Letters to the Editor - Mar 11

Learning curve
As a new law student at a “left wing uni”, Robert Speirs (Echo letters, Mar 4) is “appalled to see all the resources and funding afforded to bible bashers at a secular university”. Why the moral outrage?
Does he believe that only students who have a particular brand of political and religious belief should have access to resources and funding? And what’s all this about the “Jesus myth”? It sounds like his knowledge of history comes from   The Da Vinci Code   rather than any serious scholarship.
I trust that Robert avails himself of all the academic resources available to him during his time at university, because it seems to me that he has a lot to learn.
John Hannaford

Surface tension
Robert Speirs’ (Bible blues, Echo, Mar 4) letter to the editor contains little fact and many judgemental, emotive and inflammatory comments. Who are these “redneck homophobic bible bashers” at the university and what were they doing to have upset you so much? What resources and funding do they receive? Are you certain that this funding is actually from the university? Are they teachers or students? To describe the presence of these people as an infestation is derogatory and implies an extensive number. I doubt that it is a large percentage of the university population. How can the rest of Lismore express an informed opinion about your letter when you do not provide any real information about your claims? I sincerely hope that readers will seek the facts before supporting or denouncing them.
Why do you think that to be an academic means that you must be devoid of any religious belief? Any Australian of any faith has a right to study at university in this country.
It is incorrect to state that the person of Jesus is a myth. Minimal research will reveal that there are pagan and secular as well as Christian and Jewish historical evidence that Jesus actually lived and was crucified by the Roman government.
To state that the belief in heaven and hell is ‘crap’ shows your opinion clearly but sadly promotes the narrow- minded view that anyone else’s opinion and belief contrary to your own is stupid. Surely ‘in 2010’ we are heading in the direction of respect and tolerance towards other people and their beliefs?
My hope is that the readers of The Echo are level headed and show commonsense so as not to resort to the destructive bipolar criticism that your letter is inviting.
Lisa Pirlo

Open mind

University should be a neutral place open to the exchange of ideas and where people’s opinions are subject to healthy debate.
Robert has labelled SCU as leftwing and secular when really it is an educational facility comprised of students from many different backgrounds and belief systems. These students need to feel free to discuss their ideas and beliefs and be confident that even where they disagree there will be mutual respect.
If Jesus is a myth why is Robert so worried about Him being discussed at SCU? If the arguments against the existence of Jesus is so strong, then why not engage in healthy debate about it instead of heaping disrespectful abuse and intolerance on fellow students at SCU?
With respect, my learned friend Robert should spend some time reading the historical evidence for Jesus.
D & K McPherson

Lismore rates
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed 3.5% rate increase on top of the 2.6% rate peg for 2010/2011.
Some time ago when this was first put forward, I spoke out in favour of the increase, with the idea that most people would not mind contributing extra dollars to gain better roads and services.
Now that figures are available, it appears that an extra cost of approximately $50 a quarter will be added to my rates, as well as a possible extra charge for a waste collection service.
I am very aware that many people in the Lismore region will find this extra amount too difficult to manage in a time of other escalating service prices and rising interest rates.
Our welfare agencies are finding it hard at the moment to cope with the demand for assistance, and an increase as proposed by Lismore City Council to generate $800,000 will definitely affect a great number of families.
My message to Council is the same as our parents gave to us many years ago, cut your cloth to fit your budget, and look to saving in your own departments.
I am disappointed that Council sees fit to ask for an extra rate increase as well as an increase in normal Council services, ie waste collection etc and now withdraw my support for the proposed special increase, and ask Council to manage their budget with the 2.6% approved rate increase, together with an approach to other government departments as to an increase in road funding and funding to address environmental issues.
This will surely be an interesting debate.
June Crawford

Street scape

To the mother/daughter thug combo who verbally abused then punched me on Thursday morning on Keen Street.
What on earth makes you think it’s okay to assault an innocent and speechless person holding a child?
To those witnesses outside Woolworths at 11.30am and the police who tried to help; thank you.
To my son who unwittingly set off this ugly and unfortunate chain of events by simply weeing in a gutter please be proud that your mother didn’t stoop to the level of roughneck reprobate and retaliate.
Violence like that is a disgrace and should not be tolerated in our community.
So, even though you’re only three, please watch out where you wee.
Name and address withheld by request
Class action
A national school curriculum at last! Whooppee! What commonsense. Another great initiative by the Rudd government which, in the short and long term, will assist students, teachers, parents and employers and, therefore, Australia. Now, if only the Coalition and their naïve cohorts will stop their self serving tactic of obstructing every carefully planned policy put before parliament by our Prime Minister then maybe our elected government will be able to fulfil their plans for climate change and health.
B Guy

Chopper change
The effect on our bodies and minds from the stress of the constant campaign to eradicate our culture and lifestyle has yet to be taken up by the medical profession. However, after the last lot of ‘drug raids’ where the police helicopters hovered directly in front of my house, not once but three times, left both my partner and myself (both in our sixties) feeling violated and exhausted. As my partner suffered a heart attack a few years ago, I was concerned that the nerve-shattering experience would finish him. Whether we grow   pumpkins or marijuana, makes no difference, we live on a ‘hippie community’ and that’s enough as far as the police are concerned. We must all be criminals. Yes, we are outlaws. Outlaws covered in compost and other Earth-friendly elements as we tend to our gardens and animals. We do not obey laws that forbid the growing of food, trees, herbs or flowers. We do not feel that laws governing our very existence to the point where we can’t speak or protest, are good laws to be obeyed. Even our basic freedom of speech is under attack, as it is in many dictatorships around the world. The feeling I had the other day was perhaps not too dissimilar to that of a villager in Afghanistan when confronted by armed men in helicopters. Why don’t the police concentrate on the real problems like alcohol-fuelled violence and corporate crime and corruption?
Sophia Hoeben

Road kill

As a regular walker of City View/Barham Street I have to say I’ve never seen so much animal carnage on another road in Lismore. I also see on a regular basis cars reaching speeds of more than 100km, going both up and down the very steep, straight and long road. In a period of less than a year I have come across numerous snakes, countless green tree frogs, lorikeets, possums, a cockatoo and an echidna. In February I waited with a dead wallaby for WIRES to come and save the young pinky in its pouch and on Tuesday, March 2, I came across someone’s beautiful, uncollared pale orange and white cat. To the owner, I am sorry if this is how you have found out. I called the Council that day so they could remove it and check it for a microchip and to my disbelief, the cat was still there on Friday when I passed again. I’m a cat lover and couldn’t stand to leave its body there, so buried it in my backyard that afternoon.
This is obviously a high-wildlife area and something needs to be done about the speeding. I’ve written to Council and if you live on Barham Street, especially with children, I suggest you do the same.
To the speeders of Lismore, where are you going so fast? What could possibly be more important than the welfare of every living creature around you? Your ignorance makes me sick.
Oliver Wilcox
Girards Hill

Base load

Lismore Base Hospital may have its detractors. I am not one of them. Having spent the last nine days in their care for a significant health episode, I want to recognise and celebrate the care I received: world-class, modern, professional, efficient, caring, warm and human. The health care team was friendly and supportive and the ancillary services great. The food was honest, wholesome and more than adequate. Let’s not bag our local committed health workers, but rather treat the open sores in public administration in our state: the waste and bureaucratic overheads, the excessive burdens placed on the PBS through over-prescription of unnecessary meds and over-servicing of unrequired pathology. I give thanks that I live in Australia with its excellent public health system, open to all: things would be very different in our nearest neighbours PNG and East Timor, not to mention the corporatised system which neglects the poor and needy in the US. Thanks LBH C6 staff: you rock!
Peter McKellar
North Lismore

Summit con

Not long ago we had, in Australia, a summit to end all summits. From far and wide in Australia, experts and others were drawn from our population to give the new Prime Minister, KRudd, advice for the betterment, welfare and future prospects of Australia.
The taxpayer funded the immense bill, the papers clamoured accolades and marvelled at the audacity of such an event and the people were enraptured that somebody in high office cared. Now time always moves on and basically nothing of any note has happened. The master craftsman of the summit, KRudd, has not mentioned it for ages.
Rod Harvey Latham

MISA fight

There is no doubt in my mind that the KRUDD government has failed to deliver on many of its election promises. But there is worse. The Prime Minister continues to pay lip service to improving mental health services, but not only does his administration do sweet bugger all in taking new initiatives, they are destroying excellent existing programs by removing funding.
One in particular is very close to home, and that is the local community-based Mental Illness and Substance Abuse (MISA) outreach program of The Buttery. This program has been providing vital support to people experiencing mental illness and alcohol and drug use issues on the North Coast for the past five years. Tragically, unless we can stop it happening, MISA’s funding will come to an end in June 2010 and there is currently no future funding available to ensure continuation of this vital service in our community.
The urgent need for this service is reflected in the increasing incidence of mental health problems in our community. There is much evidence that many people who experience mental illness also struggle with alcohol and drug issues. MISA supports individuals and their carers and offers a number of group programs promoting mental and physical health. MISA also provides educational programs to local high schools which focus on early intervention and prevention and which have been demonstrated to reduce the chance of developing mental illness.
There is no other service on the North Coast which provides this essential and unique support to people struggling with both mental health and drug and alcohol issues. It is crucial that funding be reinstated so that MISA can to continue to provide such an indispensable service to this rural and under- serviced region.
I urge you to write or email your concern to our local Federal MPs, Janelle Saffin or Justine Elliot.
Or better, to The Hon Mr KRUDD himself.
Dr Len Martin

Good neighbours
As neighbour of the Gundurimba mission, I hear from time to time sounds drifting across the small valley between us. I rarely hear joyous happy sounds. Children crying, rather than laughing. Couples arguing, trail bike noise, men fighting followed by engines revving, squealing tyres, accelerating cars, women screaming, followed by silence, a police siren and the worst sound – ambulance siren.
Tonight though a different sounds is wafting across the valley. The wind is in the right direction and I feel like I’m in their front yard, it’s that clear. I can hear new sounds. Sounds I rarely hear from them mob. There’s laughter and lots of it! There’s KC and the Sunshine Band, Boney M, Creedence too, and people singing along. Lots and lots of singing! It’s one helluva party! The happiest and most joyous party I have ever heard and if I’d had an invite I’d be there too having a ball.
So thanks to the mob on the hill for having such a great party.
I enjoyed it!
Stephen Lee

Long term problem
Homeopaths recognise that the prolonged intake of substances can have an adverse effect on people. The symptoms depend on the substance. The symptoms associated with fluoride are well documented. They include: materialistic dependence and the desire for plenty of money, addiction to gambling, narcissism,   psychopathic and criminal behaviours, sexual deviance and promiscuity.
These are all symptoms of modern western society. Homeopaths are concerned that they could be caused or aggravated by mass fluoridation.
We don’t want these symptoms in Lismore – so don’t add fluoride to our water!
Dr Douglas Wilson (BVM&S PhD MACVSc Vet MFHom)
Lismore Heights

I smell a rat
In reference to Graham Lancaster’s comments (Echo, Feb 25), if sodium fluoride is not toxic, why was it used as a rat poison, and why does its Material Safety Data Sheet start with the words DANGER! MAY BE FATAL IF SWALLOWED OR INHALED?
If it is not strictly speaking a waste product, the same cannot be said of the hydrofluorosilicic acid, sourced as a byproduct of superphosphate fertiliser manufacture, from which it is made.
Martin Oliver

Low form of wit

Reply to Peter Mullins (Echo, Feb 18).
You started your letter the way the bishops might have addressed Galileo, by using sarcasm. It is just as I said, if anyone disagrees with the “faith” of evolution he is to be decried. You mention the Mary Valley Lungfish and say that it exists in the fossil record just as it is today. If the fossil is millions of years old it begs the question; has it stopped evolving? Surely it should have changed by now. Could it be that it is a species in its own right and that’s why it’s no different now. Galileo’s science may have contradicted church teaching but I doubt he contradicted the Bible. What are the six contradictions?
Does the last 200 years of research emphatically contradict the Bible’s creation account?
Astronomers Fred Hoyle and N.C. Wickramasinghe stated “If one is not prejudiced either by social beliefs or by a scientific training into the conviction that life originated [spontaneously] on the Earth, this simple calculation [the mathematical odds against it] wipes the idea entirely out of court.”
Astronomer Robert Jastrow said: “Scientists have no proof that life was not the result of an act of creation.”
Talking of the Genesis account geologist Wallace Pratt noted that the order of events – from the origin of the oceans, to the emergence of land, to the appearance of marine life, and then to birds and mammals – is essentially the sequence of the principal divisions of geologic time.
Sounds to me that science and the Bible agree.
K Bailey

Detailed response

Dear Mr FoRster (please note spelling) of Lismore... JUST Lismore.
So yours is an “innocent” johnny-come- lately church of only 25 years as you so smugly inform us? One of the great things about starting a new religion is you can just absolve all past history. Convenient no doubt, but am I accurate in assuming you are still worshipping the same Christian god, or have you invented a new one? Please feel free to correct me, for the sake of accuracy you know.
If your letter is anything to go by though, I do note that your “new” religion is certainly not above trying to disguise the past by using the crimes of others as a diversionary smoke screen.
No, I have not “conveniently” forgotten the deaths under fascist regimes, in any country. However no matter the scale of whatever other crimes that have been committed, it does not somehow excuse those closer to our discussion.
In your fervent denial of The Inquisition, you are starting to sound more than a little like the bloke who makes his career out of denying the Holocaust. I wish you could tell your claims to the victims.
But of course those Albigensians tortured and burned themselves for a bit of fun, along with all the women accused of witchcraft or Judaism. And Torquemada was really a misunderstood good guy? Just “following orders” no doubt, as he poured yet another litre of water down the throat of some naked and restrained woman choking for breath.
I simply cannot believe your callous and dismissive attitude to even “the few thousand” (your figures), killed in the Inquisition! The church did less comparatively, so therefore it’s all okay? Surely, if indeed your religion is “Christian”, then even one death would have been one too many! It’s simply not a question of numbers, or even degrees; except perhaps the temperature for the victims in those burning pyres.
It’s not hard to find an “authority” that will deny anything these days, and I think you may just have cornered the market. You will remember not all that long ago when there were doctors telling us that smoking not only did not cause cancer but was positively beneficial?
So some Evolutionists have invented fakes, eh? And so you now discredit the whole premise for the sins of a very few. Are you forgetting Christianity has not exactly been reluctant in the production of bogus artifacts?
There are bodies and bones of saints, various holy shrouds, veils and nether garments, pieces of the “true” cross and other crucifixion paraphernalia etc. All “genuine” of course! At one count there were at least seven holy foreskins all purported to belong to Jesus doing the rounds! He must have been one very gifted feller! Of course that’s not to mention a couple of heads of John the Baptist.
Faking on such a grandiose scale makes Piltdown Man look positively amateurish by comparison. So by your own standards, will you now condemn all Christians for the deception of some?
And then you tell us you don’t have room to discuss continental drift. You wasted far too much on your subterfuges and over-extended history lesson sir! Let’s deal in what did happen, not what might have. Regardless of your quoted Baumgardner’s “Catastrophic Plate Tectonics”, I am very, very confident in stating that no continent has ever changed its relative position on this globe by 1500km in 4500 years.
I mentioned your assertion to a well- informed geologist, and his retort was “If Australia was moving that fast, I’m surprised Captain Cook could catch it!”
B Parker

Fishing expedition

Most of the blame for Ballina’s terrible fish kills of 2001 and 2008 now seems focused on the aftermath of summer flooding and de- oxygenated run-off into the mid Richmond River and what farmers have done. Others escape sentence.
And even more disturbing is the lack of reference whatsoever to Emigrant Creek fish kills along Ballina’s very own floodplain on the lower Richmond River, somehow deemed unworthy of mention.
Could this be a cover up for the heavyweights of the past half century under the guise of road builders and developers, who forged their track of landfill destruction right across the Ballina and Emigrant Creek floodplain, with neither fear nor consequence for the damage?
In early years of white settlement, Emigrant Creek floodwaters flowed down the Tintenbar and Cumbalum valleys directly to the Richmond River at Ballina in just a few hours. Not so today as floodwaters are hemmed in and pushed back up the valley to Tintenbar and other floodplain areas to sit and ferment and de-oxygenate into Emigrant Creek for months on end.
This phenomenon takes place day or night, winter or summer, no holds barred, as floodwaters endure for extremely lengthy periods and kill everything beneath it.
Now the final crunch as Ballina Bypass falls into shape replicating the “Great Wall of China” from one end of the floodplain to the other, strangling the valley and inhibiting the flow, while developers await the landfill of every last cavity and breathing space they can lay their hands on.
When will someone in authority take hold of the reins for this iniquity?
John Hayter


Lismore Gallery exhibits capture our reach

Lismore Gallery exhibits capture our reach

As a public facility the gallery's remit is ensure reach is broad

Escape the screens and let's get cycling

Escape the screens and let's get cycling

cycling gives your mind a break and your body an influx of oxygen

Gallery exhibits a 'portrait' of Lismore

Gallery exhibits a 'portrait' of Lismore

Two of our best photographers give Heart & Soul to new exhibition

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