Letters to the editor

Give more consideration to victims

'Accept the umpires final decision' was a long held tenet, applied and accepted across a wide range of sporting and social activities in the past.

With the advent of third umpire technology in a range of sporting events, this valued belief no longer applies, with the human element all but removed from final decisions.

This mode of decision making has now transgressed into our legal system which is clogged up through legal speak, manipulative lawyers, exorbitant costs and decisions which favour the criminal over the victim.

Evidence of this is provided by Vivian Deboo, who was found guilty of despicable crimes against young and innocent individuals, and is now being allowed the opportunity to appeal his sentence.

Why are elements of our society continuing to show more compassion and consideration toward perpetrators, when the poor victim has received little or none?

The scales of justice are certainly out of balance.

IAN MACGOWAN

Ceduna

Bight disaster looms

A looming disaster in the Great Australian Bight situated in Southern South Australia.

I am a retired commercial fisherman with 65 years of experience in the South Australian coastal waters.

I am also an avid conservationist.

I, like many people in Australia, are voicing concerns regarding the issue of permits to undertake seismic activities and drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight.

Our government in its wisdom and without much thought of the consequences has issued permits to another multinational company to take up exploration and possible drilling for oil in the Bight.

The consequences of this decision will be extreme if this is allowed to proceed.

The problems are many and very complex, in the event of an oil spill this will be catastrophic not only to the West Coast of South Australia but will affect all the southern coastline including Kangaroo Island, Spencer Gulf, St Vincent Gulf, in fact all the outlying islands that inhabit our coastline.

South Australia is dependent for our migratory fish that arrive on the Leeuwin current.

This current sweeps in from WA bringing with it the larvae of two commercial and recreational fish species,  tommy roughs, and Australian salmon.

There is also a migratory species of shark, namely, bronze whaler, and dusky whaler.

There is also an inshore current that returns those species to the spawning grounds in southern WA.

The southern right whales migrate many thousands of kilometres to give birth to their young in the Bight.

Given the state of the seismic activities, for example, the use of sonar equipment will interfere with the whales' ability to communicate with each other using their own specific sonar.

This coupled with seismic blasting would be disruptive to breeding and could cause mass confusion and  possibly break their traditional migration.

Most of the year the prevailing westerly winds of up to 50 knots, wave heights and a ground swell of five to eight metres cause seas of up to 12m. One can imagine the damage that would occur to any drilling rig or platform in these conditions.

In the advent of seabed pipes being damaged untold millions litres of oil would float to the surface.

A spill of this magnitude could not be contained in such horrific conditions.

The prevailing westerly winds coupled with a strong easterly current would be a recipe for disaster.

The first casualties would be on the out lying islands of the West Coast inhabited by seabirds, fairy penguins plus considerable colonies of New Zealand fur seals.

A large oil spill would find its way into bays inlets and creeks and would cause irreparable damage.

Large colonies of cormorants inhabit most of these creeks and bays and rely on pristine conditions for their well-being.

Another major problem is the destruction of the prawn larva, numerous species of sea grass that inhabit all the shallow banks that are exposed during low tides, numerous beds of razor fish, cockles, scallops plus a larger number of immature fish species that rely on sea grass for their food and protection.

Another major upset would be the interference of the migratory birds that arrive here to our pristine beaches and outlying islands to commence their breeding season.

All the companies that are involved in all exploration have their favourite quotes, 'trust our experts', 'safety is our first priority', 'in case of an accidental oil spill compensation is readily available'.

This does not sound credible. How could they possibly compensate for the loss of a sustainable commercial fishery, the thousands of seabirds that lie dead or dying, the destruction of our pristine sea grass, how could they possibly clean up an oil spill out of the mangrove stand?

The majority of the coastline of the Great Australian Bight is inaccessible so once again an impossible situation for any cleanup crew to take action.

I urge all the residents of this wonderful country to work together, petition your local councils, go to your member of parliament, petition the government to stop issuing these permits that threaten our environment and our way of life.

We must ask ourselves what financial and economical benefits would the general public gain by allowing these multinational companies access to our pristine coastline.

My personal opinion is none.

ERROL TYRRELL

Streaky Bay