The question posed for the “Dog Rock”: “How can the …

Comment on NAIDOC celebrates the Wild Dog Story of Alice Springs by Alex Nelson.

The question posed for the “Dog Rock”: “How can the disrespectful situation at Akngwelye Thirrewe be tolerated?” could be turned around as “how has it managed to continue to exist there”.
It’s in the vicinity of where the Central Australian Railway passenger terminal once used to be, which for decades was the principal transport hub servicing Alice Springs.
When you take into account the war materiel and tens of thousands of Allied troops that passed through this site during World War Two (up to 56 trains per week at one stage) and that the Alice railhead was actually one of Australia’s busiest in the 1950s, handling the bulk of the NT’s cattle exports transported to South Australia – all at a time when Aboriginal sacred sites simply didn’t register in the public consciousness, it’s astonishing to me that this little outcrop of rock avoided being demolished through all of this time.
Inconspicuous as it is now, Akngwelye Thirrewe for the last 30 years is safe as it’s ever been since the railway arrived here in the late 1920s.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

NAIDOC celebrates the Wild Dog Story of Alice Springs
Here’s another thought to gnaw upon – the Wild Dog story on face value cannot be ancient, given that it’s known from fossil records and other sources that wild dogs or dingos were introduced to Australia about 5,000 years ago.
That’s comparatively recent; and Aboriginal people would have been living here in the Centre many thousands of years prior to dingos turning up on the scene.
There’s at least one very old rock art site in the Top End which illustrates this point nicely, as it clearly depicts not dingos but thylacines (Tasmanian tigers). These animals, along with Tasmanian devils, were displaced across the Australian mainland by dingos (which in turn never made it to Tasmania).
So it begs the question, what was the original Dreamtime creation story for the Alice Springs area? Is today’s Wild Dog story an adaptation of a Thylacine story?
Recent research into Aboriginal stories along Australia’s east coast relating to changes in sea-level rises has proven to be remarkably accurate, giving an account of events that occurred at the end of the last Ice Age some 11,000 years ago.
In light of this, it seems to me there is a potentially rich field of inquiry into a similar aspect to the Creation stories pertaining to Mparntwe, which to my knowledge, hasn’t been given any consideration.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Code of conduct allegations ‘vexatious, frivolous’ – councillor
@ InterestedDarwinObserver (Posted November 22, 2018 at 10:22 am): You are correct to state the Australian Constitution refers only to the Commonwealth (Federal) Government and the States.
However, local government was established in the various colonies prior to federation and remains a state-based responsibility.
This included the Northern Territory when it was controlled by South Australia, which established a council for the town of Palmerston (Darwin) that was subsequently “inherited” by the Commonwealth when it took control of the NT in 1911 (this council voted itself out of existence in the late 1930s).
There have been two referendum questions put to the Australian people with regard to local government.
The first was in May 1974 when the Whitlam Government sought to gain the power “to borrow money for, and make financial assistance grants directly to, any local government body”.
The second question was put by the Hawke Government in 1988 “to recognise local government in the Constitution”.
Both questions were lost.
Two decades ago I queried the validity of local government in the Northern Territory, given that the Commonwealth has no powers for local government under the Australian Constitution, and that the NT Government derives its powers in turn from the NT Self-Government Act which is a Commonwealth law.
The ACT, which has a much larger population than the NT, has no local government – there is no Canberra City Council or Mayor of Canberra.
A constitutional lawyer directed my attention to section 122 of the Constitution: “The Parliament may make laws for the government of any territory surrendered by any State to and accepted by the Commonwealth, or of any territory placed by the Queen under the authority of and accepted by the Commonwealth, or otherwise acquired by the Commonwealth, and may allow the representation of such territory in either House of the Parliament to the extent and on the terms which it thinks fit.”
There’s no doubt about the legitimacy of federal representation of the NT but the question of whether this power extends to the creation of local government in the NT as valid still nags at me.
It’s a constitutional question that ultimately can only be resolved by the High Court of Australia, but that’s dependent on this matter being referred to the court for adjudication – and clearly nobody is prepared to do it.
However, as recent experience with several cases involving section 44 of The Constitution has shown, the Statute of Limitations has no application to constitutional law.
To my mind, the validity of local government in the NT hangs over our heads like the Sword of Damocles.


Code of conduct allegations ‘vexatious, frivolous’ – councillor
To my mind this raises the question as to whether Jimmy Cocking and other councillors have been subjected to an act of defamation.
Resorting to my old trusty Concise Macquarie Dictionary, I found the following definition of the word ‘defamation’: “the wrong of injuring another’s reputation without good reason or justification; calumny; slander or libel.”
It seems to me that the complaint which has led to the code of conduct process, which has been found to be “vexatious and frivolous,” may fit that definition.
If an offence of this nature has been committed, then it begs the question as to the legality of covering up the identity/ies of the complainant/s.
Is it appropriate for government, or an arm of government, to rely on confidentiality to frustrate the possibility of holding a person or persons to account for their actions if they might possibly be in breach of the law?


Air traffic: Looking down on Alice
Interesting to hear that the Alice Springs Airport was blindsided by Qantas’s announcement for flight schedule changes and deletions.
I wonder if that offers any portents about our chances of hosting the airline’s second pilot school? Far from being The Centre, we seem more and more to be on the outer.


No youth detention facilities in residential areas: MLAs
It’s only in comparitively recent times that we’ve developed an abhorrence to gaols and juvenile detention facilities within or near suburbia.
There are two heritage-listed old gaols in or close to the CBD area of town. The old gaol in Stuart Terrace – now the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame – was built in 1938, simultaneously with the old Alice Springs Hospital and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, all neighbours along the same street frontage facing Stuart Park.
There was also new housing on the other side of Stuart Park (now a historical precinct) where the top bureaucrats and civil servants of the day lived, all in close proximity to the gaol. Nobody minded.
In the early 1960s more housing was built between the old Alice Springs Gaol and the new Traeger Park oval. Our family moved into a new residence on Telegraph Terrace on the block between the gaol and Traeger Park, living there for three years.
There was also a new motel (Midlands) and primary school (Traeger Park) built within a short distance of the old gaol – again, nobody was fussed about it.
In 1977 the first juvenile detention facility in the NT, called Giles House, was officially opened by Senator Bernie Kilgariff on the corner of South Terrace and Kempe Street in the Gap area.
I’m unaware that anyone objected to its presence in that suburban location.
There were many escapes from the old gaol and Giles House over the years, it’s nothing new.
It wasn’t until the new Correctional Facility was opened in 1996 that the practice commenced of putting gaols well outside of the town area. Now many of us think that’s a normal situation but, from a historical viewpoint, it’s quite unusual.
If a juvenile detention facility is established near the Desert Knowledge Precinct, it’s still a considerable distance from the nearest suburban area of Kilgariff.
Seems to me some people are considerably overstating the risks and simply giving vent to their prejudices.


Independents now ineffective?
Alice Springs has a long tradition of CLP members becoming independent representatives, starting with Rod Oliver (Member for Alice Springs) who lost preselection to Denis Collins in 1980; Denis Collins (Member for Sadadeen) who in turn lost preselection to Shane Stone in 1987 and was twice re-elected as an independent; and likewise Loraine Braham (Member for Braitling) who lost CLP preselection in 2000 but went on to win two subsequent campaigns.
One might include Ray Hanrahan (Member for Flynn) who resigned from the CLP in mid 1988 and continued as an independent for about three months before his resignation from politics. By the standards outlined by Steve Brown, Hanrahan took the honourable course but the subsequent by-election on September 10, 1988, didn’t work out too well for the CLP – the party came last out of three candidates with a swing of over 21% against it, and it was CLP preferences that enabled NT Nationals candidate Enzo Floreani to take the seat.
And then there was Alison Anderson (Member for MacDonnell) who resigned from the ALP and ricocheted from the CLP to Palmer United Party to independent (I forget the exact order).
One can go back over half a century, when independent Member for Alice Springs, Colonel Lionel Rose, announced in the NT Legislative Council in August 1965 that he was the leader of a new political party, the North Australia Party – and he was strongly supported by Non-Official Member, Bernie Kilgariff, who worked in close association with Rose.
The NAP didn’t last very long – it was wiped out in the elections of October 1965, with only one candidate, Tony Greatorex, winning the seat of Stuart. Greatorex, in turn, joined the Country Party when it was established in July 1966.
Whatever one may personally think about elected members changing their allegiances while in office, there’s never been a legal case against anybody (and that goes for other parliaments, too) obliging a sitting member to resign because they’ve changed their minds about party memberships. It’s up to voters to decide their fates whenever elections are called.


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