14.4 C
Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Here & Now #46

Latest News

Shenhua gone and Breeza breathes again

In a much-hoped-for move, the NSW Government and the China Shenhua Energy Company Limited have reached a $100 million agreement in which Shenhua will withdraw its mining lease application and surrender its development consent for the Shenhua Watermark Coal project at Breeza on the Liverpool Plains.

Other News

DPI has an eye on Lismore’s yellow crazy ants

The yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) is a species of ant, originally from Southeast Asia, that has been accidentally introduced to numerous places in the world – including Lismore.

Byron Bay wants Byron Baes to back off

Faster than speeding reality TV producer, members of the Byron community have swiftly mounted a multi-pronged attack against the proposed ‘influencer’ based Netflix show Byron Baes.

Coalition ‘hellbent’

Mat Morris, Bangalow The NSW coalition seems to be hellbent on outdoing their federal counterparts when it comes to the denigration...

MVP is its own award

It’s easy to get excited about Byron’s new MVP restaurant in Lawson St – it’s not only got standout dishes such as Blue Spirulina Linguine with blue swimmer crab and Yamba prawns, and Fettuccine al Ragù with Hayters Hill beef ragù sauce, feta and baby peas, but it’s also all sustainably sourced from local growers, available in takeaway (even delivered if you’re close to town) and more than half of the menu is plant-based.

Byron Shire celebrates seniors during festival week

An action-packed program has been planned for the 2021 Byron Shire Seniors Festival with drumming, dancing, walking, yoga and laughing on the program.

A bouquet for Lilac House

L Jenkins, Byron Bay Nicole Habrecht should receive free paint and brushes and a pat on the back from Council for...


Image S Sorrensen
Image S Sorrensen

S Sorrensen

Lismore. Saturday, 1.10pm

A bloke with a Tibetan bronze trumpet that looks about a hundred years old blows a fat note over the march.

It’s a sound that resonates deep in the collective psyche: a marshalling sound calling citizens in from the fields, a warning sound (Barabarians at the gate!), a lonely sound like a foghorn in the dark calling out, ‘I am here. Where are you?’

It is also a very loud sound; the bloke is walking right next me when he lays that ancient audio like a blanket over the thousands who march down Molesworth Street. It nearly scares breakfast out of me.

With my ears ringing but undies still clean, I step out from the march and take momentary respite on the shaded footpath. The sun is turning me redder than the red shirts of the marchers. There is so much red, the Thai president must be worried.

A man says something to me as he marches past, but I’m deaf. I just smile back at him and nod. He holds a placard that says, ‘If you’re not angry you’re not paying attention.’

Yep, there’s plenty to keep you from paying attention to what’s really happening to this wide, brown lease. Plenty of distractions.

There are cooking shows, talent shows, reality shows, sporting shows… Then there’s the news: asylum seekers threatening Australia; bikies threatening Australia; greenies threatening Australia; unions, intellectuals, forests – all threatening Australia.

There are even distractions that are not on television – like work, beer, pursuit of romantic bliss, and Facebook.

Placards bob along the river of red: ‘Seeking asylum is a human right’, ‘Serve us, not corporations’, ‘Stop dumping on our reef’, ‘Stop fracking Mother Earth’, ‘Hands off penalty rates’, ‘Education is real wealth’.

For those paying attention, the dissatisfactions are many.

Luckily, we live in a society where you can protest when dissatisfied. The right to assembly is a vital part of democracy, right up there with voting every few years. Actually, it was the right to assembly that was the basis for the novel concept of ‘rule by the people’ (democracy) when it was developed in Athens more than two millenia ago.

These days, there is a tendency for governments to play down the importance of peaceful protest as a legitimate part of democracy. Voting is a lot easier to manipulate than real outpourings of disaffection.

Slowly my hearing returns. I hear voices singing, ‘We shall overcome.’ I hear a chant from three little boys, about seven years old, as they walk past: ‘Get rid of Abbott! Get rid of Abbott!’

I feel uncomfortable with the kids’ chant. Not sure why…

I rejoin the march near a placard that says, ‘1080 the Rabbott.’ Now, I like the wit, integrity and succintness of most of the placards here. But not this one. And earlier I saw a placard that said ‘Ditch the Prick’. Another called Abbott a dickhead.

Maybe it’s the manners my mother taught me. Yes. But personal abuse is not only rude, it’s counterproductive. Personal attacks on the PM are offensive (remember Julia, Bob Brown’s bitch?). They are not the way to win the hearts and minds of the Australian majority; the people who aren’t at this march. And that’s the objective here, right?

Behind me I hear more children chanting. Oh no. This group has heard the kids in front chanting ‘Get rid of Abbott’ and have copied. Kids copy stuff. And we are the role models.

I stop to let the wee chanters pass.

I laugh.

The two boys and three girls have misheard the chant. With real protest gusto and a raised fist, they’re chanting: ‘Give me a rabbit! Give me a rabbit!’


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Pandemic plate lickers release lockdown dessert

The 2020 pandemic lockdown meant the entire entertainment industry was cancelled, but making music cannot be cancelled.

5MW solar farm funding under question

A 5MW solar farm proposed for Myocum, located near the Byron Resource Recovery Centre, poses a ‘high degree of risk’, and could jeopardise funding for other large Council infrastructure projects, according to a staff report, to be tabled at this Thursday’s meeting.

Tony Barry, Ben Chifley and FD’s Four Freedoms

Local actor-vist, Tony Barry, has taken on a lot since he moved to the Northern Rivers, and though cancer took one of his legs, Tony still manages to put in the hard yards for social, environmental and human rights causes.

Government bullying and hidden agendas

Frank Ball, Tweed Heads The treatment of Christine Holgate while CEO of Australia Post is nothing short of scandalous. Not only is it a prime example...