ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
June 10, 2010. This page contains all
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
The newAnzac school. By KIERAN FINNANE.
The middle school at Anzac Hill campus will be no more from 2011, but
the Department of Education will continue to have a presence on the
site, with the creation of an alternative education program for
This will be part of the Youth Hub, one of the key elements of the
Territory Government's Youth Action Plan.
The last 28 students at Anzac are already getting a taste of the Gillen
campus, due to the science lab at Anzac being out of order. They'll be
having their lessons at Gillen until the end of Term Two.
Disgruntled parent Alan Smith, formerly chair of the Anzac Hill High
School Council, sees this as but the latest in the "death by 1000 cuts"
delivered to a school he and a group of parents had sought to preserve
However, executive director of the department in Central Australia, Eva
Lawler, says the department has acted in good faith in its decisions
over the future of the Anzac Hill campus, but situations change.
"Hard decisions need to be made at times and we are never going to
On the one hand, the department wants to do something constructive for
young people not going to school; and on the other, they intend pushing
ahead with what is already seen as a more vibrant public system middle
school on the one campus.
"Having two campuses was considered a solution for the Centralian
Middle School, but we've decided that it is not the most effective use
of resources," says Ms Lawler.
"As well, kids were spending too much time bussing between campuses and
most were happier to stay on the one campus, with the other kids."
They may also be pleased to use some of the new facilities at the
school, on the Gillen campus – an internet cafe, a well-equipped gym, a
refurbished library and a soon-to-be-opened language centre.
The NT Music School is to get its purpose-built facilities back,
occupied temporarily by the Clontarf Football Academy, which in turn
will go into demountables next to the oval where they do their footy
The school hall is to be enclosed and refurbished to create a space for
dance and performing arts.
Ms Lawler says parents and students have voted with their feet in
response to the changes.
In second semester last year the Alice News reported the combined
middle school population, Anzac and ASHS, as 322 – 165 at Anzac, 157 at
This year, says Ms Lawler, there are 150 students in Year Seven alone
(370 in total, a boost of around 50).
If this level of enrollment continues in future years the state system
will have begun to claw back "market share".
As for the department's program for the "disengaged", which will be
housed at the Youth Hub together with other youth services, Ms Lawler
says the whole town stands to benefit.
These are the young people of school age who have not been going to
school at all or who have abysmally low attendance. They are often the
same young people picked up by police and other services on the streets
at night and sometimes involved in one of the community's major
irritants – "antisocial behaviour".
"If we can provide a good education for those kids, something that
prepares them for a job and integrates them into the community, it will
solve a lot of problems," says Ms Lawler.
She stresses that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people are
She speaks of "about 30 or so on the streets on any given night" but as
a report to the Territory Government on the coordination of youth
services (by consultants David Murray and Tony Kelly) points out, true
numbers are not known.
One reason for this is that police are not required to collect data on
those they pick up and return home while on patrol. The interactions
are recorded as "field events" without detail as to identity or
circumstances. The report suggests that this policy could be altered to
allow relevant data to be collected.
Whatever the numbers the alternative education program will cater for
It is likely to go to an external provider of specialist services, says
The Alice News asked whether experienced Territory teachers would not
be the best qualified to provide the service.
Ms Lawler said the external provider could well involve "our people".
There will also be money for "wrap-around services", such as a
nutrition program and health care.
In the longer term a boarding facility for young people unable to live
at home is also envisaged for the Youth Hub.
Some people have expressed concern about having facilities for this
kind of "client group" so close to the CBD.
Ms Lawler points out that the CBD is where these kids congregate now
and asks why you would put it in an out of the way place.
"This is all about doing something positive. If we don't do anything,
the problems certainly won't go away.
"There has been a perception of the Education Department that we didn't
want to be involved with the Youth Hb but that's not the case.
"Achieving something for these kids needs the support of all
organisations in the sector."
Also to be located at the Youth Hub will be the NT Police's Youth
Diversion Unit and Crime Prevention Unit (school-based constables,
neighbourhood watch, safety house, safety audit); the Department of
Health and Families' Family Support Centre; and Youth Corrections
workers (apparently soon to be part of DHF).
The Youth Services Coordinator will obviously also be based at the hub.
This position is currently filled by Superintendent Michael White of
the NT Police but from next year it will be filled from within DHF.
The report suggests that much can be gained from the coordination of
services, with this position a "significant asset" for the task.
It notes that a great deal of work has been done in the youth sector
even though there is "a persistent perception of a lack of progress". A
lot of this is down to a lack of coordination including a lack of
cohesion in government policy and practice and a lack of comprehensive
follow-up of young people who come into contact with services.
Much of the attention of the report is on crisis response but
improvement of structured recreational options after hours and in
holidays is one of its six recommendations.
It seems that the establishment of a Police Citizens Youth Club at the
hub has been discarded as an option by the government.
But the proximity of the Alice Springs Youth Centre – dilapidated and
underutilised – offers opportunities and the report recommends an
injection of funds to renovate it and expand its services (something
many in the community, including this paper, have been crying out for
It also notes the contribution that improved public transport could
make – giving access to recreational activities to youth from outlying
areas such as Larapinta.
When both sides
are right, or wrong. By ERWIN
This is a typical story about Alice Springs.
It’s just about an every-day service, but it carries within it seeds of
conflict, ignorance, racial tension, government failure – yet another
of those “issues” capable of adding to the feeling that this community
hasn’t got a future.
A new school bus service, started in February, brings kids into town
from as far as Jay Creek, just under 50 kms, from the big blocks of
land held under Aboriginal land rights either side of Larapinta Drive,
known as the Golden Mile or Iwupataka Land Trust.
This service is contracted to Dysons, a national bus company with a
major presence in Alice Springs, and paid for by the NT Government.
Parallel to this, pretty well at the same time, runs a second bus
service for school kids, paid for by the Yipirinya School, which gets
its money mostly from the Federal Government.
Prior to the Dysons service Yipirinya has been running a bus on this
route for some 20 years.
There is plenty of room on the “Darwin” funded bus, or a larger bus is
available, to accommodate the kids now travelling on the “Canberra”
Why do we have this abysmal waste of taxpayers’ money on duplication of
a service, you will be tempted to thunder. Yet this is one of those
thing where both sides can be right whilst being poles apart.
There are 35 to 45 kids on the “normal” school bus. The numbers vary
because sometimes parents give them a lift into town.
Some of their houses are a fair way from the road, which is linking the
town to the magnificent West MacDonnell Ranges, whose picturesque
eastern foothills hills flank the valley.
But the kids walk to the bus stop, ride their treadlies, or get a
Their school attendance is very good, says local Dysons manager Wayne
They are taken to the interchange opposite Alice High, like most other
Alice kids using a school bus, and from there fan out to the other
schools around town on a fleet of school buses.
These Golden Mile kids are mostly from urbanised families, familiar
with the rigours of school routine.
And then there are the kids who are not, about half a dozen of them.
If Yipirinya didn’t pick them up from their door they wouldn’t come.
And if they didn’t go to school they would likely go hungry, missing
out on the breakfast, recess snack and a cooked lunch provided by the
school – the only food some of them are likely to get all day, says
Yipirinya principal Ken Langford-Smith for eight years.
These are the kids whom nobody sends to school, who at night flee from
house to house to escape the drunks.
“Some children are moving almost every day,” says Mr Langford-Smith.
“If there is drinking in one house, they move somewhere safer.”
He says the school doesn’t get money for transport and food. But he has
no option but to divert dollars from the teaching budget, or the school
would be half empty – and his kids would be at risk more dramatically
than they are already.
Apart from the Golden Mile bus, two more run in the town area, also to
camps serviced by the “normal” school buses, and within an easy walk
from the main routes and stops (Alice News, Feb 19, 2009,
The same applies: no-one cares for these children enough to get them
fed and onto the bus.
So how does all this mesh with statements from people like Julia
Gillard, Federal Education Minister, who said in Alice Springs on May
28: “Attending school is the first vital step for getting an education.
“Our expectation is that kids are at school each and every day.”
And in answer to a question from the Alice News how she would achieve
this she said: “Welfare payments are contingent on school
“That’s a last resort option but we have trials working in various
parts of the country, so we can push the importance of making sure that
kids attend school.”
Ms Gillard would get no more enthusiastic agreement with that get-tough
policy than from the all-Aboriginal Yipirinya School Council.
According to Mr Langford-Smith, the council says sanctions are
“They say parents should be responsible. They support that totally.
“It’s the council’s philosophy. And a threat may be all that’s needed.”
So, with all that talk, why isn’t it happening?
“The lead must come from the Government but it hasn’t had the courage
to tackle the issue,” says Mr Langford-Smith.
He has a sneaking suspicion that the NT Government has a vested
interest: low attendance means less money needs to be spent.
Mr Langford-Smith says the dual transport system isn’t set in concrete.
But before the camp kids can go on the mainstream bus – clearly a major
move in early life to become part of the mainstream society – issues
such as teasing and bullying must be dealt with.
“We are very vigilant about conduct on our buses,” says Dysons’ Mr
“We have a zero tolerance policy.
“If it happens – and it’s rare – we deal with it through the NT
Government school bus code of conduct, and there are several measures
that can involve the principals and school based police constable.
“We have had no written complaints from the Golden Mile run all year.
“We had one request from a parent to separate two kids following an
incident that did not happen on the bus.
“We put one in the back of the bus, and one in the front.
The most important initiative is to get the parents to do what the law
obliges them to do.
Then Yipirinya School may just need one bus, the one running up the
North Stuart Highway to the 16 Mile, 14 Mile, Burt Creek, Sandy Bore
and Black Tank, where there is still no mainstream school bus.
Special school buses
Alice’s public schools also run bus services to maximise attendance by
Indigenous students who may be too young to travel alone, too young to
cross roads to the mainstream bus stop, or are too far from it, or who
would not attend unless picked up.
Some runs double up as family liaison services; some use the time to
listen to children read.
Gillen Primary School’s bus visits Hoppy’s, Little Sisters, Trucking
Yards town camps as well as other addresses in the Gillen, Gap and
Bloomfield Street areas
Sadadeen Primary School does a bus run around New Eastside area and to
Hidden Valley, Ilpye Ilpye and White Gate camps.
Bradshaw Primary School picks up students from Charles Creek, Trucking
Yards, Hidden Valley, Amoonguna, and Ilparpa.
landscape. COMMENT by KIERAN FINNANE.
Two of these “gateway signs” are now a blot on the magnificent
landscape they are intended to promote, part of the awful trend towards
This one is at Flynn’s Grave, blocking from view or dwarfing the simple
monument as you approach from town. The other is apparently on the
Lasseter Highway at Yulara.
There are also three “intersection signs”: one at Luritja Road and
Lasseter Highway and two at the intersections of Namatjira and
Larapinta Drives, where they split and then rejoin at Tnorala.
The signs are apparently there “to help tourists find their way along
the route easily”, according to Tourism NT, who received $500,000 from
the Feds to help pay for them.
How hard do they really think it is to find your way along these major
arteries, involving usually only two or three turns to get to your
The Red Centre Way concept should exist on a map and in information
resources. The landscape speaks for itself and surely does not need
enhancement or branding, let alone these over-sized and ugly faux
Third man charged. By KIERAN FINNANE.
A third man was arrested in Alice Springs on Friday afternoon over
the shooting of a man near Junction Waterhole on May 29.
On the same afternoon bail applications for the two other men charged
over the same incident did not proceed. They have been charged with
attempted murder, intending to cause serious harm and recklessly
endangering life, while one of them also faces a numbers of firearms
On Friday police prosecutor Sergeant Mark Lyons told the court the
firearm alleged to have been used in the shooting had been located and
the human blood on the vehicle belonging to defendant Benjamin Gaff had
been identified as the victim's blood.
The third man, 38 year old Jason Corp, has been charged with attempted
murder, recklessly endangering life, possession of ammunition
without a permit or licence, possession / use of a firearm whilst
unlicensed, intention to cause serious harm, and causing serious harm.
On Thursday, during a bail application for Mr Gaff before magistrate
John Neill, the court had heard only of two men's involvement in the
Mr Gaff is 19 years old; his co-defendant Reuben Nadich is 22.
The victim is a 44 year old white man, a motor mechanic and father
of a 16 year old son and 11 year old daughter. His name has not
Sgt Lyons told the court that Mr Gaff and Mr Nadich had been at Tony's
Auto Wreckers in Ghan Road, leaving there after 6pm on May 29 in Mr
Gaff's silver Toyota Landcruiser.
He said they collected a 12 gauge shotgun from an unknown location and
loaded it with Winchester Super X 12 gauge rounds.
Around 6.40pm they arrived at Junction Waterhole, a bush location well
off the Stuart Highway, about 10 kms north of town.
They parked some 10 metres from where the victim's vehicle was parked.
The victim walked over and stood at the driver's side window.
Mr Gaff is alleged to have said to the victim: "You're right mate, we
thought you were blackfellas and we were going to shoot you."
When the Mr Gaff allegedly went on to ask, "You guys having a root?",
the conversation became heated.
Mr Nadich is alleged to have produced the shotgun from inside the
vehicle, aimed it at the victim less than two metres away and pulled
Sgt Lyons said the projectiles (pellets) struck the victim in the chest
and upper left arm (an earlier police media release had mentioned only
injury to the arm).
He said the victim fell to the ground having sustained "extensive
injuries" and has since undergone open chest surgery to remove 12 gauge
shotgun pellets from behind his heart (more pellets are yet to be
He said Mr Gaff accelerated away from the scene, striking the witness,
a woman, with the bullbar as he did so.
He stopped about 270 metres away, removing the driver's side window
which had been damaged.
The spent 12 gauge cartridge was ejected at the same time. (A
correlation between this cartridge and the pellets removed from the
victim has been found.)
The two men returned to Tony's Auto Wreckers where Mr Gaff took
off his clothes, placing them in the laundry pile. They were later
They continued drinking, with Mr Nadich leaving at around 11pm.
He said Mr Gaff was taken to his home at around 2.30am on Sunday
morning, while his car was driven to his home by another person at
about 12.30pm the same day.
Mr Gaff moved his vehicle to the rear of his residence, a granny flat
at the back of his father's home.
Mr Gaff is a qualified auto-mechanic who works for a mining company,
two weeks on, one week off, earning $1300 for a 49-hour week and more
if he works on the mine site for up to 84 hours a week.
His father, grandmother, uncles and his partner were all in court to
His residence was searched by police on Monday evening.
In his bedroom they seized a quantity of ammunition and three firearms
– a single barrel 12 gauge shotgun, a 444 Marlin lever action rifle and
a .22 calibre rifle.
Mr Gaff was subsequently arrested.
In his electronic record of interview, he said he didn't think he knew
When he was asked if he had access to a 12 gauge shotgun he said: "No.
Actually I do, my old man."
The court heard that Mr Gaff had claimed ownership of the lever action
rifle and the .22, which were unsecured.
He has never held a licence to possess, use or carry a firearm in any
state of territory.
Furthermore, the court heard that there is a "full non-contact
restraining order" against Mr Gaff in Victoria, with conditions that
prohibit him from possessing, using or carrying a firearm.
Addressing the court on the strength of his case, Sgt Lyons said two
comprehensive victim statements had been or were in the process of
being taken and some 26 witness statements had been taken.
He said that some witnesses had "significant concerns" should Mr Gaff
be released on bail, but Mr Gaff's lawyer, Rennie Anderson, described
the comments as "speculative".
Mr Neill also said that he could not take this into account without
appropriate evidence put before him.
In opposing bail, Sgt Lyons also referred to the "racial overtones" of
the shooting, citing Mr Gaff's alleged comment about thinking that the
victim and witness "were blackfellas".
Mr Neill commented that the shooting "lacked racism with respect to
Sgt Lyons began to press his point but Mr Neill said that it would be
"stretching too far" in the aplication before him.
On Thursday he declined the application for bail and when it did
not proceed the next day, Mr Gaff and Mr Nadich were remanded in
custody until July 15, with the matter referred to the Director of
Finke: Chasing the big one. By
By CHRISANNE WALSH
In its 36th year the Finke Desert Race will once again play host to 500
motorcyclists and off-road drivers including a number of competitors
from the Australian Off-road Championships.
The Centralian desert provides an unforgiving backdrop to the
competitors and their equipment and as we all know, the favourites
aren’t always the winners.
Last year’s race leader Brad Prout can vouch for this after his Jimco
buggy caught fire and was destroyed.
He will be a fierce contender in this year’s event along with other
well-known names such as Dave Fellows, Brad Gallard, Travis Robinson,
Shannon and Ian Rentsch and local Andrew Pinto.
Chris Coulthard, a well-known local who retired after last year’s race
but was somehow coaxed into having another crack at it, agrees that the
favourites don’t necessarily win.
In his words “it’s anybody’s race” and luck usually plays a big role in
the outcome. Without being disrespectful, Dave Fellows was considered
to be both unlucky and lucky last year: unlucky (with his own problems)
to start with and then lucky due to Coulthard breaking down, Robinson
breaking down, and the Rentsches having troubles on the first day.
Competitors not only need well-tuned machinery but a fair bit of luck
on their side.
Chris races a Chevrolet 6000cc Jimco 200 Buggy with Robert Hawker as
He believes his closest rival will be Dave Fellows in his twin turbo
Jimco buggy. Shannon and Ian Rentsch will throw a bit of uncertainty
into the ring in their new buggy, which if set up properly will be
As far as locals go, Chris believes Danny Auricht will probably be the
hardest to beat in his new Chev. Danny’s navigator is Grant Connelly
and they’ve both raced Finke many times previously on motorcycles.
Chris says their combined track knowledge will be second to none.
The track conditions play an important role as well, changing almost
every day due to the elements and rough sections created by some of the
Chris and his team have had to complete a lot of last-minute work on
their car after it arrived from Perth last week. Robert lives in Perth
and does as much work as he can over there but due to waiting on parts
after Round One of the offroad championships in Hyden, it arrived in
Alice Springs without an engine.
The engine followed last Thursday, so it’s been a hectic time fitting,
plumbing and wiring, all the while hoping it will be okay in the end
with only a week to go.
The vehicle will be tested on Saturday afternoon and given a pre-run on
Sunday. If all goes to plan, the car will then go back to the workshop
to be cleaned up and made ready for the big day.
Is this a yearly thing? Chris says you try not to let it happen, but
there’s always last minute things to do.
In past years, Chris and Robert have raced the Australian Offroad
Championship circuit and although they raced in Round One at Hyden over
Easter, they won’t be doing any more this year after Finke. Before
Hyden, Chris hadn’t driven the vehicle since Finke last year – almost
10 months – but still performed well. After taking a bit of time to
settle into the vehicle and hone his driving skills to a certain
degree, he says it’s something you don’t forget and once you get going,
it all comes together.
Chris first became involved in the Finke as a navigator for his younger
brother Anthony in 2001.
He recalls becoming stuck a few times due to the small car and really
wet conditions. But it was good fun and enough to get the blood running
and the adrenalin pumping!
Once he got the bug, he and a friend Matt Wharton, bought an old car
and started racing. They competed in two Finkes but didn’t finish
either due to the car being too old and Chris being “a bit of a
nutter”. They built a new car in 2004 and although times and vehicles
have changed, he’s still competing.
Chris says the reason he keeps going back for more is the excitement:
after racing go karts, speedcars and sprintcars, nothing compares with
offroad racing and it’s the most exciting thing anyone can do in a
Tongue in cheek, he says it’s even better than riding his Harley!
Offroad racing presents the challenge of how fast and how far you can
go on a dirt road. Every part of the track feels different, whereas
with most other forms of motorsports, you’re racing the same circuit
Offroad, there’s something different around each and every corner.
This year’s Finke has a new section of track which will add to the
excitement and challenge.
The new section replaces the very high speed section which should make
the track a little safer and bring the field a little closer together.
Could the bikes ever reclaim the “King of the Desert” title by beating
Chris believes those days are well and truly gone as it’s now
physically impossible for a bike and rider to reach the same high
speeds as the cars on such a cruel and gruelling track.
Because of the intense concentration and trying to focus his eyes at
such high speeds, Chris tells me that it takes almost an hour to see
properly after stepping out of the vehicle.
Having become so accustomed to everything flashing by, his vision is
blurry, like looking through a fog. He laughingly suggests that this
may be caused by his brain being rattled around so much but has spoken
to other competitors who experience the same reaction.
One of the scariest moments on the race track for Chris and Robert was
the year before last when they arrived at the new section at Deep Well
where the track crossed the main road.
Thinking the checkpoint on the side of the track was a campsite, they
flew past and crossed the road at about 200 kilometres an hour.
Although the car handled it well, it was a couple of seconds before
they realised what they were doing and their speed enabled them to skip
across the surface.
They didn’t have to stop at the checkpoint, but with the track dropping
down to the road and then up again, had they been going a little
slower, they may have ended up in serious trouble.
Chris says he has had no major accidents and is pretty conservative:
he’s one of the oldest drivers in that end of the field, so perhaps
he’s a little wiser as well. He quickly adds: “I should touch wood now
because we don’t know what’s going to happen this year!”
I asked Chris if he could recall any light-hearted moments but he says
there are none.
“It’s all too stressful”, he says, “very, very stressful”.
A lot of money and time is invested into this now highly competitive
race and unfortunately that takes a lot of the fun out of it.
Chris and his navigator raced the national rounds for a period of five
years and were constantly building and changing new cars. They worked
after hours and on the weekends which in the end turned into burn-out
and led to retirement last year.
However, the excitement is in the blood: Chris explains how just
sitting and talking about it has started the all-too-familiar
butterflies in his stomach.
He doesn’t psych himself up too much before racing these days. In
earlier times he used to get nervous and excited but nowadays he stays
calm, pictures the prologue track in his mind and thinks about how he
will approach it.
Once the flag drops, natural instinct kicks in and it’s time to just
get out there and get it done.
When they get to Finke, Chris and his crew spend about three
hours going over the vehicle (depending on what has to be done to it)
to make sure it’s okay for the return journey. Then they head down to
the river bank to watch the bikes come in.
Although most competitors tend to re-live the race all night in their
swags, nobody seems to be tired the next morning. They get up at about
5.30 while it’s still dark and drive their cars from the campsite to
the start line.
It’s usually freezing cold but the jackets come off once the race is
about to begin and the cold shivers are suddenly replaced by pure
If you’re lucky enough to make it all the way back to the finish line
early, there’s time to unwind and mingle (and hopefully spray some
champagne around), before watching the bikes come in again.
Chris’s family are all very supportive and enjoy being a part of the
weekend. I asked him if his grandchildren look up to him as their hero
but he says that they’re probably not old enough yet. By the time they
are old enough, he’ll probably be permanently retired so they’ll have
to be content with watching the videos.
Wouldn’t it be nice if they could watch a Finke winner?
Lascivious librarians looking for late
the creative pool that has brought us the Cat’s Meow Cabaret, which for
all its zany fun remains a family show, comes the Burlesque Funraiser,
for 18s and over.
“For Cat’s Meow we ‘PG’ a lot of ideas,” says artistic director Melissa
“Doing a burlesque show for adults allows risque acts, but also satire,
even political commentary.
“It’s a lot broader than the vintage-style sexiness of the cabaret, but
it won’t offend or shock.”
Around 10 individual acts will be held together by MCs (pictured) Laura Lascivia (Milyika
Scales), a somewhat naive but bossy librarian, and her bumbling
assistant Chadwick Hardwick (Noah Pleshet).
While feminine ‘naughtiness’ continues to dominate, Kerl says she’s
pushed hard to involve men in the show and a group of them will present
Apart from that, she won’t give much away, wanting to surprise.
Proceeds from the show will go towards Cat’s Meow which this year wil
have a stand-alone performace (outside the Alice Desert Festival) in
There are two shows, Friday and Saturday, at Wichetty’s (fully licensed
for the occasion), 7pm for 8pm start. Presale tickets at Kam’s
Men behaving like tyrants towards their
partners need to be brought to account.
Violence within the Aboriginal community has again been condemned by a
judge of the Supreme Court.
Justice Jenny Blokland made her comments during the sentencing, in
Alice Springs on June 1, of Eastern Arrernte man Jamie Oliver for
unlawfully causing serious harm to his partner.
Summarising some submissions by Mr Oliver’s lawyer, Justice Blokland
commented: “It is apparent that many Aboriginal people in Central
Australia live or are used to living with greater levels of violence
around them than the broader community, that is clearly so.
“Clearly a belief exists within certain sections of the Aboriginal
community, and some parts of the broader community, that men may abuse
the women with whom they are in relationships.
“There is no other explanation for the apparent impunity that is
demonstrated by you and others who continue to abuse women despite the
harsh consequences of the general Australian law that is there for the
protection of all.
“Men who behave like tyrants towards their intimate partners need to be
brought to account. I intend to do what I can to make you realise
that you cannot continue to treat others with this level of cruelty and
get away with it.
“Your counsel has explained and I accept the social inhibitions that
would usually act as a restraint on this conduct, are not present for
many people in the Aboriginal community.”
Mr Oliver’s offending took place at Amoonguna on Saturday July 25
last year. He was drinking beer and Bundaberg rum and coke mixed
drinks and became intoxicated with the victim and others.
Only a month earlier he had been served with a domestic violence order
with standard conditions relating to the victim .
He and the victim became involved in a jealous argument during which
she threw his Basics Card at him, which he had given her earlier in the
day. It struck him in the face.
Mr Oliver became angry and verbally abusive towards the victim, who
left the house where they had been drinking. He followed her into
the yard of another house and ran at her with a stick in his hand, but
was stopped by a family member.
He followed her again, grabbed her hair and pulled her to the ground.
He stood over the victim and punched her with a clenched fist with
force to the left side of her face about six times.
While she lay on the ground he kicked her – he was wearing rubber
thongs – with both feet about five times with such force that the
victim bled immediately from her mouth and nose.
He grabbed a small, sharp edged kitchen knife with a black handle from
his jeans pocket and stabbed the victim once to the right upper thigh
which bled immediately.
He placed the knife back in his jeans pocket and walked away, returning
to the house where they had been drinking. From there he
telephoned police saying that he had assaulted his girlfriend.
Mr Oliver had previously been convicted of a similar assault on the
He had become enraged after a conversation with her, stopped her
leaving, verbally abused her and punched her.
He struck her with a curtain rod, head-butted her, threatened her with
a knife, chased her with a stick and threatened her with a broken beer
He had served five months’ imprisonment for that offence.
Justice Blokland expressed the hope that the victim had moved on, and
that she would “never allow herself to be in a relationship with [Mr
Oliver] or another violent man who does not respect the women with whom
they are in intimate relationships”.
“Men who behave like you behaved do not deserve to have relationships
with women until you can demonstrate you will not abuse your partners,”
said Justice Blokland.
She said a lengthy gaol sentence would be “completely justified, both
for general deterrence reasons and specific deterrence reasons” but
commented, similarly to the Chief Justice in our interview last
week, “that regrettably imprisonment by itself is obviously not
having the desired effect on the need to stop men in the Northern
Territory from abusing women who they have a relationship with”.
Mr Oliver is 38, grew up in Santa Teresa, is reasonably literate, and
has some work history but has not worked since separating from his
wife, with whom he has two children, around eight years ago.
Mr Oliver has been in custody since the offending. His sentence of 16
months’ imprisonment, backdated to December 25 2009, will be suspended
after eight months for an operational period of two years.
LETTERS: Hampton failing Alice Springs?
Sir – The Minister for Central Australia, who is also the Minister for
Sport, has delivered a slap in the face to Alice Springs sporting fans
in June 1’s announcement about a $33m spend “first class sporting
facilities” for various sports in Palmerston.
Yet, he has failed to support local sporting clubs in Alice Springs by
his refusal to act on a Parliamentary motion which called on the
Government to ensure that Anzac Oval becomes a “first class facility”.
The motion passed in the November Parliamentary sittings, despite Mr
Hampton opposing it.
My constituents don’t begrudge Top Enders improved sporting facilities,
but they’re pretty cranky that Minister Hampton has completely ignored
Anzac Oval, which is home to rugby, and has potential for other sports,
such as soccer.
Anzac Oval also hosts the opening and closing ceremonies of the Masters
Games, concerts, and other events. It should be the premiere facility
in Alice Springs, but it’s dilapidated.
Member for Araluen
Anzac sports academy?
Sir – What an amazing opportunity lies before us all in Alice
Springs. We hear so much about the poor state of infrastructure
at Anzac Park and the closing of Anzac Hill High School. Let’s
get into some lateral thinking and grab this opportunity with both
hands, an opportunity that has so many positives for Alice Springs and
the Northern Territory – a Sporting Academy (The Centralian Sporting
We could train upcoming sporting heroes right here in Alice
Springs. With our climate and special altitude training location
for athletes we would guarantee our facility on the map as a
number one training ground.
Due to our size and the convenience of access to all varying sporting
venues it is a fantastic idea. We would win on so many
The sporting academy would ensure funding to upgrade the grounds at
Anzac Park for rugby and special events such as concerts, masters games
and so much more.
It would be a positive in addressing our youth issues and provide
opportunities to so many individuals. It would also assist our
youth centre to grow and expand. Plus, plus, plus ...
Let’s push this idea to your elected members, council and all the
Federal money would bring life to this concept. This is our town
and our opportunity to say strongly what we want.
Change of plans on police station
Sir – I note that some controversy has occurred about the NT
Government’s change of plans concerning a proposed $6 million upgrade
of the Alice Springs Police Station in favour of relocating the said
station to the Greatorex Building located directly opposite.
That raises a couple of issues; first, what is to be done with the
existing police premises?
Second, how is the Watch House immediately adjacent to the existing
police station to be managed, if the relocation goes ahead?
The Watch House is a relatively new facility, built in accordance to
the recommendations of the national Deaths in Custody Royal Commission
of the early 1990s, and replacing the former fire station previously
located on that site.
I also note that, in early December 2009, NT Supreme Court Justice Dean
Mildren complained about the lack of court rooms in the Alice Springs
Court House and stated that the town required a new court house.
If this is the case, it seems to me that the Greatorex Building is
eminently suited (with modifications, of course) to be the site of a
significantly expanded new Court House for Alice Springs.
In turn the police station could expand into the existing court house
building while retaining its existing premises, minimizing both
disruption and expense.
Have these options been given any consideration?
Right to buy alcohol
Sir – On June 1, I went to my local liquor outlet at 6pm to buy a
bottle of sherry, which I have done previously, only to find I no
longer have the right to drink alocohol.
The NT Government won’t accept out of date driving licences as proof of
identity any more. I am white, nearly 75 years of age, and no longer
The NT Government has no legal right to treat me this way. It is a
blatant breach of civil rights.
I went home and looked through phone directories to see if a Civil
Rights Department exists, to complain to, but there were none. It looks
like we unknowingly have been reduced to the status of sheep.
It is about time someone challenged the NT Government about its legal
right to impose such a draconian law on everybody, especially elderly
At my age, I have a right to buy alcohol unchallenged.
Another breach of liberty, is that people my age are forced to go out
at 6pm to buy certain types of alcohol, such as sherry, and walk if we
have no car.
Sir – I share Mike Gillam’s nostalgia for the old drive-in movies (June
3). My generation of 1960s high school students spent a lot of
our free time at the drive-ins. We fondly called them Passion
Pits as that is where we practiced our sex education.
But would they still be a success today? Aside from videos and
lounge rooms being cheaper and more comfortable, I wonder about the
vehicle emissions that would be generated. In winter the cars
would be kept running for heat, and in summer they would be running for
Mall permits mean
Sir – With respect to your article “Crack-down on hawkers in the mall”
(May 13), given the low likelihood of earnings in excess of $205 for
selling a painting the council fee of $205 seems unreasonable to
me. I am stunned by the requirement for ten million dollars in public
liability insurance for the vendors. What are the risks? It all seems
APPLE SWANSONG: In Alice, the reward outweighs the effort.
Let’s use the well-worn adage, “All good things
come to an end”.
It is a truism. However all bad things and all mediocre things also
have a termination date.
So no matter what you’ve thought of my little contribution to page 2
over the last four and a bit years, it is also true that this is the
last Adam’s Apple.
That’s right people, in a scene played out in this town more often than
lawn sales, someone is leaving town. This time it’s me.
I’ve been to more farewell shindigs than I can count. Most of them have
been emotional affairs but the last couple of weeks have not been sad.
That said I do keep telling myself that people leave town all the time.
I keep reminding myself that there are opportunities in other parts of
the country. I keep saying to myself, “Alice isn’t going anywhere!”
Besides, I’ll just be down the road.
Alice does have a way of showing her mood, doesn’t she? The oppressive
heat, the amazing storms or the perfect spring mornings.
I don’t know if Alice is all that happy with me for going. Her farewell
gift was a little unwelcome. The week before I was meant to leave town
I was diagnosed with Glandular Fever. Thanks Alice. An oyster
nailed to my throat, just what I’ve always wanted. You shouldn’t have!
The fever has put plans into disarray but undeterred, by the time you
read this, I shall be in the land of Frog Cakes, Pale Ale and arnswers
given by darncers called Larnce.
So what have I learned from my five years in Alice Springs? What advice
could I offer a Centralian novitiate? Firstly, straight off the bat,
you can’t make friends with stinkbugs. They look lovely but they need
to be handled with a mercenary like efficiency.
It is also important to keep in the back of your mind that you are
statistically never more than 50 metres away from something that can
kill you. Snakes, spiders, drop bears, a microwaved pizza hero from a
service station at three in the morning. Keep your wits about you.
Shop on a weekday.
Central Australia is a brutally beautiful place. Hundreds of thousands
of people from all over the world come here to experience its awesome
vastness. It might seem funny to point a timid couple from Japan down
the wrong road until that same couple appears on the evening news.
Leave town every so often. Things tend to take on more importance than
they should when you isolate yourself. Go on a holiday, see some water.
Things tend to fall into their correct perspective after a break.
Don’t bring your big city prejudices with you. They might work
perfectly fine in Sydney or Adelaide but they don’t work here. Crying
about the lack of an IKEA in town isn’t going to make one appear.
Figure out how to live without cheap, self assembled Swedish
furniture. Similarly, you’ll never enjoy a night out in town if
you are expecting a laser light, three floors rave. We don’t have one
of those and bitching about it won’t make it happen. Go to Bojangles,
watch a tourist try and go to the toilet, have a laugh and enjoy
Most importantly though is this. Alice Springs is whatever you want to
make it. Alice won’t come to you and invite you to take refuge in her
welcoming bosom. She isn’t that type of woman. But if you make an
effort, if you choose your friends wisely, if you get involved and if
you care enough, Alice will reward you like no other town I’ve lived
That’s what I’d tell an Alice newbie. Roll up your sleeves and muck in.
The reward outweighs the effort.
I’ve been so blessed here in this exceptional town. I will always love
the Alice. I may be back but for now, you’ve been brilliant to me
ED – We wish Adam all the very best in
this next phase of his life. We loved his many witty and often
thoughtful takes on life in The Alice.