November 12, 2009. This page contains all major
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.

Imparja not required to provide material of local content or significance. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

Why does Imparja produce just a half hour of programming a week – the kids’ program Yambah – while otherwise merely acting as a relay station for the Nine Network?
The answer is, it seems, because it can.
The station got its licence over an applicant far more competent in financial, technical and management terms.
The reason was that the licensing body was bombarded with claims, which it ultimately accepted, that the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) must get the licence.
If it did not, the consequences for traditional Aboriginal culture would be devastating, the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal (ABT) was told.
Today Imparja couldn’t be further from its cultural protection and maintenance undertakings.
It is one of only two television services operating under an arrangement that relieves it from obligations towards its audience – such as having its own news service – binding on all other networks.
This is what the Act says: “The license will provide a service or services that, when considered together with other broadcasting services available in the [area] contributes to the provision of an adequate and comprehensive range of broadcasting services.”
Although the licence was granted just two decades ago, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has no idea why Imparja is now relieved from its responsibilities, and gets such special treatment, nor since when.
“I will check if we have access to the information you request and if so how long it will take to access,” says a spokeswoman.
“As you can imagine this information is prior to the formation of the ACMA.”
This seems to suggest that the name change from ABT has erased vital corporate memory.
This is how the spokeswoman explains the current situation:-
“Local content requirements are in effect for all regional commercial television licensees broadcasting in the licence areas of Regional Queensland, Northern New South Wales, Southern New South Wales, Regional Victoria and Tasmania.
“Regional commercial television broadcasters affected by the local content conditions include:
• Regional Queensland – Seven Queensland, Southern Cross and WIN TV.
• Northern New South Wales – NBN Ltd, Prime Television and Southern Cross.
• Southern New South Wales – Prime Television, Southern Cross and WIN TV.
• Regional Victoria – Prime Television, Southern Cross and WIN TV.
• Tasmania – Southern Cross, WIN and Tasmanian Digital Television.
Alice Springs falls within the licence area known as Remote Central and Eastern Australia.
Regional commercial television broadcasting licences operating in this licence area, Imparja and QQQ 7, are not required to provide material of local significance or local content.
Yet “material of local significance or local content” is precisely what Imparja undertook to provide to get its licence, as Wendy Bell’s book “A Remote Possibility”, commissioned by Imparja, makes abundantly clear, in dozens of quotes from CAAMA’s submissions to the ABT in Alice Springs in the mid-80s.
What is less clear is why an organisation with 64 employees and public funding ($2m a year for satellite costs and possibly other grants) has been doing so little for so long: the up-linking to the satellite of the Nine program could be done from any capital city at a fraction of the cost.
Among Ms Bell’s many quotes are:-
• The National Aboriginal Council: “[Aborigines] fear that without speedy action both their race and their culture will die.”
• CAAMA argued before the ABT “for appropriate television services to be provided for Aboriginal communities [and] the need for Aboriginal control over television content”.
• CAAMA’s Freda Glynn addressed the ABT: “The old people are incredibly worried about what is going to happen to the young people viewing all this when there is so much violence.
“It is really hard to explain that John Wayne was shot ten times last week but you cannot go out and use a gun like that because you will kill somebody.”
What would Ms Glynn think of this kind of programming, a sample from a random week (July 31 to August 6) in 2009: Sunday from 9pm, two hours of CSI Miami; Tuesday from 9pm, two hours of CSI NY; Wednesday from 9p, two hours of Cold Case. For those unfamiliar with these shows, they focus on forensic investigations of brutal, often perverse, murders.
This sample is however a slight improvement on one from earlier in the year (March 12 to March 18) when CSI for two hours on Sunday was starting at 8pm (when many children would still be viewing), followed by Underbelly at 10pm.
Ms Bell says the competing applicant, Darwin’s Channel 8, would have broadcast 115 hours a week in the “non-commercial or ‘Aboriginal’ part of the service”.
Even limits on advertising time per hour seem not to apply to Imparja: one recent afternoon it broadcast a video pitching a vacuum cleaner – and this “program” had commercial breaks!
CAAMA – the TV station’s majority shareholders – received the Imparja licence for seven years in 1986.
Today not even the Aboriginal logo is left, replaced by a red box, and the nine dots of Nine alongside.
Imparja CEO Alistair Feehan did not agree to an interview and the only comment on a draft of this report was: “Having now read your email, it is factually incorrect.”  He gave no details.
The ACMA did not respond to an invitation to comment.

Mt Johns buyers afraid of missing out pay top dollar. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

All 28 blocks of residential land in Mt Johns Valley offered for sale by the native title body, Lhere Artepe, were sold on the weekend.
The prices are understood to have ranged from $280,000 to $350,000, according to builder Darren Burton, who bought two blocks.
He said the special sale by Framptons, and under supervision of Lhere Artepe CEO Darryl Pearce, had been “extremely well conducted. Everyone had a fair chance,” says Mr Burton.
Buyers who had expressed an interest in advance attended the invitation-only function.
They could buy blocks at the asking price.
Blocks which attracted interest from more than one buyer were subjected to a “silent ballot”: People would deposit confidential bids in a ballot box, and the highest bidder would prevail.
Mr Burton says as far as he could tell, most people bought just one block; some bought two but he did not observe anyone buying more than two.
He himself will live on one of his blocks and put a “spec home” on the other.
Mr Pearce says all of the blocks in Stage One are now sold (unless people change their minds during a four day cooling off period), except a large block, capable of accommodating a complex with up to 60 units. 
That complex had been withheld from the sale and Lhere Artepe is considering developing it in its own right.
Mr Burton says the deposit was $5000 per house site and $10,000 per unit site, and buyers had to prove access to finance.
Mr Pearce says buyers would forfeit the deposit if they changed their minds after the four days.
He says the construction of the subdivision – roads, water, sewage and electricity – will now get under way, starting with getting approvals from Power & Water, and the town council.
The blocks are expected to be ready by the end of next, says Mr Pearce.
Mr Burton says it seemed buyers were motivated by fear of missing out.
The prices were high but in keeping with the market: “I wasn’t happy to pay it but the value will still rise,” says Mr Burton.
Land prices and rents will remain sky high until there is more land on the market, he says.
Because of the land component, a four bedroom house in Alice costs up to $800,000.
Landlords expect a 6% return on their investment, that’s $48,000 a year or $925 a week – a lot more than most people can afford.
“We need a flood of housing, including the Melanka project”, says Mr Burton, to bring the town back onto an even keel.
Currently rents are often heavily subsidized by employers, government or private. Some people find refuge in serviced apartments, at around $200 a night, or rent a house and share.
Ron Sterry, who is developing Coolibah Estate in Ragonesi Road, outside The Gap, has run into a variety of difficulties (google our online edition).
Says a spokesperson for the Minister for Planning and Lands, Delia Lawrie: “The Development Consent Authority approved Mr Sterry’s subdivision application for 260 blocks zoned rural / resident development in 2003.
“Stage 1 of the Mt Johns Valley development was approved by the DCA in September 2009 with Lhere Artepe appointed as the developer for 28 blocks residential development.
“As per normal practise lot prices are set by the developer.”
Mr Sterry is at liberty to develop blocks on Coolibah Estate similar to the ones sold by Lhere Artepe, so long as their total number does not exceed 260.
He says a big difference is that the NT Government paid for the “headworks” – water, sewage and electricity – to be taken to the edge of the Lhere Artepe development, whereas he had to pay for them.

‘Royalties for Regions’ could bust Berrimah Line spending. By KIERAN FINNANE.


Agricultural land in the region will be expanded to provide major opportunities for growth and sustainability with a $220m injection of funding.
The town centre will benefit from a $23m upgrade, providing plenty of shade, a cafe strip, a central multi-use entertainment area to draw crowds day and night, and a water feature.
A new facility for youth will include a reception area and kiosk, wet laboratory, 60-seat theatrette, 540-seat multi-use area, a serving kitchen, office space for 20 staff, a recording studio, a 90 square metre display area and a computer nook, worth $1.8m over three years.
Boarding away from home allowances for school students from remote areas will increase from $1,215 to $2,000.
And PATS (Patients Assistance Travel Scheme) eligibility rules will be relaxed and subsidies increased – from $35 per night to $60 per night for patients travelling alone and $75 per night for patients travelling with an approved escort.
This huge boost to regional development and quality of services has come about as the result of a landmark political deal ... in WA.
The location-specific schemes above apply to the Ord irrigation area, South Hedland and Fairbridge Village respectively.
They are just some of the projects announced since the Royalties for Regions agreement was made as a result of a power-broking arrangement between WA’s Nationals leader Brendon Grylls and Liberal leader, premier Colin Barnett.
The agreement means that the equivalent of 25% of WA’s mining and onshore petroleum royalties will be returned to regional areas each year in addition to regular Budget programs, for investment in projects, infrastructure and community services.
In the current financial year the agreement is providing $619m for regional communities in the state.
There’s nothing like Royalties for Regions in the Northern Territory, but should there be?
To begin with, the contribution from royalties to the Territory’s budget is much smaller than it is in WA, which raises about $2b in mining royalties each year, some 10% of the state’s budget.
This is because the Territory applies a “resource rental regime” to mining ventures –  a profits tax, not a production (ad valorem) tax like WA’s, explains Rolf Gerritsen, research leader at CDU in Alice Springs.
The main argument in favour of this regime has been to encourage entry of mining ventures in the Territory.
It has been important, says Prof Gerritsen, in some small mining projects where there are high risks, like the gold mines around Pine Creek.
“So arguably we have got more mining investment than we might otherwise have, though I doubt that state/territory tax measures are crucial for investors’ final decisions to proceed.”
The NT does receive the Commonwealth ad valorem royalties on ERA at Jabiru and Alcoa at Gove – a deal made at Self-Government, when they were exempted from NT Acts.
This financial year mining royalties from its “resource rental regime” will yield an estimated $160.5m, the largest slice (28.4%) of the Territory’s own-source revenue pie.
But, as is well known, in the NT own-source revenue accounts for only 20% of the Budget.
In contrast to the states which raise around half of their budgets, 80% of the Territory’s revenue is provided by the Commonwealth, much of it as general purpose financial assistance grants as opposed to specific purpose grants.
Disability factors are taken into account but “there’s no requirement to spend the money in proportion to the way you earn it”, says Prof Gerritsen.
Returning to our mining royalties bucket, if we applied the WA formula of an amount equivalent to 25% of the total being earmarked for regional development, that would only have provided around $40m this year – not much to go round.
And from year to year the amount may rise or fall.
Both prices and mining costs are taken into account in royalty calculations. If production costs rise or fall, royalties may decline or increase accordingly.
Thus they will generally be payable in years when ability to pay is the greatest – good for business more than for putting money in the public coffers.
So what about alternative buckets of money, such as the GST?
Nicolas Rothwell, in his recent call to replace the “failed state” of the NT (The Weekend Australian, October 24-25 and October 31-November 1), referred to tying the GST grants that the NT Government receives as the most “obvious short-term revision of the Territory’s workings”, with his emphasis being specifically on tying the expenditure to Indigenous disadvantage.
Prof Gerritsen doubts that the Commonwealth would have the administrative capacity to make the GST revenue a special purpose or tied grant.
“They can’t even get the Territory Government to deliver SIHIP, let alone a much bigger spending program,” he says.
Such a reform would also require legislative change, which he does not see as becoming a priority for the Rudd Government.
“The GST is legislated as a state tax and it’s up to the states to decide how to disburse it,” says Prof Gerritsen.
Does he see a case for making a bucket of money available for regional development?
In principle, yes: “There is an argument for a government seeding fund, to be spent according to priorities decided by the community.”
In practice, however, he says the Territory Government “simply does not have the money to make a difference.
“The regional development budget is mostly a salary budget.
“It’s arguable that a Royalties for Regions type of program should be introduced –  it’s much closer to a proper regional development scheme than the usual grant by announcement scheme you see here.
“But where the money could come from is another question.
“The government’s public service liabilities increase each year – a whole lot of public servants are about to retire so it’s not going to get any better.
“And given the situation of the Power and Water Corporation, a lot of the government’s infrastructure investment will go that way in the coming years.”

Ryan says we need loyalties to regions.

“Loyalties to regions” is the phrase Damien Ryan prefers.
He sees the WA scheme as politically fragile but can appreciate its achievements while it’s in place.
With his regional development hat on – he is the Federal Government appointed chair of Regional Development Australia (NT) – he calls for long-term infrastructure funding, with a transport network being at the top of the agenda.
Mr Ryan says much of what is done in the regions is done piecemeal.
He gives the Outback Highway as an example: the millions spent on upgrading to all-weather status a patch here and a patch there will cost the taxpayer much more in the long-run when it all needs to be re-done before sealing.
“There needs to be money in budgets year after year so that the work can proceed in orderly fashion towards a long-term goal.
“Can you imagine how much it is costing the health and education departments to replace all their vehicles going out on basic dirt roads?” he asks.
“The costs recur and recur and we never try to fix the underlying problem.”
With his Alice Springs mayor’s hat on, Mr Ryan points to the infrastructure that will be needed south of the Gap when the subdivision on AZRI land goes ahead.
All up, huge sums of money are involved and Mr Ryan knows that the game plan in both the Territory and nationally is to spend money on the coast where the majority of the population lives.
But the stakes are high if the regions continue to be neglected: “When does the failed state become the lost state?” he asks.

Giles – Regions losing out to Darwin’s Northern Suburbs.

“Resources for Regions” is what we need, says Braitling MLA Adam Giles.
Royalty for Regions is a good model for resource rich WA, but in the NT the important issue is for the NT Government to be spending resources outside of Darwin.
“If they were fair dinkum then the current resources the NT Government has in its coffers would be coming to the regions, but they don’t.
“While ever we have elected officials in the NT focused on taking power rather than delivering for the whole Territory we will continue to have a financial focus on the Northern Suburbs to achieve Northern Suburbs electoral sucess.
“These insecure self-obsessed politicans are causing pain across the regions simply for their personal gain.
“Politics isn’t about being powerful but about bringing about change, no matter how difficult that change may be.
“This is not to take a snipe at the Northern Suburbs, but to express the opinion if we wish to build the Territory then we must focus on the whole Territory.
“Hence the accuracy of Nicolas Rothwell’s description of the NT as a ‘failed state’.
“Karl Hampton should also become independent and joint forces with the other Alice Springs members to hold this incompetent and arrogant government to account, but it would seem he is happy to let resources go north while the regions suffer.”
ED – Mr Hampton, Minister for Regional Development, did not respond to an invitation to comment for this report.

Lifeline for Ayers Rock college. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

The Nyangatjatjara College, which has its main complex at Yulara, Central Australia’s only secondary school off the Stuart Highway, has been thrown a lifeline by Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard.
Her department is in an advanced stage of negotiations with the Aboriginal controlled college for two more years of funding.
There were fears the college would close at the end of this year.
Principal Robyn Jorgensen says the school will revive its boarding facilities and have a full program, both at the Yulara residential campus and at the Imanpa, Mutitjulu and Docker River campuses.
Boys and girls will take it in turns to attend the Yulara facility for three days and two nights.
The other campuses will offer co-education.
Prof Jorgensen says the shorter stay at Yulara – previously the students were there for a full week – had proven successful in trials.
The scheme would be respecting traditional values, with the genders being separated, as well as “western ways” when the students are attending the co-ed schools. 
All teaching will be in English.
The Voyages Ayers Rock Resort has signaled interest in again providing work experience for the students, an initiative that had won nation-wide recognition some years ago.
Prof Jorgensen says the management of the school by Yirara College ceased about six months ago, and the school is again under the control of an Aboriginal board. Current average daily attendance is 62.
Funding comes principally from Canberra.
The school is practicing “Rich Tasks”.
For example, the students are currently preparing a music and art concert before Christmas.
Making posters for it will draw on their artistic and their English language skills.
Maths will be practiced when the budget is drawn up, using spreadsheets.
Computers will be used in most tasks.
In this way learning in the different subjects is combined for a specific task rather than being offered in separate lessons.
“The Rich Task approach produces a real product or outcomes for students,” says Prof Jorgensen.
“You actually produce a book, go on a trip, make a web page, organize a fete or expo.”
AT RIGHT: Students in a guitar workshop. The rich task is centered around them learning about music and, for some, a musical instrument.

Parks director pushed aside? By KIERAN FINNANE.

A “restructure” of the Parks and Wildlife Commission, following a review conducted by an external consultant, looks likely to push aside the very experienced regional director of parks in Alice Springs, Andrew Bridges.
The position of regional director in the two other Territory parks regions have been vacant for some time, with officers acting in the positions, making Mr Bridges the last person left at this senior level with significant knowledge and experience in how the commission is run and how to deal with the challenges it faces.
The commission is thus set to lose to a hundred years or so of corporate experience.
The Alice Springs News understands that a new Parks Director has been appointed from outside the commission.
Graham Phelps, Executive Director of the commission, withdrew an agreement to respond to questions and provide information for this report on the grounds that recruitment had not yet been finalised.
“It is expected an announcement from NRETAS will be made as soon as the recruitment is finalised,” said a spokesperson.  
The News put to Mr Phelps that the perception abroad is that a purposeful routing of the experienced level of management seems to be occurring and that morale is low due to budget cuts, uncertainty with staffing levels and the apparent lack of support for Mr Bridges.
Meanwhile, rangers continue to manage parks with the only increase in staff in the Alice region in over 15 years coming with acquisition of Owen Springs (two more rangers) and a handful of Indigenous trainees.
Meanwhile, there has been a significant increase in visitor numbers, up to five-fold in some parks.
The News understands further, and put to Mr Phelps, that the responsibilities of parks staff have considerably enlarged.
With decreasing budgets, parks staff appear to be responsible for whole weight of Joint Management, responding to the government’s goals for socio-economic amelioration of Aboriginal people.
The Alice News asked Mr Phelps:-
• What will be the position of Andrew Bridges in the new structure?
• How will you ensure that this senior manager’s corporate knowledge is not lost to the agency?
• Does the new structure mean there will be less management control in the regions and a further concentration of control in Darwin?
• How can Parks continue to manage with ever decreasing budgets when tourism is bringing in more and more people?
• Has Parks has become a pseudo Indigenous employment agency?
• How can Parks deal with all the issues that surround Aboriginal employment, such as health, the need for training, family and cultural obligations, when they are supposed to be a protected area management agency?
• How are Parks staff, a small agency, prepared to deal with these issues when other much larger departments and agencies, Federal and Territory, are struggling with them?
• Surely they don’t have the resources to be able to deal with such a diverse range of issues, or do they? 
• Why have staff levels not kept pace with increased visitor numbers and enlarged responsibilities?
We also requested the following information:-
• visitor numbers for the major parks in the Alice Springs region over the last 10 years.
• staff numbers for the Alice Springs region over the last 10 years.

Paul Quinlivan – August 7, 1959 to October 10, 2009: He was a gentle man who had an iron will.

Paul Quinlivan was lost in exceptional circumstances in turbulent seas on Saturday, October 10 at Bateman’s Bay off the coast of  southern NSW.
In  a manner characteristic of Paul, his final act was a calculated effort to rescue a person in difficulty.
Police reports indicate that while making the rescue, Paul, a fit and astute man, was nevertheless swept from the rocks at a place where the current  divides, one rip sweeping eventually the beach, another  dropping down deep through  submerged rock shelves. 
It is assumed that Paul was intending to let the current carry him and the man he was trying to rescue through the four to five metre swell.  His last gesture was to signal reassuringly to his daughter Hannah, herself on the rocks. 
He disappeared.
The rescued man, was found a kilometre up the beach an hour later, battered and suffering hypothermia. Crews searched  in stormy conditions for three days, their work commended, but Paul was not found.  
For 27 days his fate was unknown. A body was washed up on Pebbly Beach on November 5 but identification is not complete. 
Paul has been recommended by police for a bravery award. An award is justified for this single fateful action but such actions were a pattern in this man’s behaviour.
A son of  Irish immigrant farming families,  the Quinlivans and Kennedys, Paul is one of seven siblings. This is an alert, communicative family, all of whom rallied to sustain each other during the dark days of  October.
His vigorous parents travelled to Alice Springs for Paul’s memorial last Saturday.  It is clear that his robust streak of Irish independence and startling capacity for practical  improvisation and action is family style. So too are ‘Irish troubles’. 
It is worth noting that the heritage Quinlivan crest is a “blue stork pierced through the body by a silver arrow”. The motto reads “True to the End”.  This image is definitively Paul.
His childhood in the North Dandenong mountains  was wracked by unexplained health problems. It was not until age 35 – in the course of a thorough medical examination, when applying to go to Antarctica – that it was confirmed he had been born with ‘a hole in the heart’.
This condition may have contributed to his diminutive stature but it also meant, as his father recalls, that as a child Paul put his energy into libraries and listening to the ‘well informed’ …  he could debate with anyone, at any time, about anything. He had a solution to every problem. 
After his heart was repaired Paul’s stamina became legendary –  he rode the Great Victorian Bike Ride (600 kms over seven days) without pre-training in the company of his then 74 year old mother.   His truly remarkable capacity for endurance is probably what sustained him in exhausting conditions in remote regions of central Australia.
A wily man of glittering intelligence Paul’s life has been marked by  intimate immersion in groundwork affairs of Aboriginal Australia. His family is highly regarded by diverse persons who speak the  languages of the Pintubi, Warlpiri, Ngaanyatjarra,  Alywarra regions.  He is remembered with respect and gratitude by many who know first hand the existential conditions of bush life. 
At his memorial eulogies arose from seasoned scientists,  health practitioners, remote area workers, politicians, radiant artists and Indigenous kin from Nyirripi, Kintore, Ampilatwatja.  
Each of those stories confirmed different facets of the (half cut) diamond body of  this character whose emotional focus became dedicated to his three daughters – Taruna, Sarita, Hannah – after the  passing, this year, of their mother, Claire, herself well remembered in this region. 
How to paint the  pattern of a man who did not get to complete the canvas of a life? What of the ethics, contentions?  The  paradoxical  situations which he managed? His  mercurial  illuminations?  Dogged determination, the capacity for linking  people and ideas, the wry humour in those leprechaun eyes?
Paul’s  intuitive, un-illusioned management of Indigenous community operations made him into an experienced, unique observer, a listener, a  proactive participant in local affairs.  His singular position also earned him criticism, excision.
Central Australia is a region of turbulent currents –  human folly, strong opinions –  a people straining sometimes for a reconciliation.
Paul is among those who took part in a 25 year tragicomedy of personal inter-cultural reconciliation among  peoples who live mostly at cross purposes.   
Paul made ‘Reconciliation’ a task grounded in the ethic of relationships. He did not follow politically skewed ideals – his was an approach of personal connectivity, described in Peter Sutton’s Politics of Suffering as the only logical way to go.
Paul was deeply concerned with the  question of what makes us  civilised, most especially the civilisation of the relationships between  Australians of differing races.
Quoting Robert Wright ( NonZero) he said, “If self-interested entities are to realize mutual profit, two problems typically must be solved: communication and trust.”
These two virtues – the effort at communication and the effort at trust –  are  key to understanding Paul’s picture of  localized, person specific Reconciliation, such as that practiced in his work at Nyrripi and at  Ampilatwatja. We have lost an exceptional man, taken in the midst of a most  ethical action – saving a life. There is no greater love than this.
– Craig San Roque

“When the sun stands at midday, it begins to set;
when the moon is full, it begins to wane.
The fullness and emptiness of heaven and earth
wane and wax in the course of time.”
–  The I Ching or Book of Changes, a constant reference for Paul Quinlivan and this a quote he particularly noted.

The first memory I have of my Dad is of being held and sung softly to sleep.  I don’t know when this memory is from – he used to sing us to sleep most of our childhoods.  They were songs of rebellion, freedom, epic journeys and quests for knowledge. Songs of great love, loss and triumph. 
Our Dad filled our minds with tales of willful and courageous heroines. Strong role models who shaped the kind of women we’ve grown into. 
We were always encouraged to dream, explore, create.  Our childhood was full of love, fun and adventure.  Our Dad had a boundless energy to play and wrestle with us, and an unwavering patience to answer our endless questions.
His greatest desire, as a parent, was to give us the best experiences life had on offer. 
A desire he fulfilled in every capacity. My parents’ move to Nyirrpi was fueled by the urge to expose their children to a unique view of the world and a different way of life.
We fell in love with the desert, this landscape and the people who define it. The freedom, the intensity and clarity it shaped in all of us. We formed friendships and family connections that will remain forever.
Our Dad had so much energy for life and threw himself into the challenges that work and life offered here.  He never did things by halves. 
Nothing was just a job – it was his passion. He was a man who had a vision of how the world should be and function, and devoted himself to achieving it.  He lived his life in a way many strive for.
As a parent he was no different.  My dad loved us with everything he had.  We were his all and he was selfless when it came to this love and his responsibilities as a parent.
Our Dad put his life on hold at the end of last year when our mother was dying. He was completely present to support us as we cared for her and struggled with the approaching loss. 
He continued to support us after our Mum passed away.  We will forever treasure that time we had with him, and as a family.
He stepped up to the challenge of being not just our father but our only parent.  Our relationship burst beyond the love shared by parent and child.  It was built on respect, mutual pride, and a genuine desire to discuss and share our views on the world and each other. 
It is this connection and dialogue that I mourn most.   The loss of the guidance and role my father would play, in not just my life and future but in my children’s; the pride and love that only your parent can give you.
Our father was a great man. A deep thinking, generous and compassionate being.  He always had a cheeky twinkle in his eye and an infectious laugh that could quickly turn into a cackle.
He was a true eccentric and layered individual.  
Our Dad was a life long learner.
He had strong opinions and shared them even if you didn’t want to listen. He didn’t suffer fools but never held a grudge.  He was humble, instinctive, intense.  He was stubborn and willful.  He was goofy, in the very best sense of the word.
Our Dad openly displayed his love, his fury and his excitement.  None us here are left wondering who he was and what he stood for. He died revealing the most honorable part of his character; his desire to help another in need. A trait that defined him in life and now in death as well.
– Sarita Quinlivan, speaking on behalf of her sisters Taruna and Hannah.

In the past few years Paul Quinlivan’s path and mine crossed from time to time, usually on a professional basis on my part, and it was always a satisfying experience.
While he had a robust disrespect for incompetent officialdom, he never displayed the irritating insistence of the zealot.
His strength of persuasion rested in his intelligence, in his passion for fairness and his unselfish motives: he tipped us off on important stories not because it was to his advantage, but because it was in the interest of the whole community.
As well there was a good dose of humour to capture our imagination, and that irreverent twinkle in his eye.
Barack Obama’s “yes, we can” was invented by Paul a long time ago.
Take his recent achievements with the Ampilatwatja health service.
The trouble remote Australia is having with recruiting doctors is legendary.
Yet this tiny, unbelievably remote and impoverished town had doctors queueing to serve three week stints, on a rotation basis, and with usually two doctors in residence at any one time.
Paul, as he described the scheme to me, was putting up arriving and departing doctors in Alice Springs’ best hotel, before flying them to Ampilatwatja in a light aircraft, rather than subjecting them to a pretty arduous road trip.
That, I’m sure, was only part of it: Paul could pitch medical work in this remote part of Australia (the place is 260 km north-east of Alice Springs) not as a chore that someone’s got to do, but as a great adventure, an experience so few would be able to have, meeting people so few people do, an experience to tell your grandkids.
A couple of times, when I had business in the area, I gave medical staff a lift there, and that’s how they described their motive for taking part in this great scheme.
Many doctors and other medical staff came back time and again, some took longer stints.
But even that is only part of the story: the service was almost entirely self-funding, with Medicare bulk billing the major income.
As a speaker, David Moore, paying tribute to Paul at the memorial service at Emily Gap on Saturday observed, Ampilatwatja completed the children’s health checks without the Intervention doctors, one of the few health centres to do so.
One day Paul and I flew back to Alice Springs, just the two of us on board, cruising smoothly high above the bumps, the sun beginning to set on our right.
The shadows of the trees and hills were getting longer, and the land was losing its harsh glare.
Inspired by the country we love so much beneath us, we were talking about the many things yet needing to be done in The Centre.
Now, so sadly, Paul’s great contribution has come to an end.
– Erwin Chlanda

LETTERS: Battle over Rainbow Valley goes on.

Sir,- The idea Noel Fullerton named Rainbow Valley in the late 70s is not correct.
I first went to Alice in 1967 with Ansett Pioneer as a transfer driver from Melbourne.
It was then I met Tassie with all the other great guys working for Ansett at the time, Norm Davy, Bill Adamson, Ron Cross, Teddy Lang, Max Shepley, Tassie Squires, and many others my senior moment will not allow me to remember.
 As with all new drivers from South, we all had to do a tour as a passenger so as we could learn the roads and the various highlights.
It was on one such trip I was with Tassie, we had been at Ayers Rock. On the way back we only had a small group so we were well ahead of time.
 While we were at Erldunda, Tassie asked the group if they  would like to see place that not many people knew existed, and was not on any tourist itinerary. 
So, after all being sworn to secrecy on the basis that the company did not find out the coach went where it should not have gone, we headed off.
We headed North, and as I was driving Tassie got on the microphone and told the group about this  place well off the road.  He also told us that it was full of wonderful rock formations with colours that were unlike anything else in the area.
He did however warn us that we may not be able go all the way in as there was a salt pan that might be too wet to cross, even though we had a 4WD.
 As we headed North, Tassie told me to keep an eye open for a upright dry branch on the right side of the road.
 Upright branch! Hell, all this city slicker had seen since arriving here were dry upright branches.
 As we headed further North there it was, the dry upright branch, just as he said, on the right! There is noway anybody would know that this was a turn off.Anyway in we went, slow and easy as it was a track, not a road. Around a few small hills, twisting turning and further along the salt pan came into view on the left.
We followed that along and then over another hill and there it was  Rainbow Valley.
As Tassie had said, there was no way we could cross over as there was water on the salt pan. But we were able to take a few pics and sit back and just take in the amazing view.
That was my very first time at Rainbow Valley, but not my last.
I know there were many a Pioneer Tour that would detour, time permitting,  just to let the folk have a look at what was a wonderful sight.
That was way back in 1967, not the late 70’s.
In my opinion it was Tassie Goodluck that first sighted the location.
As for doing anything with it apart from sharing it with the Tourists, no way!
James Cleary

Sir,– In regards to the article by Erwin Chlanda concerning Tassie Goodluck and Rainbow Valley (October 29). No disrespect was intended to Tassie Goodluck in my [comments in the] article of August 20 but facts are facts.
Mr Chlanda should obtain the facts from the mines department archives about the mining lease Tassie held over Rainbow Valley, and Tassie as a miner would know.
He could not run a tourist business on a mining lease which existed inside a pastoral lease and the government did the right thing by buying it back.
However, the government committed a breach of trust to the people of Australia by declaring it a National or Territory Park, then giving it to one group of Australians.
Now they want to close 90% of the park to the people of the Northern Territory and Australia.
National means for the people: no government department has the right to deprive the people of Australia of these parks.
If they want to protect the most spectacular places that are vulnerable, they should have a ranger there to escort people in these areas only, but the rest of the National Parks should be open to all people.
As for Ayers Rock, if the natives built it out of concrete and steel they could charge for it, but it is a natural phenomenon that was there before them and no Australian or visitor from overseas should be charged for viewing it.
Next they will be blindfolding people to stop them seeing our magnificent country. National Parks should be for all Australians and overseas visitors.
Rangers think people are a nuisance in parks and it seems to me they would rather have no-one to worry about.
The government should have more rangers to guide people in special areas that they are worried about, not close them off or put viewing areas so far away that it is not showing their beauty spots which make the parks unique.
The spectacular Rainbow Valley was shown to many people by the early owners of the property before the Goodlucks and Fullertons came into the scene.
I have access to photos of those days.
Noel Fullerton
Alice Springs

Sir,– It definitely wasn’t Noel Fullerton who first named Rainbow Valley.
It was Tassie Goodluck who wanted to do tours there back in the early ‘60s when it was only accessed by a bush track.
Noel in those days was managing the fresh fruit and vegetable depot ( AE Tulley &Sons) at the end of the rail line where the dual highway now is.
William Adamson
Received by email

Time to say good-bye?

Sir,– Is the Central Land Council a government instrumentality in search of existential relevance?
The land claims that have featured so prominently in the NT over the last two or three decades have by now surely been lodged.  As I understand it, lodging those claims and seeing them through to a legal resolution was the core reason the land councils were first established. 
Any outstanding legal resolutions can’t be that far off.
So other than as an archivist, how will CLC define itself now? 
The answer could be as gate-keeper to the homelands.  Issuing permits and keeping track of everyone’s business is a job.  Unfortunately, the defining characteristic of this job is control, a level of control has been likened to that held by the Mayanmar government where the generals, their big men, also restrict contact which restricts growth.
However, this may soon be ending.  If the designated growth towns proposed for the NT gain traction, CLC will be hard pressed to keep this bottleneck from breaking. 
Of course for this to happen one of the land councils’ main enablers, the Member for Lingiari, will have to bite the bullet.  Having finally, and clearly, reached the end of his useful public life, is it time for Warren Snowdon to perform his last good act for the electorate of Lingiari and retire? 
Or is CLC searching for financial autonomy?  Perhaps CLC will redefine itself as manager of what used to be our National Parks. This could prove to be a good earner, and it would reduce CLC’s dependence, and drain, on the public purse.
Take the example of Rainbow Valley.  By allowing free and unhindered access to, say, 10% of a park, the letter of the undertaking not to impose changes in the running of the parks will be met.  But to see more than that 10% a guide will be needed. 
This is what’s known as good work, if you can get it.  And will there be a fee for a permit on top of the hire of a guide?  Now that would definitely be good work, if you can get it.
Hal Duell
Alice Springs

Correction: no 20 metre max in tourism precinct

Sir,– My apologies for making a couple of errors in my letter to last week’s Alice News.
My reference to a 20 metre maximum height limit for the Mt John tourism precinct is out of date and incorrect. I was relying on my memory and possibly an old clause in the 1992 Town Plan.
According to the 2007 planning scheme still current the height limit for this area is the same as the town area at 14 metres. It doesn’t change my argument but I should have checked my facts.
Secondly, in the photo that I took looking west down Gregory Tce and over the ‘Vinnies’ building I was trying to make the point that even a three storey structure built on the Vinnies site (ie, within existing 14 metre limit) would have destroyed this amazing sight-line that extends our gaze to a distant bluff “... I’m guessing 5 km away”.
I was wrong about that too! The cliff is a feature of the Chewings Range and is approximately nine kms away! Imagine that – in the context of a CBD that is barely 700 metres in diameter from the Todd River to Telegraph Terrace.
As a community we can and should use planning and rating schemes to protect these extraordinary vistas and reward landowners such as ‘Vinnies’ for the contribution they make to our iconic townscape.
The uniqueness and grandeur of our town setting is one of our greatest assets and its protection should not be left to chance.
Mike Gillam
Alice Springs

How will Melanka trees survive?

Sir,– I walked have walked twice all around the Melanka site. I was surprised and amazed to see the trees that I understood would hide the buildings from the road are in fact right inside the block and are three-quarters trunk with leaves at the top. I doubt the trees would hide the buildings very much.
Secondly, if there will be underground parking beneath the whole site, won’t all the trees and their roots have to be excavated first?
Thirdly, usually the break-ins in Todd Mall are reported to be in the early hours of the morning, not late at night. I doubt many Melanka residents would be regularly walking or dining in the Mall at 3 or 4am.
I am definitely against a five storey complex.
However, I would agree to three storeys at Melanka according to the height and building regulations.
Jose Petrick
Alice Springs

Page Three Girls

Sir,- Although being confronted with the social fabric that represents Alice Springs in your paper each week is often tough going, I would much rather it than some other papers that report on Territory life.  The continuous featuring of a page three girl, as was the case again over the weekend, is nauseating.  That this exploitation revolves around the release into local newsagents (already laden with porn) of the Bods of Batchelor calendar seems worthy of celebrating in the press, is more than I feel able to let go without registering some kind of protest. 
The dumbing down of women and men by this kind of prurient interest speaks volumes about the journalistic standards of these editors and their publishers.  It reflects so badly on those journalists who try to report with social responsibility and I’m crying foul that this continues to input a culture which should be served by better standards.
Russell Guy
Alice Springs

Hands washed

Sir,– While I was standing waiting for the nurse to open the door to the ICU ward, after speaking to her on the intercom, a long haired doctor with dreads about a foot long opened the door with his key.
We both entered, he then pointed to the hand basin and said, “Wash your hands”.
While washing my hands I then realized this bloke should be doing the same.
On the way down the corridor I ran into him. I asked, “Mate, shouldn’t you have washed your hands?”
He replied that he washed them before.
I said, “But you walked in from outside where the germs are.”
He then took off into a room where I couldn’t follow.
The doctors would probably carry more germs from handling other patients, especially him with his long dreads, than us outsiders.
With all these commercials, the Health Department, and shows on TV, doctors should show an example by practicing what they preach.
Hey doc, our lives are in your hands, the dreads should have been covered.
Russell Bray
Alice Springs

Wing the Crow

Sir,– Has anyone else noticed ‘Wing’ the crow getting about Gillen?
One of last year’s fledglings reappeared one day earlier this year missing a tail, which oddly never grew back. Now seen dashing around very ‘wing’ obvious.
A. Williamson
Gillen, Alice Springs

Alcohol addiction genetic

Sir,– As a regular Canadian reader may I submit a letter? The New York Times featured a video recently about the problem of alcohol abuse in Alaska.
 It mentioned that the problem was particularly associated with the Aboriginal population. Below is the letter I wrote to the New York Times.
“Alaska has a problem of alcohol abuse amongst aboriginal peoples, so has the rest of the US, so has Canada, so has Greenland, so has Australia. As those afflicted with this devastating problem say: “We are in denial.”
As a psychologist, I believe the basis of this addiction problem is genetic, therefore ascribing blame will get us nowhere. Is it not about time that we faced up to this crippling problem not just in one US state or even one country but internationally – rather then write off another generation, their children and their children’s children to the destruction of their lives?
One final thought, alcoholism destroys more lives in North America than Al-Qaeda.
It seems that Australia is the only country to face up to this problem. May I suggest that Alice Springs cannot deal with this problem alone – it is too big – but that Alice Springs appears to be ready, willing and able to take the initiative to awaken an international concern.
May I suggest that Alice Springs simply writes a letter to the United Nations stating their case and that it is not just an Alice Springs problem but an international problem that has been dumped on their doorstep.
Of course, copying all the national and international media on the grounds that it is about time we – whether Australian, Canadian or American - woke up to the reality that we have got a problem and no solution.
Dr Hugh Phillips
Bouchervlle, Quebec


In support of the cultural dialect of the MA15+ generation,  Pop Vulture  taps into a txt msg conversation between “Gen Y” and “Barbie Doll” about entertainment of any value in town over the past seven days.
And with txt msg grammar now accepted in many universities around the globe, why not?
GEN Y: :) OMG!  Sooooo much on at da movies!  Wot u wanna c?
BARBIE DOLL: xmas carol, lks like could b worth seeing, all the past ones have been bit boring cept da muppet one that was prtty cool x :)
GEN Y:  LOL I like dat Imaganarium of dr Parnassas. :) heath in last roll sooooo hot! Omg xx00
BARBIE DOLL: got mxt reviews but last chance 2 c Heath Ledger on silver screen & tom waits plyn da devil will go jus coz a dat. U c much music L8ly? :)
GEN Y: TGIF the Lane rooftop, lks like dey not gonna run out of acts dis time, :) not real cowboys still pll decent number, and did u c another new bnd called Video 2000?
BARBIE DOLL: Nope :( but heard dat dey play kinda Trip hop, 80s electro stuff. :) kool, cood b Alices 1st eva all electronic band.
GEN Y: dat b soooo  gr8, I don’t relly no how ta tink ov sumthin new myslf, so wen some1 duz it 4 me its like :)
BARBIE DOLL: YEH! Like ya know! mp3 killed de video star! Random I jst thought ov dat den
GEN Y: sooo smrt  X :)  X
BARBIE DOLL: wel I did do yr 10 twice. means I lern 2 times as much! :):)
GEN Y: I really like da idea of Sunday sessions, da water tank jamz  r really takin off, and dis Olive pink fryday ting is swarming wiv punters. 
BARBIE DOLL: Herd some 1 say that Alice was like da Athens ov da new world, I thought nah, den I thought hey yeh!
GEN Y: wots an Athens? :(
BARBIE DOLL: its like dis new drink, gr8 had heaps de other day woke up cant even remember, but dats Alice hehe!
GEN Y: Random, herd some ppl r tryin ta get Black Eyed Peas 2 come hear, but is prob just rumors :(
BARBIE DOLL: Hearin dem is never as good as startin dem, every year I say They say it might flood dis year. Dat 1 has been in circa since late 80s da deal is you have to lift your eyebrows up wen you say it den ppl tink u r serious.
GEN Y:  LOL XXXXXX!  Sooooo wish it would fld bet dey wood still make me go 2 wrk :(

ADAM'S APPLE: Trying to give you more whingeing room.

The ultimate philosophical question is the old “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Science says it does but philosophically the question asks whether things happen because they are observed. Or more specifically, how can we know things have happened if they are not observed.
The modern answer to that age old question reinvents the question itself. The modern question is, if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to see it, do we care?
To that end if no one mentions how bloody hot it is going to be this summer, will we not notice it so much?
Typing this column has become a little difficult due to the burn on my hand suffered from being to eager to touch the steering wheel in the car that had been out in the sun for eight hours. Soon enough the silver metal buckle of the seat belt will find a small exposed piece of my flesh and brand me similarly.
That’s a truly Australian heat, is it not? When the mercury tops 35 in some places in Europe, the elderly and frail start to die. Pretty soon we will be thanking God in the heavens that the mercury only gets to 35.
For those new to town, the cavalier attitude locals have to 35 degree days isn’t macho Central Australian chest-beating. Your complaints at the 35 degree day are justified, the people who have been telling you “it’s not that hot” aren’t trying to talk you down.
They just want to give you some whingeing room when it gets to 45. Really, they are doing you a favour.
Besides, there is only one thing worse than the heat in summer in Central Australia and that’s the people who keep banging on about the heat in summer in Central Australia.
From now until at least Easter if you feel the need to tell people how hot you think it is “out there”, reconsider. We all know that it’s hot but we don’t need to be reminded. Some of us are trying to zen the heat out. We are imagining the cooling southerly breeze, water and colourful beverages with umbrellas. Stop mucking up our zen, man!
Now if you are thinking that there is no more annoying person to be stuck with over summer than the heat complainer, then you might have forgotten just how annoying it is to hear the following sentence: there’s less than 50 shopping days until Christmas.
How annoying are the overly organised? Those that remind us that they have already done their Christmas shopping and won’t have to brave the last minute rush.
These are the people that try to scare the chaotic masses with their countdowns of shopping days till Christmas. To be perfectly honest, telling me there are 50 shopping days until Christmas is like telling me how many atoms there are in the universe. Such big numbers lose their impact. Let me know when there are three days to go and I’ll start getting a wriggle on.
But if the news of seven whole shopping weeks before Christmas makes you panic, make sure you get your Dad something nice.
A recent survey from Sydney showed that in an average family with a pet, more money will be spent on the pooch or pussy for Christmas than on Pappa. That’s right on the biggest gift giving day of the year, old Rover gets the five star treatment while Dad gets socks and jocks again.
Dad, who has been busting his butt at a job he probably hates to help put food on the table gets undies and something junior made at school, while the dog who poops in the yard and humps visitors legs gets $80 chew toys.
Think about that when you head to the shops over the next 40 or so days.
What if your dog doesn’t celebrate Christmas? What if it’s an Afghan? Or a Shi-Tsu? Does spending that sort of coin on those dogs constitute cultural insensitivity?
Now that’s a philosophical question.

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