IRAQ RALLY SAYS STAY WITH U.N. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
As record crowds were seen in anti-war demonstrations around the world over the weekend, a moderate-sized though upbeat crowd Ð around 400 Ð gathered in Alice Springs.
Opening speaker was Catholic parish priest, Father Brian Healy.
"Forgiveness and consideration are the hallmarks of those who call themselves Christian," he said, citing the famous passage from the gospel of Luke, about loving your enemies and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
He said the Australian Catholic and Anglican bishops have made very clear their opposition to war on Iraq, especially if it is lead by George Bush "on his own authority".
This was the bottom line at the rally: opposition to military intervention that is not sanctioned by the United Nations. Some, most prominently Fran Kilgariff, speaking as a private citizen, said they would support a multi-national UN-sanctioned force.
The organisers also wanted it to be clear that the rally was not anti-American.
Fr Healy went on to outline the Christian concept of a "just war", as developed by St Augustine.
His tenets were that the cause must be just, the authority legitimate and the intention right.
Modern thinkers have added that a just war must be waged only as a last resort, with the probability of success, and that it must be proportionate, in other words, it must not produce still greater evils.
Fr Healy said that it is this last point that needs the greatest consideration at this time.
Ms Kilgariff, emphasising that she was not speaking as Mayor, said the town council had not discussed the issue, although some local governments in Australia had.
She placed herself in the camp of "the coalition of the unwilling", asking why Australia is one of only three nations undermining the rule of international law.
She asked how is it in AustraliaÕs interest to be displaying such belligerence towards Iraq.
"I always believed that we lived in a democracy, but the Prime Minister is saying that our role in this war is his decision alone.
"That makes me feel very powerless and very angry that our voices are not being heard," said Ms Kilgariff.
The crowd also heard from MHR Warren Snowdon, who was not mincing words. He accused the Prime Minister of having "a sick mind" in saying that it would not be his fault but the fault of Saddam Hussein when Iraqi women and children die.
He also asked by what right is the Prime Minister undermining the United Nations Ð not perfect but nonetheless an international framework developed over more than 50 years for resolving conflict.
"I don't believe he has that mandate," said Mr Snowdon.
After his address, MC Donna Ah Chee urged the crowd to stand facing Canberra and shout their message: "Not now, Johnny Howard!" There were a few dissenting "not evers".
The messages on banners though were unambiguous:
"War and greed are the toxic waster of deep fear."
"Think global, act local: Pine Gap, Alice Springs' contribution to the war effort."
"Are your children the cannon fodder for a new world order?" "How many lives to the gallon?"
As were the lyrics of passionately delivered original songs.Here are some of Katrina Stowe's, set to a hip hop beat:"We like playing music more than / war games Ð it's such a shame / That big George W. doesn't feel the same / And that Saddam Hussein's / Such a pain in the / But, anyway, what do you think? / Do you think either one'd make a / Good musician? / No way! They'd stink Ð they dunno how to listen." And young Tashka Urban's:
"U see the footage & U hear the news / Of how other parts of the world's abused, / Brought up in a life of oppression, / Their world stained with ugliness & depression.
"Coz we sat back & watched / As the blood spilled over their face. / Now they see that it's payback time, / They're gonna put us in our place."
WILL PINE GAP COMPROMISE ALICE SPRINGS? Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Could Territorians in NT or local governments be in breach of
international law, in the event of an illegal war waged by the USA,
because they are providing services to Pine Gap? What's an illegal war?
Who can be brought to trial?
The chances of legal action are very small indeed, although Israel's Ariel Sharon is finding out it can come from the most unexpected quarters.
However, the presence of the spy base puts an interesting spin on the part Central Australia would play in a war against Iraq Ð legal or illegal. But for the time being, both the NT Government and the Alice Town Council are confining themselves to rhetoric.
The government moved in the Assembly yesterday to call on Prime Minister John Howard to only commit Australian Defence Force personnel to combat if all peaceful means of resolving the crisis have been exhausted; and that the commitment be part of a UN-sponsored coalition.
Alice Springs Mayor Fran Kilgariff (pictured at right, at the rally) says international litigation would be "a very remote possibility" and any responsibility would rest with Prime Minister John Howard and his government.
But the Alice Peace Coalition's Ariel Couchman says it would be very interesting to test in an international legal forum arguments for an attack on Iraq put forward by the US and Australia.
She also says the NT Government and the town council should be much more up front with disclosure about Pine Gap's functions.
The net could be cast very wide in the search of culprits in an illegal war, says Professor Donald Rothwell, president of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law.
He says there are two forms of armed conflict that may be authorised consistent with the United Nations charter.
"The first is when military force is authorised by the United Nations Security Council.
"That applied during the 1991 Gulf War when coalition military forces were authorised to use all necessary means to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait.
"Secondly, if a state suffers an armed attack it can use legitimate military force to repel that attack, subject to some restraints, and the most important of these is proportionality.
"One exception is anticipatory self defence: a state would argue that they have a strong suspicion that they may be subject to an armed attack, and seek to exercise a right of first strike to pre-empt any more extensive military action.
"That is an extremely controversial doctrine," says Prof Rothwell.
"Both the US and Australia have alluded to that doctrine, but it is very doubtful that the preconditions have been met [in connection with Iraq] under the current circumstances.
"The second exception is the notion of humanitarian intervention. A country would seek to intervene to alleviate gross and massive human rights violations.
"Once again, it is very difficult under the current circumstances, to see how that can be legitimately applied in the case of Iraq," says Prof Rothwell.
"Australia is now a party to the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court which could see Australian nationals subject to prosecution for war crimes, crime sof genocide, and also Ð in the current circumstances Ð acts of aggression.
"There could be a very strong argument that if Australia should illegally intervene in Iraq, contrary to the principals of international law, that individuals in the military and even political figures could be charged with crimes under the Rome statute.
"Australia as a state, but also branches of governments in Australia, could be taken to the International Court of Justice with an argument being made that Australia is in breach of international law.
"All Australians need to be aware that we are now, as a country and as individuals, subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, as well as much more extensive Australian laws that deal with the questions of war crimes.
"Australia as a nation and collectively, Australian citizens, need to think carefully about what are the consequences of possibly engaging in an illegal armed conflict in Iraq," says Prof Rothwell.
Says Mayor Kilgariff: "The council certainly has motions on its books supporting the presence of Pine Gap in the town [principally on economic grounds], but I don't think that would make us legally liable for prosecution in the event of an illegal war against Iraq.
"That decision is made by John Howard, and not by too may other Australians, so far as I can see.
"We don't do anything for Pine Gap that we don't do for any other citizens of the town.
"The Americans pay rates, as do any other people who own property in Alice Springs.
"We are providing the services we are obliged to provide for ratepayers in the town," says Ms Kilgariff.
"I don't see any justification for withdrawing services from houses where women and kids live.
"In a very minor way that would be doing exactly what is possibly going to happen in Iraq, victimising people for something they have no control over."
In her address to the rally on Sunday, given as a private citizen (see report on page 1), Ms Kilgariff was vehemently opposed to an illegal war on Iraq.
But she exercised considerable restraint when speaking in her official role.
She said: "The Mayor's job is to represent the opinion of the council and council doesn't have a position on this [the possible war against Iraq]."
TOURISM: WHERE TO NOW? Comment by Tourist Commissioner RICHARD RYAN. Introduction by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Are we getting value for money from the NT Tourist Commission? The numbers certainly raise some fascinating questions. For example, the NTTC spends $18m a year on marketing.
In terms of spend that places it at the lower end when compared with the other states: Queensland, for example, spends $45m and NSW, $40m.
But when you relate this to the size of the population we're so far in front it makes your head spin: $90 per person compared to $6 in NSW.
OK, small administrations are always more expensive to run É but 15 times more expensive?
In the "bang for buck" department we're doing very badly: on average, the state government tourist commissions generate $302 in tourism income for every marketing dollar spent. The NT only achieves $57 Ð just 19 per cent of the national figure.
These questions clearly are very much on the mind of newly appointed NTTC chair, Richard Ryan AO, in this exclusive comment piece, in which he also responds to our comparison between Alice Springs and the French mountain resort, Chamonix (Alice News, Feb 12).
Firstly, with respect to the Alice News' comment on Territory Government funding of tourism, per capita expenditure levels reflect the different make-up of the Territory economy compared to those of other States.
Consistent with the larger presence of government administration and defence in the Territory, the public sector accounts for a significantly higher share of total consumption expenditure than nationally.
With the maturing of the Territory economy over time, the level of private sector capital investment is expected to steadily increase. NSW has had the benefit of 200 years of capital investment, compared to around 50 years for the NT.If you performed a similar per head of population calculation on overall public expenditure, for example, you would determine that the largest state (NSW) spends the least per capita, and the smallest territory (NT) spends the most per capita. This is indicative of economies of scale that can be achieved in a more populous state, rather the effectiveness of individual agencies.For tourism, it is worthwhile to recall that the Territory competes against other states and overseas destinations in the domestic marketplace. Government needs a reasonable investment in tourism marketing to ensure the Territory can attract visitors.
I am sure your readers would agree, an NT Government investment in tourism at per capita rate equivalent to NSW, giving a grand total of $1.2 million, is unlikely to make any impact at all in the cluttered marketing environment.
Tourism is more important to the NT economy than it is to any other state or territory. It contributes approximately five per cent to Gross State Product in the NT, compared to around four per cent nationally.
Tourism accounted for 8.7 per cent of Territory employment in 2001/02, compared to 7.6 per cent at the national level (Source: Budget Paper No 5). Our budget allocation of $28.5 million demonstrates that the NT Government views tourism as a high priority.
As Chair of the NT Tourist Commission, I am keen to ensure that the Government's investment in tourism is spent as wisely as possible.
Given our comparatively small tourism budget (in real terms), the NT cannot compete directly against destinations such as Queensland in the mass-marketplace. Nor should we wish to Ð the Northern Territory is not a Gold Coast and the industry does not aspire to make it one.
The Territory needs to build on its strengths and competitive points-of-difference to achieve market cut-through.
We are strong in nature-based and cultural tourism. We provide unique experiences, distinct from those offered in city-type destinations such as Sydney, and niche marketing provides us an ideal opportunity to reach consumers interested in these experiences in a cost-effective manner.
My final comments relate to the Chamonix resort.
I note you have highlighted the immediate difference between Alice Springs and this French resort being the difference in magnitude of the population in the immediate area.
Alice Springs has several million within a two hour flight, while Chamonix has several hundred million within a two hour flight, which has obvious implications on expected revenue projections and hence private infrastructure investment.
However, I agree that there is a lot more that can be done in the Northern Territory overall in terms of customer service, integrated planning and whole of government approaches, and tackling community issues such as anti-social behaviour.
I am keen to see the tourist commission play a role in these issues, along with council and the business community.I guess the key to it is the Territory is small in numbers of people, large in area and faces the difficulty of marketing to a competitive consumer market.
Therefore, industry, government and the community need to work in partnership to be successful.
DARWIN VS ALICE SPRINGS: THE MOVIE. Report by
The Alice vs Darwin split is rearing its difficult head again, this time in the Territory's film industry.
Public meetings were held recently in both Alice and Darwin to discuss the government's proposals around establishing a Northern Territory film, television and new media office.The meetings were well-attended, by about 40 people in both centres.
The Departments of Arts and Museums, and Business, Industry and Resource Development (DBIRD), who are coordinating consultation on the proposals, have also received 27 written submissions.Policy developer, Marj Morrissey from DBIRD, understands that there is strong feeling in Central Australia that the office should be based here.
The Top Enders, needless to say, have a "slightly different perspective. "Both views will be put to government," she says.
The Top Enders, however, have moved quickly to present a united voice.
They are in the process of incorporating an industry association, to be known as the Film and Television Association of the Northern Territory (FATANT).They have already formulated a constitution and are undertaking a membership drive.
They're keen to have a truly representative association, says one of the drivers, independent producer, John Bradley.
He says from the word go he has been in contact with industry colleagues in Central Australia and that there has been dialogue to and fro.
He hopes Centralians will become members but is stopping short of supporting a constitutional guarantee of Central Australian representation on the FATANT executive committee."Representation will depend on decisions made by the membership which is open to industry professionals around the Territory," he says.He says if the membership elects a president and committee from Alice Springs that will be "fantastic".
CENTRESBut then there will be a need to discuss representation of Darwin members and potentially those from Tennant Creek, Gove or other centres.
The main danger to avoid would be a splintering of the industry's voice: "If there were three different associations with three different agendas that would not be very good for the industry.
"Government will want to listen to one argument," says Mr Bradley.
Garry Grbavac, director of Burundi Pictures which produced the feature film Yolgnu Boy, says it's essential for FATANT to be a Territory-wide group, but sees problems in guaranteeing representation on the basis of region.
"What would happen if you couldn't get the people to take those positions on the committee?
"Would it mean that the association collapses?"
The latest Alice meeting of industry participants was held last Friday night.
Media were excluded from the meeting.
A set of objectives was drafted, with refinement of them delegated to a steering committee.
The objectives include the development of a Central Australian professional association.
Whether or not it would be part of a Territory-wide or Top End-based association is unresolved.
The possibility of Top End film-makers being invited to join a Centre-based association is also being canvassed."We very much want a consolidated voice for the Territory industry but feel that the strength of the industry lies here in the Centre," says Clive Scollay.
Mr Scollay, known for his recent stints as executive director of the Yeperenye Federation Festival and the Year of the Outback celebrations, also has 25 years' film-making experience behind him.
He says the role of any industry association would be to lobby government to respond to the development and training needs of the industry, as well as for funding.And Central Australian film-makers have the runs on the board to be the drivers of that agenda, says Mr Scollay.For the same reasons, Priscilla Collins, executive producer at CAAMA, says that organisation's written submission to the government is pushing for the industry office to be based in the Centre.
LIQUOR COMMISSION HITS MELANKA, TODD TAVERN.
The Licensing Commission will suspend the liquor licences of two
Alice Springs premises following breaches of the Liquor Act.
Melanka Lodge and the Todd Tavern have been suspended for four days and two days respectively, with two day and one day deferrals acting as a kind of good behaviour bond for both premises over the next 12 months.
Melanka's suspension relates to a complaint by police following an assault on a man by drunken off-duty security staff in January last year.
Commission chairman, Peter Allen, in his decision last week described the assault as a "sequence of sustained violence upon the hapless [victim]".
Following a "king hit" the victim was "set upon by a mob" of "several Ôgrossly intoxicated' off-duty bouncers acting in concert".
During the incident "no attempts were made to impose the licensee's authority".
In Mr Allen's view, "the combination of the environment of off-duty intoxication and on-duty inaction" was a breach of section 105 of the Act.
"To the same extent that the off-duty staff were drawn to the initial incident, so too should have been the on-duty staff," said Mr Allen.
The gravity of the incident would normally have attracted a penalty of at least a week's suspension.
However, Mr Allen accepted the testimony of license nominee Darren Lynch "as to the change in management culture that he has initiated".
Said Mr Allen: "Mr Lynch is the majority shareholder and Managing Director of the licensee company, who at the end of April 2002 installed himself as very much a hands-on nominee essentially in damage control as a series of formal complaints under section 48 of the Liquor Act came to a head. "The complaints, four in all, were upheld, with a range of penalties and conditions imposed. They all related to matters occurring under "the watch of the previous nominee", Jason Zammit.
Under Mr Lynch, however, "for various reasons, almost all of the staff who were there as at January last year have been removed. "There is a new and experienced manager, and after some frustrations, a new and seemingly reliable security contractor. Mr Lynch believed the Police to currently have no issues specifically with Melanka," said Mr Allen.
"É we do take heart from Mr Lynch's testimony, and it is appropriate that some credit be given for the improvement he has achieved in the company's corporate governance in relation to liquor licensing issues, albeit belatedly."Mr Allen decided upon a penalty of four days' suspension, with two of those days to be deferred. The suspension is of the entire licence, including even the mini-bars in Melanka's accommodation units.
Todd Tavern's penalty relates to sale of takeaway liquor to an intoxicated person, in circumstances "very similar to a previous complaint against the Todd Tavern", dealt with by the commission in October, 2000.
Mr Allen quoted from his previous decision:
"... It must be clearly stated that in the context of the broader alcohol-related issues in Alice Springs, the selling of a cask of wine to an intoxicated Aboriginal person is seen as an appalling act. In almost all circumstances it can expect to attract a significant penalty; there are obvious issues of liquor industry deterrence to be taken into account."
While acknowledging mitigating factors, Mr Allen had commented that they "must be balanced against present-day community expectation in Alice Springs".Returning to the present complaints, he said: "With only the substitution of a 750 ml bottle of port for the previous wine cask, those comments hold true for this second incident, with the disadvantage for the licensee of being unable this time around to present as a Ôfirst offender'."
He accepted that "the Loechels manage the Tavern in a generally responsible manner", but "on this second complaint, so similar to the first, the licensee must surely accept that some duration of actual suspension of licence is unavoidable".
The suspension he imposed relates only to the bottleshop.
Like it or not, behaviour still a worry. COLUMN by ANN CLOKE.
"How can you swing from bright breezy comments to last week's
topic?" I was asked.
It's quite easy, this slipping in and out of reality.
I've had plenty of feedback, most of it positive, but one person said that inferring visitors were "shell-shocked" after a mall walk was a bit harsh É perhaps I should have used disheartened, disillusioned, or, as the kids say, "gob-smacked"?
Visitors believe that they are travelling around a first world country: Australia is now ranked 16th highest, or lowest, depending on how the stats are read, on "the standard of living amongst industrialised nations" list.
One of the key attractions for many international visitors is the romance and mystique attached to Aboriginal culture, dreamtimes and walkabouts, learning a little more about the oldest civilization in the world. Judging by the number of outlets in CBD marketing Aboriginal paintings, arts, crafts and tours, it's obviously extremely lucrative.
The depressing spectacle of drunks, itinerants, anti-social behaviour and an Aboriginal underclass sours the Alice experience, and few visitors have the opportunity to meet Indigenous people who are living and working and actively involved within the Alice Springs community. A sad state of affairs. It is said that the truth always hurtsÉ
By now, most people will be aware of the petition circulating Alice, in which we, the people of Central Australia, are asking the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory to urgently consider "committing necessary funds and resources to secure a second airline for Central Australia".
I note that as humble petitioners we haven't actually stated that we would like the second commercial airline to fly in and out of Alice Springs. (Perhaps it's perceived that Alice is the obvious choice?) If Clare Martin's Government were able to give a firm commitment to the effect that public servants, Ministers and people travelling on government business in and out of Central Australia would support, within reason, and subject to flight schedules, a second airline, then that could be beneficial in assessing the commercial viability of a proposed second airline flying into the Alice, particularly if projected monthly passenger numbers could be factored into the equation. This would be a positive way for Government to back a venture without committing financial incentives.
I spoke to Trisha at Aurora Resorts and asked whether Tony had ever received a response to his clever communiquŽ, an Aboriginal deflecting shield with message, which was sent to the powers that be, Virgin Airlines, early last year: There has been no reply as yet.Perhaps an invitation needs to be addressed to Sir Richard?I rang Don, Operations, out at the Alice Springs Airport and he said that there have been a number of on-site meetings with Virgin Blue management re the viability of adding Alice Springs to an ever expanding list of destinations. Last week the launch, starting in April, of a direct Adelaide to Broome flight was announced. Any decision as to whether or not Virgin Blue will come to Alice will be based on the commerciality of such a venture.
If the worst comes to the worst, and Alice Springs loses out to our huge monolith, Uluru, which will mean even more flights into Ayers Rock, then all of Alice's business and tourism operators, will continue to rely on the positive efforts of Craig and his team at CATIA, working together with the Alice Springs Town Council, NT Government, NT Tourist Commission and travel agents everywhere, to on-sell the concept and benefits of a visit into the Alice.
Meantime, it's probably a good idea to sign that petition just to let everyone up north know that Alice is also a tourist destination, and that the people of Alice want and need a second airline.
Not a drama, please! COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.
The television dramas are back. I'm getting used to this date in the calendar.
It comes just after Australia Day and just before the weather starts getting a bit cooler in the Alice.
Suddenly, the infinite pleasure of having nothing to watch on the box so that you have to talk to the people that you live with, is broken.
Instead, peak-time viewing is filled with photogenic people in uniform either shouting at each other in operating theatres, sobbing inconsolably in smoko rooms or having affairs in police station cupboards.
The first episodes tend to be "feature-length", meaning that they give advertisers plenty of time to show at least 20 repeats of their new commercial.
If joined end-to-end, these ads would be a separate feature lasting an hour and starring fast food meal deals, electrical goods salespeople and tattooists.
I have been at home at the start of one of these drama episodes, been out for a game of soccer, had a long bike ride home and a pizza and still not lost the thread of the story. They are so epic, they make Ben Hur look like a Swedish film festival short.
The trouble is that the more the ratings go up, the greater is the quantity of drama that the television channels demand. Temporarily forgetting that the customer can have too much of a good thing, the expanding team of scriptwriters churns out more and more. The creative process cannot keep up. And the result is that characters have the same affairs that they had last year and the same arguments with the same colleagues about earnest points of professional practice.
The script gets strung out and the actors even more so.
Before you know it, the doctors look sick enough to be patients and the patients look half-dead, even those with bruised thumbs or a little indigestion.
But then again, what do I know? Precisely nothing. And it's decreasing every day.
Isn't it peculiar the way that some people, in order to make a humorous comment about their lack of formal qualifications, tell you how they attended the best academic institution in the world Ð the University of Life. I used to have a wizened uncle who said this and for a long time I believed it.
All I need is a bit of life experience, I used to think, and everything will be fine. The older I get, the wiser I get. Soak up that experience. Go on, breathe it in, I thought.
Excuse me, but I've been cheated. It doesn't work. Can I have my money back. I spent years at the University of Life but the lecturers were rubbish. The experience was fine, but it was the same every day. Go to work, come home, eat, slump in a chair, go to bed, get up again. Like a 4WD commercial from outback Queensland, they kept repeating the material over and over.
And they didn't explain anything, so most of life remains a complete mystery. I will probably enter retirement never having found out how they put stripes in toothpaste. Proper education is better because it comes with books.
The University of Life was like Chinese drip torture except that I ended up being the drip.
Which is why I show an unhealthy interest in soap operas masquerading as drama.
The best thing about television dramas is the end of each episode because they show you a potted summary of the following episode. In theory, this means that you don't have to watch the next one, because the television marketing people already told you what is going to happen.
LETTERS: Tourism? Alice is a service town.
Sir,- My response to Ann Cloke's ramblings ranges from boredom to outrage as she trots out her tired old generalities.
When was the golden age she says she was proud of the town? I am still proud of Alice Springs even if she isn't any more. However, if we could go back to the time before she and her mates arrived I'd also be happy.
Sure we have problems but there are initiatives to try to overcome problems in town. I don't see that they are being stalled "for fear of being branded discriminatory".
What does she mean [when she says] issues are suppressed and "hidden by arbitrary statistics"?
She said the column sprouted from discussions at "a favourite watering hole". Perhaps we need constructive ideas not more drunken talk. What's said at the watering hole should stay at the watering hole.
As for your editor's European adventure stories, it's the equivalent of a holiday slide night, enough is enough!
The relevance of the French Alp town of Chamonix to Alice Springs escapes me. The parallel is closer to the company town of Yulara. The Chamonix Council owns 90 per cent of the town and runs it as a resort, Alice is a service centre for a range of industries and home to many not involved in tourism.
Central Land Council
[ED Ð We didn't say "the Chamonix Council owns 90 per cent of the town and runs it as a resort". We said the council "controls 90 per cent of the land which makes up the playground for Chamonix' guests: the magnificent mountain peaks, slopes and forests north of Mont Blanc".]
Sir,- We are looking for all former members of the 12th Field Regiment Royal Australian Artillery and those other corps that supported us.
We're planning a reunion in June 2003. All who served in this unit are very welcome to join our assocciation Ð membership is free. Contact: Kimbo 07 5484 5131; email@example.com
Hanno 07 4774 0728, firstname.lastname@example.org or Tibbo 07 5442 6314, email@example.com Peter "Tibbo" Tibbett,Cooroy QLD
RACING: BIG BUCKS ARE NIGH. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
The dollar dazzling days of the Red Centre Racing Carnival are not that far away and premium desert racing continued to unfold talent at Pioneer Park on Saturday.The so far undefeated Nappa continued to impress in the opening event, the Territory Transport Sales Class Three Handicap over 1200 metres.
Sent to the stalls as firm odds on favourite, Nappa with Ben Cornell in the saddle showed true grit in the straight to down Centre Dancer and stable mate Barrow. The opposition, while not being top class, provided the top weight with the chance to show his worth in winning by a length and three-quarters. Six lengths separated second from third.
The second race of the day was the Qantas Class One Handicap over 1400 metres. Punters ensured that the Kevin Lamprecht trained Palazzo, ridden by Tim Norton, went out in the red, but their good money turned sour in the straight after Palazzo could not run on when challenging the front runner, Merits. Ridden by Jason Ditman, Merits had too much up the sleeve and took the money by a length, at 5-2. Two and a half lengths back, Phil's Faith at double digit odds filled the placings.
The 1000 metre dash sponsored by Centrebet for Class Five performers, saw Eminency provide Cornell with a riding double. As with the earlier events, punters backed their favourite into "look on" status, and this time Eminency lived up to expectations by scoring a three and a quarter length all the way win. Scamandro put in a solid performance to pick up second money and a further length back Ayr Rider completed the placings.
The Australian Fuel Distributors Maiden Plate over 1000 metres completed the card. Several starters in this sprint were using the run as an indicator of possible things to come in the Cup Carnival.
Gary Lefoe continued his run of riding successes when he guided Raja Mahal to a comfortable two length victory. Michael Cullen on new comer Ravoque Star put in a pleasing run to take second spot, and three quarters of a length away was the well supported It's Our Boy.From here on Pioneer Park racing will be in earnest as the four day Alice Springs Cup Carnival looms. In all $405,000 will be distributed in prize money, $75,000 going to the Cup Winner.
Last year the Queenslanders invaded, headed by Michael Cullen who mounted the 33-1 long shot Sea Royal to take the Cup from Scintillator and Prince Dubai.
Viv Oldfield's Grey Desert proved supreme in the Guineas and on Young Guns Day Darwinite Pim created interest by winning the Coleman's Cup.
Nev Connor then received his training reward when Bathers overcame a wide barrier draw to win the $40,000 Schweppes Sprint. Over the coming weeks performances at the track will be closely monitored in an effort to gauge carnival potential and possible 2003 winners.
CRICKET: ONE DAY RESULT CRITICAL. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
The turf pitch at Albrecht Oval was declared unfit for weekend play by mid-Friday last, after rain earlier in the week had disrupted preparations.
The qualified and experienced curators, from the town council, made a valid and fair decision in view of their employment conditions, and in consideration of the fine job they do in preparing turf pitches at both Albrecht and Traeger Park for the benefit of A Grade players.
In recent weeks the curators have come in of a Saturday morning in their own time to finish the pitch preparation.
Despite earlier weather forecasts by Saturday morning the Albrecht turf was hard and most playable.
The day was cool and quite inviting for a day in the field.
However the die had been already cast and the scheduled two-day match was already reverted to a one day affair next weekend.In terms of premiership points, the implication of the decision was significant. As it is presently, RSL sit on top of the ladder with 79.85 points and they have a seemingly unassailable grip on the minor premiership.
A mere three points then separates Federal and Rovers while West are only a further five points behind at fourth, in the chase for the remaining two finals places.
Each of the games scheduled for the season is worth 12 points (albeit with bonus points available) regardless of the game being a two- or one-day fixture.
Hence with this weekend's play being reverted to a one-day game, the finalists for this year's competition could be determined by "pyjama" game cricket.
To add further intrigue, Federal Club, sitting in second place, have not been able to crack a positive outright result in two-day cricket this season.
On paper they appear to be one-day specialists, well in contention for the overall championship.
The policy of similar premiership points weighting for both forms of the game would have the purists of the game questioning the true value of the competition.
Surely the cricket premiership chase should endeavour to contain a bias towards two-day results, and award more points for those games, so encouraging both seniors and juniors to develop their game rather than living life as "sloggers".
Intriguingly, the push for turf wickets in Alice Springs includes the policy of providing juniors with the chance to "grow" in the game, with experience on a variety of surfaces including the hallowed turf.
In this day, with an Institute of Sport, an elite sportsperson career path available, along with the possibility of world-class games being played here, the anti-turf notion is soon negated.
However, if cancellations in play as occurred this weekend means our A Graders are going to have premierships determined by one-day and / or rain affected results, then maybe the structure of point-scoring within the premiership competition should be looked at.
On Saturday, West have a one-day chance to pick up points when they take on RSL. Then on Sunday, Federal and Rovers are scheduled to do limited overs battle.
RUGBY: EAGLES RULE. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
The finals are but a few weeks away and with the sniff of a back to back premiership permeating the liniment, the sweaty head bands and the bent nasal passages of the Eagles players, the already proclaimed minor premiers took all before them on Saturday night.
Anzac Oval could well have been mistaken as a race track as the Eagles piled on 49 points to the Kiwi Warriors' five in an exhibition of free flowing, one sided, rugby.
To add to the situation the Cubs then proceeded to account for the Devils, 41 to nil.
The Eagles however posted it loud and clear for all to see that they are going to be the team to beat in this year's premiership game.
Shane Hooper, Jonno Schwalger, and young Lincoln Peckham paved the way for the white wash, but in the dash to victory, all players contributed.
For the Kiwis the honours went the way of Tim Gibbons, Matt Wilson and Russell Satour. At this time of the year the Warriors ,who are seeking a win to climb out of the cellar, could not afford a hiding.
For third placed Federal Devils however, their drubbing at the hands of the Cubs did little to keep their attitudes positive either. They were short of starters, which never helps, whereas the Cubs welcomed home stalwart Stuart Bright who revelled in the going in the second half.
In scoring their 41 to zip win, Cubs had Cameron Brosnan, Steve Barr and Andy Warner dictating play with the rest of their pack contributing to the blitz.
The Devils showed that Davin Turner, Rory Ryan and Dave Monroe are not just pretty faces. If however they cannot regroup, and fill the bench, the big wooden spoon may well end up on Undoolya Road.
ON A TENNER. Report by NIC WILES.
It all began with the cream of Alice's skaters hearing rumours of a skate camp going down in SA.
Before we knew it, mid-January our local solid crew of eight were packing bags and on the way to Adelaide.
The crew consisted of Oliver Burnside, Matty Price, Shaun Howe, Lyndon Kloeden, Ryan Absalom, Charly Lowson, Michael Daly, Rowley Hill and myself.
Two buses ran to our designated pad, talked as a little fishing town called Port Hughes, not far from Adelaide. After making new mates on our bus ride we ended up in our skate heaven.
It was a frenzy to claim the largest room, surrounded by all of your mates.
Soon as the beds were claimed and the dorms were solid, it was time to see what this four day retreat had to offer.
Skate Camp is all about fun, demos, meeting new people, Christianity, making new friends, and notching your skating ability up to that next level.
On the Christianity side, there were prayers before meals and a couple of non-compulsory group discussions.
The skate set-up included a metal three piece mini, gnarley street section of bitumen and wooden ramps and the mass indoor park course, which was gold.
The Alice crew found their own favourite or never skated obstacle and flowed amongst other skaters from around South Australia. A barbecue was quickly sorted and introductory speech was laid, explaining the rules and regulations of the hired grounds.
We found out that we weren't the only outsiders, as there was a small posse of Canberra rippers.
By the end of the day everyone seemed to be attracted to the indoor set-up. As soon as Beadie, a Skate Church leader, came out with his video camera, including 2000 bucks worth of lenses, the big guns decided to head up to the flat bank and begin decimating the round rail and make-shift style gap.
We joined local talent such as Mark Rowe, Michael Casey, Macca and ACT's tech railest, Luke. Ruined from previous hours of skating that went down, Matty, Rowley, and myself dragged ourselves up to join the session.
The mass mixed crowd kept our drive after constant slams, to keep trying for that one individual trick. After the hammers were thrown down, our shattered bodies were laid to rest. We later agreed it was arguably the hardest skate of our lives.
When everyone wasn't skating, it was food, or relaxing, showers, beach walks, tube, knee and wake-boarding, mass water fights, vids, destroying, group chats, loud music, gang wars or fishing. Our room without doubt took out the most trashed award, proud, until clean up.
January 16 brought our demo, proddie toss and handrail challenge. Local Ams (as in amateurs) Matt "Mullet" Horne, "Nuts" and Todd Johnstone took care of the demo with tricks laid like big spin boardies, kickie backside tailslides, nollie kickie to 50-50 and so forth.
The scavengers went down for the proddie toss of a board, clothing and stickers. As the handrail comp came close locals Matty and Rowley were ready to go. Rowley ended up with a solid frontside boardslide to fakie, keeping the crowd cheering as he was the youngest in that comp.
Matty was just missing the landing side of things and ended up being three tricks too late from 1st place. ACT's Lucas took 1st , with a bluntslide as solid as concrete. Nevertheless the crowd convinced Matt to keep pushing on and he nailed his second ever backside kickie boardslide down the rail, keeping the whole shed spastic.
The comp was the last on the agenda. There were two different divisions for the comp, allowing all skaters to compete for either gold or glory, or even just a laugh. Oliver and Rowley went in division two and only Matt and Michael from Alice went in division one, as I was suffering from a busted knee the day before.
Oliver happily pumped around the park and showed the comedy side to skating. Rowley had two beautiful runs, destroying almost all his division, which gave him 2nd place!
Michael used his consistency of different style tricks, showing what Alice has to offer. Matt only landed a few tricks, but the technicality of the three landed, got him a tie third with Daly.
After the comp it was time for dismantling the ramps and throwing everything on the back of the truck. Thankyous and goodbyes were proudly presented and before we all knew it, everyone was back on the bus. At least till next time.
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