19.7 C
Byron Shire
November 30, 2021

Editorial: Armchair activism

Latest News

Flood warning for Richmond and Wilsons Rivers

A deepening low pressure trough through the northeast of the state is expected to bring rain and thunderstorms during Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the State Emergency Service.

Other News

Leigh Thomas says political affiliations not relevant to Council decision making

Leigh Thomas is the lead candidate for Group M running in the upcoming Tweed Shire Council elections. Mr Thomas...

Wannabe mayors – Byron

Entertaining as it is to learn we have a brace of Saggas, a lone Goat, a mix ‘n match...

COVID update: a new Byron case, Aquarius and Community Support Accommodation

The Northern NSW Local Health District says there was one new case of COVID-19 was reported for NNSWLHD to 8pm, November 25. This case is located in the Byron Local Government Area, a traveller from outside the region and e is not associated with the Aquarius Backpackers.

Ballina council votes for waterfront affordable and social housing

The Ballina Shire Council has voted unanimously to ask for state government commitment on waterfront affordable and social housing as part of a marina upgrade.

Firearms and drugs charges – Bilambil Heights

Tweed–Byron police say that a man has been charged with firearm and drug-related offences following a search...

Storms and rain for Tuesday and Wednesday in the Northern Rivers

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is predicting widespread thunderstorms and rain for the Northern Rivers.

Hans Lovejoy, editor

What does activism look like? Extinction Rebellion targeted Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp empire in Brisbane last week for its ‘active role in spreading disinformation and lies to the public about the climate crisis’.

While this is one strategy to confront outdated paradigms that serve only the one per cent, there are also others.

For example, how many protesters who tried to shut Brisbane down on Tuesday were wearing suits? Confusion is a key way to grab attention, if that’s your goal.

But if the bigger-picture goal is the advancement of all the planet’s species living in a stable atmosphere, here are a few pointers gleaned from last weekend’s Writers Festival.

Many of the big drawcard authors ran with similar themes as to why democracy and politics are in trouble.

Kerry O’Brien told the audience at his autobiography book launch that factions within the mainstream political system do not promote the best people for the job.

So to get the best people in charge, factions should be scrapped.

Meanwhile, former Labor PM Kevin Rudd called for an inquiry into US citizen Rupert Murdoch’s massive newspaper and broadcast empire’s influence. ‘There was 95 per cent anti-Labor coverage for the last election, across all the cities’, he said. ‘It’s a cancer on democracy’.

He also let loose on former Labor colleagues after being asked why calls to investigate Crown Casino allegations are being ignored by his party. ABC’s Four Corners reported allegations of money laundering, breaching immigration law, and prostitution.

Rudd said former Labor MP Mark Arbib and another former Labor MP now work for James Packer, owner of Crown.

‘Packer has insulated himself from scrutiny,’ he said. And that’s just former Labor MPs – there are also willing former coalition MPs wanting a piece of the gambling pie.

So we need much tougher laws around conflicting political ties with big business.

It’s a similar sentiment that UK philosopher AC Grayling spoke of when discussing the shaky ground democracy finds itself on.

‘Democracy is in trouble because politics is a career, not a service,’ he said.

‘To be influential, you need to be attached by the head to the buttocks of the next person up the greasy pole. [Political] party discipline erodes representative democracy. This is why we don’t trust them’.

Also, limiting political terms may well inspire better governance.

Another remarkable weakness in democracy Grayling mentioned is that political decisions lack oversight – governments essentially act as the self-appointed judge and jury over much of their conduct.

Clearly democracy needs better-funded watchdog institutions to make sure those elected aren’t overtly rorting the system.

It may help in providing much needed integrity within local government for example, whereby Council and the state government are undertaking a massive, questionable bypass project while also being the oversight authority. Being both a consent authority and oversight authority erodes public trust and confidence.

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.


  1. To me the Rebellion covers all life, land, sea, river
    & sky. Democracy’s a 4 letter word & has been so
    for at least 3 decades. Governments are indeed
    made up of want-to-be clueless career short-
    sighted counter-jumpers & the public is unhappily
    tired of their lack of ability that they bring into the
    parliament. A weak democracy often creates weak
    planning & support for a country’s laws, humanity
    & future reckoning. Indeed the whole muddle of
    money grabbing egos, investments & promotions
    & support for Gas & Coal – in fact – anything worth
    shifting overseas & buggering-up this land for ill
    profit deals needs to stop. Climate Emergency is
    number 1. The rest? Fixing the cancer will provide
    the cure. Honesty & caring is still the best policy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Storms and rain for Tuesday and Wednesday in the Northern Rivers

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is predicting widespread thunderstorms and rain for the Northern Rivers.

Byron candidates 2021 Q&A part 2

Buckle in, seats upright, and loosen the belt!  It’s time to see what candidates have to say – in full – about our collective issues...

COVID update – Aquarius, Lismore sewage fragments and the South African variant

The Northern NSW Local Health District says there have been no new cases of COVID-19 reported in the 24 hours to 8pm 28 November, but, they are urging residents in the Lismore area to be alert for COVID-19 symptoms.

Last chance for tickets to Byron Shire Council Meet the Candidates forum

Today is your last chance to get tickets to tonight’s Byron Shire Meet the Candidates forum in the Byron Theatre.