Letters to the editor - Oct 11

Rights of the child

Congratulations to the Family Court. It is not that common that the Family Court decides against mothers. For too long, mothers have created facts to the detriment of fathers (and children, mind you), on the argument that any change after the fact would be too hard on the children. Marital separation is always difficult for anyone involved, particularly children. Children don't want to take sides, but usually like to spend time with both mum and dad in a meaningful way.

Unfortunately, some solicitors have spread the word that "possession is 90% of custody". Therefore, some mothers tried to shut out fathers from seeing their children - in extreme cases, by child abduction. Before the enforcement of the Hague Convention, mothers (and some fathers as well) have been mostly successful in obtaining possession and, by having the children with them almost exclusively, managed to convince the children that they should be with them - not the father. In many cases, courts agreed. Most children tend to side with the parent who is providing for their daily care - so it's no wonder that many parents (mostly mothers) got away with creating a precedent.

Fortunately, more and more countries not only signed the Hague Convention, but are also enforcing it. While it may be hard on children in the first place, the deterrent factor alone is likely to avoid similar hardship to many more children. I have been at the receiving end of child abduction in 2003. Fortunately, the mother and I have been able to come to some sort of agreement since then. Still, the effects on the children cannot be denied, and, sorry to say, it will follow them throughout their lives. We could have done so much better.

Michael Qualmann



Protect magpies

As an ex-citizen of Lismore (hopefully not for too much longer!) I feel compelled to respond to recent stories (Letters to the Editor Sept 20 and Sept 27) regarding the unfortunate and cruel killing of a magpie in Bright Street. I hope the "numerous" persons who allegedly complained are now happy that a "problem" that exists for only 4-6 weeks of an entire year think that going around and having protected wildlife shot, instead of learning to co-exist with these beautiful and highly intelligent birds, is a good example of how we should be sharing the planet with all creatures great and small. What a wonderful example you must be setting for younger people! Also, shame on the "law enforcers" who didn't think to first consult many of the local wildlife experts. Shame on a place like Lismore, once renowned for peacefully co-existing with its wildlife, to now follow this path. In the town in Victoria, in which I now reside, there is a family of nesting magpies living in a shopping centre car-park. The local authorities here have set up a two-metre high temporary fence around their nesting tree to prevent them from feeling threatened and the users of the carpark from being swooped.

Richard Eaves

Gisborne, Vic.


Printed, of course

How can the federal opposition continue to suppport Alan Jones after he incited the Cronulla riots, stating all Muslims are vermin tarred with the same brush, and repeated that our Prime Minister should be put in a chaff bag and thrown out to sea? Isn't that murder?

And they compare that to Jullia Gillard calling Tony Abbott Jack the Ripper. She was implying that all Abbott wants to do is slash all the good things that the government has done - not that he's a killer, as the opposition has asserted.

What the public must realise is Abbott is simply Opposition Leader by one vote from his party. He usurped leadership by stabbing Malcolm Turnbull in the back after he and the likes of Cory Bernadi and his now-deputy said, only days before, that Malcolm had their full support. How treacherous do you get?

They continue to lambast our Prime Minister every day over the pollution levy, yet not mentioning Abbott's policy which was going to cost every Australian household $1200 dollars per year. They're a group of hypocrites and that's the truth.

I don't suppose the media will print this; can't let the truth get in the way of a good story, can we?

If the media prints this, can someone please reply - maybe you, Alan Jones?

Robert Bettinzoli

Wollongbar, NSW


Disappointed reader

Whatever happened to democratic community input? Since The Echo's been sold to APN it's just been turned into another mouthpiece for proprietary and professional opinion.

I remember a time when the Letters to the Editor was in the front of the paper and it covered two or three pages. Now it's relegated to the back and it's been restricted to one page. Of the eight letters featured this week, three of them belong to politicians. Out of 32 pages, one page is allocated for Letters to the Editor and one for Community Notices. It's fast becoming a clone of The Northern Star and is really only useful these days for wrapping up garbage. The words "Your Community Newspaper Since 1991" on the front are an insult to the intelligence of the local community.

Lydia Connelly



Renewable energy alternative

I went into the Essential Energy office and asked if there was any electricity provider that was not involved with CSG - and was directed to a company called Red Energy Pty Ltd. (131 806). This company gets most of its power from the Snowy Mountain Hydro scheme and I was informed it has no direct involvement with CSG, although it may get some product from the grid which might come from a source that does. Also it is totally Australian-owned and is providing renewable energy.

In addition they offer a 10% discount across the entire bill - not just a limited part which most other companies offer. So I signed up - because I don't want to knowingly support the companies that are investing in CSG extraction, most of whom are foreign companies whose profits are going offshore and who are deaf to protests about any consequences of their dangerous activities.

Gail Doggett

S Lismore


Recommended reading

NSW Minister for the North Coast, Don Page, recently tried to brush off the concerns of the vast majority of Northern Rivers residents about the threat posed to our lives by the rapacious CSG industry. This National Party minister said he had not met one farmer from here who was against coal seam gas! Arrogant weasel-words, thrown in our faces by a senior local politician who should be representing our interests, not giving his full support to the mining profiteers who want to destroy our land, poison our water and ruin our lives.

Minister Page and all other NSW pro-CSG politicians need to read the book Rich Land, Wasteland by Australian author Sharyn Munro (2012) to fully inform themselves about the huge danger posed to us all by CSG mining companies. Ms Munro records so many tales of grief suffered by farmers and everyone else who is at the mercy of mining companies that the minister's statement is shown up for the deceptive nonsense it is. Maybe after reading it Page and our other local National Party politicians will stop bending over backwards to help and protect the likes of Metgasco and do what they were elected to do - represent us.

Everyone else who lives in and loves this beautiful part of the world should read the book as well - then stand up and save ourselves if our government will not. (I would like to declare that I have no pecuniary interest whatsoever in the book and I wouldn't know the author if I bumped into her on the street.)

Bruce McQueen

Mt. Burrell


Replay of Vietnam

The USA won't be officially saying this, nor will the media, but it has become obvious that the war in Afghanistan is being lost. Recent reports indicate that Taliban fighters now have access to weapons similar to those which helped them defeat the Russians almost a decade ago.

Outside of the mainstream media there are journalists reporting these facts. Yet our own Prime Minster and her defence minister continue the lie that things are improving in Afghanistan while they mourn the ever increasing death toll of Australian soldiers.

It is shameful to see the party that got rid of the draft back in the 1970s towing the American line and perpetuating the lies surrounding this sordid war. America was warned that indiscriminate use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan would build regional hostility and Afghanistan is the proof with increasing numbers of Karzai's "troops" turning on their western "allies" in ever-increasing numbers. This is now the main cause of Australian casualties in Afghanistan, known as "red on blue" attacks.

No matter how it is spun it is obvious, we have more enemies now than before that buffoon Howard decided to weigh in on the war of terror against some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth. Thus, America and its "coalition partners," after well over a decade, fight alone, beset by both friend and enemy.

It is like Vietnam all over again, complete with the ever-increasing supply of heroin coming out of Afghanistan under the very noses of the US military. What is going on? Read this article and see: www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/10/02/264550/iran-islam-scapegoat-for-us-war-failures.

Mike Mizzi



Removed from reality

Several things give me hope after the recent rejection of the gay marriage bill by Federal Parliament, a rejection that, according to opinion polls, does not reflect the views of a majority of Australians. It does not even reflect the views of all members of Parliament who voted against the bill. Tony Abbott denied his party a conscience vote, preventing such prominent Liberal gay marriage advocates as Malcolm Turnbull and Warren Entsch from giving their support.

Social reforms can take a long time. The idea of votes for women was ridiculed in the press and denounced from the pulpit in the 19th century. It was unnatural, would destroy a cornerstone of our society and of course, was not found in the bible. Today's Senate circus clown, the creepy Cory Bernardi, believes marriage equality will lead to polygamy and bestiality. Jim Wallace of the far-right Australian Christian Lobby equates homosexuality with smoking. Apparently being gay is a voluntary addictive pastime that leads to death, a Biblically

inspired characterisation somewhat de-coupled from reality. Later, we saw on ABC's Q&A the Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen turn shifty and evasive when asked if he supported this astonishing notion.

The solution to the gay marriage issue is simply to adopt legally-binding civil unions for everyone. A church wedding can follow the civil ceremony if desired. This has been the practice for heterosexuals in France and Italy for generations. But religious conservatives won't have that, highlighting, as Peter Van Onselen wrote recently in The Australian, that the legal exclusion of gays matters to them more than anything else.

Peter Mullins



Take away his microphone

Alan Jones as a man or commentator has no credibility and never did have, unless one is to the extreme side of right-wing politics. His pathetic attempt at an apology for what he said regarding the Prime Minister's father is so insincere it makes one feel sick. While he is apologising for what he said, in the same moment he is trying to justify it. This man is a total moron. Did he really expect the Prime Minister to take his phone call? Would anyone? I don't think so.

He continues to spread lies and misinformation every time he opens his mouth, and the sad part is, there are a lot of ignorant people in the real world who believe him. In his article in Monday's Daily Telegraph he stated that "CO2 is not a pollutant". Well- it is! Many people have died from CO2 poisoning. Before the industrial revolution, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was, for millions of years, 330 parts/million. In the past 250 years, pollution has increased to today's level of 440 parts/million. Once the level reaches 500 parts/million, plants will not function.

As for blaming the government's insulation policy for the death of four workers, one poor fellow died from heat exhaustion because he was too scared to come down, for fear of getting the sack. It was his first day on the job. The other three workers were electrocuted because instead of waiting for the appropriate insulation batts to arrive, they were instructed to lay aluminium foil down, and were electrocuted using metal staplers to fix down the sheets... but Alan won't tell you that, will he?

I am convinced the sooner this low-life is removed from our air waves, the sooner our standard of broadcasting will improve.

Robert Bettinzoli



Let him say his piece

I refer to the controversy over Alan Jones' remark about Juliar Gillard. Here we are in the middle of the greatest land war in Australia's history, and there is Michael McNamara killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

No one could argue that Alan Jones has given the anti-CSG lobby more help than anyone else. He knows his subject and can take on the politicians with an amazingly well-versed anti-CSG argument. He recently interviewed Barry O'Farrell on 2GB Radio and made mincemeat of the NSW Premier and his government's CSG policies - you can hear it on 2GB's website.

We all open our mouths and say things we shouldn't. No-one is perfect. That is part of the make-up of human beings. And we all have the right to apologise and withdraw our remarks. Alan Jones is no exception.

Michael McNamara has issued his statement on behalf of himself and his wife as the organisers of Rock the Gate Northern Rivers, because he believes his personal integrity is at stake. The very fact that Alan Jones has been barred from speaking at Murwillumbah on October 13 has caused an enormous rift within the anti-CSG fraternity. Michael McNamara has "shot the messenger" and the gas companies are laughing all the way to the bank. After all, isn't the greatest strategy in any war to create divisions within the enemy?

This storm in a teacup has to be ridden out - the protesters should be given the opportunity to hear such an inspirational speaker. After all, aren't today's newspapers the fish and chip papers of tomorrow?

Margaret Howes

Empire Vale


United stand against frackers

Let me make this clear from the start. I have never, before his stand against coal seam gas mining, supported the views of Alan Jones in anything. And I never ever thought I would end up in his corner. Jones' mouth is often his worst enemy. The offensive comment he made about Gillard's father is the latest example. It has which has caused Michael McNamara, spokesperson for Lock the Gate Northern Rivers to remove headline speaker Jones from the CSG rally in Murwillumbah next Saturday.

This decision came about after many people on social media threatened to boycott the rally if Jones was speaking there. This split in the anti-GSG ranks must have seemed like manna from heaven to the CSG mining companies and the NSW Minister for Energy and Resources.

This coal seam gas industry threat to Australia generally and Tweed Shire in particular, where locals are concerned, is much bigger than personal prejudices, politics and having a sense of moral indignation. By splitting our ranks we are playing straight into the hands of those foreign companies that would destroy our precious lands and water for short term profit.

We must, if our children and grandchildren are to have any real future in this great land, all stand together shoulder to shoulder to defend the future against this CSG behemoth. Whether we think Jones should speak at the rally or not shouldn't play any part in our decision to attend. State Parliament is a long way from here so we have to speak in one loud voice to make the government hear. Please support this rally at the Murwillumbah Showground this Saturday, October 13.

Chris Degenhardt

Tweed Shire resident


Gang warfare on food

If beef producers want to maintain a viable industry in Australia, they had better get rid of the people they have in charge of the Cattle Council of Australia! That institution is part of a gang which includes WWF, Woolworths, Coles and McDonalds, which is going to tell producers how to run their operations.

WWF is chock-a -lock full of vegetarians whose sole aim is the destruction of the meat industry. They certainly have no idea what's sustainable! Woolworths and Coles are multinationals whose sole aim is destroying Australia's rural industries so they can import cheap, unhygienic food products from overseas to enhance their profitability. McDonalds is a vile multinational company which takes wholesome raw materials, destroys the taste and nutritional value and flogs it to stupid individuals who totally believe in McDonalds' lying advertising. They'd also rather import their meat from disease-ridden herds in the third world.

Any fool who reckons these human vermin have any intention of pursuing anything but their own vile agendas is too stupid to live, and shouldn't be allowed out unsupervised. They definitely shouldn't be given any positions with any responsibility!

Frank Brown

Richmond, Qld


Tony should condemn Jones

Let's be clear about the direct links between Jones' latest foray into defamation, vilification and contempt, and Tony Abbott's Liberal Party: 1. The offensive speech was delivered at a Liberal Party event for those who aspire to represent that party and lead Australia under its banner. Current federal Liberal parliamenarians were in attendence

2. Jones is a long-standing Liberal luminary and mouthpiece. A former speech writer to a Liberal PM and reputed current party member. He routinely props up Abbott and attacks Gillard

3. Jones' speech was intended to provide leadership and in it he was exhorting his listeners to follow his lead in abusing the PM. Leadership of the Liberals is Abbott's job, and if he is worthy of it he should not be tolerating being supplanted by the likes of Jones.

4. In his speech, aside from vilifying a dead man, Jones lauded Tony Abbott to the heavens. As is so often the case, Abbott was a beneficiary of Jones' attack dog antics

If Phony Tony wants to protect himself from the fallout from Jones' disgusting behaviour then he has to show that he is not willing to accept any favours from Jones and that he condemns Jones' long-standing pattern of disgraceful public comments. Otherwise he should expect to be treated like the clown that he is.

Sean O'Shannessy



More roads than land

The state government is reviewing the need for environment zones after lobbying from shortsighted and selfish property rights advocates. Why, when 85% of Lismore is rural and available for housing development? Lismore Council voted a paltry 1% of land for environmental management and some people find this threatening. Lismore now has more road surface than environmental land. This is very poor landuse planning. If you agree with me that our biodiverse habitat is more important than private profit, please let the state government and your councillors know.

Vanessa Ekins

Lismore Heights


Religion and politics

We need to coin a new word in Australian politics. We continually hear about "Islamophobia" - now the hostility to Tony Abbott should be labelled "Cathlicophobia". A lot of the antipathy to the Leader of the Opposition arises from the fact that he is a Roman Catholic. The same controversy erupted when JFK was elected as he was the first United States President to be a Catholic. And as far as the abortion question goes, Islam proscribes abortion, so when Julia Gillard and all the other warped and twisted feminists want to do battle with the anti-abortion lobby they'll have to take the Muslims on as well.

Bob Vinnicombe

Safton, NSW


Lismore on world music map

What a fantastic event World Stages was. Superb music, delicious food, wondeful vibes.

Congratulations to Sal, Norpa and all the volunteers.

My highlight was seeing the local indigenous rap group Supafresh holding their own against the other talent.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if this event was well supported and grew to be an annual celebration of world and local music in the Northern Rivers?

It even has potential to expand to a whole of town event with concerts in a variety of indoor and outdoor venues.

That could really put Lismore on the world music map.

Tony Gilding


Community groups rally for homeless

Community groups rally for homeless

Community groups rally for homeless at the Winsome

Art recognises the memory

Art recognises the memory

Gallery plays host to new Art & Dementia Program

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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