Erwin’s probing comments: The current state of affairs of the …

Comment on Millions spent, youth gets four hours a week by John Bell.

Erwin’s probing comments: The current state of affairs of the Youth Centre is sad testament to the demise of a once-great Alice institution.
The Centre and its matriarch, Mrs Joan Higgins, quietly emerged over the years as the gold standard model promoting family youth sporting and recreational activity for the holistic Alice community.
The Centre’s big fundraising day, the jewel in its crown, the Bangtail Muster Sports Carnival, brought the whole town together, crossing all cultural boundaries.
For 30 years, 1972-2002, I made sure I was in Alice on that day for the May Day Mile. Every year Mrs Higgins rang me, wherever I was, to encourage me to return.
Every year Mrs Higgins would greet me on my return and discuss the changing town circumstances that began to threaten the Centre’s big day with dwindling crowds. We also discussed the social dynamics.
First it was the rise of an increasingly affluent society’s “Sport of Kings” at Pioneer Park and other money spinning pursuits. Finally, the insidious burden of public liability proved to be the final straw.
Greeting me at the gate at Anzac in 2002, Mrs Higgins had tears in her eyes and her voice wavered as she sadly broke the news that this great community day could no longer continue.
As the small group of runners in the May Day Mile that day ran down the back straight in the final lap for the very last time, it was overwhelmingly sad, but at the same time uplifting, to see a solitary, happy young Aboriginal family cheering from the embankment … and then turning into the final home straight to be urged home by the sport’s day’s small group of faithful stalwarts, all the way to the finish line.
It is an Alice community tragedy, a monumental example of lost direction, a sign of skewed social priorities and political correctness gone mad, that in 2017 the Centre has now come to this, where a respected journalist is not even allowed in the door to talk about the Centre and its problems.
Mrs Higgins would be heartbroken.

Recent Comments by John Bell

Pine Gap and the Nobel prize the Oz government ignores
@Nadine Williams. “We are the future, we are the link”. Such wonderful inspiring marching music lyrics!. Reminds me of the Good old days of peace activism and the stirring calls to arms (so to speak)…”Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” circa 1968. I can see Kim Jong un joining in….singing at the top of his voice…as today’s born again ICAN Nobel Prize peace activists march on the UN – that paragon of global justice – to demand that all countries get rid of their nuclear warheads. I always loved Puff the Magic Dragon. Ah,nostalgia. Here am I at three score years and eleven, trying to persuade that other paragon of justice -the AFL – to get rid of Collingwood Football Club. In the interests of world sanity.


Pine Gap and the Nobel prize the Oz government ignores
Russell writes a nice heartfelt article. Emotional and committed to the notion that he and his fellow self-named “peaceniks” are enlightened and inhabit a black-and-white “Us against Them” world where they have always been pitted against those hateful “conservatives” who are warmongers who refused to see the light in all the peace causes down the years.
But my experience has been that life is shades of grey. Vietnam halted the Communist drive down through SE Asia long enough to let Malaysia and Indonesia overcome the insurgency.
My South Vietnamese friends Tom and Than Dong will tell you of genocide cleansing throughout their old Montagnard village countryside when Hanoi took over and the oppressed people have since learned to keep their mouths shut on fear of death.
My left wing American friends who did contract work at Pine Gap will tell you that the facility does good work to ensure world peace stability.
And the Amerixan community in Alice has been a socially binding force for good in the Centre.
My German friends from the Black Forest will tell you that the Wall came down because the West fought the good fight but they warn the reality of world Communism in Russia remains an ever present and constant evil.
The best way to describe our world where the vast majority of us “progresives” and “conservatives” know the reality and we all work towards peace in our own ways – is that our daily lives and values are a good mix of “fifty shades of grey”. Not peaceniks v warmongers.


Gap Centre is the centre of The Gap
I would like to commend both Centres for their incomparable work with the young people of Alice down the years.
They have all been magnificent in their selfless work and countless Alicians must have great stories to tell about them.
I would like to pay special tribute to the late Mrs Joan Higgins and Alan, her trusty sidekick of many years at Wills Terrace, and Graham and Ronda Ross down at the Gap.
I have had the great privilege of seeing them in action, giving amazing help to kids in need, 24/7, 365/12. Such good hearts. Alician Treasures.


Same sex marriage campaign in the bush takes to YouTube
Peter. It looks like you have me sorted as a bigoted, born-to-rule white male heterosexual No voter – in no uncertain manner.
To make matters worse, I was also born an Essendon AFL third generation supporter and will go to the death as a True Believer, maintaining the faith in the Mighty Bombers. Your mind is made up. So be it.
However, your comment makes me wonder what your moral judgment is of a No voter who happens not to be white (eg Vaughan) or neither white nor male (eg Theresa)?
Do they have any redeeming qualities as No voters, or are we all No vote bigots with no empathy etc? How do you rationalise their No vote views?
I ask these questions in good faith. I am genuinely curious to learn your thoughts.


Same sex marriage campaign in the bush takes to YouTube
Vaughan, Malcolm, Theresa and Steve. I would like to say thank you for speaking out to vote No. Please be aware that voting No exposes you to being called a homophobe and a bigot. You will be seen as a weirdo bigoted heterosexual in today’s new world. Don’t be afraid. You know in your heart that you are not what they say you are. You no doubt have gay friends, like I do. We believe what we believe. When the Yes vote wins the day we will not be in the majority. Stay true to yourself. You must keep the faith in the face of the vitriol you will cop. That’s life.


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