November 7, 2001.


What has Osama bin Laden got to do with the election on Saturday in the Territory seat of Lingiari? Quite lot, as it turns out. For one he's converted Warren Snowdon (ALP) and Ron Kelly (CLP), diametrically opposed on almost all other subjects, into Tweedledum and Tweedledee on the issue of War Against Terrorism. They are "shoulder to shoulder" on sending Australian soldiers to attack another country whilst one is as shaky as the other on the legal justification for this. And secondly, a senior Taliban spokesman has indicated Jihad will be waged in Australia if our armed forces violate Afghan soil, delivering another blow to our key tourism industry, already reeling from a 40 per cent downturn. Just as the industry is gearing up to tout The Centre as a safe destination, this proposition is now appearing a lot less plausible. On top of this, while the Coalition is subsidising Ansett Mk II flights to a variety of destinations, not a cent is being spent on Alice Springs. Mr Snowdon and Mr Kelly are very much in each other's hair on that issue: the ALP incumbent says the government is spending $5m to subsidise flights into Launceston, a "desperate attempt by the Prime Minister to seek local political advantage ... without having due regard to the needs around Australia. "The responsibility for the aviation industry is with the Federal Government. "It has lifted not one finger to get flights back into Alice Springs," says Mr Snowdon. "We've lost at least 40 per cent of capacity as a result of the demise of Ansett which wouldn't have happened if John Howard and John Anderson hadn't put Qantas self interest in front of the national interest." The Kelly camp blames the aviation fiasco on the new Territory ALP Government for not supporting a proposal for a daily Darwin – Alice – Cairns – Gove flight by Flight West (which is in liquidation, according to Mr Snowdon, and has not put up a " detailed business plan" for the flights). Mr Kelly says discussions are under way with Virgin and Ansett Mk II. He says it's no surprise that the troubled carrier is "looking at the bigger, more populous routes first". This argument seems at odds with the huge demand for flights to The Alice. For the moment the Flight West proposal is "a little bit a steady as you go operation," says Mr Kelly. "The offers have been made but we haven't been able to piece it together to get them here." Is there a case, in the interim, to subsidise the exorbitantly priced Qantas seats? "We don't want to subsidise Qantas. "We want to get competition here, to get that competitive market place again." On the question of the further sale of Telstra – a service more crucial to The Centre than almost any other region – Mr Kelly and Mr Snowdon are also promoting sharply opposite viewpoints. Mr Snowdon says Labor would not sell any more shares. Mr Kelly, a former Telstra manager in Katherine, says he would discuss further privatisation only if the NT, and especially Lingiari, have "equitable service standards and product standards" when compared to "the rest of Australia". Who will decide whether the standards are up to scratch? "The people of Lingiari." By ballot? "I don't think it has to be by ballot," says Mr Kelly. "You'd be able to float the issues, consult with people and find out, are they happy with what they've got, and when we can consider the question, would we receive better services again if Telstra was privatised and the service standards were controlled through legislation" which would also regulate prices. Mr Kelly says there would be no repetition of the situation following Labor's sale of the Commonwealth Bank when we "saw the immediate whittling away of services to the bush". But it's on the War Against Terrorism issue where Mr Kelly and Mr Snowdon "stand shoulder to shoulder". Neither will apply to the war principles that are fundamental to our society, such as "innocent until proven guilty", nor the right of the public to be informed through processes in open court. Neither has anything to say about the complex international law issues yet to be resolved (see story facing page). "I believe John Howard who believes George W. Bush who is right" is Mr Kelly's line. And Mr Snowdon's: "I believe Kim Beazley who believes John Howard who believes George W. Bush." Both are strong on rhetoric: Mr Kelly: "We don't want to live in fear. "We don't want to live with the prospect of getting killed or blown up tomorrow because these terrorists are out there. "We have to take a strong stance. "Absolutely we can still say we're the safe country because we are prepared to stand up and make us the safe country. "We haven't taken a stance against the Taliban, against Afghanistan [nor] Muslim religion. "We have taken a stance against [Afghanistan's] involvement in terrorism, not the country per se, not the people per se. "We will not tolerate people who harbour terrorists. "Osama bin Laden is the leader of the terrorist group that has obviously a desire to wreak havoc on the rest of the world." How does he know that? "We know that because that's the intelligence that's coming through from all the sources that he's behind the bombing on September 11. "That's the advice we've got. "I don't personally know because I take my lead from the Prime Minister, from our military people, from our Australian organisations because that's their job. "I am supremely confident in our military, as an ex military person myself, to go forward and look after our interest," says the ex-RAAF officer. "They used a strike against America, against the free world, they being the terrorists, so we're fully within our rights. "It's an exercise in demonstrating to the world that we won't tolerate that and we will bring the people who caused that to justice." The question of justice, of course, is the very issue relegated to the back burner. "What we're talking about here is a corrupt administration which is hosting murderers, hosting terrorists, wanting to hold the rest of the world to ransom. "There is an international coalition, which has been forged at the behest of the USA in concert with the UK, and we're part of it. "We, like every other democratic country in the world, which is opposed to international terrorism, ought to be behind it. "We are part of a western alliance which, I think, takes proper pride in protecting our national and international interest. The ANZUS Alliance is one component of it." You will be forgiven for not having noticed that we're now speaking to the Opposition candidate for Lingiari, Mr Snowdon, the current Member for the NT (a seat now split into the Darwin-based Solomon and the rural Lingiari), 12 years in Federal Parliament, and a prominent left winger with a good chance for a ministry in a Beazley government. Says Mr Snowdon: "They invoked part of the ANZUS Alliance to get Australian assistance." Which part of the treaty? "I don't have it in front of me, mate. "We've got a community ... using its own population effectively as a shield against the international community and protecting this person who is responsible for these heinous crimes. "As much as I dislike the man, when the Prime Minister says that he has got this information, and when the Leader of the Opposition says that he agrees, then I know what side I'm on. "As much as I might disagree with John Howard on almost every other major issue almost, on this I respect his view. "Kim Beazley has been briefed. "He has made it very clear that from his appreciation of the information, that there is no question about the way we should be committed, and that we stand shoulder to shoulder ... with the leaders of the international community who are involved in this coalition against terrorism, and I am, too. "You know that the rules of war have been discarded, the rules of government of international relations have been discarded, any grounds of any reasonable humanitarian response to international crises have been discarded by the way this group of people have held the international community to ransom. "It cannot be tolerated." Mr Snowdon, whilst expressing concern about the humanitarian crisis caused by these events, and about the plight of the refugees attempting to escape into Pakistan, says: "The international leadership of the coalition, including the Pakistanis, have seen – I haven't seen – the evidence ... that [made] them believe, beyond reasonable doubt, that bin Laden is responsible. "These other characters won't turn him up. "What other nation on earth would hold its own community to ransom to save bin Laden? "We're not talking about the rule of law, and we're not talking about innocent until proven guilty, if this bloke wants to come to court, and is prepared to front up, we'll see if he's guilty or not. "It's one thing what happened within a nation's borders. It's quite another thing if we have effectively state sponsored terrorism, which is what we've got here. "I accept the judgement of the world community of leaders ... of those people close to the intelligence sources. "And I don't believe that there is any doubt, myself, about the involvement of bin Laden. "I understand that [the Taliban] have been shown evidence by the Pakistani leadership and [the Taliban] have rejected that evidence."


Are the Australian and other governments, in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, acting in conflict with principles which safeguard your freedom and right to fair treatment? And do these principles include "innocent until proven guilty", and a legal process, including demands for extradition, in open court where you can hear and see the evidence against an accused person? Yes, says Associate Professor Donald Rothwell, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, and the president of the Australian New Zealand Society of International Law, which is convening a special meeting in Canberra on November 20. "A number of international lawyers raised precisely these issues following the terrorist attacks on September 11," he says. "It could be argued that the requests by the United States for Afghanistan to hand over bin Laden, especially during September, were tantamount to requests for extradition. "I am not aware that any court in the United States has indicted him for any of those crimes. "In terms of following the traditional domestic law, processes do not seem to have been followed through in this case. "They would have to be followed through in a US court though."At one stage, a few weeks back, there was some suggestion from Afghanistan that they might be more favourably disposed towards handing over bin Laden to an international authority, or international court for trial, rather than to hand him over directly to the United States for trial there. "What has concerned me and some of my international law colleagues is that none of those process were apparently put into place and completely exhausted. "There may well be that there could be some justification [for the current military action] if all of those processes had been put in place, and Afghanistan had completely ignored any of those formal requests for extradition by the United States. "We seem to have reached the stage in this conflict where we have moved well beyond that. "These are no longer issues that are being discussed by the United States and its coalition partners." HOWARDHe says Mr Howard's statement, about two weeks ago, in which he formally spoke for the first time in some detail about why we should support the US action, did not address any of the key international law issues. "We don't have an international criminal court which would have any jurisdiction over such a trial. "There is really no alternative venue other than the United States at the moment." Special arrangements have been made by the international community to deal with the alleged crimes of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosovich in The Hague, known as the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal. "There is currently a lot of discussion of the ‘Rome Statute' for the International Criminal Court, and that statute is expected to be ratified next year. "Once that is in place we will have an international court to deal with not only war crimes, but also [with] other persons who committed international crimes, and that would extend to acts of terrorism. "It is likely that more countries may now ratify the Rome Statute in the light of the September 11 events because they may see it as a means of bringing international terrorists to justice. "The other argument is to say bin Laden is not just a mere domestic criminal, but he is an international terrorist and has been brought to the attention of the United Nations on previous occasions. "In fact in 1999 the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution asking Afghanistan to hand bin Laden over, because he was suspected of terrorist acts in Africa [the bombing of two US embassies and a navy vessel]. "Normal procedures of domestic law may not easily apply to bin Laden and more complex procedures of international law may apply. "The intervention of the UN Security Council may override the need for a more traditional extradition treaty [which doesn't exist between the US and Afghanistan]. "Afghanistan has been subject to these Security Council resolutions now for two years, and the UN passed two resolutions in September immediately following the terrorist attacks. "And while these resolutions didn't name bin Laden specifically, they talked about the obligations of countries who are harbouring terrorists, to hand them over for trials in countries where they [are alleged to] have committed crimes." Who should enforce these UN resolutions? "That's really the key issue at the moment. "The UN hasn't yet passed any resolution authorising the enforcement of the resolutions. "In the 1990-91 Gulf War the UN effectively authorised the establishment of an international force to expel Iraq and Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait ... authorising intervention by the United States and its allies. "At the moment [in the case of Afghanistan] no such force has been authorised by the UN. "The UN charter recognises that all countries have an inherent right to self defence. "If Australia was attacked we would have the right [to defend ourselves] immediately." Prof Rothwell says in its September resolutions the UN reaffirmed the right of self defence in response to terrorist attacks. SELF DEFENCE"The United States would argue that its actions in Afghanistan at the moment are legitimate because they are relying upon this doctrine of self defence." The problem is, the attacks were not committed by Afghanistan, but allegedly by bin Laden. "That then gets into the very difficult issue that, first of all, is the right of self defence completely without any constraints, in other words, can the United States use all the armed force at its disposal to now defend itself against terrorists whom they suspect are in Afghanistan. "The answer to that, quite clearly, is no. "We've had virtually no debate about this issue in Australia. "That, of course, becomes an issue for Australia because Australia is now engaged in this coalition of other nations supporting the US effort. "It's quite clear that the right of self defence is limited. "One of the principles is [that] if a country suffers an armed attack their response is proportionate to the attack. "Can the Americans say, once we've killed 6000 Afghanis we've responded in kind to the attacks we've suffered? "This is a very difficult political and legal issue and there is no clear answer to it. "Many people would argue that any sense of there being a complete invasion of Afghanistan by the US and its allies, in an effort to occupy or assert some form of control over Afghanistan, would be very questionable under the doctrine of self defence." Prof Rothwell says there has also been very little debate about the varied make-up of the Afghan society, with many people opposed to the current regime, yet equally exposed to the military action of the anti terrorist alliance. He says there are "limitations under the International Humanitarian Law". "That's basically the law of war, the law which regulates how armed forces interact with each other [including] the rights of civilians. "There are very strong arguments to be made that the United States operations to date are clearly in breach of some of those principles [including] apparently the failure of distinguishing between civilians and armed Afghanis who might be representing the Taliban government, [and] the bombing of Red Cross facilities" – even if in error. "We've seen over the last two weeks a number of these incidents which really call into question the legitimacy under international humanitarian law of some of the US response. "Australia has ratified the relevant [recent International Humanitarian Law] conventions." The USA has not. "Australian troops are bound by the treaties which govern the protection of civilians, whereas the Americans are not. "This will raise some difficult operational questions for Australian forces when they go in to support the United States because under international law, we're bound by one set of rules whereas the Americans are not. "That's once again an issue that hasn't been actively discussed. "It is a matter of concern whether Australia may be dragged into a more indiscriminate approach as regards civilians. "It's a pity that we haven't had some discussion by our political leaders [about] how they would respond to Australian forces indiscriminately killing civilians, which seems to be what the United States action has been towards. "There are some hard questions that are not being asked. "We've already made commitments but that doesn't mean we can't withdraw them. "There may be a change in public mood and I guess, this is an issue." Under what treaty is Australia obliged to support the United States? "The ANZUS Treaty was formally invoked by Australia in October to support US action. "The ANZUS Treaty has been operating now for 50 years. "It provides that any armed attack upon – in this case – the United States will be considered an armed attack upon Australia, and that Australia will come to the aid of the United States, effectively through what's called collective self defence." Is that with respect to an attack by a nation or by a group? "The ANZUS Treaty was negotiated following World War II, at the start of the Cold War, and so it never really contemplated attacks by terrorists." Prof Rothwell says the intention of the treaty was to deal with actions by nations, not groups. "There are many international lawyers and many international relations specialists in Australia who also have some reservations as to whether Australia's invoking of the ANZUS Treaty is actually legitimate."


Do the Australian Democrats offer an alternative view on Australia's involvement in the "War Against Terrorism"? Lingiari candidate Linda Chellew (pictured) says the party supports the provision of intelligence and medical personnel to fight against terrorism, but says the "rule of law" must be respected. "Our commitment to ANZUS gives an important role to the United Nations Security Council in response to events like those of September 11. "What's happened to this?" she asks. "The Democrats also believe that we must respect the rules of war, one of which is that civilians must not be targets. "We believe that there should be an informed debate in the community about Australia's role. "However, we also believe that there must be cooperation between nations in the face of these new threats." The Democrats are against conscription.


A Federal Labor Government would contribute $11 million to the Desert Knowledge Precinct in Alice Springs, according to Lingiari candidate Warren Snowdon.This would support a $10m commitment from the NT Government in 2003 and 2004. Labor would establish a centre in Alice Springs to coordinate state and federal activities in Australia's rangelands – 75 per cent of the land mass.Labor would also allocate $4.5 million to develop a national action plan to ensure coordinated and strategic action to develop resilient and sustainable economies; reverse the decline of natural resources; and improve management of these unique resources.


Speaking with Territorian One Nation faithfuls brings you up against a bundle of contradictions. They are passionately against privatisation of public assets, a view once dear to Labor supporters. They argue that any further privatisation of Telstra, for example, should be the subject of a referendum. "Telstra has been sold off not for the benefit of the Australian people but for the government of the day," says Senate candidate, Ron Phillips. They say the Ansett collapse only confirms their long-stated concerns about multinationals buying out Australian companies.They are predictably in favour of Australian support for the " War Against Terrorism" and increased spending on defence, but they are less hard line than the Coalition on asylum seekers. Together with Pauline Hanson, they believe that the Tampa asylum seekers should have been brought onto Australian shores for assessment. And says Wayne Norris, House of Reps candidate for Lingiari, the way the Coalition is dealing with the situation now, sending the asylum seekers off to other Pacific countries at enormous expense (more than $100m) is "no solution". "We have to get policies and systems working properly so that legitimate refugees don't have to go to desperate measures," says Mr Norris. Mr Phillips says he understands asylum seekers' desire to come to Australia: "They know it is a top country, just like we all do." He says One Nation previously stood for zero net increase in Australia's migrant intake. That's no longer the case but the intake has to be based on a positive benefit to Australia. It shouldn't be massive, but processes should be streamlined for genuine refugees. "We don't mind where they come from but they must be people who genuinely want to become Australians and they must come through legal channels. "A lot of people think we're against multiculturalism, that's not right, we're for it. The mix of cultures in Darwin and Katherine is great." But says Mr Phillips there are problems associated with multiculturalism in the interstate cities, where some Australians, to do their shopping, have to cross three suburbs to get to one where they can read the signs in English. On issues concerning Aboriginal people, they predictably oppose what they see as preferential treatment, such as special assistance for Aboriginal students to participate in interstate sports. "Everyone should have the same rights. If they are in financial difficulties they should be eligible for help. It should depend on needs not race," says Mr Phillips. They recognise that services on remote Aboriginal communities are not as they should be, but say that is the fault of ATSIC and the land councils who are "empire building". "There needs to be more direct assistance to individual clans," says Mr Phillips. "We should be assisting with building their self-esteem, improving their health, but the money doesn't get out to the Aboriginal people," says Mr Norris. They stress the need for self help, both commending the Kalano community in Katherine who have established a thriving horticultural enterprise. They also praise the Jawoyn Association, suggesting that it is the kind of organisation suitable to replace the big land councils. They emphasise the importance of education for Aboriginal kids, saying that boarding facilities in the major communities could assist with improved secondary schooling rates for remote area students. When asked about other concerns, health tops their list. "We are not doing enough for the disabled and the elderly," says Mr Norris. Hospital boards, not Territory Health Services, should establish and drive their own budgets: "They know what is required in their own communities," says Mr Phillips. They are opposed to the development of private hospitals linked to public ones: "They are squeezing sections of the public hospitals out," says Mr Phillips. A lot of what they say implies a big government approach: are they for big taxes?No, but they're for a more equitable tax system, one where big companies are paying their fair share. They think a debit tax would achieve this. One Nation has 200 paid up members in the Territory, with their main support base in Katherine, where both men live. Indeed, Mr Phillips was born in Katherine, while Mr Norris has been in the Territory for 15 years, in various mining and rural communities. They say the growth of One Nation was stymied by the previous CLP Government which "intimidated" their supporters: they were " missing out" on contracts. "We hope this will change with the present government."


We've just had friends of David's (and the first Mrs Cloke) stay with us for four days. They left the best of Oz, the Red Centre, till last, before returning via Perth to England.We asked Ann and Arthur if they had thought about cancelling their trip, in view of global upheavals and terrorist threats – it wasn't a consideration. The tickets were purchased with inheritance monies, bookings made months ago (British Air and Qantas) and they decided if they didn't take this holiday of a lifetime now, they never would.It gave us another opportunity to promote our very special part of the world, and we did!Friday was relaxed, an in-town day, mall walked, wined and dined with friends, and on Saturday drove west in David's Outback, destination Kings Canyon: the recently graded Mereenie Loop Road is in good condition, and the countryside still stretches forever.We talked to a European couple, bruised, shaken-up but smiling, sitting roadside, beside their hired four wheel drive, now righted but totally smashed with broken glass everywhere. Wide black skid marks showed where they'd misjudged the corner, lost control, over-corrected, hit the bank and rolled… They were fortunate that the people who stopped to assist them had tow ropes and RT radio. We left and headed towards the lookout at the now-sealed "jump-up" quite close to the Canyon.On a section of the road, two signs spell it out: the first, written in white paint on a forty-four gallon drum says "Liftum foot up", the second, around the corner, "Puttum down again". There are a lot of kilometres to cover out there, and it can be a long way between rest stops: visitors to the Alice want to see the Outback, Kings Canyon, Kata Tjuta and Uluru. Some are used to driving long distances, on sealed and unsealed roads; most aren't. In many parts of the world rental vehicles are equipped with speed governors – this could be a good option to the proposed speed restrictions on our Stuart Highway to Ayers Rock road. Monday, back in the Alice, and we had a wind-down drink as the sun set behind Mt Gillen: the sky was magnificent! Ann and Arthur reflected on their trip. They said, as all visitors do, how lucky we are to live here – we know!! Space, fresh air, quality of life and great friends. They enjoyed touring a la Cloke (everyone does!) and added that this was the highlight of their trip. (Maybe they were simply being polite?!) There was almost a full moon, hazy, with a ring around it. Sky-gazers say this means rain, and soon. David's daughter, Sally, and husband Colin, arrive late November – they've been here many times, experienced the Alice and the bush. The sun will be shining, blustery days over, jacarandas blooming, everything looking fresh, green and clean after promised rains. People to see, places (LOCAL!!) to go, no real need to drive anywhere at all – a dream holiday at home in the Alice.


"An emotional work for now", "a reminder of the immense diversity of humanity": these are the qualities of Eye Contact which won for its creator Merilyn Fairskye this year's Alice Prize. Eye Contact is a video (DVD) work, a first for the Alice Prize, surprising given the proliferation of art works on video over past decades. Its place in the Art Foundation's permanent collection, till now dominated by paintings on canvas, will enhance the collection's aim to profile contemporary Australian art practice. Judge of the prize, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, Scottish-born director of Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art, was struck by the lack of video and new media works among the entries. (There were no other video works before the preselection panel, and no computer-based works, according to panel member Caroline Lieber). Otherwise, Mac-gregor said, the exhibition "is a pretty good representation of the wide variety of practice happening in Australia and indeed everywhere". "There are a number of photographs which you would expect as photographic practice is very strong at the moment."As a national prize it's extremely good." But representativeness was not a key consideration in the awarding of the prize. Said Macgregor: "I'm very interested in works that do have something to say, that are not just for art's or the artist's sake, works that have some kind of expression of the wider world." Fairskye's work can fairly claim to have the broadest vision of contemporary humanity presented in the exhibition.In its complete version it shows the faces, captioned with first name, occupation and country of origin, of over 1000 people. They have their eyes closed: they seem so vulnerable in this moment of trust, and possibly even dead (mortality is the unifying human condition). The accompanying soundscape uses 80 different voices interwoven with a dreamlike, haunting music. It's not easy, and not the point I think, to understand what the voices are saying. I was strongly reminded of these lines from The Voice by French poet Robert Desnos: "I listen. It is simply a human voice / Which passes over the noise of life and its battles / The crash of thunder and the murmur of gossip." The universalism of the work is brought back in its last frame to an individual: a woman opens her eyes, we have "eye contact" for an instant, it comes like a final question: how are we going to act in relation to our fellows, wherever they come from? There could hardly be a more apposite question for Australians to be asking themselves now. A number of the works in the exhibition take on this kind of resonance, whether or not that was the artist's intention.As Macgregor told the News: "A work of art isn't something absolute that will always look the same. Post September 11 a lot of works have different meanings for us." Kate Beynon's Welcome, with its upfront Chinese female figure standing astride a map of Australia, can't escape a reading as a response to immigration issues (though it could also have popular culture references which escape me). Zhong Chen's "very beautifully painted" Romeo and Juliet IV appears to challenge the way we recognise racial stereotypes. It is almost an abstract image which we still read as a Chinese man and woman. Abbas Mehran's Aroos would appear to celebrate Muslim culture: as Macgregor noted, it is "quite a joyful picture", which counteracts the current inundation of negative images of Islamic people. Alice-based artist Pip McManus' green line becomes more piercingly relevant as each day goes by, looking as it does at the ancient meeting and clash of the world's three great monotheistic religions in Jerusalem. While Macgregor stressed the importance of its content, she also hailed its aesthetic achievements as "wonderful". "The binding together of text and image, which is a very strong part of a lot of contemporary art work, is very successful in this work." Pamela Lofts' sculptural piece Landmarks # 1 is more subtle in its reference. It can be read as having a strong Central Australian context – Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations – but it also has a lot of resonance in the current international climate, where there's a good case to "tread softly". Macgregor noted the artist's use of text "not as a narrative, but in a way that's supposed to fire your imagination, a very beautiful piece". All of these works drew the attention of the judge, but two earnt special commendation. Of Rod Moss' Robbie Hayes' Breakfast Camp, she said: "This is fascinating. There's not so much figurative art around, and this a very good example of a very skilled figurative artist who has gone beyond depicting just what's around him."He has captured the people's faces, they are extraordinarily compelling. "He has taken liberties with the landscape, created a sense of it rather than a photorealist depiction, there are dark shadows and almost a turbulence in the ground that is slightly disturbing. "Quite often with a figurative work, you take it or leave it, this work makes you ask further questions."If I was curating this artist into an exhibition I would make sure that background information was made available in the gallery. It's a very, very interesting work."The painting stands at the happier end of the spectrum of Moss' images of the "White Gate mob". It is a delightfully open work that invites you in. It will stand well alongside other works by the artist in the Alice Springs collections. "Compelling" was also Macgregor's word for Lucy Yukenbari's work, Marpa."To be honest I walked past this work at first, but once the lighting went on it, it suddenly jumped out, not because it is very bright, but this dark centre in the middle is very compelling, there's an extraordinary pulling of your eye into the centre of the canvas." Macgregor commented on the diversity of approaches in the Aboriginal entries, counselling against complacency with respect to "dot painting". "This is where you have to slow people down in galleries. "All too often you dismiss dot paintings because you've seen so much, and they're so reproduced. "You've really got to focus on each individual work, because they are so very diverse, they yield up different things if you spend time in front of them. "The big issue that faces galleries is to slow people down, and get them coming back over and over again. "One of the important things for us at the museum over the past year has been to be able to allow free access [also the case for locals at Araluen], precisely to encourage the idea that you can drop in and look at a few things in your lunch hour and then come back at the weekend and spend longer." In this regard, time-based work, like Fairskye's, has a distinct advantage. To look at it at all, you have to sit with it ... and be rewarded.


The Drug and Alcohol Services Association (DASA) now has strong representation from Aboriginal organisations and no representation from the liquor industry, following its AGM on Monday night.Manager Nick Gill said: "Concerned members of the Alice Springs community joined DASA and elected a committee to reflect their concerns."Anne Mosey, who together with Mr Gill is a member of the national body, the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation, is DASA's new president. Philip Watkins, an Aboriginal anthropologist who works for the Central Land Council, is the vice-president.Other committee members are Dr Dan Ewald; Colin Griffiths, rector of the Anglican church; lawyer Anne-Sophie Deleflie; Robert Hoosan and William Tilmouth (Tangentyere Council); Doug Walker, one of the founders of CAAAPU; Mike Tyrell, former regional director of the health department and psychologist; and Ged Williams, director of nursing at the Alice hospital.


The Office for Central Australia, opened last Thursday, represents "a new way of doing Government business" here, " abolishing the Berrimah Line", says Chief Minister Clare Martin.It is staffed by seven "qualified and motivated professional Central Australians, who bring to their positions experience in the private, public and community sectors, tourism, education, health and Aboriginal affairs."They already have well-established links in Central Australian communities, particularly through sporting groups and Indigenous organisations," says Ms Martin.Facilities available at the office, on the corner of Bath Street and Gregory Terrace, include video-conferencing which will "revolutionise access to Government" for Central Australians: "My Government came to office with a mandate for change and I am determined that things will change in Central Australia."We will be more responsive to local needs," says Ms Martin.Member for Barkly Elliot McAdam has welcomed the opening of the office and says staff will be making regular trips to Tennant Creek and the Barkly region.


Allan Rowe and his Federal team will be praying for rain next Friday and Saturday, as they face a monumental day in the field on day two of their fixture against West at Traeger Park.Federal promised plenty on the training field in the pre season and have picked up two guns in Jamie Chadwick and Roger Wechert. Both have played the game at a higher level, and will contribute to the Federal chances this season. However the Demons have placed themselves in an invidious position after the round of one day matches and then after last Saturday's batting collapse.The Demons played without mid order dominator Jarrod Wapper who declared himself unavailable due to work commitments over the two day encounter. They batted first on a pitch that a West devotee declared should have produced 400. The pitch was indeed a batsman's paradise as was evidenced by the batting late in the day.Rory Hood again got a start but fell to Shaun Cantwell caught Peter Tabart when 13. His opening partner Matt Allen was run out for two, and then Tom Clements was caught off Tabart for one, leaving the Demons desperate.It was the partnership of Chadwick and Weckert which put some fibre in o the innings. Chadwick went a step further from his impressive debut to score 51 before being snared by Ken Vowles. Weckert also fell prey to Vowles when on 29. With the demise of the top order, and no Wapper, the pressure was on Craig Prettejohn, but he tumbled to Vowles for a duck. The West champion then continued the rout by taking Shaun Lynch's wicket for five. Off 18 overs Vowles scooped 4/46 and put West in the driver's seat.The Demon mentor Rowe could do little to contribute with a paltry three before Jeremy Biggs bowled him. This left the tail to make something of the situation. That they did, when Matt Stewart and Mark Schmidt contributed 13 and 12 respectively before the innings ended on 136.Besides the Vowles four wicket haul, Peter Tabart produced 2/16, Shaun Cantwell 1/9, and Biggs 1/34 in a disciplined performance.It was late in the day when West mounted their reply, but Shane Law and Rob Wright set the scene for the Bloods. Law amassed 21 with powerful stroke play, and while Wight played second fiddle to some extent, he was able to remain 17 not out at stumps.Given that rain will not intervene, West should seek first innings points early in the day. This will allow game to be set up as Vowles will be waiting padded up in the pavilion and hungry to get amongst runs. The afternoon at Traeger should produce some sparkling cricket given that both teams have a go.In praising the pitch at Traeger, one must also be mindful of the excellent strip at Albrecht Oval. Matthew Pyle opened for Rovers and batted with authority for 50 overs. When on 96, and looking a certainty to make a ton, he faltered to a BJ Rowse ball. He was however fundamentally responsible for the Blues making 243 off 66 overs. Otherwise during the innings Tye Rayfield continued to impress. He compiled 31 after coming in at first drop. The next partnership to prove worthwhile was between Pyle and skipper Mark Nash. Nash exhibited his effervescent approach to the art form and in making 53, took a lot of the pressure off Pyle. Nash however was eventually snared by the exuberant Rowse delivery which carried to Matt Forster.After 55 overs the Blues were at 6/220 and looked capable of making plenty more. This idea was quickly extinguished however as Graham Schmidt stemmed the run tide and took two of the remaining wickets to have Rovers all out for 243.RSL then had the opportunity to consolidate until stumps and set the game up for next Saturday. They were somewhat wounded however by losing two wickets in that final session, meaning the pressure will be on the batsmen from the first ball this week.

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