23.8 C
Byron Shire
September 25, 2023

Editorial: Just say know 

Latest News

Running the NY Marathon for type-1 diabetes research

Southern Cross University student Georgie Collis has type-1 diabetes but this won't stop her running in the New York Marathon in November to raise funds for research.

Other News

Iron Gates development at Evans Head: application to ‘amend’ DA refused

The Land & Environment Court rejected an application to amend a development application for a satellite residential development at the controversial Iron Gates site at Evans Head. 

Cruel Sea return gig supports Wildlife Hospital, October 21

For their first gig in ten years, The Cruel Sea will headline a fundraising event for Wild Aid 2023, in association with Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital and Bluesfest.

Cartoon of the week – 20 September 2023

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don’t be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

No more Hottentot

I have received a petition from Change.org to change the name of Hottentot Crescent, Mullumbimby to another South African...

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Big Polluters are Getting Off

Offsets don’t work. They have become a licence to pollute. What we actually need is a reduction in carbon emissions, not carbon-emitting industries to greenwash their impact by investing in a solar farm or planting saplings. While it’s nice to know that big polluters are keen to invest in green industry it would be better if they just stopped polluting. You know what’s better than offsets?

Facelift for Cape Byron walking track – but not everyone happy

The Cape Byron walking track that leads from Wategos Beach towards the Byron lighthouse has been given a ‘facelift’ by NSW National Parks. But not all users are happy...

Let’s briefly unpack the ‘No’ campaign rhetoric for the upcoming Voice to Parliament referendum!

Voters will be asked later this year whether they agree to enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Constitution.

If adopted, it would mean an ‘independent and permanent advisory body’ would be established. This advisory body would be called the Makarrata Commission, and according to www.voice.gov.au, they would give advice to the federal government on matters that affect the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. And it would have no veto powers.

The lack of detail around this body has been criticised by those opposed. Yet this ambiguity, it seems, is because future governments will fund the commission in accordance with their policies and priorities. 

All sides of politics seem to agree: attempts to ‘close the gap’ across a range of socioeconomic, health, incarceration and education indicators, for example, have failed to improve the lives of First Nations people. 

Under pressure to propose something else, Liberal opposition leader, Peter Dutton, has promised that if elected, his government would push for symbolic-only recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Constitution and establish regional advisory bodies. 

Yet ‘Yes’ advocate, Kerry O’Brien says, ‘When a government is voted out, a new one changes or waters down Indigenous advisory groups’. 

If you try and scroll through the ‘No’ campaign talking points, there is quite a lot of fancy side-stepping needed to avoid the overt racism, misinformation and fear. 

But there’s a few who are trying to provide an honest alternative, namely former Labor MP, Nyunggai Warren Mundine. He is chair of www.recogniseabetterway.org.au.

Mundine says, ‘Poverty, disadvantage and despair is not caused by lack of a voice. It’s caused by lack of economic participation’. 

He goes on to say that mining jobs could empower First Nations people, a position that is perhaps not entirely supported by other mobs. 

What is perhaps missing from the entire debate is hearing what more elders have to say. 

The Uluru Statement from The Heart has come under fire for not consulting enough across different mobs. 

Other talking points against the Voice include it becoming a costly, complex and unwieldy bureaucracy. That’s a fair call. 

Another is that it will further divide the nation, and further entrench First Nations people as ‘victims’. Race should not be in the Constitution, they say.

If we were honest, cultural and economic divides already exist, because we all pay a different rate of tax. The boxes to tick if you are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander have been included in all levels of bureaucratic forms for decades. 

Yet this is a worthy conversation to have: how can First Nations people be genuinely empowered to live their best lives? 

Fortunately a suggestion has been provided, and can be enacted by voting ‘Yes’ in the referendum. 

Hans Lovejoy, editor


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. NO campaign rhetoric hans ? Look the Prime Minister had not even fully read the Uluru
    Statement of the heart ..this was admitted
    On talk back.. really ? After telling the voters
    It’s only a turn page document only a couple
    Of minutes to cover all the content ! and this
    Admission if proof he had not read the entire
    Uluru Statement of the heart.. and hans it will
    Divide the nation by race.. many aboriginal people’s are not happy that far left activists
    are speaking for Aboriginal people’s communities
    One suggested how dare they.. they are not even
    Aboriginal themselves…hijacked was the term
    Used .. agree ..this Prime Minister is only doing this for his own political gain ..my legacy it will be..!
    Different story the Voice proposal was made up
    Of true aboriginal people’s elders from all states
    To go over all things that are of a concern to
    Those communities.. instead this group will be selected from far left activists who only have
    Intentions to portray this nation as racist colonists
    Extract 100s of billions in reparations that the country dos not have ..and close more tourist
    Attractions will only be the start…
    One nation..”.two races no thanks ” however i do
    Hope they the Aboriginal People’s do find a solution to put forward to help those most vulnerable in those Aboriginal communities..
    Because thus far it’s not working.. misappropriated
    Monies comes to mind ..

  2. So true Barrow. The aboriginal people’s are provided with generous money, various organisations to help them. Maybe they could try to help themselves a little more. They have many avenues open to them to achieve responsibility for themselves.

    • It’s a compelling point Greg so if you really believe it you need to vote yes. You’ll be assisting in finally giving indigenous people the ability via the Voice (and its regional structure) to influence and be accountable for, their own destinies. Anybody that thinks Indigenous people need to help themselves, needs to vote yes.

      • So any race that doesn’t have one of these ‘Voice to Parliament’ things, doesn’t have influence nor accountability for their own destinies? Or are you saying Aboriginals are inherently lesser than every other group in this country?

        • Other races have had a choice at least about the new culture they adopt. Those taking on citizenship undertake to uphold the laws and values (presumably of the largely white Anglo-Saxon Australia that prevails)

          Reconciliation would recognise that First Nations people have had their values and culture trampled on and acknowledge the legacy of disadvantage that has resulted. It’s not that long ago (mid 70s) that this was occurred through official policy and, unfortunately, the referendum is giving insight into the extent to which entrenched attitudinal discrimination still exists.

          • The Celtic people who build this place as slaves, had their land and wealth taken from them, then they were deported from their homelands and dumped here. This is not our native culture. English isn’t our native language. Half the Anglo-Saxons here were ‘transported’, and the other half were lied to about the conditions here, to con them onto the boats. That continued up to the 1970s. I’m surprised Anglo-Celtic people can even function given the intergenerational genocide, forced labour, discrimination, and alienation from our land and culture we have suffered. Where’s my reparation check and seat in the Senate?

          • Perhaps apply to the British Government. You could form a class action with the First Nations people.

            They won’t give you a seat in the senate though – sorry there’s only one way there.

          • My ancestors did, and in 1896, Queen Victoria decreed this land belonged to all peoples who were dwelling here. Perhaps the Aboriginals should apply to the British Government instead.

      • That system is already in place James ..!
        The voice will be a extension of this..
        But james feel free to sell your house
        To pay for reparations..!

  3. The very idea of “enshrining ” An “ambiguous” article in the Constitution is self-evidently idiotic.
    Have you ever signed a blank cheque ?
    An ‘independent and permanent advisory body’ is already in place it is called ‘the voters’… this IS supposed to be a democracy!
    The idea that two hundred years of civilisation has ” failed to improve the lives of First Nations people. ” is patent nonsense, hardly any are starving in the desert or being speared in local tribal skirmishes and life expectancy has improved markedly from the average of 30 yrs pre colonisation, and there is a lot to be said for the old adage ‘you can lead a horse to water but.. you can’t make him drink.’
    Of course, indigenous people are resentful at being superseded by a more advanced culture.
    But the fact that Aboriginal women are 9 times more likely to be subject to domestic violence and the criminal ranks are dominated by ‘first nations’ has nothing to do with discrimination. It is just a product of 60,000 years of stone-age culture
    With over 50% of the land-mass now dominated by “first nation” interests and numerous outback localities ‘no go’ violent enclaves that are totally lawless, this doesn’t bode well with the idea of allowing these people greater say than the rest of the population, which will of course create discord and an apartheid country.
    No amount of propaganda from the ‘National carrier ‘, the government and even our local ‘independent ‘ Echo’ can change the fact that this is a racial discrimination platform that is against any standard of decency or democracy.
    Cheers, G”)

    • Why is it ambiguous you are just looking for implausible reasons to vote know. You are not voting on the whole Uluṟu statement but the first section on voice. Can you please point out where in the proposed referendum are these issues mentioned. Seems to me you are feeling a bit of missing out maybe you should look at the current markers for indigenous people like life expectancy : take a decade or more off your lifespan, you’d love that then you would have something to whinge about. So you want the whole world to recognise us as being rascist( you brought it up). You still haven’t mentioned how you are being discriminated against despite continually saying the same garbage over and over again.

      • I know teacher, I know – Pick me!. Is it when activists bring the first few cases to the High Court, and the activist judges there, fully apply our common law precedents, thus granting all sorts of powers to the voice that the Parliament can not reverse nor modify, which is why they are making the addition to the constitution so vague, so that it can be interpreted to mean anything. Why is it lawful for ScoMo to be all ministers? Because the Constitution was left a bit vague when it comes to how the Parliament is run, and what a ministry is. Surprise!

  4. I see Keith..hilarious Clinton..did not take to well
    To Trump taking the White house did she ?
    Those democrats have some hide.. F hypocrites.
    Remember Keith..Our taxpayer funded ABC
    Sarah Ferguson..story of the century regarding
    Russian Collusion.. findings worldwide..Zero !!
    Or who was it when George bush won office
    The democrats took it to the supreme court..
    Only when it suits Keith …Biden should be in jail
    His turn will come..do i like Trump ? Not really
    But the witch hunt against Trump has been
    disgraceful..like him or not ..the yanks are not
    Stupid they see whats happening..and will vote
    Trump back in .. and sadly Biden
    Should in a nursing home not presiding over the most powerful country in the world..

  5. I just love your predictions Mr Barrow, if the past is any guide, the direct opposite usually happens, and I think I’ll let the rest of that nonsensical reply go through to the keeper. But isn’t it great to see that the District Attorney in Georgia charge 19 of these right-wing f***wits with 41 serious charges, she certainly didn’t miss anyone, Trump and his cohorts are certainly going to be very busy little bees defending that utterly disgraceful attempt at overturning a legitimate election result. I bet you are going to have a wail of a time watching these arseholes go down Mr Barrow, enjoy.

    • Now now keith !! if you don’t like our policies
      Don’t vote for us ..those famous will go down
      In political history keith ..Bowen won’t leave
      Any legacy..if his previous attempts are anything to go by.. his obsession with global warming
      Is a huge concern for punters..one term iam
      Afraid keith ..if the past is any guide !! How many
      Times have labor held office this past 50 years
      Keith ? Said enough i think ..

      • “No One in This World Has Ever Lost Money by Underestimating the Intelligence of the Great Masses of the Plain People” . Origin uncertain but often attributed to PT Barnam

      • Judging by that little gem of a rant Mr Barrow, there’s only one person that’s afraid and it’s certainly not me.

  6. Well said Barrow, It makes me very happy to see some people are able to analyse information clearly and respond with great honesty, clarity and truth. Most are trapped in their own little utopian world where everything is fair and cosy. Not reality I am afraid.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

What do you think of the Wade Park masterplan?

So many of the Lismore LGA assets were damaged in last year’s flood and the process of rebuilding is creating an opportunity to do things differently.

Wollumbin Street bridge reduced to one lane

As part of the sewerage upgrade in Murwillumbah, Tweed Shire Council is urging motorists to plan ahead and seek alternative routes between the CBD and South Murwillumbah for up to four weeks from today.

They’re he-ere: SLSC surf patrols are on!

Surf Life Saving NSW says that more than 20,000 active volunteer lifesavers began patrols on beaches across the state on Saturday. 

A short history of cruelty

Anthony Albanese went to the last election promising to end live sheep exports from Australia. This rubbery promise has since been rolled back to his government's second term (assuming they get one). The independent panel's long-awaited report to the federal government on the issue has now also been delayed, from this week to late October.