December 3, 1997

A union organiser says he was being harassed by senior staff of the Ayers Rock Resort Company (ARRC) as an enterprise agreement – in the making for nearly three years – was tossed out by the workers. The company says it is reserving its comment on all issues relating to the failed agreement.
Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union organiser in Alice Springs, Mark Wheeler, says he was denied access to an office where ARRC staff counted the workers' votes on the proposed agreement. He says he was threatened with eviction by company security.
Mr Wheeler says he was told by ARRC human resources manager Glen Cameron that he was "not welcome on this site".
Mr Wheeler says his estimate is that the agreement was defeated by 120 votes to 40, but the company is keeping secret the results of the ballot.
Mr Wheeler says his information comes from a source inside the company. He says negotiations will now have to continue until an agreement is reached.
The company – in which the NT Government sold its 60 per cent share when General Property Trust became the new owner early last month – attempted to drastically diminish the conditions for ordinary workers while improving those of salaried staff and management.
Mr Wheeler says union members would have: lost the 10 per cent loading for part-time employees;
the loading for casual employees would have been reduced from 25 to 16 per cent;
a change of roster – now subject to a week's notice – would have come at the sole discretion of management;
casuals would have become entitled to overtime benefits after 12 hours instead of the present eight;
rest breaks would have been cut from 15 minutes to 10;
and accrued sick leave entitlements would have started after six months instead of the present one month.
Mr Wheeler says the company tried to exclude the union from all dispute procedures and would have raised maximum twin share rents from $78.10 to $120. A removal of week-end benefits would have cost workers up to $4827 a year.
Mr Wheeler says the mood at Yulara towards the company and the NT Government is "hostile" over the sacking of local government.
The union's victory was likely to have repercussions wherever around the nation hospitality workers were being pressured "into acceptance of sub-standard conditions of employment".
The resort has more than 1000 employees. Mr Wheeler says union membership has risen "sharply" in the last 12 to 18 months.
The union has offered to meet with ARRC later this week.


A joint report by the Australian Law Reform Commission and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has formally recommended that the Commonwealth Attorney-General introduce federal legislation to override Northern Territory and Western Australian mandatory detention provisions for juvenile offenders, unless that legislation is repealed.
The report, Seen and heard: priority for children in the legal process, was released last month. A response from the Commonwealth Attorney-General is expected early in the New Year.
The report describes mandatory sentencing as offending against "the principle of proportionality which requires that the penalty imposed be proportional to the offence in question."
This common law principle also requires that the facts of the offence and the circumstances of the offender to be taken into account, a principle reiterated by the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC), article 40. The NT and WA laws also breach the requirement that, in the case of children, detention should be a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period (CROC article 37).
Mandatory detention violates a number of provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the prohibition on arbitrary detention in article nine. The report says: "Both CROC and ICCPR [binding treaties to which Australia has committed itself] require that sentences should be reviewable by a higher or appellate court. By definition, a mandatory sentence cannot be reviewed."
Human Rights Commissioner Chris Sidoti, in a letter to the national convenor of Defence for Children International Australia, considered the principles enshrined in the ICCPR and CROC in relation to the NT's Juvenile Justice Amendment Act (No. 2) 1996. He wrote: "I am particularly concerned about the provisions for mandatory detention of no less than 28 days for juveniles aged 15 and above, found guilty on more than one occasion of committing property offences.
"This move towards a harsher sentencing regime is out of step with the principle that rehabilitation should be the goal of juvenile justice, and that the detention of juveniles should be used only as last resort."
On the question of deterrence, Mr Sidoti said: "Surveys undertaken both within Australia and overseas have made it clear that the imposition of tougher sentencing for young offenders does not lead to a decrease in juvenile crime.
"On the contrary, the overwhelming conclusion from available statistics is that young offenders subject to custodial sentences, as distinct from non-custodial programs, are more likely to experience long term contact with the criminal justice system.
"The NT Government's stated objectives of eliminating crime and protecting the community would be far better served by a greater emphasis on non-custodial and rehabilitative options, with detention as a measure of last resort."
The Alice Springs News faxed Chief Minister and Territory Attorney-General Shane Stone detailed questions relating to the issues raised in the Seen and heard report.
At the time of going to press, Mr Stone had not replied.


Chief Minister Shane Stone claims to listen to youth, through his Round Table of Young Territorians. So, just what does the Round Table think about the Territory's most dramatic law affecting youth, the mandatory sentencing of juveniles for a second or subsequent property offence? KIERAN FINNANE spoke to the Round Table's president Mathew Smith, from New Crown Station, south of Alice Springs, on the edge of the Simpson Desert.
Mr Smith is withdrawing from the Round Table at the end of this year as he turns 26 in February. In the past two weeks he has been busy interviewing applicants for next year's Round Table.
Alice News: Has mandatory sentencing of juveniles been on the Round Table's agenda this year?
Mathew Smith: It has been. We've never formed any conclusive opinions on it but we've discussed it. We decided that not everyone could come to a consensus, so we left it as having no official opinion in the end.
News: What sort of information did you have before you?
Smith: When it was first broached, we got everybody's general idea of whether they were for or against it, but we decided that we really didn't have enough information. In a second meeting we brought a police officer in and he gave us the rundown on the basics of mandatory sentencing – you have to be between 15 and 17, it has to be a second offence to get the 28 days' minimum. We decided that we couldn't really see any need to change any of it, or certainly we didn't have the degree of knowledge to change any of it anyway.
News: Did you ask, for instance, to look at the type of cases that were coming before the courts and were being sentenced?
Smith: No, we didn't. We certainly had heard of cases, the bike helmet one was one of them, but in that instance I believe it was not a case of mandatory sentencing anyway.
News: No, it was under the Territory Infringement Notice Enforcement Scheme, but it still meant that a juvenile was locked up. Has that ever been discussed by the Round Table?
Smith: No. We were certainly told that mandatory sentencing was only for property offences committed by 15 and 16 year olds. And for adults of course, but we're really only concerned with juveniles. We are certainly concerned with the age group 17 to 25 as well but it didn't seem to be as politically hot an issue as the juveniles are.
News: What was the range of viewpoints? Were there any people clearly opposed to it?
Smith: Not really. We didn't have any really strong opinions one way or the other. We really didn't know enough. There are a couple of law students on the Round Table and they knew more about it than most of us did.
Then there are the 12 year olds up to 16 year olds who didn't have any idea at all as to what it was about. I've heard of schools saying if you muck up on muck up day, under mandatory sentencing you'll be going to gaol, which is completely false of course, because it has to be a second or subsequent offence. Plus the judge has discretion on the first offence not to record a conviction, so it could in fact be a third offence before you get to the sentencing stage.
As far as we could see it would really only catch the repeat offenders.
I have heard that it breaks at least three articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I read them, articles three, 37 and 40, I think. I'm not a law student, I see them from a simplistic point of view, but I definitely saw them as motherhood statements that you could read anything into and I had difficulty understanding how mandatory sentencing broke them. I really couldn't offer an opinion one way or another.
News: Do you separate your views from those of the Round Table?
Smith: Everyone on the Round Table has a view and it is certainly heard. When we come to an agreement it is always by consensus. We won't go one way or the other and try to persuade some to come on board. If we can't come to a consensus we're better off not coming to a decision at all, better off finding out more information, speaking about the issue more and then coming to a consensus.
With this Round Table, because it's never been done before, we spent 90 per cent of our time working out what we could do, couldn't do, how to run a meeting – because with the ages running from 12 to 25 you certainly have to run your meetings differently from an adult meeting – so we really put in solid groundwork for next year's Round Table. Hopefully they'll take issues like this on. They were too big for us to be trying to deal with as well as working out how to run the Round Table.
We were also busy with the Upstart program, the small business program for youth which goes to Cabinet this week, and the Youth Festival which was huge. Issues like mandatory sentencing were extremely difficult and we would have loved to have had a crack at but it was too difficult in the space of time we had. We certainly didn't get enough time and enough information to come to a consensus.
News: What resources do you have?
Smith: Huge amounts. The Office of Youth Affairs has everything to do with youth in there, at a touch of a finger it is on your computer screen, or emailed into you from another department.
News: Do you think the Round Table adequately addressed mandatory sentencing of juveniles? Incarceration, after all, is a permanent mark on somebody's record, and did you think at all about the sort of psychological and emotional experience it might be?
Smith: That's a difficult one. I think it will be more appropriate for next year's group to tackle. They'll have five meetings, five members who've already started to deal with it, and they can work from there, they'll have a good 12 month period to tackle it. I certainly do think it's an important issue but I think it's blown out of proportion. The biggest problem, I find, is if you commit a second or subsequent offence and you face mandatory sentencing, you'll be taken away from where you live. If you actually live in Darwin and go to Don Dale then I don't see it as a big issue, but certainly for rural areas I do.
News: Are you are aware that juveniles have been in the adult gaol, 18 of them, two for up to 10 days. What do you think about that?
Smith: I don't know anything about their cases, but I've been informed that they were in solitary confinement, so they haven't been mixing with adult inmates, but I honestly couldn't comment on it because I don't know what their offences were.
News: Young Territorians in Round Table terms are from 12 to 25 years old, yet under the justice laws once you're 17 you're considered an adult, once you go to gaol you are mixing with adult prisoners. Did you discuss that at all?
Smith: No, we didn't discuss that. I mean, from 17 it's an issue, but from 18 you're an adult anyway. If you commit an offence and you go to gaol as an adult I don't see any problem with that.
News: Do you think there might be a problem of disproportionate punishment for some offences? For example, a 15 year old Central Australian faces a mandatory sentence for stealing a mattress. He was found asleep on it, it's a second offence, and for that he could face 28 days in the Don Dale Detention Centre in Darwin. Do you think there's a problem there?
Smith: I can give my personal opinion. I have to separate myself from the Round Table here and say yes, I do think that's a problem. But on the other hand, I'm not 100 per cent against mandatory sentencing. In some cases it works quite well, in other cases it doesn't work so well.
News: Magistrates always had the discretion to sentence and detain.
Smith: As far as I understand there are 200 repeat offenders in the Territory. The way it was described to us, from a police point of view, is that mandatory sentencing was really not designed to catch those that steal mattresses or break in to try and feed themselves. It was designed to try and curtail those 200 that were constantly breaking in, stealing or committing property offences three, four, five times and either getting community service or not getting anything at all.
When you look at that side of it, you can see why there is a need, but on the other side, from a personal point of view, when it is someone trying to get some food or a mattress, and they don't take anything out of the house, then you can argue that it might be fairly harsh.
News: Are your discussions unfettered?
Smith: We decided that we really preferred it to be just the Round Table, and the Director of the Office of Youth Affairs is in there, no one else. It is really a think tank and members want to be able to say anything they like, which helps creativity and lateral thinking.
NEXT WEEK: The too hard basket is on next year's agenda.

Sir,- First of all, I want to say that your naming of a person and his associated company in the Alice News is scurrilous to the extreme. You started the statement by saying "rumour has it that (etc)" and without any substantiation, named the businessperson, potentially adversely affecting that person's business and good name. It is a most irresponsible act for a newspaper which purports to be an honest paper.
As regards your interview with Erlich, it goes to show how poorly informed both of you are. The enclosed Special Budget 1997 Issue of Greatorex Voice will give you a detailed list of planned development for Central Australia.
And don't forget the $20m plus spent on the Desert Park, one of the best of its kind, and the Fire and Emergency Centre, next to the St Johns Centre, both recently developed and opened within the boundaries of the Alice Springs municipality.
As an alderman on the Alice Springs Town Council, what has Erlich done to promote businesses moving into Alice Springs? What incentives has she brought forward through the council to encourage businesses to come here? What has she done through her position of power in the council to improve the economy of our community?
The Northern Territory Government promotes businesses through the Department of Asian Relations, Trade and Industry, Northern Territory Tourism Commission and the Department of Mines and Energy to mention but a few. We have a small oil industry. We have gas, which we supply to the rest of the Territory.
Our cattle industry in Central Australia forms a large part of the Northern Territory economy.
Our camel industry is being developed by people with a vision for the future.
The horticulture industry (grapes, cut flowers, dates, asparagus, citrus, now tomatoes and olives) is rapidly growing from a base of zero a few years ago.
With improved business, our life-styles improve. Even your newspaper benefits from the advertisements paid for by these very same businesses. Do you or Erlich recognise that the unemployment rate in the Northern Territory is at 4.3 per cent as compared to the national average of 8.6 per cent?
Obviously the Northern Territory Government is doing the right thing, resulting in an unemployment rate, the envy of all states and territories in Australia.
And the CDEP argument is spurious to say the least. The local CLP members of the Northern Territory Government fight very loudly and strongly for Alice Springs. The list of capital works and recurrent expenditure in the above mentioned issue of Greatorex Voice will show you that the Northern Territory Government is aware of our needs.
"We're being kept in the dark," Erlich said. When did Erlich last take the initiative to contact one of the local CLP MLAs? Has she asked any of them recently about anything in particular? When did the Town Council last invite the local members of Parliament to meet with Council?
"Many civil servants in Alice Springs are frustrated with their lack of autonomy, with the resources, decision making and manpower being centralised in Darwin," was another comment Erlich made.
Sadly, it seems to me that Erlich and you do not feel that we are all part of the Territory team. Our civil servants are part of a team to help manage the totality of the Northern Territory.
We should recognise that Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory and the seat of government. It is closest to the Timor Sea where much exploration and discovery is taking place. Darwin, by its geographical location, is set to benefit from all that.
Is it realistic for us to expect the same for Alice Springs which is 1500 km away? Alice Springs has its own strengths, which the Territory government recognises and promotes. We are not Darwin nor should we aspire to be.
You say it is unhealthy to have a strong majority government in the Northern Territory. Take a look at Tasmania and its minority government. The economists describe Tasmania to be in "negative growth", as if there were such a condition. What they mean is that Tasmania's economy and population are shrinking. Do we want that for the Northern Territory?
Look at the difficulties of other minority governments - Queensland and South Australia comes to mind immediately.
Do we want that here? No thanks, not for me.
Dr Richard Lim
MLA for Greatorex
Alice Springs
[ED - Dr Lim's hysterical and groundless attack on the Alice News smacks of a hidden agenda. Unlike him, none of our other readers seem to have had any difficulty understanding that our comment piece was reflecting on the feelings of powerlessness and frustration which the processes of his government are generating. The business person Dr Lim refers to was contacted by the Alice News and his response reported accurately. Is Dr Lim suggesting that revealing an association with the NT Government as a contractor is harmful to ones reputation? Our point was that the secretive way in which Dr Lim's colleagues are conducting their business promotes rumours and speculation and inhibits informed judgment. Dr Lim has a hide to suggest the Alice News is ill informed when he and his colleagues are keeping the media and the public in the dark as a matter of deliberate and ongoing policy. As we have told him many times, we have dozens of examples where our enquiries on matters of public interest have not been answered. One of the longest standing enquiries stonewalled by his government is about the difference between the cost and the revenue of utilities supplied by the taxpayer to the monopolistic Ayers Rock Resort Company. The most recent is whether the government is chopping $7m out of the Living With Alcohol program, as suggested by DASA. If Dr Lim wants us to be better informed then he should end the muzzling - in a manner reminiscent of totalitarian regimes - of Territory public servants. If they are, as he claims, "part of the team", why are they prohibited from speaking freely, through the media, about their areas of expertise and responsibility? Dr Lim asserts that the "CDEP argument", with respect to the NT's actual unemployment rate, is "spurious". Says who? Where is Dr Lim's evidence? The Alice News wrote extensively about the issue (March 12 - the full text is on our Internet Website). We quoted a key player as having serious doubts about the scheme, and report that the NT jobless rate would be around 15 per cent - the highest in the nation - if CDEP participants were counted as unemployed. There was not a peep out of Dr Lim at the time. His attempt at shooting the messenger won't discourage the Alice News from reporting the news, and commenting on it, in accordance with the highest standards of journalism, and with the interest of our community as the bottom line. We have invited Fran Erlich, a widely respected figure in the community, and an elected alderman, discourteously referred to by Dr Lim only as "Erlich", to reply to his attack on her.]
MRS ERLICH'S REPLY: Sir,- Dr Lim is referring to an interview I gave the Alice News about the possible formation of another political party in Alice Springs. One of the major reasons the issue was raised was because of community disenchantment with the style of the Government. Dr Lim argues that is good for the Territory to have a strong majority Government and connects economic problems in other states with minority Governments. I don't agree that that is a valid reference but the point that I was actually making was that a party which has been in Government as long as the CLP with no viable opposition is much less responsive to the will of the people than one which is likely to be tipped out at the next election. I think that this has been borne out by recent events, such as the sacking of Yulara Council without any consultation, and the high-handed approach to the old gaol demolition. Dr Lim laments the fact that I do not feel "part of the Territory team". I am very proudly an Alice Springs resident and Territorian by birth but I don't know what it means to be part of some Territory team - that presupposes a homogeneity which does not exist here, and also that we must all have the same aspirations for the future of the Territory. However with four Territory born children, now teenagers, I certainly have a strong interest in the continued growth and prosperity of the Territory. Dr Lim gives an impressive list of developments in Central Australia over the last decade or so (some Government sponsored and some not) but does not relate that to spending in the rest of the Territory. He then goes on to seemingly support the inequitable distribution of resources. Dr Lim also expresses the view that I should be bringing business incentives into Central Australia through the [town] council. I would perhaps ask what Dr Lim did in this direction himself when he was Alderman Lim. He knows that the council has limited resources when compared with the Government but I would point out that the council has had an Economic Development Committee for several years and will shortly be appointing an Economic Development Manager. In all of his comments Dr Lim does not address my main point, that is, the negative and disillusioned attitude of many people in Alice Springs about their level of representation and their inability to have a say in what happens in their town. Have the benefits of a strong Government which Dr Lim outlines been achieved at the expense of the alienation of many people?
Fran Erlich
Alice Springs


Detour is a program run jointly by Tangentyere Council and Centralian College for Aboriginal secondary age children who for various reasons have dropped out of school. It tries, against great odds, to draw these children into education and training opportunities suited to their needs. Last week the Alice News spoke to Detour staff about the life circumstances of their students in an effort to understand why they require a special program. We learnt that many of the students lead extremely transient lives, some sleeping in a different bed every night of the week, and never sure where their next meal will come from. Teacher Zania Liddle said that many of the students are loved by their families but that the families' resources are too few, stretched between too many. Working with the families has been integral to the Detour approach. Zania continues: "One student was doing Year 10 in a mainstream high school but has felt much more comfortable here: there are fewer people to relate to, and he has had one teacher whom he could build a relationship with, instead of many. "During the time he's been here, he's developed a better sense of himself as a person, he's become more independent and self-confident, he has stronger aspirations about what he wants to do. "We are trying to encourage him to go back into the system next year." Says arts coordinator Peter Lowson: "It would be too easy just to wash your hands of kids like him, but that means another juvenile on the streets, wanderingly aimlessly through the day." In the first semester of this year Zania worked with a more academically advanced group of students, with the intention of enrolling them at Centralian College in second semester to start their NT Certificate of Education course: "We did a lot of work on English and Maths, preparing them for the NTCE, and developed important life skills, in particular around establishing a routine. "The NTCE timetable was very structured, they were expected to attend from 8am to 3pm, and they were expected to do assignments. "As well, I'd organised extra tutorial times to help them through their work. "It was too much for them. They were honest, they told me that they couldn't promise to be at school every day. "If you have three lessons per week in a subject and you miss one, it's critical. Most weeks the students were missing at least one day a week. "I thought if we kept them engaged they would succeed but the pressure was too great. The NTCE structure and timetable was unable to accommodate the lifestyles of these students. "All of them were having to look after themselves, chase money, and some of them were in trouble with the justice system. "Then, about five or six weeks into the semester, one of the students passed away. That tragedy led to a suspension of the program for three weeks, out of respect for the wishes of the deceased's family. "It was an important cultural responsibility for our students, but from that point the NTCE program was adversely affected. "One student didn't return, another came only intermittently, then they all started coming less and less. Before the tragedy I had hoped to get four to six students through the course." What is the future for Detour? Resources for the program over the last year have been imaginatively stitched together from a variety of sources. Tangentyere lobbied the federal Youth Bureau for funds, and stretched their own resources to support the program with the necessary administrative infrastructure, a full-time coordinator, the arts coordinator, other staff, access to CDEP services, vehicles for the bus run and a few basics such as the recently-installed evaporative coolers. Territory Health has supplied a part-time youth health worker and has provided most of the food for the meals program. Centralian College has provided salaries for the three teachers, $5000 worth of stationery and helped find some desks and chairs. There were no shelves, staff and students had to make their own; there were no pinboards, now there are some but they are still not on the walls. That's on the "to do" list. "It's been hard to make the rooms look like classrooms," says teacher Nicole Traves. After 12 months they still don't have a set of readers. They make their own readers, using texts negotiated with the students, but "you also need others so that you can have a graded reading program." There appears to be support from the Department of Education and Centralian College to run an Arrernte inter-generational group (as has been running this year), another NTCE group, and a drop-in centre with a program of craft and enterprise activities for those students who can't respond to a structured timetable. The teachers are concerned that a drop-in centre would be disruptive if it's at the same location. "We also think that the mainstream system should accommodate the group of students who have English as their first language, but who share some of the complexities of relationships that the ESL students have," says Zania. "This would mean supporting the students at levels over and above their usual responsibilities, and involving the families at all costs. Says Nicole: "It would take five years to give the program a fair run and assess its effectiveness. "If this program weren't to go ahead next year, these students would not go to school, they wouldn't touch base with any kind of program at all."


What was it like, to be a little girl wandering the Great Sandy Desert some 50 years ago, on the cusp of change from a traditional nomadic lifestyle to the forcibly more settled post-contact years? If the question arouses your curiosity, a just-released book will go some way towards satisfying it. Yarrtji tells the stories of six Great Sandy Desert women, compiled by Sonja Peter and Pamela Lofts. The very first story sets the tone. It's told by Martingale Mudgedel Napanangka: "When Tjama was little I hit her with stick. ïGive me tjirrilpatja [pencil yam],' I bin say. Tjama wouldn't give me tjirrilpatja. The three sisters, the three Nampitjins - our mothers - they bin sorry for us. Sorry for me hitting Tjama. Two father bring big mob pussycat. Aunty tell me ïDon't hit sisters!' so we can walk round together." Three mothers, two fathers! Almost unimaginable for a European reader, certainly fascinating. There's no psychological exploration of the kind one would expect in a European autobiography. But the women's first person accounts of their memories, in Aboriginal English and some language, certainly have an emotional tenor, and as you get used to reading Aboriginal English, the simplicity of expression combined with the scope of the experiences being described, has its own poetry. Often, Peter and Lofts choose to render the accounts in a free verse form, as above, and in this dramatic account by Kuninyi Rita Nampitjin: We bin start from Yurngkunpali. We bin finishing water. From there travelling to every soakwater, long way to Ngantjaltjara. No water! From there to Kumpultjirri. Summertime, travelling summertime. From there to Yarlu Yarlu. No water! From there to Kurungupanta. No water! We bin tired and slack from no water. Go to Marl, other side of Lamanpanta. We bin digging hole and sleep inside hole. Make ourselves cool. We bin starting walking night time. No moonlight. We sick one now. My father bin crying for kids. Father and mother say, "What will I do? I might losem all the kids." We bin cry. Before sunrise we bin start walking east - kakarra. We bin findem water now at Tjarkatjarka - rockhole - deep one. We bin happy." The stories of the kartiyas [white people] go before them. Payi Payi Napangarti's is particularly appalling: "They tell me story for kartiya ... The kartiya put mother and father in the fire, cookem like bullock meat - boilem up in pot ... People living in Lanu Lanu bin taste the cooked people. Kartiya force-em to eat that meat. The people pretend to eat - liar way, but really they digging hole and put in meat behind." Then comes the actual experience. There are many first or early contact accounts, many of them horror stories: of men, accused of stealing bullocks, chained around their necks, beaten, tied up to a tree all night, whipped; of women and children rounded up, bullied, terrorised, shot at. You can't help but be impressed by the detail of the women's memories of their vast itineraries: where they found what to eat, where there was water, and other events, small and large, but especially their ceremonies. Tjukurrpa stories appear in the text alongside the first person accounts, but distinguished from them by red print. This together with the many photographs, collages and reproductions of the women's paintings, with every page individually designed, make for a multi-layered ïreading' experience, one that you could return to and take bit by bit, over many sittings. In view of the limited possibilities of contact between white Australians and Aboriginal Australians living in remote communities, this book helps fill an important gap. The reader experiences a certain sense of getting to know six women who bear witness to a compelling part of Australian history. The launch of Yarrtji last Thursday coincided with the opening of an exhibition of Balgo Hills Painters at Gondwana gallery in Todd Mall. The show includes work by two of the women whose stories feature in the book, Martingale Mudgedel Napanangka and Nanyuma Rosie Napurrula. There are 25 works in all, including some by Balgo's most sought after artists, Eubena Nampitjin, Susy Bootja Bootja, John Mosquito and Fred Tjakamara Helicopter. In the same gallery, visitors can see a mini-exhibition of Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff) artists. Shows until December 11.

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