Letters to the editor - Oct 25

Load of hot air

A new report says that Queensland consumers will be paying up to three times as much for their gas when that state begins exporting to China from 2014. The Australian Industry Group (which represents big manufacturers) has reacted with alarm because its members are big users of gas power who will feel the full negative effects of such a huge rise in their costs of production.

Yet only the other day Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson was promising cheap gas-fired power for Casino that would transform it into a hub for industry! Could any sane person believe that the profit obsessed CSG industry will subsidise Casino when they can grab far bigger profits from Queenslanders? Especially when Metgasco wants to build a gas pipeline from its Northern Rivers gas fields direct to that state? And if Mr Henderson is so committed to helping Casino out then why is his company seeking to reduce the size of its proposed local gas fired power plant from 30Mw to 2-3Mw?

Through this sort of endless spin, Mr Henderson has completely destroyed his own credibility. National Party MP Thomas George really must now reverse his stated full support for CSG and support the voters of the Lismore electorate, most of whom are saying No CSG in the Northern Rivers!

Bruce McQueen.

Mt. Burrell


Marginalisation of mothering

What we see in parliament these days is a fight for one of the most highly paid parliamentary jobs in the world, between two politicians who care very little about the people they are representing.

Julia Gilliard has continued the misogynist policies of John Howard. She can carry on in her self-righteous ways, attacking her fellow competitor Tony Abbott, but she has very little empathy and indeed carries intense prejudice for the roles and life circumstances of normal women who may not be doing the ironing, but who are doing the washing, cooking, child rearing and caring of extended family.

Modern day feminists seem to be mostly concerned with how many women are represented in the boardroom, but most women are overwhelmed with responsibilities due to them not only carrying the traditional responsibility of the home, but the added burden of either working or trying to find work in a ever decreasing workforce.

We have seen Julia's government continue John Howard's policies of allowing lowly-paid overseas workers to displace Australian workers. We have seen the continuing marginalisation, impoverishment and demeaning of the unemployed, along with the complete disrespect for single mothers and the work they do, demanding they enter the workforce when their children are still very young.

This flood of young women into the workforce has served to displace opportunities for older women, so now we have a growing group of women who are below the pension age but virtually unemployable amongst so much vibrant competition.

I can remember the warnings in the press of having a female Prime Minister who is totally unrepresentative of the average female, who does bear children and know how much work it entails, at the helm of our country. They were right. Under Julia the marginalisation of mothering and grand-mothering has continued. Our children are increasingly becoming separated from parents by a regime of 'care' from an early age which has always been an aspect of a totalitarian society.

Lynne Oldfield



Health services

Barry O'Farrell's recent comments on health funding in NSW are a smokescreen to cover for the $3 billion in savage cuts he has inflicted on health services. He has tried to divert attention from his government's actions by calling on the Federal Government to guarantee hospital funding - something that we have done in an agreement that Mr O'Farrell personally signed.

Under the National Health Reform Package, we are boosting funding to the states by more than $16 billion over six years.

Barry O'Farrell and Tony Abbott are two peas in a pod who will cut health services savagely and then seek to lay the blame elsewhere.

Mr O'Farrell should stop misleading people and reverse his government's cuts which will affect families across NSW.

Tanya Plibersek

Federal Minister for Health


Drought proofing farmers

Primary industry ministers throughout the country have a golden opportunity on Friday, October 26 to stand up for rural Australia and put in place a framework which will assist farmers and our agriculture industry manage future extreme weather conditions.

They will be meeting with the federal minister for agriculture on this day to decide on the future of drought policy.

Encouragingly, governments are favourable towards household income support. However, we must ensure that any asset test allows farmers to preserve their farm assets for future income generation. We have also had very positive discussions around the issue of preparedness and self-reliance, and constructive ways that governments might be able to assist farmers in this way.

Disappointingly business support is not attracting the same interest from government. This forms an important part of any drought policy and we want state and federal ministers to commit to investigate business support options.

We also want to see improvements in farm management deposits, skills and training, investment in tools and technologies and social support measures.

Current drought policy measures have played a vital role in helping rural families and businesses through the recent drought. The challenge for governments is to design a policy that delivers better outcomes than the previous one.

Fiona Simson

President NSW Farmers


Nice Greens

I agree with Jennie Dell (editorial, October 18) that Australia's attitude to boat people is cruel and sad. I was trying to talk to my dad about it as he's a Christian and I was trying to use the Good Samaritan analogy. "How can we have our comfortable existence and ignore these people who are suffering and in danger of torture and death?"

He said if we let them all come we would be overrun. I said "Dad, other countries have thousands more refugees turning up than we do. We get a tiny number of people in comparison to other Western countries. Why do we have to be harsher and more unkind than other people? What about that guy in Afganistan that worked with the Australian army when they first arrived and then the Taliban wanted to kill him. He ran away to Australia and we sent him back. He put his life at risk to help us and we didn't help him."

He said, "Yes that was terrible. That shouldn't have happened."

I said, "The Greens say we should just take them in". My mum said, "Oh yes, you said the Greens up your way are nice people." I said, "Yes Mum, actually I'm a member of the Greens and we are nice people."

People say the Greens are crazy to want to allow boatpeople to be accepted into our country and processed quickly and fairly. The Greens get a lot of negative press about it but I'm proud that we are not part of the pantheon of politicians who support our current inhumane policy on asylum seekers that Jennie talks about in her editorial. The thing that I love about the Greens is that they make a stand for compassion every time even when many people don't understand why that matters. Maybe people in the Northern Rivers understand a bit more than most. Thanks Jennie for saying what's in your heart, but don't forget that we Greens care too.

Beth Shelley

Booerie Creek


Get used to it

I refer to Jennie Dell's editorial 'Cruel Treatment of Refugees' (Echo, October 18). Jennie, I respected your article so much and am in total accord with your words, the humour in the current affairs TV over a beer and hot dinner and, in particular, the facts you presented in relation to Australia's real 'illegals'. I join you wholeheartedly in saying "Get used to it Australia - we're only getting those poor souls fleeing war, persecution and the intolerable conditions of refugee camps now".

Jane Staunton

Girards Hill


Easy approvals

Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson is having himself on. He believes that "a large percentage of the community will take comfort in the knowledge the NSW Government has closely assessed our industry and given it a tick of approval" (Northern Star, October 20.)

Comfort? My dear Mr Henderson, the more likely scenario is that we lose all faith in the NSW government! Ticks of approval apparently come easy these days.

Speaking of large percentages, the 87% of the community who voted against coal seam gas in the recent Lismore electoral poll represent the voice of this region. We are the ordinary land owners who do not want you running roughshod and uninvited over our properties with your noisy 24-hour machinery, questionable chemicals and careless health consequences.

Show us a host property and family that have not been damaged by CSG operations; show us definitive data. Show us that you're not in a rush to crush our concerns for the sake of your temporary profits. We're not fooled by the hurried ticks of the spineless NSW government.

Shakti Burke



Ideology over data

I address the letter attributed to Chris Degenhardt 'What global

warming?' (Echo, October 18). My initial response was, 'Is this serious or is it an indulgence in massive irony?' Since there is no deliberate humour I presume it must be serious. Apparently this individual, alone amongst all of us, has discovered previously suppressed data that invalidates anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Should we thank him for this wisdom?

I also have some information on temperature sourced from the NCDC - the National Climatic Data Centre (USA) - which runs like this: global surface temperature has risen about 0.75 deg C since the late 19th century, including an approximate 0.13 deg C rise per decade for the last 50 years. Seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 and all ten warmest years since 1995. Needless to say this contradicts completely what Mr Degenhardt had to say.

Why do (presumed) rank amateurs want to suppose that they know better than the body of climate science opinion? You can be sure that the answer does not lie with the science but with the outlook of the individuals concerned. In my experience climate change sceptics generally believe in the largely unfettered right of humans to exploit Earth's resources and that this lays the basis for human progress. It is then psychologically difficult to hold this view and concurrently acknowledge that resource use may have negative consequences. So the AGW opposition is based on ideology rather than empirical data.

Since greenhouse gases (human caused) and therefore AGW could not be produced without initial resource exploitation, any dispute about AGW is rather inconsequential. The significant fossil fuel deposits have been millions, tens of millions or hundreds of millions of years in the making but the recoverable portions of them will be exhausted in a matter of centuries. That is the real dilemma facing us and applies whether or not AGW is valid.

Tim W Smith



All aboard

Animal Liberation Victoria advises that three animal amnesty activists managed to board the live animal export carrier Bader 111 in Fremantle to protest about sheep cruelty and were assaulted by the Captain. One woman was injured in this attack.

What hope have the animals got for humane treatment on these voyages? I urge everyone to get on Facebook or a web page and join the growing band of protesters and activists around Australia who want to ban live animal exports.

Cherie Imlah



Reality check

In reply to Chris Degenhardt, (Echo, October 18), and claims that a "quietly released report" from the UK's Metoffice reveals that global warming "stopped 16 years ago",the report does not exist and the data shows no cease in warming unless manipulated to do so. The Daily Mail story is concocted and the Metoffice swiftly replied to point that out. The journalist responsible has been involved in similar misrepresentations involving misquoting scientists.

The 'report' was an update to a global dataset which had been flagged for months. The Daily Mail cherry-picked a starting date to find then announce a trendless period. Use of the complete data set shows a significant warming trend. Global temperature has been rising with considerable medium term and regional variation, since the start of reliable data in the 1850s. Reflecting this rise is the continued retreat of nearly all the globe's land ice and the continued slow rise in global mean sea-level.

In Australia, climate change can be seen in the long term decline in south western WA rainfall, seasonal falls in SE Australian rainfall and a decline in duration and average depth of the Australian snowpack. The East Australian Current has warmed.

Natural variation in a complex climate system produces considerable movement around the rising mean; this can obscure the warming signal, particularly if short periods are selected. In The Daily Mail's case, the selection was deliberate and intentionally misleading, because controversy gets attention in climate reportage.

Nick Fisher



Please explain

What reasoning, explanation and justification did Councillors Meineke, Schiebel and Battista give for voting against the motion to have all licences for the exploration and production of CSG in Lismore City LGA revoked? Meineke and Schiebel voted against the Mayoral Minute, expressing council's opposition to CSG mining in the LGA, to the State and Federal Governments.

Given that 87% of Lismore's voting population is opposed to CSG mining, why did these councillors vote against the wishes of the vast majority of the people they are supposed to represent?

We were given to believe from Cr Meineke's and Schiebel's election material, and candidates' forum, that they were opposed to CSG mining in the Lismore LGA.

Please explain!

Pamela Ashton

Girards Hill


Don't believe the hype

With regards to the anti-CSG movement - don't be caught in the hype.

The coal seam from which the gas flows, is generally much deeper than the bore water zone. The gas well will intersect both of these zones. The well will be lined with steel pipe and have cement injected into the annular space between the outside of the casing and the drilled hole.

The ground water is in no danger of being contaminated because the produced water and gas from the coal seam would have to travel up through the cement to get to the ground water zone. The more likely path for the water to travel from the coal seam is to take the path of least resistance. That is flow into the inside of the well and then up to the ground surface.

High pressures are used to fracture the coal seam. Above the coal seam will be a 'cap-rock' which is harder than the coal. When the high pressures are injected into the coal seam the fracture paths will take the path of least resistance; that is, fracture through the coal and stay within the confines of the cap rock above.

Also consider, in many cases, fracking is done without chemicals. Fracking is also not always necessary to stimulate well production.

Often the produced water is drinkable. There are cases where the water has been used by farmers. This practice has diminished due to anti-CSG pressures.

The visual and environmental impact of gas well fields and processing stations have been greatly reduced over the years.

Energy does not come for free. The CSG industry has enormous potential for NSW to utilise its own resources without major impact to the environment.

Steven Michaels



Free speech downgraded

The ruling against Alan Jones about having to undertake training on "factual accuracy and significant viewpoints" marks a sinister down-grade of free speech in Australia.

1984 has come and gone, in more ways than we think.

The ruling has the sinister ring of people in communist countries being silenced and sent for 're-education for putting out 'counter revolutionary viewpoints' or in Islamic countries for putting statements out that are 'un-Islamic'.

I support the right of anyone to broadcast erroneous 'facts', no matter how erroneous they might be, providing they are not directly dangerous to the public interest or defamatory.

Beyond that, who is to say what are the facts? If the views of the government in power are the arbiter of what are the facts, we are in dire trouble. For instance - what are the real unemployment figures? I dispute the published figures because they don't take into account people only working part time who want to be working full time, they don't take into account people who have given up looking for work and the people on disability pensions who could be working if a job that would cater for their disability was available. So if a broadcaster declared the real unemployment rate was, say 15% instead of 5.3%, would he be dragged before a tribunal for broadcasting 'erroneous facts'?

What about Tim Flannery?. According to The Herald Sun on February 12, 2011: "In 2007, Flannery predicted cities such as Brisbane would never again have dam-filling rains, as global warming had caused a 20% decrease in rainfall in some areas and made the soil too hot". But was the climate alarmists' golden boy Tim Flannery dragged before a tribunal?

No, the Alan Jones ruling is simply an attempt to selectively silence critics of the government.

Bob Vinnicombe


Community groups rally for homeless

Community groups rally for homeless

Community groups rally for homeless at the Winsome

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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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