September 20, 2007. This page contains all major
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.

Back door parks grab: "Joint management" of Rainbow Valley shuts out public from most of the park. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough is still not complying with a long-standing request from the NT Government for turning national parks into Aboriginal land, but Chief Minister Clare Martin is getting her way through the back door.
Her parks administration is negotiating with the Central Land Council about the control of smaller parks, including Rainbow Valley.
Taking double-speak to new heights, the government describes barring non-Aborigines from more then 90% of the park as “protection of natural and / or cultural values”.
Although the government was shown a draft of this report it did not respond to requests from the Alice News to comment on the matters raised.
The bulk of the park’s area will be accessible to non-Aborigines only with a permit and after paying a fee, both measures expressly excluded in the parks policy Ms Martin has been trying to sell - mostly unsuccessfully - to the public. 
The spectacular sandstone cliffs, glowing orange in the sunset, are 100 kms south of Alice Springs.
The size of the national park is about eight square kilometers but only the western-most end - less than ten per cent of the area - is open to the public (see map).
The “Conservation Zone” is “primarily for conservation of nature and culture” and public access is “by permit only or in connection with approved concession”.
The small “Visitor Zone” will provide for “concentrated visitor use while minimizing negative impacts”.
Camping will be prohibited.
The Parks and Wildlife Commission says on its website that it “will continue to liaise with the lessee of Orange Creek Station regarding the provision of off-park bush / basic camping opportunities.
“If necessary, camping facilities may be provided in the vicinity of the Reserve entrance.
“Visitors will be encouraged to use the commercial camping and accommodation services locally available” – the only one being Jim’s Place about 30 km south of the Rainbow Valley turnoff.
The commission says it “will liaise with the manager of Orange Creek Station regarding the control of camping and other visitor activities along off-park sections of the access track.
“Signs, barrier fencing, gates, and other appropriate measures may be installed to regulate visitor activity along this section of track.”
The commission clearly is in no rush to make the park more user-friendly, its obvious role as a tourist drawcard notwithstanding.
Says the commission: “Access to the reserve is via an unsealed track which runs for 22 kilometres east from the Stuart Highway through Orange Creek Station.
“The access track is sandy and stony in sections, crosses several creeks, and is prone to erosion in places.
“It is recommended for four-wheel-drive vehicles only.
“The reserve is not signposted on the Stuart Highway with many intending visitors complaining that they could not locate the area.
“A direction sign was installed on the Stuart Highway some time ago resulting in a marked increase in visitor numbers and rapid deterioration of the main visitor use areas.
“The sign was subsequently removed”.

Rock Resort boss quits

Tony Mayell, the general manager of the Ayers Rock Resort, will be leaving his position at the end of October, after one year on the job.
Mr Mayell says he’s moving back to Alice Springs where his family lives.
He says he has a “few things I’m looking at but nothing lined up yet”.
Mr Mayell was the CEO and managing director of the NT Tourist Commission between 1996 and 2002, and then joined the Australian Tourist Commission’s London office for two years.
After this he was appointed managing director (domestic and online business) with the Australian Outback Travel group, one of the nation’s biggest travel distributors.

Football video sparks racial hatred on web. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

Watchers around the world of the internet site YouTube were exposed to vicious racist outbursts, and a torrent of foul language, as Alice Springs football fans were slugging it out by posting comments on the web about the grand final brawl on September 8.
The Alice Springs News last week published exclusively an image from a video of the brawl, and later we uploaded the two minutes long footage on our online edition via YouTube.
By early this week there had been 70,000 “views” of the video and more than 300 comments.
The still photo on our front page on Thursday last week, and the footage on the Alice Springs News online edition, showed Owen Cole in a fight as the melee escalated.  The Alice News exclusively reported statements from Mr Cole about his involvement in the disturbance.
Mr Cole, who heads up the Aboriginal investment company, Centrecorp, was arrested on Saturday. He was charged with aggravated assault and engaging in violent conduct. He was bailed to appear in court on 25 September.
On Monday a 19-year-old and a 64-year-old man were charged with the same offences.
Police say investigations into the brawl by a specially formed taskforce are continuing.
The story has since been taken up by other media, including the Murdoch press in the NT, which failed to credit the Alice Springs News as the source of the material.
While the sad affair was a black day for football in The Centre, the cyber discourse between people who are apparently supporters of either Wests, the premiership winners, and Pioneers, the losers, may be causing serious damage to the town.
The dialogue between some of the people, who’ve given themselves pen names, paint a picture of Alice Springs as a town of vicious morons full of racial hatred.  The following are samples of hundreds of comments posted.
The expletives are spelled out in the YouTube comments:-
• Racism has got f... all to do with this poofta girls fight at a handbag aussie rules game, regardless of colour these f... hicks can’t pull a decent root and fight is as close as they can get. Shit did anyone manage to hit one of them skinny ankled little booongs - I hope so most of em look like they’d be lucky to weigh 8 stone ringing wet . ya in a good place ya scrubbers in bumf... stay there!
• Cate if all the racist move out who will look after the coons, hang on you might be on to something.
• Blame niggers.
• Nick2026 don’t let the c... get you down do what i did and get the f... out of there it a big world, keep your chin up and i will see you in another life brother.
• Yer i know and i was at this game ...  and i wanted to be down there knocking these f... animals out cos they are worthless pieces of f... shit and i’ve lived here for 18 years and its getting worse everyday.
• Halfcasts are bitter brain washed bored small minded racist confused people did i mention brain washed past from generation to generation, halfcast would not be here if it wasnt for the white man. full bloods hate halfcasts, thats why you dont see halfcasts on the street when bushcamp come to town.
• Hey lauosc i’m f... on ur side cos i know wat its like living in this shit hole and they are f... animals.
• Because i should be able to live here and enjoy my life so if it means fighting them on a weekends and maybe putting them in hospital so be it.
Mr Cole issued the following statement on Monday: “I have recently been notified by NT Police that I, along with a number of other spectators, have been charged in relation to events at the Central Australian Football League Grand Final on 8 September.
“I was attending this match in a wholly private capacity, as a supporter of Pioneer Football Club. I will be vigorously contesting these charges.  It is therefore not appropriate for me to comment further on them.”
On Friday Mr Cole and two other Pioneers Football Club life members, Graham Smith and Tony Liddle, said in recent days Pioneer colt players had been chased and threatened by adults from another club.
The incident had occurred in the Undoolya area.
“Police need to get a handle on this,” said Mr Cole.
Football league general manager Brett O’Farrell did not respond to a request for comment.

Flood of Canberra cash for NT: More than a billion in next four years.

Federal Ministers have announced massive spending in the NT on Aboriginal housing, health and employment, taking Canberra’s commitment to $1,328m over four years.
• $78.2m will be spent on helping Indigenous Territorians move into “real jobs,” says Minister for Workforce Participation Dr Sharman Stone.
• Minister for Indigenous Affairs Mal Brough Minister for Health Tony Abbott will “help around 1600 people delivering Australian Government services off CDEP and into real work”.
• The Feds will spend $30 million over three years, to be matched dollar for dollar by the NT Government, to convert NT Government CDEP jobs into real jobs.
Says Dr Stone: “These Australian Government positions will be in fields such as the arts, broadcasting, community care, education, sport and recreation, night patrols, environmental and pastoral management, childcare and municipal services.
“There will be opportunities for rangers currently being paid subsidised wages through CDEP to move into real jobs, training and other employment programmes.
“The jobs will operate under mainstream employment conditions and be located in communities across the Northern Territory.
“The Northern Territory is experiencing labour shortages across a variety of sectors, so there’s never been a better time to get a job.”
Already more than 20 people in the Northern Territory communities of Finke and Imanpa have been shifted from CDEP into real jobs in night patrol, child care, municipal services and health and aged care, says Dr Stone.
Meanwhile Mr Brough says the Government will provide over $740m in further funding for initiatives in 2007/08 and future years, “highlighting the government’s long-term commitment to the emergency response to protect children from abuse in the Northern Territory”.
He says the new measures are:-
• $18.5 million over two years from 2008-09 for 66 additional Australian Federal Police.
• $514m to repair and build housing in remote communities over the next four years, on top of the $279m already allocated.
• $100m over two years from 2008/09 for more doctors, nurses, allied health  professionals and specialist services.
• $78.2m over three years to create real jobs in Australian Government service  delivery.
Mr Brough says the funding is provided “on the basis that the NT Government agreed to certain conditions including a radical overhaul of the way it delivers Commonwealth funded housing programs. 
“The Northern Territory Government will ensure that sufficient classrooms,  equipment and teachers will be provided to cope with an anticipated increase in school  enrolments and attendance as welfare reform measures are introduced.”
“These new funding commitments take to $1,328m over four years, the Howard  Government’s commitment to the immediate and longer term phase of the NT Emergency Response,” says Mr Brough.

Drinkers on move.

Bill Moss, the recently retired senior executive of Macquarie Bank, has welcomed Friday’s police response to calls for help by community members at Titjikala.
Mr Moss helps fund the Gunya tourism venture at the community, 50% owned by the people of Titjikala.
“It is a model for future self-help partnerships between Aborigines and corporate Australia”, he says.
Police have said patrols in the community will be stepped up after drunken trouble-makers came into Titjikala, 120 kilometers south of Alice Springs.
They gather there to drink because it is now one of the few communities without a permanent police officer.
“We can’t afford to risk the economic future of indigenous communities because of a lack of a basic government service”, said Mr Moss.
“It is ironic that this problem in Titjikala has only arisen because police have been deployed elsewhere in the Territory”.
Mr Moss says: “After three years of operation, this world-class tourist resort has turned around the lives of the people in Titjikala, providing employment and prosperity, along with community and individual self-esteem.
“The last thing we need is disruptive outsiders”.
The Titjikala community chief executive, Harry Scott, said the community was totally committed to the Gunya resort, but desperately needed a police presence to stop outside troublemakers flouting Titjikala’s “dry” rules.
 Mr Scott said that the drunken behaviour was not being carried out near the resort, which consists of five luxurious safari-style tents on the edge of the Simpson Desert.
 “But the problem is damaging the community, and if it’s not stopped it could destroy the unique and fascinating cultural experience that our international guests come here to enjoy,” he said.

Just 350km north of Alice – land, water and labour for horticulture.

Aboriginal land about 350km north of Alice Springs has been found to have a high potential for small scale horticultural development due to its climate, availability of land and sustainable groundwater resources, enabling high value crops such as melons, mangoes and a range of vegetables to be grown out of season, according to the Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts (NRETA).
The department’s Land and Water Regional Manager Graham Ride says the land’s proximity to the Stuart Highway and potential labour force from residents of Ali Curung and Tennant Creek also add to its potential profitable use.
He says the region, known as Western Davenport Plains, 100 km south of Tennant Creek, cover an area of more than 9500 sq km of Aboriginal Land and pastoral properties including Warrabri, Murray Downs and Singleton Station.
Major groundwater investigations have been undertaken in the region since 1990.
Groundwater resources have been located below Warrabri ALT (Aboriginal Land Trust) and adjacent areas which are believed to be capable of sustainable pumping of 5000 mega litres per year.
Mr Ride said there may be several times this volume ultimately available but there is concern that any horticultural development does not significantly impact the environment.
 “We are taking a precautionary approach and have commenced a ground and surface water monitoring program that will be expanded once significant horticultural development commences,” Mr Ride said.
 “We plan to maintain a watching brief on aquifer behaviour on an annual basis and review extraction volumes in five years time following a detailed evaluation of any impacts of extraction”.
Five potential commercial horticultural areas were identified:-
• Centrefarm block on Warrabri ALT 10 km east of the Stuart Highway.
• The area between Ali Curung and the Murray Creek floodout.
• Conglomerate bore area on Murray Downs.
• Bluebush bore area on Murray Downs.
• Area on Singleton station and adjacent Aboriginal Land Trust areas near the Stuart Highway.
Mr Ride said Land and Water had recently provided commercial agribusinesses interested in establishing farms in the area with a series of resource maps, technical reports and datasets.
“We have also provided this information to Centrefarm Limited, who work on behalf of the traditional owners planning to lease Aboriginal Land to competent agribusinesses wishing to establish farms in the region.
“Three groundwater monitoring bores have just been constructed north of the Warrabri ALT Centrefarm block by the NT Government drilling rig.
“These and other monitoring bores in our network in the region will monitor groundwater recharge and the effects of extraction from irrigation and other groundwater use”.
At the end of 2006 Land and Water issued a “Land and Water Resources Atlas” of the region with 15 large scale maps and a further six water resource maps were added to the series last month.
Mr Ride said they developed the atlas to assist potential developers and inform landholders, planners and regulators on the land and water resources of the plains.
“We also prepared a technical overview of the land and water resources of the area to provide a technical summary of our current knowledge which is likely to guide the agribusinesses with the development plans and provide technical specialists with a quick look summary of key data from our voluminous datasets and technical reports,” Mr Ride said.
“The summary also includes a map showing the location of the main aquifers and salinity zones.”
A set of notes with background information on field investigations, land and water assessments and previous horticultural operations in the area will soon be released.

Bands battle. By DARCY DAVIS.

As you might have guessed, there were a whole lotta bush bands last Friday night on the council lawns for the annual Bush Bands Bash.
Included were Tjupi Band from Papunya, Ltira Band from Ntaria, Wild Desert Band from Papunya, Family Mix from Indulkana, Drum Atweme and the Thunder Boys from Nyapari.
Music can transcend culture and politics.
With recent issues such as the Federal Government intervention, Alice becoming a dry town as well as any area that Aboriginal people live beyond this town, a concert to celebrate the culture and music of indigenous people and send strong messages to listeners about the proper way to live has got to be a good thing.
It would be nice if the government intervention involved action such as Federal Government funding of projects such as the Bush Bands Bash.
From most accounts it was a real success.
“The Thunder Boys were a real highlight,” said organizer Scott Large.
“They know what sound they’re trying to make and give clear messages about the problems that grog, drugs and petrol sniffing bring to the community.
“None of them drink or smoke they’re really solid young men.”
“Tjupi band played a good set too,” said CAAMA Music manager Bill Davis.
“They were singing about how much they love their family, and how they wished they could all be together, it looked like their whole family were up on stage at one point!”
His comments about the so called “grog free” status of the event weren’t so benign.
“While the police were busy maintaining a presence on the Todd Street footpath, people were busy getting drunk down the creek.
“It’s a pity they couldn’t enforce the alcohol restrictions at night time and not just in daylight hours.
“It certainly didn’t help the event to be a grog free, good fun family night.”
But the concert was just the tip of the iceberg for the amount of work that has gone into the event and the positive outcomes that came about in the organizing and production of the event.
“We tried to make as many development and training opportunities in the production of the show as possible,” explained Scott.
“The posters and t-shirts were designed by indigenous artist Natasha Corrigan which was her first commercial job.”
Other opportunities on the night included the part of the “Nyarpatji Nyarpatji” project, which gave the opportunity for some young trainees to work with the cameramen filming the event.
Each camera crew had one trainee learning with them.
The concert was a grog free event, but this year, large fences weren’t used to keep out anyone not complying.
“This year we decided there would be no fences, no segregation, we thought we’d try and open it up to as many people as possible,” said Scott.
“There was plenty of grog, which was disappointing, but there wasn’t much trouble – next year we’ll have to try another strategy.”
There is potential for the Bush Bands Bash to be a nationally recognized event, if the trainee systems continued and there were more and more opportunities for indigenous people in the organization of the event.
“There’s potential for taking the show on tour and getting more bands involved from the Top End.
“If the support for the event continues to grow as it has in the last couple of years, the Bush Bands Bash can only get better,” said Scott.
The Bush Bands Bash will be back bushier and bashier than ever next year – with a little less beer.

A safe place to create. By FIONA CROFT.

In the avalanche of bad news about town camps, the Yarrenyty-Arltere Learning Centre is a town camp success story.
Since 2000 it has addressed issues about which the Little Children are Sacred report has made recommendations only this year.
The centre was set up by the Larapinta Valley Housing Association to combat the sniffing of petrol and inhalants.
There has been a marked decrease in these problems at the Larapinta town camp, and it is now a safe place for children to attend school.
Centre co-ordinator Leonie Sheedy said: “It was established because the community felt out of control”.
Last Wednesday the centre held its annual winter art exhibition and film night, and people from Alice Springs were invited to be part of the celebrations and to view and buy art works. About 400 attended.
Beautiful paintings, prints, cards, scarves, wall hangings, photographs and dolls were on sale. The money raised remains a secret.
A percentage of sales go to the artists and the rest to the purchase of new art materials.
Batchelor Institute art lecturer J9 Stanton says Yarrenyty-Arltere is one of the few camps where Batchelor delivers work, two days a week, to adults and children.
Structuring classes can be problematic but the students love the silk scarf tie-dyeing lessons, said Ms Stanton.
They scour the environment for natural pigment dyes and also discarded car parts.
They’re part of the mix cooked up in a pot on the fire and artists can sit and watch the colours evolving.
“The tie-dyeing is such an exciting thing to do with a beautiful result. It’s like unwrapping a present”.
Ms Stanton says there is some real talent emerging in the classes.
“But some people don’t have the time because they’re looking after children”, she says.
There are people of all ages using the place as an asylum in the true sense of the word.
Men are now using the facilities and making art and generally being in a place where they know alcohol and trouble is off limits.
People are proud of their achievements, showing off their talent and business acumen by making money from their craft.
“It’s a different world from the world of chaos.
“There have been many changes. 
“Lots of kids hadn’t ever been to school so they can’t go to mainstream schools”.
The holiday program keeps people’s interest going.
The community now look forward to the annual exhibition.
They were shy at first but now enjoy the chance to proudly display their work.
Loretta Banks said she did other forms of artwork at high school but wanted to do film to tell her stories.
Ms Banks said her heart was beating fast and she was worried about the audience reaction.
“I was really nervous for the first movie”, said Ms Banks, who is well regarded in her community.
She won the people’s choice award in 2004 and her latest film is called The girl who doesn’t know her own language.
“The new movie is about people passing on, and the changes with the government taking over, and a bit of my life story”, she said. She is originally from Halls Creek in WA.
Ms Banks speaks four Indigenous languages, has an understanding of Pitjantjatjara and speaks English fluently.
Many of her stories come from dreams which she brings to reality in films.
She has mastered camera skills for filming, directing and computer editing using the latest technology. 
Action film maker Jackie Chan is a favourite, but Ms Banks says she isn’t into putting fight scenes in her own films.
Ms Banks has worked as a recreation officer in Fitzroy Crossing, teaching basketball and sport, and understands the need for contributing to community.
“There’s people here that are now going to school, abused people, and I also work with the old ladies’ centre, helping them, cooking for them”, she says.
Teaching film-making at the centre is Vincent Lamberti, who learnt his film and music skills at universities in Melbourne and, after 10 years  running his own full-time business, he’s opted to teach others his skills.
Mr Lamberti said some of the films have ended up on StoryWall, screened in the Todd Mall, and have been shown on Imparja news bulletins.
As a business it is up to the people at the camps to market where they want their art to be viewed and sold.
“The primary focus is to engage and empower people to use media to tell their own stories. In the school holidays it is to give the more-at-risk group a chance to to reinforce their value and identity of themselves”, he said.
“As an Australian I feel that I can play my part in helping people like Loretta to make more in-depth films.
“To help with inspiring and empowering, to foster that leadership that Loretta can give to the community”.
Ms Sheedy says the community “wants to have a say, they want family opportunities”.
The centre started with NT funding but is now receiving Federal funding.
The Feds have given a verbal commitment for four years, but a signed contract only for six months.
Case worker at the centre, Astri Baker, says many more children are now going to school.
“The centre offers a place where people can feel safe and create”, says Ms Baker.
“People are keeping their little kids away from sniffing and drinking.
“The community development means having a better standard of living and earning money – there’s opportunities for work”.
Mothers, aunties and guardians are also there juggling what they want to do and learn about while caring for children.
A guest at the opening was Marion Scrymgour, who has returned to the position of Minister of Family and Community Services, and now also the newly created position of Minister for Child Protection.
She said: “I think it’s fantastic if Tony Abbott wants to contribute.
“Let’s forget politics.”

ADAM CONNELLY: When you need high maths to have a party.

I guess you could say that I was one of the lucky kids at school.
While I was constantly bombarded with a shock and awe style barrage of teasing and ritual humiliation from some sections of the school yard, it wasn’t unbearable.
Hey, who hasn’t endured an atomic wedgie at least once in their life?
I was one of those lucky kids who didn’t have to study too much in high school.
I just sort of remembered everything.
Being one of the smart kids in junior high school puts you at odds with some sections of the school yard.
Generally those groups of cool, good looking men who, although we didn’t know it at the time, would wind up with six kids to five different women and working in a fast food multinational just to pay the child support.
The karmic brilliance of senior high school, however, is that the girls who wanted to be around the cool but ultimately simple guys in junior high school wanted more in senior high.
They wanted to hang around blokes who could form sentences.
Guys that weren’t perennially stoned and guys who didn’t just want to get into their pants. (Oh, we did want to do that, just not all the time).
University, however, was a completely different game. The girls couldn’t have been less interested in the nerdy chemistry student.
They were now more interested in the arts and sociology major who could wow them into submission with an hour long dissertation on the inherent misogyny imbedded in our Judeo-Christian blah blah blah.
So without the distraction of the female form I decided to commit myself to the work of study. Having spent the last 13 years not studying, this proved difficult.
I was always good at maths at school. I didn’t particularly enjoy the subject but I could count and understood the concepts.
University mathematics is a completely different kettle of integers.
I figured that I might struggle to bring my complacent excellence to the subject when, on the blackboard on the first day, I saw the heading “The anti-differentiation of inverse trigonometric functions.”
I thought to myself, not only am I going to have an impossible time learning this concept, but I’m going to be at a stretch to spell it correctly.
Through this nightmare of a subject I tried to grasp things like matrices, complex numbers and the square root of negative numbers. One trigonometry exam consisted of just one question. My answer was 28 pages long.
I quickly came to the conclusion that, because I was useless at mathematics, mathematics was indeed stupid and the most irrelevant subject a man could ever study.
So convinced of this fact was I that since that day I have tried my hardest not to enter the demonic and ludicrous world of logic and numbers.
This was a mistake. You see, when one abandons the world of numbers for the world of the arts, one is more inclined to become less attached to red bull and cola and more attached to beer and hard liquor.
“What problem could you possibly have with that, my good man,” I hear you ask?
Well, this is the tangled web of the world now. In order to continue this relationship between the world of social arts and booze I now have to be a mathematician.
With the new liquor laws introduced in the past weeks I should have paid more attention to Dr. Sekhon, the maths professor, and less attention to Kaylene Harris’ coffee-coloured cleavage.
Now I have not only to calculate the number of drinks I’ve had to stay under the limit, I have to calculate the cost of purchase of these items;
also the amount of alcohol contained in the beverage and the volume of the container of said beverage.
Now I’m a bit out of practice but I’ll give it a go. The formula for the successful purchase of the right amount of beverages for a successful dinner party is as follows:
(We’ll call the final amount ‘x’).
The amount of people available to purchase the drinks (P) is dependent on the price of the beverages. So firstly we must calculate P.
P equals the spirits to beer ratio divided by $100. It can be written as P= S:B/100.
Once a value for P is established the rest of the equation can be formed. The final amount (x) equals the amount of guests at the party (g) times the amount of beverages consumed by said guests in order to ensure a success (c) divided by the amount of people buying the booze. Therfore it can be written thus: x= (gc)/P.
Or maybe we should all stay at home, watch a movie and have pizza.

LETTERS: Crying over spilled booze.

Sir,- Instead of protesting against alcohol bans, the town camp residents should become part of Alice Springs, as was offered, and not remain on separate leases.
The reluctance to join the township has cost not just $60m on upgrades, but imposed also a badly needed restriction on alcohol consumption by visitors.
This situation would never have eventuated if the initial offer had been accepted and residents would have benefited from considerable improvements in their lives.
Their ability to have a drink in their own homes would have been protected by the declaration of the dry town and their public areas could be cleared of drinkers.
It works for the rest of us.
Protesters should have considered the bigger picture to help residents “live with alcohol” rather than continue to be classed as separate.
Loraine Braham
Independent Member for Braitling

Sir,- After searching the internet [and] reading the national papers, I was absolutely disgusted to read your article “Tycoon in footy brawl?” 
Owen Cole was clearly singled out and unnecessary aspersions were cast upon both his personal character and business dealings.
This article had a link to the You Tube footage of the incident which I watched closely several times.
This footage is shown in order to substantiate the claims made against Mr. Cole in your article such as “he begins to brawl with a man after taking him in a headlock”. 
Any reasonable thinking person would only be able to conclude that Mr. Cole in fact had very little to do with the mêlée that was underway.
Furthermore, the accusations of involvement with a “secretive Aboriginal investment company” indicate your newspaper has another agenda. 
If this is the case, transparent reporting would be a more appropriate approach.  This is nothing more than deceptive and misleading journalism. 
I would expect, if the Alice Springs News values its reputation, the Editor in Chief would publicly convey an apology to Mr. Cole.
I must also point out that I am writing from an independent viewpoint in that I have no dealings, affiliations or alliances to either of the clubs involved.
Ainslie Boland
[ED - Our only agenda is to inform the public. We gave Mr Cole a comprehensive right of reply and his statements were published in last week’s report. He has now been charged with aggravated assault and engaging in violent conduct.]

Sir,- Alderman Stewart has tempted us with a stunningly frivolous notion to commemorate our adopted tragediennes Lindy Chamberlain and Joanne Lees. 
I’m disappointed in the town’s commentariat. 
Except for me, he got not one bite. We could have good fun with this. 
In the interest of helping Alice Springs avoid the trap of becoming as dour and as dreary as a gathering of failed seminarians, I’ll give it another push.
Last week I identified five icons associated with the Chamberlain and Lees stories. 
My thinking was we could use all five in a work of commemoration. Further consideration has narrowed my choice to one. 
Because, let’s face it, the Rock has been done to death and the world is full of open highways. 
Likewise, the dingo is a dog best left to Walt Disney, and a campervan could easily look like just another TV commercial.
This leaves us with the child’s matinee jacket. 
And on the subject of that jacket, was Joanne Lees allowed a chance to see it, perhaps even to touch it? 
If so, was there some karmic recognition?
Because I have often wondered if Joanne Lees is Azaria Chamberlain reincarnate.
If true this would establish the matinee jacket as the link joining the two stories and we could enshrine it as such. 
I am thinking of something twenty or thirty meters high on top of Billy Goat Hill.
The Big Guitar in Tamworth, NSW and The Big Lobster in Kingston, SA are two examples among many of oversize local icons that have become national treasures. 
We could have The Big Matinee Jacket proudly take its place among them. 
And with the right approach, our very own Mark Egan might bid on the contract.
Hal Duell
Alice Springs

Sir,- Loraine Braham parrots Howard’s inane rhetoric that children’s rights are in a separate stratosphere from their families’ rights (Alice News, September 6).
If you treat adults as creatures that you can push around as you like, as Howard and Brough are doing, you make life harder for the children, not better.
If you push their families further into confusion, hurt and insult, the children suffer too.
So far, the supposed $500 million that the Howard government is spending on this “intervention” into Northern Territory Indigenous lives is going on white fellas: on salaries and plane fares and other support for the fly-in fly-out health teams who have identified what was already known about the children’s health; on setting up hugely expensive “community managers” who are likely to get into conflict with local councils and CEOs and other community organisations and create more mayhem for remote communities; on teams of inexperienced people from outside the NT flying in to camp in remote communities to sort out the Centrelink business for people whose confusion and distress will be incomprehensible to them.
It will be interesting to see if the follow-up of children’s health problems will involve media-attractive high drama, such as specialist surgeons flying in and out of remote communities, or sustained primary health care improvements that the media finds boring.
Supposedly, community stores are going to be pulled into line to provide healthy affordable food.
This will be interesting to see. And what about communities who don’t have access to a community store but rely on cattle station stores?
The $500 million is going to disappear fast.
Aboriginal people probably won’t see it and they will probably get little out of it.
But when it is gone, and so is the land and the Land Rights, if the kids’ health is no better off, it will be the Aboriginal people who will be blamed for the failures, by a government adept at callous and ignorant rhetoric.
Valmai McDonald
Alice Springs

Sir,- Just two weeks ago I commented on the changes I have observed along the Todd River adjacent to the town centre since the introduction of the new liquor restriction laws.
It seems it was too good to last.
When I walked home on the path of the river’s east bank last Sunday night I came across a patch of broken glass from smashed beer and wine bottles, which is still there this morning (September 11).
There is also an increased amount of rubbish, mostly alcohol refuse, along stretches of the path.
Yesterday morning, as I walked to work, I discovered the guts of a kangaroo lying on the ground – just the guts, nothing else.
It is right next to Meyers Hill on the riverbank.
Last night as I walked home from work I came across an Aboriginal woman lying across the path, just past the northern boundary corner of the Voyages Resort.
She was sound asleep, surrounded by a pool of her urine. There was no one else around.
I don’t want to paint too grim a picture – the situation is still much better than has normally been the case in the past.
However, I note these observations are coincident with both the local AFL grand final matches in town and an increase in temperatures so I guess it remains to be seen whether this is just a blip on the radar or an indication of a return to the usual conditions that afflict this town as the weather gets warmer.
Alex Nelson
Alice Springs

Sir,- I am absolutely and 100% behind measures that will stop large quantities of grog flowing into Aboriginal communities.
But I’m not convinced that the measures in the Commonwealth’s Northern Territory National Emergency Response Amendment (Alcohol) Bill will be effective.
The new law is already looking confusing, people will be able to get round it easily and there is a very real danger that it will place a severe burden on retailers and consumers alike.
The provisions for supplying ID will be regarded as intrusive by most law-abiding Territorians.
But in any case the Minister himself admits that it will be easy for people to make multiple purchases at the same store at different times of the day because the system would record individual transactions only.
And it’s impossible to stop cross-border grog runners from stocking up with grog at Kununurra, Camooweal or Marla and selling it on the sly in Territory communities, despite any penalties that might prevail.
Warren Snowdon
Member for Lingiari

Back to front page of the the Alice Springs News.