October 4, 2007. This page contains all major
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.

Govt. mum on poo pipe. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

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 horticulture venture.
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 industry there.
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 Authority.]
• 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 ponds?
• 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 GAFFNEY.

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 again. 
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 myself. 
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 stage. 
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 play. 
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 act. 
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 list. 
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 fighting fit. 
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 from. 
And Circosis.  Witty, clever, and the perfect backbone to the show with a timeless representation of clowning, acrobatics and the utterly absurd. 
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 transported. 
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 mind. 
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.
“No comment.”
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 numbers.”
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 actions.
“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 sides.
“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 anybody else.”
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 dirty.”
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 X. 
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 social atmosphere.
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 choose.
Mr Sheahan says it’s more likely to get people to The Alice on one year contracts.
Then if they’re offered a promotion they may stay 18 months or longer.
“They leave (their metropolitan areas) to get promoted,” says Mr Sheahan. 
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 TAFE.
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 her side.
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 counter.
“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 with emphasis.
“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 ‘tenancy transfers’.
“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 Department. 
“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 walking away.

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 counter.
“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 position.
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 years now.
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 incomplete.
Why should the people of Alice Springs be demeaned by accepting a half built grandstand?
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 “Bowden-McAdam Grandstand”.
This was done with absolutely no consultation with the council nor the wider community.
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 toilets.
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 responsibility.
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 theirs!
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 “consideration”.
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?
Robyn Lambley

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 Tennant Creek.
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, anti-democratic process.
Justin Tutty

Sir,- I did not attend the funeral over the weekend of Senator Bob Collins.
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 fairness.
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 resolved.
There is no time like the present to address the wrongs of the past.
Angus McIvor
Alice Springs

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?
Jennifer Bell
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 Australian people.
However, with the Howard Government no such expectation can be expected.
Denis Doherty

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 support it.
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 problems.
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 industry.
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.
Libby Gauld

ADAM CONNELLY: YOU think you’ve got problems!

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 attention.
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 photo.
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 days.
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 photo.
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 coups.
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 eyelid.
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 notch.
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 same time.
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 valuable lesson.
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.