Rates fighter dies suddenly
HIGH profile Dorrigo rates campaigner Terry Martin has died in St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney after a short illness.
His wife Claire was by his side.
Long-time friend and fellow rates campaigner John Karnau said Mr Martin, who had been warned to be careful of his health, was in good spirits when he attended Saturday’s auction of properties for unpaid rates in Bellingen, but fell ill shortly afterwards.
He said Mr Martin was admitted to Coffs Harbour Hospital in the early taken to Sydney by air ambulance on Monday afternoon.
Mr Karnau said although he had been heavily medicated, Mr Martin was jovial when he left Coffs Harbour and had joked that the drizzling rain at the airport ‘felt good’ on his dry tongue.
He said on arrival in Sydney it was hoped Mr Martin could make a recovery but his condition worsened and he was eventually put on life support.
The machines were switched off on Thursday and Terry Martin died peacefully on Thursday afternoon.
Mr Martin was prepared to go to jail and have his farm sold up in his efforts to oppose local council rating, which he saw as an illegal and unfair system of taxation.
He made a close study of the Constitution and associated legal documents.
After fighting the system for about five years, with no success in getting his case to the High Court, he owed Bellingen Council $23,913.
His Snows Road farm was due to be auctioned for unpaid rates last Saturday, together with other land parcels on which rates remained unpaid for long periods.
An unknown person or institution paid Mr Martin’s overdue rates before the auction.
Fellow campaigner Bruce Cleary and Mr Karnau are continuing the campaign ‘unabated.’
“There is no doubt Terry’s health was affected by the campaign,” Mr Karnau said.
Mr Martin’s funeral is expected to be held next week.