15.5 C
Byron Shire
June 27, 2022

After the plague

Latest News

Honours shared in premiership football derby

Byron Bay FC were fourth placed on the Football Far North Coast premiership ladder after a 3-3 draw playing away against Mullumbimby Brunswick Valley FC in round seven of the competition.

Other News

Charity bike ride resumes

They had their bikes stolen, faced a major natural disaster, and one rider injured her knee in a fall. But it still wasn't enough enough to stop the Ocean Pools Odyssey charity bike ride from completing its mission.

Bush stone-curlews in Byron Shire

The first time I noticed a bush stone-curlew in Brunswick Heads it was waiting at the pedestrian crossing, on its way to the pub, across the other side of the road.

Great foodie weekend end of July

The annual Harvest Food Trail on the weekend of 30–31 July allows locals and visitors the much needed opportunity...

Missing teenager found

Police say a thirteen-year-old girl reported missing from Tweed Heads earlier this week has been found safe and well.

Ballina Shire Council approved for special rate increase

Ratepayers in the Ballina Shire can expect slightly higher bills for council services and infrastructure maintenance after approval from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.

Caution when swimming in Ballina Shire

Water samples taken around Ballina Shire indicate its water is ‘good’, but caution still recommended for swimmers.

Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ in the grounds of the Rodin Museum, Paris. Photo www.flickr.com/photos/mustangjoe.

David Lovejoy, Echo co-founder

Not being able to socialise, or go to work, or be abroad for any but officially approved purposes certainly gives a body room to think.

As I write there are signs that the growth of cases is slowing, but of course by the time these words are in print the situation might have changed. Notice that I don’t have to say what I’m talking about. It is the lede in every news bulletin, the subject on everybody’s lips.

Like most people I have been caught up in the twin emergencies of how to keep healthy and how to keep solvent.

The first issue is relatively simple: wash your hands, wear a mask outside if you must leave home, and keep your distance. After that it is a matter of fate.

But the second issue, as it affects these pages, keeps me awake at night. Ever since Nicholas Shand asked me to join him in launching a newspaper to reflect and strengthen our community, the Byron Shire Echo has been the focus of my life. Even now, eight years after retirement, its survival is as important to me as my own.

What the world will look like after the plague recedes is so vital that we should start thinking about it now. Though greatly reduced in size, The Echo will cling to life, you can be sure of that, but many other local businesses will be gone or hard to revive.

There will be a danger that the economic life of our shire will be taken over by large companies and rich individuals – to an even greater extent than at present.

There is also the question of how the government will behave after the emergency. It has been encouraging, and amusing, to see austerity and budget surplus so easily abandoned in the face of an existential threat, absolute proof that those mean policies were driven by the desire to preserve and increase wealth inequality.

However, it is neither encouraging nor amusing to see how quickly governance can slip into autocratic mode. Parliament is suspended, while regulation comes from an ad hoc cabinet of federal ministers and state premiers advised by a committee of coal lobbyists. For a time the rapid decision-making capacity of authoritarian government may be necessary, but we should be aware that, once lost, civic freedoms are hard to restore.

The crisis is also politically convenient for the government in that it overshadows other issues. There is still a widespread perception that Angus Taylor is a forger, Bridget McKenzie is a crook, and Stuart Robert is a liar, but they will not be brought to book.

Even when scandals are linked to the crisis, as in the murderous decision to release the infected Ruby Princess passengers, there seem to be no consequences for the government.

The political elite may escape censure, but for the rest of us, the army is being mobilised to enforce a lockdown in the cities, police can issue instant fines for being seen in public without good cause, and mobile phones will soon be monitored to keep track of citizens’ movements.

When we get through this we not only have to rebuild the economy on a fairer basis, we must also take care to reset society’s laws back towards freedom.

News tips are welcome: [email protected]

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. From civic freedoms to dooms-day machines & loose
    policy made on the run… a Ruby Princess dog eared
    stuff up where no-one will be accountable through to
    a deliberately suspended parliament [is it legal?] to
    lighten the load of a ‘shite for a shilling’ coal lobby
    advisory body [too alive for civic good] I place my
    case where the cat-sat-on-the mat & watched
    freedom come & freedom go. Thanks for all your
    care & ongoing attention, David. We need it.

  2. I agree with the article that we need to start thinking about what we want to see after this crisis is over. How can we make changes for the better?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

You may have missed… mangroves’ carbon storage potential, smart implants, and twitter misinformation

Mangrove forests are massive carbon sinks, capable of storing over 1,000 tonnes of carbon per hectare.

Local triathletes claim another title

The Byron Bay Breakers Triathlon Club has won the North Coast Interclub series for the second time after finishing on top of the table ahead of the Clarence Valley Stingrays and Hat Head Hammerheads.

Lismore City Council votes against land-swaps and buybacks

The Lismore City Council has voted against asking the federal government and NSW Northern Rivers Reconstruction Commission [NRRC] for prioritised land buybacks and swaps after devastating floods earlier this year.

Casino teenager charged with murder

An 18-year-old Casino man is to face Lismore Local Court today charged with murder.