In the well mannered tradition of event organisers who have gone before, may I use your columns to thank those who made the celebration of Independence from America Day in Byron Bay last 4 July such a liberation.
Acknowledgement is given and gratitude offered to the performers who brought colour and character to the day. To Paul Joseph for his songs, to Gina LaKosta for her fierce poetry, to Robin Harrison, Vision and friends for their drumming, to the Ganja Faeries for their dance, to the HEMP Embassy's Michael Balderstone for his support, to Cr Sandra Heilpern for her truthful speech and courage as an elected representative.
Gratitude also to the staff of the Byron courthouse for their cheery forbearance. To Inspector Owen King and his police officers and to Mayor Tom Wilson and the ordinance officers of Byron Shire too, who all cooperated by being invisible.
Praise to BAY FM for giving community radio at its best and to the Byron Echo for being ever loyally local and fiercely independent.
And praise to the courage and determination of Rusty Harris, the sniffer dog resistance hero at the centre of it all. Too easy to be undone by heroics, but Rusty keeps grounded by repeating the mantra, which is the inspiration of his public stand: "The Earth must be a garden."
Rustyıs case has been adjourned, for the seventh time, to the 6 August. The street oratory of Independence from America Day was as awesome as it was fierce in its truth. The 6 August can be expected to be another opportunity to rally outside the Byron courthouse, to speak up and speak out for justice.
It may well be that Independence from America Day will establish itself as an annual event in Byron Bay, a carnival of liberation born of protest as was the Nimbin Mardi Grass. From little seeds, big trees grow. May Byron Bay ever be a bastion of the fundamental freedoms of speech and assembly.
One more piece of information for your freedom loving readers.
I am in contact with Emma Koorey of the NSW Ombudsmanıs office. Emma is managing a research project looking at the police exercise of the new drug detection dog powers and is very interested to hear about any uses of the dogs in this area.
People who have been dog searched, busted or not, are invited to give reports. They can do this by contacting Emma direct on 02 9286 1003 or at EKoorey@ombo.nsw.gov.au
If there is a bunch of people who would like to take part in some kind of focus group, Emma has offered to travel from Sydney to meet with them. If you are interested in this, contact me on 0412 609 373 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all,