I was pleasantly surprised by the fairly nonpartisan and constructive …

Comment on Advice on ‘insane’ air fares from blackfeller Bob Katter by Steve Brown.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fairly nonpartisan and constructive approach just about every one of the panellist and questioners took in the QandA forum.
It appears to signal a new mood in the community, pushing aside the politics, setting about finding cooperative solutions.
The same mood was evident at the public meeting on our youth issues a couple of weeks back.
It’s great to see and if people are prepared to keep working that way we will eventually force the changes we’ve needed now for generations.
The discussion was spoiled a little by Bob Katter’s opportunistic use of “Black Fellas”, “White Fellas”, as often as possible.
It seemed he intended to set up a racial divide ’round the issues being discussed as if somehow there is no common purpose or outcome which is good for all of us.
Bob’s loudmouthing is in complete contrast to the mood and intent of the rest of the room, which took the stance that our issues are everybody’s, regardless of race.
Forget about the skin colour Bob, we are all people!
I suggest you address everyone regardless of race in a respectful egalitarian manner and leave our colour out of it. The sooner we all learn to do that as a matter of principle the sooner we see an end to the division that is the root cause of so many of our community’s issues.
I was particularly impressed by the contribution and that of latecomer to the panel, William Tilmouth, who I thought spoke very thoughtfully.
I agree whole heartedly with many of his comments especially those regarding the disempowerment of communities and men by the Intervention.
I also agree whole-heartedly with Jacinta Price who spoke as always with belief and passion but wasn’t given enough opportunity to present her whole argument.
The facts are that the Intervention was both good and bad, inasmuch as the basics card, extra policing and other programs have helped to protect women and kids. This is the most important of all steps towards ending the plight of Aboriginal people!
The removal of thousands of neglected kids is a good result if it is attributable to the Intervention, not a bad result as Barb Shaw tried to portray it.
It means action is being taken to end abuse! However, while it’s a good thing to see abused kids removed from their plight we absolutely have to get looking after these kids right!
So far nothing I’ve seen convinces me that we are creating better circumstances for these kids. Care is not a slogan at the end of an NGO’s name! Care means care, it means love, it means empathy! The cold-blooded arguments for kids’ rights we’ve witnessed continually from our Intervening legal system is destroying kids’ lives!
We simply must get our approach to helping these kids right before we can claim any success for the Intervention or any other program.
The bad of the Intervention, something that we must address when we revisit the Constitution, is that legislation which enabled the Intervention to take place used a clause in the Constitution of Australia which allows the government to make and implement laws based on race.
In an egalitarian nation, such a clause is plainly, simply wrong!
If it was a good idea to issue basic cards to Aboriginal persons then in an egalitarian nation it was also a good idea to issue those cards to every other welfare recipient, regardless of race.
Same goes for any other measures. Singling out on the basis of race is not only divisive it is bare facedly racist, disempowering and humiliating for many fine decent and upstanding Australians
I also agree with William that the Intervention and the move to shires then regional councils removed a sense of identity from many communities. I believe we need to revisit this issue.
I also heard a comment justifying the Intervention on the basis that it provided extra housing. Yeh, I think it did – mostly on the Gold Coast! The housing program stepped on and over a local industry that was providing housing at a greater rate than it ever did.
It forced up the prices to utterly ridiculous levels and huge portions of the funding was simply rorted by creating the most ridiculous levels of bureaucracies and reporting. In short, the Interventions housing program was a bloody joke!
If a fraction of that billion dollars had been put through the pre-existing remote housing industry we would have built literally hundreds more houses than the Intervention achieved, and we would have achieved that in a fraction of the time using local labour instead of FIFO. This would have benefited the whole community, keeping a much greater portion of the funding in local hands.
In my view, the Intervention housing program rates a huge fail!
Finally, must say I was a bit surprised by Dale’s comment round the art industry is worried that the construction of a national art and cultural centre would in some way be detrimental to their businesses.
Really!
The flow-on effect of such a centre even if it were to sell as well as display art, the visitors it will attract from all over the world, people seeking authenticity, will provide enormous opportunity not just for those in the art industry but for everyone.
This would include, I believe, all those very authentic community art centres. They are just what visitors keen to avoid mass produced art will be looking for!
They will be seeking them out in droves. There’s nothing to fear. Alice needs to get right behind this fabulous project!

Recent Comments by Steve Brown

Gallery: Council did not say boo
It is time we all recognised that Aboriginal people are equal individual Australians and can speak for themselves, having as many and varied opinions on subjects as the rest of us.
Too much consultation, too much discussion is not a healthy thing. It leads to bogged down confusion, exacerbates division and generally leads to nowhere, no result.
That’s why we have a system of a democratically elected government, to make decisions on our behalf.
In the case of the gallery they have selected their site and are sticking to their decision, good on them for that much at least.
Let’s now see if they can actually produce something on the ground. I must say I really do have doubts, however time will tell.
The important thing about living in a democracy is to understand that while you push your argument for all its worth during the discussion, at the end of the process, when the decision is made, win or loose or draw you must put self interest aside accept the result and out of respect and in the interest of your community’s advancement.
Fall in behind the a decision reached by a majority government.
If you don’t like what they have done kick them out at the next election!


Gallery: Council did not say boo
Polls are run in attempt to gain community feeling on a subject, not to make the actual decision.
If we ever reach such a farcical state where that occurs, the country will simply cease to function.
The important thing to take into account from the polls, petitions and rallies is not the results for and against, but the numbers that participated.
Of the small number who did, on every occasion except for the councils latest fascicle attempt, which was clearly hacked, the numbers were well below 2000.
Divided about 50-50, a thousand each out of a town of 28,500 residents!
In planning or decision making those who do not show an interest one way or the other are counted as supportive!
A thousand against equals a tiny 3.5% of the population! Not at all sure we would want to base any decision making on that!
Further, council only exists under the Territory’s Local Government Act.
It is in fact owned wholly and solely by the Territory Government which makes it a matter of protocol in such circumstances that the Territory Government takes the lead and makes the decision.
The council’s role is to advise and lobby on behalf of and in the interests of its own future role but not to stand in the way of a government of which council itself is actually a part!
In light of that fact the council’s decision to be site neutral and simply to work with government to achieve the best possible outcome for our community is absolutely the correct position, just a shame they didn’t explain it to the community!
Oh, and the Territory Government does not have to “resume” that which it already owns to start work on it!
So council would be well advised to ingratiate itself making certain it is part of design committees and project implementation, committees where they will be in the best possible place to influence the final outcome.


Anonymous donation doesn’t fix conflict of interest for council
There were very important representations made to the Prime Minister by community organisations grateful for a very rare opportunity to put their case directly to the top.
I attended a round table with police talking about child abuse, DASA talking about a huge increase in ice abuse in our community.
I was there to talk about the need to look after our street kids and the provision of a 24/7 drop in centre. I know Red Tails and others also contributed.
The Prime Minister talked about putting together a regional plan. That was the level of discussion going on.


Anonymous donation doesn’t fix conflict of interest for council
One of the primary roles a council performs for its community is public relations, meeting greeting guests, trying to give a friendly welcoming all round good impression of the community.
Acting like a sales person if you like, in selling the benefits of our community to the world.
Individuals, businesses, governments of all persuasions from all levels are lobbied.
Considering this role, do we seriously think spending $1400 on greeting the leader of the nation is an issue?
Wouldn’t you think that greeting the distributor of the vast amounts of government funding this community receives would be just plain respectful good manners?
I am utterly appalled ashamed at the actions of four small minded disrespectful councillors who cannot put aside petty personality politics for five minutes to support the greater interest of this community.
It is an indictment of the farcical electoral system which throws up such narcissistic individuals who clearly place no value on the gains of our community, simply intent on creating obnoxious, always contrary mayhem to cover a contemuously lazy and disrespectful approach for the role to which were elected.


Price, Turnbull should pay for town council function: Cr Banks
I cant believe the disrespectful “entitled” commentary around this subject, really?
We are a small town in the centre of Australia, one of thousands of small towns in this country, the Prime Minister of our nation shows enough interest in our community’s struggles to take time out and visit to discuss advancing our region through the establishment of a regional plan, so very much in the interests of every Centralian!
And yet we get a couple of non contributing councillors who couldn’t be bothered fulfilling their own expected role as councillors, but still with their hand out for a similar amount every month, whingeing about a lousy 1400 dollars to facilitate and respectfully greet the leader of our nation!
Of course council should facilitate the Prime Minister and his departments meeting greeting, facilitating important visitors to town is a primary role for councils everywhere.
I’ll bet you a penny to a pound that there are councils of small towns all over this country who would shell out considerably more for the same opportunity, because it is in the interest of their constituents!
And if you don’t understand that then I can only suggest that you don’t belong anywhere near our council!
Further in recent months I have noted a continuous flow of disinformation from certain councillors, claims of bullying, not being invited to events and recently claims that having to officially apologise for non attendance is some kind of bullying isolation of the few.
What utter garbage. The line of code of conduct charges against one councillor came from council staff not other councillors because that councillor is a disrespectful loud mouth whose comments are often very disrespectful of staff.
Whether those code of conducts were upheld is completely irrelevant, what is relevant is the fact that staff felt the need to make them in the first place!
It is their only form of defence when they are impinged, it points, very pointedly I believe, to who the bully in the pack is.
Further, some councillors simply aren’t contributing, not giving the very large commitment the role requires, not bothering to show up for meetings, not having read their notes when they do.
The requirement to register their apologies is so that the public gets to see for themselves who is contributing to the nitty gritty plain boring hard work and who is taking a free ride and using the councillor role to grandstand trying to sell the idea they are actually contributing to our community. I hope local media will also keep a firm eye on this.


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