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Byron Shire
September 25, 2023
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Editorial: Be more like Gavin Newsom

The US state of California is suing five major fossil fuel companies over their contribution to the climate crisis.

If not ‘Yes’ now, then when?

Being a Ten Pound Pom, I knew nothing of the history of massacres and dispossession of this continent’s first peoples when I arrived here in 1965.

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?

Scientists measure how much weed Australians put in their joints

How much weed is in that joint?  A team of Australian researchers has found that it is quite varied, which could have implications for public health policy.

A tale of two pressers

Last week, the National Press Club in Canberra hosted two major press conferences, one day apart. The first was a desperate plea for attention from Nick Kaldas, the Chair of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicides. The second was an all-out attack on the Voice to Parliament, via Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians.

The Adventures of Edward Herring – Part Three

Clutching the address scribbled on the back of an advertising invoice given to him by Shimon, manager of the Mullcogan Times, Edward Herring makes his way to the Assembly meeting.

Editorial: It’s a social housing party!

After six months of bickering, federal political parties of similar stripes – Labor and Greens – came together and said ‘Yes’ to a $10b social/affordable housing package. 

Weak politics prevents drug reform

When I first left the bench, I was approached by a group of enthusiastic, committed young medicinal cannabis entrepreneurs and activists to lead DriveChange – a lobby group for the driving rights of patients. I thought it was such a minimalist no-brainer...

The moment we can change the course of history

For decades, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been campaigning for change to the current political system in Australia. Many incremental changes have led us to this moment in history...

Make Bruns the new Bentley

There is never nothing we can do.  There are just people who do nothing. With a world that is not on track to meet its climate targets, in the face of government failure it is the community who must act. It is time to do something. Right now in Brunswick Heads our wild heathland is calling.

NASA shows how human life can be supported on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has generated oxygen on Mars for the 16th and final time with the agency saying it exceeded expectations.

Common wealth or shareholder wealth?

As Alan Joyce runs for cover, with the Australian public baying for blood, it's a good time to remember that the underlying problem goes well beyond Mr Joyce or indeed Qantas. For decades, thanks to privatisation, once-loved Australian institutions have been hollowed out by international profit-making entities, while still pretending to have national interests at heart. Now we're all paying for the consequences.

Why a listening space matters

Of all the forgotten stories in the aftermath of the 2022 floods in the Northern Rivers, the role of Mullumbimby’s Listening Space (LS) surely ranks as one of the more fascinating.

Medicali$ation of a nation

The Almighty Sometimes is a new Australian play about mental health, autonomy, and the medication of children. Without judgement, the play features the story of a teenage girl curious to explore life without her pills.

Editorial – The answer is ‘Yes’

Yes, we have printed the Uluru Statement from the Heart on the front page of The Echo newspaper this week. They are the words of simplicity, dignity and truth that stirred the government into presenting us with a referendum. 

Mandy Nolans Soapbox: National Child Protection Week – Break the Silence

The Australian Child Maltreatment Study found that almost 1 in 4 Australians experienced one or more types of contact child sexual abuse while almost 1 in 5 experienced non-contact child sexual abuse. Almost 1 in 10 Australians experienced forced sex in childhood. How do we continue to fail to protect our children? What is broken that we need to fix? What is systemic that we need to smash?

Is an Earth-like planet hiding on the edge of the solar system?

Far past the reaches of Neptune there could be a planet hiding in our Solar System, according to two scientists.

How to avoid setting your political pants on fire

While in opposition, Anthony Albanese was endlessly critical of Scott Morrison's inaction over the climate emergency, and his lack of meaningful support for Australians as they faced unprecedented bushfires and other calamities. So, does our current prime minister hold a hose, and if so, does it contain petrol or water?

The Adventures of Edward Herring – Part two

Shimon Salahm, manager of the Mullcogan Times, whereof our hero has mysteriously become the editor, has already set up an interview for him with Sean Pebble, head of the region’s flood relief agency. After a detailed briefing Edward obediently heads off to Shelley Cove to meet this personage.

Byron Shire planning – limits to growth

Currently we find ourselves in housing and cost of living crises, set against the backdrop of climate and biodiversity extinction crises. We need more homes for those displaced by the floods and for essential workers and volunteers.

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: The Luis Kiss

Don’t grab women by the head and kiss them. It seems obvious. But the patriarch had to stake his claim. Luis Rubiales, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation just broke Christmas. And I’m pissed.

Forecast for sea off south-east Australia spells danger for marine life

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a patch of the Tasman Sea to reach temperatures at least 2.5°C above average from September to February.

The case for justice – West Papua’s story

PM Albanese, understandably, has continued Australia’s military contribution to Ukraine’s independence, currently totalling $655 million. 

Fear, lies and loathing in Australia

Most Australian households have now received their Voice referendum booklet in the mail. It looks quite official and is being distributed by the Australian Electoral Commission. Unfortunately the contents haven't been fact checked. Like most other forms of federal political advertising, lying and misinformation in this context is completely legal.

Editorial: Upscaling urban development

Let’s take a short dip into how Mayor Michael Lyon intends to ramp up urban development in the Byron Shire. 

The Adventures of Edward Herring

PART ONE A bunch of wild photons that had been travelling for twenty-seven billion years narrowly missed the mirror of the James Webb telescope and...

A glimpse of a smarter, fairer future 

After weeks of wrangling, following the Greens shock election win, Prime Minister Max Chandler-Mather announced today he had sealed a deal with Coalition partners, Labor and independents, to pass ground-breaking reforms to reshape Australia. 

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Are we losing the Raffle?

The last day off I had was June 23. The next one is sometime in September. I was wondering the other day why I was feeling a bit tired so I checked my diary. Oops. Apparently they invented this thing called the ‘weekend’. Ostensibly it was to refresh the worforce. Or at least give them time to yell at their kids, mow the lawn and wash their undies. And maybe go shopping. There’s no point to a capitalist system if you don’t have time to spend your money or get into debt. Or cut down old growth forests. Or up your carbon footprint.

Music lessons improve brain auditory development

Musical training is shown to boost brain development, according to a 12-year international study which compared the neural progress of 66 musicians and 46 non-musicians.

Mullum’s future water supply: Wilsons Creek or Rous?

Since the 1940s Mullumbimby’s water supply has come from a concrete weir on Wilsons Creek, at Lavertys Gap, piped by gravity through a treatment plant perched beside Wilsons Creek Road, to two concrete balancing reservoirs above the old Mullumbimby hospital on Azalea Street.

A big weekend for conferences, if not solutions

The ALP has just held its national conference, in Brisbane, but most of the progressive ideas were discussed only on the fringes, and on the streets outside, with the official debate constrained. Down in Sydney, things pushed further into crazy-land at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an Australian version of the Trump-worshipping American event.

Editorial: Just say know 

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

Revealing your personals in court

We should all be concerned about an underreported development in the Bruce Lehrmann rape trial fallout. 

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Action to Stop Extraction

Ryder is a forest activist. After the floods he spoke at a climate rally in Sydney in front of 5,000 people where he called for an end to fossil fuels. He is a forest protector who runs ‘tree listening’ tours in our local forests and was part of the citizen scientist group that found giant trees that had not been protected in Doubleduke State Forest. This led to the Forestry Corporation having to stop logging. Ryder is 10 years old. 

Small ancient whale discovered in Egypt named after King Tut

Fossilised remains of a small prehistoric whale found in Egypt is the smallest species of basilosaurid – an extinct family of aquatic whales.

Circular economy design principles outlined

A new article that outlines how circular economy principles can be used to plan and design new villages in regional areas has been put forward by Dr Steven Liaros, from the Department of Political Economy at The University of Sydney.

Editorial: All hail, Supreme Unelected Planning Overlord

I CYMI, Marcus Ray, Deputy Secretary NSW Planning, has been bestowed enormous powers by an ineffectual and weak NSW Labor planning minister.

Benefits of microplastic

I loved Hannah Grace’s fanciful letter about sprinkling young men and boys with microplastic dust to lower the sperm rate and thus control overpopulation....

‘Yes’ posters dismantled

I’m feeling a ‘tad’ disillusioned with the human species. My two ‘Yes’ posters were violated and removed just last night. One on my property...

The war on cats

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek marked National Threatened Species Day by 'declaring war on feral cats'. She wants to give councils the power to impose...

No more Hottentot

I have received a petition from Change.org to change the name of Hottentot Crescent, Mullumbimby to another South African word, ‘Khoisan’, also totally irrelevant...