ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
April 24, 2008. This page contains all
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
Springs in 2020, through the eyes of native title holders. By ERWIN
Alice will be bigger, 50% Aboriginal, but minus the current avalanche
of anti-social behavior – or anti-cultural, as he prefers to call it.
The members of Lhere Artepe, the traditional owners of the town, those
recognized by the Federal Court in 2000, will have powers to keep in
line, and punish, troublemakers from outside who currently think they
can “run amok” in Alice.
Lhere Artepe will own the 18 currently squalid and strife-torn town
camps, and be landlord to the town campers, ensuring they have proper
And as the landlord the native title owners will be able to say to
Tangentyere Council, if it continues to fail to provide to the camps
proper rubbish, repair and maintenance services, “why should we keep
you as our contractor?”
That’s the vision for 2020 of Darryl Pearce, 47, Lhere Artepe’s CEO
since late last year, son of the well known activist and native title
holder Betty Pearce, and with a wealth of experience behind him as a
senior staffer with the Northern Land Council, CEO of the South-West
Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, Tangentyere’s housing manager in the
80s, when the conditions in the camps “were a hell of a lot different,”
and a national campaigner for the advancement of native title rights.
He sees them – an ongoing entitlement independent of political whim –
as more profound than land rights, a creation of Parliament.
Coming back last year, after nearly two decades away, to again live in
The Alice, Mr Pearce was profoundly shocked and saddened by the
conditions he found.
He spoke with Alice News editor ERWIN CHLANDA who asked him when
leaders should have taken decisive action about wide-spread public
“Nearly 10 years ago,” says Mr Pearce.
“We should have said, let’s work out what’s going on, and where do we
go from here.
“A lot of local residents, black or white, have gone through the frog
in a pot syndrome: it’s changed, it’s getting hotter, but it’s actually
not enough to jump out of the pot and go, whoa! This has to stop!
“So, everybody is to blame, from my perspective, for what’s occurred.
“The norms are changing but no-one’s been saying it’s got to stop,
NEWS: What can Lhere Artepe do about this?
PEARCE: We are the traditional owners of the country. This whole notion
of anti-social behavior is about Aboriginal people not obeying
non-Aboriginal social norms.
What we are concerned about is Aboriginal people coming into Alice
Springs and not obeying Aboriginal social norms, not acting in a manner
consistent with being Aboriginal.
When you go onto someone else’s country and you burn down their sacred
trees, and you defecate on their sites and you run amok on their
country, that is not Aboriginal way.
This whole idea that people believe Alice Springs is some neutral
Territory where you can come and do what you like is the same as what
schoolies believe when they go to the Gold Coast, that you can drink
until you fall to the ground.
NEWS: Is that an excuse?
PEARCE: It’s exactly the same, but that doesn’t excuse it. We don’t
offer an excuse for it. We say this behavior is clearly unacceptable.
It is anti-cultural behavior.
The anti-social behavior everybody talks about really is saying, why
can’t you be like us.
What we are saying is if you enact a cultural or social norm on your
community, why do you not do the same when you come to town?
NEWS: What will Lhere Artepe do?
PEARCE: We will be updating our cultural protocols, engaging with the
communities and the new super shires, invigorating the relationship
with the new town council, encouraging them to talk to their sister
If people from these shires come to town and run amok, and there is a
cost to Alice Springs Town Council, and a cost to Lhere Artepe country,
and Central Arrernte country, then we believe those shires should be
subsidizing the behavior of their people in terms of repairing the
That could range from clean-ups to protection to taking people back.
Government should consider third-strike home detention for public
drunkenness on people’s home communities.
And you report to the policeman on the Saturday, when the footy is on,
not on the Thursday when you’ve got a day to get into town for footy.
NEWS: Why has Lhere Artepe not done anything significant so far?
The Federal Court handed down its native title decision in 2000,
setting up the town’s native title body.
PEARCE: Lhere Artepe itself has grown and everybody has decided to try
and use Lhere Artepe for their own purposes on the way through, to push
their points of view on a number of issues.
Lhere Artepe has a different view of what the vision for Alice Springs
should be, not necessarily your Alice in Ten type processes.
NEWS: Based on current trends, what do you expect Alice to look like in
PEARCE: More than likely 50% of the population will be Aboriginal.
There will still be a lot of people not employed, there will be more
people than jobs. The town needs to change that paradigm.
At the moment Alice sees itself as being self-sufficient. Everybody
comes to town, picks up groceries and goes home.
That’s not what’s going to happen.
Maybe it will be a service town for communities.
A study we did in 1989 showed most non-Aboriginal people lived in Alice
about five years and took out of the economy, back then, about $50,000.
A lot of people come to town to make money to go somewhere else.
Lhere Artepe’s view is we’re going to do business with people who are
here for the long term, who are going to re-invest in the town.
This is home. We’re not going to invest in units in the Gold Coast.
NEWS: How much time do we have?
PEARCE: We’re getting close to tipping point.
NEWS: Where will the town tip to? Many fear the town will tip towards
more disturbances and crime.
PEARCE: We need to look at the level of crime in the communities.
If they are higher in Alice than those other areas then you’re talking
about a condition that arises when people come to Alice.
One view, from the bush communities, is that it’s all white man’s stuff
and in Alice Springs we can do what we like.
They say, it is the only way I can get something, change my
socio-economic condition through theft.
I’m not justifying it, but there are a number of reasons why people are
NEWS: Alice crime was high in 2001, then dipped around 2004, and has
since climbed back to 2001 levels, despite 28 more police.
PEARCE: The first thing that says is that policing doesn’t work.
NEWS: What does?
PEARCE: Putting more money into existing services is not right.
We need to challenge people about their attitude and their behavior.
NEWS: None of that has worked in more than 30 years of my personal
PEARCE: Our challenge to service providers and governments is to say,
why wouldn’t you give [more authority and resources] to the traditional
owners of country, who have a lot more authority and say about these
things, from an Aboriginal perspective?
If it’s a policeman, a whitefeller doing it, they just say, get
If it’s an organization doing it, they actually need that client to
justify their income.
We don’t want to justify an income. We’re saying we don’t want you to
do this on our land.
NEWS: How can you stop it?
PEARCE: By traditional owners taking a primary role, through community
policing, night patrols, through being the underlying owners of the
town camps, for example.
A mythology has been built about the town camps, I hear people say I’m
second, third, fourth generation town camper.
The camps started in the seventies. The notion that the camps were here
ever since the white man turned up is completely and utterly false.
The claim ‘I’m different because I’m a town camper and I engage with my
Aboriginality differently’ is a racist view towards other Aboriginal
people, who are the owners and whose Aboriginality has been recognized
by the courts, the governments and everyone in between.
NEWS: How would you become a player in the running of the town camps?
PEARCE: The committees of the town camps, which currently are on the
governing body of Tangentyere, could work with Lhere Artepe almost as
strata committees, and we’d give clear instructions to Tangentyere,
saying to them, as a service provider, this is what we want you to do.
Tangentyere is about rent collection and repairs and maintenance.
NEWS: The state of the camps suggests they aren’t doing their job.
PEARCE: As the landlord we have the ability to say to Tangentyere, if
you don’t provide us these services, why should we keep you as our
NEWS: But they don’t work for Lhere Artepe, they are working for the
independent housing associations which have title to the camps.
PEARCE: Currently they do. If we get hold of the tenure then the
housing associations will spend more of their time talking about issues
which are affecting their living standards, not about everything from
art shops to children’s programs to all these other things [attached to
NEWS: How would Lhere Artepe get hold of the leases?
PEARCE: Two options, for the housing associations to give them up and
give them to us, or for the NT or Commonwealth governments to
compulsorily acquire and hand them to Lhere Artepe. [Campers] will have
total and utter control over [their] household.
NEWS: They would become tenants of Lhere Artepe property?
PEARCE: Basically, yes. They would have [individual] rental agreements.
NEWS: What would change in the camps?
PEARCE: People think they can come to Alice Springs from remote
communities, run amok, and then escape to the town camps.
It’s a place to hide away when you get humbugged by all these
whitefellers telling you to move on and don’t do this and don’t do
What we would be saying, as the landowners, no, that’s not OK.
NEWS: You seem to go a lot further than what the Native Title Act
entitles you to, namely just certain enjoyment of the land, but not
PEARCE: The decision by Justice Olney [who in 2000 decided that native
title rights existed over Alice Springs] gives us a real interest in
NEWS: But the interest does not confer ownership.
PEARCE: Our connection in Olney’s decision was the use and enjoyment.
How can we enjoy our own land if this behavior is going on?
Our native title rights are being compromised. Our enjoyment of that
land is not there if we find our sacred trees are being burned down.
NEWS: Is there a similar dissatisfaction in Lhere Artepe with the
conduct of white people? Do you consider this is their country as well?
PEARCE: Of course. The way we see it is that we have a responsibility
to look after people who visit our country.
We will always say that we have the underlying ownership and tenure,
always, way beyond government, way beyond anyone else.
We acknowledge that we would like the world to be different. It won’t
be. It can’t be.
So, we’re now faced with both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people
living on our country, and we have a responsibility to make sure that
that environment is as harmonious as possible. This is traditionally
exactly what our responsibility was.
We have an alternate view from those ranging from crime-ridden angst
from non-Aboriginal people through to flagrant disregard for Aboriginal
cultural norms from Aboriginal people when they come to Alice Springs.
There is a beginning, and we’re part of it, but the end of it is really
about a journey that all of us have to take.
NEWS: How does tourism fit into all of that? That’s one endeavor taking
a hammering at the moment. Some people will never come back.
PEARCE: Why would anybody [under the present conditions]?
NEWS: So, if all that can be turned ‘round, tourism can continue on its
PEARCE: It will.
NEWS: Will it do so with the keen participation of Aboriginal people?
PEARCE: A lot of Aboriginal people are participating already, from
Jungala’s cultural bike tours, to Rainbow Valley and other ventures all
over the place.
Aboriginal people don’t want to see tourists disappear either.
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people are asking Lhere Artepe, what are
you going to do about it?
And, as we keep saying, give us the resources and we’ll do something
full time Mayor will centre on communication. By KIERAN FINNANE.
The future relationship with Tangentyere Council will be one of the
first things council will decide upon, said Town Council CEO Rex Mooney
at Monday’s weekly press briefing.
The briefings are an early initiative of Mayor Damien Ryan, who
described his new full-time role as “centering on communication”.
Committees have been formed to deal with council’s partnerships with
Tangentyere and with the native title holder body Lhere Artepe.
Mayor Damien Ryan and Alderman John Rawnsley are on both, with Ald
Sandy Taylor joining them on the Lhere Artepe committee, and Ald
Brendan Heenan on the Tangentyere one.
A meeting with Lhere Artepe will be held in the “very near future”,
said Mr Ryan, but a date for a meeting with Tangentyere has to be
discussed by the full council.
Mr Mooney said council had been disappointed in Tangentyere’s rejection
of the former Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough’s offer of $60m to
upgrade infrastructure (conditional upon surrendering portions of their
leases to the NT Government).
He said council had decided then that they would take no initiative to
meet with Tangentyere until the future of the camps had been decided
Mr Ryan reiterated comments about the major supermarkets in Alice not
giving the town “a fair shake” in particular in relation to litter
issues and the problem of abandoned trolleys.
He said he has issued an invitation to the CEOs of both Coles and
Woolworths to have discussions with the Town Council.
On the trolleys issue council is set to take determined action,
preparing new by-laws that would allow it to impound stray trolleys.
The supermarkets would have to pay a charge to get them back.
Preventative action the supermarkets could take includes putting in
place a returnable deposit system, which works well elsewhere, said
Deputy Mayor Murray Stewart, also at the briefing.
On liquor-related litter Mr Ryan’s proposals include the supermarkets
employing Indigenous people to staff the take-away liquor outlets: they
could “converse with customers” having “trouble with liquor” to get a
responsible drinking message across.
The new Local Government Act, to come into force on July 1, gives
council the authority to write its own by-laws, if they are supported
by 75% of elected members.
Council wants to see animal by-laws with tougher penalties for owners
who don’t properly control their pets, said Mr Mooney.
The by-laws, once the new council has agreed on their content, will be
available for public comment before adoption.
Monday night’s committee meeting saw Ald Rawnsley as chair of the
Technical Services Committee thrown in at the deep end.
He was hoping to first witness the chairing style (very competent) of
Ald Jane Clark at the meeting of the Corporate and Community Services
meeting. As Ald Clark was delayed, Ald Rawnsley had to jump in, calmly
deferring to “Mr CEO” whenever he was uncertain, and to “Mr Director”
Aldermen were well prepared, having read their papers – dealing in this
committee with the minutiae of infrastructure issues around the town –
and had come armed with messages from their constituents.
watchdog on the alert. By KIERAN FINNANE.
The Territory Government has plans to put overhead power lines into
town camps, while in any new subdivision in Alice power would be
Alderman Jane Clark, an executive member of the Local Government
Association of the NT (LGANT), says this is “an equality issue”.
“It is giving a lower level of service to Aboriginal people.”
The Territory Government did not respond to a request for comment.
The government is using federal funds to standardise infrastructure in
the town camps.
“LGANT needs to be a watchdog to ensure that the government does indeed
provide standard services,” says Ald Clark, “especially as in future
the Territory Government wants the Town Council to provide services to
Ms Clark says LGANT will also hold the Territory and Federal
Governments accountable over their new housing plans for remote
She says representatives of bush communities at last week’s LGANT
meetings were adamant that they had not been consulted over the style
of housing, with Urapuntja – population 1000, 85 houses, 80 of which
deserve demolition – dismayed that it was missing out on any new
LGANT also objects to some of the onerous reporting requirements under
the new local government legislation.
Ald Clark says, for example, there are “very prescriptive” requirements
about how councils dispose of money they make from selling assets: the
money has to be used to reduce debt.
She says Katherine Council gave a good example of why this isn’t
necessarily an advantage for ratepayers.
After the Katherine floods, they borrowed $500,000 at 4% interest.
Under the new Act if they disposed of an asset they would have to use
the funds to reduce that debt, but in fact they would be better off
continuing to pay it off at 4% and investing the money at 8%.
Ald Clark says the government wants monthly performance reports on
investments as well as detailed quarterly reports – this is “too much”,
in LGANT’s view.
Other issues raised include the absence of elected members to give
direction to general managers in the first three months of the new
shires, which will come into formal existence on July 1. However
elections will not be held until October.
“There will be no democratic voice during the three months,” says LGANT
president, Kerry Moir, an alderman on the Darwin City Council.
“The Minister [for Local Government, Rob Knight] conceded that this is
a concern freqently raised.”
Ald Moir says Mr Knight will look at giving previously elected members
an advisory role during the three month hiatus.
LGANT also objects to the proposed “conditional rating” of mines and
pastoral properties for the first three years.
Ald Clark says the onus is to be put on councils to prove that pastoral
properties are using council services.
“The services are accessible to all. How can we determine whether they
make use of something like a library service, or street lighting, or
“It’s making of rates a ‘fee for service’; they are not, they’re a tax,
the only tax that local government can raise.
“Alice Springs Town Council, for example, already has a very small rate
“Pastoral leases need to make a contribution.”
Ald Moir says Mr Knight has agreed to “pick up the shortfall” caused by
conditional rating with an extra $5m allocated to the shires for
general service delivery.
There are likely to be varying voting values in the new shires.
Ald Moir says LGANT strongly supports “one vote one value”, but Ald
Clark says if shires make an informed decision to have a ward system
with varying voting values it should be trialled.
Ald Moir says LGANT is still asking for a coherent explanation of why
the Top End Shire was dissolved.
This was the government decision that led to Elliot McAdam, former
Minister for Central Australia and for Local Government, to resign from
Ald Moir says former elected members are still wondering what the
reason was and where their future lies.
“Under the new Act it can’t be in community government councils, they
will have to be mini-shires, but will they have to deliver the full
suite of services?” asks Ald Moir.
The Alice News put a number of questions to Mr Knight via his media
advisor. We had not received a reply at the time of going to press.
off to the what’s its name conference. By ERWIN CHLANDA.
Barbara Shaw is making a name for herself as an activist on town camp
In that role the energetic opponent of the Federal Intervention
features on Google at least two dozen times, quoted in a string of
Last week Ms Shaw headed for New York to take her agenda to UNESCO, the
“United Nations Economic and Social Council”.
At least that’s what she thinks it is.
In fact it’s the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization, but that won’t dampen her enthusiasm for telling the
world about the plight of town camp dwellers.
In fact, that plight is a relative thing.
It can be pretty bad: a year ago and again on March 27 we reported that
the Warlpiri Camp, on the North Stuart Highway, with seven houses for
80 people, is the most crowded with 11.4 residents to a house.
By contrast life at Mt Nancy town camp, the almost exclusive domain of
the Shaw family, appears almost idyllic, on the right bank of the Todd,
with vacant land across the river in a picturesque valley.
The Alice Springs Town Camps Task Force Report reported in June 2006
that Mt Nancy’s 13 houses for a population of 32 residents had a ratio
of 2.4 residents to a house.
One of them is Geoffrey Shaw, Barbara’s dad, president of Tangentyere
Council, the organization charged with looking after town camps, and
its former director.
We asked him in May last year: “Would you pass an income and assets
test for being eligible for public housing under the rules of Territory
We got no reply.
Barbara, when not dealing with usually fawning media, is equally
Are the majority of Mt Nancy resident members of the Shaw family?
How much rent do they pay?
“Close to market rent.”
NEWS: Please give me a figure.
SHAW: Best to get on to William Tilmouth [the current director of
Tangentyere which, in fact, is a contractor serving the 18
independently owned town lease areas whose executives make up the
governing body of Tangentyere].
NEWS: How many Mt Nancy residents are employed?
SHAW: A few, most were on CDEP but because of the transitional change
they had to make [under the Intervention], to quarantine people’s
income, they had to go on work for the dole, as part of the scrapping
of CDEP and income management.
Nobody is on work any more because of the Intervention and what the
Federal Government has done when they scrapped CDEP.
NEWS: How many people in your camp would be able to accept mainstream
work, in the normal workforce? The labour market in Alice Springs is
screaming out for workers.
SHAW: Yeah, but wouldn’t they be working for cheap labour?
NEWS: People work under an award or a negotiated wage. That’s normal.
SHAW: I’ve never worked in the employment and training area. What you
have to do is get on to [Tangentyere’s] Job Shop and talk about that
kind of stuff.
I’m not just talking about Mt Nancy, I talk about every other town
camp, community or outstation.
NEWS: Would you please answer my question, which is how many people at
Mt Nancy, the community which you are most familiar with, are capable
of accepting a normal, mainstream job?
SHAW: I’m not going to talk about just my town camp.
NEWS: How many people at Mt Nancy would be on superannuation and would
be able to afford housing not provided with public funding?
SHAW: If you want to keep talking about my camp and my family then I
suggest you go out and see them.
NEWS: I’m talking to you because you have been mentioning Mt Nancy and
the fact that you are living in a prescribed area in several media
SHAW: I know who is eligible to go out and get a job but are those
people willing to employ Aboriginal people with low education?
NEWS: You tell me, Barbara, that’s an important issue. How many people
have been knocked back?
SHAW: One of the issues coming up in the [UNESCO] permanent forum is
education and I’ll be talking about that.
NEWS: What kind of jobs that are available in Alice Springs in the
normal workforce, manual jobs, for example, which many people are
doing, are people of Mt Nancy not capable of doing because of their
SHAW: There are a lot of people who go out looking for jobs but they
don’t even get on the short listing and they don’t even get employed.
NEWS: Could you give me three recent examples of a young person from Mt
Nancy asking for work and the employer said ‘I won’t take you on’.
SHAW: It’s not just my camp. Stop asking me about my camp otherwise
I’ll hang up. There are a lot of people in prescribed areas that don’t
have the education and qualifications to go out and get a real job.
Jobs they can get so far are cheap labour jobs around Alice Springs.
NEWS: What’s wrong with those jobs?
SHAW: I’m getting ready to board the plane. I think you should talk to
Peter [“Strachy” Strachan] at Job Shop.
Teachers want not just money.
Sir,- We, the members of the Braitling sub-branch of the AEU-NT, would
like to clarify the issues behind the recent industrial action by the
members of the NT Teachers’ Union.
So far the media has only focussed on a pay rise for teaching staff.
We would like to address the issues specific to our workplace. The
other equally important issues are:-
• Support for teachers in the form of maintaining and increasing
resources such as ESL teachers, Wellbeing officers in all schools, and
support for students requiring special needs.
• Reducing class sizes in order to provide a high quality teaching
service to students.
• Consideration must be given to Early Age of Entry classes in the form
of teacher assistance (we have children attending as young as four and
a half years).
• Keep the status quo regarding stand down time (the NT Government
is demanding that stand down time be reduced by a week and recreational
leave to be split).
Teachers are dedicated and committed to their students; work excessive
amounts of hours of unpaid over time; and regularly volunteer to assist
with sporting, community and cultural activities beyond regular working
If the NT Government is serious about attracting and retaining quality
teachers the issues raised must be addressed immediately.
There are other issues relating to remote area teaching that have not
been fully addressed by the government offer.
So far negotiations with the government have been fruitless. The time
is now overdue. Teachers must be treated as valued professionals and
not as disposable commodities to be haggled over. Why is it necessary
that we are subjected to disruptions to our workplace due to government
offers that continue to erode our working conditions?
Marty Azzopardi, Braitling sub branch, AEU-NT.
Sir,- In response to Richard Lim’s letter (Alice News, April 10), it
further supports one of my points – most voters are not across the
exhaustive preferential counting system, and hence their intentions are
seldom realised. I am most encouraged by the number of supportive
comments I have had to my letter.
Quite categorically my comments are in no way a comment on who did or
did not get elected – they were elected under the current “law of the
land”. I am questioning the rationale of that “law”, always a
discussion we must have.
Richard missed the main point of the hypothetical (and exaggerated)
example I put forward, being that even if no voters wanted “C” to lose,
by virtue of having 999 first preferences and 2001 second preferences
(and no third preferences), under the current system “C” could only
lose. It could be argued that, as it was a unanimous desire that “C”
not lose, and as few as only 1001 wanted “A” or “B” to win, then who
Put another way, what better represents the intentions of voters – 1001
first preferences plus as few as 500 second preferences, or 999 first
preferences and 2001 second preferences?
To then say that “if the majority of voters didn’t want “C” to win,
then “C” deserves to drop out” is bizarre. It is merely an opinion, not
a fact. I repeat, no voters wanted “C” to lose, so how then are their
intentions being recognised?
So what if “C” received a single third preference, or ten, or one
hundred? Does that really make a difference? The point remains.
Kieran Finnane’s detailed analysis of the count (Alice News, April 17)
is not correct in the last two paragraphs. The only way to know who
would have been on Council under a “first past the post system” (as
defined by Alex Nelson) would be to record how many times each
candidate appeared in the first eight positions on 9213 ballot papers
(or the first nine if Damien Ryan were in the first eight).
Only a computer would be able to tell us that, and I would love to know
if [the electoral commission’s] is programmed to produce that
information. If it is, why can’t we know?
But Kieran’s article should alert voters to the complexity of the
process, and get people thinking about even just one aspect of it.
For example, what happened to the intentions of those voters who did
not have any of the successful candidates in the top eight (or nine) on
their ballots? Our current system is little more than a numeric
version of “Chinese whispers”.
Sir,- It has come to my attention that the only Aboriginal politician
speaking out about the Intervention on television, radio and in the
newspapers is the Member for Macdonnell and occasionally the Deputy
Chief Minister. Does this imply that the non-speaking NT Aboriginal
politicians are actually opposed to the Intervention but are not
allowed to speak out?
Sir,- We all start at primary school. We grow there in a learning
routine with peer interaction, and we learn to read and write and count
Somehow primary education in many NT community schools has failed.
There may have been a learning routine, and peer interaction is
natural, but a number of teenagers and young adults do not know how to
read or write or count to 100. These are the basic entry points into
the Australian world of the 21st century. Without them, higher
education is meaningless and the chances of accessing mainstream jobs
and personal income are practically zilch.
One theory on how to address this situation likes the idea of
“culturally appropriate” methods of teaching.
With respect to all educators, 1 + 1 = 2 is the same whether written
vertically, right-to-left or in any language.
But teaching examples can be tailored. So before the culture wars flare
again and have us all ducking for politically correct cover, I’ve
thought of an exercise for a maths class. If three men each drank four
green cans out of a 30 pack, and two women each drank three green cans,
how many green cans were left for the police to pour out?
Sir,- I am organising a lawn bowls evening on May 10 for the Bairo Pite
health clinic in Dili, East Timor. This health clinic provides care for
those too poor to afford medication and for those with difficult access
to medical care.
I work for this clinic on and off when time is available and am
attempting to help fund-raise for them within Australia.
For more details I can be contacted on 0400080384 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Stuart Blain
Sir,- I am researching the life of a Swedish national, Hans Erikson
(born Lars Olof Grebst in 1906), who first visited Alice Springs from
Oodnadatta in 1927. He visited Jay Creek, Hermannsburg mission and the
Further travels took him to Kalgoorlie (with an Aboriginal man he
called Jacky) and the Petermann Ranges. He traveled as a prospector and
dingo scalper, often using camels.
He returned to Alice Springs a number of times and publicly supported
Mr Beecher Webb, a solicitor, in his criticisms of the treatment of
Aborigines in 1935.
Mr Erikson sometimes told people he was a Norwegian called Anderson.
If anyone has any information at all about this interesting man, I
would very much appreciate hearing from them. I can be contacted by
email on email@example.com
High time for 2020 vision in The Alice.
The world faces many challenges. Climate change that used to be called
global warming is a real and present danger to the planet.
Water seems to be about as rare a commodity in some parts of the globe
as German comedians. And that’s pretty rare. We have developing
countries running out of food and even if they had enough to eat, they
couldn’t afford any of it due to despots and warlords wrecking the
Three fifths of the planet earns less per week than I do in an hour and
I’m not rolling in coin, let me tell you.
Four fifths will never use a telephone and only one in five will learn
to read and write.
With all that doom and gloom one might feel the need to hit the snooze
button a couple more times and hide under the blankets. But as my
mother never said, if you get lemons make lemonade. Never before in the
history of the world have we had such tools to fix the problems we
History will call this era the time of the technological revolution.
Smarter people than I are working at a frenetic pace developing
technologies unimagined just five years ago.
Diseases that are now an early death sentence will soon become
treatable by taking a couple of pills. Type 1 diabetes and cervical
cancers are so close to a breakthrough scientists can smell it. Heart
disease, leukemia and Alzheimer’s are right behind them.
We have never known more about food production. Crops can now yield
more using less water with less impact on the soil.
Making water will become cheaper and more efficient plus thousands of
other massive leaps forward, all brought about by small teams of smart
Some of those boffins have joined some celebrities and political
hangers on to be part of Kevin Rudd’s 2020 summit. It’s like a national
suggestion box. So I think we can safely say that all our problems are
solved. Well, not quite.
While many people might see this summit as nothing but a talkfest and a
complete waste of time, I’m not as cynical. Which is a change for me.
No, I think that any time people who dedicate their lives to thinking
about a problem get together to talk with other people who dedicate
their lives to thinking about a problem, good things can happen. As
long as those ideas are then supported by the people who dedicate their
lives to thinking about how we can afford it.
In the spirit of that initiative, might I suggest a 2020 summit for
The problems we face here in Central Australia are real, dire and in
desperate need of attention from smart people.
But let’s think about things for a moment. The population of the
Territory is only 202000. Half of that number live in Darwin. So in
perspective, the problems we face aren’t that huge.
If there was a real desire for change, change could happen.
There are over 60 youth programs running in Alice Springs. Staffed by
dedicated professionals with a real desire to help kids and make their
lives count for something. Yet Alice’s youth problem continues to
spiral out of control.
Maybe, just maybe we need some smart people to sit down without
political pressure and sort out this situation.
It’s time for the boffins to stand up and be heard. Time to stop
playing World Of Warcraft and start thinking about how to make the real
Just don’t ask me. I’ll end up complaining that we were promised jet
packs. By the way, why don’t we have jet packs?
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