It benefits us all to re-read the following carefully: “Adequate …

Comment on Amnesty’s Utopia report full of omissions and misrepresentations by Hal Duell.

It benefits us all to re-read the following carefully: “Adequate housing must be in a location that allows access to employment options, health‐care services, schools, childcare centres and other social facilities.”
With the best will in the world, there is a limit to what Governments can do with the funds at their disposal. If priority is to be given to education, and especially primary education, in the planning of, and hoped for, future participation in the national story, children must come together in schools. It follows that those schools must be of a certain size and centrally located. This rules out a school in every scattered and marginally populated outstation.
No land will be being taken away, but some will be leased to allow a degree of centralised development. To suggest theft of land and the herding of people by the army onto reservations is rhetorical grandstanding. It’s simply not true.
Any careful consideration of what is suggested by that assertion of herding would have to conclude that the only organisation with a vested interest in keeping indigenous homelands and their residents isolated from the rest of Australia would be the large land councils. We read of moves in the Top End to break the monopoly of the Northern Land Council. If only Mrs. Kunoth-Monks and others would take a similar broom to the Central Land Council!
The death of a people and a culture will come about, and to an extent has already begun, by hiding one’s head in outstation sand, denying the centrality of education, and pretending that tomorrow will be just like yesterday.
All that will come from such denial is another generation left on the outside looking in, relegated to a life of confused frustration, and supported by charity.

Recent Comments by Hal Duell

Gallery: Friday is the day
Now that would have been an interesting question. Do the residents of Alice really want another art gallery? Or are we being sold a pup?

Bush community learning centre to close
“Batchelor Institute say that increased funding would be needed to run the Centre in 2018, they run similar programs in three Warlpiri communities where they are funded through royalties money.”
Sounds like a plan.

Cops with assault rifles footage six years old
I would like to thank CM Gunner for clarifying the issue of armed and masked TRG police being deployed on the streets of Alice over the coming summer. There won’t be any. Good!
The use of specialised equipment to assist operational officers is a good idea. The perpetrators of youth crime need to be identified.
But this begs the question of what will be done with these young criminals once identified? We can’t hold them in detention, we can’t hold the parents accountable, it seems we can’t do much of anything, really.
These plans are not very encouraging. I suppose they will keep the vigilantes off the streets, but will they keep the kids off them as well?
Perhaps these running-amok kids can be identified as coming from a specific community, and then the royalty payments going to their community can be sequestered until the damages done by them to the residents of Alice have been fully paid for?

Masked cops with assault rifles, but where are the parents?
So it’s come to this. A Tactical Response Group may be deployed to Alice to deal with youth crime. And we have no one but ourselves to blame.
Consider the alternatives.
The NT Police dare not intervene in youth crime for the simple reason that to so much as look sideways at a juvenile delinquent in action is accompanied with reams of paperwork and the high likelihood of a departmental inquiry and possible legal action.
The Town Council is not constituted to deal with policing matters. They can and do host meetings to try to reach a community consensus on what to do about children “getting ready for the summer crime spree,” but internal divisions and differing agendas make theirs a fractured voice.
And while the larger Indigenous organisations often voice their concerns, whatever they may be doing has clearly not worked in past years, and there is little to suggest that this summer will be any different.
And so now we may be seeing armed and (I assume) masked men (and women?) patrolling our streets, not to deal with organised criminals or national or international terrorists, but to deal with children. How inept are we?

Council not keen on offer of help to fight crime
One objection to Mr Alice’s comments as reported above would be that rather than a need to clean up our town to make it safe for tourists, we need to clean up our town to make it safe for residents. Accomplish that, and tourist safety will not be an issue.
Yes, there is a need to make parents accountable for their underage children, to address our irresponsible consumption of alcohol, and so much else. And perhaps chief among the “so much else” is a need to really look at what the rampaging kids are showing us.
And what might that be? I suggest that within these “gangs” that we are reading about, and no matter how fleeting and unarticulated, there will be hierarchy, loyalty and discipline.
Can we possibly provide that within a whole-of-town context, instead of a three hour talk fest going nowhere and beset with a confused hierarchy, split loyalty and little discipline?
The kids are showing us what is needed. Start there.

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