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

Scott McConnell now to vote as an Independent
I very much share Scott’s concerns re the Fifth Floor erosion of basic democracy!
Oversight and control of the bureaucratic machines of government is the sole responsibility of elected community representatives.
Department heads and political advisers roles are just that, to advise and to say “yes, Sir” upon a decision of the elected body.
Unfortunately the lines have become blurred.
Many who have no place actively involve themselves in the political foray, crossing the supposed divide between elected government and administration.
I believe this has come about because the government has become so incestuous, we are electing public servants and political advisers far to often!
Pre-selection committees should keep in mind that the whole concept of democracy and elected government is that the community has control over the government it is subjected to!
I agree totally with Scott on this issue: Time to reinstate democracy!


House break-ins more than double
Labor Government withdrew the police from the bottle shops presentations at the hospital blew out! Crimes against the person blew out! Domestic violence blew out!
Police were reinstated to bottle shops and these things returned to their previous levels.
Now we are expected to give some credit for the subsequent reduction in the associated crime figures!
Meanwhile break-ins are up because the numbers of kids on the streets are up and nothing’s been done!
A little birdie indicated just prior to Christmas that the Alice would be getting a 24/7 Youth Centre by boosting Tangentyere Councils Drop in Centre, however since that time … silence!
Apparently the idea has succumbed to budgetary restraint since the announcement that we are broke.
I bet the $200m for the Children and Families Computer system is still going ahead though!
While considering budgetary constraints it would create a better all round result if the Minister was cutting that item rather than the actual on-ground services that have a real chance of making a huge difference to our costs for policing, courts and corrections, while building community confidence and harmony.
Budget constraints, sure, we’ve got to have them, but let’s just think through our priorities before acting: Less bureaucracy, more coal face service!


West Macs fire mitigation critically inadequate: Scientist
@ Alex Hope: So Alex do you think Parks is achieving its purpose now! Is the buffel eradicated? Is the flora and fauna in a better state than when it was a pastoral lease?
Is the park in a condition that we can show it to the world in order to attract the tourists who fund our economy? Have we protected near extinct species?
To just what level of destruction to you propose we go in chasing what some see as a weed and what others know is actually a highly beneficial grass?
At what stage do you stop this battle against grass and look behind you to see the horrific damage that has been done?
By the time the mentality which you espouse is through, if left to run unchecked, there will only be vast fields of buffel grass left all our native animals, trees, shrubs and grasses will be gone, driven into the ground through the actions of irresponsible idiots.
Sensible licensed grazing by shepherded animals is a practical tool that will not only protect the park to a much greater degree from fire but can also add to the park’s attractiveness for visitors, locals running mobile Dude ranch activities and the like.
Parks are for people Alex, not for the sole use of left wing ideologues hell bent on proving some political point at any expense!
As for Illparpa Rd … you are kidding aren’t you? To keep buffel out of that tiny area quite literally thousands of litres of highly toxic now thought to be carcinogenic sprays has and is being used on a continual basis!
So just how much chemical and how much man power would we need for the park, do you think?


Park fire protection: new management plan doesn’t spell it out
The worst thing about these kinds of documents and plans is that in a world of cut and paste they go on and on often returning to the original. No learning. No advancement.
At least one and probably both of the major fire instances to which the document refers were started by prescribed burning!.
I suspect this latest fire or at least its continuation is also very much down to prescribed burning practices! The Lesson: Prescribed burning puts our parks at much greater risk of wildfire”! And if those traditional owners could only see what their words have led to in practice, they would be utterly horrified!
Time for an inquiry and a whole new plan, along with an extinction event for the original.


West MacDonnells blaze: sorrow and questions
Yes, well its clearly evident the fire management strategies as set out have been thrown all to hell and completely ignored for a considerable period of time.
As a result the damage done to the Western Macs, particularly the eastern end, is immeasurable, horrific, particularly when you take into account present weather outlook.
Whatever wildlife is left will probably starve. This may well be an extinction event for some species, as the ranges are very much the last refuge for some.
Just a few short years of park mismanagement have done more damage than 200 years of heavy stocking even overstocking could.
It’s time for an open public inquiry into the land use and management of this area, which is of strategic importance to the future of our environment, our tourism sector and our pastoralists on the extremities.
Tourism in the Centralian region was founded not on Ayers Rock as many might imagine, but on the Western Macs! They are of the utmost importance to our future!
We cannot let this moment pass without questioning all that has taken place.
I like others share a deep sense of sadness and loss at this devastation, trees and habitat that were literally hundreds of years old in the most precious of places have gone!
It will take centuries without devastating fire in these places to replace them! That is how immense the loss is!
So let’s not waste our time on apologies and excuses, let’s get to the bottom of this thing, let’s have a long hard look at the value of advice and management practices that led us to this place, then figure out a better way of doing things from this time on.


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