GOODBYE MANDATORY SENTENCING, HELLO ZERO TOLERANCE? Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.
The Opposition says it will remove "anomalies" from its mandatory sentencing policy, potentially shifting emphasis from the widely discredited scheme to more palatable zero tolerance policing.
The requirement of imprisoning people after their third property offence, revoked by the Labor government soon after its election in 2001, will be re-introduced if the CLP regains power.
But it will be watered down by giving judges and magistrates discretion to take into account special circumstances, yet to be "fleshed out".
Shadow Minister for Justice Jodeen Carney (Araluen) says, for example, the notorious imprisonment of a person for the theft of a can of Coca Cola will not be repeated.
Party Whip and police spokesman John Elferink (MacDonnell) says "hard luck criteria" are likely to be among the matters for which offenders will be able to avoid jail.
And Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Lim (Greatorex) says while changes are being made, door knocking in his electorate is revealing strong public support for the re-introduction of mandatory sentencing.
"I don't think mandatory sentencing played any role at all in the defeat of the CLP" in 2001, says Dr Lim.
Mr Elferink, a former police officer and holder of a law degree, is a strong advocate of zero tolerance policing.
Credited with turning New York, under Mayor Rudi Giuliani, into a lawful city, the strategy is based on the broken window theory which, says Mr Elferink, "is all about signals to the community about what's acceptable and what's not".
"A car may be parked somewhere for a week and nothing will happen," says Mr Elferink.
"Then somebody may break a quarter window.
"Within 24 hours the car will be stripped.
"The argument is, if one window is broken, replace it. If one law is broken, fix it."
He says in New York "if you defecated, fornicated, urinated, remonstrated, whateveryouated, you got arrested or summonsed and you had to answer to a court.
"Zero tolerance policing has never been applied properly in the Northern Territory.
"It was undermined by the day to day practical problems of policing.
"You arrest someone for drunkenness, you put them in the slammer for six hours, and then it's see you later, stupid, have a nice day."
But the "protective custody" law of Section 128 of the Criminal Code, which is designed to deal with harmless drunks, has become "a mechanism by which police run law and order in our streets".
Trouble is, says Mr Elferink, the police are acting under these provisions, not designed to lead to prosecutions, even when offences are being committed – swearing, fighting, urinating in public, and so on.
"These people are invariably intoxicated," says Mr Elferink.
If they are dealt with under Section 128 – which is routine at the moment – "nobody is ever charged".
He says when he asked the government how many people were charged with street offences in the Territory in the last 12 months, he was told it was about 300 – fewer than one a day.
"What's happening to the rest of the people involved in all the stuff that you and I see every day in the streets?
"The fact is that arrests of drunks in the Territory have skyrocketed in the last five years, from 11,000 to 19,000 a year, nearly double what it was.
"These people never face a court, are never really being brought to account for their conduct."
Mr Elferink says the CLP would bring in a Public Order Act, which will "probably" replace the Summary Offences Act.
And it is CLP policy to bring people before the court if they commit offences that can be proven.
"Police will probably say, oh my God, that will cost huge amounts of resources.
"That's right, it will – for a while – until people realise that there are certain standards of behaviour.
"The government says crime is going down but the fact is there are more people in the jails now than there were under mandatory sentencing.
"There are many more Aboriginal people in custody.
"There are media reports that our jails are bursting at the seams."
So, what will happen if we lock up more people?
Says Mr Elferink: "Government has one first priority, and that is to make the community safe so people can go about their business, even before the government does health, before it does education, it must make society safe.
"If that means we must have more prisons then that has to happen."
Mr Elferink says he will be discussing with his colleagues punishment options for minor offences other than jail.
He says the CLP government introduced the use of low-risk prisoners "in the green T-shirts" for community tasks, such as collecting rubbish in the Todd River and preparing sections of the Finke track.
It may be possible for the courts to sentence people guilty of minor offences to a few hours' community work, in the custody of prison officers, commencing immediately after the sentence is passed, and bypassing sending them to jail altogether.
"Convictions would be recorded and you can guarantee there will be frequent fliers amongst that lot," says Mr Elferink.
These may need to be sent to jail.
While zero tolerance is straight-forward, mandatory sentencing is not.
The debate is guided by the principle of separation of the three powers: legislative (the parliament making the laws); executive (the police and public service administering the laws) and the judiciary (the courts enforcing the laws).
The question is, where does the parliament's law making role stop and where does its interference with the courts start?
The line is often drawn at the setting of minimum penalties, while the setting of maximum penalties is universally accepted.
Opponents of mandatory sentencing contend that the courts must have the freedom to set penalties as they see fit, up to the prescribed maximum, including non-custodial sentences, depending on the facts put before the courts – by the defence as well as the prosecution: the better argument wins the day.
The CLP's point is that the public is often dissatisfied with leniency shown by the courts.
"The villains are given a slap on the wrist time and time again," says Mr Elferink.
"There are unjust outcomes in mandatory sentencing but there were also unjust outcomes with judicial discretion."
Mr Elferink says the CLP will force courts to send to jail people convicted of three or more property offences unless the judges "can find some, very, very, very good reasons" not to do so, or "unless certain criteria are satisfied, and these would be the hard luck criteria, which we would hope the magistrates would use judiciously".
Ms Carney, a lawyer, says the CLP's revamped mandatory sentencing provisions will ensure that anomalies in the past are not repeated, such as the notorious case of a person incarcerated for stealing a can of Coca Cola.
This seems to be where the CLP internal debate is at the moment: What is a very, very, very good reason? Would judges not insist that they always act for the best of reasons?
And to what extent are light sentences the product of inadequate submissions from the police prosecution, given that judges must not only be doing justice, but also be seen to be doing justice?
Are the prosecutors adequately drawing to the courts' attention the public disgust with certain offences?
For example, in NSW victim statements can be put before the courts during sentencing.
"What I want the judiciary to understand is that there is an expectation in the community which has not been met by their sentencing practices," says Mr Elferink.
"There is an expectation from the community that people will go to jail for certain things, and haven't been."
So what prevents a prosecutor from spelling out to the magistrate how irate the community feels about certain offences?
"Nothing except his workload," says Mr Elferink.
"On some bail and arrest days the prosecutor comes to the court with a trolley full of files. Some of them he may not have seen until that morning.
"That's not a criticism of the prosecutor. That's how the system works.
"The judge or magistrates should turn around and look at the Act.
"There is a three months [maximum] sentence for riotous, objectionable, disorderly, indecent behaviour and fighting.
"Only once in the 14 years that I was a copper did I see someone go to jail for street offences, two young morons who ran around the hospital knocking telephones off cradles and paperwork off desks where nurses were doing their job.
"It was old Dinny Barritt who sat there on the bench and said 'outrageous behaviour, young fellows, and to remind you, you're going in. Think about it for a month or so!'
"And slam went the door."
TERRITORY BUDGET 2005-06: THE FINE PRINT. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.
The bricks and mortar spending in the $3.1b NT Budget, that part which provides a direct shot in the economy's arm, will amount to $476m in 2005-06, $3m less than last year.
This is despite a $600m boost from the GST over three years, according to the CLP.On the other hand Treasury estimates show the GST "windfall" this year is $137m, which is the amount in excess of what was expected.
On the face of it, Alice Springs gets a fair share when compared with Darwin: our slice of the cake is $43m, roughly one-third the $136m for Darwin which is three times bigger.
Darwin's figure includes $48m for the waterfront development.
But that isn't the full story because around $100m in the "infrastructure program" is under headings such as "across regions" or "new works".
Chances are that a disproportionate amount of that will be spent in the capital because it houses all the departmental headquarters.
In the good old days, at least the tourist and conservation commissions were headquartered in The Alice.
Says Treasury: "Approval for spending on projects for 'across regions' items is generally approved by Ministers as part of their portfolio responsibilities.
"When these spending patterns have been analyzed, spending is generally consistent with population shares of particular regions.
"Treasury does not collate a breakdown of 'across regions' projects, as these form part of agency management of the individual projects that make up the agency's minor new works priorities.
"Some major projects also cross regional boundaries, but Treasury does not have an analysis of proportioning that can be provided on a whole of government basis."
Another question is the scheduling of work:
For example, the spending of a whopping $2m for additional renal services at Flynn Drive and the Alice hospital won't begin until April and June 2006, respectively.
Budget papers show that $100m of the infrastructure program will be "revoted out" from 2005-06 into the following year.
Nearly a quarter of Alice's share, $9.3m, is for fixing up the scandalous faults in the Alice Springs hospital, currently subject to litigation against the building firm, John Holland. It's likely that this amount will come back to the NT coffers in the form of a settlement.
Of the $22m for Desert Knowledge, the biggest item in The Centre, ahead of the Mereenie Loop Road sealing, some $8m will come from Canberra.
Funding for the Traeger Park grandstand is almost $3m and the project is currently out for tender.
The recent promise of $8m for the Alice pool is over two years, not for 2005-06.
Darwin has in this year's Budget $5.8m for a soccer stadium and $1.9m for the Hidden Valley raceway.
RICKY BEATS THE EMPLOYMENT ODDS. Report by ELISABETH ATTWOOD.
"My friends and cousins ask me how I do it, how I've got my job and my car. I proved to myself I can be me, there was a good side to me but I had to find it. The hard times made me try even more."Ricky Coltard, an Aboriginal man born and bred in Alice Springs, now 27, woks as a security guard in a local shopping centre. He has an interesting story to tell, as an Indigenous person, about finding the desire to work and then finding the work.
He believes he got on despite the system: "I say there's a lot that explains why Indigenous people don't work. People have got hearing problems, speaking problems, no chance in life. The government should try harder and do something for the young mob – there's nothing for them to do here.
"But you can't expect everything to come to you because it never does.
"One of my biggest challenges in life has been trying to read and write and blend in with others.
"I spent most of my time in Adelaide Children's Hospital when I was younger because I had a hole in the roof of my mouth and a harelip. I had a hard time growing up – there was a lot of teasing. The other kids at school used to call me an alien or a freak. But I pulled through and I'm mighty proud about it."
It wasn't discovered until he was 21 that Ricky had serious hearing problems – he has now been fitted with two hearing aids. Ricky, whose parents split up when he was five, says although teachers at Sadadeen Primary and Alice Springs High School sent down work for him to do in hospital, he found his reading and writing suffered as a result of missing so much school – and in hindsight, his deafness.
"I'm pretty good at reading now but not so good at putting it down in words. I've learnt with my kids – my daughters are eight and five. I do crosswords and try to learn a new word every day."
When Ricky left school he spent six and a half years as a carpenter's offsider, which he says he really enjoyed. After this he was given a work experience placement for six months learning different trades at a roadhouse in Ti Tree.
"We rotated the trades like mechanic and carpentry through the week. It was run by ATSIC and it made all the lazy people get up and do something. I loved it. It was an experience I won't forget."
But after the six months Ricky didn't work for four years. He says he wasn't ever in trouble with the police but, "I started getting lazy and feeling sorry for myself. I was drinking and my confidence went down.
"I used to watch TV all through the night but at 3am one morning I heard a motivational speaker say the more you aim, the more you achieve. I decided drinking my life away wasn't going to help me. I was really hyper and didn't know how to burn it off so I did a course with Greencorps for 26 weeks and got a certificate which I got through an oral test.
"After that I got three jobs – with a freight company, at a furniture company and I was also delivering pizzas. I got my name up and started to get a credit rating and I bought my first car. I was pretty happy to drive a brand new car out of Kittles."
Did being able to buy his first car motivate him to keep working? "Of course. It's something to aim for. My mum told me you're only a loser when you give up."
But Ricky says not being able to read and write is a major issue facing unemployed Indigenous people in Alice Springs.
"I drifted for over three years not being able to get a job. It was always the same story – the other people's education is higher than yours, we'll get back to you. I went for a baker's assistant job – but I had to pass a test to get the job. I knew I could do the job, and I told them that but they still gave me a stack of papers.
"Even to stack shelves you have to fill out a form. I know our mob is not good at reading and writing but give us a chance to prove we can do the job."
Ricky was offered work at the Araluen Arts Centre, where his employers were keen to recognise his strengths rather than weaknesses: "I admitted my literacy and numeracy problems to my boss and he helped me out. We looked at things I was good at, like talking and my knowledge of Indigenous people, wildlife and the country.
"My great grandfather was Albert Namatjira so I knew about his paintings. I got a job as a tour guide and gallery attendant."
Ricky has been working in his current position for Chubb as a security guard for two and a half months – and he says his bosses were also understanding about his lack of qualifications.
"I got my security license and first aid by taking an oral test instead of a written test.
"I love working here, it's wicked. Being an Aboriginal person makes it easier – I know the language and am able to communicate with people easier. I help my colleagues, like an interpreter.
"My friends and cousins ask me how I do it, how I've got my job and my car. I proved to myself I can be me, there was a good side to me but I had to find it. The hard times made me try even more.
"I tell my 13 year old nephews not to play up and get into trouble. You have to try as hard as you can and never give in.
"There will be disappointments and rewards but the rewards will always make you happier than the disappointments make you feel down.
"And if you ever feel lost or trapped, talk to someone. There are so many people out there to talk to. That's what I do.
"I've never really thought about it but I've lost uncles to suicide. You have to find the people who love and cherish you and talk to them.
"If only people could find the right person to talk to they might be still here.
"I have to defend myself to them all the time but my big brothers and my mum are amazed at how much I've achieved. They're rapt."
DESERT KNOWLEDGE NOT BRIGHT ENOUGH TO MAKE A SUNNY CASE FOR THE ALICE. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
The government will this year be spending $22m on a Desert Knowledge Precinct and has in place a Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre, with a $94m budget over seven years, but has to farm out the expression of interest in becoming one of four Australian Solar Cities.
The consultancy, worth nearly $70,000, has gone to Sydney based, global Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), a professional services consulting firm.
There was one local entity interested in undertaking the consultancy out of a total of four, but its submission was deemed to not conform with the brief, according to the town council's director of technical services, Eric Peterson.
The council, the Power and Water Corporation and Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) have formed a consortium to make the Solar City bid to the Australian Greenhouse Office.
Mr Peterson says Glenn Marshall of the Centre for Sustainable Arid Towns will provide "local knowledge input" to SKM, whose work on the expression of interest will be "very specialised".
It includes developing a vision of Alice as a solar city, which is "a work in progress", according to Ken Johnson, head of DKA. He describes the consultancy as a "big exercise" to be done in a short timeframe, with a successful bid standing to bring $10m to $20m into Alice Springs.
He says a very high level of technological and financial understanding is required to put together a convincing bid.
An early media release from the town council quoted Mayor Fran Kilgariff as saying, "Alice Springs as a 'Solar City' would become an even more appealing place for tourists and add to the unique experience we already offer".
But there is more to it than creating an image.
The point is to find ways for both business and households to better manage energy use in our desert town.
Mr Peterson described five "iconic projects" which would help achieve this:
• a heated town swimming pool;
• energy solutions, including passive energy achieved through architectural design, at the Desert Knowledge precinct;• energy solutions in the hotel and resort sector;
• developing the concept of Alice as a 'sustainable solar village';
• and, developing a solar package for households, which would include smart metering, linking billing for energy consumption to improved energy efficiencies, as well as an 80 per cent take-up of solar hot water systems (photo above, Nelson Terrace homes).
The Commonwealth will subsidise the cost of the introduced technologies up to 50 per cent, says Mr Peterson, but this must be through an institution or business; not a direct subsidy to households.
Part of SKM's consultancy will be to identify ways of doing this.
Mr Johnson says there are some very sophisticated solar technologies available that are not yet in use in Alice, and of which SKM has detailed knowledge.
If the bid is successful, it will build the expert knowledge and skill level of the town, which could be exported elsewhere in the future.
LETTERS: Fish has a soul mate in the US of A.
Sir,– Steve Fisher wrote: "I have often gone to sleep dreaming of cycling across the southern states of the USA in search of culture and history, but I know that the experience would be a huge anti-climax.
"Every place would be a fast food nightmare, its entire history represented by a plaque behind Wal-Mart and a fake historical building resurrected from the building site for a gleaming mall."
Well, it's scary that Steve's never been here, but still know what it looks like all too well.
Except he forgot about the enormous housing developments with row upon row of identical squashed-together homes where you can stand on your back porch and spit on your neighbor's.
Although it's changed a lot in the last 25 years, there are still little towns and better yet, just stretches of road where the wisteria and the dogwood are still wild, and though I've never seen a blues guitarist on a porch.
But there's an old man in a wheelchair who waves to everyone who passes his home on the way to beach in Hampstead, North Carolina.
Apart from touching on a subject that's literally "close to home" for me – I live in central North Carolina, at the "top of the South" – Steve Fisher's column has been a favorite read of mine for several years now.
I'm a librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who got interested in Aboriginal art back in 1988 when the big "Dreamings" show came to America. I've been to Australia (and Alice) five times since then and am hoping to be back in August.
In between times, reading the ASN helps keep me feel not quite so far away.
By the way, I'm a big fan of your reporting as well, especially on matters Aboriginal. Excellent work, consistently.
Chapel Hill, USA
Sir,– As a professional journalist from the UK, living in Canada, congratulations on your newspaper.
I have worked in remote areas of the UK, where not much happens some weeks.
I must admit that I don't know very much about Alice Springs. Don't you think AS should get more publicity?
Do you have a Scottish and an Irish meeting place, perhaps clubs, where I can find out what they get up to in such a remote area of Australia?
If I can ever help you any way by sending you news of adventurers coming to AS anytime, I would be pleased to do so.
All the very best.
MONEY FREEZE TO HARM ALICE'S MAIN ART CENTRE. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
Friends of Araluen have raised with Minister for Central Australia Peter Toyne their grave concerns over the immediate future of the Araluen Arts Centre.
As the government's allocation for the centre has been static for the last three years (see last week's Alice News), cost-cutting moves under consideration are:
• closing the centre on Sundays;
• and no spending on tourism marketing in the next financial year.
According to the Friends, these moves would take the arts centre off the tourist calendar.
"Sunday is the busiest day for tourists," said spokesperson Iain Campbell.
Live theatre offerings have already been halved for next year.
Dr Toyne has promised to look into the situation and to discuss it with Minister for the Arts, Clare Martin.
Mr Campbell said Dr Toyne "sympathised with our mention of the Berrimah Line."
The Friends expect to have a follow-up meeting with Dr Toyne at the end of the month.
CATTLE MOVED TO ABORIGINAL LAND TO ESCAPE THE DROUGHT.
Aboriginal Land Trusts are proving to be a lifesaver in the current drought for thousands of cattle across Central Australia, according to a media release from the Central Land Council (CLC).
It says the CLC is experiencing an unprecedented demand for grazing licences on the Land Trusts, and for musters and other types of support on Aboriginal land.
CLC director David Ross says several factors have led to the high level of activity.
"Many Aboriginal properties still have plenty of feed on them.
"We have negotiated a number of grazing licences for both other Aboriginal pastoralists and non-Aboriginal pastoralists on these land trusts.
The CLC is:-
• Negotiating a grazing licence on Hooker Creek Aboriginal Land Trust to allow cattle from the nearby Riveren station to be moved there. The ILC are assisting with infrastructure funding, with the NT Government providing technical advice and support.
• Negotiating a grazing licence on Angarapa ALT for a nearby pastoral property.
• Investigating the viability of Willowra as a property to agist cattle on.
• Investigating options for pastoral development for the Haasts Bluff and Mungkarta land trusts.
• Assisting the Mungalawurru community to develop a cattle enterprise near Tennant Creek with the purchase of 64 heifers from Aboriginal owned Tanami Downs and two bulls to form the basis of a breeding herd.
• Preparing to assist Yuendumu in a muster of horses and scrub bulls.
• Providing ongoing support for the movement of cattle from Aboriginal-owned Loves Creek station, east of Alice Springs, to the Kunturlpara Aboriginal Cattle Corporation in the Barkly under an agreement negotiated by the CLC between the two Aboriginal interests.
In 2003 the CLC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Northern Territory Government and the Indigenous Land Corporation to develop the Aboriginal pastoral industry through the Indigenous Pastoral Program.
Don't talk with your mouth full. COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.
There are some things in life that are supposed to be indisputably desirable. These include cool sunny days, sustainability, chocolate eggs and humorous songs about sport sung by fat blokes with moustaches.
I'll save the others for when my mood is worse than it is today, but for now I'd like to address another topic in that list: networking.
The term networking has only become fashionable in the last few years. Before that, people talked to each other and occasionally got along well enough to share a few contacts or perhaps develop some work-related plans together. Maybe they went for a pub lunch.
This wasn't networking, it was people being sociable.
According to dictionaries that I read, networking is about meeting people who can be helpful to you and being a help to them. It is the use of contacts made in one situation for purposes beyond the initial contact. In this way, networking sounds as benign and warm-hearted as a walk in the scrub with your pet poodle. Except that much networking is not working. It is not working in the sense that standing with a hose pointing at a concrete drive is not working. It is not working because nobody thinks much about how best to do it. After all, how do you network with the rest of the world from a fishbowl town a long way from anywhere else?
Despite this, one opinion that I hear often is that living in a remote place requires us network all the more than if we lived and worked in a loft in the inner city. The idea is that we should reach out to people of influence in capital cities so that they don't forget what we have to offer the world from a location in the middle of the desert.
Fair enough, but the trouble comes when networking becomes so unquestionable that it justifies almost any ham-fisted activity. Superfluous meetings are organized so that people can talk about nothing much. Jaded middle managers tell new staff to network as a means of filling up the space between productive work. Air miles are accumulated to serve the ridiculous notion that there is a huge audience out there who would just love to have a yarn with someone from Alice Springs.
My own experience of networking is unglamorous. It usually features short conversations with people who peer over my shoulder looking for someone more interesting.
I told this to my friend after he discovered networking.
This was around the time that relationship marketing, positioning analysis and all the other management gobbledygook took hold and turned ordinary people into morons. Anyway, in no time he was out on the golf course brandishing a club and taking long straight walks on wet grass trying to segment his market.
This kind of nonsense will eventually lead to the demise of civilized society, along with stand-up sandwich lunches, that mainstay of the networking experience. If people can wear fly nets over their heads in public places, then polyester ponchos should be acceptable at stand-up lunches. Recently I was listening to someone eating a roll and telling me about his customer focus. I had to dodge pieces of half-masticated coleslaw as they flew towards me. It was Star Wars with pre-washed salad.
To think that for sixteen years my mother told me that if I talked with my mouth full, terrible things would happen. I would suffer from indigestion, people wouldn't respect me and I would lose friends. Where are the mothers of people who attend stand-up sandwich lunches when we need them the most?
They're probably at a mothers networking event.
A miracle thanks to Alice hospital. COLUMN by VIKTORIA CORMACK.
We have recently experienced something of a miracle in our family. My father-in-law has regained full vision in one eye thanks to a successful cataract operation performed at the Alice Springs Hospital. The world is suddenly much brighter and clearer. He could hardly remember colours being so brilliant and vivid. To be able to see well is a precious gift too easily overlooked by those with good vision.
Miracles happen all around us in our everyday lives, many of these thanks to dedicated individuals. When we are given a helping hand, a kind word or a small miracle out of the blue, we may experience a deep sense of gratitude and humility and feel there is such a thing as pure good and generosity in the world. This may generate a feeling of wanting to return the favour, give back something of what we've experienced.
Last week a letter from the Australian Organ Register arrived in the mail. I'm all for organ donations, in principle, and I've been thinking about filling out the form and signing up. I haven't done it yet. I'm not entirely comfortable with the thought of being dead and giving away my body parts. In some ways I'm almost superstitious, thinking that if I fill out the form I will drop dead tomorrow. I suppose that is one of my reasons for not having a life insurance policy. If I keep ignoring the fact that I'm going to die, I think that I won't.
Years ago I watched Jesus of Montreal, a Canadian film about a group of actors putting on the last days of Jesus life as a play outside a church at Easter time. The actor who plays Jesus dies in the end and his organs are donated.
By donating the corneas of his eyes he performs a miracle – giving someone new sight. We don't know what is going to happen.
We hope everything is going to be all right.
But there is no way of escaping the end, it may just not have to be the end for parts of you.
Equally, having a life insurance policy might help you help your loved ones after you are gone and make the thought of not being around a bit more bearable.
Maybe it is all about expectations. Some of us think that we have a right to expect a good deal from life and feel victimised or hard done by when things are not working out that way. Others see the good things that come their way as bonuses or miracles.
We are struggling with lots of different problems in our society, schools, workplaces and in our homes. It is easy to get a very negative view on reality, to let our vision get clouded over by a near invisible growth.
We don't necessarily see things the way they really are or can be.The surgeon is no more Jesus than any one of us, yet we can all contribute to life changing miracles.
I'm filling out the donation form.
RULES: WESTS, SOUTHS STAY ON TOP. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
West and South maintained their positions at the helm of the Aussie Rules premiership when on Saturday both sides returned positive results.
For South it was a grim struggle that saw them only throw off the Federal shackles in the last minutes of the game to win 13.11 (89) to 9.10 (66). Wests by contrast had a romp in the park when they posted 26.16 (172) to Rovers 3.4 (22).
The Superoos jumped Federal at the first bounce to establish a four goal lead in the first term. Eric Campbell was a welcome inclusion in the Roos line up, and his goal early in the day would have made him feel welcome.
Others to post early majors were Alan Henderson, Glen Pararoultja and another recent inclusion, Liam Jurrah.
The tables turned in the second term when the Federal defence manned up more effectively and downfield found the safe hands of Patrick Ah Kitt for two goals.
In front of the sticks Dave Atkinson was able to pluck a major and the livewire Brenton Forrester added to the score. Much of the revival also came from the drive initiated by the dynamic Sheldon Palmer and compatriot Martin Patrick.
South scored an extra goal in the quarter thanks to Gilbert Fishook, and went to the change rooms leading 5.8 to 4.6.
In the critical third term the honours were shared. Souths had Daryl Ryder, Darren Talbot and Charlie Maher able to shark the ball and project it deep into attack. Shaun Cusack's bulk and experience again proved influential and Jamaal Hayes made his presence felt.
The three goal term had Souths score through of Cusack, Ryder and Fishook.
Feds had Martin Patrick come into the fore with two goals. A third by Atkinson left the sides only a goal apart at three quarter time.
Federal took up the running in the charge home and both sides squared off on the scoreboard at 9.10 for a few tantalising moments.
South then unleashed Fishook to see them score three goals and thus seal the game, running out winners by 23 points.
South proved they can respond under pressure. Their final onslaught was in a disciplined manner, using key resources.
Once again Federal were well in the game but could not pull off a victory. To date the side has been most competitive without being able to take the points. Coach Jason Wilshire tried to both play and coach this week, but he might better influence the game in a non-playing capacity.
West set their win up in the first term when they broke the hearts of the opposition with a nine goal to nil steam roll. Ian McAdam, a new inclusion in the Bloods' list, got into the action with two goals as did Scott Turpin.
Another five individuals contributed to the score, while Mark Bramley again made his presence felt, proving right many at Milner Road that he is the best player to have donned a Bloods' jersey.
In the second term Darren Porter and Ricky Rose completed Rover attacks while West methodically continued to score, registering six goals and again spreading them among five players with Rory Hood accounting for two.
The Blues battled in the second half however as Graham Christmas registered their only major while West added a further eleven.
In winning by 150 points West were no doubt pleased to take the percentage. Fourteen players registered goals with Jason Rosenthal's four heading the list.
Otherwise the game was a disappointment.
Rovers are in a position that demands discipline of the highest order to avoid succumbing to frustration. They have some young players running on the field each week and giving their all. These include Kenny Morton, Ryan Secker, Ricky Rose, and Nathan Flanagan. They also have many fellows in good faith putting up their hand to help the club out, while realising they are possibly not up to the demands of A Grade football.
Success is not going to come overnight, but by continuing to build on the Rover policy good times may one day result. In the mean time the Blues must keep their objectives in mind and not resort to casting aspersions in the heat of the moment, which may later be regretted.
TIGERS ON TOP. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
The effectiveness of development officer Willie Devlin was again illustrated in football's junior ranks at Ross Park over the weekend when the nil all draw in the Under12s proved a game to remember.
The Tigers and Celtic White each remained scoreless at full time, but the significance of the win rested in the Tigers' camp. Coached by Daryl Lowe and supported by Tangentyere Council this team is in their first year of competition as opposed to their Celtic rivals who are a seasoned club. The efforts on ground by the Turner boys – Gibson, Le Roy and Garry – were noteworthy and no doubt the Tigers' performances will encourage other youngsters from our town camps to form teams and participate.
The efforts of Tim Myers, Shash Wighton and May Tabart ranked them highly in the Celtic performance.
Otherwise, Celtic Green were dealt a football lesson when Vikings accounted for them 7-0, and Memo White had a 6-1 win over Memo Red.
At the senior level Vikings continued to play top football with Jhana Cowham scoring a hat trick and singles going to Tom Dutton and Richard Farrell in their 5-2 win over Federal.
Paolo Morelli and Ross Arozzolo were then instrumental in the 2-0 win Verdi enjoyed over Scopions.
The goal scoring spree of the weekend came in B Grade when ASFA hit their straps and white washed the dilapidated Busy Bees 14-0. Soal Gumayen led the charge with four goals.
Buckleys remained firmly focussed on finals participation as they accounted for Federals 7-2. Dragons were too good by 5-2 over Thorny Devils and Vikings had a 4-1 win over Scorpions.
The much touted clash between Stormbirds and Desert Spinach lived up to expectations with the Birds bringing home the bacon, 1-0, thanks to a David Nixon goal. Scorpions then downed the Vikings, 2-0.
The Colts game was dominated by the superior ground play of Gerry Shadforth, Alex Blom and Chris Constable as Vikings secured a 4-1 victory over Memo Verdi who were well served by Kym Heald, Chris Hunt and Danny Fisher.
The Fisher name was also prominent in the 4-1 win Memo White enjoyed over Memo Red in the Under 14s when Victor and Ben Fisher were both prominent contributors. In the same division Elliott McBride ensured a 7-2 victory by Scorpions over Vikings when he netted a hat trick. Backing him up was Ethan Scobie with two goals.
The non competitive under age teams again played their hearts out. This weeks players to note included Wes Tohi, Taylor Cox, Max Lietzman and Val Evans.
A CURE FOR WANNABES. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
Refugees from "couldabeen" and "wannabe" camps can seek help from the Alice Springs Running and Walking Club to reincarnate as active athletes.
Time and again one hears middle-aged Territorians reminiscing about their sporting careers in somewhat glowing terms.
Some ex-athletes had the chances and ability but never capitalised on their potential. Others, in a senior moment or two, talk up a sporting record well above their actual level of achievement.
The Running and Walking Club 's "Fast Moves" program, launched on Monday night, will give them a chance to show their true form.
It is based on a training-buddy system whereby participants sign on in teams of two, linking with a buddy to provide motivation and include commitment.
The program will be conducted as a four week training package and the bonus is that all teams who maintain regular attendance over the period will gain free entry into the Lone Dingo Cross Country Series.
The Lone Dingo series will consist of two races over 'fair dinkum' outback terrain, popular with the local mountain biking fraternity.
Director of the Central Australian Bike Challenge, Jack Oldfield, is the race director for this unique series.
As a heart starter to the athletic action, the Running and Walking Club will conduct a Body Health 8km and 16km event on this Sunday morning from the Old Timers and embracing parts of the Alice Marathon Course.
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