The Beast’s Monthly Mailbag – March 2020
The Beast’s Mission Statement
I have always viewed The Beast as a local monthly magazine, published and distributed for the benefit of those residing in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, to inform them of local news and events happening in their area and as aptly described in James’ introduction on Page 6, “the monthly magazine for Sydney’s beautiful beaches of the east.” Definitely not as a vehicle to espouse eccentric, left wing, anti-government views, mocking our democratically elected heads of state and government by a majority of voters, such as the article on Page 8, “Australia’s Wake Up Call”, and the satirical article on Page 50, “Celebrate Your Patriotism This Australia Day”, as well as the article on Page 52, “The Unreliable Guide To… Leadership”.
But what really stunned me was the interview with Dave Sharma… Really James, who gave you those questions? ISIS? Hamas? And were you even paying attention to Dave’s answers? But James, your one question that literally had me Rolling On The Floor Laughing Out Loud (ROFLOL) was on Page 43, and I quote: “What if all the Russians, Eastern Europeans, Americans, Australians and Brits who moved into an Israeli settlement on Palestinian land just moved back to where they came from and let the Palestinians move back in?” Well, Mr James Hutton, I think I can safely assume by your name that you, just like myself, are a white, non-Indigenous, non-Aboriginal, Australian who is living here in this country because either you or your parents or grandparents or great-grandparents, et cetera, moved here following white man’s colonisation and settlement of this country in 1788 without the consent of the original Indigenous people of the land.
So, Mr Hutton, following your line of questioning put to Mr Dave Sharma, I put to you that you and I, and all other white, non-indigenous, non-Aboriginal people currently living on land which clearly was not legitimately acquired, should just move back to England, or Russia, or China or whatever other country we came from and vacate our homes and land to let the Indigenous Aboriginal homeless people sleeping on the streets of Redfern, et al. move in.
Sounds ludicrous and absurd? So did your line of questions put to our local Federal Member for Wentworth. Let’s keep The Beast free of political and – might I add – anti-Semitic rants and raves and just stick to news and events happening in and around “Sydney’s beautiful beaches of the east”!
On the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict
Dear James – Well done for the multiple remarks you have put forward to challenge Mr Sharma’s comments about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (Dave Sharma – The Comeback King, The Beast, February 2020). Those views are dangerous and appear to justify the terrible violence that is taking place against Palestinians. Those who are not very familiar with the situation Palestinians are actually experiencing (and Mr Sharma, to be honest, seems to be one of them) might actually think that what he has presented makes sense.
I particularly liked your question, “What if all the Russians, Eastern Europeans, Americans, Australians and Brits who moved into an Israeli settlement on Palestinian land just moved back to where they came from and let the Palestinians move back in?” This is the key question. I would also add, “What if Israel, along with the settlers, removed its armed forces from Palestinian land and let people live as human beings entitled of their rights?”
The important ideas of peace and co-existence that Palestinians, according to Mr Sharma, continue to reject, will remain a very complex topic on the table for as long as Palestinians have to endure the terrible reality of Occupation.
Kudos to The Beast
Kudos for calling out David Sharma on the Liberal Party immigration Ponzi scheme, identified as such by the eminent economist and columnist Judith Sloan in The Australian newspaper.
What precisely is the purpose of jamming 100,000 people per annum into Sydney? You might think it’s to employ all those people that arrived the previous year in the construction of cheap and ugly dwellings for the newcomers, but you would be mistaken.
According to Sloan, it is a mechanism, conjured from within the Treasury, for the generation of a “budget surplus”, a meaningless signifier of competence in the management of the economy; pointless too with Chris Bowen as Shadow Treasurer.
So now you know – your quality of life has been sacrificed on the altar of a piece of fatuous political propaganda. Ponzi schemes always end in tears, so be assured that the tears will not be shed by our masters in Canberra.
Keeping Them Honest
Dear James – Congratulations on a great interview with Dave Sharma. I was shocked to see his face on the front cover, but thrilled to see your probing questions that didn’t allow him and his climate denying, press freedom inhibiting, Palestinian human rights evading, lackadaisical bushfire noticing party to get away with much.
Here’s a tip: Place all of your stinky seafood waste in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer until bin night. It keeps the smelly bastards whiffless. Nullification.
But be sure to warn friends who like to smoke the ‘funny smelling cigarettes’ as they might get a rude shock after foxing for midnight snacks.
Bondi Junction Interchange
Dear Editor – Those of us who use this interchange know that you have to be on high alert around the periphery. It didn’t occur to me that this alert was necessary when walking to my bus inside the terminal. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Just before Christmas, peak time, as I was walking towards the buses to Waverley I was struck on the right arm by a toilet door, opening outwards, which took up half the width of the passenger thoroughfare. The door opened quickly and without any warning. As per the photos I took it was clear that the damage was not a mere bump.
I have required that this wound be attended to every day since then, which necessitated providing/purchasing my own sterile dressings. I am about to visit the doctor for the third time.
I was under the illusion that Sydney Buses/Trains would at least pay for my medical expenses. Wrong again! Yesterday I received a letter saying that Sydney Trains is “unable to accept responsibility for customer injuries caused by the action of third parties”. And as for that toilet door that swings over half of the pedestrian way – well, it complies with the building code! Really? It might comply with the code but not in that location!
Are Sydney Trains going to wait until that door hits a small child’s head before it sinks in that the toilet needs to be relocated? If that door can cause that amount of damage to my arm I dread to think what it would do to a child.
No-one Has Lost Their Minds
To ‘Name and Suburb not supplied’ (Have You Guys Lost Your Minds? Letters, The Beast, February 2020) – I can only say, “Get a grip.” Are you not aware that this, our favourite mag, is full of satire and innuendo?
Where is your sense of humour? The comment referred to in ‘Thumbs Down’ gave me a huge chuckle.
Please try and find a sense of humour and relax a little. And big kudos to James for restraining himself from making any editorial comment at the end of the letter. Love your work.
Dear Sir/Madam – I write to comment regarding the article and interview with Dave Sharma in The Beast (Dave Sharma – The Comeback King, The Beast, February 2020).
I was very disappointed with the standard given what we’ve come to expect from The Beast. It seemed to be the softest probing of a politician I can imagine, especially given the topical issues of electoral funding and especially climate change.
As for electoral party funding – I’m not sure I remember any significant reference to corporate entities’ donations influencing policy on either or ‘both’ sides of politics as being something we need be concerned about? Did I read anything about reducing emissions and Mr Sharma’s stance on that? I must have missed it, right?
I arrived here from Poland in 1986 and have lived in Bondi ever since. The old North Bondi mosaic was a beautiful and amazing artwork, full of memories and very precious to me.
I used to go to the North Bondi pool with my daughter and friends often. What is currently on that wall is yet another cheap and ugly graffiti.
Shame on you Waverley Council for replacing traditional and original with cheap and ugly.
I am so very disappointed.
A Reply to Luke
Re: The article by Luke Kennedy (Riders on the Stormwater, The Beast, February 2020): The writer correctly notes the impact of rainfall on water quality at our beaches. Waverley is a highly urbanised area and, unfortunately, run-off from our streets including petrol, oils, chemicals, soil, vegetation and dog poo can make our beaches dirty.
Waverley Council has lots of great initiatives and infrastructure in place to help address these issues. These include:
• Gross pollutant traps at Bronte, Tamarama and Bondi beaches, which prevent around 18 tonnes of pollutants from getting in our beaches each year. These traps are emptied at least every eight weeks.
• Stormwater harvesting schemes at all of our beaches, which clean stormwater and also occasionally capture sewer overflows that we can then pump back into the sewerage system.
• Bioretention gardens to help capture smaller pollutants that can enter drains.
• ‘Sucker trucks’, which we use daily to clean our streets and clear drains.
Council is upgrading the gross pollutant trap at North Bondi and is planning to build more stormwater quality improvement devices in the coming year. This includes putting in a swale at Dickson Park in South Bondi and installing additional tree pits in Bondi Junction.
Sydney Water is also planning to fix untreated sewer outfalls at Eastern Reserve, Diamond Bay and in Clementson Park in the next 12 months and will be consulting on this in March. Once completed, these works will have a major improvement for our water quality and marine environment.
The local community also plays an essential role in helping limit the amount of pollutants that enter our drains and waterways. While littering is a big no-no, overfilling your rubbish bin can also lead to rubbish being blown around our streets. It is also a good idea to sweep up excess vegetation and soil around your house as this removes sediment in stormwater which can harm our marine life.
Council recognises that water quality after rainfall at beaches isn’t always recommended for swimming. This is the case at many Sydney beaches but we’re trying to improve the health of our coastal environment for future generations.
Executive Manager, Environmental Sustainability Waverley Council
Aboriginal Fire Management
Dear James – Amidst the tragedy and compassion of this 2019-2020 summer bushfire season, the sovereignty and knowledge of First Nations Peoples needs to be respected and implemented in ongoing fire management across the Australian landscape.
I will be proposing that Waverley Council, through the peak body Local Government NSW, lends its support to Aboriginal burning off practices combined with Rural Fire Service Aboriginal Community Volunteer training. This occurred recently at the NSW South Coast Shire of Eurobodalla.
It is the eve of the 250th anniversary of the colonial invasion. This interrupted our people’s management of the land and ignored ancient cultural and spiritual practices on country. It is time to re-integrate our First Nation’s wisdom into fire management, alongside science informed emissions reductions, to temper the effects of climate change.
Dominic Wy Kanak
Now that both sides of local, state and federal parliament seem to agree that Climate Change is real, and in view that you interviewed Dave Sharma about the past but not the future, I would suggest you start putting all of the current and future politicians on the spot regarding how they plan to tackle climate change in the immediate future.
I notice that Waverley Council has started to use recycled materials in at least some of their road resurfacing. Dave Sharma recently in the Wentworth Courier acknowledged that Government needed to do more.
You could begin by asking the following questions:
Will you push for your party to stop using Kyoto credits to meet their emissions targets in the immediate future?
Will you phase out fossil fuel power stations and replace them with solar farms in the same geographic location to preserve employment opportunities in those areas where mining and coal power is active?
Will you ban logging and destruction of all native forest to ensure we have adequate natural environment for the diversity of flora and fauna that is part of the uniqueness of Australia?
Will you go public with your beliefs despite what your party might believe?
What else will you fight for to achieve lower emissions?
Will you actively support Australia being a world leader in lowering emissions?
I think this is one of the most important things The Beast could do. What percentage of federal, state and local government facilities – universities, schools, hospitals, railways, bus stations, council chambers and sports and leisure grounds – have solar power facilities on their roof and tank water for all their non drinkable water requirements?
James, I am hoping you will agree with my thoughts. Will you put them into action and include this in a section of The Beast so your readers can see whether our state, federal and local politicians agree?
The Irony of the Christmas Greeting
In the January 2020 edition of The Beast I responded to a letter from a reader who hated the expression, “Happy Holidays.” My response, in disagreeing with that sentiment and saying that I thought it was a perfectly neutral and pleasant alternative to “Merry Christmas” that gives people from all creeds an option, wrought a particularly nasty response indeed (Letters, The Beast, February 2020).
From reading it, you could be forgiven for thinking I had mounted a campaign to ban the use of the expression, as he went so far, in a virtuosic (and vitriolic) attempt to stir up even more hate-filled sentiment, as to falsely claim I was proposing we no longer be able to wish each other “Merry Christmas!”
Silly really, because I made a point of saying, “I have no particular issue with being greeted with ‘Merry Christmas’, or indeed returning the greeting.” I just didn’t hate what he hated.
Now, the letter to which I responded started with, “Don’t you just hate…” That was the whole point of my letter! It was about the hate thing. And at Christmas time, no less, when those who do subscribe to its ethos talk about peace on earth and brotherly love, etc. Oh, the irony!
He then took the opportunity to have a nice ole dig at the greenies – you know, those awful folks who care what happens to our planet. It doesn’t bear repeating. By the time he finished, it looked like I had ruined or even cancelled Christmas, Easter and all other holidays, religious or secular put together (It’s that political correctness phobia again). Hey, more important we should be unfettered in expressing our hate.
I just think it’s bizarre and terribly sad that, with so much tragedy, loss, fear, suffering and disaster in the world (and much of it so close to home right now), that people go to lengths to make hate their mission statement.
Get Out of the Office
Dear Editor – I think the Randwick City Council representative who replied to Margy (Response to Margy, Letters, The Beast, February 2020) needs to get out of their office and go for a walk.
Surely Council needs to have a good look at our streets if it genuinely believes in its “campaign to raise awareness that what goes down our drains ends up on our beaches”.
I nearly fell out of my chair with laughter when I read, “Council will continue to sweep streets.” Let’s get back to reality. Council hasn’t swept our streets since they stopped employing street sweepers on foot with brooms – how long ago was that?
Surely the writer doesn’t think that Randwick Council’s street sweeper truck, which is driven down our streets, actually gets anywhere near our gutters. It’s impossible with the increased number of cars parked on our streets. As a result, most of the gutters on the streets we walk every morning are full of leaves and other refuse that all gets washed down to our beaches every time it rains – if the drain isn’t blocked, which a lot of them are because they aren’t being cleaned regularly.
Is it any wonder our roads flood every time we get a heavy downpour? The water can’t get down our stormwater drains because they are blocked by all the leaves and refuse that’s washed into them. I notice Botany Council still has foot soldiers sweeping their streets, why can’t Randwick City Council do the same? Would Council like the ratepayers to adopt a street gutter too, and maybe give them a discount on their rates?