Letters to the editor - Feb 25

Disappointing rave
I was quite disappointed with your editorial about the Deputy PM Julia Gillard (Echo, Feb 18).
I am disappointed because you said that you have some confidence restored, thanks to her, in our federal leaders who you say are dragging their heels on climate change, not strong enough on whaling....
Whaling... but what about Julia Gillard’s support for Israel war crimes in Gaza saying her decision as acting prime minister to support Israel’s assault on Gaza was an example of how “those who strive to achieve peace and security should be encouraged and supported” before proclaiming Australia’s support for “Israel’s right to self-defence and its right to self-determination”. Without any mention of the atrocities done by Israeli soldiers.
What about the women in Palestine and the women in Afghanistan, Iraq or, without going so far away, the Indigenous women living under apartheid sanctions in the Northern Territory? Is she a fantastic role model for women everywhere?
I understand the point you are trying to make, but be careful of not making a hero of someone with such a bad record of human rights only because she is a woman. We do need more women in politics. We need more women everywhere, better paid and more supported, but we should not expect anything less just because she is a woman.
Andrea M Bonotto
East Lismore
 

Numbers game
Lismore Council planners are a bit coy with their numbers, (“Promised park in limbo,” Echo, Feb 18) and fail to disclose the development subsidy that Council is required to make as a result of poor planning decisions at McLeans Ridges.
Ratepayers will be slugged $80,000 for land costs alone, for a community lot which residents have repeatedly described as unsuitable, too steep and poorly situated with limited parking. Council officers have also stated that if the park ever eventuates then there will be no need for a toilet, even though the park is required to meet the needs of the proposed 62 lot development, which will triple the number of households in the Cameron Rd area. Presumably, unlike other residents of Lismore, McLeans Ridges residents don’t go to the toilet when they are at a BBQ.
The previous Council, and their infamous 6-pack councillors, acted as an avalanche activator at McLeans Ridges – flying through the scenery leaving calamity in their wake. The $80,000 Council will require from rate payers for this ‘limbo park’ is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Noel Parker
McLeans Ridges


Water therapy

Upon reading The Echo,“GSAC in deep water,” Feb 11, I wish to give my comments on both the Lismore Memorial Baths and the newer Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre. I am a regular customer to each facility so can shed plenty of light on what they have to offer.
I am sorry to hear that attendance has not led to huge profits from both facilities. I swim 1km every day at either of the two pools and can report that from doing so I have turned my health and fitness around. I suffered neck and back pain, was overweight and had low energy levels, but now that has reversed completely simply due to the opening of these facilities and the Council’s obvious smart incentive and interest in the health of our region.
I think of my 45mins each day at the pool as an investment into my health. Coupled with a change in diet, for the four years I’ve been swimming I’ve never seen a doctor or purchased drugs from a chemist. The pool can save you money, it’s that simple, therefore the facilities are money well spent.
The water temperature at GSAC is not too warm. The staff are friendly at both facilities. GSAC is indoor and out of the sun, and that is the best aspect of the pool.
My letter here is to encourage you all to use these facilities and easily cash-in on the huge rewards the centres offer to your health. Thank you, Council, for having both centres built.
Scott Hills
Goonellabah


Mystery...

I noticed with somewhat wry amusement the absence of Williams Hardware from your Southside Lismore map (Feb 18). Could this be because its inclusion would make it obvious how much precious riverbank this business and accompanying mill use? Having recently returned from inland Australia where the sad state of the Darling and many other waterways was very apparent, my appreciation and realisation of how lucky we are to have such a full, clean, beautiful river system in Lismore has prompted me to have a say (although I am sure it’s probably a pointless exercise, there’s no harm in trying). Lismore has an industrial area so why isn’t an industrial mill situated there and not on land adjacent to the Wilsons River?
The riverbank could and should be parkland for all to use and enjoy. A mill may have been handy there when this area was being settled but the time has come to make some changes and to get our priorities right. We have a rare commodity in our river with a huge potential to attract tourists. The possibilities for utilising this heritage for Lismore’s future should be top priority.
Lismore: Where the two rivers meet? What rivers? Was that the river? Let’s just keep going... we’ll have our picnic at Byron!!!... Hmph!!
Linda Chapman
South Lismore

Those four pages on South Lismore were an advertising feature, with paid businesses marked on the map. What wasn’t marked was “Advertising Feature” by us, as it should have been, for which I can only apologise. - Ed

 


Many ways to love

I would like to thank Geoff Lamberton for bringing up the subject of Poly-relationships (Ethically Speaking, Feb 18).
Interestingly Geoff, although you were unable to locate web sites that deal with relation ships in which the woman has more than one partner, I assure you, they are there. I am in just such a relationship. My partner has two partners.
However, polyandry and other forms of poly-relationships are not driven by web sites – they are driven by affections, personal choices and attitudes.
In our case we are not promoting our relationship on a web site because it is a personal matter that has very little to do with anyone else. By doing your research via the web it is not surprising that you have ended up seeing the issue from a sex-oriented perspective. Most of the sites devoted to polyamory (= many loves) are dominated by that sector who we could probably best term ‘swingers’. Swingers are people who choose to have sexual interaction, not permanent relationships, with more than one partner. The on-line sites dedicated to poly-relationships, are, I find, driven by people who have a commitment to poly-love. In a sense, it can be difficult to differentiate their perspectives from those polyamorists who are swingers.
This is not the case in our relationship.
I am monogamous, and so is the other male in our v-shaped family unit. We both accept that we are in love with someone who, much to her surprise, has found herself in love with two men. There are two houses, with our partner residing at each.
We negotiated the pathway toward accepting this reality slowly. There was certainly no waking up in the morning with our “conscience … engineering feelings of regret the next day”. Nor were there feelings of “Was I being used?”.
This did not occur because we recognised that this was going to be a permanent engagement, so there was no rush (nor need to rush) to intimacy on behalf of the newer couple.
A healthy relationship is about love, not sex. Physical intimacy is an important aspect of almost all loving partnerships. I would advise people against falling into the belief that for those who venture down the pathway that we have, that it is sex driven. No, it is love driven.
For those who question whether it is really possible to love more than one person, please consider how it works for parents: do you really believe that parents are forced, by their nature, into loving one child over the other? Of course not.
We believe we entered into this with an ethical framework, whereby each person needed to, through negotiation, consent to what eventually evolved.
Honesty, communication and trust, from the outset, are critical components to the success of our union.
The issue of jealousy, which we are taught from birth to believe is a ‘human nature’ issue,   simply does not exist. For my part the security of a truly loving relationship easily overcame this. Rather than feelings of jealousy overwhelming me, as I initially feared they might, I find that I have a great respect for the other male partner. I even find that I enjoy his achievements in life. I also celebrate his loving relationship with our mutual partner. Perhaps, based on my experience, we should consider jealousy as an acquired behavioural trait.
Those who aren’t forced into passing judgement on my tale due to their acceptance of moralist teachings may find looking up the word ‘compersion’ very interesting.
And Geoff, you didn’t need to look too far – and certainly not on the Internet – to find such a relationship. While you are unlikely to be aware of who I am, and I see no reason to make my personal relationship an item of public property, over the years you and I have been paid by the same paymaster. That being the case – do you think such a thing is really all that rare?
The net aspect is a critical issue. Why should people who have a loving and happy relationship go to the lengths of having a web site about their life? Instead, we simply get on with our lives and let those who are far more needy go and do the internet thing.
Each of us are employed. If we are part of the alternative lifestyle movement it is by categorisation only, not our day-to-day behaviour. In fact, you could say we constitute a cheesecloth and patchouli free-zone.
These types of relationships are a lot more common than many would anticipate. Usually, they take the form of one partner having a permanent lover, often with the secret knowledge, but not the acknowledgement, of the other partner.
We are simply living our lives with honesty as a critical factor. That is the difference.
And I have never been happier in a relationship. No-one in our relationship gets taken for granted. Can many people in what are termed ‘traditional’ relationships claim the same? I am not suggesting that one family arrangement is better than others; just that there are more pathways in this world than those that have the imprimatur of contemporary social ‘acceptability’.
Name and address withheld by request


Plural meanings

As Geoff Lamberton’s Ethically Speaking column reflected, public debate about plural relationships is primarily limited to the ‘one man, many women’ model of polygamy, which is frequently informed by religious fundamentalism and patriarchy. The reality of polyamorous family units and unions is far more complex. Many women now experience high levels of personal autonomy, financial independence and the ability to control their fertility, so loving partnership with more than one person is an increasing reality. And, importantly, polyamorous relationships are built upon a foundation of long-term commitment: they are not about casual sexual gratification.
Those in polyamorous relationships deal with discrimination and judgement. Issues such as access to relevant health care, appropriate counselling, suitable family leave arrangements at work, legal services, and old-age care are all factors that poly unions and family units must negotiate, and are ones which are not currently acknowledged. Instead, by limiting the debate on poly relationships to discussion about sexual arrangements, the diversity of poly family structures and their appropriate needs are ignored.
I congratulate Geoff for raising this issue and hope that it will challenge readers to think beyond the ‘who sleeps with who’ media sensationalism which plural unions seem to attract. An increased awareness and sensitivity towards the diversity of families, and loving partnerships, would be a welcome outcome from his thought-provoking column.
Name and address withheld by request


Fluoride

I would like to offer the following comments in regard to fluoridation of the North Coast water supply.
• Fluoridation has been extensively implemented around the world for over six decades and has been an extremely successful public health strategy.
• Over 14 million Australians currently drink fluoridated water. (Further, almost 200 million people drink fluoridated water in America alone).
• Public water supplies are routinely treated with chemicals to remove bacteria, taste, odour, metals and to reduce corrodibility (ie chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite, chloramine, carbon dioxide, caustic soda, bicarbonate, chemical water softeners, aluminium sulfate, hydrated aluminium potassium sulfate (ALUM), etc).
• Sodium fluoride is the chemical used by water supply authorities – it is a pure white odourless powder and is not a toxic waste product. It is present in water as a fluoride ion added at very low concentration – only 0.5- 1.0 parts per million (ppm or milligrams in a litre)!
• Fluoride does not provide a taste or an odour to the water supply.
• Fluoride is naturally occurring in nearly all water supplies – it is in almost all supermarket ‘spring waters’. Generally speaking, the deeper the groundwater source the greater the concentration of fluoride.
• Negative health impact studies that label fluoride as a human health concern are often inaccurate based on the following two points: 1. Chlorine and/or chloramines (and associated disinfection   byproducts, DBP’s) are present in fluoridated water and hence fluoride can’t be isolated as the primary cause of these health concerns; 2. These studies are typically based on fluoride concentrations far greater than 0.5-1.0ppm.
• Fluoride ion is dissolved salt and not removed from drinking water through filtration.
The dental health of our children and rising public health costs related to poor dental health need to be considered in this debate. We need to get this low-dose fluoride addition into the North Coast water supply now and move on to dealing with far more serious community concerns.
Graham Lancaster
Chemistry Laboratory manager
Southern Cross University


No fluoride

I am very concerned about the proposal to add either sodium fluoride or sodium silico-flouride to our water.
Dr Hardy Limeback, who is an associate professor of dentistry and head of the preventative dentistry program at the University of Toronto, was also one of 12 scientists who served on the National Academy of Scientists panel that issued the 2006 report “Flouride in drinking water: A scientific review of the EPA’s standards”. This survey concluded that fluoride is ineffective, is the main cause of dental fluorosis, that the chemicals used in fluoridation have not been adequately tested and that there are serious health risks from adding fluoride to drinking water.
In Europe, most countries which had a fluoridation program have now ceased their programs. This indicates that either the program was ineffectual or it was dangerous to health or both.
The fact that safety showers and eyewash have to be in place at the injection facilities is a reminder of the toxicity of fluoride.
The waste from the underground pits at the injection facilities is to be dealt with by a private contractor and taken to a lawful place (Rous Water). This is not precise information. Who is the contractor? What training has this person had in disposing of toxic waste? Where is the lawful place and what has been done to ascertain the reliability of the toxic waste containment once it reaches the lawful place?
What right do our local councils and the NSW Government have to carry out mass medication by adding a substance to our water? This a gross infringement of human rights. As fluoride is available in tablet form, why not make it free to anyone who has children and believes that fluoride will help prevent tooth decay? Surely it is not necessary for everyone to have to ingest fluoride regardless of their age.
Finally, what is the overall cost to each shire for the building, operating and maintaining of the injection facilities? Who is going to pay for it?
Maureen McDermott
Alstonville


Funny story

Adolph Hitler’s alleged flatulent peccadillos were subject of a particularly bawdy British musical hall song, punctuated off-stage by a musician going through the scales of an appropriately named “wind instrument”. This was part of Britain’s “secret weapon – the British sense of humour”.
If Hitler’s vegetarianism was an act, then to what forces was he beholden and did this die with him in the bunker or is it on the way back?
As more European families witness what they perceive as the surrender of Europe to Islam, people who suffered terribly under the Nazis are saying “only one thing can save Europe – Europe needs another Hitler”.
Eddie Burns
Nimbin


Drain on resources

I am writing this in regards to the proposed sewerage line in Goonellabah. I am glad that Goonellabah is being extended to house many more people in the coming future. However, I believe it can be done in a more environmentally caring way.
The average toilet uses up to two litres of water per flush, and older ones can use up to four litres. Approximately 14% of a household’s use of clean drinking water is flushed down the toilet. Humans are also the only terran (land-dwelling) animals that go out of its way to urinate and defecate into the waterways.
Two hundred years ago when the world’s human population was a fraction of what it is today, it was ok to use water to dispose of our waste because natural ecosystems would have been able to tolerate our sewerage systems. As our population and technology grew, and sewerage facilities became more efficient, we thought we could continue using sewerage supplied by existing water storage. This is not so. With rising global temperatures and unpredictable weather, water will become more sparse, and we will not be able to afford using the precious 1% drinkable water that this Earth has given us to sustain life that requires clean, fresh water.
Yes, dual flush toilets help. But we are still using clean water. Yes, so does recycled grey water help, but we still need to use massive amounts of energy to build and maintain a sewerage system. However, a habit that dates back to Roman times has made us forget something that even our dogs remember. Faeces and urine contain essential nutrients to help break down and fertilise our plants which we rely on for food. I call on Lismore City Council to show some foresight and leadership in sustainable living by creating a viable section of Goonellabah without the need of sewerage, by putting in grey water facilities and composting toilets. Composting toilets do not smell, if they are designed correctly. They are safe, and they only require emptying once to twice a year, depending on usage and design. They are not expensive, when you consider the capital cost of the sewer mains, and that 14% of your water bill is due to your toilet. At the end of the day, you have a source of nitrogen-rich fertiliser that you can use on your garden, and it frees up water for essential things like farming and land regeneration. It truly is a win-win situation for everyone.
Please consider composting toilets next time your toilet dies. It’s for our planet’s sake, as well as your hip pocket’s.
Meredith Navin
Goonellabah


Sweet short

In response to Don Gaddes (letters, Feb 18), being an ignoramus must be bliss.
A Ackroyd
Casino


Trolley issues
In response to “Shopping trolleys a blight on city” (Echo, Feb 18). I’m a relatively content contributing suburban pedestrian.
I’m not con-joined to a set of wheels like most of you seem to be.
It can be scary out there on foot (that thing at the end of your leg that helps you get in and out of your car).
Footpaths that take you the longest way from point to point, then disappear. Finding yourself scurrying on the road like potential prey.
Shopping centres are unfriendly toward local pedestrians. We get the obscure back or side entrance.
It’s all about cars and having a car.
I know myself, I more often have no choice but to shop at Coles, G’bah.
It can be a struggle getting my groceries home, independently, probably less than a kilometre. I’m getting less able for it as I age.
It’s a struggle because I’m not one to take shopping trolleys off the shopping centre grounds.
They (Coles) did have a few personal shopping trolleys, like toys, made to break. They were cheap! (crap).
I hate seeing shopping trolleys littering our streets. But for these ugly things, you might see the effort and pride most of us put into our houses and gardens,   creating a streetscape we can collectively be proud of.
I have filled out a couple of feedback forms provided by Coles, ticked the ‘request a reply’ box. About this time last year. Must have lost it.
My suggestion/ solution to clean up the trolleys was to provide the likes of myself and all those locals who may not need to take the trolleys, and do, with a home delivery service.
An opportunity for a local low income person to be a little self employed/supplement their income.
A van, some eskys, read and write, read a map, tell the time.
Charge to cover costs then some. Too easy!
One day a week or fortnight, limit the distance. If trolleys are being found 6km away, there you go, within 6km.
Of course it’s all about bloody money and insurance.
As this could be a community based need, perhaps Council could encourage/work with Coles G’bah to help us suburban pedestrians.
We are probably Coles’ most (no choice) loyal regular customers (imagine how much more we could spend).
People who take shopping trolleys home are not always thieves and vandals; it’s a need.
The shopping trolleys should be 100% Coles’ responsibility.
They should be facing the fines.
Twenty free personal shopping trolleys given away by the Council will do next to nothing.
BUT, a home delivery service and not allowing shopping trolleys off the shopping centre grounds (a sign or two) would go a long way to solving the problem.
Damn it! Stop blaming consumers.
Sean O’Kane
Goonellabah


Right of reply

I would like a chance to reply to G Wallace and his criticisms of me personally in his/her last rant to The Echo (letters, Feb 11).
Firstly, G Wallace can be assured that I do not covet anything he/she may own or want to own in the future, that is the predilection of the banks and other associated parasites in our society. Also, when referring to the Liberals as fascists, I do it in reference to their current leadership such as Tony Abbot and the team of has-beens he has resurrected from the extreme right wing of the party. They have past form! They are authoritarian and seek to control us all, that’s some of the things that make the fascists.
No matter which way you look at it these people will do more to divide our society as HoWARd did in the overly long time of his tenure as PM.
The way the Liberals behaved during their time in office was offensive and in many instances criminal yet no one is seeking to bring them to justice. They joined the US in two illegal invasions under the guise of fighting terrorism when in fact the true reasons of these invasions remain the theft of resources such as oil and minerals by the corporate shonks who bankroll their election campaigns and maintain their ability to get the ugly messages they project through the corporate media. Consequently hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died – that is a war crime! Those are the basics of what the Liberals stand for.
The curdled icing on the cake for HoWARd and Abbott and the rest of the rightwing carpetbaggers was their failed attempt to diddle workers out of their hard won entitlements in an effort to bring wages and conditions down to pre-1950s levels. The 1950s is the dream era for the Liberals and their lackeys, perhaps it is so for G Wallace.
The Liberals want to turn Australia into a workers gulag but workers have shown them they will not stand for it and as Abbott rolls out HoWARd’s agenda again it is truly back to the future for them, but if the decent people of Australia have a say they will become a thing of the past and rightly so. If G Wallace prefers these shonks as the ones running this once fair and just nation then he/she is entitled to think so. We still live in a free democracy but that doesn’t mean we all have to agree with this distorted view of the world and the kind of nation Australia should be. If G Wallace finds that offensive then too bad, as everything the Liberals have done in power and opposition is far more offensive to a greater number of Australians than anything I have written. The real “rotters” dwell within the putrid party called The Australian Liberal Party.
M Mizzi
Tabulam



 


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