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Byron Shire
June 14, 2021

Independence key?

Latest News

Sailor rescued from ocean in overnight operation

In a dramatic overnight rescue far offshore North-East of Yamba, Marine Rescue IIuka Yamba volunteers were able to bring to safety a woman who fell overboard from a dismasted catamaran in the dark.

Other News

Developers aim to double Bayside suburb

Developers seeking to double the size of Bayside, a small suburb on the outskirts of Brunswick Heads, have responded to Echo questions around potential traffic congestion and the lack of open spaces.

Power Pair Claim New Table Tennis Trophy

The Byron Bay Table Tennis Club held their inaugural mixed doubles tournament last week at Newrybar Hall and declared Ian Evans and Janice Best champions, after they won three from three matches.

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: When ‘Yes’ means ‘No’

It seems that even in alternative communities, sexual politics haven’t really been that alternative. Patriarchal narrative reigns supreme. Men tend to be the ‘gurus’, and as it turns out, gurus still like their cock sucked. Generally, by young women.

Bruns massive development

Russell Eldridge, Brunswick Heads Brunswick Heads is about to be hit with its biggest development upheaval in decades, with the re-emergence...

Independent Ballina councillor determined to reduce 4WD beach impacts

Independent Ballina Shire Councillor Jeff Johnson says he isn’t giving up hope for reduced 4WD access to Seven Mile Beach.

Taking it to the cleaners – workers speak 

It’s the type of text message exchange that Byron cleaning business owners like Cristina Arcila are becoming all too familiar with.

Christine Willmot, Sunrise

Thanks Echo, for getting worthy successors for the Mungo Comment space. Margo Kingston, for instance, in a recent op-ed piece (Echo, 26 May), reminded readers of the potential of independent political candidates to strike a way through the dreaded two-party system.

Using the example of Cathy McGowan and Zali Stegall she points out that, by not being beholden to party lines or to wealthy donors, a multi-issue independent candidate will be more inclined to actually serve and empower her or his electorate. And the added benefit is that such independents are often put forward and closely supported by the people of their electorates themselves, thereby encouraging grass roots democracy.

This requires that voters educate themselves about the political issues that affect them, and about the way the preferential system works. Most importantly they are ‘prepared to work together across party lines to find common ground’.

This motivation of voters to participate more in the process is surely the secret to the renewal of our democracy. Increased interest in independents has given rise to the ‘Voices For’ movement mentioned by Margo, which are mentoring groups across the country and helping them to choose ‘Indy’ candidates.

Admittedly, in the larger picture, it’s not known how effective different independent candidates widely spread across the country would be in government; however, the buzz and effort to support an independent candidate would surely raise the level of debate, especially in a small community, and help to loosen the bitter tribalism of the major parties, including that between Labor and the Greens. Perhaps the result might be that actual policies – supported and refined by independent voices – rather than parties, would be the winners of elections!

All this is food for thought with elections both local and federal coming up in the near future.


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