Ray @1. “So why do we need to show …

Comment on Send in the taskforce: councillor by Russell Guy.

Ray @1. “So why do we need to show respect to these people and this culture again?”
Studying this post, I’m presuming that the author is referring to Aboriginal people and culture in Alice Springs. The story that we are sharing, including the Tourist Commission’s interpretation, seems to be at the heart of this writer’s concern.
The biggest problem with the culture is alcohol-abuse.
I had a visit from the Tourist Commission this morning who asked some questions, but just as I was getting into the answers, their leader, a young woman in R. M. Williams pants, said “well, we’d better get up to Tennant Creek.”
No time to listen, so the same old, same old departmental duplication going around in fantasy land.
I was reading an 1916 edition of an old NT publication this morning after the deputation departed and saw a couple of naked Aboriginal men helping a couple of white stockmen working cattle around a holding post – they were all pulling together.
Until we get the alcohol supply down and people back to work, forget about solving the problem that you’ve raised, Ray, but thanks for writing and at least engaging with something around you that’s concerning. I hope you get it, two out of the three tourist women didn’t. All the best.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Send in the taskforce: councillor
Ray @ June 27. 1:11AM. Hi Ray, your post reminded me of the old argument about a means to an end. Sometimes, we use the means (alcohol regulation) to achieve an end that we can’t live with. It’s time for change.
The end of forty years of liberal laws, where we currently have take-away alcohol being sold seven days a week, has produced a very expensive social problem, but this is where I really want to engage with your argument about all of us being equal under the law.
The cultural difference that underpins much of life in Alice between Aboriginal people and those of a more European background, is seen not exclusively through the prism of law, but in inequalities in affordable housing, educational opportunities, welfare, prison and health statistics.
There are terminologies for why this is so in the social sciences. Accelerated cultural change is one of my favourite, whereby change from a way of life has come upon Aboriginal people (whose first language in the majority of cases, is not English), at a rapid rate, causing confusion, psychological stress and shorter life spans, etc, than the majority of Australians.
You are right in saying that more things need to change than alcohol supply, but the focus on alcohol-abuse, welfare reform and job creation is an obvious place to begin.
Cultural difference is hard to explain, even though it’s all around us in central Australia. It’s something you have to appreciate. George Bernard Shaw once said “to be in Hell is to drift: to be in Heaven is to steer.” Guess who’s steering social change in Australia and on the streets of Alice?
You want Aboriginal people to fit into this scheme, but their cultures are different and they don’t have the skills mentioned above to negotiate, because of the historical situation that still pertains.
I maintain that we’re trying to put a circle into a box. The circle is found in Aboriginal art and the box is found in the geometry of Western science. I make a fire (in a circle of rocks) each morning out bush and people stand around it. The TV is a rectangle. There has to be a better accommodation of cultural difference.
In conclusion, I would like to draw your attention to the Northern Territory Police Association’s (NTPA) submission to the Coroner’s inquest into the death of a young Aboriginal man in the Alice watch house in January.
The NTPA, on behalf of our police, make some welcome statements regarding the “soul-destroying” work of taking Aboriginal alcoholics into custody. You will find the links to that in the AS News.


Send in the taskforce: councillor
The Northern Territory Police Association (NTPA) submission to the Coroner in the tragic Briscoe Inquest was reported in The Australian on Monday (25/6/12).
The recommendations are consistent with what many of us have been saying in the AS News and the Advocate regarding the immediate need for alcohol supply reduction. Not prison farms for rehab, not more law and order, but a floor price, a take-away sales free day/s and a reduction in opening hours from 10am to noon.
There are many well-intentioned people in Alice who are not even aware that two pubs sell take-away seven days a week. This is a fatal flaw in any plan for this town’s future.


Send in the taskforce: councillor
Rex @ June 21. 11:59pm. Thanks for continuing to engage with this situation. Cr Brown, Ray, Jason Newman and yourself, et al deserve a medal or at least a cup of billy tea around the fire, BUT, you have side-stepped the one positive point that I made in reply to Ray.
All very well to apportion blame and who hasn’t made mistakes, but turning down the supply of alcohol is one way that we can improve the dysfunction in Alice. In fact, I’d go further. It’s critical to the three points of breaking this la la land cycle – alcohol reform, welfare reform and job creation.
By continuing to salute the mighty grog god as if it’s sacrosanct, it will grow more powerful – emphasis on ‘more’ marketing, more sly grogging, more policing as it has since 1984’s 2 km law.
Let’s start somewhere around the fire and maybe we can organise a trip to your Reptile Park for some of those kids who need fathers and mothers to show that they care about them and their future in this town.
I know you’ve had terrible experiences, but most of us have had our feathers ruffled and clipped over the years. Let’s have a go while we still can. Are you interested?


Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Town still upset with Stuart statue, say researchers
I’ve not come across the term “creative arts therapist” before, but as a writer, it suggests that artists and in this case, the sculptor need therapy in order to heal, not just ourselves, but the culture within which we live.
I’ve heard of cultural amnesia, but not cultural healing, although, perhaps, this is what the Reconciliation movement has been attempting and, I guess, those in the aftermath of war, once the dust clears and what’s left is assayed.
This seems to be a definition of what is meant here.
Ironically, an “appreciation of arid landscape” noted by the analysts, came about because of the Stuart Highway and without the statue which has the “town upset”, this exhibition may not have happened.
In this paradox, difference is celebrated, but given that all difference is equal, some people don’t appear to mind. Perhaps, they have cultural amnesia or some other malaise.


Hermannsburg historic precinct gets cash injection
With thanks to the pioneering Lutheran Missionaries whose venture of faith during the 1880s was a hard slog and is well-recorded.
Their Christian concern for the Arrernte underpins our tourist industry at a time when such religious freedom as allowed their Mission Station to implement employment and educational training programs are not considered significant by a large portion of our population, including the majority of politicians.


Emirates jetliner dumps fuel on Central Australia
I believe the Galaxy is short field take off / landing as opposed to the Airbus / Boeing Emirates type which may make the comparison inequitable.
Just saying and stand correcting, but the Alice is well known as an emergency field for long-haul flights, so weight is an issue. Since the port of departure is some hours north, fuel load could still have been critical.


Outback Way to get more bitumen
There goes the neighbourhood.


NT-SA agreement hardly historic
Paul Keating, in his 1992 Redfern Speech, framed by speechwriter Don Watson, author of the somewhat dryly punitive opus, The Bush, also claimed a historic mandate, announcing success for Reconciliation “within the next decade.”
It’s in the nature of politics to claim credit for doing something, mostly spending tax revenue and living in hope that it won’t run out.
In my opinion, the “historic” issue is just a beat up or a sop.
Pass me another piece of Bicenttennial birthday cake, please.


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