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Byron Shire
June 13, 2021

Gagged in paradise

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Ross Kendall, Goonengerry

I was saddened to learn that the Byron Bay Council has legitimised the 9,500 far-righteous locals who have signed-on to attack our freedom of speech.

Byron Baes will probably turn out to be a commercially focused, self-indulgent waffle of the highest order, but they have a right to express themselves.

Yes, the Indigenous people of this land are owed at least 200 years of respect. But shouldn’t we, the locals, be doing this before we demand blow-in visitors do it?

How many of the 9,500 who have put their name to paper to oppose Byron Baes, have themselves asked the local Indigenous custodians for permission to operate their businesses in the area, or to build a house here?

And how horrible to think of a Council holding the keys to the creative process of self-expression in the Shire. Remember how the disco-dong fiasco played out?

People pushing a ‘message’, even if commercially focused, have a right to express themselves. Does anyone not talk up their own vocation?

The simple fact is that Byron has its fair share of plonkers. But no matter who they are, if they think they have a message that can help the world, then let them speak.

Who would have thought that the next generation of young punks challenging the establishment would be extolling cashmere knits, layering and yoga?

Don’t influencers promote healthy lifestyles in a world racked by mental health issues, and aren’t most of them young, self-empowered women?

If you don’t like what they say, don’t listen, but get out of their way.

If millions watch the show, well then, welcome to the real world, our bubble is just that.

Let them speak, let them sing, let them yell.


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Well said Ross – you brave soul! I suspect The People’s Republic of the Byron Shire will not countenance dissent such as yours for long.

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