Erwin’s comments on 40 years’ reporting of the Peacenik Protests …

Comment on Pine Gap: Important talks but who was listening? by John Bell.

Erwin’s comments on 40 years’ reporting of the Peacenik Protests at Pine Gap makes interesting reading.
With the passage of time, minus the nuclear holocaust in the Central Desert that was so gloomily predicted by the presence Pine Gap in the 60s and 70s, we have all gradually settled into our various comfort zones; ageing Peaceniks in one camp, ageing space base supporters in another; and ageing apathists back in alice – perhaps the biggest group of all – in a third camp.
Maintaining law and order, the Cops camp has settled into a low-profile, stand-by-and-look-on role, keeping a benign eye on the ageing camps, no doubt with paramedics and heart resuscitators at the ready to deal with the odd turn or three in the gathering of all those happy seniors enjoying their moment in the Red Desert.
Everyone happy, all in a good comfortable cause, together. Nothing to report here, folks. Move on, everyone.
In this modern age of symbolism and identity politics, the media attention-grabbing burning of beds and crashing the gates in Pink Simcas is but a fond memory.
We do not have a modern day Bernadette Devlin to mount the barricades or storm the citadel of the Establishment, whether it be Yank, Soviet or Mandarin.
Which makes Erwin’s call for public debate on the Pine Gap facility, and for that matter, Putin in the Ukraine, the Chinese sovereignty push in the South China Sea, the increasing Chinese financial interests in our ports, natural resources and residential CBDs in our major cities, India in the cricket Establishment – all the more relevant, all the more urgent.

Recent Comments by John Bell

How much of our relationship with Aborigines is hypocrisy?
Jakub Baranski. Thank you for your view on Aboriginal dugout canoes. It is historically interesting.
I have had an interest since my youth in Matthew Flinders’ amazing circumnavigation of Australia in a tiny boat.
Then in 2003 I visited Japan and stumbled across a small maritime museum on the coast 80 km north of Tokyo. I was astounded to see a huge 12th century map outline of the eastern Australian coastline from the tip of Cape Yorke down to approximately the border of present day Victoria.
The young with-it Japanese curator told me that local fishing boats went fishing all the way down the Australian coast for centuries before the emperors banned overseas sailing after the Divine Wind attempted invasion by the Chinese.
Suspended from the three storey ceiling was a replica of one of those original fishing boats. Tiny. My mind boggled.
It would be terrific education for an Australian maritime museum to display such boats from different peoples and countries during these eras.
It would give us a greater appreciation of the comparative maritime brilliance of the different cultures.


Leaving town: Centre, its creatures will miss Kaye Kessing
Kaye. A very kind and gentle lady whom I am very proud to call a friend since early 70s Melanka days.
The mural on the Coles wall from the Ghan window is my lasting memory of a brilliant talent.
The friend of the endangered species. Alice has been greatly enriched by a good lady.


If you can climb Mt Everest and in Yosemite, why not Uluru?
I have never been able to work out exactly why The Rock should not be climbed.
Is it a spiritual religious thing? Or is it simply because the custodians think it is a “respect” thing?
If the latter, is it because the custodians feel offended or is Uluru considered a living entity that feels offended?
I am fair dinkum when I ask this. Different people have different views. It is confusing.


Kids behind razor wire, rural land misuse, gallery fiasco & more
The emotive language of “razor wire” and “Alcatraz” and the dispute over location of youth detention centre is symptomatic of the “sharply”-divided public debate over how to stop young people from committing crimes against society.
How do we punish young people appropriately for causing hurt and damage and stress to their fellow citizens and at the same time deter them from from further offending and teach them to be good citizens?
The jury remains out. I suspect it will remain out for a long time to come the way things are going in these #MeToo times where the forces identity politics are lining up on all sides, Left and Right.


Alice in thrall of week-long sports extravaganza
@ Bob Taylor: Thank you for that, mate. You mention three great Alician names in sport – past, present and future: Rhonda, Dick and Emma.
Three wonderful ambassadors who have enriched and continue to grow Alice’s proud sporting heritage.


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