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June 30, 2022

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Latest News

Flood-prone land in Murwillumbah swapped for flood-free land 

It has been five years in the making but the innovative land swap of flood-prone land for flood-free land in Murwillumbah is underway with a second round of ‘expressions of interest’ about to open. 

Other News

Drains, floods, creeks

I was thankful for Duncan Dey’s input at the last Council meeting where two representatives spoke in public access...

Police seeking public assistance following Byron Bay assault

A serious assault in Byron Bay on Friday, 3 June, 2022 has led to police releasing further CCTV footage and another appeal for information from the public. 

Byron Shire resident fined $60,000 for tree clearing

Council staff say a Koonyum Range resident was fined $60k for land clearing/ removing trees, and $10k for an unauthorised building.

Opinion: Lettuce end food shortages!

Whoever would have thought we’d need to pay $10 for a lettuce in a supermarket? This is a real sign of the times.

Editorial – Byron Council report card

Did you know it’s been six months since councillors were elected? They have another two years to go, and while a usual term is a gruelling four years, this time, it’s shorter, owing to a disrupting bat virus.

New laws to tackle crime profits and encryption

The premier has announced new police powers and ‘tougher penalties’ for money laundering and unexplained wealth in NSW.

The Royal Commission Into Child Sexual Abuse has again stirred emotion over horrendous acts perpetrated in God’s name.

The Commission’s latest public hearing, Case Study 50: Catholic Church authorities in Australia, found seven per cent of priests who were members of 75 surveyed authorities were alleged ‘offenders’ between 1950 and 2010.

Remarkably, the Lismore Diocese has been named as having the fourth largest number of pedophile priests in the country.

AAP reported that after the commission conducted 15 public hearings into the Catholic Church, counsel assisting Gail Furness SC said much of it included ‘depressingly similar’ evidence.

‘Documents about alleged abuse were destroyed or not kept’, she said. ‘Children were ignored, or worse, punished. Secrecy prevailed as did cover-ups.’

So what does the Catholic Church say about this?

A body set up by the Catholic Church in response to the commission – the Truth, Justice and Healing Council – released a statement on February 6.

It’s grovelling and apologetic, and contains words such as: profoundly shaken, disgust, traumatisation, hypocrisy, appalling, historic failures, indefensible, tragic…

CEO Francis Sullivan says, ‘As Catholics we hang our heads in shame …The Catholic Church should never have put itself in a position to be at the very centre and major focus of an inquiry such as this.’

Yes – but it’s nothing really new; this behaviour has most likely been happening for the last 1,700-odd years since the church rose to become a political/corporate entity.

On the bright side, it’s a relief that as a result of this commission, fewer lives may be damaged in future by the church.

Sullivan claims the internal culture has changed.

’In the modern era, at both governance and operational levels, the organisations that run the education, health and social services of the Church are [now] predominantly lay led.’

The most important question is how can those who have been abused be compensated?

Within Sullivan’s eight-page atoning reply, he says the church supports a national, independent child sexual abuse redress scheme – yet he didn’t mention any figures.

The upper limit redress amount suggested at this stage by the commission has been pegged at $150,000. A sliding scale is also suggested by the commission; if you suffered minimal fiddling by the clergy, that might get you a new car or a vacation.

Of course, nothing will heal the deep scar of sexual abuse, but cash sure does make life easier.

The church would surely agree, being a corporation that pays no tax and is able to hide its vast wealth.

And here’s the key: Sullivan wrote, ‘Broadly speaking, Catholics identify with the church not as an institution, but as a community based on a shared set of beliefs and values.’

In other words, the beliefs/values are separate from the institution of the church.

So let’s dissolve the Catholic Church institution and end world hunger. Everyone abused gets a million dollars and the rest can go toward a world of rainbows, sparkles and unicorns.

– Hans Lovejoy


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