At the Show, pollies can run, but they can’t hide

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Ever felt like giving a politician a piece of your mind? Well, today’s your day.

 

A lot of them are at the Show, at the western end of the pavilions.

 

Right: Not her though, the one on the left. 

 

The Labor stall is just there, and the CLP are about 50 meters to the south, just the other side of the town council stall (free coffee), where you get a bit of both (ALP and CLP, that is, mostly CLP).

 

Chief Minister Adam Giles is usually at the CLP stall, among the pensioners who get a free lunch.

 

You might like to ask Mr Giles which of the goodies, that he paid for with your money, are in the pork barrel, which are in the investments basket, and which are just ‘announcables’ of everyday kind of stuff.

 

In the investment basket would be new assets putting the town on a better footing to face the future: at a time when the world is transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy and when Alice Springs is well-placed to literally have its day in the sun, he is locking us into gas-driven energy generation. When the Top End is getting some serious flood mitigation works, Alice Springs has got a committee, whose number one recommendation is the gathering of baseline data (Labor also has to take responsibility for this neglect).  And despite his pro-business rhetoric, what has his government done to provide a long-term shot in the only significant private enterprise in town – tourism.

 

p2127-Adam-Giles-at-showYes, we’ve had the cash splashes on bread (eg, schools, roads, sports facilities) and circuses (Desert NATS, the Light Festival, the mist hologram at the Telegraph Station), but ask The Chief why completing the seal of the Mereenie Loop hasn’t even started yet although it was already in last year’s Budget.

 

Left: Spot Adam amongst the prancing ponies.

 

If you run into Education Minister Peter Chandler, ask him with whom he consulted about the merger of the Middle and Senior schools.

 

Or ask Parks Minister Bess Price why she allows our greatest natural attraction, Palm Valley (The Rock doesn’t do much any more for us any more), to be choked in buffel and couch grasses?

 

Give her a pat on the back for her Parks and Wildlife Commission spending $52,000 on weed control in 2015/16 – yes, that’s that’s the ridiculous total for the NT.

 

p1913BurnsandhamptonAnd then ask her how come Minister Gary Higgins can announce this week a $1m spend on Top End weeds, Gamba grass and Cabomba. Will she get money like that for The Centre?

 

And find out from Ms Price why the access road to Palm Valley is by far the worst road in whole country?

 

Right: Some of yesterday’s Labor heroes.

 

When she says – as she usually does – that the 4WD fans love it, ask her why there are no Finke-style whoopty doos built into the access roads to the Sydney Opera House.

 

Michael Thomson, the CE of the Power and Water Corporation, announced the highlights of its stand are “new hydration stations and water bottles providing water to all show attendees as well as a range of innovative projects across the business on display”. Maybe ask them why they are spending $75m on new gas driven generator engines and not very much on solar.

 

Pop back over to the ALP stand, get a red balloon and ask Warren Snowdon what in his nearly 30 years in Parliament he’s done to lift Lingiari from an electorate with some of the worst socio-economic indicators in the nation to one that lives up to its fantastic potential. You could possibly be talking to him on the last day of his political career.

 

 

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7 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Posted July 2, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Well, here it is, just gone past noon on Election Day, July 2, 2016. A couple of hours ago I attended the polling booth located inside the cafeteria at CDU in Sadadeen – so when I walked up to the polling official to obtain my voting slips, I first ordered a toasted muffin and a latte!
    On my way into the polling booth, I walked past the volunteers working for the major party candidates and accepted how-to-vote papers from them. There was no real gauntlet to run, it was fairly low-key and friendly.
    I took my Labor HTV paper from none other than the Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon. I cast my mind back to the previous occasion when there was a federal election campaign in July (also the last time there was a double dissolution), when I would have handed out how HTV cards for the CLP – that was in 1987, almost 30 years ago.
    That campaign resulted in Warren Snowdon’s first election victory, to become the Member for the Northern Territory. If he wins again, he will become the longest-serving politician in the Northern Territory’s history, eclipsing the record set by Bernie Kilgariff (who retired from politics in 1987).
    As I write, my conjecture is this – that there may be a swap of seats between the major parties in the NT. The CLP’s Tina MacFarlane will wrest Lingiari from Snowdon, but Luke Gosling will defeat CLP incumbent Natasha Griggs to take Solomon for Labor in the Top End. That’s the way politics often works in the NT. It’s only a matter of a few hours before we know.

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  2. Mirror Maze
    Posted July 2, 2016 at 10:06 am

    The Show is such an appropriate place for our pollies. They offer the same cheap thrills snake oil and plastic rubbish that you would expect from side show alley.

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  3. Posted July 2, 2016 at 6:37 am

    @ Fred the Philistine: The pressure in the bigger pipeline couldn’t get the gas any further than Docker River to Sadadeen, so the engineers opted for a smaller pipeline.
    As an average person in the street, I can tell you that I received a nice photograph in my mailbox, telling me the history of gas pipeline technology dating from the Middle Ages.
    I love reading about our country, which is more than I can say for some.
    I know what I’m talking about here. My book (available locally) is languishing, but every six months I receive a royalty cheque for sales, proving that there is justice in an otherwise wretched world. Have a good day.

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  4. Roger W Miller – Senior of Gunn/Darwin
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    What a great roundup of observations from the editor! Many people in the NT echo these sentiments but are dismissed by those targeted as “those opposite” or anyone speaking out to be branded as scaremongers, peddling lies and spreading fear.
    That’s us, voters, that now will be patronized by the CLP to vote them back in.
    As a senior I cannot frame a better phrase than already in use, on election day PUT CLP LAST – that’s where they left us.
    PS: Don’t forget former CLP members who have not atoned themselves and now claim Independence. Offer anyone the position of a CLP Chief Minister and see where they bed down.

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  5. Fred the Philistine
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    @ Ian Shepherd: If we have so much gas, why did they reduce the size if the gas pipe line?
    Using gas has not made our power any cheaper, and what is the average person in the street receiving?
    If its such a good thing every body should receive royalty cheques and not just a few Indigenous people.

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  6. Ian Shepherd
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Let South Australia lead the country with solar and wind, it’s killing their economy.
    They like to pretend they’re upset that Whyalla is being wiped out, but the big polluters were always going to be hit hardest by rising power prices.
    We are sitting on an ocean of gas that can provide cheap, reliable power for decades if not centuries.

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  7. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    My questions will be: Should elected governments not keeping their elections promises be automatically dismissed? Should a performance tracking device be put in place?

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