ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
July 19, 2007. This page contains all major
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
Greatorex campaign: Running on
empty. By ERWIN CHLANDA.
If you live in Greatorex, get a knock
on your door and are confronted by a smiling face, handing you a how to
vote card, ask them a few hard questions.
For example: How exactly will Alice
Springs be better off if you are elected?
How much more money will be spent?
Which projects and initiatives will
be started, exactly when, and how much will they cost?
We tried it and drew mostly blanks.
Radio announcer and host till
recently of the popular talk-back show Territory Today, CLP hopeful
Matt Conlan (pictured at left) wants to consult the people and, has a
mental block about statements he made on radio that many would find
racist and maybe even illegal. Mr Conlan, an Alice resident for seven
years, will be married here in September.
Labor’s Jo Nixon (at right, during a
fun run with her son Tom), whose party actually has the money to do
things, hasn’t had a chat yet with the Chief Minister about what
election promises she can offer. Ms Nixon is married and is a mum of
two boys and a girl, all born here, and is a hearing specialist. She is
well known as one of the founding organizers of the highly successful
Beanie Festival. ERWIN CHLANDA spoke with both candidates.
NEWS: Matt Conlan, Let’s go to
your past life. I’m interested in questions of journalistic ethics. On
your 8HA business card it says Matt Conlan, News and Current Affairs.
Yet you seem to have been involved equally as much in advertising. Do
you regard yourself as a journalist?
CONLAN: No. I looked after the current affairs and news side of things
for 8HA and SunFM.
NEWS: Did you look after these things as a journalist?
CONLAN: Well, no, I wouldn’t call myself a journalist.
NEWS: What would you call yourself?
CONLAN: I’ve done many, many things in radio. I’d say I was a
commercial radio broadcaster.
NEWS: Would you think the audience would have regarded you as having a
journalistic function? There is a Code of Ethics for journalists. Are
you familiar with that?
CONLAN: Yes, yes, the Code.
NEWS: What are the most important points in it?
CONLAN: Tell me what you are driving at. I’ve told you I’m not a
NEWS: The Code has certain requirements.
CONLAN: You obviously think I have broken the Code somewhere down the
NEWS: I’ve asked you what your understanding of it is. It’s a
fundamental thing in Australian media.
(The Code has 12 points, contains just 373 words, and includes the
following requirements: “Do not place unnecessary emphasis on personal
characteristics, including race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age,
sexual orientation, family relationships, religious belief, or physical
or intellectual disability.”
And: “Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to
affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism. Do
not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine
accuracy, fairness or independence.”
CONLAN: It’s a code. It’s a set of guidelines. It’s not enforceable by
NEWS: The consumer of news would have a strong expectation that it is
CONLAN: I’ve been involved in radio for 15 years. You need to be a bit
of a Jack of All Trades. To put together a couple of news stories isn’t
brain surgery. You need to have a fair and balanced mind, you need to
see the story in a fair and balanced way, so you can flesh out the body
of the story, take out the spin and all the peripheral airy fairy stuff
people on either side may be saying, and the like. And then you belt it
out and you turn it into a radio news story.
NEWS: That seems to be a journalistic function, yet you don’t think the
Code applies to you.
CONLAN: No, I didn’t say that. Don’t go round putting words into my
mouth. Be careful. Of course the Code applies. You use those
guidelines. But I don’t think we’ve ever breached any of those.
NEWS: OK, what are the main points of those guidelines you’ve worked
CONLAN: Well, that we keep it fair and balanced, essentially, that is
really the number one fundamental.
NEWS: What does the Code say, for instance, with respect to journalists
being influenced by commercial considerations?
CONLAN: I think it’s got something along the lines that you can’t
represent a story to be endorsing or selling a product, along the lines
of that, I’m guessing. This journalist stuff, I don’t know what that’s
got to do with anything.
NEWS: If you vote for somebody it’s important it is a person with
principles and who can be relied upon.
CONLAN: The Code isn’t the most comprehensive document of all time, is
NEWS: It is very clear. Now, I didn’t actually hear this ...
CONLAN: I think we’d better be careful, because we’re not going on
third party stuff here ...
NEWS: I’m asking you whether you did say something, because a number of
people have reported it to me, namely that you said, words to the
effect, that one of the things, or the only thing Aboriginal people are
bringing to Alice Springs is crime. Did you say anything of the kind?
CONLAN: If you can bring me the original quote and find the real audio
copy of what someone suggested that I’d said, then I might comment on
it. Of course I’m not going to comment on such a ludicrous statement
like that when you haven’t even got your facts right.
NEWS: You didn’t say it?
CONLAN: I didn’t say that, no.
In fact, according to a transcript obtained by the Alice News after the
interview, on the condition that the source be not named, Mr Conlan
said this on the 8HA program Territory Today on October 30 last year.
It was part of an introduction by Mr Conlan of nearly 700 words
triggered by the assault on a 54 year old Masters Games competitor who
“was almost bashed to death on Friday night”.
Mr Conlan said: “While the attackers have not been found yet, you can
bet your bottom dollar who’s responsible, and I don’t mind saying it,
young Aboriginal men.”
And: “It’s getting to a point where the only contribution the
Aboriginal community are making to this town is adding to the crime
The following day Mr Conlan said a man would be facing charges of
aggravated robbery, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, disqualified
driving and stealing and commented: “Now pretty light charges when you
consider the extent of damage inflicted on his victim.”
Mr Conlan was clearly not reporting statements made in court. Does he
think he may have been in contempt of court?
CONLAN: No, absoloutely not.
Later in that program he answered the sender of an email: “Surely
you’re not walking the same streets as the rest of us witnessing the
utter despair and filth in our parks and streets. You don’t have to be
Einstein to see that nearly every single one of these people are
Aboriginal, it’s as simple as that.”
During the interview with the Alice News Mr Conlan said Alice Springs
police need more officers that just the establishment number which had
been reached recently.
NEWS: What chance, as a member of a very small Opposition, do you think
you have of getting more police?
CONLAN: I’ve got a lot more say in Opposition than a Government
backbencher. We can flesh out the arguments, we can ask the Government
questions. We have a better platform to be heard as opposed to someone
who will be shuffled off to the backbench.
NEWS: The Mal Brough initiatives have seriously diminished the NT
Government’s powers. Clare Martin, essentially, is the Chief Minister
of half of the Northern Territory. What opportunities does the CLP
Opposition have of influencing the like-minded Federal Government on
what they are doing in the Territory now?
CONLAN: By throwing their support behind those initiatives.
NEWS: Has the CLP given Mr Brough advice on those initiatives?
CONLAN: I wouldn’t like to speak out of turn on that. All this came up
before I put my hand up for the candidacy. That’s a question you could
direct at the Opposition Leader.
NEWS: But the voters would ask you, not the Opposition Leader, wouldn’t
CONLAN: I would answer them exactly in the same way and any reasonable
person would understand that.
NEWS: Wouldn’t voters expect that you know the Opposition Leader’s mind
on issues like that? Hasn’t she told you?
CONLAN: They wouldn’t expect me to know every little intricacy. That’s
why we have leaders and that’s why we have members.
NEWS: Alcohol measures, what would you do?
CONLAN: People aren’t happy with prohibition, they are not happy with
the restrictions. That’s been argued on my radio show many times. I’ve
been doorknocking 10 days now and people are really upset about the
restrictions. But there is also a level of acceptance that we have to
come to the party somewhere. [People say] if these restrictions are to
make any difference at all then perhaps they should accept them.
NEWS: OK, these are your views, but how would you, as a member of a
small Opposition, bring them to bear where it counts?
CONLAN: I’m out there getting the feel of the people, what issues are
NEWS: What do you tell people who say you’ve got Buckley’s to do
anything about it?
CONLAN: I feel as a small team we have a louder voice than someone
shuffled off to the back bench in a team of 19 or 20, to be a cheer
squad for the government. I’ll be a member of the other group, and I’ll
have shadow portfolios. There are about 36 of them spread around the
four of us. We’ll be in a position to ask questions, relentlessly
pursuing the government. No doubt there will be a massive learning
NEWS: Mr Brough has had an enormous influence on the NT, to an
unprecedented extent. What has the CLP done to influence the events
that are so dramatically unfolding in the NT?
CONLAN: That’s a similar question to one you asked me before.
NEWS: I didn’t get much of an answer.
CONLAN: Perhaps you should speak to Jodeen Carney about this, or
perhaps Terry Mills. I have no doubt that there have been some lengthy
discussions with Senator Nigel Scullion, MHR David Tollner and Jodeen
Carney. I’m not privy to exactly what has been said. Mal Brough to me
seems like a truly committed man to try and fix some of the
Mr Conlan denied that he had been suspended from Radio 8HA by its
chairman, Ren Kelly, following the announcement of his candidacy, as
reported in the Alice News last week.
“That’s actually false,” says Mr Conlan.
“8HA management and the station and the station general manager, Roger
Harris, and I were well aware of what was about to unfold.
“We had discussed my intentions and my motives, and [my actions were]
cleared by 8HA management and Mr Harris.
“If Mr Kelly felt a bit put out because he wasn’t kept in the loop,
well, that’s not my concern.
“There was no suspension involved. I stood aside, as per my discussions
with Roger Harris.”
NEWS: Jo Nixon, the Government
is on the nose like never before, as demonstrated by the sustained
booing of Clare Martin during the sittings of Parliament here. She has
been reduced to being Chief Minister not of the Northern Territory, but
of half of it. Labor’s star recruit for Greatorex last time ‘round,
Mayor Fran Kilgariff, isn’t standing and on the Friday before the
announcement of your candidacy was still saying “no comment”. She
clearly thinks she has no chance of winning the seat. You’re up against
two high profile conservative candidates. So what’s a nice girl like
you doing in a place like this?
NIXON: That’s where all nice girls go, don’t they, to the bad side? In
fact, I don’t think I am. The incident at the Alice Parliament was
actually a good thing. It was great for Alice Springs people to say
these things to the Government. I can only support people doing that.
The Government did respond to that and there are quite a lot of people
who are happy with some of the results, filling the police quota.
Bojangles publican Chris Vaughan has observed things are better.
There’s a summit coming up. The NT Government are looking at these
issues and are starting to address them.
There’s heaps more to do, no doubt about that.
I’m interested in joining a team and being inside the government.
For so long I’ve been on the outside and thought, why don’t they do
this? Why don’t they do that?
Caucus meets weekly, and there is a chance, which it doesn’t have now,
for Alice Springs and Greatorex to have a resident in there and keep
the Alice Springs agenda on the table, in Darwin, in government.
NEWS: These questions have been on the table for 30 years.
NEWS: If you get in you will be part of a government which spends three
thousand million dollars a year on 200,000 people. I’ve got a list of
issues here. I’m not asking you whether they are important or not.
Please tell me what exactly you can assure the voter the government
will be doing if you get elected. Let’s start with anti-social
NIXON: It’s about keeping it on the table, and asking people here in
Alice Springs what solutions they have. I’m not the person with the
solutions. The people with the behaviour problems, and their families,
have the solutions, and the other people who are living here.
NEWS: So what will you do?
NIXON: I don’t know what the answer is. No one person has the answer.
It’s about making sure you’re talking to other people. It’s something I
do in my job already. There’s no one answer for hearing health.
Everybody’s got the answers. I’m not so arrogant as to say I’ve got the
answers. I want to know what the electorate has to say. I am the
representative of those people, not their God.
NEWS: Mal Brough’s initiatives are assertive and robust, to say the
least. Labor Member for MacDonnell Alison Anderson largely endorses
these initiatives. What’s your view?
NIXON: Right now these are not the issues for me to discuss. I know the
NT and the Federal governments are working together, and will continue
to work together. I need to focus on the campaign, not the higher
issues, which I’m keeping in the back of my mind. If I’m elected I’ll
be part of the team.
NEWS: We need to be more precise.
NIXON: This is not the time to be precise.
NEWS: The issues I’d like to talk to you about, and you’re welcome to
add others, are alcohol control measures, water use, the flood
mitigation dam, the handover of the national parks, a lake, town
planning and availability of building land, tourist promotion.
NIXON: The most important thing is that I am a mother, I’m raising kids
in this town, so I care about the issues of anti-social behaviour and
alcohol abuse. I care about water use because it’s about living in this
NEWS: They’re important to all of us. What we need to know, have you
spoken to the Chief Minister about what the Government is actually
going to do about all these points?
NIXON: No, not yet.
NEWS: Will you before the by-election which is in less then two weeks’
NIXON: The lake and the dam are Alice Springs issues. If someone other
than me is elected they would be working against the Government. If
they decided to put me in I’d be working within the Government.
NEWS: What are the five most important things the Government has done
for Alice Springs in the last six years?
NEWS: They were under-resourced until a couple of months ago.
NIXON: Yes, and now they’ve done something about it.
NEWS: A lot of people are saying the police establishment figures are
NIXON: It’s my understanding the Government is looking at that, talking
to senior police about how many more police are needed. I think that’s
NEWS: That’s one.
NIXON: There have been some good improvements in health professionals
over the last five years, but it’s acknowledged we need more positions.
There are good things happening in the tourism and arts industries. The
Desert Festival and the Beanie Festival have grown, from what I’ve
NEWS: Why did Fran Kilgariff not stand? Are you the sacrificial lamb?
NIXON: I’ve been talking to the Labor Party, on and off, for a little
The by-election came up right in the middle of the Beanie Festival for
me, but standing for Parliament was in the back of my mind. I spoke to
my family and my friends, people happy to help us looking after our
children, and then it was all just go, go, go.
John Gaynor, on leave from the Office of the Chief Minister in Alice
Springs, and a former candidate for Araluen, is assisting Ms Nixon.
He says there were “more than two” applicants seeking preselection.
Taskforce: many kids very sick at
Ti Tree and Hermannsburg. By KIERAN FINNANE.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough’s Federal taskforce has found
that nearly half the preschool aged children in the Anmatjere area,
just 200 kms north of Alice, have anaemia.
This is a deficiency of red blood cells and / or hemoglobin, with a
wide range of clinical consequences.
Common symptoms include weakness, fatigue, general malaise and
sometimes a loss of concentration.
Nurses visiting Alyuen (Aileron) see people out of the back of a car –
there is no community building where they can see people.
Several elderly people at Alyuen, including two in their eighties,
receive no aged care services.
These facts contained in an internal report obtained by the Alice
Springs News give some indication of the face of the emergency in
remote Aboriginal communities in the Territory, that the Commonwealth
Government has at last moved to decisively address.
The Anmatjere area includes Ti Tree, Alyuen, Six Mile, Laramba,
Engawala and Nturiya (Ti Tree Station).
A District Medical Officer (DMO) has been to Ti Tree four times in the
last six months for two days at a time.
If the DMO can’t visit the further flung communities like Six Mile and
Nturiya, clinic staff transport the sick into Ti Tree.
Laramba has had just three DMO visits in the past nine months for two
to three days at a time.
In Territory terms the Anmatjere communities are not particularly
remote: Ti Tree and Aileron are right on the Stuart Highway, within a
few hours’ drive of Alice Springs. Laramba is about 60kms from the
highway on a dirt road.
There are two clinics in the area, one at Ti Tree and one at Laramba.
The Anmatjere Council auspices an aged care service based in Ti Tree.
The health and aged care issues identified in the report are based on
information gathered during a visit to the area last week (July 9-11).
The author of the report says they were informed that only four to five
of 12 DMO positions are currently filled.
There are times when all of the DMOs are required to provide emergency
phone coverage for Central Australia. When this is the case, the DMOs
do not visit any remote health centres, which in theory they are
supposed to do once a month for two to four days.
Clinic staff currently do Growth Assessment and Action (GAA) checks and
Healthy School Aged Kids (HSAK) checks.
The report says Ti Tree clinic staff would like to to collaborate with
the taskforce’s health team to do the Child Health Checks (a specific
Medicare item with a specific pro forma).
Laramba clinic staff were preparing to do their HSAK checks but may now
wait to do them in collaboration with the taskforce health team.
Staff apparently want to do a program for scabies (a contagious itchy
skin condition associated particularly with over-crowding) but need
more resources to do so.
They also want to run a mothers and babies program but again need more
They would like to see a swimming pool built in Ti Tree and a regular
dog program to control animal numbers and health.
Other beneficial programs mentioned in the report would be a parenting
skills program, which it is suggested could be run by Batchelor
Institute or TAFE, and a feeding program to improve the nutrition and
health of babies and preschool age children.
At present kidney disease patients needing dialysis have to travel to
The report suggests making peritoneal dialysis available in the
community together with the necessary education programs.
The Ti Tree clinic has one 4WD vehicle and an ambulance. There are
times when both are in use and the clinic is left without a vehicle.
The report say another vehicle would be welcome.
There are people, including aged pensioners, who are living in humpies
without any kind of infrastructure in Camp Creek.
The report suggests the building of an ablutions block with a communal
laundry and the laying of concrete slabs with posts “to support the
temporary housing that people live in”.
The aged care service based in Ti Tree provides services to the elderly
in Ti Tree, including Camp Creek, Six Mile, Laramba, Wilora and
There are no services provided to Alyuen or Nturiya.
The report says the relatively new staff at the service “need education
about what assistance and support is available to improve funding,
services and facilities”.
The service has four full-time staff at Ti Tree, one at Laramba, two at
It also employs six CDEP workers, all working in excess of CDEP hours
and receiving “top up”.
“Several of these workers have been employed for a long time and could
be transitioned to full wages with appropriate assistance from DEWR,”
says the report.
Staff are keen to see a small aged care residential facility built at
Ti Tree, says the report.
The report notes that not all communities visited have laundry
facilities; and that Alyuen and Nturiya do not have any meal
The Alice News understands from a reliable source that 14 out of 15
children examined in Ntaria (Hermannsburg) have been
referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist as a result of the
taskforce’s child health checks in the community.
There is no ENT specialist based in Alice Springs.
This is another example of the magnitude of the task that the Federal
Government has taken on.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough is on the record as saying that
the Federal Government will do the follow up arising from its child
health check program: “Whether it be a mental illness, whether it be
ear, nose, or throat; whatever it may be, and that’s our commitment.”
Mr Brough says he is using “short-term, stop-gap methods” to
“secure children today” while the government develops “not only the
proposals but the methodology of being able to secure them long-term.
This is in contrast to “normal government policy” which is “to say
here’s your problem, now we’ll work on it for the next six, twelve,
eighteen months, and now we come up with a solution and now we
Five year leases over 0.1% of
Aboriginal areas a land grab? By KIERAN FINNANE.
Townships making up only one tenth of one per cent of Territory
Aboriginal land will be acquired by the Federal Government in its
response to the Wild-Anderson report on child abuse, and there is a
“100% guarantee” from Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough’s that
after five years these townships will return to community ownership.
Yet neither Maurie Ryan, deputy chairperson of the Central Land
Council, whose job it is to advise traditional owners, nor Rosalie
Kunoth-Monks, the chairperson of Batchelor College, pointed out these
facts at a rally last Saturday held under the banner of “land grab”.
And a crowd of about 80 whites and 20 Aborigines responded with
applause to accusations from Mr Ryan of a “land grab by our miniature
Prime Minister” who is “stealing” Aboriginal land which is “immoral”
Speakers demanded that the permit system be retained but none
acknowledged that the Commonwealth’s proposals do not amount to a
wholesale abandonment of the permit system.
Mr Brough has said it will continue to apply to the vast bulk of
Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory. It will only be
removed for common areas, road corridors and airstrips for “prescribed
communities” – those with populations over 100, although the taskforce
will be able to recommend that smaller communities also be prescribed.
And the Territory Government will be given the power to make laws “to
temporarily restrict access to areas where the permit system no longer
applies to protect the privacy of a cultural event or to protect public
health and safety”.
Communities with more than 100 people located on a form of freehold
title issued by the NT Government to Aboriginal corporations and known
as Community Living Areas may also be prescribed. Titjikala is one such
The leases are proposed in order to remove “artificial barriers that
prevent urgent action; the necessary changes that are required to
secure better, healthier, safer living environments for kids in these
But Mr Brough couldn’t be more definitive on the return to community
control of the townships: “I have already made absolutely clear that at
the end of the five years, the townships will return to Aboriginal
communities on the basis they want them, whether that be communal
ownership [the status quo] or via means which allow for home
“As quoted in The Australian on 30th June, ‘I guarantee 100% that each
community will decide what happens itself’.”
Given the magnitude of the issues and the government plans afoot, the
small turnout at the rally is significant, paling alongside recent
rallies like those for the 1967 referendum anniversary and the town
camps leases, especially with respect to Aboriginal participation.
Kenny Laughton, recently appointed CEO of Lhere Artepe and long term
Indigenous activist as well as reputed author, noted that the majority
of the crowd were “whitefellers” – “Where’s the local
[blackfeller] support?”, he asked.
He spoke of the intervention as an “orchestrated land grab”, “the
second invasion of Aboriginal land”, a “black football to kick around”
in an election year.
He also went off on some interesting tangents: noting that “Arrernte
people own next to nothing in this town”, he wanted to know “what’s
happened to all the money from Centrecorp?
“I call it the KGB,” he said, referring to the secrecy of the company
whose wealth has been built by investing royalties and philanthropic
gifts supposed to benefit Aboriginal people of the Centre.
“I don’t see much of this wealth reflected in the living standards
around town,” said Mr Laughton.
Despite having once been an office-bearer in the Territory Labor Party,
he said he was “not that mad on the Labor Party, I’ll tell you up
“There’s not much difference between the two sides.”
He said if the townspeople want law and order, peace, they have to
“engage us in the community”.
He gave the example of the tourists shops in Todd Mall where you see
“bugger all” Indigenous employment.
Mrs Kunoth-Monks, who lives in Utopia, some 250 kms north-east of
Alice, and who contributed to the “Little Children Are Sacred” report,
was outraged by “the traumatisation that John Howard and Mal Brough
have unleashed on my race of people”.
She brought a small child with her to the microphone: “We are
traumatising little ones like this. My precious grandchildren are my
Her central concerns are the proposed leasing by the government of
townships for five years and the changes to the permit system.
The government’s survey team visited Utopia last Thursday.
She said: “We had people from departments coming out of our ears.
“There was no confusion from the men and women out there.
“Once the land issue came up there was no negotiation whatsoever.
“We do not own the land, we are belonging to the land.
“We cannot sell our mother for any amount of money, for any policy.
“Once you give away your land, you are nothing.
“This is what the people said on Thursday.
“At [nearby] Ampilatwatja the people are just as strong.
“Once we had said that, we said the meeting is finished, get off our
“The land council must be strong in retaining the permit
Mrs Kunoth-Monks spoke of the sexual “utilisation” of young Aboriginal
girls by stockmen and miners “in her lifetime”.
“We have overcome trauma after trauma,” she said.
“It is time it ceased, it is time senseless policies coming out of
“It is time that some intelligence is put into enhancing human lives
and the diversity of cultures within Australia.
“And Mal Brough and John Howard are not the people to do it.”
She called for “a renewal” of Aboriginal identity to make cultural
diversity in Australia “count” and to restore a quality of life to
Phillip Wilyuka, from Titjikala Council, felt wrongly accused by the
focus on child sexual abuse.
“These things never happened in Aboriginal history, this is an
He saw the stories as having “spread like a wildfire” from Mutitjulu to
the Top End.
“As a black man, an Aboriginal cultural man, I feel really bad about
all these stories [including stories about Aboriginal vandalism].
“The media are writing their own idea, it’s a lot of bullshit.”
Like Mrs Kunoth-Monks, Mr Wilyuka recalled the sexual abuse of
Aboriginal women by settlers in the past – “right in front of
He blamed the current situation on “the poison in the little bottle
that brainwashes our people” – alcohol.
About the intervention he said: “Our people were in panic mode at
Titjikala, when the taskforce arrived with a truck full of Army.”
He spoke in language to conclude, then translated: “This is our
grandfather’s land, our land, it will always be our land until we are
six feet under the ground.”
Ned Tjampitjinpa Hargreaves from Yuendumu Council said his community
were “terrified” when they heard “the Army were coming”.
“We thought that our kids would be gone, we weren’t going to see them
again. We were feeling very bad. That’s not a way to treat people.”
He wanted Mal Brough to know “we love our kids, we really take good
care of them, we don’t go around bashing them, no way”.
He said Yuendumu people want “better facilities”, they want to “upgrade
the school”, and to have “good whitefellers in school working with
us”. (Here he would find common ground with Mr Brough.)
He said they don’t want “hundreds of police” (which there is no chance
of any community getting, in any case).
“We want good communication.
“Mal Brough, keep your hands off our sacred sites [which the Minister
has said are not under any kind of threat], get off our backs and work
with us. Come down and talk with us, be a man to face us, stop going
round like a snake.”
The theme of fear was taken up by Margaret Kemarre Turner, who lives in
Alice Springs and was introduced by Barbara Shaw as representing the
She spoke in both language and English, first about grog: “I’m always
against alcohol, always have been.”
She said child abuse was learnt “from people, magazines, newspapers,
“That wasn’t taught in our people – young boys and girls are
every sacred to us”.
She went on: “A lot of people are very, very scared. You don’t know how
scared they are, they think they are going to take their children,
we’ve been through that before.”
In English at least, Mrs Turner didn’t offer any reassurance on this,
despite her work with the taskforce survey teams and their assurances
that it is not their intention to remove children (see last week’s
Mrs Turner urged Aboriginal organisations to be be unified, work
“If government is going to do something they’ve got to do it the way
Aboriginal people want them to do it,” she concluded.
The meeting also heard from Heather Laughton of the Arrernte Council,
who contributed the cover painting to the “Little Children Are Sacred”
“Nothing in the report said that land should be taken,” she said.
The commitment of resources was “welcome” but “we’ve been saying that
for 20 years”.
Clairvoyance is for real. By FIONA
Do you want to see what the future holds?
Want to know who is going to win the Greatorex by-election on July 28?
From the beginning of time leaders and politicians have consulted
psychics for guidance and election predictions.
The Alice Springs News sought predictions at the Magical Psychic
Healing Expo held at Araluen last week.
All except one of the clairvoyants asked were from out of town. They
viewed photos of the candidates and here’s what they thought of the
Liz, a practitioner from Victoria reads photos, tarot cards and uses
psychometry – picking up energy from jewellery. She said it’s a shame
that Dr Richard Lim stepped down, but she felt “he couldn’t honour what
he was telling people.
“He couldn’t connect with the community as a whole – very much the
“He doesn’t feel comfortable in making inroads to cultural
change. He has a good heart but no back up.”
Liz felt a woman would win the election. Looking at a picture of Jane
Clark she said: “She thinks she can change things overnight, she
doesn’t realise the hard work involved.
“She thinks she can move mountains but she wants to move too quickly.
She does have energy and enthusiasm.”
About Jo Nixon Liz said: “She’s making promises, whether she’d keep
them I’m not so sure.
“An interesting and complex personality.”
Mayor Fran Kilgariff was a maybe candidate for Greatorex so she was
thrown into the mix to see what might have been.
“She’s been here for a long time. She works with the Aborigines, it
feels like she could be in it for herself as well.
“She’s wise and kindly. To a greater extent she doesn’t understand real
problems, but has good local knowledge. Quite far seeing. Doesn’t
suffer fools gladly and has a lot of followers.”
About Paul Herrick Liz laughed and said, “He looks like a car sales
man, he’s quite nice looking, a lovely face.
“He’d make an effort to be there, I could see him in the
community. He may have other ideas but is quite genuine.
He’s lots of fun but a bit scattered. The job would be a stress for
him, he’d spread himself too thin.”
Liz said she liked Matt Conlan’s look and he reminded her of a friend.
“Still waters run deep,” she said.
“A thinker, a doer, but he’d have to get to know more about the
job. He’d care about the people as well. He’d be good at it if he
But then she came back to Paul Herrick: “He has the personality, he
always has an answer.
“It’s all about personality [in elections] in the end.”
And Paul was the one she picked.
Liz was told that Fran Kilgariff is the Mayor and not running in the
by-election. She said it would have been a tight contest and it would
have been down to these two candidates (Fran and Paul).
Barbara is a practitioner from WA who uses astrology, tarot,
numerology, reiki and clairvoyance. She said of Dr Lim’s
resignation: “It’s a pity – he needs to step away to be with his
Of Mayor Fran Kilgariff she said: “She won’t go anywhere, she hasn’t
got the stamina.”
Barbara was later told that Fran is the Mayor and she said: “I don’t
even know how she’s Mayor – those eyes say ‘do as I say’”.
Jo Nixon “won’t get in this time but will in the future.
“She’ll actually be very good, she’s quite forceful, but it’s not her
Paul Herrick “is popular, down to earth, very honest and caring.
He’s right for the job but may not manage the ‘plastic’ side of
politics. He’s a distinct possibility. People of Alice like him because
he’s like them.”
Matt Conlan “is very busy. I don’t know if he could mix it.”
Barbara asked about his job and when she found out he’s in radio she
said he’d find it hard combining the two jobs (not that he’d have
“He’s actually more use on the radio, it’s better for the community.”
Jane Clark is “an unknown quality who could come in and usurp it”.
“People will go for her. Quite often it’s the one you don’t
think. She has a charisma. It’s similar to Lim’s.
“She’s got something. Actually I think it’s her, she could be a
very polished politician.”
Both ladies said not to judge a book by the cover, but it seems that
most people do.
Local psychic medium Geoff Bogie is employed by mining companies to
source minerals and to find missing persons. He did not read the photos
but his prediction included what he knew of these two candidates and
then facial features. He said it would be “tooth and nail” down to the
Both Paul Herrick and Matt Conlan had strong features but Paul
Herrick’s “calmer soothing eyes were trustworthy” and would put him
over the line first.
Big Splash Events organiser, carpenter and clairvoyant Steve Farey is a
very youthful 60 year old English man from WA. He doesn’t treat life
too seriously and says the events he organises are for people to have
fun and stretch their intuition.
“People usually know the answers they want to hear about their
relationships, finances and career from readings.
“The public aren’t stupid, they know what’s what. The word ‘psychic’
turns a lot of people off but it can open the mind to making a
The healing and decorative properties of crystals were extremely
popular at the event, with top dollar purchases.
Mr Farey thought it was because the people of Alice are more in touch
with the environment – “more grounded.”
He said the locals are warm and “Alice has a stillness”.
About 1100 people attended the four day event and next year Mr Farey
wants more local practitioners.
Local Reiki practitioner Tony McDonald and his partner Irma Raven, a
nutritionist, do Aura Imaging.
Mr McDonald said it is a “bit scientific and people can see the results
in the photos”.
Ms Raven said they’ve had big burly cowboys, who said they saw auras as
children, getting their photos taken.
But Mr McDonald laughed and said they themselves “don’t see auras:
that’s why we got the camera so we could see them.”
Outstation movement blossomed yet
Alice town camps grew, too. KIERAN FINNANE speaks with historian DICK
In 1975 historian Dick Kimber,
together with the late Arrernte elder Wenten Rubuntja, collected
evidence about Aboriginal people living in informal camps on the
fringes of Alice Springs, on behalf of the Central Land Council.
This evidence was presented to
Justice R. C. Ward, who was conducting a hearing with a view to
including needs-based claims in the land rights legislation that was
then being prepared.
Ultimately needs-based claims were
excluded from the Land Rights Act of 1976, and the
alternative solution of special purpose leases for the town camps was
In an article on June 21 Mr Kimber
described the various circumstances that fringe-dwellers were in and
the attitudes towards them – mostly very generous – of Arrernte
This week he details the numbers of
people involved and describes some of the impact of the major social
changes of the time, including the introduction of unemployment
The Department of Aboriginal Affairs had done a survey of fringe camp
dwellers in Alice Springs in 1971, coming up with a figure of 366
Mr Kimber, in his survey conducted with Wenten Rubuntja, found that
numbers had significantly increased, to between 600 and 700.
By the time the hearing into the case for the camps was conducted, he
says the number had reached around 1200.
Interestingly the homelands movement was going on at exactly the same
“Between ‘72 and ‘82 was the real drive for the outstation / homelands
movement, and you were still getting an increase in here.”
Mr Kimber rejects the use of the phrase “urban drift” to describe this
migration, whether historical or contemporary.
“Drift is an absolutely ridiculous word to use.”
The migration was either out of the hands of the Aboriginal people
concerned or motivated by “a sensible decision in their mind to come
here, for whatever reason” (see the previous article for examples of
Mr Kimber stresses the general understanding, back in the ‘70s, that
Arrernte permission was needed for people to be allowed to stay and to
be given security about where they would live.
Some people were told to “go back to their country”, particularly those
from more remote areas. And with some groups there was tension because
of where they were camped.
“There was a perception that they had better access to water and
facilities than Arrernte people.
“There were comments like ‘This makes us feel ashamed’.
“These people, who were strangers to the country and had no rights to
it, seemed to be getting priority care. That was considered wrong.”
So, when the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, says the town
camps are not traditional lands, it seems that he does not fully take
into account the complexity that Mr Kimber is describing.
Mr Kimber: “He’s quite correct in a broad sense, but it’s not correct
with regard to Arrernte people. To take an easy example, the White Gate
camp where old Arrunya Johnson lived is within cooee of his country and
he was acknowledged as having good rights.
“The complexities of it are far, far more than anyone will ever
understand – I don’t understand all of it and I was there at the
The complexity includes inter-marriage not only of people from
different Aboriginal groups, but of Aboriginal people with Europeans,
Afghans and Chinese people.
And if the children of these marriages were conceived and / or born
here they had rights to the land – “therefore you were constantly
increasing the population who have rights to the town”.
As the case for formal camps developed, there were interesting
discussions about what kind of housing would be built.
“People in the meetings said, ‘We don’t want it like white housing. We
don’t want those high ceilings’. Aboriginal people, from having
wiltjas, had been accustomed to low ceilings.
“They wanted barbecue plates outside and big verandahs so no matter
which way it rained they could get into shelter.
“No one wanted a one room house. They said, ‘That makes us feel
ashamed, it’s like having a gaol cell’. But they didn’t want big
houses. They said, ‘If it’s a big house it takes our wives too long to
keep them clean’.”
What income did people have?
“Milton Liddle worked at the wood heap; Roy Dubois had been a taxi
driver. So you had people of that background who had been viably
employed virtually all their lives, from the time they’d been little
“Then you had pensioners some of whom would have been effectively
unemployable outside the cattle industry, without any disrespect to
“But others, like Old Francis Stephens, a wonderful old character, the
first Arrernte man I came to know well, he was a pensioner but he was
always looking for work.
“He worked for the council. He had a little trolley like a railway
porter’s. He had a 44 gallon drum on that and picked litter up down the
“I remember him going out to the claypans at the Coolibah Swamp and
he’d gather little shield shrimps, put them in a bottle and take them
to sell to tourists.
“If he was short of money he would say, ‘How are you holding, Dick?’ I
never gave him more than two dollars and every single pay day or
pension day he always came and made sure he paid me back.
“There were pensions and child endowment but they could only be granted
when people filled out forms.
“But when the Whitlam Government came in they effectively sent out an
order to all Department of Aboriginal Affairs and other staff to find
out on the ground how many people were owed pensions or child endowment
or whatever they were entitled to under the Australian government laws
of the day.
“They found people who hadn’t been paid for 20 years because they
hadn’t been able to fill out a form.”
The sudden arrival of back pay or an unexpected new source of income
led to some misunderstandings.
“One man got more than $700 and his father said to me, ‘Jagamara, you
know my son’s a good worker’.
“And I said, ‘I don’t want to say the wrong thing, old man, but that
must be back pay’.
“He just gently stopped me, holding me by the wrist, and he said,
‘Jagamara, he’s a really good worker’.
“Then the next week his son went back to his conventional pay.
“There was a woman who received $2200. That was more than half my
annual salary at the time, a junior clerk’s salary for a whole year.
She bought a motor car with that.”
The new capacity for Aboriginal people to buy motor cars and thus
become highly mobile is another critically important issue to
understand, says Mr Kimber.
“When I first arrived here in 1970 the Namatjira family were almost
unique in having motor cars, because their art was constantly in
demand. In fact many, many white people who were here for the short
term did not have them.
“There were two motor vehicles owned by Warlpiri men out at Yuendumu –
one was Darby Jampijinpa. That motor car was up on cement blocks out on
the Mount Dennison Road, about 30 kms out of Yuendumu. It never left
“The other one was actually owned by a Pintupi man, Micky Gibson
Jupurrula, and that was a little tiny Morris Minor, the smallest car
you could get at that time. He couldn’t drive it. I don’t know how he
came to get it, but his sons used to drive it all round the community
till it ran out of petrol and it would stay there until next pay day or
“The three or four white-owned vehicles were meant to stay out there or
only be used in an emergency or if people had to come into town for
“Aboriginal access to vehicles came with unemployment benefits.
“When you got unemployment benefits that changed the whole perception
“I can remember discussions out at Papunya, I’m pretty sure it was in
1972 and people I was with could not understand how you got this
unemployment benefit – what did it mean?
“Nosepeg Jupurrula was the first one who talked about ‘sit down money’.
They laughed! They thought white fellers were stupid!
“At first white fellers had made everyone work. Then suddenly, bang,
overnight you get unemployment benefits and on the communities there
were attempts to make jobs, jobs for three people on one community
became jobs for 70 people. The government had said create jobs. Fake
jobs, irrelevant jobs.
“I was out at Brown’s Bore when it first opened up in ‘76. It was all
humpies, they’d just moved out there, one of the early out station
movements of Pintupi related people.
“I camped away from them and came in at what I thought was a reasonable
hour in the morning, about 8 o’clock, and everyone was up. I was
purchasing paintings on behalf of Papunya Tula Artists.
“One of them got up after a while, looked up at the sun and went over
and banged a big bit of steel and then came and sat down. I said,
‘Why did you do that?’ And he said , ‘Oh, 9 o’clock, work time now,
“Most of them stayed where they were, sitting under trees, making
artefacts, painting, out hunting or whatever, but a couple of men went
off with chain saw and sawed down half a dozen big beautiful desert
oaks to extend the airstrip.”
What about in town, did people stop taking the kinds of initiatives
they had been taking to get work or earn money?
“Particularly those who had worked on cattle stations had a very strong
“There were people who got jobs as labourers.
“People who lived at Amoonguna walked into town every day. They were
extremely fit through that. Some were employed.
“The old Finke River Mission store would accept artefacts that were
made – wooden artefact manufacture was a very big thing in those
days. There weren’t the paintings of today.”
Mr Kimber paints a picture of people in the late ‘70s grappling, often
effectively, with great change, but the difficulty of dealing with
alcohol got the better of many.
“The biggest problem I see in the town camps today is alcohol and I’ve
seen that ever since I arrived here in 1970.
“I know some camps where there is grog day and night. The consumption
is so great that it impacts on everyone, not just the drinkers.
“I know whole families who don’t drink but they are affected by the
drinking around them.
“There was a general sense back in the ‘70s of a ‘pressure cooker’ in
the town and that’s much more the case now.
“There was a strong reaction then amongst many other Alice Springs’
people against Aboriginal people being given something for nothing.
That’s still an undercurrent constantly there today.
“There was a general sense of relief then that the camps were
established outside of areas in close proximity to town housing at that
time. Camps like Morris Soak, Trucking Yards, Hidden Valley, Little
Sisters, they would be out of sight, out of mind.
“But this was Aboriginal determination, not white, it was Aborigines
saying, ‘We want these blocks of land’.
“These are plural Aboriginal cultures we are talking about, that come
together here in Alice Springs, with their strengths and weaknesses.
Let’s not forget the strengths, like the art. This town would be in a
fairly bad way without Aboriginal art, not to mention the Commonwealth
benefits that Aboriginal people receive and spend here.
“So the entire community has to come to grips with this situation as
best we can, as taxpayers, as ratepayers. We all have to do our best to
retain a generosity of spirit, but we all have to accept that we have
responsibilities as citizens who are privileged to be able to live
Stir at the top.
The Alice-based band Zenith have won the triple j AWOL competition,
giving them the opportunity to play alongside Missy Higgins, Something
For Kate and Blue King Brown in Humpty Doo on Saturday week, July 21,
in front of an expected 8000+ people.
Performing together for just over three years, Zenith have created
quite a stir at the age of just 16.
They opened for the Hilltop Hoods last year and the Hoods loved
“I caught Zenith, they blew me away, they had a real good feel to them,
and then someone told me they were 16... amazing,” said Hilltop’s DJ
Their first shot at the big stage was BassInTheDust in Alice in 05,
where their performance got them a special invitation to perform at the
next BassInTheGrass in Darwin.
They’ve just returned from FUSE in Adelaide where they blew the roof
off at the Gov, Austral, Exeter and Holdfast hotels. They will be
releasing their new album in September.
LETTERS: Taskforce - 17 seconds
Sir,– Like the folks of Vienna in March 1938, we in Yuendumu are
eagerly awaiting the Anschluss.
Angus McIvor (Alice News, July 5) right on! This is indeed John
Howard’s finest hour! What’s more we can look forward to another 50 or
so finest hours!
Also Mal Brough: congratulations! At this rate you’ll be putting Peter
Costello out of his misery, and become the pretender waiting in the
When John Howard steps down on his 95th birthday, you’ll take over. Who
knows, you may even become Australia’s first President!
By the time you read this we will have had our own finest hour. The
Army came here on Wednesday (July 11) between 1pm and 5pm. I calculated
that they were here approximately 17 seconds per inhabitant.
Sir,– The epoch marking changes that Mal Brough is proposing for remote
Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory are bringing howls of
protest from near and far. I’ve been closely following the news
lately, and I’ve noticed a curious thing. For the most part,
these protests are not coming from the remote communities.
So I have a question. How many of the protesters actually live on
a remote community? And by live I mean buy their groceries in the
store, send their children to the school, use the health clinic when a
family member gets sick and call the local police if trouble comes
For the sake of argument I’m assuming the store has not gone broke, the
school still has a teacher, the clinic is staffed and local police are
Germaine Greer certainly doesn’t live out there, and neither do the
bishops and the academics from down south.
The Alice Springs and Darwin based indigenous spokespeople might have
once lived on a community, but I suspect most of them will now have an
And why not? Today most communities and most town camps for that
matter resemble nothing as much as war zones.
But lots of people do still live out there, and they know better than
we do what their lives and their communities have become. Many
have reasonable questions about what the changes will mean, and some
have unreasonable fears fueled by malicious rumors.
So let’s give the advance teams a chance to explain themselves, to
answer questions and dispel the rumors.
Let’s suspend judgment while we wait to hear what those whose lives
will be most affected by the changes think of them.
And maybe, just maybe, we’ll discover that a Minister for Indigenous
Affairs has finally made the right call.
99% want solar power station and more
aged care places
Sir,– Advance Alice Inc made a questionnaire available to the people of
Alice Springs at the Show to gauge their opinions about our town.
We are hoping that it can assist our NT government in its future
planning for our home. These were the questions and the percentage of
“yes” answers from 180 respondents.
Would you like to have a fully functional International Airport in
Alice Springs: 86%.
Would you agree with a solar power station with capacity for the next
30 years being constructed at Brewer Estate: 99%.
Would you like to have a recreational lake within 30 kms of Alice
Do you think an Aboriginal cultural / tourist park similar to our
wildlife park would be a benefit to our town and tourism industry: 77%.
Would you like to have alcohol product restrictions dropped and the
return to normal 10am-10pm trading hours for takeaway liquor outlets
Would you like to have an area of land released to primarily provide
for first home owners: 75%.
Would you like a new youth centre town hall to be built in the CBD:
Would you like a town plan that allows for the next 10 years’ growth
and supply of blocks: 95%.
Do you consider the sealing of the Outback Highway from WA to
Queensland a high priority: 69%.
Would you agree with the re-establishment of NT housing commission
scheme with cheap rents and the right to purchase for low income
Would you like an NT Government backed youth hostel such as those
operated under the Commonwealth hostel scheme to provide accommodation
for low income singles: 90%.
Do you think that Tangentyere Council should accept the federal
government offer of $70m and have the town camps administered by the
Do you think that Alice Springs needs more housing and aged care
centre/nursing home for retirees now and in the future: 99%.
Would you agree to the establishment of a horticultural farm area for
Alice Springs making use of recycled sewerage water: 89%.
Do you think we should allow surrounding pastoral properties to divide
off smaller blocks of say between two and four thousand hectares for
the establishment of more intensely managed horse and stud properties:
Again Advance Alice Inc is asking the NT government for a louder voice
in our future.
We demand transparency when the NT government is planning our future,
the future of our town.
We ask that strong representation of the non-government sector is
sought by government when planning for our town.
And we ask that representatives of our group be part of all
planning for Alice Springs.
We are a positive group of people with strong commitments to our
town. We would be proud to be part of positive action groups with
the governments to move Alice into a strong and positive growth
Greatorex result could make history
Sir,- I keep hearing and reading assertions by a lot of new chums that
Labor has never won an urban seat in Alice Springs.
Not true – Charlie Orr won the seat of Alice Springs in a fiercely
contested campaign for the Legislative Council (as it was then)
elections of 1965.
He held the seat for one term, losing it to the Country Party candidate
Bernie Kilgariff in 1968.
This is the only time that the ALP held a fully urban Alice seat,
however Labor did poll ahead of the CLP within the town area on at
least one occasion, when Meredith Campbell came in front of Shane Stone
for the seat of Sadadeen in 1987 (the seat was taken by the incumbent
member Denis Collins).
There is a link between the electorate of Greatorex, for which there is
currently a by-election, and the sole Labor victory of the 1960s by
tracing back the “pedigree” of sitting members.
Dr Richard Lim, the recently retired CLP Member for Greatorex, won the
seat from independent Denis Collins in 1994.
Collins in turn was the Member for Greatorex between 1990 and 1994 but
previously had been the Member for Sadadeen from 1983 to 1990.
Before 1983 Collins was the Member for Alice Springs – yep, the same
seat taken by Labor’s Charlie Orr in the 1960s.
There has also been a long history of to-ing and fro-ing between the
CLP and conservative independent candidates for the seats of Alice
Springs – Sadadeen – Greatorex.
Alice Springs was held by the CLP’s Rod Oliver from 1977 to 1980 but
lost preselection to Denis Collins; consequently Oliver ran as an
independent but lost.
Similarly Collins lost CLP preselection for Sadadeen to Shane Stone in
1987 but he won the seat as an independent (with the aid of preferences
from the CLP and the NT Nationals).
However, Collins’ political career came to an end in 1994 when Richard
Lim took Greatorex for the CLP (with the aid of preferences from Labor).
In the current political climate it is difficult to see Labor winning
the by-election for Greatorex but it is not a sure bet for the CLP to
retain the seat.
If the CLP wins, we have the maintenance of the status quo with four
members in the Legislative Assembly and two independents; but if an
independent candidate takes the seat then there will be equal numbers
between the Opposition and the independents.
This would be unprecedented in the history of the Legislative Assembly.
The result is likely (once again) to be determined by Labor
Potentially the Greatorex by-election offers some very significant
implications for the future of Territory politics.
NT councils missing out
Sir,– The Commonwealth Government should re-assess the per capita
methodology that is used to calculate Financial Assistance Grants
(FAGs) from the Commonwealth to Local Government Councils.
Because the grant is distributed to the States and Territories on
a per capita basis you get a totally inequitable situation.
For example, where is the equity when a council such as Wollongong City
in NSW (population 191,600) receives $11.3million and yet the entire 62
Councils in the NT (population 200,844) receives $10.6 million?
Is it fair that the Lajamanu Council (population 939) receives $131,701
in FAGs and yet McKinlay Council (population 1043) in Queensland
And it is not just every remote Indigenous council in the Northern
Territory that is missing out.
For example Alice Springs Council (population 30,194) receives $987,699
and yet Port Augusta Council in South Australia with a third of the
population (13,979) receives $2,809,376.
Where is the equity in a funding formula that discriminates against
councils in the Northern Territory in such a clear and obvious way?
LGANT has been lobbying for a change to this per capita methodology and
also supports the Australian Local Government Association’s objective
of a fair share of national taxation revenue for Local Government.
Ald Kerry Moir,
President, Local Government Association of the NT
Residents’ rights dumped on
Sir,– The CLP’s barrage about the government’s lack of principles
fell flat on its face when, in a rare move, the CLP voted with the
government on a motion concerning the right of third party appeals for
Gerry Wood, Independent Member for the rural seat of Nelson, proposed
the motion to give rural residents the right to appeal against
development applications in their region.
I supported the motion because I believe rural residents should have
the right to argue against a proposal that will directly affect them.
Rights of appeal against planning proposals are not consistent across
The government and the opposition had the opportunity to support Mr
Wood’s motion to make these rights consistent – but they joined forces
to vote it down.
Besides the Minister, no-one else in the government nor opposition
spoke to the motion.
This is only the second occasion when the two Independents have stood
alone on an issue of importance for Territorians.
The first time was my legislation for container deposits.
It’s ironic to think that the CLP and Government support the principle
that rural people have different rights.
On another subject, does Steve Brown (Advance Alice) really believe we
would be better off in Alice Springs
if we did not have senior positions in the public service? (Refer to
comment in Alice News, 5 July, “Public, not public servants, should
plan future of Alice”.)
I hate to think how these people feel at his dismissive attitude to
them when it is known the public service has fought to have positions
at a senior level to be able to represent the interests of Alice.
Does he really think senior public servants located in Darwin,
understand the issues of the Centre and will stand up and speak up for
It shows a naivety of how government departments work. Are his remarks
supported by the CLP candidate? It would be interesting to hear his
point of view.
Just look at the success of Paul Herrick, the Independent Candidate for
Greatorex, who was able to lobby in a meeting knowing he had the same
status as his colleagues.
For example, Herrick’s lobbying substantially increased manning levels
of operational fire fighters and also obtained some heavy rescue
equipment which is now based in Alice Springs and was a major increase
of the fire fighting equipment needed.
The NT Fire & Rescue Service profile has been lifted with the
public as previously people didn’t have a clue and now the public
perception of the fire fighters work has been increased ten fold.
Paul Herrick obviously knows the value of these positions, so “Let’s
Fire Up Alice”.
Independent Member for Braitling
Join to change
Sir,- We hold the power to make changes.
It’s time for all honest and caring Aboriginal people to take
responsibility, at board level, and clean sweep corruption and nepotism
that exists in some of our Aboriginal incorporated organisational
These Aboriginal corporations were intentionally set up to benefit and
better the lives of ALL Aboriginal people not only those few who are
EDUCATED enough to run these organisations.
It is these Gatekeepers, the educated bosses, and their immediate
families and friends who overall reap all the benefits that the
uneducated people at grass roots level miss out on.
Generally speaking these Gatekeepers families or friends hold positions
at board level and or within the work place.
This gives the Gatekeeper and his family members the monopoly on the
Organisation and how it operates. Nepotism also ensures the Gatekeeper
will become guarded and untouchable thus enabling them to continue to
line his / her pockets with accumulated wealth at the expense of the
uneducated grass roots people’s suffering.
Today we live in a new millennium, one that demands transparency, and
the committees that govern these Aboriginal corporations must hold
these Gatekeepers themselves responsible at board level.
These Gatekeepers should never underestimate the intelligence of the
uneducated and neglected people. These people are not stupid they know
who you are.
Some Gatekeepers prefer to stay silent and hidden and others may speak
out, about land grabs regarding permit systems, trying to make up for
their own incompetence in Aboriginal Affairs during the last twenty
years now that the shit has hit the fan.
Aboriginal people in and around Alice Springs must now stand tall and
speak out against the abuse of nepotism and corruption in Aboriginal
We must start attending every Annual General Meeting (AGM) of every
Aboriginal Incorporated Organisation to have our say and make sure
things get done for the grassroots people.
To become a member of these incorporated bodies you must first sign a
These forms may be obtained at the front desk of any of these
particular Aboriginal Incorporated businesses.
‘Shock and awe’
Sir,– Instead of taxing already strained resources by introducing
unenforceable laws (the 2km law was such a winner – NOT – that it is
now a blanket ban), how about focusing on the very basis of humanity:
being held accountable for one’s actions and the time honoured Aussie
notion of a fair go for all.
• Scrap the payment pensions and benefits into bank accounts and issue
a welfare card that has a thumb print held in a data base. Only food
and clothing would be allowed to be purchased on this.
You lose the card and you need to re-establish your bonafides. First
one is free and each subsequent replacement increases by $25. People
soon learn to look after something when it costs them.
• Long term unemployed need to undertake TAFE (or similar recognized
training) after 12 months. No training – No money. Should they
undertake training and score below 75% of the passing grade, then they
lose 10% of their benefits.
• Baby Bonus??? Are you kidding me!!! If you can’t feed ‘em, don’t
• Should you indulge in anti-social behaviour then you go work
the chain gang – picking up rubbish, working on community service
projects. By being made to wear orange “inmate” clothing which
purposely shames you, may wake you up.
Fines and court costs automatically come out of your government
payments. If you are a minor, on the second conviction your parents or
legal guardians join you on the chain gang.
• People receiving royalties (which should be taxed as income) from
their lands are not entitled to government assistance upon achieving a
liveable wage. Should the likes of CLC, NLC or Tom & Jerry want to
manage the traditional owners assets, then they should be able to
arrange their clients’ finances so that they can at least live on a
fixed income without being a burden on the taxpayer.
• David Ross (CLC director) says the proposed scrapping to the
permit system ”goes against the wishes of Aboriginal people”.
OK David, let’s keep it in place, and any members of the outlying
communities have to go through the same processes (as mandated by the
current CLC process) in trying to get into the regional centres.
In fact, this final point might just be a winner as you could exclude
those elements who consistently come to town to get on the grog and
• The government has the ability to procure land under existing eminent
Building is the nucleus of any growth within a community and Alice has
been dying for many years.
Do what it takes to get the town building and no that does not mean
granting land parcels to you mates who are developers.
Let the first home owner have the ability to have their patch of
paradise at a reasonable cost.
• The Police service is exactly that – a service. It is not a
babysitting service and they should be allowed to police without having
their hands tied behind their backs.
While we’re at it, can we remove the revolving doors on the cells and
keep those who don’t play well with others away from those of us who do?
In closing, what I am suggesting is not rocket science and it’s not a
Rather it is a simple matter of people with the intestinal fortitude
who handle the reins of power to stand up and start the process.
Oh, and BTW, little Johnny Howler has taken a page from the George
Dubya’s book of Desert Management (Chapter 1: Shock & Awe) with his
latest Aboriginal initiative and it is doomed to the same success.
Boise, ID, USA
Return NT to SA
Sir,- In light of your interview with Statehood Steering Committee
members Barbara McCarthy and Sue Bradley (“Do we have your full
attention?” Alice News, May 31), it is worth noting the current forlorn
campaign is the fourth such effort in as many decades.
In the 1970s the granting of self-government of the Northern Territory
was initially perceived as an interim step towards achieving full
statehood by the early 1980s.
This was not a universally popular prospect, as there was widespread
concern that self-government (let alone statehood) would lead to a
diminution of federal funding for the NT.
While today Territory Labor enjoys the fruits of office and supports
the statehood campaign, 30 years ago the ALP strongly opposed it.
Its election campaign slogan in 1977 was “first things first –
self-government comes later”.
The ALP struck a chord, as the CLP lost six seats including those of
its leader and deputy (Goff Letts and Grant Tambling).
However, the CLP retained office and Paul Everingham became leader,
subsequently becoming the first chief minister upon the attainment of
self-government on July 1, 1978.
The fears of tightened funding from the Commonwealth were allayed by
the prodigious flow of money allocated to the NT during the years of
the Fraser government.
This changed after Labor under Bob Hawke won office in 1983, and
especially after Senator Peter Walsh was appointed the Minister for
Finance in December 1984.
Walsh took a very dim view of the former Fraser Government’s largesse
towards the NT, and set in motion the process by which the Territory
was funded on the same basis as the other states, coming into effect by
This prompted the CLP, under Ian Tuxworth and (especially) Steve
Hatton, to launch the “Towards Statehood” campaign, which reached the
height of publicity in 1988 (the Bicentennial Year and tenth
anniversary of NT self-government).
The NT Government argued that, if the NT was to be funded on an equal
basis to the other states, it was entitled to enjoy the full rights and
powers of statehood.
Naturally the Federal Government dismissed this case although it is
interesting to note that it enforced self-government in the Australian
Capital Territory in the same period, despite the opposition of most
ACT voters (according to his autobiography, Peter Walsh favoured ACT
self-government on the grounds of ensuring fiscal responsibility).
The statehood campaign remained on the backburner during Marshall
Perron’s term as chief minister.
However, the statehood campaign was re-invigorated after Shane Stone
became chief minister and his good friend John Howard became prime
Howard was persuaded to support statehood if the majority of
Territorians desired it, and the ambitious Stone commenced a strong
campaign leading up to a referendum on October 3, 1998.
The loss of the referendum is a decision that has been respected by the
Howard government – unlike self-government for the ACT in the 1980s,
statehood has not been imposed upon the NT against the will of the
Quite apart from lack of public support, any campaign for NT statehood
seeking equality of rights, powers and representation with the other
states has no prospect of success, courtesy of section 121 of the
It is worth quoting: “The Parliament may admit to the Commonwealth or
establish new States, and may upon such admission or establishment make
or impose such terms and conditions, including the extent of
representation in either House of the Parliament, as it thinks fit”.
Does anyone seriously believe the NT warrants 12 senators like each of
the other states?
The Commonwealth could choose to admit the NT as a new state right now
without any alteration to our current circumstances.
There is one more historical sidelight in relation to statehood which
is rarely mentioned; namely, that in the first decade of Federation all
white residents of the NT, as the Northern Territory of South
Australia, had exactly the same rights as all other Australians.
It was only when the legislation of South Australia and the
Commonwealth (respectively) ceding control of the NT to the federal
government took effect on January 1, 1911, that the legal status of
Territory residents was diminished relative to the other states.
Incidentally, the South Australian legislation was passed in 1907,
exactly a century ago.
Apparently this is unique in the history of western democracies –
nowhere else has such a democracy stripped a sector of its population
of its democratic rights, or that the population accepted this
situation without demur.
This has only been partially redressed over time.
It may be of interest to learn that the laws ceding control of the NT
to the Commonwealth remain on the statutes – they are still in force.
Perhaps the only way to guarantee equal rights for Territorians under
statehood is to repeal those ancient Acts and restore control of the NT
to South Australia.
Back to front page of the the Alice Springs News.