July 30, 2003.


Vast regions of the Territory could be opened up to sharply increased productivity, and Aboriginal native title issues could be defused, under a proposal by MacDonnell MLA John Elferink.
He suggests that wherever pastoralists and Aborigines come to agreement between themselves over division of a station lease into portions of their mutual agreement, each party would be rewarded with "freehold in fee simple" over their land.
And native title would be extinguished over the land retained by the pastoralist.
"In this way the issue of native title would be settled once and for all," says the CLP politician.
And what the pastoralists would lose in area they would more than make up in new commercial opportunities.
Whilst not commenting on the native title aspects in Mr Elferink's proposal, two prominent pastoralists in The Centre strongly favoured freehold over pastoral land.
Says Jan Heaslip, who runs a successful tourism venture on Bond Springs station, just to the north of The Alice: "You can't survive on a cattle or sheep property.
"You need to have another income" Ð and tourism is ideally suited, she says
"The wife usually runs it, and she can still be at home.
"It's better than going off the station to work."
Mrs Heaslip says in a similar move the NT Government gave freehold title to private schools.
Jimmy Hayes, from Undoolya Station, says cattle men have "a lot of money invested without much security" under the present land tenure of pastoral leases.
There are supposed to be no activities other than grazing on cattle stations, without the consent of the Pastoral Board.
Mr Hayes says some people run stores, but the board often "makes it quite hard".
Mr Hayes is developing a vineyard on Undoolya but he is using parts of 2500 acres converted to freehold in 1974, for use as a lucerne fodder patch.
The Territory's first Chief Minister, Paul Everingham, commissioned a report into freeholding by Brian Martin, now Chief Justice due to retire.
Although the report recommended in favour it was never implemented.
Mr Elferink says the notion of the Crown owning vast stretches of land, and letting it at very low rents, is now well and truly outdated.
Mr Elferink represents the vast MacDonnell electorate, some 345,000 square kilometres, in roughly equal shares occupied by family owned cattle stations and Aboriginal land.
About 65 per cent of his constituents are Aboriginal.
Mr Elferink says the productivity of cattle land compared to other uses Ð especially tourism Ð is minute.
Alice News research suggests that the carrying capacity of grazing land is just one beast per square kilometre, yielding $700 over two years.
By comparison, the four square kilometres of vineyards in TiTree Ð in a good year Ð return $22m.
"The capacity of land under horticulture to raise income would be many thousands of times the productivity of cattle grazing," says Mr Elferink.
"This is not a criticism of the cattle industry, it is just exploring new ways to raise more income from the land at our disposal."
Putting land to uses other than grazing, and furnishing it with secure tenure, would have substantial benefits for owners.
It would be far more useful as collateral for bank loans.
And Aborigines would have direct control over land they acquire through that proposed process.
Aboriginal land acquired through land rights cannot be sold (it is "inalienable") and therefore cannot be used as loan collateral.
Also, Aboriginal land is mostly part of large land trusts which are under the collective Ð and unwieldy Ð control of thousands of people.
Mr Elferink has been a frequent critic of lack of economic progress on Aboriginal land, about half of the Territory's land mass.
He says he is putting up his idea to the CLP and to the public for comment.
Mr Elferink recently had a falling out with Opposition Leader Denis Burke and has resigned form his shadow portfolios.
Mr Elferink says he has written to pastoralists and to Aboriginal leaders to promote his proposal.


Local fans of Dan Murphy's unique found metal artworks can get a preview of his first Sydney exhibition this weekend at the Silver Bullet cafŽ and gallery.
Earlier this year Murphy had felt that he was "a bit over making the flat panels".
Then he found new excitement in working on the textures of the pieces Ð beating, hammering, punching holes in themÐ and in experimenting with different perspectives. Pictured are "Paddocks No.1" in situ at the Silver Bullet, and inset, "Hugh River".
The latter shows the death of a crow, a real event observed by Murphy: "It was trapped by a string around its foot, at the top of a dead tree. It was still alive but there was nothing I could do about it."
Except make art: apart from the texturing, in this piece he has also tried to "fiddle around with the perspective", trying to render the landscape as seen by the crow.
The Silver Bullet at 4 Hele Cres Ð a marvellous homage to the Central Australian natural and man-made environment Ð is open 9-4.30, weekends only. Murphy's work shows in Sydney, September 2-16, at Gallery Gondwana's venue in Waterloo.


Making themselves more "available to people in the remoter parts of Australia" and learning to better "deal with Indigenous issues" brought judges of the Family Court to Alice Springs last week for their annual conference.
Chief Justice Alastair Nicholson told the Alice Springs News "there was virtually no usage by Indigenous people of the court's conciliation services" before specific Indigenous programs were established in 1996.
Now Indigenous people are using the processes "at the same level at which they are represented as a percentage of the community.
"So, there's an acceptance there that we have got something to offer," said C.J. Nicholson.
"I hasten to say I am not encouraging them to come along and fight things out in court Ð that's contrary to our ethos anyway Ð but we do try to assist them in resolving disputes."The court does not wait for Indigenous people to come to them. In Alice Springs, it employs two Indigenous family consultants, who travel out to communities on regular circuits to see how they can assist in mediating family disputes.
"In the past Aboriginal people themselves tended to sort these out," said C. J. Nicholson.
"But now they are marrying across skin lines and marrying people from different communities so the old system doesn't always work.
"That's why it has become more relevant for us to become involved."The court deals with all children, whether they are the product of a formal marriage or not.
"It's relationship breakdown that we deal with rather than marital breakdown," he said.
Is the law adequately framed to deal with Indigenous families?C.J. Nicholson: "Not really, I think it needs change.
"One thing it does do, as the result of an amendment introduced some years ago now, is that we are required to take into account the need to maintain connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. "That wasn't in the [Family Law] Act until I asked for it to be put in. That's had a significant effect, it's enabled us to take cultural matters into account.
"One of the problems of the Act is that it is predicated on a dispute that might involve a mother, a father and perhaps a grandmother in the usual nuclear family type of arrangement.
"If you get an Indigenous dispute with a complicated kinship relationship, the Act isn't really structured to handle that. It is quite troublesome for that reason.
"I think we really do need to look at issues of customary law. Obviously polygamous marriages are not taken into account, yet people are still in those situations.
"So there are a number of areas, which I think the Law Reform Commission identified about 15 years ago, but nothing much has been done about them since."
Can the court nevertheless find ways of dealing with realities on the ground? .
Yes, said C.J. Nicholson: "For example, a Torres Strait Islander issue is their customary adoption practice, usually between a brother and sister. "We've been able to adapt the power of the court to make residence orders in ordinary disputes to make orders in those cases, which give legal recognition to the responsibilities of the people who received the child.
"I think that is a considerable advance and is an example of how you can use existing structures in a different way."
In discussions with Indigenous people last week, the Chief Justice heard a number of demands for a greater recognition of customary law.
"We can only do that in the limited sense that I've talked about, but I think a lot of work needs to be done in that area."
Is there interest from the Federal Government in law reform in this area?
The short answer is "no".
But, said the Chief Justice, there are some hopeful signs.The Prime Minister's statements of concern last week about issues of violence in Indigenous communities may mean "that some more government attention will be going into these sorts of areas".
The judges, both from speakers at the conference and in their visits to communities, heard about violence on communities and within families, as well as about other problems relating to children, such as "finding things for children to do" and "issues of petrol sniffing".
"We are not in a position of policing those issues, but we are in a position of understanding them and taking them into account when we make orders in relation to children," said C.J. Nicholson.The Alice News also asked the Chief Justice whether there are family law issues particularly relevant to non-indigenous families in Central Australia.
C.J. Nicholson: "Distance, because of the size of this country, is one of the enormous problems we face all the time.
"The problem of people moving away is a classic one in places like Alice.
"It does mean that some children will be effectively cut off from one of their parents.
"The real problem is, can you so limit the freedom of the person that you require them to stay somewhere where they may not have any particular ties, simply because the other parent is there. That's one of the real difficulties in family law."Are there any answers?"I think you try and work out the least worst solution."


"There's nothing to do in Alice Springs," say local kids all too often, but I disagree.
School holidays are now over, but mine were great, a fun and relaxing time.I was able to do so much! Like having time by myself, where I was able to relax and sit down in front of the TV, listen to music, or go for a long walk. Spending time with my family was great as well.
Alice Springs held some exciting events. The show, which I enjoy almost as much as Christmas or my birthday, was just as good as I had hoped. I spent a lot of money there, but it was worth it.
Bass in the Grass was the biggest concert I have been to in Alice, and I was able to listen to many famous artists, including Russell Crowe, Selwyn, Sophie Monk, Machinegun Fellatio and the Living End.
The social part of the holidays was wonderful. Catching up at lunch and going out with my friends at night, it was busy. The best part of all though, was when my best friend came back from four months of International Exchange in Canada. I'd missed her a lot and it was exciting to hear all about what she did and the new friends she'd made. (I'd talked to some of them on the phone when she called me for my birthday.)
I asked other girls I know about their holidays in Alice.
Kiara Price described her holidays as "interesting". Although she was working at K-mart a lot, she was able to fit in some fun things like going to the cinemas and the show. She also met up with friends at the Bass in the Grass concert in which she was chosen out of the crowd to dance with Machinegun Fellatio. "It was cool," she said.
Rebecca Brown was also working in her holidays, at a take-away store, and this earned her lots of money so that she could go to the Alice show and the Moscow circus.
She said: "The best part of the show was going on the peewee motorbikes with Linda." (That's me!)
She went to the cinemas a few times and played tenpin bowling.
Asha Blundell was very busy these holidays. She was working a casual job and playing sport. She went to the Gap Youth Centre Internet Cafe in her spare time. The highlight of her holidays was the huge barbecue for all of her family, including her aunty who was visiting from Canada. She also had an exciting day which she spent paragliding with her parents. Her favourite part of the holidays was going to ASYASS where she
recorded a techno-style song about teenage life with Shellie Morris.
And people say there's nothing to do in Alice!

Three cheers for the quiet non-achievers. COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.

Painting a lounge wall orange and listening to my daughter's Avril Lavigne album, a line from one of the songs kept going around my head.
"I'd rather be anything but ordinary, please," Avril sang.
I looked at my paintbrush and the half-covered light green wall. I looked at the can of paint with drips running down the outside.
This is ordinary, I thought, accidentally letting orange acrylic stuff drip onto the floor.
Sometimes I wish that it was alright to be mediocre.
Or at least to be a normal, slightly mundane and troubled person living in the suburbs of an Outback town and worrying about their body shape and superannuation contributions.
A person who means well, is sometimes incompetent and occasionally does good for other people. After all, that's how most of us lead our lives.
The world is full of achievers who never stop telling you about their achievements. For several years, part of my job has been to recruit people to various kinds of job.
One trend in recent years is that the applications have become more and more outlandishly impressive.
Not content with having more degrees than a thermometer and winning more awards at gala dinners than your average test cricketer, now people pack their outside hobbies with barely believable achievements too.
I long for the good old days when the section in a job application marked "Hobbies and interests" invited the response "home improvement, reading, gardening, polishing my collection of brass spoons".
Now the forms always say something like "world record scuba diver, president of high IQ club, historian, champion horti-culturalist".
People often tell me about the national trait called "tall poppy syndrome". How does this work when none of the poppies are short?These days the conventional wisdom is that you have to talk up your work or your hobbies to make them sound more dynamic and world-shattering than they actually are. I remember calling on an old school friend once, a short time after we had both left school. He was out, but his parents regaled me with their belief that he was single-handedly running a major building contractor.
In truth, he was just a spotty school-leaver who answered the phone and made tea for himself, being the only person in the office. The rest were outside building things.
I don't blame them (much). After all, surrounded by people loaded down with sporting, musical, academic, career and other assorted achievements, it is tough being normal.
Take those cricketing dinners, for example. I have lost count of the number of gala events for Australian cricketers that have been covered by the media on front pages and peak viewing times in the last couple of years.
Every time I see one of these mock-Oscar ceremonies, I feel convinced that the world has gone mad, parading all these men in their dinner suits and slicked back hair and asking them to make meaningful speeches.
I never heard a bowler say anything more profound than "On this pitch we need to keep the length and line tight". I thought that applied to every pitch.
Recently Ian Thorpe did a tour of the Top End, visiting remote communities along the way. Then he wrote a book about young people being able to reach their dreams. On the face of it, there's nothing wrong with any of that, but why can't normal people be role models too.
Why can't someone write a book about the challenges of keeping it together in the face of dodgy relatives and physical impediments. Or being a mother and just doing the small things right.
Gradually, the just plain solid, run-of-the-mill, steady contribution will be squeezed out all together. The idea of the quiet achiever is great, but how about the quiet non-achiever.

In new campaign Alice is not so hot. COLUMN by ANN CLOKE.

The long since defunct advertising campaign See Alice While She's Hot! enticed overseas travellers, escaping from winter in the Northern Hemisphere to Australian beach resorts, on that extra leg into the Centre, with super fare and accommodation packages.
Christmas in a hot climate is memorable, and it's a great time for the hardy to visit, provided they travel with litres of water, insect repellent, hats with bouncing corks, fly-nets, sun screen and camera: We tend to travel around the Red Centre with most of those items any time, even in mid winter!
The latest NTTC advertising campaign which is now being promoted in southern states features crocodiles and camels Ð Nick and Michelle's camels (I don't know who owns the crocodiles!) superimposed on Steve's outback photographs, but one has to wonder why are we sending out this particular image of ourselves? 2002 was the Year of the Outback, and Alice was proclaimed the capital: a calendar of special events attempted to educate Australians elsewhere about what we have to offer. We need to capitalise on that without concentrating only on the Ocker/Outback slant.
One of the greatest wonders, apart from the countryside captured in photographs and mentioned in every postcard which is mailed from the Alice, is our weather.
It's an on-going natural advantage and perhaps we need to focus on selling the concept of holidaying under clear skies to national and international markets. We've all experienced the wet (sometimes dismal) holiday: the photos of the Blue Mountains would have been great if it hadn't been so cloudy É and, in Scotland, the pix would have been brilliant, if it hadn't rained every day!
In the Centre we can usually guarantee blue skies, enormous clear heavens, for our visitors' interlude as they travel around our incredible Red Centre, camping out under all star or staying four or five star, immersing themselves in our unique landscape and the heritage of Central Oz to in-town touring with the arts, culture and positive Indigenous experience and our relaxed way of life complemented by the markets, exciting dining choices, night life and vitality of this town called Alice.
The latest Bureau of Stats report shows that Australia's international visitation numbers are still well down, the main factors cited being the after shocks of September 11, the on-going threat of terrorist attacks, the Bali bombings, the impact of the Iraqi war, SARS and the world economy in general: It has also been suggested that people who are coming Down Under aren't spending as much time or as much money here. There's a lot of competition out there, much to see, and do, universally.
Mum and Dad flew in to Alice a fortnight ago on a plane jam-packed full of passengers, international and national, disembarking here and looking forward to seeing the Centre.
Walking through the mall markets with Mum, exchanging greetings with friends, stall-holders and people we met along the way, there was happiness and an air of festivity around: everyone was smiling, talking about our mild winter and what a great day it was.
On that particular Sunday, it was about 25.
As Mum said, people who live in the Alice don't know the meaning of the words "bad weather".
As if to remind us, the weatherman dished out two days of almost cyclonic force winds last week Ð not nice at all Ð but even then, we had crisp blue skies and brilliant sunshine, although the temperature was only 15 degrees.
David and I are enjoying re-acquainting my folks with the Alice, family get togethers with Norm, Lee, Emma, Davin, Lesley-Ann and Bart, breakfast barbeques, meeting friends at favourite places, watching locals and visitors mingle.
Will and Anne, proprietors of Nthaba Cottage, Bed and Breakfast, commented recently that fellow B&B owners around the Alice, have noted an increase in enquiries lately É there are certainly a lot of interstate number plates around which is extremely encouraging: is the Alice a bit more insulated, turning the tourism visitation corner earlier than other centres?
Mum and Dad have been busily writing postcards to friends and family in New Zealand.
Having a super time exploring the Red Centre (yet) again, touched Rainbow Valley and called into Jim's Place for lunch Ð the countryside still astounds, and the weather is, as always, perfect ÉWish you were here, blah, blah, blahÉ.
Is there some way to bottle our huge clear skies Émarket them, along with vials of different coloured sands, or, is our secret actually out at long last?!


Pioneer maintained its position at the top of the CAFL ladder, with a 21 point win over Rovers on Sunday.
They booted 16.13 (109) to 13.7 (88).
But all interest lay in the late game, when South showed their potential by accounting for reigning premier West, 17.14 (116) to 14.11 (95).
Pioneer took the points in their game, but from a coaching perspective, all does not appear to be plain sailing in the Eagle camp.
Rovers lost but gave Pioneer a good run for their money in a game where Pioneer looked lack lustre. Having held sway for three quarters of the game, and with a 34 point lead at three quarter time, the Eagles were out played in the last term. Rovers kicked 4.2 to 2.4 in the run home and had the game gone another 10 minutes a different result may have eventuated.
Again Pioneer had Joel Campbell collect a bag of four goals, as did the Rolls Royce, Graeme Smith. Down the ground, however, the hard work was left to Daniel McCormack, Dave Kerrin and Jethro Campbell to secure the win. Another player to put in was Abdula Kamara who is playing in only his second season of Aussie Rules. As a newcomer to the game he shows real potential and would be a coach's dream, as he gives of nothing short of 100 per cent each week.
Rovers in defeat had some bright lights. Sherman Spencer again proved to be a real dynamo in the forwards with his five goal haul. Karl Hampton again played his consistent 100 minutes of determined football. Garth Spencer stood out as the Blues best, and Nigel Kenny, Ricky Rose and Oliver Wheeler each contributed.The West and South game proved to be a crowd pleaser, until late in the final quarter when a player count had to be conducted due to an unacceptable decision by the interchange steward.
Only three points separated the two sides after South had led by 29 points at half time, and the disruption of the count altered the momentum of the game.It was in the second quarter, however, that South had established their ascendancy. They ran with the ball and set up loose men in the forward line, who capitalised kicking eight goals for the term. West replied with four, albeit late in the quarter. However the dynamic play of the Maher brothers, Shaun Cusack and Brenton Forrester really set the Roo wheels in motion.In the third term the Bloods brought Souths back to the field somewhat, with Kevin Bruce taking control in the centre half forward position and providing the drive that could have seen them steal the game.In terms of goal scoring Forrester and Bruce headed their respective club's tally with five goals each, but from the back line to the goal square the pace of the game was a highlight.
By three quarter time it seemed the fitter side would take the points and with West giving South a four goal lead going into the last term, they were on a roll to get within three points of the Roos prior to the count.
The count was called as a result of a yellow carded player being replaced. However before the umpires could act on the West's call, the Roos were made aware of the situation and had promptly reduced the number of players on the ground. The interchange steward's inept reaction to the replacement led to the disruption in play.
When the game resumed, South took advantage of the disruption and rattled on three goals to deservedly win the game.


The Alice Springs racing community are revelling in the riches of the Darwin Carnival with some fifty per cent of the prize money to date ending up in the accounts of Centralians.
Derby day in Darwin proved to be yet another success story for Alice on Saturday, when Catriona Green's Tjilpi stormed home to win the main race of the day, so pocketing almost $50,000.
Fellow desert galloper Edge to Edge, who was seeking a Triple Crown bonus, led the field up into the straight.
The 2000 metre journey proved a trifle too far for the favourite however, as Wild Heart claimed the lead, with Tjilpi coming home wide.
Tjilpi who had run the early part of the race in the tail of the field exploded in the straight and got to the line by a long head over Wild Heart. Edge to Edge took third money.Earlier in the afternoon two year old Drifter set the scene for the Centre when he proved too strong over the 100 metres.
Jockey Phil Crich took Drifter to the lead after jumping from barrier two, and after leading into the straight by a length, extended this to two and a half lengths, before Allspent pegged him back to a length on the line.
Enunciate filled the placings with local performer Chigwidden taking fourth place.
The third Alice horse to salute for the day was sprinter Scotro.
In typical fashion Scotro raced to the lead, turned well and headed into the straight, two lengths clear.
As expected the flyer tired over the last 50 metres, to take the money by a short half head from the fast finishing Skiing, with High Revs third.Prior to the Fanny Bay meeting those horses stabled in Alice still had chance to run in a four event card.Short priced favourite Pecan Rose got up in the 1200 metre Members Bar Class Five Handicap. The promising performer accounted by a length for Santa Boy, who started at 15/1, with Ayr Rider third.Willy Savage's Bletchy then rewarded those punters faithful to him when he took out the Guineas Bar Class Two Handicap over 1400 metres. It was far from a lay down misere however, as Bletchy only got the decision by a head over favourite Smartly Evident, with Ollettie further back third.
In the Pavilion Class D Handicap over 1100 metres, the favourite Creditwise had to be satisfied with second place as Wild Knight, starting at each way odds, scored by half a length, with Clad filling the placings.The last in Alice was the 1000 metre Season Finale Handicap. With all horses celebrating their birthdays on August 1st, He's Tough Enough rewarded trainer kevin Lamprecht and connections with a three and a half length win over sentimental favourite Binoculars with the pre race favourite Cover gal completing the placings.


Printmaker Machteld Hali did not think Alice Springs would be very exciting when she made a stopover in the Centre last year to visit her brother Frank.She had never been here before.
When her brother took her out of town, she fell in love with the environment."The 360-degree views were an over-powering experience," Machteld said."It is so different from what we on the eastern seaboard experience.
"The sense of enormity and the sense of being in the middle of the land I felt very strongly."Machteld is in the midst of a three-and-a-half-month residency at Territory Craft."I knew if I were away from my normal routine I could be productive," Machteld said."When I was in Bali for three weeks, I made 21 plates."Adventure, different people, cultures, and environments are all fuel for art."Being away form one's routine, one's comfort zone is good for one's art."And even after spending several weeks in the Centre, her awe of the environment has not changed.
"I was walking in a chasm at Ormiston," Machteld said."The ups and downs and arounds were overwhelming, a very powerful experience."They were so big and so impressive and one had a strong sense and awareness of age."There is a sense of a spiritual presence too which is quite overwhelming."A lot of the townspeople I've met seem to feel the same way, they seem to have the same sensitivity to the physical environment."When she isn't out experiencing the Central Australian environment personally, she is in her studio space at Territory Craft trying to capture what she has seen and experienced in her art work, which includes collagraph plates.
A collagraph plate is a collage of various techniques and materials, which are assembled to print as line and texture.Making a collagraph plate invites spontaneous creativity and personal response to natural materials and found objects.
New ways of working seem to develop as one goes along.Most artists who use this medium develop the plate by gluing or painting textured materials onto a thin flat base material such as mat board or Masonite.The plate can then be inked and printed as an intaglio plate so that the concave areas hold the ink; in other applications the convex relief surface is printing.Sometimes both printing techniques are used."I look for bits and pieces which I can include in my work," Machteld said.
"You can often find them right under your feet.
"I often play around with the found pieces; some work, some don't, but all the time you are trying out different ways and getting new ideas.
"I like to be playful while at the same time honour the environment and give pleasure to others.
"I like to make pieces which will make people feel happy, which can put joy on the walls of their home."
Born in Holland, Machteld's relationship with printmaking began with childhood experiences of potato printing in Holland.
Much of her childhood was spent in Indonesia before coming to Australia.
Machteld has also had a varied professional career, which includes work as a studio painter, systems analyst, librarian and teacher of art, drama and English.She has had solo and group exhibitions both in Australia and overseas.
A joint exhibition with her sister-in-law, Alice Springs fabric artist Philomena Hali, entitled Impressions, opens at Territory Craft this Friday, August 1, at 6.30pm and continues through Sunday, August 17.
Machteld will also be conducting a hands-on collagraph print making workshop on Saturday and Sunday, August 9 and 10.
"The workshop will be on the collagraph method and people will be able to make their own prints," Machteld said.
"The technique is seductive and it is fun to have a workshop where lots of people are trying something new and creative.
"That is what is appealing about collagraphs, every one is an original work.
"The workshop takes the participant from the first idea through manipulation of imagery to cutting, collaging, inking, wiping and printing to a finished piece."

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