21.4 C
Byron Shire
December 5, 2021

Editorial – A personal take on politics and media

Latest News

Cadwallader, Lyon and Krieg most likely new Far North Coast mayors

With most of the votes cast, and counting over until tomorrow, the New South Wales Electoral Commission stats would suggest that there are three clear winners of the mayoral contests in Ballina, Byron and Lismore Shires.

Other News


I wanted to give credit where it is due and thank the editor for the preferences article, which I...

Lismore Residents Action Group say ‘no’ to Increased flight training

The Lismore Residents Action Group say they do not object to the future development of the airport, they say they are specifically concerned about the considerable increase in aircraft noise caused by flight training.


To quote Greta, ‘How dare they?!’ SBS is running an advertising campaign for Airbnb, encouraging visitors to take their...

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.

Candidates against the train

Bruce Clarke, Mark Swivel and Asren Pugh have officially stated they do not believe it’s worth trying to get...

Responsible dog owner

I read with interest Alison Drover’s article on dog management and the follow up letters last week, and I...

Hans Lovejoy, editor

I’ve been The Echo editor for eleven years now, and am the third, after founder Nicholas Shand. Michael McDonald was the second.    

It’s a very privileged job where you act as a conduit, or curator, to the community and the many visitors who holiday here.

The Echo comprises a dedicated team of passionate long-term locals. Some sell the advertising and design the pages, others throw the paper onto driveways and others do the book keeping and debt collection.

Deciphering and questioning the sophisticated messaging from the governing and monied class is part of this job, as is reporting on the better angels in the community.

The better angels do remarkable things, yet are not necessarily looking for accolades.

Beware of the self-serving attention seekers!

Since its inception in 1986 by a bunch of ratbag hippy locals, The Echo has championed the voice of the afflicted, not the comfortable. That should be the aim of every media organisation.

‘Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable’, as Finley Peter Dunne was supposed to have said of a newspaper’s role.

While the national and international optics are carefully curated by mainstream media to protect corporate interests, locally, the optics from The Echo have, and will hopefully always be, independent.

Free from the stench of compromise. Yay!

Anyway, what I learned early on in this job was that politics/governance is like a poorly rating TV game show, generally presented by the least among us.

Behind the curtain hide the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, who run almost everything.

There’s generally two types of political actor:

Reformers are rare, for they soon realise they are no intellectual match for the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats.

And besides, they generally can’t outspend the monied class.

Instead, most political actors, with their thin skin and overinflated egos, will dive headlong into the job with ambitions to become careerists, welded to a political party’s values. These party values, of course, are largely at odds with the nation’s interests, and are not geared for independent, critical thought.

And anyway, business, without question, needs to be done.

Big business donate to the major parties, so fancy footwork and smoke and mirrors are deployed to convince the public that the actors act in the public interest. Instead, they provide their donors/masters with solid returns on those investments.

The two interests are generally not compatible.

It would be hard to argue that integrity, empathy and trust in politics and media is improving. It appears to be becoming more tribal, if anything.

Yet while it’s easy to dismiss most political actors as self-centred, shallow, ineffectual and greedy, it’s not always the case.

And this is where we come to Mandy Nolan, who will be the federal Greens candidate for the upcoming election.

She has been part of community and The Echo for decades, and has been consistent with her beliefs and actions.

Unlike careerist politicians, she is self-made, smart and entertaining. That presents a threat to the establishment.

Good luck Mandy! (Pity it’s the Greens party, but hey). Thankfully, local politics is about to get a lot more interesting.

News tips are welcome: [email protected]

Previous articleMullum’s green spine
Next articleSkennars Head

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. Attention seekers… a weird breed who never quite know if they’re coming or going – so thank
    the elements for the Echo. No compromise – exactly – & go get it Mandy.

  2. Add-on – worth checking out; the Australian Citizens Party, Friday 19 Feb. 2021 video “taking on
    the banks” where Lib-Nats wrought the post offices.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Growing number of dogs

Thanks to Alison Drover for her informative article in last week’s Echo regarding the growing number of dogs in the Shire to be managed...

Responsible dog owner

I read with interest Alison Drover’s article on dog management and the follow up letters last week, and I couldn’t agree more. I am indifferent...

Dogs need control

I agree with Alison Drover’s recent article and her final line ‘wildlife needs more love, and our dog owners need a tighter lead’. But the...

COVID update December 3: One new case and advice for international travellers

One new case of COVID-19 was reported for Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) in the 24 hours to 8pm 2 December. Northern NSW Local...