Thursday, 26 March 2015

NSW State Election 2015: The Nationals must be worried that the Far North Coast might kick over the traces at the ballot box

First it was NSW North Coast Nationals who were sprung trying to increase their chances at the ballot box on Saturday by rather dubious means.

The Northern Star editorial on 24 March 2015:

The Northern Star has been used by the Nationals for electioneering purposes and I'd like to set the record straight for our readers.

There's an attack ad doing the rounds with the line that The Northern Star agrees Labor is full of 'hot air on CSG'.

In the television version of the advertisement, there is even a copy of an article written by our reporter Helen Hawkes. It appears below a headline with the same sort of line in it.

But that headline, quoted out of context from the article beneath, does not convey the true meaning of the story.

It was basically a yarn about Labor's political foes, most notably the Nationals, criticising Labor leader Luke Foley's announcement of a moratorium on CSG in NSW.

In effect the headline summed up that that Nationals and Greens were sceptical of Labor's call for a moratorium.

That view doesn't come with the ringing endorsement of The Northern Star as we have been striving to be fair and impartial in our coverage of the CSG issue.

My own personal view is that Labor's moratorium is like having an each-way bet at the races.

It's neither having a plan to introduce CSG, which the Nationals have been plugging, nor a ban on mining as the Greens want to do.

Moratoriums are only good for fence sitters who can't make up their mind.

Labor has further promised a permanent ban on CSG on the North Coast.

The waters have been muddied sufficiently on CSG with Labor and the Coalition blaming each other for its implementation.

I'd simply urge our readers to make up their own minds and vote accordingly on election day this Saturday.

Then it was the Catholic hierarchy in the Lismore diocese attempting to influence parishioners’ votes as though it was still 1950s Australia.

The Northern Star 24 March 2015:

PARENTS of local Catholic school students have received a State Election guide in school newsletters emailed to them.

It is understood some parents have lodged objections with their schools about the appropriateness of being sent a "form guide".

The guide includes information on where the three major parties stand on "abortion and protection of the unborn", euthanasia, marriage, Catholic schools and religious freedom, and has previously been inserted into Catholic church bulletins.

The guide features a foreword by Bishop of Lismore Geoffrey Jarrett, in which he said: "This is the moment to cast our vote and, for us Christians, it means a vote in accordance with our conscience: that's a conscience tuned to the deepest truths, among other things the dignity of the human person, their right to religious freedom, the preciousness of life, marriage and the family, and the rights of parents to educate their children in a way that respects their religious and moral beliefs".

"Apparently there is a saturation campaign being conducted," said Neville Kelly, a Ballina resident and Labor party member who was among parishioners who objected to what they saw as an infringement of democratic rights.

"As a Catholic, I abhor this disgusting behaviour."

The principal of St Mary's Catholic College in Casino, Aaron Beach, said parents had received election information from the diocese in the past.

"We have had no feedback either way," he said. "I don't have any concerns with putting out anything from the bishop - it is his prerogative to give information."…..

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