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.
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

Cr Melky alleges budget irregularity
Mmm, as usual Cr Melky fails to grasp even the most basic of budgeting principles. It is pretty much in line with his earlier confidence in predicting a budget surplus of around $12.6m last financial year, even promising to resign if he got it wrong.
I believe the surplus came in around $1.2m, some $11.4m less than predicted. I wonder what happened to the resignation. LOL
The half million Cr Melky is worried about will not appear on the next financial year’s list of expenses so council will not need to raise funds to cover it.
This should translate into a much lower or even no increase in the rates this time round, unless of course councillors who don’t understand what they are doing force additional cost onto the community.
Try working on that, Cr Melky, perhaps you could promise to resign again, if there’s an increase … just a thought.

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: it’s not over yet
I’ve been reliably informed that the petition is not signed by a thousand locals but by persons from right across the globe. As such it makes a contemptuous mockery of local opinion and should be treated with the distain that it deserves.
Any petition must carry the names and the residential addresses of those who sign so that they may be verified.

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
@ Concerned Arrernte Man: If you were indeed a concerned Arrernte “man” you would use your real name, like a man, so that we locals know what your word is worth.
What I suspect is that you aren’t local at all. We are trying to put our town together not rip it apart, your intention is clearly the opposite.
Anzac Hill was sincerely and solemnly dedicated by TOs many years ago to the purpose which it serves respectfully to this day.
It was and remains a joint community effort, if indeed you are a Arrernte man you would do well to respect and to learn from the decisions of your elders.

‘Dangerous, alarming’ property tax strongly opposed by council
Yeh Evelyn I used those words so as not to go into a long winded conversation about the technicalities of Drilling for Gas as it has nothing to do with the conversation at hand… However I am extremely well aware of the dangers or otherwise of Drilling. I have drilled water bores myself and I have family in the exploration business who own their own Rigs. Horizontal Drilling has been in use for a long time it has been developed simply to save costs because you don’t have to drill as many vertical penetrations through the water bearing Aquifers as such it is actually a much safer less expensive method of extraction. Further to this my comment around safety of some forms of Fracking refers to Coal Seam Gas which I substantially oppose.

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
It is important when dealing with issues that stir emotions and threaten to deepen the divides in our community that we remember and respect that we are One Nation called Australia. That we are a Democracy! We regard all our citizens as equals! In a democracy decisions fall in favour of the Majority, regardless of race, gender or religion.

Separate recognition is not respect! It is a continuation of, a deepening of, the Politics of Apartheid and Victimhood.
Nothing, but greater and greater division will come of it!
No good ever comes from Apartheid.
Only the institutionalised acceptance of lower standards and less expectation, for those on the wrong side of it.
Previously as a Councillor and Political Candidate I was approached time and time again by locals of Aboriginal background, Aussies who are sick to death of division who just want to get on with their lives just like the rest of us, stating that they do not want to see separate flags flying on Anzac Hill because that sends the message that they aren’t accepted as Australians.
I am also aware of Councillor DeBrenni and other efforts to consult widely on this front, checking the views of many locals Aboriginal and non-alike, making sure that their views are expressed clearly in Council.
Many local families don’t wish others to know their views as in a small town it can lead to family infighting as we have witnessed firsthand with a small group of locals attacking views expressed by Councillor Price. They rely heavily on their Elected Representatives to put forward their view and to stand up for them.
This whole flag flying issue was instigated by Labor MLA Chansey Paech its only intent to create disruption dissent and division its only intent to divert attention from his failure to stand up for our Community while once again it comes apart under a Labor Government.
The ladies who approached Council did so with a letter about respect reconciliation and working together. There was no mention whatsoever of flying flags, nor was it mentioned by Catherine Satour when presenting the letter. From events later in the evening it came to the fore that the letter was actually apart of an attack on Councillor Price because of her expressed views on the very things that should also be of great concern to these ladies.

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