October 23, 2002.


Taking back your empties for five cents a pop may soon become a way of life in the Territory.
Cabinet is about to discuss container deposit legislation (CDL), while the beverage industry Ð determined to block the move - is withdrawing a quarter of a million dollars in annual funding from Keep Australia Beautiful Northern Territory (KAB).
MLA for Braitling Loraine Braham describes the industrys move as "fairly spiteful" and says "KAB suspects that its public support for CDL had something to do with that decision".
Says Bruce Powell, general manager of the Beverage Industry Environment Council (BIEC), which spends millions of dollars a year fighting CDL: "This is not true.
"KAB NT and the NT government were advised in 1999 that unless KAB produced reports on their projects sponsored by the beverage industry that funding would cease."
He claims repeated attempts to make KAB accountable had failed.
Says Mr Powell: "BIEC has funded KAB-NT programs for over a decade, thats over $2.5m, for which we received nothing other than the assurance that it was money well spent."
Bunkum, says Lorna Woods, executive director of KAB NT: "The industry money goes to the Territory Anti Litter Committee on whose board the industry has a strong representation.
"We report to the Territory Anti Litter Committee, not to the industry."
Ms Woods says KAB had deliberately chosen not to accept money from the beverage industry direct because it would have exposed KAB to its influence: "If we accept cheques from the beverage industry CDL could not be on our agenda or cheques would stop coming."
Instead, KAB gets money for its projectsÐ including the popular Tidy Towns campaign Ð from Territory Anti Litter.
Henry Pepper, of BIEC, says the organisation would spend the same or a greater amount of money in the NT, but on "anti littering programs, littering behaviour studies, training local government waste officers, studies of bin designs and placement, trialling bins and funding to Aboriginal organisations" Ð yet unnamed.
Mr Pepper also says early in the new year BIEC will convene a waste management summit, of which the NT Government is aware, seeking to draw up a blueprint for "the way forward".
He says CDL will be among the topics for discussion: "It is on the agenda."
Ms Woods says KAB gets $160,000 from the NT Government, $30,000 from corporate sponsors and about $10,000 from membership.
While container deposit schemes are common overseas, only South Australia has it in this country.
Territory Labor, while in Opposition, strongly supported the introduction of CDL.
And according to Ms Woods, the CLP Ð once against it Ð now supports the concept.
MLA for MacDonnell John Elferink (CLP) says: "I personally believe it should be looked at again.
"There is a strong argument for it. It may assist in the important task of cleaning up the rubbish around the traps.
"It is something that should be taken to the [CLP] party.
"The government should visit the idea even if it does cost money, so long as it is a reasonable amount."
MLA for Greatorex Richard Lim (CLP) said in February 1998 that there has been "no change in the [CLP] governments position" against deposit legislation, and he had nothing further to add.
But on October 8 this year Dr Lim told the Assembly: "I think it is important to take note that CDL will obviously help with the litter situation É and when you compare the Northern Territory to South Australia, it might be an indication that CDL does indeed work.
"We pick on beverages only," said Dr Lim.
"WhatÊabout the other foods that are in containers like cereal boxes, cartons and other plastics. How do we deal with that?
"The range of containers we take on to deal with, the more difficult the process will be to try and address our problem."
Environment Minister Kon Vatskalis said in the Assembly on October 8 that his views on CDL were well known.
An aide later interpreted that remark as meaning that Mr Vatskalis is familiar with CDL from his native Greece, is not afraid of it, but he would not express support or otherwise before a Cabinet decision.
The Alice Springs Town Council and the NT Local Government Association are strongly in favour of container deposit legislation, and public surveys routinely show a 90 per cent approval.
Prominent alderman Jenny Mostran says a wide range of people Ð in town as well as bush communities Ð would benefit from the scheme.
She says it would make a difference especially in public places such as the Todd River "which would look like the landfill" if it were not for the ongoing clean-ups by prisoners.
But the beverage industry is putting up a determined fight against the spread of CDL, and in the NT it commissioned a report by NT University senior lecturer Siva Ram Vemuri.
The report came under fire from Ms Braham: " It argues not for CDL at all, and I am just wondering what the terms of reference were.
"It seems as though it is a document that has been put together to argue against CDL, rather than giving us an objective balance."
Dr Vemuri, who is overseas and could not be contacted, claims CDL wouldnt work in the Territory, it would cost "between $1m and $3.5m" to set up and this cost "would far outweigh the direct benefits".
While this industry funded report emphasises the authors position at the NTU, BIECs Mr Powell, when asked by the Alice News, said Dr Vemuri had received the commission as a private person.
Dr Vemuri says improving recycling is a more viable option but he fails to deal with the most offensive aspect of the litter problem in the Territory Ð drink and food containers strewn about in public places.
He also says CDL would not create jobs Ð at best it would transfer jobs from one sector to another.
However, a 1999 KAB report proposes a "self funding" program that would create jobs, reduce roadside litter, raise the Territorys image as an eco tourism destination and become a source of money for a string of community organisations.
Ms Braham says she wouldnt necessarily take back her empties herself but "if the Scouts came around my street once a month andÊpicked them up from outside my house, I would save the containers for them and they would not get thrown away.
"The matter of changing littering behaviour lies with anti-litter campaigns, and community groups such as the Scouts recognise that a containerÊdeposit scheme could offer them opportunities to run collectionÊdepots, employ people and raise funds."
The author of the KAB report, John Watson, says the beverage industry will not disclose the number of containers it sells Ð in effect depriving the public of data needed for an informed debate on CDL.
Mr Watson says he had used a "very conservative estimate" of 100 million containers a year Ð under a CDL worth $5m a year in refunds and $3.5m in handling fees.
This is how the scheme would work: Someone picks up a can and takes it to a collection depot.
The depot operator pays the collector five cents.
The operator receives from the coordinator of the CDL system in the NT the five cents hes paid to the collector, plus a 3.5 cents handling fee.
The operator crushes the can that the coordinator markets as scrap aluminium.
He gets much less than 8.5 cents Ð perhaps half a cent.
The coordinator receives from the manufacturer of the can Ð and its content, of course Ð 8.5 cents.
Not all the containers come back Ð a return rate of 85 per is typical, says Mr Watson.
The beverage industry pays the coordinator 8.5 cents for every can sold, not just for cans returned.
The 15 per cent of cans not redeemed pays for the coordinator, and on the estimates used for the study, that would amount to $1.27m a year Ð plus the revenue from scrap metal and plastic.
The Labor Party Ð pending a Cabinet decision Ð is playing its cards close to its chest, but is clearly on the record as supporting CDL.
In February 1998 Labor candidate for Greatorex, Peter Kavanagh and then Deputy Mayor Geoff Miers pledged mutual support for CDL.
"The council has a policy favouring container deposit legislation, so has the Local Government Association of the NT (LGANT), and any government that chooses to introduce that policy, local government will work with," said Ald Miers.
Casks and bladders, strewn by drinkers along much of the Todd River bed in the town, should be included in the scheme, attracting a deposit of 50 cents to $1 each.
"You wouldnt see an empty wine cask in the river because they would be too valuable," said Ald Miers.
Mr Kavanagh is a former president of LGANT, which unsuccessfully lobbied the former CLP government to introduce a scheme.


A strategy of training with a guaranteed job at the end of it is attracting a growing number of workers from Aboriginal bush communities to the gold mines in the Tanami Desert, north-west of Alice Springs.
Owned by the US giant Newmont since earlier this year, the operation and its contractors now employ six people from Yuendumu, five from Nyirripi and one each from Sta Teresa and Hermannsburg.
They are in jobs ranging from geology, truck and loader driving to blast crew, and the local Aboriginal workers Ð most of them in their first real job Ð are reliable, keen and fully integrated into the 500 strong workforce, says Newmont community relations officer Len Carter.
The pay-off for the company includes a good relationship with the communities "which is instrumental in sustaining mining in the region".
A total of 109 Aborigines now work in the mines but most are from Alice Springs and Darwin town areas and some from outside Central Australia.
Mr Carter says the key to attracting "community people" has been the dropping of the requirement for a completed Year 10.
"This has been too restrictive," says Mr Carter. "We just could not get community people to join."
Instead, the company runs its own pre-vocation mining course, with the help of the Alice based Institute for Aboriginal Development and the Central Land Council employment unit.
To support the workers, once they become employed at the mine, it is running a workplace literacy and numeracy course which tests workers, mainly to ensure they can read safety notices.
The program is half funded by the company, and half by the Federal Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.
Mr Carter says the applicants usually have very good "bush mechanic" style skills that can be extended to work on mining equipment.
The pre-vocation mining course runs for 14 days straight followed by seven days off and a seven day work experience, qualifying participants for a string of nationally accredited certificates such as fork lift or front end loader tickets.
The other major incentive is a guaranteed job for all who pass the course.
"They are sick of training without a job at the end of it," says Mr Carter.
"They dont want to sit down and do nothing any more."
The mines at the Granites Ð a turn of the century goldfield Ð started 16 years ago on Aboriginal land following an agreement with the CLC, which required job opportunities and training.
But employment results were poor under a string of pervious owners until the current scheme got under way about a year ago.
The first course had 10 participants and five passed.
In the recent second course all 10 made it.
Mr Carter says the "community people" work the same tough but well paid shifts as all other employees: 14 days without a break, 12 hours a day, followed by seven days off when they are flown or driven back to their home communities.
The company and contractors pay Aboriginal workers on the same basis as all employees on site: "These are real wages, not simply CDEP."
Newmont runs regular career days in several Central Australian communities when successful employees Ð including a 35 year old Nyirripi man now 14 months at the mines Ð give information about the jobs.
The local Aboriginal workers Ð most of whom have never had a job before Ð live in the same dongas and eat in the same mess as all other employees. They drink alcohol in the "wet mess", open from 6pm to 9.15pm daily. It does not have take-away.
Mr Carter says "sorry business" leave is sometimes granted but the privilege "is never abused".
Race relations are enhanced by two day cross-cultural courses offered by Alice Springs identities Bess and David Price.
Attendance is compulsory for all workers but they dont miss out on pay. Mr Carter says the company is generous to the "rellies" of the workers who travel in the region, from as far as Lajamanu, Balgo and Yuendumu, often encountering car troubles.
Mr Carter says the company also "meets considerable demand for emergency repairs and food from community travellers in the region".


Coinciding with controversy around Australia over the accommodation of Indigenous customary law by Territory courts, the Territory Government has announced its inquiry into the matter under the positive title Toward Mutual Benefit.
Araluen MLA Jodeen Carney foreshadowed the announcement as the governments "plans for the integration of traditional law into the Territory legal system".In fact, aspects of traditional law have long been incorporated into Territory legislation and court decisions.
Examples cited by Attorney-General Peter Toyne are the Anunga rules (from R v. Anunga (1976)) which govern the questioning of Aboriginal people in custody, particularly where English is not their first language, as well as sections of the Evidence Act, the Community Welfare Act, the Adoption of Children Act, the Crimes (Victims Assistance) Act, the Compensation (Fatal Injuries) Act, the Status of Children Act, the Administration and Probate Act, and the Mental Health and Related Services Act.
Dr Toyne says traditional punishment also has long been taken into account in sentencing, citing the example Jadurin v. R (1982).
In a recently publicised example, where a Central Australian man charged with murder was released on bail to face traditional punishment, MacDonnell MLA John Elferink raised concern that "in the eyes of the laws of the NT" the man was innocent "until proved otherwise".Senior Legal Officer for Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid (CAALAS), David Bamber, regrets for much the same reason the publicity given to such cases: "It may give the impression that someone is guilty of a crime and prejudice their chance of a fair trail."Aboriginal customary law is totally different to our law.
"Just because someone has been punished under traditional law does not mean they are guilty under our law."Mr Bamber says CAALAS does not have a general policy on the matter but acts for clients, some of whom are "subject to Aboriginal customary law and want to be able to fulfil their obligations under that law".
"We will try to facilitate that."We act on the instructions of the client.
"However, the fact is that Aboriginal customary laws exist and have an effect."Not to recognise them ignores the issues."Its better to face the issues."
The recent controversy over cases here and in the Top End have reflected "popular misconceptions" about customary law, says Dr Toyne.
"Customary law does not equal Ôpayback or Ôpromised brides."The reality is that 99 per cent of affairs in Indigenous life are handled under customary law arrangements, some of which I believe, if incorporated into the Territory justice system, could be of benefit to the entire community."He gives the example of Indigenous mediation practices that have underpinned contemporary law and justice strategies in the Central Australian communities of Yuendumu, Lajamanu and Ali Curung."These strategies have formally united customary law provisions with the authority of police, magistrates, teachers and others in the community, and the approach has worked wonders with things like truancy, vandalism and violence.
"Ive seen the stability brought about at a local level by the recognition of customary law."
However, Dr Toyne reiterates that recognition should be consistent with universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms."It is for this reason that the Northern Territory Government affirms that the Northern Territory Criminal Code applies to all citizens of the Northern Territory without exception.
"This means that the Northern Territory Government does not condone any of the crimes in that Code, including but not limited to murder, manslaughter, dangerous act, rape, incest, carnal knowledge, kidnap, assault and theft."He says the inquiry will look at the ways in which, in some North American jurisdictions, serious crime has been consigned out of customary law, to be dealt with by the courts.
"But that leaves a huge number of possibilities with respect to less serious offences and to a whole range of social arrangements, such as the conservation of wildlife, the protection of intellectual property, as well as the justice processes Ive mentioned."
Mr Elferink expresses similar views: "From my limited knowledge of Aboriginal law Ð and I know how much it means to Aboriginal people in my electorate Ð I believe some 90 per cent of Aboriginal law could quite easily fit within the framework of European law É"I think you have to draw certain lines in the sand in relation to the rights of the child and other human rights and some of those lines have been overstepped É"Its up to us as legislators to create a framework which can accommodate as much cultural diversity as possible without overstepping those boundaries É"The CLP [when in government] has made accommodation in certain areas of legislation É The process of moving forward from here should really largely be a legal one rather than a political one, we should go and inquire into what the complexities of these issues are É The courts could then take direction from that work ."Ms Carney, Shadow Minister for Womens Policy, has been very outspoken on a Top End case heard in the Supreme Court involving "a 50-year-old man having sex with his Ôpromised wife aged 15 years".
Ms Carney says the case "raises questions for government and the community about whether cultural considerations should be taken into account by courts when dealing with underage sex É"Territory families need to know whether this Government intends to include [in its recognition of customary law] the acceptance of men having sex with underage children based on cultural claims."In a number of cases heard by courts in the Territory, defence lawyers submit that there are Ôcultural reasons for men committing sexual offences against children."There is nothing Ôappropriate about men having sex with children. Its called child abuse, and it is indefensible. All children, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, should be protected from this abuse."There is no sliding scale of child abuse. Its wrong; not a Ôlittle bit right."Says Dr Toyne: "In all the publicised cases, appropriate laws have been applied but the courts have used their discretion with respect to sentencing, bail applications and so on.
"Courts have to make complex judgements at any time, but especially when they sit astride two distinct world views.
"It is quite right to raise the question of protection of the young, but it is not helpful to paint lurid views of the situation.
"The court has made a judgement, and if its decision seems inappropriate, its up to the Director of Public Prosecutions to appeal it."This has in fact happened in the Ôpromised bride case, as the DPP announced last Friday.
"Our justice system is working appropriately and is being tested in the right way, based on the detail of the law and the evidence in the specific case, not on ill-informed popular polls," says Dr Toyne.
Much has already been inquired into with respect to the recognition of customary law, in particular by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 1986, by the Statehood Committee (NT), and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
Says Dr Toyne: "We wont be starting all over again. The inquiry will take into account the major previous reports, but we are asking them chiefly to get out and talk to Indigenous people and to people within the justice system and to come back to us with practical recommendations."
The inquiry will be co-chaired by the former Chief Justice of the NT, Austin Asche QC. An Indigneous co-chair has yet to be announced. The committee will be made up of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in equal numbers. The committees report is due by June 30 next year.

Thank God for Pine Gap! COLUMN by ANN CLOKE.

Mid year, when David and I tripped around Europe promoting the Red Centre and other places, people spoke about what a safe destination Australia is considered to be Ð their main concerns were isolation, the Falconio incident and the remote chance of disappearing in our enormous land.The horrific bomb blasts in our nearest playground, Bali, have brought the threat of terrorism that much closer to Australian shores. The savagery of this attack on holiday makers, relaxing and partying in downtown Kuta, reinforces the fact that any act of terrorism kills the innocent Ð many people, not only Australians, have died.
The Oxford describes a terrorist as a radical (anywhere) with such strong beliefs that logic never prevails: that person will go to extreme lengths to bring about change by violence and intimidation.It has been suggested that the target was Australians Ð that the attacks were carried out by a militant fundamentalist Islamic group which has made its base in Ambon, the scene of many violent clashes between Moslems and Christians in the past few years. A couple of years ago, the annual Darwin-Ambon yacht race was cancelled because of the volatility there: it then became the Darwin- Bali yacht race.
I first visited Indonesia and Malaysia pre high rise buildings, 50 seater tourist coaches, karaoke bars and sanitised sewerage systems: travellers were asked to observe and respect traditional customs and the locals way of life.
Islamic extremists or not, this act of terrorism seems to be against what is seen as Western decadence.
Todays children may not visit countries we once touched because the free world is shrinking: trekking to Kathmandu in search of spiritual awareness or trucking overland from Harare to London, flying into Denpasar and island hopping into Asia and beyond.
Intrepid travellers will probably take advantage of incredibly cheap package deals into Bali. My niece, Emma, and her friend Davin hope to visit Indonesia next year. I hope they are able to Ð heaven knows, the Balinese need us É and we all need that tourist dollar.
We have known terrorist acts close to home before.
In July 1985 the Rainbow Warrior was blown up, at anchor in Auckland Harbour, under orders from the French Secret Service.
One person was killed. The ship, crewed by members of Greenpeace, a non-violent direct action group, was en route to protest against Frances nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll, French Polynesia.No amount of rationale, protesting against, or for, the closure of Pine Gap and other Joint Defence Research facilities, agreeing or not agreeing with American presence on Australian soil, Bushs decisions or indecision, is going to stop militant extremists.
Their beliefs are rock solid and they are prepared to die for their cause.
Its difficult to imagine living in fear: thousands do, and that threat of terrorism isnt way over there in Belfast, the Middle East, Pakistan or Afghanistan, its now right here on our doorstep.
Australia needs to concentrate, together with America and the United Nations, on helping our Indonesian neighbours bring the terrorists to justice.David and I will return to Bali. We enjoy the Balinese people, their culture, the beaches and the mountains.If we all stop doing what we enjoy, we lose our sense of freedom. In these troubled times its comforting to know that Pine Gap is in our backyard, Americans working together with Australians, safeguarding our liberty.

An island in the sun, willed to me ... COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.

Sometimes, its a lot easier to think of Alice Springs as a place floating in the middle of a huge sea. Stick with me on this one.
After all, many people have no particular reason or the money for trips out of town. If you stay in town, the bush becomes the sea. Its a place that you rarely travel through, only over in a plane, very occasionally.
And so it follows that Alice Springs could be thought of as an island. An island in the sun.
I was reading about Nauru recently. It was a travelogue by one of those smartie-pants, leisure-addled people who wear Panama hats and beige flannel trousers.
The article was nothing to do with refugees. The author was there for travel-writing reasons only and he described how an island mentality exists on places like Nauru. Confined to the shores and unable to afford to go anywhere else, people devote themselves to whatever their obsession might be.
In Nauru, lots of people go in for body-building. The gyms are full, apparently, and most of the population look like they could crack nuts on their abdominal muscles.
Both being islands in the sun, do Alice Springs and Nauru have anything in common when it comes to the pursuit of the better body?
Judging by the amount of fitness equipment in our town, the answer is yes.
In fact, apart from video shops and pizza takeaways, I reckon we must have the highest membership of fitness clubs per head of population in the country.
OK, so I cant prove it because I havent measured it, but look around. Why should a small town like ours have so many treadmills, rowing machines, weight suspension thingies and sweaty people using them?
Clearly, this is a subject that deserves investigation by someone needing to pursue an obsession because they cant get out of town.
The Alice fitness trend affected me too. Before, I used to cycle everywhere. This was a sensible way of getting from A to B. Now I use a pedal machine, which doesnt get me anywhere. In fact, I started going to a gym for the very first time in my life after I arrived in Alice Springs.
On the first day, I had trouble pulling open the entrance door (it had a strong door closing mechanism). But quite soon, my physical condition improved and now I only need one hand to open the door.
Which shows the power of disciplined and focussed training to convert a prime candidate for having sand kicked in their face into the same person but with aching arms.Another subject that is just crying out to be researched thoroughly is about Saturday night leisure habits. Walk through town on a weekend evening and the place is heaving with people carrying pizza boxes and video cassettes. You have to dodge them on the pavements. And thats before theyve eaten the pizza.
My question is; are these the same people to be found in the gyms on weekday evenings? If so, does this tell us anything about anything very much? Probably not, but that never stopped a good research project getting funded.
In pursuit of a healthy mind, I love to wander around the Bowerbird Tip Shop. The staff are warm and friendly, the music is driving blues and the smell of freshly-roasted coffee masks that of the sewerage ponds. Actually, theres no coffee and it may be true that the Bowerbird is not quite the same as strolling along the Yarra or gazing out to sea from Byron Bay. But who said that Sunday mornings had to have inspiring scenery.
The tip shop is one of the marvels of Alice Springs.
Anyway, among the failed shop fittings, the reclining fence panels and the neat lines of unwanted bricks, can be found a range of fitness machinery. Once taken away from pride of place in someones garage, a piece of fitness equipment never looks the same again. Thats because nobody knows which way up it goes. This is the melancholy of the tip shop.
I wonder if its the same on Nauru. These fitness machines once promised a slim future to porky pizza-eaters. Now they lie, legs akimbo, next to boxes of assorted door hardware. How sad. And so am I, but in a more profound way, walking one more time around the tip shop yard.


"Thank you, Sister Eileen, for your love, your warmth, and your enthusiasm for us to grow up to be good community people," said Freda Glynn as she officially launched the biography of Anglican Sister Eileen Heath at Witchettys last week.
As a child Ms Glynn lived at St Marys Hostel when Sister Eileen was there and contributed to the biography, Sister Eileen, A Life with the Lid Off, through interviews with the books author, Annette Roberts.Ms Glynn, who now lives in Queensland and came to Alice Springs specifically for the launch, said living at St Marys had been "special" for her.She described the love and caring that those at St Marys had shown towards one another. By living at St Marys she said she had had the opportunity to get to know, through the children who came to stay there, people from other communities as well as the history of the Northern Territory."Friendships were made for life," Ms Glynn said. "Sadly many dear ones are no longer around."Ms Glynn also spoke of the changes that occurred in Alice Springs after the war and into the late 1980s."Sister Eileen was part of this change as were many other people in town," Ms Glynn said.Author Annette Roberts spoke of her first visit to Alice Springs in 1991 from her home in Western Australia."I came to interview Sister Eileen for Susan Mausharts book, Sort of a Place Like Home Ð a History of the Moore River Native Settlement, and almost died from the extreme heat," Mrs Roberts said."When Sister Eileen and her companion Sister Frances Northrop met me at the airport they showed no sign of wilting."I realised during that interview that there was more to Sister Eileens life than her years at Moore River and felt someone should write her life story."
Mrs Roberts said she started working on Sister Eileens biography in 1994."I have more than 100 hours of taped interviews," Mrs Roberts said "and more than 70 hours of taped interviews with Sister Eileen.""I also had access to private materials."Mrs Roberts said writing the biography had been a "labour of love" and she hoped it would contribute to the healing and reconciliation process as she has tried to present the material in her book "with objectivity and balance".
"Writing about Sister Eileen has been one of the great privileges of my life."The first half is about Sister Eileens life in Moore River while the second half is in Alice Springs until 1992 when Sister Eileen, at age 86 years, retired to Western Australia."Also journeying to the Centre for the launch was the "star" herself."I am overwhelmed by all the faces here," Sister Eileen said.
"When I went to the government settlement in Western Australia in 1935, I was told I would now Ôsee life with the lid off. I did, but I didnt find it a daunting task but rather found it a challenge."

LETTERS: Horror in Bali: My heart is with you!

Sir,- To my Australian friends, my heart is with you in the wake of the terror inflicted in Bali. To my American and international friends, I encourage you to send your support and thoughts to the Australian community and to the families and nations affected by this latest attack.
The bombings in Bali did not occur on Australian soil, but they might as well have. For years, the island has been one of the primary tourist destinations and there can be 20,000 Australians in Bali on any given day. (Roughly the equivalent of my home town, Alice Springs).
The nightclubs targeted were known to be full of Australians. It is my understanding from Internet accounts that many of the Australians in Bali during the bombing were there for post-season Aussie Rules Football (AFL) and Rugby celebrations. This would be like blowing up two city blocks of clubs in Honolulu during the NFL Pro Bowl.
Like the 9/11 attacks, this latest terrorist attack wasnt simply the destruction of innocent lives and property. It was an attack on the countrys essence. We were attacked at our core: going about the business of daily commerce. Australians were attacked while doing what they do best Ð enjoying life with their fellow Australians.
Like the 9/11 attacks, these bombings didnt just kill the innocents of one nation. Also massacred were their Indonesian hosts as well as foreign tourists from Britain, France, Sweden, Ecuador and the US. The vast majority of victims were young and in the prime of life.
I personally owe much of my own spirit, my enjoyment of life, love of travel and philosophical perspective to the example of my adopted homeland. It troubles me greatly to find it, like my American home, under threat.
As a global community, may we find solutions for peaceful co-existence as rapidly as humanly possible.

Dwight Grimm
New York, USA

Sir,- The protesters at Pine Gap remind me of the protesters when I was in college.
At every opportunity the same faces would be filing onto buses for a journey to protest somewhere.
It appeared that those people found it a lot easier to ride on buses and party than to work on their studies or do a days work at a job.At Pine Gap its possible that the instigators of protests may be motivated by beliefs and the others may be just trying to cause trouble living off the dole instead of working.If the majority of the population wishes to evict Pine Gap its fine with me.
Itll save me tax dollars. But what about Alice Springs?
The Alice Springs Amateur Radio Club might not like the idea though.
Pine Gap donated two expensive Log Periodic design radio towers to the club, one over 30 meters long.
And how would the owners of rental real estate like the inevitable collapse of their market when the Yanks head home? And if you were an Australian working for Pine Gap the eviction might have an impact on your income.
I have no idea how much money Pine Gap pours into the lovely City of Alice Springs but thats something to ponder.
Its up to you to decide the outcome, but do your homework so you make the right choice for you and your community.
Bob Graham
A Yank


Federal supporters must be thinking all their Christmases have come at once after winning their third consecutive game to open the A Grade Cricket season.
Feds have been notoriously slow starters in recent years and it has been almost par for the course that they go into the festive break looking squarely down the barrel in the premiership stakes.On Sunday however they made every post a winner against the then also unbeaten RSL Works side. The pitch at Albrecht Oval is in tip top condition and conducive to good batting and bowling.
RSL batted first and didnt capitalise on the opportunity to score freely over their 40 overs, being 183 with three wickets in hand when the innings was closed. Matty Forster, coming in down the order revived some of his youthful form to remain at the crease on 44 not out, young Tom Scollay at the other end perched on 46, having not offered a chance to the opposition.Other wise early in the innings Jeff Whitmore established some semblance of solidarity in the batting order when he compiled 23 before being caught by Rory Hood off Jamie Chadwick. Unlike recent innings the openers could not go on with the job, with Graham Schmidt falling for six and Luke Southam returning to the pavilion when on 16.
In the field Feds kept the pressure on with the wickets being evenly shared. Dustin Taylor came back to A Grade cricket with a fine spell of 2/12, and Chadwick returned 2/33 to lead the charge.
In the chase for 184 runs, Feds found plenty and got the required number of runs with an over to spare.
Tom Clements provided a platform for victory when he put together 55 before being snared lbw.
Jamie Chadwick, who has served notice at the club due to an occupational transfer, was unlucky to suffer the same fate but while on a duck.
From the loss Feds consolidated with Pat Hookey scoring 26 before run out and then Jarrod Wapper taking to the attack with a quick fire 36.
From that point the run home was left to Rory Hood and partners. Hood finished the day on 44 not out with Brendan Martin lending support before being trapped in front trying to pull while on five.
Allan Rowe came to the crease when the game was over to clout the winning runs and be on eight not out when victory was declared.The game on Saturday between West and Rovers went the way of the Bloods, opening their account for the season. Rovers had first use of the bat, and had Matt Pyle back to lead them. However, they were without the services of their hero of the week before, Brendan Smith.
Pyle wasted no time in leading from the front with 20 runs and down the order solid performances came from a rejuvenated Adrian McAdam who made 37 and Sam Curtin who followed on from last week to remain 22 not out when the innings was completed. By then Rovers were 9 /171.Westies had Darren Clarke and Shane Trenbath in form with the cherry, in that they took 2 / 22 and 2 / 32 respectively.
For West the chase proved to be a formality as Darwin recruit Nick Allen showed his class, carrying his bat to be 65 not out, and Jeremy Bigg showed support with 51.
Federal now sit at the top of the ladder with RSL, West and Rovers following.

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