Letters to the editor - Nov 15

Fracking cattle

I am a cattle farmer from Whian Whian, a parent of three young children, and the wife of a local GP. I would like to respond to an article in the Rural Weekly (October 31) 'Casino farmers tell of positive CSG experience overseas'.

The 'positive CSG experience' apparently occurred in Calgary, Canada, while Darrelyn and Ian Sharman were there to attend the World Hereford Conference, last July.

Type 'fracking Calgary' into an internet search engine. (When I first did this I tried the words 'coal seam gas Calgary' and I only looked on the first page. It appeared that there was only conventional gas mining in Calgary). However, today, a Google search of 'fracking Calgary' brings up the following:

27 Sep 2012: 'Cochrane residents meet to discuss fracking concerns' - Calgary CBC; 20 Sep 2012: 'Quebec Minister's fracking comments worry Calgary companies'; and 7 Sep 2012: 'BC oil and gas regulator links fracking to earthquakes' - Calgary Herald.

But one of the most informative articles is from Australia's own Coal Seam Gas News site. It is titled: 'Albertan, Tired of Her Tap Water Catching Fire, Sues'. Jessica Ernst, a 54 year old oil and gas scientist, launched a $30 million lawsuit against EnCana, her local fracking company, in April 2011. The case is still in process.

An internet search on 'fracking cattle' is even more depressing. I don't understand how cattle farmers could support coal seam gas mining.

Darrelyn says: "I would like to know how they are going to deal with the waste water, because I am not sure what will happen with that."

I sincerely wish that she had enquired before allowing Metgasco access to his property.

Jessica Lowe

Whian Whian


Abortion concerns

Like all Australians I find the treatment of the cattle and sheep overseas abhorrent. With a few more guidelines I would fully endorse this continued trade as it is the livelihood of many farmers and Australian economy. What is baffling is the furore this has caused, yet the abortion (killing) of approximately 90,000 babies every year in Australia goes unnoticed.

Falling pregnant is foolhardy just to have to get rid of the baby. There are many contraceptives for women that are readily available, more than ever before. Even women who are raped don't have to get pregnant if they seek help as soon as possible. There is no reason for unwanted pregnancies. Have a thought for the thousands of Australian families wanting to adopt.

So I say it is great to support our animals, we should fight animal cruelty. However, let us also support the helpless unborn who everyday are being needlessly disposed.

Josephine Hobbs



LEP correction

Your report 'LEP still in limbo land' (Echo, November 8) states that draft Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) for Lismore and other northern councils are being held up until the E2 and E3 environment zones are finalised.

This is incorrect.

The review of E2 and E3 areas is being dealt with separately and will not affect the timing of the LEPs.

Neil McGaffin

Executive Director

NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure


Greed-filled rush

The spin and lies from the Liberal/Nationals backed and expanding noxious coal seam gas industry continues. It seems chief polluter and spin master Peter Henderson is beginning to sound like Hitler's propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels, who once said "If you tell a lie often enough to enough people, it becomes the truth". Peter Henderson on ABC radio, November 9, said he's excited about being able to go "full throttle," in his efforts to poison our water, contaminate our land and gas our kids' future. He's shifted his preferences for selective language to exclude the word "mining," preferring to use the word, "extraction." He says "CSG is not mining." They "drill wells just like water," an obvious lie and "there's no evidence of contamination in Queensland" and it's a "safe and established industry."

Mr Henderson should tell that to the Monk family of Tara Qld whose grandchildren suffer inexplicable nose bleeds, blackouts and other symptoms of gas toxicity every day. He should tell that to the people along the Condamine River watching gas bubbling to the surface into the atmosphere which in a bushfire would ignite the region. In fact Mr Henderson should simply come clean and tell the people of the Northern Rivers he plans to ruin their area by turning it into an industrial area with gas-fields and gas wells, pumping stations and all the other paraphernalia that goes with his company's greed-filled rush to extract locally un-needed gas to sell to China as soon as possible.

He should also tell the people of the region that he wants to ruin it even more by building a gas hub port at Ballina or Grafton and make the place look like something out of a Mad Max movie. In fact Mr Henderson should simply change his name to Josef Goebbels because, like that famed Nazi, he is repeating the same old lies ad-nauseam in the hope the people of the Northern Rivers will reverse their total rejection of his industry and lay down and die and believe his propaganda.

M Mizzi



Murder, he wrote

November 2 was the 60th anniversary of an historic murder, the fatal shooting of London 'bobby', Sidney Miles, by 16 year old Christopher Craig.

Craig, too young to hang, got ten years. His retarded mate, 19-year-old Derek Bentley, who was in custody when the fatal shot was fired, went to the gallows.

Arguments still go on over 'common intent', and whether juveniles should hang for murder, especially if villains take them along to do the shooting.

In NSW a few years ago, an off-duty police officer was surrounded, hacked and stabbed to death by a group of Muslims. Media reports gave the (possibly wrong) impression that the defence was based on the prosecution's failure to identify which man delivered the fatal blow.

Has the pendulum swung too far? Did Aesop get it right about David Hicks, two thousand years ago? 'The sheep that hunts with the wolf must share the fate of the wolf.'

Eddie Burns



Tenant farmers

87% percent of the people in Lismore voted against CSG mining. People in Lismore voted Cr Gianpiero Battista to represent them and now he's saying the people who voted him in should come up with a solution to CSG? (Echo, November 1).

Even Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb offers a solution, "We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy - sun, wind and tide. ... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that." -Thomas Edison, inventor (1847-1931)

Mr. Battista, why not support the local solar power companies like Nickel Energy and Rainbow Power? These clean energy providers have been hard done by the current State Government which resulted in big job losses in the local solar sector. The solar industry is offering our community the best solution for this region to unconventional gas mining. Lismore council area should be proud that it is one of the highest users of solar power in all of Australia. It seems your constituents are already doing their fair share in finding an alternative to unconventional gas mining; solar energy.

If our aquifers and groundwater are destroyed, how do you plan to clean that up? 87% of your constituents are switched on enough to say 'no' to unconventional gas mining. Please help them realise a gas field free future. Clean energy is available, we just need to encourage our State Government to support it.

Jimmy Malecki




I was dreaming I suppose, while looking at Meineke smiling. He told me that he hadn't thought about it at all. I immediately thought it was the millions spent trying to stop some bloke, who wanted to crush some rocks. But I was mistaken for, would you believe it, on the opposite page there was our Jenny posing. Now I cannot remember the last time I saw her posing, but I could not believe my eyes for next to Meineke suggesting a trip to Queensland with his mates, there was Jenny also believing that this time Council would not involve SCU to do a survey of council's asset management plan or how much the ratepayers like council's litigious spending sprees.

No mention of legal costs, as you don't need to know. I looked, but nothing in The Echo, October 25.

While looking at Jenny posing for Laszlo, I started to compare her concerns re: council's finances with my own. There in my hand was a water account for Meter No. UM5284. Previous reading was on June 26 and the current reading was on October 8.You may say "fair enough" but there is a small problem: there is no meter on my land. A preliminary application for the erection of a shed on said property resulted in the following conditions: there must be no toilet, no shower and no sink. There are three sewer lines on my property. Without a toilet I still pay $420.60; without any waste disposal (garbage collection) I still pay $34.20. My rates are $1,267.84 then there is something called "residential urban" $340.00, all for a block of land with nothing built on it.

While still looking at Meineke's smiling face and Jenny posing and still trying to think the last time I saw her posing, the tides report came over the radio: high tide 8.22 am. My fishing excursions include a visit to Dave's Bait Shop in Ballina for bait, maybe some gear and a fishing licence so I can throw a line into the ocean. This is in the land of the free.

"What's that?" A fishing trawler the size of an aircraft carrier? Nobody can be that mentally retarded, unless of course you live in Australia.

G. Pagura



Tide is turning

The fight for same-sex marriage has certainly seen some progress made over the past few weeks. In the U.S., not only did the majority of Americans vote for a president who has publicly backed the legal recognition of same-sex marriages, but in the U.S. states of Maine, Maryland and Washington the majority of people voted in a referendum in their respective states to legalise same-sex marriage. Some other firsts in the U.S. include the election of Tammy Baldwin as the first openly gay federal U.S. Senator and the defeat of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, by popular vote in the relatively conservative state of Minnesota.

In Spain we saw this nation's highest court uphold the right of same-sex couples to marry and in France and New Zealand we have seen same-sex marriage bills pass their first reading in their respective parliaments. Here in Australia we have seen some progress as well. For the first time an openly gay reality TV contestant won a reality TV show by popular vote and during the finale we saw an audience give a standing ovation when the contestant proposed to his same-sex partner on stage, and in the ACT the newly formed Labor/Greens government has promised to pass same-sex marriage legislation within this term of parliament. Only a few years ago these victories would have been inconceivable, but yet today they are a reality. Here in Australia over the past five years we have seen support for same-sex marriage jump from 39% to 63% and with polling amongst women and young people nowadays showing support to be around 75%. The same-sex marriage cause most certainly has more progress to make before it is legalised here in Australia, but as the evidence shows, the tide is turning in our favour.

Ben Cooper




I'd like to reply to the story 'Water on tap for rural residents' in the Express Examiner (November 7). Our council has set up a standpipe and hose so rural people can collect water in this time of drought. This is of great help, and I'm sure many people will find this service invaluable, but it also makes me wonder at our council's decision to allow such a water intensive industry, CSG to resume seismic testing for gas in our land. This testing is just the beginning of a toxic industry that has no regard for our land and water, an industry that is self-regulating and will make money for a select few at our expense.

The gas industry will use huge amounts of our water and where will this water come from? The very same rivers, creeks and underground water supplies we all use and rely on now. So how can our council assure us that we will have enough clean, safe water for all of us to use in the future if the CSG industry is allowed to operate in a region already known for drought and water restrictions? Will the CSG industry be subjected to the same water restrictions like everyone else, or like all rules and regulations, will they be exempt yet again?

Jill Lyons



Good news story

Kyogle Tidy Towns Committee wish to thank you for your support during the last 12 months with regard to the hosting of the Sustainable Communities Awards weekend in November. Regretfully our members noted the lack of media coverage of the event. How often does a town of less than 4000 population attract a federal member of parliament, three members of state parliament and more than 250 visitors from some 60 different towns which included community volunteers and council personnel at the one place at the one time? Unfortunately when a disaster hits the town it is front page news and there is much wringing of hands as to how the community will survive. Well the town has survived and was named the Tidy Town for 2011 in NSW and was runner-up in the National Competition.

This was a joyous occasion, an opportunity to show off the town and its environs to these visitors and the council and the community has to be congratulated for the tremendous effort they made so that it would be successful. The steering committee for the weekend which consisted of Tidy Towns' members, representatives of the service clubs in the town, (Quota, Lions and Rotary) and private individuals all had an important role in pulling this weekend together so that our guests had a pleasant stay. Unfortunately the Northern Star and Express Examiner only saw fit to print the Awards that Kyogle received when there was so much more to the story. One would have thought that a photo of the Hon. Robyn Parker MP, Minister for Environment and Minister for Heritage, presenting Armidale the overall state winner 2012 would have been worthwhile, or the presentation of the Perpetual Trophy donated by Kyogle Historical Society been a possibility, but not so much as a flash light was seen.

In a time of darkness let our reporters tell some good news stories that may boost the morale of our communities.

J Hayman



Not funny

The writer of Modern Man (Echo, November 8) has managed to insult around about 100% of his readers with an ill-considered joke. He has not only invalidated the rational adult choice to not to reproduce, but has also insulted those in the community who have chosen to balance a creative and socially active life with having children. And how many childless (not by choice!) couples have been hurt by this shallow, self-motivated and self-justifying article?

Not only is 'barren' an entirely gender specific slur, used in this context it's also utterly incorrect; 'Barrenness'/infertility is not a choice but a health issue. And to jokingly quote the words slung at our PM by a misogynistic homophobe, is simply not funny. Nor is it clever. Consider the implications, that no-one would be childless unless they were given no choice?

It's also massively insulting to the many high-achieving, fun-loving, party-going, creative people who not only manage their creative lives but also choose to have children and do a bloody good job of it.

This week's Modern Man exposes the limitations of the writer more than anything. His insecurities regarding his choices in life, his envy of other peoples' child-free lives and perceived freedom; and his rather, shall we say, old-fashioned viewpoints on reproductive choice.

No Andy, your child-free friends are not looking on in envy… they're looking on with pity, because they made a sensible and informed choice and you did not!

Fiona Mcconnachie

The Channon

Ed's note - My sincere apologies to anyone who was offended by last week's Modern Man. The

reference to Bill Heffernan's undeniably sexist comment about Julia Gillard being 'deliberately barren' was supposed to be a backhanded attack on him and others that may hold similar outdated views. I respect and support anybody's right to reproduce or not, male or female, and feel for those who for biological reasons are not able to do so.

Gas field free

Just what sort of future can the people living around the Naughtons Gap area expect? Recent seismic testing in the area and testing a few years ago in Bentley and along Manifold Rd indicate the area will be targeted for wholesale gas field industrialisation. What we see now with this testing is the very thin edge of the wedge. What will the area be like in five, ten or twenty years? Will it still be a lovely place to live? This is a social, agricultural and industrial experiment that we have not seen the likes of in this country.

Recent polling in the area indicates the vast majority of residents don't want gas developments on their land or in their neighbourhood. They are rightly concerned about water, health, sense of community, property value, natural environment and rural amenity. It is becoming very clear that most people living in these areas targeted for gas developments, the local residents who will be most affected, don't want it. When given the chance they are saying 'yes' to a gas field free community.

Matt Danks



Covered up

The Government's Royal Commission into child sex-abuse should extend beyond the Churches. One organization that has continually covered up child abuse is Julia Gillard's own organisation, the Australian Labor Party. The NSW ALP covered up for Milton Orkopoulous, former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Then there was the case of Bill D'Arcy and Keith Wright, Labor MPs in Queensland, who both served long jail sentences for child abuse.

Another area of rampant child abuse is child prostitution. It is a well known fact that the brothels that advertise in the glossy pages of local papers are full of hapless underage Asian girls brought into the country as illegal immigrants with the promise of real jobs and then forced to work as sex slaves to pay off their debt to the people smugglers. Then it is a fact that every year thousands of Australian men, too ugly or repulsive to get a gig in their own country, travel to Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines for holidays every year with the object of making use of under-age Asian girls who have been forced into prostitution by poverty. Apart from that the loonie left of the Labor Party and The Greens have an agenda to lower the age of consent anyway. Unless the inquiry covers all these areas it should be seen as a thinly veiled attempt to divert attention from the NSW ICAC inquiry and take a shot at Tony Abbott via the Catholic Church.

Bob Vinnicombe



Christian duty

Aren't we living in amazing times to see that the Catholic Church is investigated after decades or is it centuries of child abuse? Isn't it one of highest Christian aims to help your fellow human? Isn't that what Anthony Bower did when he started handing out his self-developed and self-made medicine from the Mullaways Medical Cannabis Company for free on World AIDS Day nearly three years ago? Instead of supporting the sick and pain-suffering patients out there and creating jobs and cheap medicine, it looks to me that the police and politicians are more interested in hindering the progress by having Mr. Bower twice in court. On Monday the Magistrate in Kempsey said, that "he hasn't done anything wrong". How much time and money will the government waste to fight Mr. Bower, while the suffering people are waiting to get the good medicine and hope?

Chibo Mertineit

Lillian Rock


Consider your demographic

I write in response to your smug little article about childless people and how carefree and time-rich their lives are compared to yours (Modern Man, Echo, November 8).

I do not consider myself 'less' of anything but free to make choices such as the choice to be child 'free'. I do not attend endless parties nor do I partake in language classes or guitar building.

If you are indeed writing for "working families" and that they are all incredibly busy with child rearing, then surely they are far too exhausted to read your column. Perhaps it is you who should consider your demographic of the 'deliberately barren' in order to ensure your readership's interest.

Sarah Hartshorne

East Lismore

Ed's note - Again my sincere apologies if anybody took offence at what was intended to be a light and humorous observation piece about my experience of parenting...

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