ALICE SPRINGS NEWS,
August 24, 2006. This page
contains all major reports and comment pieces in the
BIG BREAK FOR TWINS.
By ELIZABETH ATTWOOD.
Rehearsals began this week for Double Trouble, the 13 part television
series which is an Aboriginal version of the Hayley Mills film, The
Made by CAAMA, it’s the first time a Territory or an Indigenous
production company has ever made a series for mainstream television.
It’s been sold to the Nine Network and Disney to be released in
Australia, New Zealand and PNG.
Stunning sisters Chrissy and Cassie Glenn, 18, arrived in Alice Springs
last Monday to start work with budding local actors Letitia Bartlett
OLSH, 16, and Tyrone Wallace from Centralian College who is 17.
“I’m very excited about it,” says Cassie who is five minutes older than
“The show will be fabulous: the script is very good, it’s something I
Near-identical sister Chrissy agrees.
“The writers have done a really good job on the comedy and characters.
It’s sad and funny. The story is not too far fetched.”
“It shows Indigenous culture which I’m very interested in,” says
“I think there should be more Indigenous programs for younger people.
It gives youth more confidence in themselves: they see what people like
them can do and it will give them the confidence to do it.”
Chrissy says she still can’t believe how she was found from nowhere to
star in the show which promises to be a hit.
“I was excited but I was pretty calm when I found out.
“Our cousin heard about Double Trouble and gave our names to the
“Then our teacher talked to the people making the film and we met the
producer and the camera man and that was sort of our audition.”
Double Trouble is about twin Aboriginal girls, one who is brought up in
Sydney and the other in a community in Central Australia who meet and
Cassie, who plays Yuma, says: “We’ve never done any acting before.
“Rehearsals are something completely new and bizarre. We had to crawl
on the floor and bark like a dog the other day!”
Tall and slim with long dark shiny hair and deep brown eyes, the girls
are studying hard for year 12.
“Alice Springs is nice,” says Chrissy, who plays Kyanna.
“It’s hot! We haven’t had much time to look around yet. By the time we
finish rehearsals everything is closed. And we have a school tutor
“Would I like to be an actress? I have never thought about it. I always
wanted to be a youth worker but I’m open to anything.”
Watching rehearsals, the girls are applying themselves to the roles
with enthusiasm and humour, working well with locals Tyrone Wallace who
and Letitia Bartlett who is Iona.
“It’s fun doing rehearsals,” says Tyrone who has recently done
commercial work for Imparja.
“When I found out I’d been chosen, man, I was more excited than
Letitia has had a little more experience. “I’m in UsMob [to be shown at
the Alice Festival], playing a teenager in a town camp.”
LAW CHANGE: BOOM IN BUSH?
By ERWIN CHLANDA.
Changes to the land rights legislation could usher in a vast range of
new opportunities for commerce and industry on Aboriginal land, going
well beyond just enabling people to own their homes, says the Member
for Solomon, David Tollner (CLP).
He says if at least 55% of residents of a community are in favor, it
can now be declared a public township under Territory law.
Such towns could be large enough to accommodate 99 year leases for
shops, horticulture, services and tourism, the industry likely to enjoy
the greatest potential of growth, with a world wide interest in
Aboriginal art and culture.
Most significantly, the decisions about the land use can now be made by
the towns’ residents, without involvement of the land councils.
The 99 year leases were available under the old legislation as well,
but all dealings had to be channelled through the land councils, which
in turn had to consult the members of the land trust involved, usually
people, rather than just those directly affected.
Hardly any 99 year leases for commercial purposes have been issued
during the 30 years of land rights so far.
And while the townships may elect to utilize the land councils for some
purposes, they are no longer obliged to.
Mr Tollner says he will be urging the Federal government to spend money
principally in the new townships.
He says: “If communities want to have the 99 year lease provisions
applying to their township, the decision must be taken by 55 per cent
“If they want to apply to become a public township they apply to the
Northern Territory Government to have all the necessary work done,
including surveying, to create a township, identifying parcels of land,
from residential, public, recreational to commercial areas, areas for
tourism and horticulture – any type of commercial activity.
“Becoming a pulic town is determined by the residents, not just
traditional owners, because in most communities the vast majority of
residents are not deemed to be traditional owners.
“Residents can, at their discretion, attract any type of business, from
100 per cent indigenous owned, or franchises or joint ventures,
any sort of economic development.
“You can get a whole new economy happening,” says Mr Tollner.
“They might want some Vietnamese market gardeners to come out and grow
some fresh food.
“Once a place has been declared a township it becomes public land,
there is public access to it, without permits.
“The 99 year leases can be bought and sold, the same as leases in Alice
Springs and Darwin can be bought and sold.
“The amendments will allow communities, groups or tribes to break away
from land councils.
“They can form their own land councils, or they can take powers off
land councils they don’t want them to exercise any longer.”
Mr Tollner says the leases will be issued by the the NT Government
under instructions from the communities’ own councils.
The Alice News has asked Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon (ALP), who
was unavailable last weekend, for an interview about the changes to run
in next week’s edition.
The News asked the Central Land Council how many 99 years leases have
been issued in its region in the past 30 years.
We received no reply. Meanwhile Mr Tollner says he will be calling on
the Federal Government to put public money only into public areas.
He says the land councils have “significant funds in royalties and
other government support” for use on Aboriginal land which is regarded
as private property.
This includes hundreds of millions of dollars owned or controlled by
the secretive Centrecorp in which the Central Land Council has a three
Mr Tollner says the land councils also have access to the Aboriginal
But he says public facilities such as schools and health centres should
be placed in public townships, to which the general public has access,
which – if the community wants it – can now be declared under NT law.
“It seems ridiculous to me we’re building houses all over the
countryside that few people can legally have access to,” says Mr
Mr Tollner says he became involved in a dispute at Port Keats about a
journalist, Paul Toohey, covering an important event, but being
prosecuted for not having a permit.
Mr Tollner says people at Pt Keats told him their land was “private
property” and would he “allow people to trespass on your private
Mr Toller says he replied, “Of course I wouldn’t, but I’m not asking
the government to build me a house, or a school or a health clinic on
my private property.
“I’m sure you have cattle stations around Alice Springs which would
love the government to turn up and grade their roads for them, and
build them houses.
“Why should that apply to one group of people and not another?
“Why should governments put taxpayers money into private land?
“If there is public land let’s provide public resources.
“If the teachers need a permit, and the policeman needs a permit, and
the health workers, and it’s private land that nobody else can access,
why should the government be responsible?”
AUSTRALIAN REFUGEES IN THE ALICE: WHO CARES?
By ERWIN CHLANDA.
Just as the debate is raging whether Alice Springs should get more town
camps, more than 50 people are living in a single house in Hidden
That’s a camp 10 minutes’ walk from the town’s centre, and just over a
low ridge from the posh Golfcourse Estate.
In early March the inhabitants of the house, and humpies, lean-tos and
car bodies around it, became refugees from Willowra, on the edge of the
Tanami Desert, some 200 km north west of Alice Springs.
They are victims of a tribal war.
Soon after they left their 10 houses were torched or trashed.
Nearly all their possessions were destroyed.
No-one has been prosecuted for these crimes.
There would be no point in making a police complaint, says one of the
residents: “We were frustrated, angry, They would have done nothing.”
Some now sleep inside their run-down Hidden Valley home, some outside
in wurlies, on mattresses and blankets without any roof, and in a tent.
The area is heavily littered. There are two burned-out cars and a
Children are playing among the wrecks.
It is 10.30am on Saturday and a noisy group of young men are drinking
white wine decanted into plastic soft drink bottles. Six women and men
sit in a circle on a blanket and play cards. They all want to go
back home, but
there’s no-one to help them.
The person telling me the story, the only one in the group with a job,
speaks in precise English and with eyes full of despair.
The person would be in danger if we published the name, I’m told, but
the person is speaking with the authority of Clark Martin, the senior
traditional owner of the Willowra, brother of the late Stumpy Martin.
The person says one of the evicted families’ enemies is the former
chairman of the Central Land Council (CLC), William Brown Jampijinpa.
He stood down after being convicted in May this year for an unlawful
assault on a female.
Now it seems Mr Brown is again a delegate of the CLC, in contravention
of its constitution disallowing people with criminal convictions to
The person says it appears Mr Brown was in Kalkiringi (Wave Hill) for
the commemoration last week’s of the walk-off 40 years ago, in an
The CLC did not respond to an enquiry from the Alice News.
IS CHILD SEX PROBE THE BEGINNING?
By ERWIN CHLANDA.
Finding ways to better protect children from sexual abuse in the
future, rather than bringing to book past offenders, is the focus for
the Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from
Board members Rex Wild QC and Pat Anderson (both pictured) will report
to Chief Minister Clare Martin by the end of April next year.
Alice Springs News managing editor Erwin Chlanda spoke with Mr Wild
NEWS: According to a whistle blower quoted in the Alice Springs News
last week, Chief Minister Clare Martin had knowledge of sexual offences
against children at the Ayers Rock community Mutitjulu since at least
She knew about prostitution by underaged girls to obtain petrol for
sniffing, and about malnutrition.
We were told Ms Martin raised the matters with Police Minister Paul
Henderson at that time, and later received briefings on two occasions
from her own department.
Ms Martin hasn’t denied these allegations, yet has taken no decisive
action until these matters became a national scandal this year.
What’s the point of putting information on such matters before the
government when it is obviously failing to act on it?
MR WILD: I’m not prepared to hold this enquiry on the basis that it’s a
waste of time. I and Pat Anderson have taken on the job in good faith,
the basis that the government has asked us to give it advice and make
recommendations, and I assume they will be acted on.
NEWS: A release from your office suggests you will not be having
extended private or public hearings.
WILD: That’s our present view but that might change. The information as
it comes in may suggest that we should have more public and private
hearings than we presently think we might need. We are flexible.
NEWS: If you have a situation where people come under suspicion, what’s
the mechanism you have in place for those people to have a right of
WILD: There is always a mechanism for natural justice to apply. In the
event that people are faced with allegations they will be given the
opportunity to respond, an opportunity for counsel. But bear in mind
that we won’t be necessarily making findings against people of criminal
activities. If there are such matters as come to our attention we’ll
refer those to the police.
NEWS: What will be the focus of the inquiry if finding offenders is
WILD: The focus is to establish in general terms whether there is an
incidence of child sexual abuse in communities, such that demands that
something should be done about it. Individual cases that come to our
attention won’t be followed to the stage of investigating each and
every one of those allegations.
We’re not interested as much in what might have happened in the past
except as a guide to help us with what has failed in the past. What we
want to do is provide something that will succeed in the future. We’re
being optimistic and forward looking.
NEWS: Also in 2004 the Alice News raised the question of who’s in
charge of protecting those children. Family and Children’s Services
Minister Marion Scrymgour said it’s mainly a responsibility for police,
because they are stationed
in remote areas, whereas her officers are not. But Mr Henderson took
view that his officers act on complaints.
This seems to be an inadequate response given that children in many
cases are quite overtly at serious risk. Mr Henderson also claimed that
under the separation of powers principle he can’t instruct the police
commissioner, whereas the law says the commissioner is to carry out his
duties in accordance with written instructions from the minister.
There seems to be a huge amount of buck passing on this issue.
WILD: There can be in such cases because there are difficult, very
difficult issues. These are matters we’ll be trying to get to grasp on
and see if we can suggest a solution.
My own experience leads me to believe that from time to time we haven’t
applied enough resources to resolving these terrible situations.
NEWS: Do you have any views right now as to what a solution might be?
WILD: No, I don’t. It would be very presumptuous of me to have views
within a week or two of embarking on this enquiry when other people
clearly haven’t been able to resolve them over many years.
NEWS: You were on the front line yourself as the Public Prosecutor.
WILD: A couple of steps back, Erwin. I know that people have suggested
that I’m too close to the whole thing but in fact what we do with the
things that come across the desk ... I’m not out there in the front
line walking ‘round the outstations and seeing these events happen.
It’s the results of police investigations which came to me.
This is an opportunity for me to actually get a bit closer to the front
line and hopefully, make a difference, working as a team with Pat.
We’re looking for as much assistance as we can from all the
communities, not just the outback, but also the cities and the towns,
who know of any difficulties
or have anything they want to tell us. It’s a very difficult matter
looking into, we’ve got a tremendous amount of support from all over
place already, and people, I think, are of one mind that they want to
our little kids.
Ms Anderson is an Alyawarr woman has wide experience in community
health administration, was the CEO of Danila Dilba, the Aboriginal
community?controlled health service in Darwin, and had many essays,
papers and articles published.
Mr Wild has a Master of Laws degree from Monash University. His was
appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1991 and admitted to practice as a legal
practitioner in the Northern Territory in 1992.
He was appointed as Acting Director of Public Prosecutions in 1995 and
confirmed in early 1996 and which he then held until January this year.
MAN, 23, IN COMA: QUESTIONS ABOUT SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER.
By ELISABETH ATTWOOD.
A man is still under suspicion after being arrested and then released
without charge following an incident at Melanka Party Bar which has
left 23 year old
local man Peter Howell in a coma with serious head injuries.
However, not enough evidence has been collected to make another arrest,
says Detective Senior Sergeant Michael Murphy, head of the regional
investigation section in Alice Springs.
The police now have 31 statements from eyewitnesses and people who were
at the club that night. “None of the bouncers are under investigation,”
says Det Murphy. “A substantial amount of inquiries are needed for this
are waiting to be advised by the hospital of any further medical
The man initially arrested is a white 19 year old local. When the Alice
News inquired about the incident on the Monday following its occurrence
Saturday, August 12, no police media report had been issued.
Det Murphy denied that police were covering up the investigation.
“I don’t want to comment on why the media wasn’t issued with an
“I can confirm officers were busy investigating the issue on
The police media office called for information and “for witnesses to
the incident to come forward” on Friday last week, five days after the
Det Murphy also denied gagging the Howell family from speaking to the
press. “It is the parents’ right to speak to anyone if they make that
As reported in last week’s issue, after allegedly being punched to the
head and knocked unconscious to the ground at Melanka, Mr Howell has
serious head injuries and is in a coma in intensive care at the Alice
All the hospital will say is that he is in a “serious but stable
Police received a report about the incident just before 3.30am two
Sunday mornings ago, on August 13.
They were already on the premises investigating another fight.
Mr Howell was allegedly knocked unconscious after one blow to the head
then hit his head again when he fell to the ground.
The News understands Mr Howell early this week was due to be
transferred to Adelaide but there was no bed available for him.
The News spoke to his mother, Margaret, who was by his bedside in the
Alice hospital, very distressed. Friends fear Mr Howell may not regain
consciousness or if he does, will be severely disabled.
The News understands also suffering from pneumonia.
A sheet metal worker and former Yamaha motocross rider, friends and
family of Mr Howell were devastated when the News spoke to them at the
He was described as a quiet and likeable man, not known for being
involved in violence.
Dallas Spears has been Mr Howell’s boss for two years and has known him
“He’s a very quiet sort of bloke, he wouldn’t hurt a fly.
“He’s good worker. “We’re obviously really upset about this. Anyone who
knows anything should come forward.”
Melanka is being investigated to ensure it is following the Liquor Act,
says Chris McIntyre, the deputy director of the NT government
of Racing, Gaming and Licensing in Alice Springs.
The police or hospital aren’t required by law to inform the department
of serious incidents like this on licensed premises: the department
investigates after they hear of an incident through an official
complaint or in this case, when the Alice News contacted the department
for information last Monday.
“It is of concern to us that an incident of this nature has occurred
and we are working with the new licensee to determine what happened and
to ensure that incidents of this nature do not occur again,” says Mr
“All liquor licensees have an obligation to create a safe environment
for their patrons and there are conditions in their licenses and in the
Liquor Act that governs it that they have adequate security and
responsible service of alcohol measures in place.
“This specific matter is currently the subject of a complaint to this
office which we are investigating.
“Northern Territory Police are also investigating the matter and it
would not be appropriate for me to comment on this specific matter
until the outcomes of its investigations are known.”
Friends of Mr Howell, who do not want to be named, say the problem of
violence in Alice Springs is getting out of control.
They say having only one nightclub in town has increased the number of
fights, and that ordinary people aren’t able to enjoy a drink on a
Friday or Saturday night without fear of being attacked.
Melanka should be closed down because people are not being protected,
says an anonymous Aboriginal woman.
“People can’t go out and have a good time because it’s not safe to
“Every week local Aboriginal women fight each other at the bar.
“The bar people and security mob turn a blind eye to it, no police are
“Why would they have surveillance cameras if they ignore things like
“I’ve got a family member who has been attacked three times,
“She was pulled backwards by the hair and punched and kicked by five
“None of the security mob intervened.
“People are taking their fights in there and you can’t go to the toilet
without people calling you all the names under the sun.”
However, new manager of Melanka, Ian Loan, vows incidents like the one
involving Peter Howell “will never happen again at Melanka”.
Mr Loan had been on the job for four days when the incident happened.
“We have no tolerance to anti social behaviour. It’s unfortunate this
happened to a poor young guy on our first weekend.
“We’ve been working very closely with the licensing body and the police
Mr Loan says the nightclub “has taken some serious steps forward” to
“We’ve issued I don’t know how many trespass notices and the security
company has been put under notice to start performing.
“We’re identifying intoxicated people and not even letting them in now.
“We have already started cleaning this venue up and are going to make
it a safe place.
“Something like that will never happen again, not here anyway.”
[The police are appealing to any member of the public who was at
Melanka Party Bar on the night of Saturday August 12 to ring 131444.]
LET’S BUILD ON GOOD WILL, SAYS NEW DESERT KNOWLEDGE CHIEF.
By KIERAN FINNANE.
From the Bionic Ear Institute in Melbourne to heading up Desert
Knowledge Australia, headquartered in Alice, isn’t such an improbable
path, says new CEO of the organisation, John Huigen.
“I’m interested in trying to create opportunities for people who have
less opportunities, whether it’s because of hearing impairment, or
because they live in desert Australia.
“Desert Australians have quite significant constraints but some
significant opportunities as well.”
Mr Huigen (pictured) comes to DKA fresh from a two year stint as CEO of
the Ngaanyatjarra Council, local government of a vast tract of land
covering 12 communities in Western Australia, with administrative bases
in Alice Springs and Perth.
A key achievement has been his contribution to the development of a
regional partnership agreement for the Ngaanyatjarra lands, soon to be
formalised. It’s all about getting the three tiers of government
An early initiative of the agreement is the establishment of playgroups
throughout the lands, based in schools and seen as a pathway into the
system. Not rocket science but it wouldn’t have happened, says Mr
if people hadn’t been brought together to work out education
It’s also not a pilot project but funded for three years and part of a
“People working in remote communities are just so busy, working long
hard hours, they’re not learning from other people’s experience. But
once the opportunity
is provided to them they do.
“Call me an optimist but I believe most people have good will and want
to do good things. Once they are brought together opportunities arise
Mr Huigen says his number one priority when he starts at DKA next
Monday will be to listen.
“I’ve had a solid introduction to how remote and rural communities work
but I’ve still got a lot to learn.
“I know some of the questions to ask.”
DKA is not just about remote communities and Indigenous issues, he
“The whole of desert Australia stands to gain from a stronger, more
sustainable economic and social base.”
That’s starting to happen with the Pilbara’s mining boom, he says.
Mining companies are “starting a conversation with whoever can provide
labour” – an excellent economic opportunity in a region where such
opportunities have been patchy.
DKA has established a strong network in the mining industry, as well as
in tourism and services and are looking to extend into other areas of
He says it’s important to find approaches and initiatives that can be
repeated, going beyond the one-offs and the anecdotal and away from
“Broad, fact-based, cross-cultural approaches” is what he’s looking to
Having a base at the Desert Knowledge Precinct in the Business and
Innovation Centre, for which the construction tender has just been let,
will be useful.
Bricks and mortar are not the main game but Mr Huigen says the
development of the precinct will help focus desert knowledge activity
and engage more people in it.
COUNCIL EMBRACES PUBLIC ART.
By KIERAN FINNANE.
The town council will adopt a public art policy at its next full
council meeting, that will see 2% of its future capital works
expenditure going towards commissioning works of public art.
The works will be included in each building project with a total budget
of more than $250,000.
There was debate at the most recent committee meeting about details of
A paragraph stipulating that all works be done “in consultation and
with consideration for the secret and sacred wisdom of traditional
owners” was removed from the policy.
Alderman David Koch described the stipulation as a “load of crock”.
Mayor Fran Kilgariff agreed that it was “too stringent” and suggested
that the inclusion of a representative from Lhere Artepe on an advisory
committee would be sufficient guarantee of consultation.
Ald Murray Stewart wanted council to take a lead with “what we
want the art to say” to ensure that it “fits in with our tourism
However, Ald Melanie van Haaren disagreed with “trying to put
descriptors around where the artwork is heading”.
Ald Koch was adamant that council’s 2% should not support events.
He also wanted to exclude exhibition or display systems from support
and digital media or animation.
Ald Jane Clark, a web designer among other activities, spoke forcefully
on the inclusion of digital media and in the end a majority of aldermen
supported its retention.
Ald Clark later posted a statement on her blog, which said in
“[The attempt to remove digital art] accentuates the lack of knowledge
about new media and the place it holds as a form of expression for
“I am not a digital artist although I have trained many designers and
“New media will be very important for emerging artists to explore ways
of expressing themselves. It is accessible and familiar.
“I look forward to future investments by council in new media as a way
of capturing life in Alice in the early 21st century.”
BATTLE FOR WHITE GUMS RESUMES.
By KIERAN FINNANE.
The Brown family are attempting to have their part of their White Gums
estate rezoned for “Specific Use”, paving the way for a 236
hectare subdivision at the western end of Ilparpa Valley, but objectors
say that the use outlined in their application is not specific enough.
The Development Consent Authority last week heard both the applicant’s
and objectors’ verbal submissions.
The DCA has no decision-making powers in a rezoning application; its
role is to make a report with recommendations to the Minister.
If the Minister were to agree to rezoning, the actual development
application would then come before the DCA for decision.
The applicant, Patrick Homes Pty Ltd, owned by Patrick Brown, was
represented by Barry Probin, also a member of the Brown family.
He said the family had cared for the White Gums land for 58 years;
their continued residency in the area would ensure a high
quality, sustainable and
coordinated rural development with a sense of community.
Mr Probin said the plan was to create up to 175 allotments of varying
size over a 10 to 15 year period.
The size of allotments would depend on land capability; sensitive
areas, including slopes, would be protected.
He said a detailed plan would be prepared after agreement in principle
regarding population density and land use was provided by a rezoning to
SU from the current Rural (R).
Mr Probin claimed no immediate neighbours had objected to the rezoning
Objectors were mostly residents of Ilparpa Valley. Their concerns were
• lack of sufficient detail about the ultimate use of the land;
• inappropriateness of the application – it should have been a Rural
Living 1 or 2 application;
• unfairness of a change of zoning to existing residents;
• failure to address impacts on the water aquifer, on which
neighbouring blocks are dependent;
• failure to address flooding, drainage and erosion issues, as well as
weed and feral animal control;
• likelihood of degradation on smaller blocks, as is seen on some small
blocks in the Ilparpa subdivision;
• pressure on wildlife, including from increased traffic and domestic
• nondisclosure of information about who would bear costs for the
augmentation of power-lines, water supply and other infrastructure.
Tim Collins, Arid Lands Environment Centre coordinator, argued the
application had been given a “green wash” but there was insufficient
detail and analysis to establish that it would actually be an
“environmentally sustainable development”.
He also criticised the lands department documents regarding the
application as “near unreadable”.
DCA chairman Peter McQueen said he too had had difficulty with the
Rod Cramer of Temple Bar Station, who addressed at length water aquifer
issues, also made much of the impact of the proposal on his family’s
This was rejected by Jim Brown, original settler at White Gums, who
introduced himself as “the beginning of a lot of this trouble”.
He said it is impossible to make money off a pastoral enterprise within
the municipal area.
White Gums and Temple Bar are hobby farms, he said, a “dead loss”, and
subdivision is the only way to make money from them.
RODEO IN THE OUTBACK.
by ELIZABETH ATTWOOD.
Local bull riders mixed it with the pros at the rodeo on Saturday:
pictured is Alice’s De Lewis who won division two after sticking with
this bull for the required eight seconds, fresh from his Harts Range
effort where he was outright champion. The open bull ride was won by
pro rider Luke Davidson. Local road train driver and buckjumper rider
Lyle Rankin says it’s “phenomenal to ride against the pros. We do it
for the thrill of it.” PHOTOGRAPH by Frenchs Rodeo Photos
www.rodeophotos.com.au, 03 58814914.
PESTILENCE SEASON IS COMING.
Column by ADAM CONNELLY.
There are many strange things about living in Alice Springs. One that
is standing out for me at the moment is that for a place that has two
seasons, those being “hot” and “not hot”, there seems to be a profusion
of backyard professors who specialise in all things meteorological.
But among these giants, do you think I can get a straight answer to the
question, “Is winter over yet?” Some say “yes, get ready for the
Others belong to the “one more cold snap at the end of August” camp.
way, it will be hot soon enough.
I find I’ve been scared by my first Alice summer.
I don’t think I’ve been able to fully appreciate the glorious weather
of late due to the fear that summer will soon be upon us. The heat is
one trial an Alice newbie has to overcome.
But let us not forget the variety of trials still to be dealt with
between now and February.
If there was to ever be a remake of the “Ten Commandments” I think
Central Australia would be the prime location. Not only would Moses and
the Israelites have millions of square miles in which to wander, but
also we have our own plagues.
No need for your CGI animator to conjure digital pestilence, we have
our own. I can’t forget coming home at dawn after work to find my
street abuzz with people in the garden. All manner of Don Burkian
activity at such an early
hour puzzled me.
The reason behind the madness was that in the dim light of dawn, the
flies were bearable. But the very first sniff of a rise in
temperature sends out the call. From everywhere they come, en masse,
with a mission to search and annoy.
I have never sworn so loudly at something so small in a place so public
before. The middle of the Todd Mall, there’s Adam flaying around wildly
cursing. Not a great moment but my excuse is that not only are the
so numerous, they are also so lethargic. They don’t move when you shoo
All the Aussie saluting in the world won’t budge these little
They are impervious to our methods of persuasion. Maybe it’s just too
Regardless of how annoying the flies can be, on the plague scale flies
only rate a three or four. The stinkbug on the other hand is about a
seven. They aren’t as numerous they have a greater impact on social
I have yet to meet a person who can tell me the appropriate method of
ridding one’s self of a stinkbug. Short of wearing eau de baygon, if a
stinkbug lands on you, it seems you have two choices.
You can endure its presence until it flies off or you can chance your
hand at the swift flick off. This is inherently risky. A misjudged
flick is a one
way trip to stinky town.
We’ve all been there. It’s late, she’s laughed at everything you’ve
said. You notice the hair flick and all the other body language signs
that are meant
to mean something.
You’re about to pluck up enough courage, dutch or otherwise, to ask her
out when without warning…whallop. The black/green harbinger of
evil lands on your neck. Blammo! The unmistakable stench of the stink
Her eyes start to scan the room for a way to escape. Social death.
There’s no way of getting back any of the cool you had.
Pushing a nine on the scale is a creature that on first sight looks as
though it comes from the set of Dr Who. I’ve been told that they are
cicadas. I’m sorry the cicadas I know are brown, an inch long and you’d
find about a dozen of them in a park. Not three inches long, black,
orange and yellow and seen in their thousands out the front of my house
at three in the morning.
The reason cicadas (sickahdas or sickaydas, I don’t mind) rate so
highly is primarily due to the ungodly din produced by these monsters
all on the one tree. I have a great ghost gum out the front of my
When the cicadas come to town, regardless of how hot it is, that window
is shut. It’s like sleeping in a jet engine. I’m told they horde
to mate. Well, get a room and turn the noise down!
So there it is, for the uninitiated, a guide to the biblical grade
pestilence of the upcoming months. On the upside, you do get to keep
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
CLARE 10 TIMES WORSE THAN DENIS.
Sir,– My father before me and I always voted ALP without giving it a
second thought, because we are working class people.
But after finding out things first hand for myself and reading your
report about Mutitjulu (lead story, Aug 17) and the horrendous
mistreatment of young kiddies, I find myself re-assessing my loyalties.
Once the ALP was the working man and woman’s party. They looked after
our rights in the work place and we employed them. But now I look at
the weirdos the ALP has not only under its banner, but actually in
control of the partyroom policies and I blanch.
We have voted in a bunch of bludging no-hopers who clutch the war-torn
workers’ flag of my father’s generation and hope we don’t notice who
and what they really are. No wonder the Aboriginals are so bloody
I reckon it’s time we cut loose the bleeding heart, unwashed greenie
idiots and form a real Nothern Territory Workers Party. The catch is,
to join you have to be a worker.
If we did I reckon we’d probably win just about every seat in the
Territory, except the Northern suburbs that Clare throws buckets
of money at.
Well, they can have Clare, she has denied ordinary working class Alice
people like me a fair slice of the cake since day one, just
like she denies justice to the little tackers on the
communities. She is ten times worse than Denis Burke.
CAMP IDEA INSANE.
Sir,– If a town camp was put in the the grounds of the Gapview pub and
motel it would destroy the value of 50 units and also other homes there.
It wouldn’t be safe to live in the 50 units alongside a town camp as
there is trouble in a small way now with cars being milked of petrol,
bikes being stolen and a few weeks back three Aboriginals attacked a
woman in the grounds of The Terraces. The units next to a town camp
would be a piggy bank to the occupants of the camp.
I am 70 and don’t want to be mugged by the occupants of a town camp,
nor do the other women living on their own here.
I question the sanity of anyone even contemplating putting a town camp
in the grounds of a pub.
Sir,– In last week’s Alice News a spokesperson from Lhere Artepe and an
Alice alderman both sounded very skeptical of our new ex-Woomera dongas.
Since then almost everyone has expressed dismay at the thought of
having the dongas placed anywhere at all. Not since the nuclear waste
facility have we heard such a chorus of reluctant brides.
Alice Springs is desperate for temporary accommodation, and we all know
it will not be easy. But if it is to have any chance, we need the
Town Council, Lhere Artepe and Tangentyere Council to come on board.
And there is no time to waste. One of the sites under
consideration is the campground at the Gapview Hotel.
Talk about putting out the fire with gasoline!
With no one rushing to volunteer, the Alice Springs Town Council might
be the body to pick up this weight. At the least, they will have
to sign off on whichever site gets the nod, and then there is the day
to day administration.
From reports in your paper, they do now have some underused admin space
POWER BILL TO SKYROCKET.
Sir,– Power bills in the NT would soar through the roof under an absurd
new Labor Party plan to tax power usage.
Laborhas released plans for a national emissions trading scheme that
would force the average Territorian to pay up to $230 more each year.
The emissions trading scheme effectively taxes traditional coal and gas
power, passing the cost immediately on to end users.
Even the best case scenario under this plan will see Territorian
households pay $138 more for electricity each year.
Territorians already pay more for power than anyone else in the country
and to hit households up for more money is just preposterous.
The coalition has never supported a crazy carbon tax scheme and I
strongly urge the Chief Minister to stand up to Kim Beazley and reject
this ludicrous tax idea.
MHR for Solomon
Back to frontpage the Alice Springs News.