Letters to the editor - Apr 15

Blind faith
So Kristina Keneally, our American Premier, the one Joe Tripodi and Eddie Obeid forced on NSW, has it in her pure “Christian” mind to throw the key away on those murderers the NSW jail system has failed to rehabilitate? But of course, there is an election coming up in NSW isn’t there? Law and order anyone?
The next thing you know she and her jackboot parliamentarians will be dealing out the death penalty. But then what can you expect from someone professing the most murderous of all faiths, the paedophile hugging, inquisition running, witch burning Roman Catholic Church?
M Mizzi

Corby cover-up 
Schapelle’s on the cover of Woman’s Day again. They’re sending her, at gunpoint, to a remote Java prison. Away from her family, she’ll die. Prisoners starve and sicken without relatives to feed them and visit. Meanwhile, this flaccid government does nothing, while Indonesian terrorists and killers get far less. But maybe Rudd’s more frightened of her coming home and revealing her innocence, and the cover-up at our airports. Google ’schapelle corby faq’, then ’ray cooper afp’, then ’gary lee rogers’. It’s a horror story of evidence denied, corruption and the death of a whistleblower.
Kim Bax
Cedar Vale

Wasted millions

Isn’t it time to stop wasting millions of dollars by our bureaucrats? The NSW Government is paying over $150 million to some consultants; how much are these gangsters charging? Didn’t the NSW Government just have to pay $270 million for a transport link in Sydney that never will be built? Then another $30 million as compensation to some companies? On the other hand we see cuts to the breast cancer detection unit, to the services of The Buttery and to local self-help and empowerment groups. Haven’t we learnt that with the cuts to the sexual health clinics years ago, we are now seeing a huge increase in STDs (sexual transmitted diseases) and a rising rate of HIV infections. Remember the big discussions if putting needle dispensers on train toilets would encourage injecting drug use? Well, they never got into the jails where they are really needed with the high rate of hepatitis and HIV inmates , but then most politicians believe that there are no drugs.
Chibo Mertineit

No parks, no business

When I look at what is happening to Woodlark Street my reaction is “what a waste of money”. Whose idea was it to build those ugly garden plots? Didn’t they look at Molesworth and Keen and try to make the block uniform and see how effective those smaller gardens are. They only take up one car space, sad as that is.
Let’s get onto car spaces. According to the man from the cosmetic shop 113 car spaces have been lost since 1997. Assuming all of these were two-hour spaces and were occupied for the full two hours, which wouldn’t have happened, that is 452 cars that could have parked each eight hour day, carrying people wanting to do business. Don’t forget that the majority of people on the street come in cars. Genuine shoppers don’t want to sit on seats and look at gardens. They want to do their banking or shopping and go home. No wonder the CBD is doing it hard. Lismore Square is successful because there is adequate parking, convenient to the shops. The loss of 113 car spaces is a disaster for the Lismore shopping block as the old timers knew it. All I can ask Lismore Council is this: Please don’t decide that the Browns Creek car park isn’t pretty enough. Leave it alone!
AW Robertson

Gender rights

A friend of mine contacted me the other day and informed me about the situation that the daughter of his friend is currently experiencing. Maggy is a nine-year-old girl who was born a boy and began to identify as female from around the age of six.
Maggy naturally wanted to attend school in accordance with her natural gender expression and as such came to school dressed as a girl. The school not only refuse to allow her to come to school dressed as a girl, they have even demanded that she use a separate toilet and have given her mother no explanation as to why. On top of all this the mother, who has been supportive of her daughter, is now under investigation from the Dept of Human Services who have, during conversations with her, implied that the mother is responsible for the child’s transgenderism or confusion as DHS puts it.
Maggy should have every right to be treated with respect and be allowed to live in accordance with her natural gender expression just like every other child is entitled too. The school should be fully supportive of her, as should the DHS. Sexism, neglect and bullying have no place in Australia and the sexism and bullying perpetuated towards transgender children shouldn’t be considered any different.
Ben Cooper

Say no to quarry
The Tucki and Tuckurimba communities are under threat of now another bigger expansion proposal of Champions Quarry. The wider community spoke up last year through letters and submissions to Lismore City Council who listened to the concerns and refused the application on 11 grounds.
The current proposal for expansion is larger than the one refused by Council last year (now being appealed at Land and Environment Court by Champions Quarry). This new application has been enlarged to qualify as a Part 3A – a major project, to be assessed by State Planning and decided by the Planning Minister. Issues like amenity (enjoyment of where you live), truck traffic, noise, dust and ecology (including the large koala population at Tucki) are all being judged on a desk in far away Sydney. Judgements on our road safety, our koalas, our amenity. The departments assessing this application are using an Environmental Assessment provided by consultants for Champions quarry. Some of the information in this document needs to be questioned and we the public must point these things out to State Planning, otherwise they will assume the situation here at Tucki is as presented in the EA.
We spoke up last year loud and clear in our letters and submissions and we all need to do the same again, this time to NSW Planning. If we don’t speak up NSW Planning can assume we agree with the expansion application. Please make the effort to write your objection.
You can view the Environmental Assessment at www.planning.nsw.gov.au (under ‘Development Assessments/On Exhibition – Champions Quarry). Address your submission to Champions Quarry Project 09 0080, Major Development Assessment, Department of Planning, GPO Box 39, Sydney, NSW, 2001. And you can ask that your details remain private and confidential.
Rod Wadsworth
Tucki Community Against Mega Quarry Inc.

No work choices

Has the federal Labor government done what it  was elected to; get rid of WorkChoices? No. Their Fair Work Australia has allowed some collective bargaining but retains the most draconian parts of WorkChoices that criminalises industrial action and prevents union officials from effective contact with their members.
Now with Labor’s expansion of the 457 visa scheme, employers no longer need to test the market for Australian workers before offering jobs to overseas workers. In a survey of 50 companies, two thirds of respondents said they were continuing to recruit 457 visa holders while reducing staff numbers overall. Where a local worker might get $100,000, 457 visa workers may get as low as $45,000.
Many Australian workers can expect drastic wage cuts or unemployment in the near future.
Meanwhile, the pay packets of chief executives at Australia’s top 100 companies have increased twice as fast as those of ordinary workers between 1993 and 2009. In 1993 average executive earnings were about $1 million. By 2009, it had risen to around $3 million.
All around the world we’re seeing what I believe we should be seeing. Globalised capitalism has impoverished many once equitable societies, where now the struggling poor suffer deprivation and the obscenely rich remain so, or get even richer, even when the “economy” collapses.
For those that think population expansion here is “good for the economy”, could you please answer me this. Just whom do you think our great free market capitalist economy will be good for?
And when you realise the answer, join your comrades worldwide and get out there to protest, to display civil disobedience, to strike, whatever it takes. I believe you don’t have a choice.
Doug Burt

Belief in numbers

When challenged about the content of belief, it’s easy to trot out the old chestnut which seeks to characterise religious belief as a bloodthirsty enterprise (Jim Lee and M Mizzi,   Echo  , April 8). After all, history appears to be strewn with the wreckage of witch hunts, crusades and religious wars. But have you ever considered that those who did these things went against the very content of Jesus’ teachings?
And let’s get some historical facts straight here guys. Millions weren’t killed in His name. Many "religious" crimes have been misconstrued or greatly exaggerated. Many conflicts that appear at first glance to be religious in nature (eg Ireland and Middle East today) are actually ethnic, political or cultural wars that divide along religious lines.
The Crusades, the Inquisition, some of the religious wars of the Reformation, and the Salem witch trials, on the other hand, were more related to the content of belief. Even so, the record is not as grim as many make it.
Hundreds of thousands of witches were not burned at the stake. Follow the footnotes of those who make the claims. The Salem witch trials resulted in only 19 executions before it was stopped – by Christians. The Spanish Inquisition involved thousands and the Crusades tens of thousands, not millions.
What historical evidence does M Mizzi have to justify his outrageous claim of 45 million? Remember, these events were supposed to have occurred in a period of history when only one city in all of Europe had a population over one million – Paris.
Of course, it’s tragic when even a handful of innocent lives are taken. Injustice isn’t justified because the numbers diminish. But an accurate accounting does serve to put things in perspective, especially when one considers the alternatives, which do number in the 10s of millions. The simple fact of history is that the greatest evil has always resulted from the denial of God, not the pursuit of Him.
John Hannaford

Corporate mayhem

The big secret. Mining is not actually improving our standard of living. The dollar is valued so high due to mining that other businesses such as tyre companies or other manufacturing have all being sent broke, unable to compete on the world markets or with cheap imports.
Corporations do not cover the damage to our health from poisonous emissions or sufficiently repair or make up for earth devastation. They are only concerned with profit not the liability of the devastation both social and physical they leave in their wake. The infrastructure they rely on is mostly covered by the taxpayer. Corporate tax is minimised due to the clever tactics of running loss companies as part of their empires that only corporations can enjoy.
This is the result of globalisation where only the few can actually make the money and the majority of the world’s population become a shifting, homeless, unemployed bunch that rush at the gates of developed countries hoping to stop their families from starvation as corporations take over land or supply wars to make their profits caring nothing for the local populations.
Sadly many of these would-be immigrants are mistaken as corporations are strong enough now to make in-roads on industrialised developed nations creating similar havoc, but to a milder degree, to what is going on in the third world.
No government is strong enough to bring them in line, depending on corporate funding to gain power and enjoy lucrative, too-hard-to-resist directorships at the end of their political careers.
Al Quada, the world’s demon, was a resistance movement against unpopular Middle Eastern Islamic governments that were being aided and abetted by America, thus eventually their attention was directed to the United States. The US has a century-long history of helping dictatorships stay in power as many were helping US business interests who were in the form of the corporations that now are controlling the world’s finance, agriculture, medicine, media and government. Any government that had bristled at the straight jackets that were imposed have been quickly eradicated with the aid of US governments, their military and the CIA.
Now we can be thankful for this corporate straight jacket for the advent of worldwide ecosystem demise along with the eradication of ethnic variety of humans reducing everyone to unhealthy consumption robots who seem to be losing all knowledge and ideas of parenting and healthy eating habits. This creates a huge liability for the inevitable welfare industry that has erupted to soak up the damage of such a ridiculous way of running the world where an aristocratic class sits at the top sweeping all wealth unto itself while social systems break down and mayhem erupts.
Lynne Oldfield

Ramada rort

I read with interest, and some surprise, the letter from Ian Mills printed in local papers relating to the application before Council to change the Ramada Hotel from a   tourist facility to one that allows permanent residency. Mr Mills contends that the Ramada experience will be different to the (first Ramada) Riverside experience, because the Riverside apartments “were originally designed as residential units”.
Well goodness me, that is not what you told me, Mr Mills. I was among the group of councillors who met with you when the Ramada Riverside development application was before Council.
Back then, you told us of the value of having this up-market hotel right in the CBD; back then, you told us of the benefits of having tourists right in the centre of Ballina; back then, you told us of the wonderful trade for local businesses, and how they would benefit from tourists staying in this fine hotel, and how the whole CBD would be revitalised. And now, you’re telling us that the apartments were always actually residential units!
Why, then, did you go to such lengths to convince me and my fellow councillors that this was an up-market hotel? And why are you now going to such lengths to convince readers that the “previous experience of the (first Ramada) Riverside should not be used as an example of what would happen at the Ramada”? How is this story different to the one you were telling in 2000? The current scenario appears eerily similar to me.
One last question, Mr Mills – why would anyone invest in such a venture, if, as you say, “we never expected to make a commercial return”? One thing you do know, “as a real estate agent”, is that if these Ramada apartments are changed from tourist to residential, the value of every unit will instantly increase substantially. Right?
I hope every councillor who votes on this (there will not be many councillors present for the vote) makes their decision with the best long-term interests of the Ballina community paramount.
Marilyn Perkins

Fighting cancer

As a member of the Australian cast of the stage production of Calendar Girls, I’ve learned a lot about the impact of blood cancer preparing for my role.
I’ve learned that around 10,000 Australians will be diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma this year. I’ve learned that most people start treatment straight away and for those in regional areas, they often need to relocate because treatment is in the city.
I was shocked to learn that blood cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer death in Australia.
And I’ve learned what is possible when people work together for a common cause.
The ‘real calendar girls’ were ordinary women who responded to a blood cancer experience with a decision to do something. They posed nude for a charity calendar causing a media storm but 12 years on, they’ve raised over $1.5 million for leukaemia and lymphoma research in the UK.
Like our UK counterparts, the Australian production of Calendar Girls will help lessen the emotional, financial and physical impact of blood cancer. Proceeds from a special charity final dress rehearsal performance on April 28 in Sydney and merchandise sold throughout the season will fund research and free services to support Australians impacted by leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
We hope you’ll join us in supporting the Leukaemia Foundation’s Vision to Cure and Mission to Care.
Amanda Muggleton
Cast member
Calendar Girls



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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