ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
November 12, 2009. This page contains all
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
not required to provide material of local content or significance.
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
Today Imparja couldn’t be further from its cultural protection and
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
This seems to suggest that the name change from ABT has erased vital
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
• Southern New South Wales – Prime Television, Southern Cross and WIN
• 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
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
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
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
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
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
He himself will live on one of his blocks and put a “spec home” on the
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
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
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
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
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.
Regions’ could bust Berrimah Line spending. By KIERAN FINNANE.
By KIERAN FINNANE
Agricultural land in the region will be expanded to provide major
opportunities for growth and sustainability with a $220m injection of
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
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
“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
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
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
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
Prof Gerritsen doubts that the Commonwealth would have the
administrative capacity to make the GST revenue a special purpose or
“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
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
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
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
“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
“Hence the accuracy of Nicolas Rothwell’s description of the NT as a
“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.
Ayers Rock college. By
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
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.
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,
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
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
• 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
Paul Quinlivan was lost in exceptional circumstances in turbulent seas
on Saturday, October 10 at Bateman’s Bay off the coast of
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Paul is among those who took part in a 25 year tragicomedy of personal
inter-cultural reconciliation among peoples who live mostly at
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
Our Dad had so much energy for life and threw himself into the
challenges that work and life offered here. He never did things
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
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
– 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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
I have access to photos of those days.
Sir,– It definitely wasn’t Noel Fullerton who first named Rainbow
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
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
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.
Correction: no 20 metre max in tourism
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
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.
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.
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.
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
While washing my hands I then realized this bloke should be doing the
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
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.
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
It mentioned that the problem was particularly associated with
the Aboriginal population. Below is the letter I wrote to the New York
“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
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
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
Dr Hugh Phillips
Wot u wanna c?
By POP VULTURE with
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
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 :(
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
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
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
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
Now that’s a philosophical question.