Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 34 »

August 30, 2012

Country Libs now hold all seats in Central Australia

 

 

The Country Liberals now hold all seats in Central Australia with the confirmation of the victory in Stuart by Bess Price (pictured) who defeated Karl Hampton.
The Country Liberals will now have 16 seats in the Legislative Assembly, with seven for Labor. FULL STORY »

Palm Valley, Gosse Bluff to the rescue of our tourist industry?

 

ABOVE: 4WD tourists arrive at Palm Valley. RIGHT: Magnificent thick vegetation dominated by the unique Red Cabbage Palms.

 

With major changes in tourist promotion imminent under the new government, will places like Gosse Bluff and Palm Valley (above) finally get their place in the sun and become drivers of Alice Springs’ flagging tourism industry? ERWIN CHLANDA went for a trip into a paradise created millions of years ago. FULL STORY »

Convincing win for Country Liberals: ALP likely to lose its only seat in The Centre

The Country Liberals party has won a convincing victory in yesterday’s Territory elections, ending an 11 year rule by Labor.

The ABC says the party is likely to have 15 seats, with nine for Labor and one in dependent.

The change was mostly in the bush – previously supporting Labor.

In the huge electorate electorate of Stuart, the CL’s Bess Price (1004) is likely to unseat Karl Hampton (892) with First Nations Political Party candidate Maurie Ryan on 394 votes. Preferences will decide.

Ms Price said this morning that Mr Ryan had directed his preferences in Stuart to her, although elsewhere First Nations preferenced Labor.

She is confident to have won the seat and is overjoyed about the result: “It hasn’t really hit me yet that I will be part of the team that governs the Territory.

“Today I’ll be with my family, rejoicing, relaxing and preparing myself.”

In Central Australia’s other huge bush seat, Namatjira, the indomitable Alison Anderson was re-elected as a conservative candidate in the electorate which she had first won for the Labor Party.
By this morning’s figures she had 1690 primary votes, more than double her Labor opponent’s Des Rogers (740).
The CL’s Robyn Lambley, Adam Giles and Matt Conlan comfortably retained the three urban seats in Alice Springs.

Voter turnout in both rural seats was poor – just over 50% on current figures, with absent, early, postal and declaration votes yet to be counted.
PHOTO: Party supporters for the CL (left in the picture), the ALP and Greens at the racecourse polling place in Alice Springs.

 

  FULL STORY »

Centre pollies on the front bench

 

 

 

 

 

The Centre did well in the allocation of ministries in the new Mills government.
All except newcomer Bess Price, who has the huge Stuart electorate to look after, are on the front bench.
Deputy Chief Minister, Robyn Lambley (pictured with Mr Mills during electioneering in Alice Springs), is Treasurer and will also assume responsibility for Education, Families and Children, Corporate and Information Services and Central Australia. FULL STORY »

Polling day: Backing family, dad Warren H and aunty Alison

UPDATE, August 25, 10.41pm: With 95% of the ballot counted, Alison Anderson (Country Liberals) has been returned in Namatjira with  64.5% of the vote. Des Rogers (Labor) has 28.3% and Warren H. Williams (FNPP), 7.2%. Ms Anderson’s win is part of a historic swing to the CLP in the bush, which has given them government.

 

Nicholas Williams (at left) was in Hermannsburg this morning, handing out how-to-vote cards for his father, Warren H. Williams, while stationed in front of Alison Anderson’s campaign vehicle.

“I’m campaigning for both,” he said, “Warren is my father, Alison is my aunty.  I’m doing it for family.”

In practical terms that meant telling prospective voters to put his dad at number one but to give their second preference to Ms Anderson. This went against his father’s how-to-vote, where Ms Anderson was in the last spot, with second preference going to Labor’s Des Rogers. Nicholas said he didn’t mind who won the seat, out of his two relatives.

And the most important issue in his home community? Families have to change and become “role models” for kids, he said. KIERAN FINNANE reports from Hermannsburg. FULL STORY »

Sun, smoke and dust all part of the bush flavour

Crocodile meat and bush tomato were the “mystery” ingredients. Sun, smoke and dust went without saying.

The third annual Bushfoods “iron chef” competition was held last Sunday, at the Quandong Farm in Ilparpa Valley, where picnickers were welcomed by the Scales family. It was a somewhat challenging induction into cooking on an open fire for UK chef Chris Messenger, who’d never done it before. Suren Perera had, but often looked like he was longing for the cool stainless steel of his kitchen at the Barra on Todd.

They were both commended by judge Bec Gooderham, a former organiser of the competition, for doing “an amazing job” in the conditions. Her fellow judges Lisa Perry (Reality Bites) and Raelene Brown (Kungkas Can Cook), both experienced chefs,  commented on the difficulties of cooking with crocodile meat as well as cooking over a fire or in a camp oven. “Regulating the heat is a challenge,” said Brown, “it depends on the wood you use.” KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Chris Messenger (foreground) and Suren Perera sweat it out in the Bushfoods “iron chef” competition. Event coordinator Clare Woods lends a hand with the fire. FULL STORY »

Young dancers make their mark

 

Instead of skating or biking dare-devils on the edge of the half-pipe, it’s a crowd of parents and friends. They’ve come down to the Alice Springs Skate Park to watch Sprung, a new youth dance group. As the sun goes down, there’s a familiar rattling sound. The first dancers emerge, shaking out a rhythm: the rattle is from the all but empty spraycans in their  hands. They brandish them almost like a weapon, they inscribe bold flourishes in the air. The image is clear: this is about making your mark, as is spelled out in the overall title for the piece, Graffiti. KIERAN FINNANE went to last Friday’s performance. Click on FULL STORY for video.
FULL STORY »

Alice singled out in German Foreign Office travel warning

 

 

 

The website of the German Foreign Office singles out Alice Springs as Australia’s only location mentioned in the chapter dealing with crime (Kriminalitaet) in its general travel advice (Allgemeine Reiseinformationen). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Festive on the outside, same old on the inside

Jurrah arraignment adjourned

 

What was expected to be an arraignment, at which the Supreme Court would hear Liam Jurrah enter a plea, ended up being an adjournment. The wigged barristers laughed at the media present from four outlets. But at least our false expectations had exposed us to the excellent street art (pictured) by Nicky Schonkala and Ralf Haertel, as part of the Alice Desert Festival.

The work, which required a cherry-picker to install,  has given the dour Alice Springs courthouse a transforming friendly face, but inside, its serious business goes on unchanged. In the Jurrah matter all that happened, however, was that his bail conditions were altered, allowing him to reside also at an address in South Australia, given that his employer, the Melbourne Football Club, will be going into recess. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

After pork barrelling and scandalous waste of money, business as usual after the election? Afraid so.

This week the media reported that the NT government was going to spend over $400,000 to subsidise a ferry service between Darwin and the Tiwi Islands – to the tune of over $10,000 per trip. A scandalous waste of money. The Labor Government must be worried about holding the seat of Arafura and so applied some last minute grease to its campaign. We have seen several commitments of that type from both major parties during this election campaign. All this is par for the course.

More serious is that the election campaign has revealed that the real scandal in the NT – the diversion of general purpose (GST) monies from Aboriginal purposes to propping up the lifestyle of Darwin residents – is not only alive and well, but unchallenged by either major party. Whoever is elected this weekend will continue this deeply unethical practice. COMMENT by Rolf Gerritsen, Charles Darwin University. PHOTO: Prof Gerritsen. FULL STORY »

Remote Oz: neglect is just the beginning

The camp at the Granites goldmine north-west of Alice Springs. Workers fly in and out from all over Australia. Photo courtesy Newmont Mines.

 

A recurring theme during the election campaign was the question, why bother voting? And from that quite frequently flows: Let’s break away. But how?

Answers to that seem to be taking shape in several quarters. Desert Knowledge chairman Fred Chaney suggested getting rid of the states and running the country from Canberra and through local governments on steroids.

And the election has suddenly shifted the political centre of gravity from Darwin’s northern suburbs to the bush, through candidates and even a new party.Now Bruce Walker (pictured), the director of remoteFOCUS, Desert Knowledge Australia in Alice Springs, has argued in a submission to the Senate enquiry into Fly-In, Fly-Out that there are broad issues in remote Australia that need to be fixed.

By ERWIN CHLANDA. Photo:
FULL STORY »

Alleged assaults at youth rehab facility: Barry Abbott pleads ‘not guilty’

For the first time this week some detail emerged about what allegedly happened at Ilpurla Outstation last year that led to Barry Abbott (pictured), former Senior Territorian of the Year, facing charges of aggravated assault and deprivation of liberty.

Mr Abbott and his four co-accused, all members of his family, pleaded not guilty to all charges in the Alice Springs Magistrates Court on Monday. Their hearing is set down for December but defence lawyer Russell Goldflam had asked for a hearing to deal with legal argument.

How could this happen without some factual context, Magistrate John Neill wanted to know. So the briefest outline of agreed facts was presented on Tuesday afternoon. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Black power: voices from the bush have made themselves heard

Ken Lechleitner on polling day, campaigning for Warren H. Williams (back to the camera) in Hermannsburg. 

The Darwin-focussed politics of successive Territory governments has finally got the challenge it deserved and it came from the black vote in the bush. Credit has to go to the Country Liberals’ significant work in communicating with bush electorates and fielding credible candidates with strong local roots – this transformation of the Country Liberals is one of the major changes wrought by Labor’s 11 years in power. But the performance of the First Nations Political Party, particularly in the electorate of Stuart, suggests a broader politicisation of Aboriginal people, no longer happy to have other voices speaking for them.

The challenge for the Country Liberals government will now be to respond to their new support base, honouring their campaign promises. The challenge for the First Nations Political Party is to remain active, develop its thinking beyond the broad brush, and identify future credible candidates. On polling day at Hermannsburg KIERAN FINNANE spoke to Ken Lechleitner about the party’s future. FULL STORY »

Buying our 500 year old giants some time

 

Local Landcarers vying for top honours

 

Many Landcare groups around Australia focus on tree planting but in Alice Springs the chief concern of this small band of volunteers is tree protecting, by controlling weeds and preventing wildfires. Leading their David versus Goliath efforts has won a nomination to the National Landcare Awards for Tim Collins, chair of Alice Springs Landcare. He is one of 88 finalists.

Alice Springs Landcare came together because they could see the local landscape changing ‘before our very eyes”, says Mr Collins. You drive or walk around town and “you see the gaps”, he says: where once there was a magnificent river red gum, now there’s a blackened stump or an old giant lying there, shattered on the ground. And few young trees are growing to take their place.

The problem can be sheeted home to lack of adequate fire management and the rise of buffel grass which fuels wildfires, says Mr Collins. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Alice Springs Landcare chair Tim Collins removing slashed Buffel Grass in the Todd River as part of Green Corps training in 2011. Unemployed youth were trained in the use of machinery to create firebreaks, and the protection of trees from inadvertent damage. Photo by Tanya Howard. FULL STORY »

Murdoch’s Centralian Advocate probes Alice Springs News Online – and engages in selective quoting

UPDATE Fri Aug 31, 2pm: The Centralian Advocate today has printed only part of the story – a clear attempt to make me and this publication look bad.
Citing public interest as its motive, the Murdoch paper invited me to respond to questions and to comment. I did – but the Advocate left out the most salient detail. My statement to reporter Brooks was: “I have no debts other than to Forrest …”
Just in case she didn’t get it: I don’t owe a cent to anyone except David Forrest. – ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The Murdoch-owned Centralian Advocate is making enquiries about the Alice Springs News Online and its editor, Erwin Chlanda. FULL STORY »

Criminal Lawyers oppose One Punch Homicide law

The One Punch Homicide law was proposed by the Country Liberals following community concern arising from the tragic and violent death of Sgt Brett Meredith in Katherine. However, the trial of Michael Martyn, the man who caused Sgt Meredith’s death, resulted in a conviction for manslaughter. As a result, Mr Martyn is now serving a lengthy prison sentence. If that case illustrates anything, it is that the current law works. If Mr Martyn had been sentenced under the law now proposed by the Country Liberals, he would have been convicted of a much less serious offence, and in all likelihood would have received a lesser sentence. See Letter to the Editor from Russell Goldflam, president of the Criminal Lawyers Association NT. FULL STORY »

Street names story turns to saga

The wish of Lhere Artepe Enterprises (LAE) to honour traditional owners by naming streets after them in the Mt Johns subdivision has back-fired, or at least stalled. The commercial arm of the native title holders body, LAE, proposed the names “Werlatye” and “Irrampenye” for two new streets, which the Alice Springs Town Council, after some resistance, approved. Since publicity on the matter, council has received a number of phone calls, suggesting that the names are “offensive” to traditional owners, says CEO Rex Mooney. Council has now written to the Territory’s Place Names Committee, pointing to the concerns.

Meanwhile, in other council news, Mr Mooney and Mayor Damien Ryan have attended the AGM of the Outback Highway Development Committee, held this week in Boulia, Queensland. Council will be lobbying for a finacial commitment to the project when it meets with the new Country Liberals government . KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Sports tourism is money in the hand!

Sir,- Alice Springs has a wonderful sporting culture, excellent sports venues and great sporting organisations. Let’s bring all those elements together and create “Sports Tourism”.

We have everything we need in the town for a sports tourism venture, there are great organisers who run local sports clubs. If the visiting sports have a nice experience, then they will tell all their friends back home and word of mouth will start us back on the right track.
Councillor Eli Melky

0427 012 699

eli.melky@goldenhome.com.au FULL STORY »

Trucking … you gotta love it!

Amidst the crusty truckies at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame reunion in Alice Springs last week was one quite unlike the rest: she is a petite blonde driving the rig of the year, a 50 tonne Drake low loader pulled by a 550 horsepower Western Star – total value more than half a million dollars.
Perhaps the only hint there may be a woman driver behind the wheel is the prime mover’s colour: pink.
Julie Gavin transports earthmoving and mining equipment all around Australia.

Does she know what the future will hold for the industry she loves? “Good question. What’s next week’s lotto numbers, Erwin?” ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Adorned and adored

Though the veteran designers of the Alice Desert Festival’s Wearable Arts Awards have all but bowed out, the arts and the show live on. Certain names are now establishing themselves as ones to watch out for  – such as Simone Kilian and Tina Tilhard – while names associated with different roles – such as Jen Standish-White and Mary Menotti – have emerged to reveal unsuspected talent. Edginess, provocation and humour were not to the fore this year, but refined skills were – in design, execution and performance. Many models did much more than strut – some expressed moments of intense drama and emotion, others revelled in the sensual experience of the adorned body and pulsating music. WORDS by KIERAN FINNANE, PICTURES by ERWIN CHLANDA.

 

Photo: Deliberately Lit by Clare Whitcombe (designer and model), inspired by last year’s bushfires, winner of the Fantasia Award.

 

Video, in order: It’s in the Bag by Alex Stephens; Tealirious Sirena by Tina Tilhard, performed by Sally Balfour; The Upside Down Tree by Kate Yoffa; Aquila Marirosa by Mary Menotti and Henry Smith; Coffee Anyone? by Simone Kilian, performed by Hamish McGauchie; Hot Head by Philomena Hali, performed by Melissa Zahoruijko; Top End Coast Line by Carol Phayer, modelled by Jaimee Eaton; Beneath the Surface by Leonie Oakes, performed by Courtney Summers; Angled by Simone Kilian, performed by Jasmine Ahwah; Duprada Dance Company; final parade of award winners.

 

Click on FULL STORY for more pictures and video. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Truckies should get danger money

Sir,- I’m currently running THE TRUCKIES DANGER MONEY PETITON to have danger money incorporated in our award system as we have the highest rates of death for any occupation in Australia. My phone number is 0409619838 and my email address is steven_tonilea@yahoo.com.au
Steven Corcoran FULL STORY »

Bleak tunnel vision in new book on Alice Springs

 

 

 

UPDATED, 4 November, 2012, 3.37pm: RUSSELL GOLDFLAM offers a different assessment of the book. see FULL STORY.

 

With her book Alice Springs, author Eleanor Hogan sets out to write an account that moves beyond “the polarities of political debate and media perceptions of Alice Springs”. This is stated at page 38, when I was already beginning to have my doubts. At the end of reading the further 261 pages, in a handsomely produced small format hardcover, these are confirmed. She has focused almost entirely on one pole, the bleak one, of a town all but overwhelmed by Aboriginal tragedy and dysfunction, and deeply divided along race lines. Tell me if I’m wrong, but that is the dominant media perception of Alice Springs, and for all her efforts, Hogan has just added to it, in spades. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.

 

At left: The book cover – Alice Springs? No, it’s Roma Gorge in the West MacDonnells (photo by Ryan Tews.) FULL STORY »

LETTER: Tennant Creek radar shut-down puts lives at risk

Sir,- We, the  Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, have questioned the Federal Government over its decision to shut down the Bureau of Meteorology in Tennant Creek and along with it, the weather radar. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Change necessary to secure bright future for solar project in Alice

Sir,- A Charles Darwin University review into the Alice Solar City project has found that while the project has been highly successful, it must adapt if it is to continue and survive into the future. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Time for a third sealed national route

Sir,- The Outback Highway Development Council Inc (OHDC) in the last two months has updated the WA, Qld and the federal governments and the federal opposition about the Outback Way project, which returns $4.70 into the economy for every dollar spent.
The meetings have been advantageous, with welcome support  from all levels of government. However the appropriate funding avenue needs further work, by us, the states and the Commonwealth.
Patrick Hill

Chairman OHDC Inc. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Get value for money from the pollies

Sir,- Well how the tables have turned after the election. The Berrimah Line is still in place make no mistake it’s a numbers thing but the power is now on the other side because of the numbers .
This would have to be the best chance for the revitalisation of the NT since self government.
Peter Johns
Mackay QLD, formerly Alice Springs FULL STORY »

Land Council chairman charged with drunk driving

 

 

 

The new chairman of the Central Land Council (CLC), Phillip Wilyuka (pictured), has been charged with driving under the influence of “medium range blood alcohol content”. FULL STORY »