The Minister for Football

COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA

 

When Mayor Damien Ryan talks proudly and with optimism about his relationship with the NT Government, one cannot but wonder what he’s on about.
For example where, as Alice Springs lurches from crisis to crisis, is the so-called Minister for Central Australia, Karl Hampton, and where is his mind?
This is where they are:–
March 21: “Tickets are now on sale for the Australian Superbike Championship with this year’s event to include a performance by three Crusty Demons, Karl Hampton announced today.”
March 21: “Local Member for Stuart, Karl Hampton, today joined hundreds of people  at Territory Manor in Mataranka to welcome the handing down of a consent determination that will provide certainty regarding native title.”
March 21: “Minister for Sport and Recreation, Karl Hampton, today said Top End Rugby League fans will have the chance to watch a NRL Premiership points match between Sydney City Roosters and North Queensland Cowboys this April on Saturday 14.”
March 21, yesterday, as his minders pumped out these handouts, the people of the town were coming to grips with the closure of the iconic Memo Club, and another CBD pub, and a public meeting was held to meet the mayoral candidates, grappling with the town’s problems which some regard as terminal, voting with their feet.
Where was the Minister for Football? Nowhere to be seen or heard.
On March 8 – two weeks ago – we emailed him with a request for an interview and gave notice of the following questions:-
• The impending council elections raise the question, how much notice does the NTG take of the Alice Town Council? Candidates’ views range from “they should stick to rates, roads and rubbish” to “they are the town’s principal lobby and the government should heed their demands”.
• There is a two-speed citizenship in this town: In the camps, for which the town council now has increased responsibilities, lower standards for housing and roads are accepted. Why?
• Comment on alcohol measures, please.
• Tourism … see our online post today … the “strategy” doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Where should it be going?
Mr Hampton has not agreed to the interview.

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3 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Kris
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Incidentally the loud aggressive white drunks I referred to were at that CBD pub just closed where you could see them loudly sneering at Indigenous people. One incident involved an innocuous community lady trying to sell a painting there and being mercilessly ridiculed by drunk whites. It was nauseating. Apparently its only OK for whites to sell Indigenous paintings in Alice. Yeah its true there are problems in the Indigenous community and many are certainly not angels, but let’s have a bit of perspective here.

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  2. Kris
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Instead of hinting the problems with tourism are all because of Indigenous Australians, lets improve service in our hotels- service which is appalling. If you don’t believe me look on Tripadvisor to see what international tourists really think of service in Alice Springs. Now without Indigenous people – servicing of whom provides enormous employment opportunities here – we would have very few foreign tourists at all. Aboriginal people and their ancient culture are what provides interest from o/s tourists. Lets face it we would be a very non-descript place without them.
    The real reason for the stall in tourism is our poor promotion skills and atrocious service. The “ain’t it awful” bleating about Aborigines is laughable. Even when you walk past a bunch of rowdy drunken community people if you smile politely they won’t hurt you. And most are not rowdy – no more rowdy than the drunk white bogans at pubs in Alice. Most blackfellahs are rather quiet actually. Some are not … just like ethnically-European Australians. Some are disorderly but most are in fact orderly. A good tourism strategy would be to provide good service for a change. Don’t panic so much about the impoverished visitors from communities.

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  3. Russell Guy
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Yeah, Karl. You’re really stretching it, old mate!

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