It’s interesting to note the statistic from the mid-1970s that …

Comment on Little kids have the key to our future by Alex Nelson.

It’s interesting to note the statistic from the mid-1970s that states Aboriginal infant mortality was 120 per 1000 live births.
I’ve just stumbled across a front page report published October 22, 1964, which “pointed out that a survey of the NT said the infant mortality rate in some settlements is 208 to 1000 live births.”
The story headlined “500 Aboriginal children die in 3 1/2 years” began: “The Federal Opposition intends to put the Government on the spot over its handling of Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory – particularly the high death rate of children. During the debate on the estimates for the Territories Department, the Opposition put statistics to the Government which show that infant mortality among Aboriginals in parts of the NT is among the highest in the world.”
The story reported how Kim Beazley (snr), in “what was virtually a vote of censure on the Government” intended “to inquire into the deaths of 500 Aboriginal children in the Alice Springs area in the last three and a half years.”
That report implies Aboriginal infant mortality was already trending downwards significantly one decade later when the CAAC appeared on the scene therefore the claim “The mainstream health system had completely failed us” appears to be an undeserved criticism.
It also demonstrates the magnitude of the task that has confronted every organisation that has undertaken the task of improving the standards of living for Aboriginal people over many years.
If it is the case that “the connections between health, control, land, culture, employment, shelter and so on” are the factors determining “Social Determinants of Health” then clearly something is massively wrong, as this is not reflected in the appalling statistics that characterise the life experiences for so many Aboriginal people.
The recent unrelenting barrage of media reports about crime, domestic violence, imprisonment rates and so forth are virtually no different to any time one cares to nominate since the mid 1980s, notwithstanding all the resources and assets available during this period at public expense. It’s obvious that much of this has been misdirected.
It’s one thing to reduce mortality rates but quite another to improve quality of life.
Donna Ah Chee’s speech about the importance of early childhood development provides valuable insights that clearly indicate where some of the solutions to the deeply entrenched problems afflicting many Aboriginal people lie (as it does for any group coping with impoverished circumstances). Congress’s emphasis on “early childhood care as its top priority” is to be applauded and is fully deserving of support.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Pollution? High fliers get it easy.
While it’s preferable that dumping of fuel in the sky is undesirable for a range of reasons, this incident is small beer compared to the overall impact of aviation emissions in the atmosphere and its substantial well-documented contribution towards climate change.
This is clearly evident from the DIRD’s statistics quoted above – if 0.01 per cent of “of fuel used by the aviation industry each year is released into the atmosphere” through dumping then the obverse suggests up to 99.99 per cent of aviation fuel is eventally combusted and emitted as various greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides (which generate ozone at lower height levels), water vapour and other contaminants, all of which contribute to atmospheric warming.
Some more information is provided by DIRD on its web page “Aviation Emissions – Managing the carbon footprint of Australian aviation”.(https://infrastructure.gov.au/aviation/environmental/emissions/).
Another website (https://www.quora.com/) provided some interesting answers in 2015 on the question “What is the impact of dumping fuel by aircraft in the atmosphere?”
One answer states that vaporised dumped aviation fuel contributes to “emissions of atmospheric pollutants such as benzene  and ground-level ozone” but another contributor vividly points out that “it’s a fart in a hurricane compared to all of the carbon being pumped into the atmosphere” and “focusing efforts on fuel dumping would be akin to checking the pedicure on a gunshot victim.”
Others point out that vapours from fuel spills by motorists at petrol stations in total far outweigh the effect of air pollution from aviation fuel dumping.


Pay up, and you’ll make the news, inquiry is told
Manipulation of public opinion by the mainstream media in the Northern Territory is a time-honoured practice that dates back more than quarter of a century, and possibly further.
I awoke to this in the NT election campaign of August 1997 when a Murdoch-owned newspaper published on the day before the election a front page story warning that the vote was too close to call.
This was patent rubbish but it triggered a vague recollection that I’d seen something similar before; and as I’d been heavily involved in the two previous NT election campaigns I checked the back copies I’d filed away.
Sure enough, the same trick had been played with both front page stories and editorials published one day prior to the election days of June 4, 1994 and October 26, 1990, warning of the closeness of the polls. The technique was employed in Alice Springs and worked in favour of the ruling party.
The method wasn’t used in 2001; instead the election campaign began with a front page story stating the CLP was a red hot favourite to win – no prizes for guessing what happened on August 18 that year!
It was this pattern of reporting during the 1990s that alerted me to the value of the (literally) paper trail that has been laid by print media in the NT over the decades.


The ‘tough gig’ of doing things the right way
Thank you, Kieran, for a most interesting article.
Sorry, I can’t help it, but there is one error of a minor nature concerning “Magistrate’s Hill” – the house that used to be on top of it was built in late 1964 / early 1965 and was first occupied by Magistrate “Scrubby” Hall.
When Hall retired in the late 70s he was replaced by Magistrate Denis Barritt whose family lived in that house until his retirement in early 1992.
Thereafter the house was abandoned and heavily vandalised until its demolition in 2000.
It’s interesting to note a letter published in early September 1964 signed by “An Old Timer” lamented the construction of the house on that hill, criticising the unnecessary damage inflicted on natural outcrops that “give our town that unique ‘something’ which is part of its charm and character”.


Compromise was needed to save youth crime plan
@ Fred the Philistine (Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:48 am): Your claim that “the Australian flag has been around for 100s of years” is one of the silliest claims I’ve read in years. Ignorance is bliss, isn’t it?
The facts are that the original design was chosen in 1901 and was first flown on September 3 that year.
The Commonwealth (or Federation) Star in the lower hoist (bottom left) was a six-pointed star, this was changed to a seven-pointed star in 1908.
However, it wasn’t until 1954 that the Australian flag was officially recognised and defined in Commonwealth legislation.
For its part, the Aboriginal flag was designed by Harold Thomas (who has Luritja ancestry) in 1971.
It’s true, as David says (Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:52 am) that “most local governments around Australia fly the Aboriginal flag alongside the Australian flag and their own local government and state flags” and, indeed, that is an arrangement the Alice Springs Town Council formally adopted early last decade.
No-one has observed civilization as we’ve known it abruptly coming to an end from flying the Aboriginal flag.
Whether Anzac Hill is the best place to feature the Aboriginal flag alongside the others is questionable in my mind; but irrespective of that can we all come back down to earth for a moment?
We’re getting ourselves all tied up in knots arguing about bits of coloured bunting flapping in the breeze on top of tall metal poles – we spend lots of energy and time diverted over symbolism rather than addressing the far more difficult problems that in reality give us so much angst.
Whether the Aboriginal flag ends up flying on Anzac Hill or not is a moot point; symbolism (such as, for example, the national apology a few years ago) won’t address the problems of alcohol abuse, youth crime and a lacklustre economy.
Let’s get real.


Art at Anzac oval: No new rugby fields, says Lambley
@ Undoolya Rd Art Gallery is the Go – What, do you mean the new netball courts building?


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