CANNABIS FUELS VIOLENCE. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
Cannabis features more than alcohol and petrol sniffing in the horrendous abuse of younger women in remote Aboriginal communities, says a prominent worker in the field.
The worker, Jane Lloyd, chair of the NT Domestic and Aboriginal Family Violence Advisory Council, and manager of the NPY Women's Council's Domestic Violence Service since 1994, argues for a criminal justice response to traffic in cannabis.
She says the experience of women's council clients demonstrates that this drug can no longer be considered relatively harmless and left to remote communities to deal with.
Ms Lloyd told the Alice Springs News: "Sniffing doesn't come up as much in our domestic violence matters as cannabis.
"And more young women report cannabis as a factor, rather than alcohol, particularly when the men are coming off it. "If the men are using a lot they have increased paranoia and jealousy."
Ms Lloyd says a recent case of a woman who was incarcerated, raped and suffered multiple injuries over a five week period illustrates the role of cannabis and to a lesser extent petrol in violence by men against women.
Rhoda was 16 when she met Taylor (not their real names), 19, at the Lightning football carnival in Alice Springs. Taylor was from SA.
After the carnival she went back with him to live in his parent's house in a small community in SA.
Rhoda had no family and no social support in that community. Her closest family member was a grandmother who lived between Alice Springs and a community in the NT.
The only telephone Rhoda could use was at the community store. The public telephone was broken and the council telephone was no longer in use after the office was burnt down by a young woman who had a history of heavy petrol sniffing and cannabis use.
Taylor's two younger brothers and an older cousin were also sharing the house. Taylor and the other young men continuously smoked cannabis and when that was not available they sniffed petrol.
Taylor's parents were often away visiting family at nearby communities.
Rhoda found some work at the community store, stacking shelves and other tasks. According to the store keeper, she was a good worker and initially very reliable.
After a month or so, Rhoda would not come to work some days. Then Rhoda went to the clinic when a nurse from a nearby community was visiting. She had three burn marks on the outside of her forearm.
Rhoda wanted to leave Taylor but did not want to call the police. Taylor demanded all her pay from her, so she had no money or means to leave the community and her family was not able to help.
On the last occasion that Rhoda went to work at the community store, Taylor came in soon after she started and attacked her with a wheel brace, screaming at her that she was seeing someone else.
She was injured but did not go to the clinic for treatment.
Taylor took her back to his parent's house. No-one intervened and no-one notified the police or any other agency that this incident had taken place. Rhoda did not return to the store after that.
For five weeks no-one saw Rhoda in the community: Taylor would not let her leave the house. For most of the time he kept her in the bedroom where he would smoke cannabis and or sniff petrol and abuse her.
He threatened to douse her in petrol and set her alight if she tried to leave. He would also frequently burn her with cigarettes.
He would take her key card from her and access her Centrelink and CDEP payments through the store to purchase cannabis.
Occasionally Taylor's mother would try to intervene. However, Taylor would threaten her or threaten to hurt himself if Rhoda left. Rhoda would then be held responsible if any harm came to him.
A woman in a nearby house said that Rhoda was hardly ever seen outside the house. The woman had heard her crying out for help and had seen her on one occasion with bruising and swelling to her face.
Eventually with the assistance of the community advisor, nurse and NPY Women's Council Rhoda did get out.
After returning on two occasions she left again recently under the guise of needing medical treatment and she intends not to return.
Ms Lloyd says many clients report that their partners smoke cannabis on a daily basis until their supply is exhausted. They report that their partner is often violent when the supply is exhausted and they are threatened to hand over money so more cannabis can be purchased.
Similarly, mothers and fathers also report that their adult sons assault or threaten to assault them if they do not give them money to buy cannabis. These cases rarely come to the attention of the police as parents are very reluctant to report their sons. In some cases young women will also abuse family members in their efforts to procure funds to purchase cannabis.
Ms Lloyd says leaving communities to deal with the problems of substance misuse themselves is flawed because family allegiances often interfere with their desire to take action.
She again cites an example from the AP Lands, when family members blamed the suicide of a young man in 2000 on his cannabis use.
They wanted to out the people they believed responsible for traffic in the drug but stopped short of naming two family members "although there was evidence that these men were a continual source of cannabis sales".
KON PROMISES PROTEST HALF LIFE TILL DUMP DROPPED. Report by by ERWIN CHLANDA.
"We will drag it out as long as possible until they get sick and tired of it and take it to Canberra!" So declared Kon Vatskalis, Territory Minister for Mines and Energy, at the Federal Government's public information meeting about management of radioactive waste, held at the Convention Centre on Saturday.
Mr Vatskalis was in fine fettle before a gathering of around 80, overwhelmingly hostile to the creation of a radioactive waste dump in the Territory.
"There's more than one territory in Australia," he said.
"Why don't you put it in the Australian Capital Territory?"
Cheering and applause.
He suggested that a Federal Government assessment had identified a suitable site, owned by Defence, 30 km out of Canberra, just four hours drive from Sydney.
Pat Daver, of the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Technology (DEST), could scarcely contain his irritation with the Minister.
He said the assessment by the National Store Committee was for "only half of this facility, just the store". The land in the ACT was only eight hectares, while the currently proposed facility has a minimum footprint of 25 hectares.
Mr Vatskalis had also suggested Defence land at Puckapunyal in Victoria: "There are lots of soldiers present all the time, you'd have free security."
"I would have thought putting such a facility in an active military exercise area stupid and obviously the government did too," said Mr Daver.
(After the meeting Mr Vatskalis declined to spell out the government's strategy to oppose the facility but said nothing was ruled out, including legal challenges.)
The scientists, including Ron Cameron, Director of Operations at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, had the unenviable task of dealing with anger and deep mistrust that should really have been dealt with by politicians. The luckless CLP Senator Nigel Scullion, whose words "not on my watch" are coming back to haunt him, had to stand in at times.
The scientists were most uncomfortable being confronted over the lack of consultation with Aboriginal people, with some present in the audience.
Mr Daver said they have sought meetings with the Central and Northern Land Councils.
A staff member of Central Land Council, present in a private capacity, nonetheless pointed out that the organisation had received its letter from DEST only after the announcement by Brendan Nelson that the facility would be sited in the Territory.
The scientist had to clarify that Saturday's meeting was not about consultation, only about information as would be, presumably, any meetings with Aboriginal people or their representatives.
The scientists were asked if there was any possibility for people to say no to the facility.
They had to answer simply that the decision had been made.
There is nonetheless a "rigorous environmental impact assessment" yet to come.
In theory such an assessment could deem all three Territory sites unsuitable.
However, Sen Scullion dashed that hope when he explained that if all of the facility is built above ground (at present it is proposed to bury the low level waste) the sites will meet the requirements of the environmental assessment.
Sen Scullion had a political solution to propose: that the Territory Labor Government persuade SA Labor Premier Mike Rann to accept the facility after all in South Australia.
This was greeted with general derision.
Dr Cameron spoke in some detail about the blemish free record of transportation of radioactive waste around Australia.
But he could not answer the frustrated questions about why the waste should be transported all the way to the Territory.
Why, why, why, came the cries from all around the meeting room. Why not in your backyard?
"The accident record is zero," was Dr Cameron's only answer.
John Brisbin, coordinator of the Arid Lands Environment Centre, called into question the process of the meeting, describing the government-employed scientists as "foxes in the hen house" and suggesting that there should have been an independent scientist present.
Little was gained by the meeting, with the scientists unable to move outside of their narrow brief; Sen Scullion trying to placate people over a situation he clearly finds indefensible; and the audience angry, frustrated and very unwilling to be persuaded.
The mood was relieved a little by some moments of high humour, with none so funny as Indigenous writer and activist, Mitch, when she asked who had voted for "that little Johnny Howard" and said how she'd like to take them out the front and give them "a flogging".
SCIENCE TEACHER CREATES FUSS WITH SEMINAR ATTACKING EVOLUTION. Report by by ERWIN CHLANDA.
St Philip's College is distancing itself from a creation theory promotion organised by one of the school's science teachers, Will Roberts.
It was advertised in the school's newsletter and held on college grounds.
The video "seminar" was entitled "Lies in the Textbook" and Mr Roberts added: "Something to get you thinking: Most of Evolutionary theory is myth."
But acting principal Paul Wilson says the Uniting Church owned college's science teaching is firmly based on Charles Darwin's evolution theory because Years 11 and 12 biology teaching is guided by the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of SA, the authority that sets the subject matter for the Year 12 exams.
Evolution is taught as a theory, not as necessarily correct fact.
No alternative is being considered "at this stage".
Mr Roberts was acting as "an individual, not part of the college program".
Says Mr Wilson: "The college is not taking a position one way or the other on the issues.
"However, we do support individual teachers to point out what other ideas there may be, in all subject areas. It engages students in critical thinking.
"Mr Roberts is putting the creation science point of view as an individual.
"He's hiring facilities from St Philip's for the seminar."
Mr Wilson says creationism would not become "part of any college program unless it becomes accepted by the federal education minister and each of the state ministers".
He says college chaplain Sarah Pollitt is "very careful what she promotes.
"She is not teaching creation.
"But if a question of creation does come up she is quite happy to have a debate on it.
"The same would apply to science classes in Years 10, 11 and 12, but creation is not part of the assessment program of the college."
The Education Department says with independent schools it "has no jurisdiction over teaching and learning programs".
The department says it part-funds the college to the extent of "21 per cent of the Average Government State Recurrent Cost".
Stephen Mullins, the department's media manager, says the department does not prescribe what is taught in schools.
Instead there is "an NT Curriculum Framework which outlines the outcomes that students must have the opportunity to demonstrate in compulsory schooling.
"NTCF outcomes are quite broad and enable a range of content to be taught in order for students to demonstrate a given outcome.
"There is no reference to evolution or creationism in these outcomes."
The bible-inspired creationism, recently renamed "intelligent design", has been given currency by some political leaders, as Mr Roberts points out: "This is quite a topical video given the comments on Intelligent Design by Dr Brendan Nelson [who said it's OK to discuss it in religious instruction] and the US President George Bush."
Mr Wilson said after the seminar on Sunday that only a small number of people had attended Mr Roberts' function.
Some parents had sent messages objecting to the seminar and Mr Roberts' claim that "most" of the evolution theory is a myth. There had not been any emails in support of the seminar.
Mr Roberts did not respond to an invitation to comment.
CENTRE NEEDS A NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP, SAYS COUNCIL CANDIDATE. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
Town council candidate Hal Duell is surprised to realise he doesn't have a problem with a nuclear waste dump in the Centre, though with a few conditions attached. "While none of us want it in our own backyard, I think we all know Australia will have to have one.
"We mine uranium, and we use it. The waste we generate is ours.
"And even if tomorrow the world's nuclear power stations were turned off, the mines closed and the weapons decommissioned, we would still have to look after all the waste we are holding today. "All agree it is too radioactive to be ploughed into landfills, so we will have to contain and store it.
"Allowing for the spin governments use to bring us around to their point of view, present storage arrangements still appear to be pretty ordinary.
"A single, purpose built, stringently maintained depot might not be such a bad idea.
"The process proposed by the Federal Government asks for public input during the environmental assessment, licensing and Public Works Committee inquiry stages.
"We need the NT Government and if the site picked is in the Centre, the Alice Springs Town Council, the Central Land Council, and every environmental advocacy group in the NT to be at that table to insist on at least three bedrock guarantees. "The facility would only be used to store waste generated in Australia. We are not the world's dump. "Ownership and management would remain in Government hands. This facility will be too important for too long to allow the corporate cowboys in the door. "Access would never ever be granted to that final obscenity in the nuclear cycle, the manufacturers of depleted uranium bullets and bombs."
Mr Duell says council is "really good entry level democracy and a surprisingly good show at times".
Since standing for the last council election Mr Duell has been a regular at council meetings in the public gallery.
"When I nominated a year ago I didn't really know what I was doing but I knew I wanted to start speaking out on issues.
"By going to a lot of meetings I know a lot more about what council does, what it can do but also what it can't do." A lot of decisions that influence life in Alice Springs are taken in Darwin, says Mr Duell, citing decisions by the Planning Consent Authority and the Licensing Commission (both Territory Government authorities) and the Grants Commission (Federal Government).
"The council is also very constrained by its role.
"They can't be a police force, for instance.
"We're not going to get council rangers patrolling the mall with attitude at 3am on Saturdays."
But council can and should support the police force we've got, says Mr Duell, a resident of the Gap.
He observed a sudden influx of petrol sniffers in the area a couple of months ago "in the river, along the railway line, in the feeder streets, they were thick on the ground" and had "unwanted visitors" at his home.
He says the police were concerned but did not have a clear idea about what they could do.
"Council could request clearer direction for police from the NT Government," says Mr Duell.
"They could also lobby for a juvenile detention centre in Alice Springs.
"You have to have sympathy for the police where are they going to put a young sniffer at 2am who is a danger to him or herself and everybody else?
"There are safe houses but I understand they are underfunded. "On these kind of issues council has an advocacy role.
"It needs to work with other agencies, and increasingly they are doing that, for instance with Tangentyere Council and Lhere Artepe."
Council has called on the Federal Government to subsidise the roll-out of unsniffable Opal fuel across Central Australia including in Alice Springs.
Mr Duell supports the call as a way of quickly interrupting supply but asks, "Can Opal really fix the problem or will it simply defer it?
"I think this needs to start further back than the sniffers.
"And I'm also wondering how that roll-out will be evaluated.
"If they are not collecting data right now, then they're writing a sunset clause into the subsidy."
RACIST STICKERS: MAN FINGERED IN INTERNET CHASE. Report by by ERWIN CHLANDA.
A Sydney man tracing racial vilification and political extremism on the internet claims he's found out who placed racist stickers on the office window in Alice Springs of Opposition Whip Richard Lim.
Mat Henderson-Hau says the man is Trevor Lewis, but Mr Lewis has denied to the Alice Springs News that he is politically active on the web. (Mr Lewis is not listed in the Alice phone book.) When Mr Henderson provided further evidence against Mr Lewis, including an email in which he apparently bragged about placing the stickers (pictured), the News left several messages for Mr Lewis, but he did not return our calls.
He has since been sacked by the company for which he'd worked in an information technology role. A company spokesman says the sacking was related to unauthorized use of computers.
Dr Lim, who is of Chinese origin, says he is pleased that the person placing the stickers has apparently been identified.
"People who have issues such as this should be up front," says Dr Lim.
"Mr Lewis has not come and met with me.
"As a politician I'm fair game for anyone, but my skin is thick enough.
"But I don't want anyone to take such actions against someone who may be traumatised.
"It is vilification."
Mr Henderson-Hau says his web site, Fight dem back, has been taken offline "by one of the biggest cyber-crimes ever committed in Australasia".
He claims Fight dem back was "emerging from a triumphant week which saw them close down a massive gathering of neo-Nazis in Sydney and also saw them successfully lobby to prevent two guest speakers from Germany's far-right National Democratic Party from entering Australia.
"On Monday afternoon, the FDB server was flooded with what is known as a distributed denial of service attack.
"This is where hundreds of thousands of requests are sent to the site thus eating up bandwidth and forcing the server offline.
"They threw the equivalent of a major university's bandwidth at us.
"This would have been a world-wide effort with every neo-Nazi who can click a mouse taking part.
"We are working with the authorities to ascertain the origin of this attack. Early investigations are looking promising."
Mr Henderson-Hau says over the last 12 months, Fight dem back has been monitoring the activities of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups in Australia and New Zealand.
"Our campaigning has resulted in the effective disbandment of the New Zealand National Front and in the decimation of groups like the White Pride Coalition of Australia and the Patriotic Youth League."
LETTERS: Geothermal rail power?
Sir, Great to see your story on geothermal power (Aug 31).
As a long time shareholder, I have followed the progress of this company since its inception.
They are now looking for a base load and as John Childs pointed out they are looking to join the national grid, but the thinking is that it would be uneconomic to join the NT onto this source.
The time is now ripe for both the South Australian and Territory governments to put their heads together and look very long term at electrifying the Adelaide to Darwin railway using geothermal power. Looking at the electric rail networks in such countries as Japan, the technology is there awaiting such a project as this. The advantages would be obvious in the attraction that such a railway would have in the world travel community, as well as an enormous reduction in running costs as the scale of generation increases.
This would be the first railway powered from non-fossil fuel .It would give the company concerned the scale needed to sell at prices more than competitive with fossil fuels. It would also produce a wealth of saleable technology and expertise on the world market. Desert Knowledge Project, please step forward.
As well as that, with long term vision it would not be impossible to use the same power distribution network to feed power back into the national grid from the geothermal potential under the Mataranka basin, the extensive solar resource along the rail corridor, waiting to be utilised, and the enormous potential for wind generated power from the Tenant Creek region.
The NT could well become a net exporter of electric power to the national grid.No doubt the knockers will say that this is pie in the sky thinking both technologically and financially. However consider the fact that the technology is currently in use overseas and being improved by the day, and that currently there is something like $35 billion dollars floating around this country in private equity funds looking for a home.
Infrastructure is a very attractive investment target for this money, and it would be sad indeed to see any of it move offshore while far sighted projects such as this go wanting.
Sir, Peter Tait (Alice News, Aug 31) says: "The outputs of the nuclear industry are waste and weapons". Nonsense. The main output is power; the many others include medical treatments. He says, correctly, that the nuclear power industry grew out of the development of nuclear weapons. For that reason (among others) he thinks the industry should be closed down.
But much of our industrial development through history has been spurred by war-related research. This is neither a reason to say war is good, nor a reason to close all those industries.
I believe most of the opposition to nuclear power is ill-informed. Having said that, though, I would have no objection to leaving the uranium in the ground until the public perception changes. It'll keep. If this results in us having to cut back on our worship of the great god Growth, so much the better. I don't believe in exporting uranium to countries whose governments we can't trust and that probably means all of them. Certainly not to China.
Fly me to the moon. COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.
A gangly bald man in a hair salon is about as welcome as a fart in a photo booth. This is why I have avoided hairdressing services for 20 years.
It shouldn't be necessary now that I live with competent teenagers who have plenty of time on their hands and are only too happy to wield the wet razor every couple of weeks if it stops their old man whinging for a few minutes.
Alas, this month the two-week interval occurred in the middle of a trip that I took out of town, the details of which I will spare you but involved an overnight stay in Kuala Lumpur.
More Aussies visit Malaysia these days than is commonly known. The reason is that any internet search for fares to Asia invariably places Malaysian Airlines near the top of the low-cost hit parade.
We transit passengers arrive, realise that we have some hours in hand until the onward connection and seek solace in downtown KL, as the locals call it.
The fast train races into town in half an hour. I never leave any public transport without a list of errands jotted down on the back of a piece of card torn from the folding bits at the top of a cereal packet. So, reaching Chinatown, I had prepared a precise but slightly embarrassing line-up of jobs like collecting my emails in a café populated by malodorous backpackers, buying replica soccer shirts and having my head shaved before I went crazy with the discomfort of the lower half being hairy and the top half shiny.
Having proper hair, you might not understand, but uneven growth on your head is irritating.
In a warm climate, it feels like the beanie you are wearing has split and the crown of your head is sticking out like a comic bruise in a Tom and Jerry cartoon or the ball of a roll-on deodorant.
When I reach this point, I have to get a wet shave double-quick. Being a tricky task to accomplish on your own without a bathroom full of mirrored tiles and a strong stomach, I looked around for a barber.
I searched everywhere in Chinatown but must have walked past a hundred barber shops and not noticed them behind the stalls selling sports bags and the street cafes with patrons stuffing themselves with nasi goreng.
In desperation, I climbed the concrete steps into a shopping mall that looked air-conditioned but wasn't and I worked my way around the rabbit warren of shops until I reached a hair restoration clinic.
As I walked through the door, the face of the man behind the counter betrayed someone who was fast working out a way to explain the limitations to the powers of his products.
Relieved when I asked him where I could get a shave, he pointed to a smart but cramped salon across the way, which was where this tale began.
Needless to say, I was still wearing my Akubra to shield against any rays of the sun that penetrated the particulate content of the Kuala Lumpur air.
When I did this in Casuarina Square, which last time I looked was part of the Northern Territory, a shop assistant treated me like a visitor from the Planet Ugg. In contrast, the Malaysian people of this particular boutique were unsurprised by a hat wearer and welcomed me like a regular customer.
Everyday life brings little episodes that warm the cockles of even the hardest-hearted cynic.
Thirty minutes elapsed while my scalp was prepared, shaved, washed, dried, massaged, moisturised and no doubt polished too, but by this time I was far too relaxed to notice.
"Where are you from?" the ladies asked me and for a fleeting moment I forgot where Alice Springs was.
Anorexic arts budgets. COLUMN by VIKTORIA CORMACK.
Life isn't fair I tell my children when they complain over getting a raw deal in the classroom or at home. We try to make it fair but it never can be.
Often those that make the most noise get the most attention and more than their fair share' of the cake. We all pay tax but the revenue is not necessarily divided up equally. The more you lobby and scream the more you get, or at least so it seems.
I went to the Araluen Art Forum last week and found out that last year the number of exhibitions was reduced significantly and that this year the number of theatre productions has been cut as well. I had no idea.
It has apparently been written about in the media. I don't read our local newspapers carefully enough obviously.
We were told there had been no outcry and therefore it was unlikely the static funding would increase to compensate for rising costs.
In modern art and design there is the idea of less is more', but starving the arts to death is not going to create a vibrant cultural community.
The buildings will eventually have to be sold off because keeping them cannot be justified when you cannot afford to put on exhibitions or stage productions.
Maybe sport will keep us all happy.
It is cheap entertainment for our governments as it has lots of commercial backing and is good for national pride and identity.
Never mind the song-writers, story-tellers and visual artists recording our experience, our soul as Australians, historically as well as in the present.
It can be difficult to measure the benefits of art. It may often seem like only individual artists are benefiting from arts grants.
Sponsoring athletes seems more sensible.
They may put Australia on the map as a great strong, young nation. As we are all putting on weight it is also good to promote physical exercise for the sake of our public health.
In our house the males enjoy the footy, the cricket and the rugby along with the motor sports more than the females do. It is great that the boys get so much out of watching and playing sport but we have to find a balance. We need yin and yang, male and female, sport and art. Our health doesn't only depend on what we eat and how much we exercise, but also on how we feel and experience ourselves and our lives. We need to feel connected not only to our team mates but to our fellow human beings and to ourselves. To reflect over what it means to be alive here and now is also part of being human.
Like an anorexia sufferer the arts budget will never seem thin enough.
There will always be more important projects to spend our tax money on.
The arts will survive with the help of volunteers. The need to express ourselves in writing, music, dance, painting and drama will not go away. It is all about priorities.
RUGBY: DRAGONS BREATHE FIRE. Report by ELISABETH ATTWOOD.
It was called one of the most exciting rugby league finals for a long time - West Dragons came from behind by 16 points to take the 2005 trophy from Central Memorial Bulls.
Slow starts and fast finishes seem to have become Wests' trademark the team did exactly the same thing to Vikings in last year's grand final.
Wests scored the last try and conversion with just a minute to go, resulting in a final score of 56-42. The match was bloody, vocal and violent. Three players were sin binned, and one player stretchered off unconscious (after a fair tackle).
It was Allan Priestly for Memo who scored the first try, seven minutes into the game, neatly converted by Mark Hooper. Within a few minutes Wests answered back with their first try thanks to Shane Hooper. But for the rest of the first half, the Bulls put their heads down and dominated. Memo's attacking plays were held together by accurate and swift passing by team captain Kelvin Caspani. The Australian touch rugby representative was outstanding and instrumental in setting up many of Memo's try chances. With the score at 4-16 to Memo, the game reached fever pitch as the dragons got fired up and the Bulls saw red, resulting in a punch-up which saw Wests' Davin Turner sin binned. And the game was interrupted after Memo's Dave Hawgood's head-on collision with Wests' Aaron Harre. Hawgood was stretchered off, unconscious. Dragons dug their claws in to score the next two lots of points, with two goals and matching conversions to bring the score to a level 16-16.
The match then gained momentum as Caspani expertly streaked and weaved through the Wests' beefy defence to score at 32 minutes.
Another quick Caspani special two minutes before half-time meant another four points to Memo, with two more after the try was successfully converted by Mark Hooper. The half-time whistle blew to mark the score 16-26. The first to score after the break was Allan Priestly again, giving him a hatrick of tries.
Joel Prudham kicked a successful conversion, repeating the feat two minutes later after another Memo goal.
But these were to be Memo's last points before Wests' incredible comeback. Shane Doolan's try at 56 minutes started reining in the score to 22-38, before a ruckus saw Shaun Harre of West and Steven Barr of Memo sin binned. Down to 12 men apiece, the game opened up as the Bulls ran out of steam and the Dragons breathed fire, scoring five tries and four conversions in 14 minutes.
The scales tipped to the Wests thanks to a Troy Loveridge try and a conversion by Russel Satour. Memo forced through a try, but the last points were scored by the Westies, bringing the final score to 56 to 42.
NETBALL: DEPLETED WESTS PREVAIL. Report by ELISABETH ATTWOOD.
Despite injury, a depleted Wests are through to the A grade netball preliminary finals against Memo Rovers on Saturday.
They beat Centralian Masters 31 goals to 23 at the weekend.
A key member of the team, Sandy Warner who plays goal attack, failed to play in the match because of injury. The captain, Raewyn Poumaka said after the game: "It was pretty rough conditions in the heat.
"I'm not disappointed with the way we played because we got a win, but we had two foot players on the court.
"We'll see how we go in training next week for the preliminary final on Saturday.
"We hope Sandy will be better by then."
Both sides were suffering in the 30 degree sun, but Masters looked particularly tired in the second half of the match.
Centre player, Bernie Sayer, worked hard to keep her girls together, and the team says they are not disappointed to be out of the 2005 competition.
Helen Spencley of the Masters said: "The team played very well. We're not at all disappointed.
"The first quarter let us down, our goals weren't going in.
"We're really pleased to get this far. We've been together for eight years, it's more of a social team.
"Steph Gaynor [wing attack and centre] played well and our defence team was very good, especially Bernie Sayer."
The other A grade match of the weekend saw Sundowners beat Memorial Rovers 49 goals to 33.
RULES: SOUTHS GET SCARE. Report by ELISABETH ATTWOOD.
Souths have jeapordised their chances of getting through to this year's grand final in AFL after their shock loss to Wests at the weekend.
The final score was 14-6 (90) to 9-13 (67).
Despite having a full-strength team, Souths played well below their usual standard of football, with inaccurate kicking and failure to create scoring chances.
They must win against Federals in the next round to claim a spot in the grand final on September 17.
In the second semi-final match, Federals beat Pioneer 10-11 (71) to 9-9 (63).
In the Country Cup, a thrilling match between Central Anmatjere and Ltyentye Apurte was decided in the final seconds, with Central just edging ahead 14-7 (91) to 11-21 (87).
Ltyentye Apurte had their last shot at goal less than a minute before full-time, but immediately after Central took the ball up and scored the winning points.
Central will now face the mighty Yuendumu in the grand final.
INJURY KNOCKS OUT MOTOCROSS LEADER. Report by ELISABETH ATTWOOD.
Injury knocked local rider Caleb Auricht out of the second round of Desert Edge Motorcycles Natural Terrain Series held at the weekend, after he lead in the open class of the first round.
The accident occurred in practice, as Auricht's front wheel hit a rock and he high sided off his bike.
He was flung in the air and landed heavily on his neck and shoulder, smashing his helmet.
Paramedics were called to the scene and put him in a neck brace straightaway before rushing him to hospital.
Auricht was x-rayed but hadn't broken anything. He is left with badly bruised neck muscles and slightly torn ligaments in his left shoulder.
Auricht's exit opened up the competition, and the open class is now a three-way battle between Luke Forte, Ryan Brandford and Isaac Elliott.
The star of the meet was young Corey Cronin, who won all of his six events in the 85cc and junior 125cc divisions.
The rider has just moved up from racing mini motorbikes.
And Ilparpa welcomed back two riders who haven't raced for several years: Owen Auricht and Mark Rodigiero.
The two riders competed against each other in the clubman class, with Rodigiero winning two events and Auricht winning one.
130 riders took part in the competition, with the final round and trophy decider next weekend.
ERROR IN NATIVE TITLE REPORT.
There were errors in the August 24 edition of the Alice Springs News.
In a report on the High Court's Ward Decision we quoted from the minority opinion of Judge Callinan while saying it was the majority judgment.
We had shown our report, in draft form, prior to publication, to the media sections of the Chief Minister's office and the Central Land Council. Neither pointed out the error.
The Ward decision triggered the Territory government's decision to hand over to Aborigines ownership of Territory national parks.
We quoted: "The grant of pastoral leases in the Northern Territory extinguished all native title rights and interests over that land."
In fact the majority decision was that the key native title right of controlling access to, and the use of land, is extinguished by the grant of pastoral leases but "they were not, however, necessarily inconsistent with the continued existence of all native title rights and interests." In other words, some native title rights may have survived.
We quoted "cultural knowledge does not constitute a native title right or interest in relation to land or waters'. It is essential that claimants maintain a physical presence on the land."
In fact according to information supplied by the Native Title Tribunal, "the Court expressed no view on whether a spiritual connection alone (i.e. any form of asserted connection without evidence of continuing use or physical presence) would suffice."
The Alice Springs News will be continuing its coverage of the NT government's handover of national parks to Aborigines.
Return to Alice Springs News Webpage.