ALICE SPRINGS NEWS,
December 2, 1998

CHIEF MINISTER SHANE STONE AN UPSTART?

"Arrogant, self promoting, a little man" was how women aged 20 to 35 from Darwin's northern suburbs described the present Chief Minister, Shane Stone, in an opinion survey during 1993.This is revealed in a confidential document received by the Alice News this week.Mr Stone did not respond to an invitation to comment from the News which understands that the information will be part of material to be tabled in the Assembly by the Labor Party this week.In last week's sitting the ALP alleged that the ruling Country Liberal Party has used public funds to conduct private opinion polling.The women in the 1993 poll, selected as "uncommitted" - or swinging voters - are also quoted as saying that as Education Minister, Mr Stone "did a lot of damage", is "new, young, brash, an upstart" and "doing bad things".They were much kinder to other politicians.Steve Hatton, for example, is described as "sports minded, friendly, nice" - and the respondents "would like to meet him".He's friendly, easy to talk to, according to women quoted in the document.Barry Coulter - now rumoured to be gunning for Mr Stone's job - was described in 1993 as a good speaker, doing the Territory "proud" in his Hypotheticals television appearances, and an "OK politician".Labor leader at the time, Brian Ede, also comes off much better than Mr Stone.The focus group women are quoted as saying he's "one of the better Opposition Leaders", he seems "open and friendly", "doesn't throw dirt" - but there always seems to be another Member of Parliament "doing the work" - not him.

ALICE SPRINGS AWASH IN ALCOHOL. WINE CASK SALES UP MORE THAN 50%. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.

The alcohol problem in Alice Springs is getting worse, not better, according to the Public Health Association NT.Spokesman John Boffa says sales of alcoholic drinks measured as pure alcohol have increased by 13 per cent in the Territory's southern region in the past three years.That means the consumption in Alice Springs has risen even more sharply because included in the figure is Tennant Creek, where in the wake of "Thirsty Thursday" sales restrictions, the consumption has dropped by about 20 per cent.Dr Boffa says the figures are from the National Centre for Research Into Prevention of Drug Abuse at Curtin University, processing data from the Territory's Living With Alcohol Program.The most dramatic increase - 52 per cent - has been recorded for cask wine, followed by spirits (28 per cent).Light beer is up by 17 per cent, and bottled wine by nine.The only decrease is in regular beer - six per cent.Dr Boffa says the increase cannot be attributed to a growth in population - it remained stable - nor to more tourists - their numbers actually declined.In a clear swipe at the protracted discussions and forums formerly overseen by DASA, Dr Boffa said: "Some in Alice Springs have been seemingly more concerned about meeting to discuss the problem, than about having an impact on alcohol sales."Avoiding the issue of alcohol availability may make meetings about alcohol issues less ‘controversial' but what does this achieve?"While the Alice Springs Alcohol Issues Forum has met over the past few years and successfully avoided the issue of alcohol restrictions, sales have risen and alcohol related harm has risen, especially among young people."Dr Boffa says the forum is now public and alcohol availability - or sales restrictions - is now "firmly on the agenda".He says: "Given the size of our town's alcohol problem, surely it's not good enough to sit on the fence on the issue of restrictions?"The NT consumption rate remains at more than 50 per cent above the national average when measured in terms of pure alcohol, Dr Boffa says."The Alice Springs rate is believed to be substantially higher than the general NT rate, and we should have figures in the next few weeks."Meanwhile, one of the town's most important liquor outlets has changed hands. The Todd Tavern has been bought by Ray and Dianne Lockiel for an undisclosed amount.Mr Lockiel says that they are coming into the business with "an open mind" and will wait to see how things go before making any big plans.He says he is aware of the two kilometre law in force in the Territory, but is not aware of the local public debate about alcohol sales restrictions.Former owner and alderman, David Koch, says he is pleased to have made the sale. Asked about future plans, Mr Koch only said he would be "staying in town."The Todd Tavern achieved prominence in unexpected quarters last week, when a painting in which it features won the inaugural Outback Art Award, a Broken Hill based, national art prize.The painting , Fight, brought Alice Springs artist Rod Moss a purse of $4000, a month long residency in Broken Hill, plus travel expenses.

OLD PEOPLE MAY SING COPYRIGHT BREACHERS TO DEATH, say letter writers.

Sir,- There have been several cases in Central Australia of people stealing others' designs. In one case an outsider, who had never lived with Aboriginal people, painted traditional designs on ceilings, canvasses and postcards; and all without permission. In another case an outsider who was taught how to paint traditional way began to sell paintings.It is important for people to understand that stealing from other people makes it hard for everyone. People feel upset, because other people are stealing their designs and their dreaming and giving it away. The owners have lost the spirit of their dreaming.The symbols on the paintings hold stories that are used by only one family. These symbols are not allowed to be used by other people who are not in the same dreaming group. The paintings pass on knowledge to the children especially from father's sister's side and father's brother's side. The symbols in the painting are education for our children. Most of the painting designs are important ceremonial signs that are used year after year when a boy becomes a man. To learn to have respect, little children are taught these signs, stories and songs by watching older people sing and dance. The designs are sacred signs of the land that people own.Copying someone's work without permission is dishonest. Even people from different family groups copy other people's designs. Some people sell their painting and make it seem like they are dreaming. They are claiming a dreaming which is not theirs. Artists should ask themselves: "Is it all right to sell this one?" Stop and think because if you steal from another person you can get into trouble. You might get money from it but it won't make you happy.Just go to the camp and ask the right person to give you permission to paint the painting. Don't be smart, go and see the traditional owners. Otherwise, big trouble.The knowledge in the painting is secret. If someone recognises the design, you will be punished.You might get into big trouble. Old people might sing you. Then you will get sick and die.For example, if a woman paints men's dreaming, even by mistake, the whole family will get into trouble. If a white fella steals the designs, he might have to go to court under Copyright law.If you catch someone painting something which does not belong to him or her - go and talk to them. Tell them they've got to stop painting now or you'll go and see the owner of the dreaming design. Then they might go to court or they might go to women's or men's business, because that is how they sort out the problems. This message goes for both yapa (aboriginal people) and kardia (non aboriginal people).
Kay Napaljarri, Netta Napanangka, Alison Nangala-Napurrurla, Pamela Nangala Sampson, Mildred Napaljarri, Mena Nangala, Erica Ikungka, Pat Beattie, Jane Bathgate, Ely White and Michael Jampin Jones.
Central Australia

PERSONAL BEST SERVES COMMUNITY. COMMENT by JUNE TUZEWSKI.

The achievements of Territorians are always to be celebrated: often their successes not only advance an individual's personal and professional development but enrich our whole community. It is 10 years since the introduction by the Northern Territory Government of their Women's Fellowship award. Last week in Darwin saw a special event to celebrate a Decade of the Fellowship Awards and to announce this year's winner. The NT Government grant of $15,000 is awarded annually, to a woman or women, for projects which advance the Plan of Action for Northern Territory Women to the Year 2000. The Plan of Action was endorsed by Government in 1994 after extensive consultation with women across the NT, and sets out actions to advance the status of Territory women. It is reported on by all government departments in the annual "Women in the Budget" paper. This paper is one of many documents produced by Treasury each year. Importantly, it acknowledges that, as recipients of government services, women are entitled to clear and accurate information of what is happening within the various government agencies which may directly affect them. Since 1988, 17 Territory women have received the Fellowship. The variety of projects funded reflect the diversity and background of Territory women's lives. Past recipients who will be better known to Centralians are - in 1989 - Claire Kilgariff, for work with musicians and the Alexander technique of breathing and posture; and to Pat Elliott, teacher and, at the time, President of the Isolated Children's Parents Association, for work which assisted with the development of gifted and talented youngsters in remote areas. Leonie Palmer and Sister Marie Pierre Chapman were joint winners in 1990 and were able to further their valuable work in the area of drug and alcohol treatment. Leonie, who is from Santa Teresa, was able to travel to Darwin to share in the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the awards. Sadly Sister Pierre passed away a few months ago. Her remarkable contribution to this community will, I am sure, be remembered by many Centralians. Well known community identity Di Shanahan was one of two recipients of the award in 1991, and continues to contribute in the development of Aboriginal women in the field of education. Readers with an interest in Aboriginal art would also know of the work of Narputta Nangala Jugadai, Daisy Napaltjarri Jugadai and Daisy's sister (who has passed away), from the Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff) community. These three women gained the 1993 Fellowship. Both Narputta and Daisy have since attained fame as individual artists, with works being acquired by galleries and private collections here and overseas. Some of the wider community benefits of such awards are demonstrated by the two joint winners of 1995 Fellowship. Lorraine Carlon's project led to the establishment of two permanent Police Domestic Violence Units and a team of over 40 Domestic Violence Liaison Officers throughout the NT. Barbara Grant's project saw the establishment of two offices, one in Darwin and one in Alice Springs, to help victims of crime. This year's winner is Darwin resident and music therapist, Anja Tait. Anja's professional background covers both psychology and music. Her project includes promoting and developing self care programmes with women who suffer from the debilitating effects of post natal depression. Additionally, she will develop principles of best practice for health, education and community services to promote the early identification and appropriate support for women with this illness. Her project, which is most challenging, is a first for Australia, as research in the area of music therapy as a non-medical intervention for post natal distress has not been previously documented here. Finally, the NT Women's Advisory Council (WAC) is holding their annual Alicia Johnson Memorial Lecture this week. The eighth of such lectures, usually held in Darwin, will also be held in Alice Springs this Saturday. Professor Cheryl Saunders who is the Director of the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at the Law School of the University of Melbourne is this year's guest speaker. She will be speaking on "Extending Information About the Law to Other Parts of the Community and in Particular to Young People". The choice of speaker and topic is particularly appropriate to the lecture series. Alicia Johnson (1962-1991) grew up in Melbourne and graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Law/Economics. She began work in the NT with the Australian Legal Aid Office and resigned to lecture at the NT's University Law School in 1991. Alicia was especially concerned with, and worked actively for, disadvantaged youth and women who had experienced domestic violence and sexual assault. WAC are to be commended for hosting this lecture here. It is not often that we see speakers of such excellence in the Alice. I hope that the council can see its way to including Alice Springs in this annual event in the future. Should you be interested in attending, please contact 8999 6197.

AIDS FIGHTERS TARGET SEX DISEASES. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.

With just 100 HIV notifications since 1995, the Northern Territory could seem to be doing well in the fight against the world-wide HIV epidemic.However, these figures do not put us at the bottom of the Australian statistical pile.Measured as a rate per 100,000, Tasmania has that good fortune with 17.1, followed by South Australia (45.8), Western Australia (52.0), then the Territory (53.0). The highest rate is in NSW at 176.2, way in front of Victoria, next at 85.4."Our comparative rate shows that it's important not be complacent," says Sue Fielding, of the AIDS Council of Central Australia (ACOCA).The Territory figure includes 12 indigenous notifications, with the first reported in 1991, and five reported last year.Only a small number of HIV positive people live in Central Australia, despite the population here having a number of high risk factors, such as youth, transience and high rates of sexually transmissible diseases (STDs) in both the indigenous and non-indigenous populations.The rate of STDs among indigenous people is very much higher than the national average, but new research in the area challenges preconceptions about this statistic.According to Nganampa Health's Penny Miller, international research has shown that high rates of STDs are but one factor in placing particular sections of populations at risk of HIV infection, and go hand and hand with socio-economic factors such as unemployment and poor housing, poor access to condoms and population mobility.Darwin-based researchers have shown further that poor access to STD diagnostic and treatment services contributes significantly to high rates of STDs.And "break through" research in Tanzania, published in 1995, demonstrated that controlling STDs reduced HIV infection by 40 per cent.Dr Miller says that these new understandings have shown the way for developing a comprehensive program to combat the spread of HIV.An eight-pronged program, implemented by Nganampa Health in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara lands, has succeeded in reducing the incidence of gonorrhoea by 46 per cent, and chlamydia by 20 per cent in the last two years.A key to this success has been the introduction of a screening test using a urine sample, available only since 1995, which, along with other initiatives such as improved confidentiality and reporting the results by encrypted email, has allowed for early diagnosis and treatment.Statistics for reduction in the incidence of syphilis are also impressive: from 20 per cent in the adult population in 1985, to just 1.2 per cent today.Dr Miller would not quantify the incidence of HIV but says that, despite major gains in STD control, Aboriginal people in the AP lands remain vulnerable to HIV.The AP lands cover 103,000 square kilometres in the far north-west of South Australia. Nganampa Health is a remote independent Aboriginal-controlled health service in the lands.The STD and HIV Prevention Program has enjoyed adequate project funding from the Commonwealth health budget for five years and hopes to continue to do so. "There are no short term answers to HIV prevention," says Dr Miller.ACOCA, originally a volunteers' organisation, is also now funded out of the Commonwealth purse. It was started in the mid-eighties by a small group of people who were HIV positive. The fact that, not much more than a decade later, two of those people are dead brings home the urgency of their business.At the time the group was concerned that there were no support services for "positive" people living here. They have turned that around.Now positive people have a well-run, funded organisation that tries to support them in the way they want. "They have priority for our time and energy," says Ms Fielding.The shopfront office at 119 Todd Street offers a welcoming environment, access to national and international information networks, including up-to-date information on HIV tests and drug therapies, an in-house library with subscription publications that would not be available anywhere else in Alice Springs, counselling and support, and practical help, such as liaising with Centrelink and Social Security.However, ACOCA are aware that not all HIV positive people come into their office."In a small community, privacy is a big issue," says Ms Fielding. "People are afraid to be exposed, afraid of discrimination if they are."Education and prevention have now become a major focus for ACOCA, targeting in particular the people in high risk groups. These are intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, and young people.ACOCA runs a needle exchange program, as part of the Commonwealth Government's Harm Minimisation Strategy. Ms Fielding says needle exchange programs have been extremely successful in helping to contain the spread of HIV.An important ingredient of the success is anonymity. People wanting clean needles do not have to have contact with anyone to obtain them, they can simply let themselves in at the rear of ACOCA, take their needles, dispose safely of the old ones and go.Now ACOCA have obtained funding for a youth outreach worker for current and potential users of illicit drugs.This too is part of a Commonwealth program, the National Illicit Drug Strategy.According to Ms Fielding, cannabis, heroin and speed are the most readily available "conventional" illicit drugs in Alice Springs, but substance abuse among young people in the region extends importantly to petrol, paint and glue sniffing, as well as, of course, alcohol.The youth worker will use a peer education approach, as well as offering support and referral to individuals.Ms Fielding says Alice Springs' isolation increases the vulnerability of the high risk groups to HIV infection."We are so far away from the big public health campaigns of Sydney and Melbourne."There is not nearly the exposure to issues here."For young people, this lack of information combines with experimental behaviour with drugs, alcohol and sex, to increase the risks."Until people are much more educated we simply can't afford to sit back," says Ms Fielding.

ARTS MINISTER IN DEEP WATER OVER CENTRE STAGE - AGAIN. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.

The artistic director of the embattled Centre Stage Theatre (CST), Bryn Williams, has accused Arts Minister Daryl Manzie of a "breach of trust" over public statements he made last week.Mr Williams says Mr Manzie claims CST failed to acquit grants and had severe cost over-runs for productions, for which his department had had to meet losses.Mr Williams and secretary to the group's board, Margaret Noye, say Mr Manzie implies that CST is a closed organisation with no parental input or consultation, claiming that "parents are entitled to question the expenditure of their funds" - $16,425 in fees during 1997.Ms Noye and Mr Williams say the Minister's attack on the group is in stark contrast to discussions in the last four weeks with the local officer of the department, Ruth Morley, and with MacDonnell MLA John Elferink."We thought there was a positive dialogue between all the parties," say Ms Noye and Mr Williams."Three meetings with the department's executive officers Liz O'Shea and Sylvia Langford over the past five years left us in the dark about the department's requirements."Just as we were confident communications were on the right track, Mr Manzie is boycotting the good work by Ms Morley and Mr Elferink."Mr Manzie says his department doesn't provide funds to make up debts from previous years."We haven't asked them to."CST had just accepted that it would need to pay off its debts - $7000 - before government funding could be considered, and accepted the department's suggestions on management restructuring."Following the youth arts forum on November 21, we heard loud and clear from our members what they wanted," says Ms Noye and Mr Williams. (Alice News, Nov 25.)"Mr Elferink had a briefing from the department."He told us he requested from the department a clear set of guidelines on how the financial audit needs to be presented."He told Mr Manzie that CST has the potential to do good things for the community of Alice Springs, and is certain to deliver a standard of theatrical training well above what could normally be expected in a country town of 27,000 people."Mr Manzie says Centre Stage received $51,535 in the past five years.However, says CST, its Darwin counterpart, the Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre (CIYT) in Darwin, received $64,000 in 1996-97 - suggesting its funding is more than six times greater than the paid to CST.Ms Noye and Mr Williams say Mr Manzie is critical of their accounting record, yet his own department still hasn't released its 1997-98 annual report.They say on top of recurrent funding, Mr Manzie's department paid $100,000 in 1996-97 to the Darwin City Council for CIYT "relocation assistance".Mr Manzie says "Centre Stage has only every ever received funding on a project-by-project basis" and that his department had explained to CST that "it was not possible" to fund the "administration component" of the group.Ms Noye and Mr Williams say that is what the parents of the 75 young people in CST should be asking questions about."We don't begrudge CIYT for getting recurrent funding for administration, paying two full-time and some part-time employees, but why is similar money denied to us?"They say contrary to Mr Manzie's assertions, departmental project officer Tiffany Gzik had last year invited CST to apply for administrative grants under the Regional Development Fund - national money administered by the NT - but the request was denied after eight months.Ms Noye and Mr Williams say Mr Manzie "again" has his facts wrong: CST did not receive $16,425 in student fees during 1997: this figure also includes about $4500 raised by commissioned performances, such as Rocky Horror at the glaziers' convention.The group incurred expenses with these performances.Ms Noye and Mr Williams say Mr Manzie's assertion that the "Alice Springs Youth Centre was on point of evicting Centre Stage ... for non-payment of rent when Centre Stage took the decision to ‘recession' [sic]" is pure fabrication."At the time of going into recess CST was not only paying its weekly rent on time, but also had an agreement with the Youth Centre to pay an additional $25 a week in back rent owing," says Ms Noye and Mr Williams.They say Ms O'Shea had suggested to CST that an eviction was imminent.However, at a meeting between Mike Crowe, of the Department of Sport and Recreation, which funds the Youth Centre, the executive of the Youth Centre and CST, both Mr Crowe, and Youth Centre president Marie Petery had stated "adamantly" that neither had ever told Ms O'Shea that CST would be thrown out.Ms Noye and Mr Williams also deny that they have "found it difficult to quantify [CST's] debts", as alleged by Mr Manzie."Neither his department nor anyone else has ever asked us to quantify our debts."Had such a request been made, we would have gladly done so," say Ms Noye and Mr Williams."Mr Manzie says his department is always paying off our ‘losses'."Of the five grants we got from the department, three were unsolicited guarantees against losses, rather than the straight project funding requested."They're paying off losses because that's what they decided to fund us for."Ms Noye and Mr Williams say if CST had received NT Government funding remotely similar to the annual payments give to Darwin's CIYT, "we would never have been in the present financial difficulties".CST has nearly 100 members, three quarters of them under 18, staged productions at the rate of one a month for the past five years and nine of its former members have embarked on serious stage careers interstate."Mr Manzie says he will continue to work with Centre Stage to see if it can be included in government supported programs in future, but this is unlikely to occur without significant improvements in Centre Stage's financial management," say Ms Noye and Mr Williams."If Mr Manzie, before his public outburst, had asked his department, or read Mr Elferink's letter, he would have discovered that not only is CST making the significant improvements he's calling for in its financial management, but also is restructuring itself to meet the guidelines which have now - finally - been fully explained."The group says it will soon call a public meeting at which members of the public can ask management questions of CST.

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