Letters to the editor - Feb 11

Tiger, tiger
Thanks for a great paper and keep up the good work. This is in the nature of a request for a good Chinese horoscope for the Feb 14, Chinese New Year, forecast for the coming year for the 12 signs. Last year the Chinese New Year coincided with Australia Day and there were few horoscopes in newspapers and magazines. This year it falls on Valentine’s Day and I fear those of us interested in Chinese horoscopes will miss out again.
Please do your best for this week or next as I’m sure many of your readers would be interested, perhaps a Feng Shui page to complement the horoscope.
W L Stevenson

Fun for many

Re Laurie Axtens, Speedway (Echo, Feb 4). Laurie I too heard the Speedway from my house in Lismore and thought “they must be having fun.” Enjoyment in life is not a bad thing.
The Speedway was no louder than the roars and cheers coming from the football crowd of over 3000, I thought they too were enjoying themselves, calculate the environmental footprint of 3000, they didn’t all walk or ride a bike there.
Then there was the Tropical Fruits event with that constant doof doof doof echoing through the night. I heard that too and thought they too were enjoying themselves, but imagine the environmental footprint, as many who I spoke to flew in from Sydney, Melbourne and even as far as Perth. Many arriving in Brisbane then by bus or hire car to Lismore – an environmental footprint greater than a “Pink Elephant.”  
Laurie, I live by Voltaire but neither he nor I would put his life on the line for trivial dribble. Put your white coat back on and “TANKS” for making me realise just how tolerant I think therefore I am.
R A Nutt

Speedy response
 I would like to rebut Laurie Axtens’ complaint about Sunday night’s speedway event. It was not at all loud for some of the residents that live along the main roads that lead to the Lismore showgrounds entrance gates.
I’m a local resident of North Lismore living straight across from the speedway. I moved here not long ago from Goonellabah and never worried about the noise up there! And I, have not had any problem whatsoever since moving here. Knowing what is held at the Lismore Showgrounds did not change the fact of me moving to this lovely neighbourhood. I did not once need to raise my voice to be heard, let alone need to turn the volume up on my television.
For all those who live near this facility and have complained about the noise just remember you made your decision to live where you are, knowing full well what functions are held at the Lismore Showground, as did I.
Mr Laurie Axtens, there has been a Facebook campaign created and there were 213 members just overnight rallying to support the speedway. Not all the supporters of this campaign are locals but people who travel and pay for accommodation and food, which in turn does encourage clientele in Lismore. Members of this rally have been trying to find your campaign and yourself, but have not found neither of you, which questions is this so called campaign false?
S Carrall
North Lismore

Making noise

In response to two articles in last week’s Echo, I’m not a follower of the Speedway and, as a resident of Caniaba, generally find the noise experienced intrusive, even at that distance.
Nevertheless, I understand that many people – not necessarily Lismore residents – enjoy this as a form of recreation and support their right to do so. However, I’d make the following comments and raise some questions for Lismore Council. As a long-term supporter on Council of the development of the North Lismore plateau as rural residential, apart from the many arguments the Council used against supporting this development, if the Speedway complies with the relevant noise levels, how is it that Lismore councillors were advised by Council planning staff – on more than one occasion – that one of the reasons for not supporting the subdivision was that the noise levels were unacceptable and that supporting the rezoning would lead to the end of the Speedway? If Council staff were present at every meet, as the operator of the Speedway claims, and the noise levels comply with the relevant regulation, but for the residents of North Lismore, who are the most affected residents, it is intolerable, what does this say about the regulation? Why is it that other rural towns have recognised that, regardless of the previous history, events such as this are no longer acceptable next to residential development? How would this work if the existing Speedway were located next to a superior residential development in Goonellabah rather than on the floodplain? Finally, why did Lismore Council permit the extension of the number of allowable Speedway meetings per year to 16, and the colonisation of almost every long weekend and public holiday as Speedway meets? Surely an organisation with a commitment to its local community rather than just purported economic benefits (whether the Speedway or the Council) would not have allowed this to happen.
Ros Irwin

Your ABC

The Federal Parliament is currently debating a bill that has ramifications for the composition of the ABC Board. The government is seeking to re-establish the position of a staff representative on the board and to ban former politicians from taking a place on the board.
The bill is designed to make the appointment process more transparent and to avoid the political cronyism that has been apparent in the past. It seems the Coalition parties are planning to vote against both these provisions. They argue that the board will be denied the expertise of former politicians. On the other hand they feel the expertise of people like Quentin Dempster (the elected staff representative) will provide a conflict of interest. The Coalition seems to be cautious of employees having any input into an organisation’s management.
The Friends of the ABC have argued for many years that we need a new system of appointment to the board and believe staff representatives bring valuable expertise to the workings of the board. We trust that Greens and Independent senators will support the government in this measure.
Neville Jennings, President, Northern Rivers Friends of the ABC
To Peter Spencer
Peter, congratulations for your efforts, which have generated worldwide attention, especially here in Aussie. The decision you made to descend from your temporary home on your Tower of Hope has generated hope into so many people’s hearts who have become very disappointed by this government and previous governments alike.
The way is now open to move forward. I extend special thanks for taking the time to converse with me personally. Also to “Woody” and your family for being so kind to my bus passengers from the Lismore area, who are in absolute support of you cause.
We did have a “450” support group at Lismore Workers Club, which was a positive. So for now, good luck and best wishes.
Jimmy Harvie

Striking a balance

Great to see G Wallace is finally back after a protracted absence from the Echo’s letters page.
I, for one, and surely I speak for us all, have sorely missed his/her/its lucid, witty, intuitive, incisive and non defamatory socio /political meanderings.
In reference to G’s letter of Feb 4, I (we) ardently agree that “we should turn the boasts (sic) around.” Obviously there is far too much of it in politics nowadays. And yes, it’s terrible that “we” have to endure the ranting of that “nasty bit of goods” M Mizzi and other “abusive rotters” of his ilk. “We” have to fight this mob to end up with nothing! Also, good to see that it is definitely never “sick to love Rudd, even though he’s gutless”. Yes G, I too am hardly game to turn on the light, in case I encounter such drivel. I   would rather read your work in the dark, which I would proudly describe as – “A beautiful cake made from a turgid, festering, putrid pile of fruit bat and feral cat droppings, lovingly topped with hallucinogenic cane toad slime.”
In closing, hats off to you G (watch out for magpies and bunya nuts), and in that true Aussie spirit of say wot ya like and real camaraderie, I wish you a hearty “up yours” too mate... PS In case you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic.
J A Crozier

Humane to humans

I refer to the letter by G Wallace (Echo, Feb 4). After reading it I had to do a double take to try and figure out if this person was really serious, then sadly decided that yes, people do still genuinely have these sorts of ideas. What can I do but try to point out the flaws in the arguments and hope against hope (considering that they must have been pointed out numerous times before) that maybe this time it will get through. First of all, I find it actually a little amusing that G Wallace would accuse someone else of lacking in humanity and then make a comment in reference to asylum seekers like Rudd “and his mates think more of them than they do of us.” What, may I ask, is the difference between “them” and “us” except that we are lucky enough to live in country where we are relative free to hold and express our opinions and beliefs without having to fear for our lives, or even just to exist without having to fear for our lives because our country is not ravished by war?
You say yourself G Wallace that there are “around 40 million displaced in this world” but that “Rudd (is) too gutless to send them back.” There is a reason they are displaced, sending them back would be inhumane. I thought you wanted more humanity, not less?
Also, again I just can’t believe that there are people out there who buy the crap spun by the coalition that Rudd has ruined the economy. Oh but of course, the global financial crisis was all his doing, he hadn’t been in power long enough to have any lasting impact on the economy but the fall that was set up by those in power previously is the fault of those who just happened to inherit it because the people finally woke up and saw that the previous lot were no good and got them out just before it all went to shit. Seriously, use your head.
And by the way, I’m not one of those “Labor” people, Bob Brown for PM!
Molly Magahy

Hard landing

I refer to the possibility of housing development on the North Lismore Plateau or elsewhere peripheral to the town (Echo, In depth, Feb 4.)
 The LCC should make it plain to developers and potential house owners that no city style infrastructure will be extended to out of town housing development. Houses in peripheral estates could have either on-site independent power, water and septic systems or estate-wide systems thus avoiding the expansion of networks from elsewhere (apart from a road and fixed-line telephone cable).
 Sewer mains, mains power and town water services require substantial capital cost and involve significant ongoing fossil fuel consumption. The LCC could send a message to the world that low impact, low consumption living is what is needed.
If followed, this prescription might mean drack brick and tile power guzzling houses can be dispensed with.
Tim Wilkin-Smith

Natural birth
In January this year, I had a baby girl called Elka. I laboured at the Natural Birth Education & Resource Centre in Wollongbar, was transferred to Lismore Base, and returned the same morning to NBERC to spend a week at the post-natal haven. I cannot promote or recommend this experience enough.
The first week spent with a first baby is a challenge like I have never experienced. The body is in recovery, hormones are fluctuating, and a new life is upon you – a life that cries for unknown reasons, needs frequent feeding, and sleeps irregularly. I cannot imagine how women cope without people around to help during that first week. At NBERC, I was in a tranquil, natural environment. Santo (Margaret Spain) prepared beautiful meals made from home-grown ingredients, and kept the environment in impeccable condition, allowing my partner and I to be fully immersed in our “baby moon”.
 Especially important to me as a first time mother was Santo’s constant supervision and attention. Having never breastfed, I had no idea if I was doing things correctly. Santo, and my midwife Lynne Austin, answered every question I had promptly, allowing me no time to deliberate and question myself.
We are very lucky in the Northern Rivers to have such a service, and I only hope more women will take up this privilege. The experience helps minimise the risk of postnatal depression and allows parents to be fully focused on their baby. These days, as we rarely live with and receive support from our grandmothers, aunties and sisters, I think this is priceless.
Zanni Hacska
Lismore Heights

Sci? Fi!
Despite recent claims in The Echo that evolution is a scientific fact, it remains a belief that is not verifiable by science.
There are a number of uses of the word “evolution”: (1) cosmic evolution (origin of time, space, matter); (2) chemical evolution (origin of higher elements from hydrogen); (3) stellar and planetary evolution (origin of stars and planets); (4) organic evolution (origin of life); (5) macro evolution (changing from one basic kind to another); (6) micro evolution (variations within kinds). The sixth is the only one that can be demonstrated in the laboratory. It is a great leap of faith to claim that the sixth implies the other five!
Scientists have been unable to change one basic kind to another. An observable law of science is that like begets like (dogs produce dogs). If macro evolution were a reality, there ought to be an abundance of intermediate, hard-to-identify fossils. Further, another observable law is that life begets life. This runs contrary to organic evolution whose basis is that from non-life we obtain life.
Big Bang proponents claim that the universe burst into something from a state of virtual nothingness (about the size of a dot on a page), but are unable to explain from where the material packed into that dot originated.
Take the law of conservation of angular momentum (pieces that break from a spinning object spin in the same direction). If the universe began (as claimed) by a spinning dot, why do at least two planets spin backwards and why do Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune have moons orbiting in both directions?
The second law of thermodynamics states that nothing gets better by itself unless energy is added. But the universe is a closed system and so must get more disorganised unless you acknowledge the intervention of a Designer and Sustainer (which appears unpalatable to some readers).
Many leading scientists admit the inadequacies of evolutionary explanations, but, being unwilling to consider the alternative creationist explanation, adhere stubbornly to what is a bankrupt theory of the 19th century.
 True science is concerned with the observable. What happened in the past is a matter of conjecture. The belief system you choose needs also to address the big questions: where did you come from, why are you here, where are you going, how do you tell right from wrong, etc. It is my belief that evolutionary theory is inadequate in this respect.
Neville Leeson

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