Hi. Welcome to a new column. From next week we’ll post it on Saturdays. It’s comment and opinion, not reporting. It’s what goes through my mind digesting the week’s events over a cuppa on Saturday morning or a whiskey in the arvo.
It’s as much a reflection about the results of our reporting work as it is about the valuable contributions from you, the reader. Use the comment box below to let me (pictured) know what you think. ERWIN CHLANDA.
• • •
The petrol industry in Alice Springs got a hammering for putting a mark-up on their sales five times greater than the national average. The AANT and former Deputy Mayor Murray Stewart spoke out and supported their argument with compelling figures. We asked six petrol sellers to respond. None of them did. The motorist is getting the middle finger pointing skywards. Amazing. To the town’s Big Three lobbies – the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Central Australia and the Town Council: Hello, anybody out there?
• • •
The Briscoe inquest is shaking up the community. Apart from expressing sincere sadness over the death of a young man, many voices are saying to the drunks: Stop blaming everybody except yourself.
The Licensing Commission is in the firing line. It should not get the task of conducting an urgent review of grog abuse measures, over which it presides, says the Police Association. We understand Police Commissioner John McRoberts asked the commission to delay bottle shop opening from 2pm to 4pm and was told no way – they are under pressure to bring it forward to 10am. Commissioner McRoberts confirmed having “met with the Liquor Licensing Commissioner during a recent visit to Alice Springs where a general discussion was held. That conversation was private.”
• • •
Why do some governments not govern?
The Federal Parliament doesn’t know what to do about asylum seekers so they hire consultants.
Our Town Council wants to introduce measures that are working very well in Port Augusta so they hire a consultant. Why?
Thousands of words have already been written and spoken on the subject (mostly in the Alice News). Aldermen had previously visited the gulf city. A candidate in the very recent elections, John Reid (see his comment), a former resident of Port Augusta, is full bottle on what’s going on there. Did anyone ask him for his advice, which is likely to have been for free?
Nope. We spent $13,280 of rate payers’ money on a consultant who came up with very little that we didn’t know already and seemed intent to pour cold water on the idea. There’s an old adage: Don’t appoint a consultant unless you know what he’s going to say. Is that what’s at play here? Is this a roundabout way of killing off an idea that seems to have huge merit?
• • •
The Alice News had a national scoop with the Federal enquiry into Congress, bringing to light some immensely disturbing questions about the spending on taxpayers’ money, namely around $40m a year, by an organisation run by people who think they’re accountable to no-one, least of all to their own members. Chairperson Helen Kantawarra has put a lid on release of information that people who are funding her outfit have every right to know, namely the taxpayers. The events disclosed by us occurred over some years, and on the watch of the Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, and the Minister for Central Australia (or is it Football?) Karl Hampton.