Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS YOUR GOLD COAST - WHY WE HAVE NETS

WHEN war broke out in Europe in 1914, a fledg­ling Aus­tralian na­tion had a pop­u­la­tion of less than 5 mil­lion.

Of that, an as­ton­ish­ing 416,809 young Aus­tralians en­listed for the fight that bogged down in the mud and blood of the bat­tle­fields on the other side of the globe.

By war’s end, more than 60,000 Aus­tralian sol­diers had been killed or died from dis­ease, and 156,000 had been wounded, gassed or taken pris­oner. Many sur­vivors would never fully re­cover, con­demned to an ex­is­tence with shat­tered bod­ies and minds. How a tiny coun­try could rise again af­ter such dev­as­tat­ing loss al­most de­fies com­pre­hen­sion. The lists of the dead on ceno­taphs in tiny com­mu­ni­ties tell a story of un­end­ing grief and in many in­stances, an abrupt halt to fam­ily lines. The im­pact on fam­i­lies, com­mu­ni­ties and in­deed the lo­cal and na­tional economies was enor­mous.

But the coun­try did sur­vive. Iso­lated half a world away from Europe, Aus­tralia was left to cope and re­build it­self – only to be thrown into world­wide con­flict again 21 years later as war marched to our doorstep.

To­mor­row, peo­ple in cities, towns and small com­mu­ni­ties gather at 11am for Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­monies that have added sig­nif­i­cance, mark­ing a cen­tury since World War I drew to a close.

Many will place great em­pha­sis on how sol­diers, gov­ern­ments and na­tions were able to make peace and re­build. Peo­ple will think about how their own fam­i­lies also had to re­build and ad­just, be­cause that war and ev­ery con­flict Aus­tralia has been drawn into has af­fected all of us in some way. The tragedy, though, is that even as the world marks the cen­te­nary and peo­ple ev­ery­where pause to ac­knowl­edge the sac­ri­fice of the mil­lions who per­ished in the so-called War to End All Wars and all the wars since, ten­sion and con­flict con­tinue.

“Lest we for­get ‘’ – a line from the Ki­pling poem Re­ces­sional that is re­cited at re­mem­brance ser­vices – is packed with mean­ing. The an­tic­i­pated turnout at cer­e­monies to­mor­row in­di­cates our na­tion has not for­got­ten its heroes and the hor­rors and fu­til­ity of war. But with the threat of ter­ror­ism and with killing con­tin­u­ing in hot spots across Asia and Africa, our na­tion has to di­vert bil­lions of dol­lars into main­tain­ing de­fence forces and send­ing troops where needed. Sadly then, it seems that col­lec­tively the world has learned lit­tle. PEO­PLE with no knowl­edge of the hor­rors that led to the in­stal­la­tion of shark nets in 1962 are sleep­walk­ing the state to­wards dis­as­ter. Their pas­sion­ate con­cern for ma­rine life makes them blind to why the nets and drum lines are there – to pro­tect hu­man lives. The risk is a govern­ment one day will be con­vinced to drop the de­fences.

Older Gold Coast­ers re­mem­ber the shock­ing at­tacks that led to the beach nets. To re­ally un­der­stand the threat, peo­ple who see nets and drum lines as evil should re­search the fa­tal­i­ties from the 1930s to the 1960s, par­tic­u­larly the grue­some deaths of two Kirra life­savers in 1937. The Govern­ment is adamant it won’t dis­man­tle Gold Coast shark de­fences. We will hold it to that, be­cause there has not been a fa­tal­ity on our beaches since the nets went in.

YOUR re­port, “Palmy Yes, Bun­dall No”, very prop­erly draws at­ten­tion to the se­lec­tive and in­con­sis­tent ap­proach of the GCCC plan­ning com­mit­tee to the zon­ing pro­vi­sions of the City Plan.

On tele­vi­sion, Mayor Tom Tate de­fended the GCCC plan­ning com­mit­tee ap­proval of the ap­pli­ca­tion for the devel­op­ment at 488-492 The Es­planade, Palm Beach, which fails to con­form to al­most any pro­vi­sion of the City Plan.

Cr Tate dis­missed the feel­ings of lo­cal res­i­dents, stat­ing that ob­ject­ing af­ter the de­ci­sion was made was like com­plain­ing “af­ter the horse had bolted”, although nu­mer­ous ob­jec­tions have been lodged on the coun­cil web­site, and else­where.

Is the Mayor re­ally un­aware of these ob­jec­tions to the ap­pli­ca­tion, which was ap­proved only at its third sub­mis­sion, fol­low­ing min­i­mal amend­ment from the sec­ond sub­mis­sion – a to­ken re­duc­tion from 33 to 32 units?

Can he say why two coun­cil­lor mem­bers of the com­mit­tee de­clared they couldn’t vote due to con­flicts of in­ter­est, but they’d spo­ken in sup­port of the ap­pli­ca­tion?

Can he ex­plain why the ap­proval was granted de­spite be­ing over the plan­ning lim­its for medium-den­sity de­vel­op­ments, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing set-backs and high-den­sity pro­vi­sions and the clearly in­ad­e­quate pro­vi­sion for park­ing in an area where park­ing prob­lems are al­ready acute?

One can only ask who prof­its from the grant­ing of such re­lax­ations from the City Plan, and how

Best let­ter com­pe­ti­tion runs un­til Jan­uary 19 next year. En­tries close each Thurs­day at 5pm. The win­ner is se­lected by 2pm each Fri­day. Book of the month val­ued up to $49. En­trants agree to the Com­pe­ti­tion Terms and Con­di­tions lo­cated at­coast­bul­ en­ter­tain­ment/com­pe­ti­tions, and our pri­vacy pol­icy. En­trants con­sent to their in­for­ma­tion be­ing shared with HarperCollins for the ex­press pur­pose of de­liv­er­ing prizes. do they ben­e­fit, since clearly lo­cal ratepay­ers most as­suredly do not.


IN reply to Yvette Dempsey (Let­ters, Nov 9) who says “why, did the PM have a blind spot for chil­dren on Nauru, their con­di­tions are so ap­palling that wit­nesses have la­belled them child abuse.”

I ask, Yvette: “Have you even been to Nauru? Have you seen the camps they live in?” I sus­pect not, but I have.

I have vis­ited there twice and my son has lived there for eight years.

What is pre­sented here on the left-wing me­dia is noth­ing like con­di­tions on Nauru. No one is locked in a de­ten­tion cen­tre, they are free to roam in the com­mu­nity and in fact many live in the com­mu­nity and have even set up busi­nesses there, mak­ing the most of the very pleas­ant is­land con­di­tions.

Refugee par­ents have been known to starve their chil­dren, even poi­son them try­ing to force our Govern­ment into bring­ing them (& their fam­i­lies) to Aus­tralia for ur­gent treat­ment.

This is de­spite the fact Aus­tralia has more than 60 qual­i­fied med­i­cal staff on hand to treat them there.

I ques­tion their claim to be gen­uine refugees if (as we have read just this week) that many re­fused the of­fer to live in the US.

For my money, liv­ing in un­bear­able, dan­ger­ous con­di­tions where they come from, or liv­ing on a trop­i­cal is­land, with food, money and

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