the bounce of the oval ball and its strange trajectories that reflect the randomness of human existence, the mental freedom of eschewing small, box-like playing fields, the jarring reality of a good shirt-front or head-high tackle, and, in Aussie Rules – greatest of all games – the refusal of the spirit to be shackled by the yoke of the offside rule. Reportedly introduced by the Marquis de Sade in 1768 it has no place in decent human affairs and is as useful to sporting endeavours as tantric sex is to, well, anything really.  
You see, it’s all to do with sex, nature’s strongest urge. Specifically, scoring. I don’t need to explain the benefits of a good orgasm, even to a soccer player or fan, brain damage notwithstanding. Scientists, philosophers and sports commentators have waxed lyrical for years on the subject, so why is it so difficult to score in the world’s most popular ball game? Ninety minutes of plunging about for what? Frustration! Rage! No wonder the game fosters hooliganism and violence. Countries have gone to war! It’s a breeding ground for terrorism and action is needed.
 I suggest much larger goals, expansive oval fields, no offside rule, physical contact to alleviate aggression and promote masculinity, use of the hands, an oval ball to enhance skill levels, and AFL enforcer Barry Hall to adjudicate on divers. Then you can legitimately call it football.
Robin Archbold



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