ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
October 4, 2007. This page contains all
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
Govt. mum on poo pipe. By ERWIN
In December 1934 Aboriginal people in Hermannsburg, and
the Lutheran missionaries living with them, began building an eight
kilometer long water pipeline from Kuprilya Springs to their community,
for drinking water as well as growing “fruit and veg”.
In August 2002 the NT Government began moves to restrict the discharge
onto public land of only partially treated sewage by Power and Water,
from its effluent plant south of The Gap.
The remedy was to be a pipeline – much the same length as the one in
Hermannsburg – to a secondary sewage treatment facility and a
In September 1935, less than 10 months after work began, the
Hermannsburg pipeline was finished and operational.
In October 2007 Power and Water’s system, five years after
commencement, is still not finished.
Power and Water – owned by the NT Government – will by year’s end have
busted by two years the deadline set by its owner for ceasing “dry
weather discharge” of sewage into St Mary’s Creek.
The sewage still frequently flows past a children’s home, CSIRO, the
Desert Knowledge complex, and Pioneer Park Racecourse.
The Western Arrernte Aborigines and the Lutheran missionaries, who had
been almost brought to their knees by drought and starvation, worked
with picks, shovels and crowbars, through hard stony limestone ground,
often working at night to avoid the heat.
Money for their project was raised by prominent Australian artists.
Power and Water has access to the most modern construction equipment
and seemingly unlimited public money provided by Australia’s most
lavishly funded government, the one in Darwin.
Last week Alice Springs historian Jose Petrick commemorated
Hermannsburg’s astonishing feat 72 years ago by launching her book,
“Kuprilya Springs: Hermannsburg & Other Things”.
At the same time Power and Water released a booklet, “How to Create a
Water Wise Garden in Central Australia”.
While Power and Water is evaporating an estimated 2000 million liters
of water a year in the most inappropriate sewage plant in the driest
part of the world’s driest continent, its booklet seeks to “assist
Alice Springs residents become more water wise in their gardens”.
And as all this is clearly getting too much for Power and Water, it has
now clamped an information blackout on its “effluent reuse scheme”.
When the Alice News asked this week for updated information, we got the
following reply from the publicly owned instrumentality’s media office:
“Please note we are unable to respond at this time.”
This is the more astonishing considering the almost inevitable sharp
rise in at least some produce because of receding flows in the Murray /
Darling river system, and the large scale collapse of the horticultural
We asked Power and Water about the status of the negotiations with the
end user of the recycled water.
The News has reported the proposed end user is John Biggs, son of Eric
Biggs, who was involved in establishing Territory Grapes at TiTree.
But this week a spokesman for the Department of Primary Industries said
Mr Biggs and his company, Matilda Maid near Eulo in NSW, have now
pulled out and the department is “looking to put out further
expressions of interest”.
The department is hoping to set up trials, checking the response of
plants to the soil, but “the water is still not there”.
“The treatment plant is not complete,” says the spokesman.
This is what we also asked Power and Water – and got no answer:-
• The discharge, except in the event of heavy rain, of only partially
treated sewage into the swamp and St Mary’s Creek was meant to have
stopped by the end of 2005 (nearly two years ago), at the pain of fines
imposed on Power and Water by the government.
• How come this discharge, even in dry weather, is still occurring?
• How often has it flowed into St Mary’s Creek this year?
• Has Power and Water been fined and, if so, how much?
• What is the length of the pipeline?
• How much has been spent on it so far and what will be the total cost?
* How many departments are involved in the project? [The Alice Springs
News understands they include the departments of primary industry,
environment, the Federal CSIRO and the NT Aboriginal Areas Protection
• How much recycled water will be gained ... and how many hectares of
productive land can be irrigated with that?
• Given the inevitable increase in produce prices resulting from the
sharply reduced supply of water from the Murray Darling system, why
does Power and Water not grow “fruit and veg” in its own right, and for
the profit of the Northern Territory taxpayer? With the imminent demise
of CDEP our unemployment rate will soon be greater than 10%, and all
freight “south” would be cheap backloading.
• How many liters of water a year are being evaporated from the sewage
• Are the existing sewage ponds lined or is the effluent allowed to
seep into the ground?
• Please describe the treatment effluent will be [getting] prior to
being fed into the new pipeline.
What a fest it was! By HARRIET
What art is has preoccupied us for centuries, but it is a question
heavily laden with privilege, one realises, after one has had kids.
Within the drudgery of daily life in which one has to get ahead with
small children, having the mental space to debate such fine, cerebral
ideas is rarely found.
That is why it is such a joy to be lifted up by art when and where you
happen to meet it.
Being of a somewhat cynical bent these days (excessive tiredness?), I
don’t often go out looking for art.
When I got out last week, having worked a 10 hour day to then clean up
vomit from the floor and poo from the bath before smearing on some
lipstick and tightening my 12 hour ponytail, I knew that I was leaving
the house not because I was in any way capable of maintaining an
“adult” conversation, or in fact because I believed I would have a good
time, least of all because I thought would witness art.
In reality, I went because I didn’t want to cancel my babysitter
For me then, if art is to bare the heavy weight of responsibility that
the label art implies, it has to reach the people who have no time for
it, grab them and hold them, transporting them for a while.
Another teacher had conned 11 students and me to be the dragon bearers
in the opening parade of the Alice Desert Festival.
When we turned up to the Anzac Hill Car Park on September 14, I
certainly did not expect the students to be transported, nor indeed
I will not here go into details about why these students only came to
be participating on the day of the parade, suffice to say that they had
an almost complete lack of preparation or knowledge of what the
festival would actually look or feel like.
One memorable comment made before the start was: “Miss, is this a hippy
festival or something?”
But then the parade began, and as the photographers gathered, and the
drummers and band kicked in, the buzz started to run down the students’
ranks, and indeed through the three children from other schools and the
four European tourists we had desperately grabbed to help the dragon
come to life.
Within 10 metres of the start, these kids were dancing and weaving and
loving the attention, snaking their way down the mall and up to
individuals and through restaurants and around the entries in front of
and behind them and they loved it.
And as the Threatened Species threatened at times to overtake them
these kids from the local public high school squealed and dueled with
“the hippies”, forgetting social distinction and color and class and
playing with joy with other people from their town, people they would
rarely have the opportunity to share the time with, let alone the
These kids were vivified by the grand parade, excited and joyous and
filled with fun and passion for what they were a part of, The Grand
Opening of Alice’s own Art Festival.
All hesitation, my own and that of the kids, was left behind the moment
the parade started to move, and we were, as one, caught up.
Vivification No 2: The Kids’ Club.
Two days passed. My own kids had spent several hours vomiting
over separate days by that time and I was trying to juggle the two
individual “up” periods in which one would need to be lying down,
sweet, docile and compliant.
Meanwhile the other believed themselves better for a while and demanded
Not having had a sleep-in past 6am for about four years now we were, as
usual, up bright and early on the Sunday, kids not refusing breakfast
but leaving it on plates around the living room instead.
I could see that I would have to carefully manage an outing, needing to
get them and me out of the house before we ran risk of seriously
damaging our relationship for the long haul.
But I also knew that this was Alice Springs on a Sunday morning without
the markets. My hopes for anything engrossing, amusing, playful
and creative for very young children, an activity I didn’t have to
mastermind from start to finish, were few.
Until we hit upon the Kid’s Space.
Whilst Wacky the Wizard might have confused some small children with
his references to strange phenomena such as McD******s and diets, this
did not detract from their rapt attention for the entirety of his
Kids were held captive by the magic of the space created on the Church
lawns, a space in which The Wicked Witch handed out beautifully
polished poisoned apples, too ripe, red and juicy looking not to eat;
The Mad Hatter read stories and Alice – Alice had the kids creating
their own, writing it big and proud for all to see.
After that, wands and witches hats were made, faces painted, balloons
lost through the branches of gums.
We faded at 2pm, my children feverish, but filled with an excitement
and stories to last three more days of illness.
To this day I am picking glitter stars off the kitchen floor, fielding
questions about giant straws and squashing baby bumble bees.
Vivification Number 3: The Cat’s Whiskers - The Cat’s Meow. Have you
worked out my dedication to the pursuit of art?
It is non-existent these days, not even really making it onto the
My presence at The Cat’s Meow Cabaret was thus not to do with any
higher or even social values.
I was there simply because I couldn’t be at home as the Babysitter was.
And so the difference between expectation and reality was rendered as
though in bas relief.
The energy that exuded from the stage – and indeed the host’s chair,
sprawled though she was – ran right through the audience, seeing us
squeezed into every vantage point craning to see, smiling benevolently
as feet were stepped on and drinks nudged.
I am not saying that every performance at this Cabaret was polished,
every performer perfect, but the generosity and the commitment so
obviously behind the entire show transcended minor glitches, and left
the audience beaming with delight.
The dedication to the Cabaret form was wonderful, right down to the
rasping tones of Sue Taylor as she embodied the old Cabaret veteran, a
little the worse for wear, a few to many Gitanes having passed her lips
and stained her teeth.
And the number of great legs in this town!
I feel the need to do high kicks as I write this, pick myself up a boa
and get out my high school German and French.
There were some wonderful moments of poignancy and whimsy, such as Mei
Lei Swan and J9 Stanton’s piece on saw and cello with the shadow
projection of Francis Martin’s doll-like figure, stretched and fragile
looking, on a slack rope.
Michael Jackson’s Thriller will never again belong to the young and
The pop-cultural layering at work in this piece was joyous, the way it
made us laugh at ourselves, our times, and the places we have come
And Circosis. Witty, clever, and the perfect backbone to the show
with a timeless representation of clowning, acrobatics and the utterly
I was hoarse by the end of The Cat’s Meow, having showed my
appreciation long and loud like the rest of the crowd.
My earlier exhaustion had been overcome and turned to eye-glistening
excitement, a need to talk quickly and rapturously with others who had
shared the same experience.
All felt the same.
We live in a town full of talented people and we were vivified by the
realisation that we didn’t need to look beyond our own backyards to be
The Festival had held up the mirror for Alice Springs and she was
looking straight back, genuinely proud.
And so, after all those greedy years of commitment and dedication to
viewing and reading art across a realm of genres, after my pursuit of
knowledge as to art’s very nature – what made art ART – I now think I’m
in the position to actually hazard a guess.
Maybe it is the very real drudgery of a recent parent’s existence that
has finally let me answer the question, and yes, damn it, I think I’ve
got it right.
Art is that which vivifies you, that which breathes new life into you,
gives you breath to let the smile bubble up unassisted by the exhausted
And ART – vivifying, exciting, energising and connecting – is exactly
what I have encountered on the three occasions I have made it past my
kids’ sick beds to the Alice Desert Festival fare.
Thank you, truly, to everyone involved.
You have given me new hope, and the space to breathe and march on.
Lobbies lash out at YouTube
diatribes. By ERWIN CHLANDA.
Comments on the web medium YouTube that are racist, inciting to
violence and embarrassingly inarticulate – some to the extent of being
moronic – have drawn a sharp rebuke from two major community
organizations, the tourism lobby CATIA and Advance Alice.
But the Mayor, Fran Kilgariff, and the native title body Lhere Artepe,
did not respond to invitations for comment.
And the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Terry Lillis, said:
“YouTube is not on my horizon and probably that would apply to the
majority of chamber executives.
The remarks on the YouTube site, available the world over, were made in
response to a video uploaded by the Alice Springs News of the brawl
following the football grand final on September 8 (Alice News, Sept 13,
20 & 27).
The video got a sensational 76,285 viewings and 439 comments, all
appearing under pseudonyms, before the Alice News removed the material
on September 23.
About half the comments are sober, articulate and considered, but many
are a sign that Alice Springs has people – black and white – consumed
by hatred and inclined to random violence.
Says CATIA vice-president Ren Kelly: “The comments are disturbing and
we don’t believe that they are generally reflective of the views or
feeling of the residents of Alice Springs.
“They are obviously the uneducated venting of vileness by a very small
minority who have taken the opportunity to use this unfortunate
incident in a personal feud.
“In fact what they have done is to bring further shame to this great
town that epitomises the Australian ‘fair go’ for all,” says Mr Kelly.
“It has also highlighted the very poor educational standards of the
three Rs in those who have used this opportunity to demonstrate their
lack of ability.
“Unfortunately it has probably further hindered any chance of a Central
Australian football team joining a national competition.
“Persons visiting the site [would have seen] this for just what it is,
purely a minority venting spleen between a small group and we don’t
believe that it will have any real detrimental effect on visitor
Steve Brown, of Advance Alice, says: “I definitely recognize some names
on YouTube and there are players amongst them.”
He says people who brawled and made vile comments “have shamed not only
the town but also their sport.
“They have let down the game. They have brought it into disrepute.
“If they can’t think about themselves, white Central Australians and
black Central Australians, they should think about the sport.
“They need to make up for it, by putting some effort into that sport,”
says Mr Brown.
“By letting down their sport they are letting down their children, they
are denying their family, their grandchildren and the people coming.”
Most sports are struggling for helpers, supporters and administrators,
so the offenders should sign up to “do the umpiring, do the flag
waving, and try and rebuild some of what they have taken away by their
“I’m very angry. I think they are a disgrace.
“They’ve let down the town.
“A lot of those guys know that. You can read it in the comments.”
Mr Brown says the YouTube comments are “absolutely racist from both
“One person would make a nasty, slag-off comment and then another
person would retaliate.”
There is a need for cooperation: “We need to do this together.
“Nobody is going anywhere and nobody has any more right to be here than
Mr Brown says he’s concerned about an “attitude” coming from some
Aboriginal people at the moment: “You do not have more right to be in
this town than any other person, even if they turned up yesterday.
“This is Alice Springs. It is everybody’s town.”
Import or home grow: How does the
NT get and keep employees? By FIONA CROFT.
Generation Y employees, how do we attract them to Alice? And what will
make them stay?
Peter Sheahan, known as “That Gen Y guy” and a leading expert in
workforce trends and generational change, thinks he has the answers –
and the NT Government’s employment marketing strategy does not.
“The lifestyle of fishing isn’t going to get them here in hordes,” says
Mr Sheahan (pictured).
Especially in Alice.
He says The Top End and the Red Centre have to be marketed separately
for their different experiences.
“Adventure – the excitement of something different. Get your hands
But make sure the internet is fast outback and they can stay in contact
with their friends around the world.
Generation Y is the age group generally born between 1976 and 2000, the
twenty-some-things of today.
Mr Sheahan told a symposium at Charles Darwin University in Alice
Springs last Friday that Gen Y are known to volunteer more than Gen
He says that is so because they don’t have financial stress as they’re
still living at home with their Baby Boomer parents, and can afford a
gap year before getting a job.
They can contribute to the community outside of work.
Employers need to realize that the tables have turned and it is they
who are are being interviewed: Gen Y want respect, flexibility and a
Employers need to “deliver on the promise,” says Mr Sheahan.
Generation X knew when they left school there would be a glut of
jobs to choose from across the nation. They knew they could pick and
Mr Sheahan says it’s more likely to get people to The Alice on one year
Then if they’re offered a promotion they may stay 18 months or longer.
“They leave (their metropolitan areas) to get promoted,” says Mr
They want continual progression in their working life.
“Pay for their training at TAFE.”
The other strategy is to “home grow” employees.
CDU should team up with Broome and Griffith Universties and other
remote regions and get a strategic plan together.
Mr Sheahan says we need to talk to people here with fringe ideas.
No doubt CDU in Alice is on the front foot, combining university and
People move or stay for various reasons.
“And love them when they go,” says Mr Sheahan.
The word of mouth from a good experience in the NT may motivate other
people who have a hunch to try an adventure.
Mamus on the Munda: Ghosts on the
Ground. By ALI COBBY ECKERMANN.
The main street of Coober Pedy is almost deserted this hot summer
day. A lone, elderly woman walks slowly along the dirt track that
substitutes as a footpath. She uses a large stick to support her
tiny and frail physique. Strong southerly winds whip residues of
sandstone dust around her, and she stoops further against the wind,
unwavering to reach her destination. Her ever-loyal dog pants loudly at
Struggling against the heavy door, she enters the office with apparent
relief. She uses her fingers to pat down her snow white
hair. She fumbles around inside the large black handbag that is
secured to her arm. After some time she presents herself at the
front counter. The gentleman behind the counter has been watching
her approach through the plate glass window. He spends many hours
staring out the window. Customers in the office are rare and he
is bored as hell. But the job pays well. He plans only to
stay long enough to save for a mortgage along the coast. Despite
his boredom he retains a very correct and professional manner.
“Can I help you?” the gentleman asks.
“Palya,” she replies. Silence lingers as she stands at the
“How may I help you?” he asks again. He talks louder this time,
in case she can’t hear him properly.
One powerful and wrinkled mara (hand) flashes through the air.
She beckons him to lean closer. “I gotta change my wali (house),”
she says nervously, quietly. “Change him quick smart,” she adds
“Are you a current tenant of the Housing Trust?” he inquires. He
notices that he is also speaking quietly.
The old woman reaches into her handbag. She slides her tenancy
details paperwork across the void between them.
The gentleman walks to the filing cabinet and carefully selects the
appropriate paperwork. He returns to the counter and begins
filling out the form.
“May I ask the reason for the transfer?” he asks.
Again she motions him closer. “I got ‘em mamus (ghosts),” she
tells him softly. “Real bad problem with the mamus..
“Them mamus,” she whispers, “they keeping me awake at night.” She
glances around the room and out the window furtively.
“Oh,” he says. A long silence descends. Mentally he
searches for the right thing to say.
“There’s a baby one that cries all night,” she continues.
“Terrible it is, poor thing. Always cries in the front room, real
loud.” Her voice lowers. “And one man walks around
too.” Her eyes fix on his manicured face, anticipating his
understanding of her problem.
“Um, do you have any evidence to support these claims?” he questions
further. He feels stupid.
“Uwa (yes), my grandson, he’s a big boy now, he was staying in my room
and he seen it. That man ghost, he bin sitting on the end of the
bed. He scared my grandson white!” She stares directly at
him. The look in her eyes makes him feel uncomfortable.
The gentleman glances down at the paperwork. He doesn’t quite
know what to do. Her reasons do not meet the criteria for
“Is there any other way to prove these claims?” he inquires. The
sense of feeling stupid has not gone away.
“Uwa,” she says excitedly. “Them neighbours next door, them was
always asking me, you seen anything strange in that house, Mrs W?
They would ask me all the time! Right from when I moved in.
I didn’t understand, they know only me and my grandkids stay
there. Only the names on the list,” she adds quickly.
He stares down at the form. He is unable to think of anything to
say. The silence returns.
“Um, maybe you can get a statement from your neighbours.”
She is still staring at him expectantly.
“Yes,” he says more confidently now, “if you can get a letter from them
I could fill out the forms and forward your request to the
“No guarantees of course,” he adds with a smile. A very small
smile. He avoids her eyes.
She gathers her paperwork. She puts the papers back into the
black handbag that is still firmly secured to her arm. She
struggles with the door and leaves the office. He watches her
Several days later the old woman returns to the Housing Trust office.
“Can I help you?” asks the same gentleman from behind the counter.
“Uwa,” she replies. A silence lingers as she stands at the front
“Um, how can I help you today?” he asks nervously.
“I would like to fill in for a house change,” she says.
“Are you a current tenant of the Housing Trust?” he inquires
officially. It is a standard question, part of the training for
The old woman fumbles through her handbag. She slides her tenancy
details paperwork across the void between them.
The gentleman goes to the filing cabinet and selects the appropriate
paperwork. He begins filling out the form.
“Can I ask the reason for the transfer?” he inquires nervously.
“I gotta problem with ‘em white ants, them white ants eating that house
up,” she explains, with a ghost of a smile on her lips.
The look shared between them celebrates their relief at achieving this
outcome for all parties.
“Sure,” he says quickly, with a huge gust of enthusiasm. “I’ll
process your request. I can arrange for an inspection of the
property some time next week. Once the property inspection report
has been lodged I can notify you of the Department’s decision.”
He pauses. “It usually takes about three weeks.”
The look of relief and understanding is shared briefly again.
As she turns to leave he smiles. “Have a nice day,” he says.
“Uwa, palya,” she mumbles quietly, as she struggles with the heavy
door. Her dog unfolds and follows her back up the street.
LETTERS: Time government owned up
to the grandstand fiasco, says alderman.
Sir,- The Traeger Park Grandstand fiasco has been going on for several
The Northern Territory Government planned, funded and commenced
building what was designed by the Northern Territory Government to be a
two stage Traeger Park Grandstand development.
This was done entirely independently of the Alice Springs Town Council.
When Stage 1 of this development was completed approximately 18 months
ago the government informed the people of Alice Springs that they would
not be completing Stage 2 of the project.
They stated that completion of Stage 2 of the Traeger Park Grandstand
development was the responsibility of the council.
This had never been discussed or negotiated, formally or informally,
with the council.
The council refuted this assertion by the government and rejected the
“handing back of the grandstand” on the grounds that the grandstand was
Why should the people of Alice Springs be demeaned by accepting a half
At around the same time the government took it upon itself to change
the name of the new grandstand from the “Ted Hayes Grandstand” to the
This was done with absolutely no consultation with the council nor the
Apart from the clear political motivation in the renaming of the
grandstand, people were horrified at the lack of respect shown to the
Hayes family and the lack of a transparent process.
Over the past 12 months council has been receiving complaints from
users of the grandstand that the new complex does not have public
The old Ted Hayes grandstand had public toilets.
The council followed this up with the government who stated that the
provision of public toilets within the grandstand complex was not their
Council reaffirmed its decision in writing to the NT Minister for Sport
and Recreation in July 2007 that council would not accept the handing
back of the grandstand, adding to the list of reasons, that the
government must provide public toilets in the new complex.
The council received a reply to this letter from Minister Kon
Vatskalis, September 4, stating that the grandstand is “complete” (so
what happened to stage 2?) and that the grandstand is in fact the
“asset” of the council because it is on council land.
The government designed, funded and built the grandstand, changed its
name and now that they don’t want to finish it, they say it’s not
Minister Vatskalis went on to say in his letter that he supported the
establishment of a Traeger Park Working Group that he encourages to
develop a list of “priorities and subsequent proposals” for his
Stop wasting everyone’s time, Minister.
The council has already given the government priorities for Traeger
Park: complete Stage 2 of the grandstand as per your own plans and
specifications and include public toilets.
Is this too much to ask for the people of Alice Springs?
Sir,- Territorians have been chided by our coalition Senator Nigel
Scullion to “respect the wishes of Traditional Owners” who he claims
want a nuclear waste dump on their country at Muckaty Station, near
THIS from the man who voted for amendments to the Radioactive Waste
Management Act that specifically override provisions for traditional
decision making under the Land Rights Act.
THIS from the man who helped ram through the Federal Government’s
so-called National Emergency legislaiton, to further erode the Land
Rights Act, override the Racial Discrimination Act and wind back the
rights of Indigenous Territorians more than 50 years.
Fact is, many Traditional Owners of the site continue to insist that
their country is no place for nuclear waste. Traditional Owners
neighbouring the proposed site continue to insist they don’t want that
waste transported over their land.
Due to the Land Rights amendments, these opponents have been robbed of
their legal rights to challenge the NLC’s nomination of their land.
But there’s still a long bureaucratic road before any decision can be
made, and a change of government should put an end to this dishonest,
Sir,- I did not attend the funeral over the weekend of Senator Bob
I was unable to do so for a number of reasons.
As a Labor Party member and father of four I am both mortified and
outraged that the one time leader of the party in the Territory had
allegedly interfered with so many young children both black and white.
I feel further outraged that his alleged suicide on Friday resulted in
the dropping of all charges against him.
If ever there was a case of alleged victims being cheated of justice
this is it.
When the big fella died he left a huge legacy.
Perhaps the most tangible element of his legacy was his sense of
It may outrage his supporters sensitivities but he would have wanted
those he allegedly violated to have some sort of closure and for the
matter to be resolved no matter how posthumously.
He fought for Lindy Chamberlain’s innocence and it paid off.
Bob Collins will rest in peace but perhaps only after the matter is
There is no time like the present to address the wrongs of the past.
Sir,- l lived in Alice Springs and my father worked at the railway
station there in 1968.
I’m trying to find the friends l had when we lived there.
Their last name was Orstike (that’s probably spelt wrongly).
The kids’ names were Bernard and Colleen.
Can you help me?
Mallee Family Care Inc Ph: 03 50274055
PO Box 376
Dareton, NSW 2717
Sir,- The announcement by Defence Minister Brendan Nelson concerning
Pine Gap’s role simply underlines how the Howard Government acts in the
interests of the US rather than Australia.
The Anti-Bases Campaign has been saying for years that Australia is
involved in the US strategy “of containing China” by the use of bases
and agreements to aid the US in its endeavours.
The US has strengthened its bases in the Asia-Pacific region, beefing
up its bases in South Korea, Japan and Guam. Australia has been
complicit in this strategy all along with the Howard Government
assisting and providing bases and training for the US and its allies.
Is it any wonder that China responds with less than fulsome praise for
such a deceitful double standard? Howard is prepared to sacrifice
Australian interests for the United States interests.
There is nothing benign about Pine Gap, it is a war fighting base and
the world knows it. Pine Gap makes us a nuclear target and threatens to
have major countries like Russia and China targeting us in the event of
war. Bill Hayden said this in the 80’s when he was the Foreign Minister
in the Hawke Government.
The bland statements of Mr Nelson such as “partnership” and “continuing
to evolve” are nothing less than abject subjugation of Australian
interests to the those of the US.
Mr Nelson stated: “Missile launch early warning information could be
used in any US missile defence system, and as such this would be a
continuation of a ballistic missile early warning partnership that we
have shared with the United States for over 30 years”.
The capabilities of Pine Gap would “continue to evolve” to meet demands
and take advantage of new technologies”.
These are nothing less than weasel words that do not fool the Chinese
Government or anyone in the world.
We cannot expect politicians to act for peace but one would think that
they have enough self interest to act for the economic good of the
However, with the Howard Government no such expectation can be expected.
Sir,- A new Indigenous Economic Development Scheme (IEDS), launched by
former Macquarie Bank executive Bill Moss AM, has been swamped by
expressions of interest and support from the Australian public.
Mr Moss says he is delighted with the breadth of the response,
especially from the business community and the Aboriginal community.
About 40 companies and industry groups have asked for details of how
the scheme works and the vast majority of them have said they will
These include the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), The Tourism
Transport Forum (TTF) and Porosus Pty Ltd.
Bill Moss funded the now successful Gunya Tourism initiative in 2004, a
joint venture with the Titjikala community, 120 kilometers south east
of Alice Springs.
It has become the model for his proposal: business bankrolling cottage
industries as a way to create employment and reduce the many social
Mr Moss has also called on the Federal Government to provide a 150% tax
incentive to kick start the IEDS – the same as it does for the film
The Aboriginal support has come from indigenous leaders as well as
communities that would like to be recipients of the scheme.
They’ve seen what we have done at Titjikala and why it works.
High school attendance has gone from zero to 24 in four years.
Economic modeling in the Bill Moss Green Paper suggests that - for five
jobs created - the federal government would actually save over $3
million across a 10-year period, via direct savings on government
spending and accrued economic impact.
For each job created under the proposed scheme the Federal government
achieves a cash saving of $23,820 a year with a further $39,000 of
economic benefit to the economy.
ADAM CONNELLY: YOU think you’ve
I’m not sure if writing this column each week is good for my health.
I’m starting to think there might be some long term physical and mental
repercussions in the column writing game.
Don’t panic, it’s nothing close to life threatening.
I write early on a Sunday morning.
It’s the only free time I have at the moment to dedicate to the 600 or
so words you’re reading right now, interruption free.
There is a health drawback to writing on a Sunday morning. I think
there should be some sort of health warning for those wishing to do
pretty much anything early on a Sunday.
A warning not as harsh as those on cigarette packets but stern
nonetheless: “Warning – Sunday Morning Activity may cause a severe lack
of a sleep-in” or “Warning – If you work on a Sunday Morning your
Saturday night hangover may last until Monday.”
But it’s the mental health of the columnist that needs particular
You see, in order to come up with a light yet poignant epistle every
week one must examine one’s life with an almost too fine-toothed comb.
For example, the other day I was looking at an old high school class
I was looking at the old young faces of the friends I hadn’t seen in
years and I started to reminisce about the good times back in those
Then my “you need to think about what you’re going to write on Sunday”
voice kicked in.
Was I fondly looking back at the photo out of some youthful longing?
Did I want to recapture my youth? Was I pining for the faces and sounds
and lifestyle of my Sydney upbringing?
The answer to all those questions was - at the end of the day – no, but
the need to expound upon a thought (as one does in a column) makes me
think about these things.
I tell you I’m turning into a self-examining neurotic. Sometimes I feel
like Woody Allen in a hall of mirrors.
Hoping to leave the appointments with Dr. Freud, Dr. Seuss and Dr. Phil
for another day, I allowed my mind to wander a little more on the
There was I, the big geeky but mildly interesting lad in the back row,
surrounded by people who shared my most formative years.
There was Chila Tamas, Lauren Harris and Marissa Montgomery - three
girls who by simply sitting next to me in roll call taught me more
about physical development than any health class ever could.
There was Alan Edwards - I still don’t exactly know why he wanted to
kill me. Wonder if he still does?
There was George, whose parents left what used to be Palestine in order
to live a life free from the shelling.
Next to George was Adam (one of 11 Adam’s in the photo) whose parents
left Israel in order to live a life free from the shelling.
Next to him was Vinay, whose parents weren’t all that keen on Fijian
Surnames like Espinosa and Florido next to surnames like Ng and Li.
Sinkovic had sleepovers at the Singh’s house and no one batted an
We not only got a crash course on international relations but having
that many nationalities in the one year meant that our spelling was top
From the by-and-large black and white world of Alice Springs, my class
of ‘93 photo looks like a meeting of the UN general assembly.
I don’t find myself lacking too many things in my new life here in the
Alice, but I do miss the all-encompassing multiculture.
I loved learning Arabic swear words and eating Vietnamese treats at the
There’s something incredibly Australian to me about having a Sri
Lankan, a Greek and a couple of Filipinos over to your home for pizza.
I suddenly felt the need to hear a raft of different accents, to hear a
raft of different worldviews and to look at a raft of different faces.
I decided there was only one answer - I went to a backpacker bar.
In summary, all of this ridiculous self-exploration has taught me a
It’s OK to look at old photos and think of old happy times. Just don’t
do it if you have to write a column the next day.
It’ll send you mental.
Back to front page of the the Alice Springs News.