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As a resident of Byron Bay for the last 27 years, and a surfer here since 1966 I am deeply concerned at the position Byron Council has taken since been elected last. We seem to have a council that doesn’t consider the local community’s views on anything.
I am part of a small group of residents (Grab The Rail) who are opposed to using Butler street as a proposed bypass, which even the mayor and councillors say will only alleviate 10 to 15 per cent of the traffic issue.
We had a state government that spent over $300,000 on finding the best solution for a bypass in 2001, which I might add should have been completed by 2015. This route was coming into town from the highway, turning right at the Caltex servo, (Kendall Street), left onto the gazetted road called Byron Street, across Butler Street then onto the rail corridor, all the way down to Cemetery Road, with turn offs on the way.
This would also be a great way of getting to the new car park area at the new shopping centre at the Woolies site, (no traffic going through town). So why is this being ignored by our council? this proposal will be cheaper, less impact on the environment, excellent access for emergency services (ambulance, fire trucks, SES, etc) from one side of town to the other.
Do the right thing, councillors, get it right. This is your best opportunity to really improve our traffic and also beautify our town, we can also leave the market right were they are, the corridor can be utilised for a train corridor (for future) bus interchange, lots of off-street parking, rail trail paths, improved pedestrian access, and garden areas – this corridor is wide enough for all this.
With a little bit of imagination we can have a showpiece right in the heart of Byron.
Byron Councillors, you were voted in by the people in our shire, and are paid by the people, shouldn’t you be listening to the people, get it right.
Ray Boots, Byron Bay
This post was first published on Simple Green Frugal some years ago. It’s worth a re-run.
A post on Little Eco Footprints this week called Are we making a mistake living in the city? has been in the back of my mind at odd moments all week. I live in a rural community. I moved here as a young hippy mum nearly 30 years ago, living first in a caravan with no power, road access, or running water. I have never regretted it and although it was diabolically hard in those early years, I do have the best of lives.
But sometimes, like the deserted beach or the fantastic suburban restaurant, things are only fantastic so long as no-one else knows they are. Is living in the country like that? Is it only possible to do it without destroying it because most people don’t?
My “perfect world” fantasy has everyone living in permacultured villages with tiny ecological footprints, networked and linked with electric railways and internet (powered with geothermal or big desert solar installations), largely self sufficient in food, water, waste disposal, houshold and local energy, trading knowledge, culture, art, craft, manufactured goods and specialist crops.
The villages would be neither city nor country, but a bit of both. They would have enough population density so that people could get around by foot and bicycle – kids could walk to school and to their friends places to play, neighbours would be close enough to rely on in emergencies or even just to borrow a cup of flour or a tool or visit for a chat. But they would have a low enough density to allow most of the fresh food production to be local – kitchen gardens, fruit trees, chickens, geese, dairy cows.
That’s not a very different level of population density to th...
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is today calling for urgent and critical action to reduce pressure on the Great Barrier Reef following the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) raising its coral bleaching response level to two, as the threat to the Reef from coral bleaching continues to worsen.
Imogen Zethoven, the Great Barrier Reef campaign director at AMCS said the Turnbull Government needed to take its share of responsibility and swing into action to prevent future damage.
“In the last few weeks we’ve seen outbreaks of coral bleaching around Lizard Island, Low Isles near Port Douglas and reports of bleaching in Princess Charlotte Bay on Cape York Peninsula.
“All Australians will be alarmed to hear that the Reef is being put under increased pressure because of global warming.
“As the bleaching on the Reef continues to intensify we need an urgent response from the Turnbull Government to avoid widespread bleaching happening repeatedly in the future.
“This bleaching event has revealed the true cost of approving more coal mines, more coal export port terminals and refusing to listen to the warnings.
“The solutions are clear, we must make a rapid transition from mining and burning coal to 100% renewable energy.
“The Queensland Parliament must also support the Palaszczuk government’s proposed tightening of vegetation management laws which were weakened under the Newman government, resulting in a massive increase in tree clearing and carbon emissions from the state.
“Last year Queensland welcomed 1.1 million international tourists, with the industry bringing in $6 billion to the Queensland economy.
“The Reef is vital to Queensland’s tourism industry and the state’s economy.
“GBRMPA’s decision today should be a wake up call for the Turnbull Government that we need to prevent further devastating coral bleaching events,” said Ms Zethoven
This is the text of a media release distributed by NQCC at 2.15pm on Monday 14 March: North Queensland Conservation Council is extremely concerned that coral bleaching in the Far North of the Great Barrier Reef is now so bad … Continue reading
Story & photos Eve Jeffery
I have never been to India but I have eaten at a lot of Indian restaurants. Love the stuff and I’m very picky.
When I first went to Billi’s Indian when they opened four years ago, the food was good but like most new eateries, I could tell they needed to settle in.
Recently a friend told me that every time she goes there the food keeps getting better and better and now she is addicted. She makes at least one visit a week!
Stu Kennedy of Lennox Head (pictured) caused a massive upset by defeating 11 times World Champion Kelly Slater during Round 2 and eliminating the American from the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast yesterday (Sunday, March 13).
The result could see Slater take a break from surfing, even before Mick Fanning’s sabbatical kicks in.
Two South African shark experts will visit Ballina on Thursday to assess whether local beaches are suitable for the Shark Spotters project.
Shark Spotters project manager Sarah Waries and field manager Monswabisi Sikweyiya will also meet with local politicians, fisheries officers and beach safety groups.
A free community forum will be held at Dunes on Shelley Beach from 6.30pm.
The forum will provide information on the Shark Spotters program, along with advice on how to reduce the risk of shark bite.
In South Africa, the initiative employs 15 – 20 shark spotters at nine of Cape Town’s popular beaches.
The shark spotters scan coastal waters for sharks from an elevated platform during daylight hours, seven days a week.
They use a system of flags to let beach users know whether sharks have been spotted.
A green flag means ‘spotting conditions good, no sharks seen’, black means ‘Spotting conditions poor, no sharks seen’, a red flag means ‘High Shark Alert. Either a shark has been seen in the last two...
Two people will face court on drug supply charges following arrests on Friday by Lismore detectives.
A 25-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman have been charged with supplying a prohibited drug from a Lismore nightclub during the month of January.
Police allege the drug supplied was Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA).
The man was refused bail to attend Lismore Local Court today. The woman will appear on the 2nd May 2016.
The arrests were made by Strikeforce Aulbua detectives, who are investing the ongoing supply of drugs in Lismore licensed premises.
The post Pair charged with supplying drugs in Lismore nightclub appeared first on Echonetdaily.
A people’s gathering to mark the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster at the Mullumbimby Farmer’s Market on Friday heard that ‘the Japanese people and the international community want answers and solutions to the ongoing Fukushima crisis and want them now.’
The gathering included members of the rainbow region’s Japanese community with babies in tow. The oldest was 80-year ‘young’ Zen master Hougen San.
Speaking at the gathering activist Harsha Prabhu said that ‘five years on the Japanese people and the international community are still waiting for the situation to be stabilised.’
‘Five years on, there’s more than 1000 tanks containing radioactive water, some of them leaking; radioactive strontium is still leaking into the Pacific Ocean; there’s millions of bags of contaminated soil awaiting safe disposal.
‘Five years on more than 1000 sq kilometres of villages, mountains and forests...
Construction is set to begin on a $1.8m project that will provide ‘affordable’ housing in the Lismore suburb of Goonellabah.
Nine two-bedroom townhouses are being built on land at Gordon Blair Drive in Goonellabah. One of the homes will be fully accessible and suitable for someone living with a disability.
North Coast Community Housing chairman John Stone said the project was the result of a productive partnership with Lismore City Council.
‘The project is a good example of how regional councils can work with registered Community Housing Providers, like NCCH, to provide available land at an affordable price,’ Mr Stone said.
‘This results in the provision of more social and affordable housing outcomes in regional areas.’
NCCH purchased the land from the council under an Expression of Interest (EOI) process for rezoned council land. The process is aimed at increasing the supply of social and affordable housing.
NCCH then commissioned local building designer Geoff Parry and local town planners Newton Denny Chappelle for the de...
Police are still investigating the cause of an accident that took place on the Tweed Valley Way at Condong, near Murwillumbah, on Saturday (March 12) .
Around 9.50am, a Toyota Landcruiser and a Mazda sedan collided.
As a result of the accident the Landcruiser overturned, with the driver being suspended by his seatbelt before eventually being released by nearby residents
The head-on collision saw the drivers of both vehicles and a passenger injured and taken to the Tweed Hospital.
The Landcruiser driver had a suspected fractured leg, the Mazda passenger had chest injuries while the Mazda driver had cuts and abrasions.
Police closed Tweed Valley Way for about four hours while they undertook investigations and emergency services cleared the roadway.
The United States and France have accused the Syrian government of trying to disrupt a new round of peace talks and say Russia and Iran need to show the Syrian government is ‘living up to’ what has been agreed.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Saturday that his government would not discuss presidential elections at peace talks in Geneva this week or hold talks with any party wishing to discuss the question of the presidency.
‘It’s a provocation … a bad sign and doesn’t correspond to the spirit of the ceasefire,’ French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told a news conference with his British, German, Italian, US and EU counterparts on Sunday.
Calling Moallem’s comments a clear attempt to ‘disrupt the process’, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the Syrian government and its backers were mistaken if they thought they could continue to test the boundaries of a fragile truce....
A new street mural depicting a child will provide a lasting reminder of Lismore’s Eat the Street festival, which attracted thousands of people to the city on Saturday.
Artist Guido van Helten worked throughout the day on the mural, returning to finish it on the Sunday despite rainy weather.
The result has been variously described on social media as ‘stunning’ and ‘amazing’.
Vendors taking part also had an ‘amazing’ day, with the various food stalls operators busy right up until 8pm when the day’s activities finished.
Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop is set to hold formal talks with Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama in Suva.
Ms Bishop is in Fiji to inspect the damage caused by Cyclone Winston and Australia’s aid and relief efforts.
The federal government has pledged $15 million in assistance and has sent its largest navy ship packed full of hygiene kits, tents, and other supplies to help thousands of Fijians left homeless after the category five cyclone hit three weeks ago.
Ms Bishop will also hold bilateral talks with her Fijian counterpart Inoke Kubuabola, before visiting Australian aid workers helping communities recover and touring a women’s market damaged by the storms.
The meeting with Mr Bainimarama will be the first since 2014, when Canberra moved to normalise soured relations a month after Fijian elections confi...
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Israel prevented the Indonesian foreign minister from entering the West Bank to meet with Palestinian officials.
A Sunday statement says that Retno Marsudi was supposed to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Riad Malki. The ministry said Malki traveled to neighbouring Jordan to meet Marsudi instead.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon refused to comment on the issue.
Israeli media reported Marsudi was denied access to the West Bank because she wasn’t going to meet Israeli officials.
According to reports, Marsudi was to inaugurate an Indonesian consulate in the West Bank.
An ABC Four Corners crew trying to question Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak over a corruption scandal has been detained by police.
Reporter Linton Besser and camera operator Louie Eroglu were arrested in the city of Kuching on Saturday night after approaching Mr Razak on the street, the ABC reports.
Both were released without charge on Sunday but have been told not to leave the country.
Their passports were seized but later returned.
A police statement obtained by the AFP news agency said they were held after they crossed a ‘security line and aggressively tried to approach the prime minister’.
The program’s executive producer Sally Neighbour said on Twitter the arrest was related to the crew’s reporting of corruption allegations involving Mr Razak.
She tweeted that the pair were ‘doing what journalists do in countries with a free press’....
A heavy police presence in the centre of Melbourne is keeping a lid on threats of violence from a gang who vowed to return to a community festival for a second night of unruliness.
The Apex gang, which has around 100 members, some as young as 12, terrorised the public and taunted police during Moomba celebrations on Saturday night.
They threatened on social media to return and run amok again on Sunday night.
As a result there are 100 Victoria Police officers patrolling the city.
‘We haven’t been told of any incidents,’ a police spokeswoman told AAP about 9.30pm.
Some youths were questioned by police as they exited Flinders Street train station, but many Moomba attendees were unaffected by additional uniformed police presence.
Earlier on Sunday, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton warned gang members they’d be facing a tougher response compared to Saturday night....
New research suggests a standalone plebiscite on same-sex marriage would cost the country more than half a billion dollars.
The modelling by accounting firm PwC Australia found a compulsory vote on marriage equality would cost the Australian economy $525 million.
It estimates that a plebiscite not held on the same day as a federal election would cost the taxpayer $158 million to organise, $66 million for the community to fund the for and against campaigns and $281 million in lost productivity as people take time out to vote.
In addition, PwC Australia estimates at least $20 million in costs associated with the impact on the mental health and wellbeing of Australians.
‘The real costs to government, the economy and members of the community to hold a stand-alone plebiscite are more than three times higher than the numbers commonly quoted,’ PwC Australia CEO Luke Sayers said in a statement.
He said the modelling showed the plebiscite would be a drain on the economy and bad for business, calling instead for a parliamentary vote as the best mechanism for change.
‘It’s clear from these findings that a stand-alone plebiscite on marriage equality is a massive waste of time...
Tweed-Byron police have advised parents to be aware of the potential for teenage parties to escalate when publicised on social media platforms like Facebook.
The call follows the police being called out to two parties in the Tweed on the weekend which had apparently got out of control.
About 11.40pm on Friday, March 11, police attended a property at Upper Burringbar Rd, Burringbar, after a large party there had got out of control.
Police said more than 100 young people were there, many of them drunk, and that they had received complaints about noise and fighting. Police spent more than an hour on scene moving the crowd on.
The adult organiser of the party stated that numbers had got out of control because someone had put the party on Facebook.
About 8.40pm on Saturday, March 12, police knocked on the door of a property at Terrace St, Chinderah, after a party had got out of control there.
A teenage boy had organised a party while his parents were away and more than 100 young people attended. Drunk teens were reported to be smashing bottles and throwing projectiles at police.
Police were on scene for several hours, moving people on and disbursing the crowd. A number of the partygoers were detained due to their degree of drunkenness, and their parents contacted.
The post Tweed ‘Facebook’ parties out of control, say police appeared first on Echonetdaily.
Four decades after the release of his first record, the iconic Australian classic ”[I’m] Stranded” by The Saints, Ed Kuepper returns with an album that may well be considered a high point in his lengthy and uncompromising career.
Recorded over three days in August at Gasworks Studio, Brisbane ”Lost Cities” is Ed Kuepper’s 50th release [excluding compilations] and is the 21st on his own Prince Melon Records label. It is Ed’s first entirely solo and electric release, a format Herr Kuepper likes to refer to as ‘Solo Orchestral’.
“When I was a kid I always processed recordings as a kind of singular whole, so when I started to play the guitar I wanted my playing to be the entire orchestra/band rather than just the guy strumming in the corner. A good example would be the way I played Nights in Venice on the first Saints lp… or the acoustic with hyper harmonic overtones on Today Wonder. Lost Cities continues that approach but also moves into the tonal opposite of what I did when I started”
To celebrate the album release Ed Kuepper will take to the road starting in March 2016 and taking in as many city and regional areas over as many months as possible as he presents these brand new works alongside old, treasured favourites. Both the new album and tickets to all currently listed shows will go on-sale Monday December 21st
Don’t miss Ed Kuepper – Lost Cities / Solo Orchestral this March / April.
The Byron Theatre
Sunday 24 April 2016
Tickets $33.00 + bf
Buy online: Byron Centre
Phone: (02) 6685 6807
For further information about venues and dates visit www.feelpresents.com
The post Ed Kuepper ‘Lost Cities...
The Queensland government’s promise to deliver a ‘fair price of solar’ for new and recent solar connections has hit a major roadblock, with the Queensland Productivity Commission saying it sees no reason to impose a mandatory payment and figures households are receiving enough already.
The draft report from the QPC, released on Thursday, rejects the idea that solar households should be rewarded for any network benefits, such as reducing peaks and deferring investment, and for pulling down the price of wholesale electricity, or any other social benefits.
It says it is clear that solar PV reduces the amount of coal-fired generation, but says that the emission reduction benefits are already rewarded in the federal small-scale renewables scheme, which provides an upfront subsidy to the cost of solar panels.
And it also rejects the idea that solar households should be allowed to trade with each other, saying that such schemes are too complex, and may be addressed separately by the Australian Energy Markets Commission.
The findings of the QPC are not a surprise, given its past and current attitude to solar and the networks generally. It and other state-based regulators are criticised for seeking only to protect the interests of the incumbent network operators and gen-tailers.
Last month, for instance, the QPC recommended the premium feed-in tariff of 44c/kWh, enjoyed by more than 300,000 households in Queensland, should be cancelled, rather than allowed to continue until 2028.
That report on the broader issue of electricity prices focused entirely on the cost of renewables, which make up less than 5 per cent of the average consumer bill, and largely ignored the impact of network costs and wholesale prices, rising sharply because of the rising cost of gas. As we said then,...
Usually it is a leading man’s handsome good looks or an actress’s alluring curves that a director chooses to highlight. In Nicholas Hytner’s whimsical but incisive adaptation of Alan Bennett’s play, Maggie Smith’s bulbous right eye is frequently the camera’s focal point, and it’s uncanny how the shot draws you deeper into her character’s psyche whenever it’s used. Miss Shepherd (Smith) is an irascible, malodorous old biddy with a mysterious past as a novice nun, a WWII ambo and a concert pianist. Now on her uppers, she lives in the back of a yellow van. When she parks it in the driveway of the house that Alan (Alex Jennings) has just purchased in Camden Town, it is expected to be a temporary arrangement – but she stays for fifteen years. Remarkably, this is a true story, and Hytner, who collaborated with Bennett on The History Boys (2006) and The Madness of King George (1994), has again shown himself to have a receptive ‘ear’ for the writer’s wry humour and understated pathos. He has also reminded us that lightness of touch need not necessarily reflect lightweight content, for the movie deals with the serious issues of loneliness, guilt and the challenges of ageing. It opens with Miss Shepherd being pursued by the police after an accident in which somebody has come to grief – it’s the thorny problem that does not permit the screenplay to settle into idle cosiness, and the revisiting of the incident near...
Phillip Frazer, ‘Above the line or below….’ Echo March 2, correctly observes that Jacqui Lambie, Ricky Muir – along with established independents – would be more highly regarded as ‘doing a goodish job’ well ahead of all members of the big parties. This surely implies that a random selection from the citizenry would give us a better set of representatives than the present system does!
Senate voting options are being changed because of gaming by the micro parties of the voting system; but this is superficial compared with the entrenched gaming – via the party pre-selection process – of the major parties for both houses.
In the honored manner of the court jester, Charlie Pickering, in his show of March 9, gives a brilliant expose of how the pre-selection process works; how voter interest’s come about fourth in priority after factional interests, lobbyist’s concerns and branch stacking.
Check it out on ABC TV iView, starts 7 minutes in – it is hugely educational and would be hilarious if not so true.
Colin Cook, Bangalow
It’s been a funny old week. They’ve been a couple of difficult moments, punctuated as always by lots of laughter. Let me share some of the good bits with you… . . . . . No matter what else is happening, I try to make a point of beginning each day with a mindful ten […]
‘Blue and white lines #70′
You know how much better you feel after a good haircut? Well our fruit trees are also feeling quite unburdened after their annual summer prune. Thanks to Dawn, Lyn, Carolyn and Sarah we’ve snipped our apple, pear, peach, plum and nectarine trees. For an explanation on why we prune in summer, read this earlier post and there’s […]
Groundwater, which is fresh water stored underneath the earths surface makes up 98% of the earth’s fresh water source and like farming land in the Northern Rivers, provides industry, ecosystems, plant, animal and human life with the necessary fresh water to sustain life.
Throughout Australia, coal seam gas exploration has and continues to threaten groundwater through the drilling of a vast network of wells, pipes, damns and treatment plants in the vicinity of groundwater reservoirs that communities rely on. Currently the Pilliga Forest blockade near Narrabri is protesting against CSG exploration that could impact 22% of Australia’s total groundwater supply, the Great Artesian Basin.
Thankfully in the Northern Rivers, the Bentley Blockade that took place in late 2014 held a peaceful resistance to Metgasco’s CSG exploration on our local land and stands as a prime example of community resilience in the face of corporate greed and environmental destruction.
This powerful action has rightly started a social movement and a local film producer Brendan Shoebridge captured it all on film. Currently in production, ‘The Bentley Effect’ is a film for the world to see. It is about people and communities standing up and winning the fight for the protection of our land and our water.
A week of fundraising actions for Groundwater Awareness Week 2016 has been initiated by Santos Organics. Further to this 10% of all sales at the Santos Organics Warehouse from Monday 14th through to Friday 18th March will be donated to ‘The Bentley Effect.’ To close of the week we invite you to join Brendan and Lock the Gate Alliance on Friday 18th March, 2pm-5pm at Santos Organics, 3/7 Brigantine St, Byron Industrial Estate. This will be a celebration and community update of the film and CSG exploration in Australia. You’ll...
Thursday, March 10, 2016 by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
An Australian Health Minister named Jill Hennessy has just uttered the most insanely stupid, anti-science quackery ever recorded on the subject of vaccines. As part of her imperial push to poison and cripple as many Australian children (including Aborigine children) as possible, she has publicly insisted that there are “no risks in vaccinating children.”
Australia is a vaccine police state run by pro-vaccine terrorists who threaten, intimidate and engage in the physical assault of people who speak out against the false narratives of so-called “vaccine safety.” Jill Hennessy empowers these vaccine terrorists when she utters such insanely stupid statements, and she puts the lives of tens of millions of children at risk.
My own video commentary on Jill Hennessey — where I call her a dangerous child-murdering sociopath who needs to be removed from public office — is available.
I’m intrigued: What makes a person care for societies’ unwanted animals, 24/7? I’m sitting with Kelly and Fox from Sugarshine Animal FARM Sanctuary at an outdoor table but it’s getting harder to concentrate because of an insistent nudge in my back. I turn around to face two smoky almond eyes belonging to a large white goat with alarmingly pointy horns.
‘Oh, that’s Rueben,’ Kelly says, ‘he wants a pat. He’s a big
Giving Reuben a pat seems like a good idea, so I oblige. Then off he wanders to a tree, stands on his hind legs, and stretches up lazily to nibble leaves from an overhanging branch.
Actually, I’m having a Dr Doolittle moment: upon entering the farm gate I was mobbed by animals. Then when walking down the hill to the shaded table for our interview, an elfin-faced dog named ‘Pencil’, a black Labrador, two sheep, a greyhound, a baby goat, plus roosters and hens, joined us as if part of the consultation.
Sugarshine cares for unwanted farm animals. Some, like male bobby goats and bobby calves of no use to the diary industry, are slaughtered following birth but are occasionally rescued. Pigs face a perilous future: pet “mini-pigs” become big and inconvenient, a sow without the required 12 nipples is “unproductive”, racing piglets short life as cute and funny entertainment expires.
‘I’ll never forget the expression on the mother cows face when
our bobby calf was dragged away from her,’ says Kelly. ‘No doubt it
was anguish. Farm animals don’t just stand in the paddock eating
grass. They are cheeky and have moments of joy. They get grumpy and
have bad days.’
People might remember Sarah Lloyd who gave a very popular talk on slime moulds at last year’s FOBIF AGM. She has just published a new book, The Feathered Tribes of Van Diemen’s Land. It’s full of wonderful photos and so comprehensive it could used to identify most species. However it’s main intention is to “encourage an interest in the birds that surround us and an understanding of their habits and needs so that all landowners – whether of small backyards, extensive farms or beachfront properties – can help to ensure that Tasmania’s special birds will thrive.”
More about the book and where to buy it can be found here.
A 42-year-old Hazara asylum seeker is scheduled to be forcibly deported to Kabul from Darwin on Monday 14 March after appeals to the Minister for Immigration were rejected. The case once again highlights the deep flaws in the refugee determination process and the system of Ministerial discretion.
The Hazara man was first rejected at the Refugee Review Tribunal in March 2013. “There needs to be an appeal process that can deal with the fact that changed circumstances, in this case three years, can make a fundamental difference in any country’s situation, let alone in a country like Afghanistan,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “Afghanistan wasn’t safe in 2013. The situation is so obviously more dangerous in 2016.”
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs Afghanistan information in February 2016 warns of “the extremely dangerous security situation and the very high threat of terrorist attack”; and that “the frequency of attacks in Kabul, including in the most heavily fortified areas of the capital, has increased significantly in 2015-16 and further attacks are be expected”. “Attacks”, it says, “can occur anywhere, anytime, particularly in Kabul, and the southern and eastern provinces.”
The Hazara asylum seeker will be the first forcible removal to Afghanistan since two Hazaras were forcibly deported in late 2014.
One of them, Zainullah Naseri, was removed in August 2014 on the basis of a December 2012 Refugee Review Tribunal decision. Following his return he was seized by the Taliban when attempting to travel to his home village along a road about which the Tribunal had stated that “the level of risk does not reach the threshold of a real chance”.
“The flaws that were obvious in the refugee determination process then have not been fixed. The dangers in Afghanistan are even greater now,” said Rintoul, “We urge the Minister to use his wide discretionary powers to reconsider this case and halt this...
“What was your favourite work?”, I asked my friend Sue as we walked away from Sydney’s “White Rabbit Gallery” this afternoon. “It was definitely the video work”, she told me. I had to agree. It’s a beautiful work. Over the course of maybe twenty or thirty minutes, you sit there in a darkened room and watch an artist take delivery of some large stacks of clay, and proceeds to turn those stacks into a human sculpture. Along the way, you get to see the intimate way in which an artist can work with clay. At times, it was if the artist was giving the clay a full body massage. At times, it was as if the clay was an actual human being. One of the most compelling parts is when you watch the artist scoop their hands into the head of the sculpture, removing some clay, creating eyeballs and then putting them back inside. I thought the video was beautifully conceived and shot.
There re several other stand-out works in the current exhibition, “Heavy Artillery” including “The Tank Project”, 2011-2013 by He Xiangyu (a life-size “deflated” tank made from hand-knitted leather); “Armour of Triumph”, 2012 by Wang Lei (knitting); and “European Thousand-Armed Sculpture” (2013–2014) by Xu Zhen (in which massive classical sculptures align in the form of a Buddhist deity). Also memorable was “Guazi Moves Earth”, 2008 by Liu Chengrui (Guazi), a performance piece in which the artist crawls along the ground moving a pile of earth mouthful by mouthful because “not all art should be pretty.”
From up here I can’t understand why anyone in his or her right mind would want to spend their Summer holiday in Byron Bay. It’s busy – bloody busy – and every man and his dog is stuck in traffic, desperately seeking a parking space where you don’t have to pay. And that’s just the locals.
From up here I can see the furrowed faces of frustrated drivers stuck in the conga line of traffic as it snakes around the Jonson meets Lawson Street roundabout. There are beachgoers skipping and hopping between the cars and backpackers in boardies and bikinis looking for a bargain lunch. It’s a jungle down there.
Up here on my verandah perch, in the cool ocean breeze with a
crisp glass and menu in hand, I resolve that I could quite happily
take refuge for the rest of the afternoon.
Welcome to the Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. the latest drinking and eating establishment to take residence on the second story of Number 3 Lawson Street. I have been coming to this address for my fill of drinks and eats since our honeymoon when the restaurant was known as Mango Jam. Even back then it was the venue to visit for escaping the madding crowds, enjoying a sunset cocktail or two and playing tourist. There have been several ownership and name changes over the years, but to me this welcoming verandah remains a sanctuary, and the latest menu and whitewashed makeover are a breath of fresh sea air.
Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. Owners Fraser Short and Executive Chef Sean Connelly have transformed this heritage space into a bar and restaurant that is breezy and relaxed; where colonial ambience meets the seaside – with a bit of the Hamptons thrown in for good measure. The whitewashed walls inside and out provide a fresh backdrop for lush tropical plants, contr...
An Iranian Arab refugee was held naked and handcuffed for a night and a day at the Nauru police station after he was arrested last Thursday night (10 March).
The refugee, who also works for Connect, an Australian service provider for refugees on the island, was arrested after police were called to an argument between the refugee and a local shopkeeper.
Even though the shopkeeper declined to make any formal complaint, the police arrested the refugee.
At the police station, the Nauru police would not allow the man to make a phone call to call the Connect emergency number for assistance. Instead, he was handcuffed and placed in a cell.
After numerous pleas to police to remove the handcuffs, “to free my hands”, the police stripped the man of all his clothes, leaving him completely naked and handcuffed in the cell. “This is like Guantanamo”, the police said, “You might be a terrorist.”
He was kept naked and cuffed until he was released on Friday after a Connect manager attended the police station. No charge has been laid against the man, although he has been told he may have to appear at a court at an unspecified future date.
The arrest and brutalisation of the refugee on Thursday night is the latest example of the discriminatory policing of refugees on Nauru.
The incident also raises more questions about the complicity of Connect, the Australian-contracted service provider, with the discriminatory policing of refugees on the island. There have been previous incidents in which Connect has called the Nauruan police in regard to disputes over housing; one involving an Iranian female refugee who was held for several days. In another, a 44-year-old Iranian refugee was separated from his 8-year-old daughter and held by the police for almost two weeks after Connect called the police.
The arrest of the Connect worker on Thursday 10 March comes only days after Nauru police said there was nothing they could do about a mac...
After a very busy and enjoyable day yesterday running two bird photography workshops (more on that later), we managed to sneak out to both the Mia Mia and Rise and Shine this morning.
Beautiful autumnal weather was matched by some nice birds. Interestingly there are still Rainbow Bee-eaters about – we also got Black-chinned Honeyeater, Crested Bellbird and Scarlet Robin in the Mia Mia.
Be Cruelty-Free Week is dedicated to spreading awareness of the cruel and unnecessary testing of cosmetics on our fine feathered, finned and furry friends. We’d humbly like to add there are so many other easy ways to live cruelty-free.
The domestication of farmed animals was a game-changer in the search for ever more and convenient protein sources. Agriculture has also changed dramatically over the past 50 years, the way that food makes its way to your plate is a far cry from farming of old. While some might call the intensification of food production as advancement, others would argue society cannot truly progress if it’s propped upon the toiling backs of the vulnerable. Factory farms are no place for the intelligent and curious animals they house, who want to live no less than your pet cat or dog, not to mention the horrors of the abattoir.
A great mind once asked: “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others… why wouldn’t we?” Today in Australia, in the midst of all this innovation and creativity, we have access to more types of food than you can poke a stick at. We have the Cruelty Free Shops in Melbourne and Sydney with an array of exciting products, cafes and restaurants are seeing the dema...
So Mark Dice explains how twitter is being manipulated to cover up the violent rent-a-mob that attempted to riot at Trumps Chicago rally.
Who is behind all of this? The same man that funneled 33 million into funding the Ferguson riots and the Asroturf BlackLivesMatter looting movement.
Yes that’s right George Soros, who does what ever he can to keep himself from trending on twitter.
One of the vehicles George Soros uses to hide behind is called the Open Societies Foundation (formerly Open Societies Institute) and its part of the censorship machine in Twitter....
Birdlife Australia member and Sunshine Coast birdlife regular, Jan England, has begun organising a trip to Lady Elliot Island, to occur in November.
|Rufous Night-heron [John Smith]|
The Concorde used to fly from New York to London in 3.5 hours but after a nasty crash in 2000, after years of people living near airports complaining about the unbearable sonic booms, the Concorde and commercial supersonic travel became unprofitable and was retired in 2003.
The European commercial airliner consortium, Airbus recently patented a design that would fly from Paris to New York in an hour (Mach 4.5) by using rocketry to make for a nearly vertical ascent to about 95,000 feet (almost three times the altitude of a commercial airliner at the highest cruising altitudes) and then swivel its engine components to use ramjets, which would direct the sound waves horizontally, as the plane cruised at speeds over 2,500 mph (almost twice the speed of the old Concorde). It would then land using conventional turbojets.
The US has long been developing small hypersonic aircraft, which fly at speeds of Mach 5 to 15 but they’re small and unmanned, like the X-43A and doing secretive things…
Video: (8 mins):
Another helpless victim of Rajapaksa, a ‘man of courage’ according to Victorian MPs
OPINION BY TREVOR GRANT
With few exceptions, these hollow, self-serving, conniving hypocrites play at amateur theatrics as they deceive, lie, conceal and misrepresent their way through a working day.
This week, the Federal government minister for elite and middle class women, Michaelia Cash, said in a television interview she was appalled at Cardinal George Pell’s lack of empathy for victims of child abuse during his grilling at the royal commission.
Firstly, we have here, of course, the hypocrisy of running a royal commission into child abuse while the government deliberately inflicts all kinds of abuse upon hundreds of child hostages it has captured on the high seas and imprisoned on Nauru in order to deter, illegally, other asylum-seekers from exercising their legal right to seek safety from...
That’s just what Victorian Labour politicians are doing at the moment as calls are coming in thick and fast requesting the 2016 duck hunting season be cancelled. It’s not too late to speak up for Australia’s unique and native waterbirds, who for the other nine months of the year receive full legal protection from shooting.
Please take URGENT action today and speak up for the voiceless.
Right now the wheels are in motion as a combined effort by animal welfare groups is hopefully enough to sway decision-makers. To help us have the most impact we urge you to please call or emailed Ministers Pulford and Neville, to show them you are standing with ducks and the health of our shared wetlands.
Here are some points to consider mentioning:
There are no requirements for shooters to have any level of training or accuracy testing. Without the competency to render a bird unconscious with the first shot, birds are wounded and terrified, if they do succeed in getting away most will die slowly from their injuries over days. This is estimated to be one in every four ducks shot.
Further, the wounding of ducks is inevitable due to the very nature of shotguns, whose pellets disperse in a cloud with only a few hitting the bird and increasing the likelihood of injuring non-target animals. Our politicians know this and so do shooters, yet such cruelty, which is in violation of our animal protection legisla...
It was another early morning for me, up and out of bed to watch Melodifestivalen, the event which chooses the Swedish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest.
A decade ago, I would have read the results online, and then waited several weeks for the DVD release, before I actually got to see the event itself. A few years later, a few of us went through a phase of torrenting a video file (which tooks hours and hours). And then, SVT began to video stream the event. At first, it was a little scratchy, with lots of buffering. But this year and last, I’ve been able to watch the event without any problem at all. And thanks to Chromecast, it’s now on “the big screen” not just my laptop.
The other big change this year is that Australia was invited as one of the “international juries” which has an input into which song Sweden chooses. Ultimately though, it’s the public vote that wins in the Swedish voting system that, this year, will become the voting system for Eurovision also.
And this year they chose Frans. Yes, just the one name. As a child, he had a novelty hit record in Sweden, with a song about the legendary footballer and national hero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. As a young man in his late teens, his song for Melodifestivalen was one of soppy, inoffensive ballads that will never set the world on fire. Nor will it sink without a trace. “Lagom”, as the Swedes might say.
To be honest, there was nothing in this year’s contest which set my world on fire. For a number of years, the son...
It’s a bit old school I know. It also depends on what corner of the globe you sit in, as to what your blanket might be made of. Bacon, pastry or bread? Anyway you choose, it’s a thing and the … Continue reading
Every time I pay a visit to Brisbane, I invariably ask myself the question “should I return to live here?”
Having grown up in Lismore, and having family here, Brisbane was a fairly obvious choice for me for university during the 1980s.
The first three years I spent in Brisbane (1984-1986) were memorable. During the first year, my mum became quite ill, and later died, and so I spent most of that year travelling back and forwards between Brisbane and Lismore. During the second and third years I began to spend more time in Brisbane, made some life-long friendships, and (of course) there was the life changing experience of attending university.
During the fouth year, when I worked at Coles New World (Sunnybank, Fairfield and then night-packing at Toowoong), life was also memorable. But it was also the year where I began to wonder about my future. Working at Coles was never really “my thing”, and so after about eight or nine months I quit my job, and was briefly unemployed.
At the beginning of 1988, I saw a job advertised to work at 2WEB, Bourke, and after taking some advice, applied for it, obtained the job, and moved away. Though I’ve maintained links with Brisbane through family and work ever since, I’ve never really thought seriously about returning. But as I begin to think about the rest of my life, and in particular, my retirement years, I do wonder from time to time if my latter years will be in Sydney, or back home in either Lismore or Brisbane.
As I went for a morning walk around the city this week, these thoughts have gone through my mind. As well, as wondering what my life would have been like had I not chose to go for that job in Bourke. Would I still be living in Brisbane, doing something quite different with my life? There’s no answer to these questions, of course. But nice to contemplate....
Miller denies "malicious" resignation ultimatum rumour
Former Queensland Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller has denied rumours that she had given the government an ultimatum she would leave the Labor Party if she is not returned to the cabinet within 48 hours.
Ms Miller described the story, which was originally published in the Queensland Times, as a “malicious rumour” that should be ignored.
By Thom Mitchell. Reprinted from New Matilda on 10 March, 2016.Former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown has launched a High Court challenge to Tasmania’s anti-protest laws – labelled “shocking” by a United Nations official – arguing that they breach the right to freedom of political communication implied in the Australian [...]
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