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North Coast news daily:

Will Malcolm’s apology get backbench support?

Volume 33 #02

June 20, 2018

NSW budget and you Let’s explore the state government’s 2018–19 budget report for the Ballina electorate! In case you missed it (ICYMI), the Ballina electorate covers Byron and Ballina local government areas and your local representative in NSW parliament is Greens MP Tamara Smith. The NSW Budget 2018–19 Electorate Report (Ballina) is a simple 13-page document that lists capital projects, transport projects, ‘Restart NSW Fund projects’ and regional grant funds across this electorate. While there are many projects that have been previously announced, there are a few new items. Capital works for the area this financial year include $49.6 million for a new Ballina high school. A ‘social housing upgrade’ will receive $1,147,000 and comes without any details. Similarly a $500,000 ‘coastal infrastructure program’ has no detail. As for transport, a total of $14,497,000 is listed for capital projects, operating projects and maintenance. These projects are of course largely to do with road improvements and a few footpaths, but it also includes a Transport Access Program for the proposed Byron Bay interchange. $2,108,000 has been put aside for the planning and construction of the Byron bus interchange that includes ‘improved ramps, toilets, seating, shelters, kiss and ride zones, bike racks, improved customer information and CCTV and lighting.’ A Brunswick Heads boat ramp upgrade is pegged at $500,000, while $304,000 will go to the construction of a shared path along Balemo Drive in Ocean Shores. And do we get value for money from John Holland corporation who maintain the region’s disused railways? Despite the state government’s ‘multi-electorate transport program’, inspections and minor repairs of rail lines in this electorate will cost the taxpayer $341,000 for this year. An upgrade to the Ballina Byron Airport is pegged at $4,508,000 and falls under the ‘Restart NSW Fund.’ Bridge rebuilding around Bangalow will cost $2,589,000, while Brunswick Heads foreshore public reserve upgrades and improvements will cost $1,227,000. Regional grants include the Byron Writers Festival Story Board Road Trip ($80,000), the establishment of Ignite Studios’ Lighting Sustainability upgrades and partnership development ($158,000) and the Solar Art Ark, a solar-powered mobile workshop/stage/ store ($25,000). Banglaow’s Heritage House will receive $320,000 to connect ‘families past and present’ while the Ocean Shores Waterlily Playground will receive $418,000. Byron’s Sandhills early childhood centre will be refurbished to the tune of $255,000. Tamara Smith MP says there is good news for Tweed, Byron and Ballina Community Transport in this budget. She says, ‘The service will receive $1.87 million under the Commonwealth Home Support Program, plus $193,000 under the Community Transport Program.’ Yet she does claim the $12,000 allocated for biodiversity offsets for core koala habitat destroyed by the Pacific Highway upgrade ‘is a joke.’ Smith says, ‘This is an extremely small amount; the government would be better to spend that on a tagging and monitoring program to assess the effectiveness of what they’re doing at Meerschaum Vale.’ Hans Lovejoy, editor News tips are welcome:

The Byron Shire Echo Established 1986 General Manager Simon Haslam Editor Hans Lovejoy Photographer Jeff Dawson Advertising Manager Angela Cornell Production Manager Ziggi Browning

Nicholas Shand 1948–1996 Founding Editor

‘The job of a newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.’ – Finley Peter Dunne 1867–1936 © 2018 Echo Publications Pty Ltd – ABN 86 004 000 239 Mullumbimby: Village Way, Stuart St. Ph 02 6684 1777 Fax 02 6684 1719 Printer: Fairfax Media Brisbane Reg. by Aust. Post Pub. No. NBF9237

10 June 20, 2018 The Byron Shire Echo


alcolm Turnbull has always regarded John Howard as some sort of political mentor. It was Howard who encouraged and promoted him, and Howard who talked him out of giving up when Tony Abbott beat him by one vote for the party leadership he regarded as his birthright. Howard persuaded him that he could and would return, so when Turnbull did, he thought Howard’s judgment was all but infallible. But not quite; even then the protégé had a couple of reservations, and last week he made it clear that on at least one issue he would be his own man. Turnbull has announced that he will make a national apology; he will say sorry to the numerous victims, alive and dead, of child sexual abuse as revealed by the royal commission inaugurated by Julia Gillard. In the circumstances this can hardly be called controversial; the crimes, deceptions, conspiracies and cover ups that have been painstakingly and painfully listed in the commission’s report are truly horrendous. An apology is the least that is required, and to his credit Turnbull has also been vigorous in pursuing more concrete remedies, including compensation. And he appears to be willing to break the secrecy of the confessional, which, coming from a Catholic convert, is a seriously big deal. So there could be some solid substance to his apology. Certainly he is being determinedly positive about it. But a few years ago the government of which he was a part was adamant: there would be no apology to the stolen generations, in spite of an equally damning report from an equally credible inquiry – Bringing Them Home, the report on the stolen generations.


by Ian Rogers The Queen’s Birthday long weekend featured the Victorian Open and NSW Open running headto-head. The NSW event, the larger and stronger of the two, saw sixtime ACT Champion Junta Ikeda upset the odds by defeating the top seed Anton Smirnov and then drawing with – and almost beating – the other Grandmaster in the field, Max Illingworth. Ikeda was forced to share line honours with Taiwan’s top player Raymond Song. Song played in World Youth Championships for both New Zealand, his birthplace, and Australia before heading to Shanghai, Taipei and finally returning to Sydney (likely temporarily) for university studies. Song and Ikeda played the game of the tournament against each other in round six before the game ended in perpetual check. In Melbourne Grandmaster Hrant Melkumyan ran through the field, scoring a perfect 7/7. Melkumyan’s victory was decided by a 101 move marathon against runner-up Kanan Izzat in the fifth round. Izzat was always on the back foot but on move 98,

There was a lot of sophistry about just how stolen the generations were, and whether some (but by no means all) of the stealers were well-intentioned at the time. This was hardly relevant to the stolen and their descendants: they had no doubt that their rights had been violated, their families and in some cases their very lives destroyed as a result of the policies of the government. A minimum of decency meant they were due proper acknowledgement and contrition, not some weasel words about a regrettable blemish from the past, now time to move on. But in any case, Howard was not

ready shaping up as a fierce rival to Turnbull – advised his leader that it would be better to give way – it would do him no harm to be generous for a change. But Howard stood on what he called his principles, and in the end it was up to Rudd to deliver the long-belated speech. Howard had lost his seat by then, so had an excuse for not attending. But several others from the extreme right of the Liberal Party also boycotted the event. The appalling Sophie Mirabella stated that the stolen generations were a myth – presumably the weighty report she received some years earlier went straight to the shredder.

The sociopathic Home Affairs enforcer has presided over… several innocent deaths, much madness [and] untold suffering for his numerous victims.

by Mungo MacCallum prepared to argue about it. He was not personally responsible, so there was nothing for him to be sorry about. No apology, not now and not ever. And this intransigence effectively destroyed any possibility of a consensus over Indigenous recognition, let alone a proper reconciliation process. A treaty, of course, was utterly out of the question. Even some of Howard’s conservative colleagues thought his unbending stance was not only cruel, but also bad politics: it would involve eating a shit sandwich, but it would at least get the issue out of the way. As it was, like Howard’s stubborn refusal to sign the Kyoto agreement on climate change, the veto on an apology was a longrunning distraction at a time when the rise and rise of Kevin Rudd needed all the concentration he could muster. Even Tony Abbott – another protégé and alwith 49 moves completed without a piece being captured or a pawn move, he could have forced a draw. In the diagram Izzat, Black, should play 98...Kf8! even though it allows 99.Rd8, which seems to force a winning pawn endgame. However, then Black could indicate his intention to play 99...Ke7! and claim a draw through the 50 move rule since any capture by Melkumyan comes too late. Unluckily, not realising that the draw was so close and believing he was losing however he played, Izzat tried 98...Kh7? and after 99.e7! – just in time! – the 50 move clock restarted and Izzat had no hope. The game concluded 99...Kh6 100. Kd6 Kg5 101.Ke6 1-0 a




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At which point we have to ask: will the party room rump seek to embarrass the current prime minster on the same basis? They can certainly take the Howard line: presumably none of them has been involved in child sexual abuse, so why should they have to be dragged to a public apology? It might be a little rash to describe the royal commission as a myth, but there are those who have said it was exaggerated, over the top, the evidence was unreliable, there was a suspicion (by the doubters) that false memories were accepted, and of course it was basically a giant conspiracy to discredit the churches, most particularly the Catholics. There will be an opportunity for a well-publicised walkout – it was Turnbull’s idea, and if he wants to wallow in it, let him. Howard, obviously, will again

not be present anyway, but one of the most prominent who ostentatiously snubbed Rudd may well be tempted to lead the resistance: no prizes for guessing, step forward Peter Dutton. The sociopathic Home Affairs enforcer doesn’t apologise for anything, not ever. He has presided over a string of atrocities in his portfolio – several innocent deaths, much madness, untold suffering for his numerous victims. His insistence that asylum seekers are ‘illegal arrivals’ is quite simply a lie – the foundation lie of the vast structure of misery he and his sinister eminence grise, the department’s secretary Mike Pezzullo have diligently erected. Dutton’s regime is guilty of deceit, deliberate cruelty and the breaking of several international laws and conventions – not to mention trashing Australia’s reputation for standards of fairness and decency. By any rights he should be apologising for what amounts to crimes against humanity. But it obviously does not bother him – as he tells us, those who dissent are dead to him. His total lack of empathy means that all his emotions – including his loyalty – must be questioned. As a cabinet minister, Dutton cannot easily desert Turnbull as he is making the apology on the floor of the house, but he could – if he wished – gather support for those who can and will, the reactionary backbenchers who probably think that apologies are for wimps anyway. There is no suggestion that this is happening – yet. But there are more than four months before October 22, the day on Children’s Week Turnbull has selected for his big moment, and as we have seen so regularly, there is an awful lot of mischief to be made before then.

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The Byron Shire Echo – Issue 33.02 – June 20, 2018  

Free, independent weekly newspaper from the Byron Shire in northern NSW, Australia.

The Byron Shire Echo – Issue 33.02 – June 20, 2018  

Free, independent weekly newspaper from the Byron Shire in northern NSW, Australia.