Letters to the editor

Vegetables on a stick

I was talking to a friend who lives down the road from me on a farm and she's very anti-CSG. I asked her, "What stops you from thinking about voting Green?" She said, "I've just always thought of them as full-on feral, hippy types". I said, "But you came to that Greens barbie I had, everyone looked pretty normal, didn't they?" She said, "Yeah and I couldn't believe it when you brought out the sausages and I looked around and it was like, they're all eating meat."

I had to laugh and I said, "So you thought everyone would be vegetarian with dreadlocks?" She said, "Yeah when you said it was a barbie, I was thinking you must be having, you know, vegetables on a stick or something."

We had a good laugh and talked about how stereotypes affect our thinking. People who are involved with the Greens come from all walks of life, just as in the CSG campaigns. The thing that draws us together is we care about protecting our environment. My friend said she's realised how lucky she is to live in such a beautiful place and wants to get more involved in protecting it from things like CSG mining. We agreed that it's not just feral hippies who want to protect the environment these days. There are many people starting to see just how much we have to lose and they want to stand up and fight. This is the year for people to come together and stand up to the major parties who have lost sight of the things that matter. We're all in this together.

Beth Shelley

Booerie Creek


No alternative

Kevin Hogan writes about the disarray in the Labour Party (Echo, March 28) and uses this to promote himself and his party, just as Tony Abbott and the Liberals do. It is indeed their manna from Heaven when they are hard-pressed to come up with policies that are progressive, just, equitable, and with a touch of humanity. Janelle Saffin is the best representative this region could ever hope for, an indefatigable achiever with a proven heart for this region and its people.

Mr Hogan, you are not a credible alternative to our Janelle. By the way, I wonder how the Coalition would have performed in a minority government?

Andre Othenin-Gird

Lismore Heights


Political wilderness

The mess that the Prime Minister and Labor created recently has put our local member Janelle Saffin in "no man's land".

Her relationship with the Prime Minister was obviously so untenable that she had no option but to resign as deputy whip. This situation is disastrous for Page for the next six months because Gillard will give her no favours as far as funding is concerned.

If in the unlikely event that Labor wins the next election and Janelle holds the seat of Page, Gillard will not look kindly on her as a Rudd supporter and consequently Page will be in the political wilderness for the next three years.

If Ms Saffin holds the seat at the next election and the Coalition wins government, she and the electorate of Page will miss out on any major funding because the Coalition will have numerous swinging seats of their own to give preferential funding to.

Mark Minogue



War criminals

On the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, John Howard is to be condemned for his refusal to admit that this criminal act was wrong. As a result of the US-led invasion, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed. Every day now a bomb goes off in Baghdad and 20 people get blown apart.

There were no bombs going off when Saddam Hussein was in power. The Christians, including the Assyrians who are descendants of the original inhabitants of the country and were protected under the Saddam Hussein regime, are now being massacred by the Sunnis, and Shi-ites and Kurds (when the Sunnis and Shi-ites and Kurds are not massacring each other) and are fleeing for their lives.

If Iraq is a better place now as John Howard claims, why are the Christians fleeing? George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, the clique of neo-cons in Washington, and their little lap-dog, Tony Blair, who were architects of the invasion, should be tried as war criminals. John Howard in his retirement should do some serious study of the Middle East situation and reflect on his past actions. He might come up with the conclusion that Arabs are human beings, not an expendable commodity.

Bob Vinnicombe



Self-serving twaddle

Hell hath no fury like a gun lobby whose political ambitions look like being scorned.

Gun critic R.J. Poole was diagnosed by Rob Andrews, secretary of the local Hunting Club, as suffering from a mental malady (Echo, February 28).

The Deputy Mayor of Lismore, Simon Clough, for pointing out serious breaches of the gun laws by hunters in national parks, is called a Greens propaganda plagiarist and a poisonous and inaccurate ranter by the same Mr Andrews.

This self-appointed guardian of public lands, when not exploring the character flaws of his opponents, keeps on-message with the usual mantra that hunters are protectors. In this mode they apparently deter "rubbish dumpers, bush vandals, fire bugs, orchid and elk-horn looters, unrestrained pet owners, drug growers and illegal graziers".

That must be what those two trucks complete with pig-dogs were doing in the Tallaganda National Park this week, near a pile of disembowelled kangaroos (ABC News, March 28).

The hapless Cr Clough is also taken to task by Wayne Gregory (Echo, March 28), whose theme is that while a minority of shooters indulge in illegal behaviour, there are constant stories about gun-free bushwalkers and other nuisances needing to be rescued at vast expense from national parks.

He points out that "the need for parks to be feral animal free is far greater than the need for a greenie to go bushwalking". Who could disagree?

His solution, though, (that bushwalkers threatened by guns should stay at home) is the usual self-serving gun lobby twaddle.

National parks are there for all citizens. They are not there to be colonised by gun enthusiasts of varying and uncertain ability who espouse feral animal management for their own ends.

Peter Mullins



Warning to women

I am writing into the letters page about an experience I went through that many other women go through, a hysterectomy. I have learnt much about this process.

I was told by my gynaecologist that I had "pre-cancerous cells" in my womb, and that cancer could already be present. He recommended a hysterectomy, which I agreed to, being very afraid of the word cancerous, and knowing nothing.

I had the operation two weeks later. A few days after that, I was admitted to hospital with pain and a high temperature. I had a raging infection, a common experience for many women who have hysterectomies. My condition deteriorated and I spent a few days in intensive care, where my condition went from bad to worse, and my left lung collapsed at one stage. I rallied, and recovered due to the excellent care I received there.

After getting out of ICU, to be told by the doctor who operated on me that I didn't have cancer anyway, was a heavy blow. I thought to myself "why have I gone through all this?"

After leaving hospital, I requested my medical records and discovered that the "pre-cancerous cells" were not strictly cancer, but atypical cells which had a 60% chance of returning to normal. It was then I realised the grey area that can surround these conditions in which a doctor might recommend a hysterectomy.

What they also don't tell you is that if the womb is removed, the ovaries fail after a few years, pushing the woman into a menopause, in my case 10 years too early. This will effect my longevity and general health.

Personally, I would have liked to know all this before I consented to what turned out to be a near-deadly operation. Over the past few months I have been speaking with many women in Lismore, and they have all had very positive experiences with a Dr Taylor, who performs his operations himself, instead of leaving it to a trainee doctor, and who doesn't seem in such a hurry to remove organs. Based on the testimony of many women I have spoken to, I would recommend him.

In any case, however, a woman must do her own research and seek another opinion before consenting to this potentially dangerous and life-changing operation.

Juliet Rengel



Labor's achievements

No matter what the ego-ridden politicians say from either side, the Gillard government has done wonders for Australia, guiding us through a financial crisis that has crippled much of the western world. The AAA credit rating has been resumed. There is low inflation, low unemployment, steady growth and low interest rates. The government has passed more than 400 laws, in spite of the nasty negativity (for political reasons alone) of the Opposition. These include paid parental leave, the NBN, abolishment of Work Choices and implementation of a national curriculum.

They have also invested $4.3 billion in regional Australia, are building 60 GP Super Clinics, training 5500 new doctors, spent $20 billion on public hospitals, increased pensions substantially, put a price on carbon (payable by the polluters and not directly by voters as the Coalition intends), doubled investment in schools, created 800,000 new jobs and so much more.

While their refugee policy is far from perfect, they are battling with an ever-increasing number of refugees arriving in boats. (Abbott has no real solution. Where is the Navy to send them when no country wants them? Will they blow them out of the water? What if refugees capsize their own boats? Will they be left to drown?)

I am totally baffled by the way in which the majority of people (according to the polls taken by media magnates, who have a vested interest in the outcome) think their current government is doing a bad job. Check out what the Coalition governments of NSW and QLD said they would do against what they are actually doing. People do not mind being lied to, as long as the lies are couched in a good story that includes fear mongering that blames someone else. Was it

Hitler who began that way?

B. Guy



Tough times for Five Loaves

I used to really enjoy Monday nights, getting free bread at Five Loaves; a loaf for me, a loaf for my chickens and some sushi that was made fresh that day and redistributed once the shops shut. I thought "how civilised, instead of throwing away food into landfill which just creates more methane gas, it is picked up and brought to the table for us all to enjoy."

It was a social occasion and a celebration of "abundance for all". Anyway, it seems like those days are over. I have just experienced the new poverty consciousness of the people who are now running Five Loaves. The sushi was yesterday's, things were cold like they had been in the freezer overnight and there was no fresh bread. No one can replace Darcy, but Arthur and Kara did a pretty good job, at least it was fresh and not manhandled into plastic bags and put in the freezer. Why are these new people keeping the fresh food in their van and giving us yesterday's? I'm sorry but what used to be a good thing has turned bad. Darcy loved us and did a fantastic job for all those years, just for it to fall into the hands of the greedy and hard-hearted.

Katherine Green



The Nannas respond

In response to K Auckram's letter in The Echo, March 28:

Friday may well have been anti-bullying day, however the day we were demonstrating outside Mr George's office that week was Monday. The definition of a bully is a "blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who browbeats smaller or weaker people". (Macquarie Dictionary). Sounds more like a politician (or his son) or the CEO of an unconventional gas mining company to me. Not half a dozen mature women - farmers, administrators, teachers, nurses, small business operators - retired or still working.

Respect is something which must be earned, not automatically granted.

Let's suppose we live in a democracy. We, the people, have not only a right but a duty to vote for our representatives. That duty then extends to monitoring and questioning their behaviour, motives and conflicts of interest. Politicians such as Thomas George are our employees; we have elected them to represent us in parliament. If a politician is not doing their job, it is our duty to point it out and get it sorted.

Initially, we wrote to Thomas George about our worries about unconventional gas mining. After that, we made appointments to talk to him. After doing so, and his failure to represent our concerns to the State Parliament, we resorted to other means of getting his attention. The Knitting Nannas Against Gas decided to knit-in outside his office every week until he did the job we asked of him. As part of our protest, we take advantage of the larger than life Thomas George sticker on his window. If there is graffiti left by other members of the disenchanted public we notify the office staff and offer to clean it up. We often drop into the office and have left cakes, flowers and Easter eggs for the staff. Please note that we always remove our decorations. Traditionally, it is the young adults and the elders that point out what is wrong with the system. We have experience and wisdom, and we are committed to protecting our precious land, water and Northern Rivers air for our future generations.

This country needs intelligent citizens that participate in our democracy, not timid sheep. The Knitting Nannas are delighted to provide a positive example to the kiddies - you see a problem, you fix it.

Clare Twomey,

on behalf of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas.


Half-term report

Two years ago NSW was an economic laggard, recording the slowest jobs and economic growth of the Australian states. Business confidence, retail trade and housing supply were at all-time lows and the State Government's own finances were unsustainable.

I'm happy to say that today NSW has a much greater employment rate, solid economic growth and a government with strong fiscal discipline.

Since coming to government the Liberals and Nationals have been getting on with the job of rebuilding NSW and returning our state to its rightful role as the engine room of the national economy.

For regional NSW in particular it means more jobs, more infrastructure and better services. We have seen 31,500 jobs created in regional areas in 2012. We've also enhanced frontline services with 1,300 additional nurses and 624 new police officers in regional communities.

We're the first NSW Government to bring a budget in on target in 17 years and ensure expense growth is less than revenue growth. As a result, we have been able to invest in additional regional infrastructure.

Over the next four years we will spend a record $61.8 billion on infrastructure, which, on average, is $1 billion more per annum than in the previous four years. We are delivering much-needed projects for regional areas, including more than $1.5 billion for the Pacific Hwy, along with upgrades to the Princes and Great Western Hwys as well as the $145 million Bridges to the Bush program.

We're delivering $1.7 billion for major hospital upgrades in Tamworth, Dubbo, Parkes/Forbes, Wagga Wagga, Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Lismore and Bega. We're also building new police stations in Parkes and Moree and a new school at Lake Cathie.

On top of this we have also delivered the country's toughest regulations for mining and coal seam gas to protect towns, villages and our prime agricultural land through the strategic regional land use policy.

While there is more to be done to restore NSW to its rightful place as Australia's economic powerhouse and to rebuild regional NSW, we have taken strong steps towards it through strong, responsible and stable government.

Andrew Stoner

NSW Deputy Premier

Minister for Trade & Investment, Regional Infrastructure & Services

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Community groups rally for homeless

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Art recognises the memory

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Give me Fisherman's Co-op over swanksville any day

Give me Fisherman's Co-op over swanksville any day

hygge is the Danish word for enjoying life's simple pleasures

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