Letters – October 2018
Congrats on a great publication.
I often find a copy when visiting Bondi. But your double-paged plug for tourism in WA at Rottnest Island (A Long Ride Around Rottnest Island, The Beast, August 2018) really disturbed me. As a folk music fan I have heard the Bernard Carney song ‘Devil’s Island’ at many festivals.
It tells the true history of the hot spot off the coast of Perth. For nearly 100 years it was home to an Aboriginal prison where the early white colonisers of WA dumped any Indigenous person who resisted the theft of their land. Many died of hunger, disease and abuse – a sad tale of dispossession and cultural destruction.
It continues to this day with the richest woman in Australia, Gina Rinehart, and her multinational bankers profiting from the theft of the minerals her father Lang Han- cock stole from the deposed tribes.
The resort hotel your real estate contributor raves about was the former prison. Next time get with the times we live in and tell the true ‘history’ of this country and not just the quirks of European colonial explorers. Without truth there can be no reconciliation, with Adam Goodes nor any of our Indigenous forebears.
IN THE FIRING LINE
A letter I sent to Randwick Council: My first amendment rights of being able to walk freely are being sabotaged by the second amendment rights of the shooters of Malabar. I went off on Sunday, August 5, 2018 for a much-anticipated family walk over by Malabar Heads only to be told that they were shooting at the range. So my understanding of this is that if I and the rest of the non-rifle owning public (which I would assume would make up the majority of Australia) would like to enjoy the outdoors in this beautiful, recently tax-funded upgrade part of Sydney, we can only walk during the working week and on every second Sunday of the month. This is ridiculous, and I feel we are being held hostage by the ‘Yankee do da’ gun owners! Please explain how this can be?
ANOTHER EYESORE FOR MAROUBRA BEACH
Maroubra Beach is a stunningly beautiful place to live. Many residents and visitors love the area’s natural wonders and village vibe. However, Maroubra Beach does have one tiny thing that will never fit in to the landscape. Located for all to see on Marine Parade, its six storeys of gargantuan, inappropriate, overscale and overbuilt bulk is a daily reminder of exactly how over- development can be so detrimental to a community.
Unbelievably, developers are pro- posing to do it all again, but sadly not with one building, but three!
Yes, the same type of gross, ugly, overdevelopment is being proposed for the former Maroubra RSL Memorial Bowling Club (‘the Bowlo’). This club was built in 1955 by members of the Returned and Services League, Australia (RSL). It was sold by the RSL in 2016 to Catholic Healthcare. Currently the Bowlo remains intact while the proposed development is being assessed. There is still huge support for retention of this community facility.
While still owned by the RSL, wives of local members of the Australian Defence Forces innovatively proposed caring for the needs of both older and younger Australians through an integrated childcare and aged care facility. Sadly, all pleas and plans from locals fell on the deaf ears of the RSL and politicians. The Bowlo was sold.
Technically not rezoned (in all but name), the Bowlo has been awarded a Site Compatibility Certificate (SCC) by the NSW Government’s Department of Planning and Environment. The SCC radically changes the original permissible land use of ‘RE2 Private Recreation’ – private open space for recreation purposes. The site can now undergo intensive, overscale development. Like a magic wand! The SCC turns lowly valued, open community recreation space into a site that offers the potential for massive overscale development. This process significantly increases the value of the site.
With the SCC secured, R3 planning height restrictions of 9.5 metres to 12 metres that apply to the surrounding area are thrown out the window. To maximise profits the highest building proposed for the site will be 25.85 metres, with a two-metre terrace effect from the bowling greens to the surrounding landscape. The buildings will tower almost as high as our unmissable six-storey eyesore on Marine Parade.
Unrestrained by height limits, Catholic Healthcare intends to severely overdevelop the site to maximise ocean views and maximise profits. The development is being marketed as aged care, yet the majority of dwellings constructed will be for exclusive luxury one, two and three-bedroom ocean view apartments.
An extra 400-plus people can live and work on the site, yet only 93 car parks are planned. The extra traffic and cars will clog the surrounding streets. Incongruously, two driveways are planned amidst a pedestrian crossing and drop-off/ pick-up zones that serve St Mary – St Joseph Catholic Primary School.
While the proposed development is being marketed as aged care, it makes a lot more sense for aged care to be facilitated in Maroubra Junction, close to a comprehensive and large choice of health and medical facilities, community services and other facilities including shops and transportation.
Like an industrial estate or office block, its design is boxy and square, with large areas of exposed glass and masonry. Hard surfaces are maximised and open space/garden areas and street setbacks are minimised.
No consideration has been given to energy efficiency. Air conditioner use will be maximised, sucking energy and creating a micro-climate, heating up the development and surrounding area.
In winter and summer a wind tunnel is created, funnelling strong, cold westerly winds and then hot northerly winds, respectively, on to the neighbouring properties and St Mary-St Joseph Catholic Primary School. Plus, the proposed develop- ment is in a flood prone area. The impacts have not been properly addressed.
The height and bulk of the proposed development will result in significant visual impact as neighbourhood views are lost or destroyed forever. It will result in overshadowing, overlooking and loss of privacy for many neighbours including St Mary – St Joseph Catholic Primary School.
The proposed development by Catholic Healthcare will see the Bowlo totally destroyed, resulting in a huge loss of community open space and amenity without any compensation for a facility that is a community resource. It will be totally unsympathetic to the surrounding environment, strongly clashing with the area’s pleasant open, low-rise, coastal aesthetic. Despite its potential to impact the community for the next 100 years, it is devoid of architectural merit and lacks proper environmental impact considerations.
If the politicians haven’t the gumption to stop this overdevelopment then at the bare minimum they should insist that the developers significantly curtail the overdevelopment. The height and bulk should fit into the current planning restrictions of R3, enforced on the area and its current residents. The design and look should be an enhancement to the area, but currently the proposed overdevelopment mimics the ugly mistakes made in the past (and now present) for all to see on Marine Parade.
PASSING OF A SURF CLUB LEGEND
Wally Woodford Boon was a well-known and respected life member of the Bronte Surf Club and a long- time member of the Bronte Splashers.
Sadly, at the age of 79, Wally succumbed to a long illness and passed away in late August.
A celebration of his life was held at the Bronte Surf Club and attended by hundreds who remembered a mate who was an avid sportsman.
His sporting prowess was well noted by his former team-mates as well as those whom he mentored.
After joining the surf club as a 13-year-old he went on to play rugby league and rugby union for NSW, as well as playing for the Eastern Suburbs Roosters, and coached the Clovelly Eagles junior rugby union team to premierships.
Wally worked for many years at News Ltd and had a long career in the sporting industry with brands such as ASICS, Mizuno and Ring Pro.
Condolences go out to his loving wife Laurel and children Melanie, Cameron and Jason, and grandchildren Jorja, Bianca, Connor, Ethan, Jake and Josh.
His family thanked everyone for their support.
ANGIE’S OTHER PLANET
‘Angie’, the anti-vaccination crusader, gives her address as ‘Another Planet’ (Jibberer Not a Jabberer, Letters, The Beast, September 2018). All I’m sure of is that whatever planet it is, she’s firmly convinced that it’s flat. Probably lots of fairies there too?
NO MORE JIBBERISH PLEASE
The ebola outbreak in remote villages in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone rapidly grew into an epidemic. When sufficient medical aid finally arrived, the strategy used to halt its progress was to segregate infected patients from the unifected, inoculate healthy persons physically close to infected patients, and inoculate infected patients with less grave symptoms.
Some of these sick patients actually survived following inoculation (surprise, surprise), as did those who received early inoculation. Note that the medical aid did not have to address neurological disorders, allergies and other causes to stem the outbreak.
This episode highlights the fact that mass inoculation serves greater society with the greater good and most of us are prepared to accept the very small amount of collateral damage from adverse reactions to inoculation, even though we may be part of that collateral damage.
I would like to debate this topic further, but I shan’t tarry because I am off to have my next inoculation.
Angie seems to be reluctant to divulge her full name, but since she is from another planet it probably doesn’t matter. What matters, though, is that she decided to share her thoughts with us about vaccinations, which don’t affect her much being from another planet.
As a medical practitioner (studied six years undergraduate and ten years post grad) with 25 years of experience, having published five articles in peer-reviewed journals, which was my own research (each article took years to publish and had to go through ethics committees and many other hoops, none of them funded by ‘Big Pharma’), I am a bit offended by her opinions.
I have to maintain my knowledge through regular continued professional development courses, evenings, conferences in order to maintain my medical registration and my registration at the Royal College of General Practitioners, and also read three medical journals a week.
I am by no means an expert on vaccinations and am certainly not well read enough on this subject to really advise you all of the very latest knowledge in this particular extensive field of medicine, but I do trust the Medical Advisory Committee that advises the government on the latest immunisation updates, as these epidemiologists and physicians involved have also got years and years of experience in statistics and epidemics and infections and all sorts of aspects of healthcare of the general population, and also have to maintain their standards to remain registered.
So for young Angie to question their factual statistics I really think is a bit rich, especially if you’re from another planet where these statistics don’t apply. We all living here on Planet Earth unfortunately have to cope with the onslaught of various diseases and all of us regard our own lives, those of loved ones and also those surrounding us as valuable, and not just dispensable.
One fact is that Australia has been in the top six countries on this planet regarding highest average life expectancy and whilst it may be due to better hygiene, safe water supply and good availability of healthy food (not for all of us, though), it is also related to extremely good vaccination rates and excellent general health care.
It might be convenient to Angie that she has never had HPV-related cancer or precancerous lesions, but to thousands of women in the last few decades this was not the case as we did not have the vaccination available, just gradually improving cervical cancer detection schedules also suggested by the government at the advice of specialists in this field.
The result of all this scientific founded research over decades (done by Australian and international researchers at enormous accumulated expense of time and devotion) and advancing healthcare is that cervical cancer (and other HPV-related cancers) is rapidly declining in Australia.
Yes, we don’t know for sure that the vaccine won’t cause cancer, but at this stage it certainly does not look like it at all, and it sure is saving thousands of lives and avoiding really bad misery for even more individuals.
My colleague has had HPV-related tonsillar cancer treated and would have been far better off had he been vaccinated 30 years ago.
To think that you don’t need other childhood vaccinations living here in the Eastern Suburbs where every- one else is vaccinated is extremely selfish.
Unfortunately self observation of those in your immediate environment is not statistically sound compared to evidence-based, peer- reviewed publications, I’m afraid.
Hi James and Dan – I love your mag, Pearl keeps me in stitches. I often get hot under the collar when I read some of the stuff people write in about, but I’ve finally gotten off my arse and put finger to keyboard (the modern day pen to paper?).
I’m emailing in response to Angie from ‘Another Planet’, which, based on her vaccinations logic, sounds about right – her logic really is from another planet, because it sure as hell isn’t a scientific or rational Earth view of the topic. Rather than having the ‘Woman’s Day’ approach towards evidence as to why we shouldn’t vaccinate our children, why don’t we give the modern day, Earth-accepted, scientific approach a go.
I agree, the influenza vaccine is probably one of the least effective vaccines, statistically speaking. However, the virus is constantly evolving, making this a difficult task. Washing hands is always a good idea, but if you had investigated properly (as you said you had), you would have quickly found that studies have demonstrated surgical masks are highly ineffective in preventing the transmision of respiratory-borne viruses. Sterilising buses (shall we steam them?) is not simple or realistic on any level. There would need to be a (dedicated) person on each bus, constantly wiping everything every passenger has touched (we carry the virus for a period before the infection manifests, so how do we know who is contagious?).
Prior to the introduction of the measles (Varicella) vaccine in 1963, for example, the measles virus resulted in the death of over two million people each year. This has now dropped to around 90,000 deaths annually, and this is in developing countries. The death rate (not including the also present risk of encephalitis and subsequent brain damage, pneumonia, blindness, etc.) in the developed world for a person that contracts measles is 0.2-0.3 per cent (2-3 per 1000 cases) in the healthy population, but we should be very clear, not everyone in our population is healthy. Children and adults walk around with cancer, HIV, and all sorts of other immune suppressing conditions. For them, the death rate is closer to 30 per cent. And it is not that uncommon for me to receive an email from school notifying me of identified cases of measles, chicken pox, etc.
I can only imagine the terrible fear you would have as the parent of a child with cancer, worrying if there were unimmunised children around your own fragile child that could potentially pass on a lethal infection. Our job as a community is to protect that child, just as much as it is to protect yours.
Indeed there are side effects for some people associated with modern medicine. With the Varicella vaccine, this can include transient febrile seizures, anaphylaxis, and possibly encephalitis. Except for anaphylaxis (which obviously won’t occur with the disease), the rate of these conditions is far higher, and more lethal, than those experienced with the vaccine. Please don’t kid yourself that a small case of infertility is about the long and short of contracting the disease (I note that you already have children, so of course infertility in someone else is not so bad). Cancer is not a disease with a higher incidence in vaccinated, versus unvaccinated, people.
There was a study (one of many) in 1986, looking at identical twins in Finland; one received the Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine, the other didn’t. Interestingly, while the twin who received the vaccine briefly had a small increase in experience of mild fever and general irritability, any other symptom was reported equally in both twins. There were no deaths amongst the 1162 participants. Statistics would tell us that if it was the disease, not the vaccine, two
or three people would have died. Death caused by the vaccination is so rare it is actually quite difficult to find a true incidence.
I had a friend who died of cervical cancer at age 25 – a really fun girl with so much life ahead of her. The death rate of cervical cancer is about 8 per cent at 5 years after diagnosis, and around 30 per cent at 5 years if it’s found in the later stages.
Human papilloma virus (HPV) has been demonstrated (in actual scientific studies) to cause the large majority of invasive cervical carcinomas. These studies have clearly shown to date that there is no in- creased risk of serious adverse events from the HPV vaccine, compared to people who haven’t received it. There’s a very clear difference between the death rates of people who have cervical cancer, compared to those who don’t.
To withhold or speak out against something that has been scientifically demonstrated to decrease the risk of a lethal condition, just in case it causes cancer or death, despite there being no evidence that this is the case, is not only illogical, it’s dangerous and stupid. I wonder what Angie’s response will be if her daughter (if she has one) comes to her in her 20s telling her that she has cervical changes, or worse, cancer associated with HPV infection, something she might have avoided if her mother hadn’t decided on her behalf that the risk of cancer was less than vaccination risks. I can imagine her daughter might be pretty angry.
I’m not quite sure what Angie means by “people are sicker than ever with autoimmune diseases, deadly allergies, neurological problems (just general neurological problems?), and cancer”. This is vague, and doesn’t at all inform us of what Angie’s investigations have revealed to her.
I would agree that our community is suffering the ill effects of lifestyle-related diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes (not autoimmune), obesity, cancer related to obesity and smoking, etc. – there is clear literature on this. This has nothing to do with vaccinations, other than that the population no longer suffers from diseases that are vaccine-preventable, and are living long enough to get old and fat, hence develop some of the aforementioned conditions.
Medical advances have allowed us to diagnose autoimmune conditions, and certain neurological conditions, with much higher accuracy; so rather than an increase in the number of cases, we’re just able to identify a larger number of people who have a given disease. These people are now less likely to die due to their condition because of appropriate treatment, therefore the overall incidence must increase. This is not related to vaccination.
I would carry on addressing the rest of Angie’s ill-informed views, but I don’t want your readers to fall asleep.
I’m a doctor. All of my children are vaccinated. I cannot name one single doctor, of the hundreds I know, that hasn’t vaccinated their children. The evidence is so overwhelmingly in favour of it. There is no conspiracy here. We aren’t ‘hiding the truth’. We aren’t supporting vaccinations so we can make some extra money treating the adverse effects of them.
I don’t think most of us “feel powerful jumping on the band- wagon” in support of vaccination, just informed enough to know that it is the responsible thing for the community, especially the most vulnerable.
FREE HOLIDAY FOR ANGIE
Hi Dan and James – I really must respond to a letter by Angie from Another Planet in The Beast, who writes this statement: “I no longer believe that vaccines can take the credit for eradicating any diseases.”
Well indeed she is from another planet. A planet that rewrites history and ignores all established peer-reviewed research, science and evidence.
I have a smallpox injection scar on my shoulder from having travelled to Indonesia where smallpox was still in existence in the 1970s. Smallpox was only and finally eradicated because of vaccination. Pure and simple.
I have a genuine invitation to Angie – would she accompany me with her unvaccinated children to a remote overseas village in Africa, where diseases like polio, cholera and yellow fever are still found? She can wash and sanitise all she likes and bring her own food. I will pay the airfares. I will even bring my vaccinated kids along for company.
Dear James and Dan – I was disappointed that you gave airtime to Angie and her crackpot claim that her organic quinoa is better than immunisation. The claims of the anti-vaxxers are not only bullshit, but they are downright dangerous for the most vulnerable members of our community.
In 20 years working in the healthcare sector, I’m yet to meet a doctor or nurse who doesn’t immunise their kids. Deluded fruitcakes like Angie don’t need a megaphone to broadcast their ignorance, and their views certainly don’t belong in the pages of The Beast.
CRUISING FOR A BRUISING
Lately there has been a vibrant debate about where to place a new passenger terminal for fat and pol- luting cruise ships. The proposed places for the terminal, set to open in 2024, are either Garden Island or Yarra Bay in Botany. As one of the Liberal Party’s more faithful propaganda outfits recently told us: “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has vetoed the favourite Garden Island site”. The question might remain – for those still believing in democracy and community input – whether our (now former) Prime Minister, born to rule and at times behaving like the CEO of Australia, can on his own just veto Garden Island?
In any case, Turnbull’s veto comes with two good reasons. For one, the Navy still occupies Garden Island so that the government can spend billions of taxpayer dollars on war ships to defend us against an enemy that does not exist. More important, however, is the Liberals’ ‘not in my backyard’ policy.
Obviously Mr Turnbull doesn’t want an ugly terminal – usually not an architectural masterpiece – in front of his house. Neither does he want big polluting ships cruising past his mansion. Hence the ugly terminal gets pushed down to the lower end of the Eastern Suburbs where it can pollute the people of Botany with the human cargo of the, often rather senseless, mass tourism that will be off-loaded between container ships and oil tankers. That is the plan.
One already wonders why the ‘it-creates-jobs’ argument isn’t wheeled out. It usually justifies every madness from war-making submarine building to Adani coalmines. In any case, ‘all inclusive’ cruise ships offer next to no jobs for the people in Botany other than (literally) pumping shit and maybe a few ‘Made in China’ souvenirs flogged off to passengers quickly ushered away to see the Opera House. Even the passengers’ dirty towels are washed on board, while many travellers prefer a free pizza on the ship instead of buying one in Botany.
That leaves us with pollution. Unlike container ships switching to smaller engines when moored, passenger ships run large engines to power their stratospheric energy consumption day and night. This is done with sulphur-rich, cheap but cancer-causing diesel petrol. Cities like Venice in Italy, Marseilles in France and Dubrovnic in Croatia have recently started fighting against cruise ships. The people in Botany might be in for a treat, facing much pain (cancer) for next to no gain (jobs) under what the Liberals have in store for them.
AN AMAZING GIFT
Hi there Dan and James – My subject above is not relating to the wonderful mag you give us each month, nor is it referring to the very generous sharing of your health battle Dan.
My subject refers to Delilah.
The love and understanding and contentment she shows towards her Daddy captured in this photo (Onwards and Upwards, The Beast, September 2018) is by far the greatest gift of all!
CHARING SQUARE – COMING SOON?
The Robin Hood Hotel in Charing Cross (Bronte Road, Waverley) is wanting to create ‘Charing Square’, a place of cafes, restaurants, and 26 apartments. I called Waverley Council as I saw something about it in the Wentworth Courier. Waverley Council told me that it had to be spot zoned to allow for the added residential aspects of the development. What was not mentioned in the Wentworth Courier, or shown, was the towers. Along the streetscape at 223-227 Bronte Road there will be a seven-storey apartment tower.
Charing Cross is not Bondi Junction or Kingsford/Maroubra. Charing Cross does not even need more cafes or restaurants. It has plenty. I do think also with the cur- rent traffic conditions, it would be a nightmare to have an extra lot of people in such a development. And with the tower height of 23 metres, it would certainly stand out. But not for the better.
I may be getting ahead of myself, as the spot zone application is currently with Waverley Council and can take months for approval. But if it does go ahead, and a Development Application is then proposed that could be out of Council’s hands anyway, this would be terrible.
I think it is about greed. I think many are getting sick of these new developments. I think Charing Cross/Bronte Road, Waverley is fine the way it is. It has got character. It doesn’t need this.
My first impression when I arrived to Sydney and confirmed its inter- national airport does not operate at night to keep the city calm and ease people’s rest was, “Wow, finally might I have found a peaceful place where people actually respect each other.”
Then, all of a sudden, there are cars and motorcycles that after modifications on their exhaust system – silencers are removed – easily exceed the noise of a far-off plane, without any remorse for the people nearby.
Since motorcycles and car noises are supposed to last for a short period of time and then disappear, people should just tolerate them? What about one after another, in a continuous noise chaos?
For sure there are people who tolerate the noise (probably the ones who would generate it also), there must be a group that stands the noise with indifference, and for sure there is a group that is bothered and distracted by such noises.
It’s not just a problem in Sydney and/or the Bondi area; it’s a humankind cultural problem. A brilliant thinker (E. Fromm) would describe the people generating such noises as ‘impotent’, lacking inner human power and only feeling powerful when riding such means of transportation.
Referring to the August 2018 edition of The Beast, with neurosurgeon Charlie Teo as main guest, this is a subject that clearly reinforces the city’s aggressiveness that he exposes in the interview (Charlie Teo, Finding the Right Balance, The Beast, August 2018).