Erwin has asked me to elaborate on my earlier comment. …

Comment on Council debate happening in closed meetings by Ian Sharp.

Erwin has asked me to elaborate on my earlier comment. I have limited net access at the moment so will be brief.
‘Law and order’ is a phrase largely used to refer to crime, and often reflects the user’s perception of the crime rate. That in itself raises lots of issues – eg see Adam Graycar (Aust Institute of Criminology) article on law and order. It’s a hot button issue and often used in election campaigns hence the cynical ‘laura norder’ term.
L&O is important to any society, but to think it is the basis, the bedrock, is simplistic. One thing the Taliban achieved when they ruled Afghanistan before the US led reaction to Sept 11 was a very low crime rate … but not many of us would approve of the way they did it. Hands up those who want to see hands chopped off!
What we all want in our democratic and pluralistic society to reduce crime as much as we can without resorting to extremism.
That is where the ‘rule of law’ comes in. It is our greatest gift from our British heritage … bigger even than cricket, fish and chips, the English language and Shakespeare. It is the bedrock of Western Civilization and needs to be prized.
The RoL is a broad concept that involves achieving social cohesion through ideas like every person / entity being subject to the law … including not just bikie gangs, but all of us, our governments, our corporations and even Clive Palmer.
The biggest potential threat to our liberty is potentially the government, hence the separation of powers, the checks and balances that limit the powers of parliaments, the executive and the judiciary.
It is important for any democracy trying to achieve the RoL to avoid ‘majoritarian autocracy’ where a government with a majority in the parliament / diet / Reichstag can legislate any law it likes. Otherwise you can have a situation like the early years of the 3rd Reich, the ‘blood and honour’ laws were made lawfully and supported by a majority of citizens.
There needs to be more than elections to establish which party has its turn in power, there needs to be ongoing respect for human rights and natural justice so laws seek to achieve justice for all citizens, in all ways, economically, politically and socially.
Only then can real law and order be achieved.
So we do need to take steps to tackle crime in Alice, but that needs to go far beyond CCTV cameras, and extra police and more jails.
It also needs to go beyond restrictions on alcohol, we need those, but we need more.
We need to see big changes in health, education, housing, employment … as recognized by the Federal Government and the Intervention. I think we need a cultural revival out bush, based on a positive sense of purpose, self-respect and respect for others. And us townies could aim higher too.
We need to see the big picture, and the long term, not just the here and now.

Ian Sharp Also Commented

Council debate happening in closed meetings
Good to hear the new council getting some non-acrimonious discussion going. All members deserve praise for this useful first step. Let’s hope it leads to positive outcomes.
Re ‘law and order’ being the basis of our society, I would say that is too limited. It is ‘the rule of law’, a much broader concept. I think this distinction is important and accounts for much of the disagreement expressed on this website.


Recent Comments by Ian Sharp

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
The hill has been Untyeyetwelye to the Arrernte people for thousands of years. According to Peter Donovan (who wrote ‘Alice Springs, its history and the people who made it’ for the Town Council, published 1988) in the early days of European settlement the townspeople called it ‘View Hill’, and later ‘Stott Hill’. The RSL was granted ‘rights’ to the hill in 1934 by government, not by the Traditional Owners. The RSL then named it ‘Anzac Hill’.

Of course this was done at a time when Aboriginal people were unwelcome in the town, they were shunted down to ‘The Gap’, or confined to missions. Surely we have moved on since then? Is it so hard to envisage that the hill could serve both as war memorial and a symbol of the changed relations between our Indigenous people and our European settlers? It is more than strange that the capital city of The Centre, the heartland of the desert peoples, does not fly the Aboriginal Flag from the hill the overlooks our town.


Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
Crikey, what a whacky decision. Makes Alice look just like how many people in our country perceive it. And makes the Council look like drongoes. But I live in hope, been re-watching ‘Grassroots’ lately, the Mayor always meant well, but became known as Col ‘U-turn’ Dunkley as ‘circumstances changed’ Let’s hope circumstances change here too. Hopefully not everyone positioning for preselection for higher office.


What will our cultural celebrations look like in a generation?
John, I think you are seeing the issue in black and white, two extremes.
There is a lot in between. We have not always seen ourselves as an independent nation, we used to see ourselves as citizens of The Empire, many people called Britain “home”. Things change.
We are no longer the country we once were. We don’t turn a blind eye to domestic violence anymore, cops do not go ‘poofta bashing’, pedophile priests are no longer just moved to another parish, Carlton can no longer buy premierships.
And change continues with each generation. We will in fact have a stronger national identity when we get rid of the colonial flag, when we have an Australian Head of State (not just an Australian representative for the British monarch), and a day that ALL Australians can celebrate as their national day.
Of course we won’t get there through reasoned argument, we will get there the same way we got rid of the White Australia Policy, the older generation of believers will pass away and a new national identity will be forged.
So we can say weare no longer the country we once were, and our great grand kids will say this too in their turn, about “our” Australia. That tide of history just keeps on.


What will our cultural celebrations look like in a generation?
An excellent article. On the money for mine. The tide of history will wash the current flag and Australia Day (Jan 26) away.


Hazardous waste facility near Alice recommended by EPA
For those interested in the Tellus proposal: http://www.tellusholdings.com/project_chandler_fact_sheets.html


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