Who’s time is it?


Ever since I was young I was always struggling or juggling with time. I was either regretting how it was passing or wishing it would end. It’s funny how it changed. When I was younger it was mostly in the regret of it passing, I would want the day to never end. As I grew older it became the rush and wishing mostly that the day or the week would end. Of course this would depend on what I was doing because it seemed how you were with time would change depending on what you were doing. Mostly if you were at work then you would want it to end but then as soon as you were on a day off or on holidays, then you would want it to never end. This struggle with time continued throughout my life and I thought it was normal and never sat back and considered anything different. I knew one thing though, there seemed to be never enough time.

I remember working and the days would go really long and it would appear as though time had slowed down. Yet then you would have a day off and it appeared the clock had sped up. How was the same clock going slower and then faster? I never considered this more deeply, what was happening to the clock? Or was it something I was doing, after all – there is always only 24 hours in the day? Even looking at these questions now I am still caught at times by time, but it can’t be the clock because the second hand always goes the same pace and there is always the same 24 hours in the day. So what has changed, what is different? It is my perception of time and not time itself that changes. If you were like me and still haven’t fully grasped this then consider this, – no matter where you are or what you are doing at 4pm, it will still be 4pm. On the clock, it doesn’t read 4pm when you are sitting at 2pm and likewise when you think we are ahead of time it doesn’t hit 4pm when you are at 5pm. So we can never truly be behind or ahead of time but always in time. So the only thing changeable in this way is our perception, how we see ourselves in time. A good read for more around this is Time, Space and all of us, Book 1 – Time. To give you a preview,

“Time does not move us. We are moved or are constantly moving by the anti-clockwise movement of our planet Earth. It is the planet and not time that produces what we call ‘daytime’ and ‘night-time’. What we call time, in this particular reference to movement, is nothing more than an indicator of where we geographically are in relation to the Sun.”

Serge Benhayon, Time, p. 67

So what has changed for me, or more importantly, what is continually changing for me? My perception of time and . It has nothing to do with time itself but as I said before, more about my relationship to it or my relationship with how I am. As has been presented to me by a great friend Serge Benhayon, my struggle with time is about what it reflects to me, what it is asking of me. So if I get to a point in time and haven’t lived to that point who or how I truly feel to be then there is an angst or a tension. We relate this to time but as I said it’s about our relationship and not the clock itself. So how have I got more time?, I have deepened my relationship with how I am feeling at each point in time. The more and more I do this, the more time and hence space opens up. But from what is now obvious, it’s not necessarily that I have more time in how we perceive it, because the clock actually never changes.

It’s from my relationship with how I am and not how much I do that time has opened up.


A Submission to the Senate – Shark Inquiry.


3 March 2017

Committee Secretary

Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications

PO Box 6100

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3526

Fax: +61 2 6277 5818


Dear Sir or Madam:

RE: Submission to the Senate Inquiry into shark mitigation and deterrent measures

To give you some background, at the 2011 census there was 39274 people in the Ballina Local Government area with this number increasing at peak summer times with tourists. Ballina’s name originated from is not entirely certain. Some believe it was named directly after the Irish town of Ballina, although a more likely source is a Bundjalung word, “bullinah”, meaning “place of many oysters”.

Ballina is situated at the mouth of the Richmond River on the Far North Coast of New South Wales, and boasts some of the most beautiful surfing beaches and picturesque headlands on the east coast of Australia. With the most popular beaches being Shelly Beach which is a patrolled beach, also Lighthouse Beach, Seven Mile Beach and the Shaws Bay Lagoon. The township itself of Ballina sits on the northern bank of the Richmond River and is bordered by North Creek and a canal, in fact making Ballina an island.


We are a very active Chamber of Commerce board and consistently offer in our actions that businesses and the community are one and the same. There is no delineation between the two as anything that happens to one will have an impact on the other, as you would appreciate. We are looking to address parts ‘g’ and ‘h’ of the ‘Terms of Reference’, namely the impact of shark attacks on tourism and related industries; and any other relevant matters. As you can see from what we have given you above the importance of how this or anything water related impacts on our community are very real. What we have seen and discussed as a board has been generally the lack of communication between key stakeholders, the government and related governing bodies.

It’s not to say there has been no consultation or communication but the quality of those two in terms of our area and this issue has been lacking true depth and clarity.

By no means do we see or are we saying that we don’t all care about what has happened and what is going on with this issue. Contrary to this, we see that everyone cares deeply but we also acknowledge there is some areas we can improve.

Included in that are, it appears everyone at times works individually or in disregard of each other. We feel a more collective approach where the community is supported ongoing and not just while an incident is in focus or appears in the media would go a long way into instil more trust for us all. With respect also, this parliamentary enquiry could be seen as a continuation of this in that we only learnt of this enquiry from a phone call to our office by a local media outlet at the 11th hour. This is not to be critical of any one body or stakeholder but more give general consideration that any shark mitigation and deterrent measure needs not only get a result but equally consider what best supports the area it is to be implemented in. The Ballina area was left for quiet sometime without adequate support or measures to deal with what is a very public problem.

To give one example, the changing from a local helicopter company in favour of another non-local company to spot sharks from aerial patrols. Our Chamber made representations at the time about Air T&G and how they were both awarded and commended for their actions during and after some of our shark incidents. Often patrolling our beaches at no cost and heavily discounted cost as part of a community service for a long period of time without being asked. Only for the tender to be awarded to another company who at the time didn’t have the infrastructure or knowledge of the local company. We could be accused of a bias given that Air T&G is a member of our Chamber but this isn’t about a promotion but more about highlighting how some decisions have not been including or even considering fully what the local area is saying and to some they don’t make sense. Given that this decision and many similar actually impact again and further on a community that is already suffering from the adverse impact of a number of major incidents. Decisions like this actually draw out or delay both the healing and recovery of an area like ours.


There could have been also a more proactive role from the Government and Government agencies in the media as an ongoing support for our local community. While we appreciate the visits and support we have had we all realise that incidents like this tend to flavour people’s perception of an area. The Government could be and could have been instrumental in supporting our area further, obviously with respect to the families and the people that have been attacked, with such things as releasing the real statistics of shark attacks in Australian waters, updating the general public on what is going on with also a focus on what else the region offers to bring a balance to what people are seeing, supporting businesses impacted directly with funding, loans, advertising etc.

We also did a survey through our members in late 2015 with mainly the tourism based businesses and surf industry businesses recording and experiencing downturns. But as we have said if there is a part of any area under impact then it will affect everyone. Significantly all respondents took the time to indicate that they would like to see a “more positive coverage of the Ballina Coast & Hinterland as a holiday destination including promotion of the many other diverse offerings the region has available.”

Ongoing we would like to see both financial assistance to businesses and the town as media support in the future promotion of what is still a very great, beautiful and family business operating area. This could be done by way of a special grant to a partnership between the Ballina Shire Council and Ballina Chamber of Commerce and Industry for local and interstate media promotion around ‘where Ballina is now’ through things like https://www.discoverballina.com.au/visit/ and television.

Warmest regards,


Ray Karam – Board Member
Ballina Chamber of Commerce and Industry https://www.ballinachamber.com.au/ info@ballinachamber.com.au/

The G2W Festival – a Role Model for the community.



On the 22nd of January 2017 we saw the presentation of the third instalment of The Girl To Woman Festival in Lennox Head NSW. My wife Sarah Karam and I have been involved in different ways with the festival for the past three years and so it’s been great to track the difference and the success. There is a small team of volunteers behind the festival that have kept in touch all year to bring what is a truly unique and possibly a one of a kind festival to our local area.

What is different about this festival, is as G2W Festival Host and main sponsor, Natalie Benhayon from Esoteric Women’s Health says –

Our Festival is about empowering young girls and women as they transition through to womanhood. They’re exposed to a lot through platforms like Instagram, fashion magazines and music clips, but the more we build confidence in their own expression and natural beauty, the less they need to follow what’s ‘out there’.”

Being a parent of young girls and a supporter of women in the community in general, it made sense for me to play an active role in a festival of this value. What is different for me is the quality in which the day is presented. With respect to other festivals and community events, I have seen there is a push to organise the day and that it’s important to have a ‘draw card’ to bring people in. The G2W Festival has made the draw card the quality of community connections and relationships and not anything else. This doesn’t make the day exclusive or only available for some on the day, but open to the whole community the whole year around.

What I have taken from being a part of this festival, is that it is organised by people who are active within the community we live in; teachers, practitioners, business owners and everyday people, using the feedback they get from their relationships in the community to shape or direct the festival to be one that is specifically for the community we live in. How often do we sit back and see something go on within our community or even within our four walls that we don’t like the look of and yet because of our busy lives or other things going on we don’t address it like we know we should? This G2W Festival brings us back to the point where we all play our part in what the community represents and don’t just leave it for someone else to address or for tomorrow.

One thing that was evident from the start of the organisation through to the festival end was that this wasn’t a festival brought to the community for them. It was a festival that may have been organised by a few, but was very much the voice of us all. We already look forward to being a part of and planning the G2W 2018, watch this space as they say and as I say stay in touch with the community around you.

The Belle Central and Nourish will be hosting a few G2W events throughout this year after hours, so keep your eyes out as they are currently being planned, with events and dates to be released soon.