June 10, 2010. This page contains all major
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.

The newAnzac school.

The middle school at Anzac Hill campus will be no more from 2011, but the Department of Education will continue to have a presence on the site, with the creation of an alternative education program for "disengaged" youth.
This will be part of the Youth Hub, one of the key elements of the Territory Government's Youth Action Plan.
The last 28 students at Anzac are already getting a taste of the Gillen campus, due to the science lab at Anzac being out of order. They'll be having their lessons at Gillen until the end of Term Two.
Disgruntled parent Alan Smith, formerly chair of the Anzac Hill High School Council, sees this as but the latest in the "death by 1000 cuts" delivered to a school he and a group of parents had sought to preserve ( 
However, executive director of the department in Central Australia, Eva Lawler, says the department has acted in good faith in its decisions over the future of the Anzac Hill campus, but situations change.
"Hard decisions need to be made at times and we are never going to please everybody."
On the one hand, the department wants to do something constructive for young people not going to school; and on the other, they intend pushing ahead with what is already seen as a more vibrant public system middle school on the one campus.
"Having two campuses was considered a solution for the Centralian Middle School, but we've decided that it is not the most effective use of resources," says Ms Lawler.
"As well, kids were spending too much time bussing between campuses and most were happier to stay on the one campus, with the other kids."
They may also be pleased to use some of the new facilities at the school, on the Gillen campus – an internet cafe, a well-equipped gym, a refurbished library and a soon-to-be-opened language centre.
The NT Music School is to get its purpose-built facilities back, occupied temporarily by the Clontarf Football Academy, which in turn will go into demountables next to the oval where they do their footy training.
The school hall is to be enclosed and refurbished to create a space for dance and performing arts.
Ms Lawler says parents and students have voted with their feet in response to the changes.
In second semester last year the Alice News reported the combined middle school population, Anzac and ASHS, as 322 – 165 at Anzac, 157 at ASHS.
This year, says Ms Lawler, there are 150 students in Year Seven alone (370 in total, a boost of around 50).
If this level of enrollment continues in future years the state system will have begun to claw back "market share".
As for the department's program for the "disengaged", which will be housed at the Youth Hub together with other youth services, Ms Lawler says the whole town stands to benefit.
These are the young people of school age who have not been going to school at all or who have abysmally low attendance. They are often the same young people picked up by police and other services on the streets at night and sometimes involved in one of the community's major irritants – "antisocial behaviour".
"If we can provide a good education for those kids, something that prepares them for a job and integrates them into the community, it will solve a lot of problems," says Ms Lawler.
She stresses that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people are involved.
She speaks of "about 30 or so on the streets on any given night" but as a report to the Territory Government on the coordination of youth services (by consultants David Murray and Tony Kelly) points out, true numbers are not known.
One reason for this is that police are not required to collect data on those they pick up and return home while on patrol. The interactions are recorded as "field events" without detail as to identity or circumstances. The report suggests that this policy could be altered to allow relevant data to be collected.
Whatever the numbers the alternative education program will cater for 30.
It is likely to go to an external provider of specialist services, says Ms Lawler.
The Alice News asked whether experienced Territory teachers would not be the best qualified to provide the service.
Ms Lawler said the external provider could well involve "our people".
There will also be money for "wrap-around services", such as a nutrition program and health care.
In the longer term a boarding facility for young people unable to live at home is also envisaged for the Youth Hub.
Some people have expressed concern about having facilities for this kind of "client group" so close to the CBD.
Ms Lawler points out that the CBD is where these kids congregate now and asks why you would put it in an out of the way place.
"This is all about doing something positive. If we don't do anything, the problems certainly won't go away.
"There has been a perception of the Education Department that we didn't want to be involved with the Youth Hb but that's not the case. 
"Achieving something for these kids needs the support of all organisations in the sector."
Also to be located at the Youth Hub will be the NT Police's Youth Diversion Unit and Crime Prevention Unit (school-based constables, neighbourhood watch, safety house, safety audit); the Department of Health and Families' Family Support Centre; and Youth Corrections workers (apparently soon to be part of DHF).
The Youth Services Coordinator will obviously also be based at the hub. This position is currently filled by Superintendent Michael White of the NT Police but from next year it will be filled from within DHF.
The report suggests that much can be gained from the coordination of services, with this position a "significant asset" for the task.
It notes that a great deal of work has been done in the youth sector even though there is "a persistent perception of a lack of progress". A lot of this is down to a lack of coordination including a lack of cohesion in government policy and practice and a lack of comprehensive follow-up of young people who come into contact with services.
Much of the attention of the report is on crisis response but improvement of structured recreational options after hours and in holidays is one of its six recommendations.
It seems that the establishment of a Police Citizens Youth Club at the hub has been discarded as an option by the government.
But the proximity of the Alice Springs Youth Centre – dilapidated and underutilised – offers opportunities and the report recommends an injection of funds to renovate it and expand its services (something many in the community, including this paper, have been crying out for for years).
It also notes the contribution that improved public transport could make – giving access to recreational activities to youth from outlying areas such as Larapinta.

When both sides are right, or wrong. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

This is a typical story about Alice Springs.
It’s just about an every-day service, but it carries within it seeds of conflict, ignorance, racial tension, government failure – yet another of those “issues” capable of adding to the feeling that this community hasn’t got a future.
A new school bus service, started in February, brings kids into town from as far as Jay Creek, just under 50 kms, from the big blocks of land held under Aboriginal land rights either side of Larapinta Drive, known as the Golden Mile or Iwupataka Land Trust.
This service is contracted to Dysons, a national bus company with a major presence in Alice Springs, and paid for by the NT Government.
Parallel to this, pretty well at the same time, runs a second bus service for school kids, paid for by the Yipirinya School, which gets its money mostly from the Federal Government.
Prior to the Dysons service Yipirinya has been running a bus on this route for some 20 years.
There is plenty of room on the “Darwin” funded bus, or a larger bus is available, to accommodate the kids now travelling on the “Canberra” funded bus.
Why do we have this abysmal waste of taxpayers’ money on duplication of a service, you will be tempted to thunder. Yet this is one of those thing where both sides can be right whilst being poles apart.
There are 35 to 45 kids on the “normal” school bus. The numbers vary because sometimes parents give them a lift into town.
Some of their houses are a fair way from the road, which is linking the town to the magnificent West MacDonnell Ranges, whose picturesque eastern foothills hills flank the valley.
But the kids walk to the bus stop, ride their treadlies, or get a lift. 
Their school attendance is very good, says local Dysons manager Wayne Thompson.
They are taken to the interchange opposite Alice High, like most other Alice kids using a school bus, and from there fan out to the other schools around town on a fleet of school buses.
These Golden Mile kids are mostly from urbanised families, familiar with the rigours of school routine.
And then there are the kids who are not, about half a dozen of them.
If Yipirinya didn’t pick them up from their door they wouldn’t come.
And if they didn’t go to school they would likely go hungry, missing out on the breakfast, recess snack and a cooked lunch provided by the school – the only food some of them are likely to get all day, says Yipirinya principal Ken Langford-Smith for eight years.
These are the kids whom nobody sends to school, who at night flee from house to house to escape the drunks.
“Some children are moving almost every day,” says Mr Langford-Smith.
“If there is drinking in one house, they move somewhere safer.”
He says the school doesn’t get money for transport and food. But he has no option but to divert dollars from the teaching budget, or the school would be half empty – and his kids would be at risk more dramatically than they are already.
Apart from the Golden Mile bus, two more run in the town area, also to camps serviced by the “normal” school buses, and within an easy walk from the main routes and stops (Alice News, Feb 19, 2009,
The same applies: no-one cares for these children enough to get them fed and onto the bus.
So how does all this mesh with statements from people like Julia Gillard, Federal Education Minister, who said in Alice Springs on May 28: “Attending school is the first vital step for getting an education.
“Our expectation is that kids are at school each and every day.”
And in answer to a question from the Alice News how she would achieve this she said: “Welfare payments are contingent on school attendance. 
“That’s a last resort option but we have trials working in various parts of the country, so we can push the importance of making sure that kids attend school.”
Ms Gillard would get no more enthusiastic agreement with that get-tough policy than from the all-Aboriginal Yipirinya School Council.
According to Mr Langford-Smith, the council says sanctions are necessary.
“They say parents should be responsible. They support that totally.
“It’s the council’s philosophy. And a threat may be all that’s needed.”
So, with all that talk, why isn’t it happening?
“The lead must come from the Government but it hasn’t had the courage to tackle the issue,” says Mr Langford-Smith.
He has a sneaking suspicion that the NT Government has a vested interest: low attendance means less money needs to be spent.
Mr Langford-Smith says the dual transport system isn’t set in concrete.
But before the camp kids can go on the mainstream bus – clearly a major move in early life to become part of the mainstream society – issues such as teasing and bullying must be dealt with.
“We are very vigilant about conduct on our buses,” says Dysons’ Mr Thompson.
“We have a zero tolerance policy.
“If it happens – and it’s rare – we deal with it through the NT Government school bus code of conduct, and there are several measures that can involve the principals and school based police constable.
“We have had no written complaints from the Golden Mile run all year.
“We had one request from a parent to separate two kids following an incident that did not happen on the bus.
“We put one in the back of the bus, and one in the front.
“Problem solved.”
The most important initiative is to get the parents to do what the law obliges them to do.
Then Yipirinya School may just need one bus, the one running up the North Stuart Highway to the 16 Mile, 14 Mile, Burt Creek, Sandy Bore and Black Tank, where there is still no mainstream school bus.

Special school buses

Alice’s public schools also run bus services to maximise attendance by Indigenous students who may be too young to travel alone, too young to cross roads to the mainstream bus stop, or are too far from it, or who would not attend unless picked up.
Some runs double up as family liaison services; some use the time to listen to children read.
Gillen Primary School’s bus visits Hoppy’s, Little Sisters, Trucking Yards town camps as well as other addresses in the Gillen, Gap and Bloomfield Street areas
Sadadeen Primary School does a bus run around New Eastside area and to Hidden Valley, Ilpye Ilpye and White Gate camps.
Bradshaw Primary School picks up students from Charles Creek, Trucking Yards, Hidden Valley, Amoonguna, and Ilparpa.

Blot on landscape. COMMENT by

Two of these “gateway signs” are now a blot on the magnificent landscape they are intended to promote, part of the awful trend towards branding everything.  
This one is at Flynn’s Grave, blocking from view or dwarfing the simple monument as you approach from town. The other is apparently on the Lasseter Highway at Yulara.
There are also three “intersection signs”: one at Luritja Road and Lasseter Highway and two at the intersections of Namatjira and Larapinta Drives, where they split and then rejoin at Tnorala.
The signs are apparently there “to help tourists find their way along the route easily”, according to Tourism NT, who received $500,000 from the Feds to help pay for them.
How hard do they really think it is to find your way along these major arteries, involving usually only two or three turns to get to your destination?
The Red Centre Way concept should exist on a map and in information resources. The landscape speaks for itself and surely does not need enhancement or branding, let alone these over-sized and ugly faux sculptural interventions.

Third man charged. By KIERAN FINNANE.

A third man was arrested in Alice Springs on Friday afternoon over the  shooting of a man near Junction Waterhole on May 29.
On the same afternoon bail applications for the two other men charged over the same incident did not proceed. They have been charged with attempted murder, intending to cause serious harm and recklessly endangering life, while one of them also faces a numbers of firearms charges.
On Friday police prosecutor Sergeant Mark Lyons told the court the firearm alleged to have been used in the shooting had been located and the human blood on the vehicle belonging to defendant Benjamin Gaff had been identified as the victim's blood.
The third man, 38 year old Jason Corp, has been charged with attempted murder, recklessly endangering life, possession of  ammunition without a permit or licence, possession / use of a firearm whilst unlicensed, intention to cause serious harm, and causing serious harm.
On Thursday, during a bail application for Mr Gaff before magistrate John Neill, the court had heard only of two men's involvement in the events.
Mr Gaff is 19 years old; his co-defendant Reuben Nadich is 22.
The victim is a 44 year old white man, a motor mechanic and father of  a 16 year old son and 11 year old daughter. His name has not been released.
Sgt Lyons told the court that Mr Gaff and Mr Nadich had been at Tony's Auto Wreckers in Ghan Road, leaving there after 6pm on May 29 in Mr Gaff's silver Toyota Landcruiser.
He said they collected a 12 gauge shotgun from an unknown location and loaded it with Winchester Super X 12 gauge rounds.
Around 6.40pm they arrived at Junction Waterhole, a bush location well off the Stuart Highway, about 10 kms north of town.
They parked some 10 metres from where the victim's vehicle was parked.
The victim walked over and stood at the driver's side window.
Mr Gaff is alleged to have said to the victim: "You're right mate, we thought you were blackfellas and we were going to shoot you."
When the Mr Gaff allegedly went on to ask, "You guys having a root?", the conversation became heated.
Mr Nadich is alleged to have produced the shotgun from inside the vehicle, aimed it at the victim less than two metres away and pulled the trigger.
Sgt Lyons said the projectiles (pellets) struck the victim in the chest and upper left arm (an earlier police media release had mentioned only injury to the arm).
He said the victim fell to the ground having sustained "extensive injuries" and has since undergone open chest surgery to remove 12 gauge shotgun pellets from behind his heart (more pellets are yet to be removed). 
He said Mr Gaff accelerated away from the scene, striking the witness, a woman, with the bullbar as he did so. 
He stopped about 270 metres away, removing the driver's side window which had been damaged.
The spent 12 gauge cartridge was ejected at the same time. (A correlation between this cartridge and the pellets removed from the victim has been found.)
The two men returned to Tony's Auto Wreckers  where Mr Gaff took off his clothes, placing them in the laundry pile. They were later washed.
They continued drinking, with Mr Nadich leaving at around 11pm.
He said Mr Gaff was taken to his home at around 2.30am on Sunday morning, while his car was driven to his home by another person at about 12.30pm the same day.
Mr Gaff moved his vehicle to the rear of his residence, a granny flat at the back of his father's home.
Mr Gaff is a qualified auto-mechanic who works for a mining company, two weeks on, one week off, earning $1300 for a 49-hour week and more if he works on the mine site for up to 84 hours a week.
His father, grandmother, uncles and his partner were all in court to support him.
His residence was searched by police on Monday evening.
In his bedroom they seized a quantity of ammunition and three firearms – a single barrel 12 gauge shotgun, a 444 Marlin lever action rifle and a .22 calibre rifle.
Mr Gaff was subsequently arrested.
In his electronic record of interview, he said he didn't think he knew Mr Nadich.
When he was asked if he had access to a 12 gauge shotgun he said: "No. Actually I do, my old man."
The court heard that Mr Gaff had claimed ownership of the lever action rifle and the .22, which were unsecured.
He has never held a licence to possess, use or carry a firearm in any state of territory.
Furthermore, the court heard that there is a "full non-contact restraining order" against Mr Gaff in Victoria, with conditions that prohibit him from possessing, using or carrying a firearm.
Addressing the court on the strength of his case, Sgt Lyons said two comprehensive victim statements had been or were in the process of being taken and some 26 witness statements had been taken.
He said that some witnesses had "significant concerns" should Mr Gaff be released on bail, but Mr Gaff's lawyer, Rennie Anderson, described the comments as "speculative".
Mr Neill also said that he could not take this into account without appropriate evidence put before him.
In opposing bail, Sgt Lyons also referred to the "racial overtones" of the shooting, citing Mr Gaff's alleged comment about thinking that the victim and witness "were blackfellas".
Mr Neill commented that the shooting "lacked racism with respect to this victim".
Sgt Lyons began to press his point but Mr Neill said that it would be "stretching too far" in the aplication before him.
On Thursday he declined the application for bail  and when it did not proceed the next day, Mr Gaff and Mr Nadich were remanded in custody until July 15, with the matter referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Finke: Chasing the big one. By CHRISANNE WALSH.


In its 36th year the Finke Desert Race will once again play host to 500 motorcyclists and off-road drivers including a number of competitors from the Australian Off-road Championships.
The Centralian desert provides an unforgiving backdrop to the competitors and their equipment and as we all know, the favourites aren’t always the winners.
Last year’s race leader Brad Prout can vouch for this after his Jimco buggy caught fire and was destroyed.
He will be a fierce contender in this year’s event along with other well-known names such as Dave Fellows, Brad Gallard, Travis Robinson, Shannon and Ian Rentsch and local Andrew Pinto.
Chris Coulthard, a well-known local who retired after last year’s race but was somehow coaxed into having another crack at it, agrees that the favourites don’t necessarily win.
In his words “it’s anybody’s race” and luck usually plays a big role in the outcome. Without being disrespectful, Dave Fellows was considered to be both unlucky and lucky last year: unlucky (with his own problems) to start with and then lucky due to Coulthard breaking down, Robinson breaking down, and the Rentsches having troubles on the first day.
Competitors not only need well-tuned machinery but a fair bit of luck on their side.
Chris races a Chevrolet 6000cc Jimco 200 Buggy with Robert Hawker as his navigator.
He believes his closest rival will be Dave Fellows in his twin turbo Jimco buggy. Shannon and Ian Rentsch will throw a bit of uncertainty into the ring in their new buggy, which if set up properly will be another threat. 
As far as locals go, Chris believes Danny Auricht will probably be the hardest to beat in his new Chev. Danny’s navigator is Grant Connelly and they’ve both raced Finke many times previously on motorcycles.
Chris says their combined track knowledge will be second to none.
The track conditions play an important role as well, changing almost every day due to the elements and rough sections created by some of the pre-runners.
Chris and his team have had to complete a lot of last-minute work on their car after it arrived from Perth last week. Robert lives in Perth and does as much work as he can over there but due to waiting on parts after Round One of the offroad championships in Hyden, it arrived in Alice Springs without an engine.
The engine followed last Thursday, so it’s been a hectic time fitting, plumbing and wiring, all the while hoping it will be okay in the end with only a week to go.
The vehicle will be tested on Saturday afternoon and given a pre-run on Sunday. If all goes to plan, the car will then go back to the workshop to be cleaned up and made ready for the big day.
Is this a yearly thing? Chris says you try not to let it happen, but there’s always last minute things to do.
In past years, Chris and Robert have raced the Australian Offroad Championship circuit and although they raced in Round One at Hyden over Easter, they won’t be doing any more this year after Finke. Before Hyden, Chris hadn’t driven the vehicle since Finke last year – almost 10 months – but still performed well. After taking a bit of time to settle into the vehicle and hone his driving skills to a certain degree, he says it’s something you don’t forget and once you get going, it all comes together. 
Chris first became involved in the Finke as a navigator for his younger brother Anthony in 2001.
He recalls becoming stuck a few times due to the small car and really wet conditions. But it was good fun and enough to get the blood running and the adrenalin pumping!
Once he got the bug, he and a friend Matt Wharton, bought an old car and started racing. They competed in two Finkes but didn’t finish either due to the car being too old and Chris being “a bit of a nutter”. They built a new car in 2004 and although times and vehicles have changed, he’s still competing.
Chris says the reason he keeps going back for more is the excitement: after racing go karts, speedcars and sprintcars, nothing compares with offroad racing and it’s the most exciting thing anyone can do in a motor vehicle.
Tongue in cheek, he says it’s even better than riding his Harley!
Offroad racing presents the challenge of how fast and how far you can go on a dirt road. Every part of the track feels different, whereas with most other forms of motorsports, you’re racing the same circuit continuously.
Offroad, there’s something different around each and every corner.
This year’s Finke has a new section of track which will add to the excitement and challenge.
The new section replaces the very high speed section which should make the track a little safer and bring the field a little closer together.
Could the bikes ever reclaim the “King of the Desert” title by beating the cars?
Chris believes those days are well and truly gone as it’s now physically impossible for a bike and rider to reach the same high speeds as the cars on such a cruel and gruelling track.
Because of the intense concentration and trying to focus his eyes at such high speeds, Chris tells me that it takes almost an hour to see properly after stepping out of the vehicle.
Having become so accustomed to everything flashing by, his vision is blurry, like looking through a fog. He laughingly suggests that this may be caused by his brain being rattled around so much but has spoken to other competitors who experience the same reaction.
One of the scariest moments on the race track for Chris and Robert was the year before last when they arrived at the new section at Deep Well where the track crossed the main road.
Thinking the checkpoint on the side of the track was a campsite, they flew past and crossed the road at about 200 kilometres an hour.
Although the car handled it well, it was a couple of seconds before they realised what they were doing and their speed enabled them to skip across the surface.
They didn’t have to stop at the checkpoint, but with the track dropping down to the road and then up again, had they been going a little slower, they may have ended up in serious trouble.
Chris says he has had no major accidents and is pretty conservative: he’s one of the oldest drivers in that end of the field, so perhaps he’s a little wiser as well. He quickly adds: “I should touch wood now because we don’t know what’s going to happen this year!”
I asked Chris if he could recall any light-hearted moments but he says there are none.
“It’s all too stressful”, he says, “very, very stressful”. 
A lot of money and time is invested into this now highly competitive race and unfortunately that takes a lot of the fun out of it.
Chris and his navigator raced the national rounds for a period of five years and were constantly building and changing new cars. They worked after hours and on the weekends which in the end turned into burn-out and led to retirement last year.
However, the excitement is in the blood: Chris explains how just sitting and talking about it has started the all-too-familiar butterflies in his stomach.
He doesn’t psych himself up too much before racing these days. In earlier times he used to get nervous and excited but nowadays he stays calm, pictures the prologue track in his mind and thinks about how he will approach it.
Once the flag drops, natural instinct kicks in and it’s time to just get out there and get it done.
When they get to Finke,  Chris and his crew spend about three hours going over the vehicle (depending on what has to be done to it) to make sure it’s okay for the return journey. Then they head down to the river bank to watch the bikes come in.
Although most competitors tend to re-live the race all night in their swags, nobody seems to be tired the next morning. They get up at about 5.30 while it’s still dark and drive their cars from the campsite to the start line.
It’s usually freezing cold but the jackets come off once the race is about to begin and the cold shivers are suddenly replaced by pure adrenalin.
If you’re lucky enough to make it all the way back to the finish line early, there’s time to unwind and mingle (and hopefully spray some champagne around), before watching the bikes come in again.
Chris’s family are all very supportive and enjoy being a part of the weekend. I asked him if his grandchildren look up to him as their hero but he says that they’re probably not old enough yet. By the time they are old enough, he’ll probably be permanently retired so they’ll have to be content with watching the videos.
Wouldn’t it be nice if they could watch a Finke winner?

Lascivious librarians looking for late love.

From the creative pool that has brought us the Cat’s Meow Cabaret, which for all its zany fun remains a family show, comes the Burlesque Funraiser, for 18s and over.
“For Cat’s Meow we ‘PG’ a lot of ideas,” says artistic director Melissa Kerl.
“Doing a burlesque show for adults allows risque acts, but also satire, even political commentary.
“It’s a lot broader than the vintage-style sexiness of the cabaret, but it won’t offend or shock.”
Around 10 individual acts will be held together by MCs (pictured) Laura Lascivia (Milyika Scales), a somewhat naive but bossy librarian, and her bumbling assistant Chadwick Hardwick (Noah Pleshet).
While feminine ‘naughtiness’ continues to dominate, Kerl says she’s pushed hard to involve men in the show and a group of them will present Brolesque.
Apart from that, she won’t give much away, wanting to surprise.
Proceeds from the show will go towards Cat’s Meow which this year wil have a stand-alone performace (outside the Alice Desert Festival) in November.
There are two shows, Friday and Saturday, at Wichetty’s (fully licensed for the occasion), 7pm for 8pm start.  Presale tickets at Kam’s Coffee Shop.

Men behaving like tyrants towards their partners need to be brought to account.

Violence within the Aboriginal community has again been condemned by a judge of the Supreme Court.
Justice Jenny Blokland made her comments during the sentencing, in Alice Springs on June 1, of Eastern Arrernte man Jamie Oliver for unlawfully causing serious harm to his partner.
Summarising some submissions by Mr Oliver’s lawyer, Justice Blokland commented: “It is apparent that many Aboriginal people in Central Australia live or are used to living with greater levels of violence around them than the broader community, that is clearly so. 
“Clearly a belief exists within certain sections of the Aboriginal community, and some parts of the broader community, that men may abuse the women with whom they are in relationships.
“There is no other explanation for the apparent impunity that is demonstrated by you and others who continue to abuse women despite the harsh consequences of the general Australian law that is there for the protection of all. 
“Men who behave like tyrants towards their intimate partners need to be brought to account.  I intend to do what I can to make you realise that you cannot continue to treat others with this level of cruelty and get away with it.
“Your counsel has explained and I accept the social inhibitions that would usually act as a restraint on this conduct, are not present for many people in the Aboriginal community.”
Mr Oliver’s offending took place at Amoonguna on Saturday July 25  last year.  He was drinking beer and Bundaberg rum and coke mixed drinks and became intoxicated with the victim and others. 
Only a month earlier he had been served with a domestic violence order with standard conditions relating to the victim .
He and the victim became involved in a jealous argument during which she threw his Basics Card at him, which he had given her earlier in the day.  It struck him in the face.
Mr Oliver became angry and verbally abusive towards the victim, who left the house where they had been drinking.  He followed her into the yard of another house and ran at her with a stick in his hand, but was stopped by a family member. 
He followed her again, grabbed her hair and pulled her to the ground.
He stood over the victim and punched her with a clenched fist with force to the left side of her face about six times. 
While she lay on the ground he kicked her – he was  wearing rubber thongs – with both feet about five times with such force that the victim bled immediately from her mouth and nose.
He grabbed a small, sharp edged kitchen knife with a black handle from his jeans pocket and stabbed the victim once to the right upper thigh which bled immediately. 
He placed the knife back in his jeans pocket and walked away, returning to the house where they had been drinking.  From there he telephoned police saying that he had assaulted his girlfriend.
Mr Oliver had previously been convicted of a similar assault on the same victim.
He had become enraged after a conversation with her, stopped her leaving, verbally abused her and punched her. 
He struck her with a curtain rod, head-butted her, threatened her with a knife, chased her with a stick and threatened her with a broken beer bottle. 
He had served five months’ imprisonment for that offence.
Justice Blokland expressed the hope that the victim had moved on, and that she would “never allow herself to be in a relationship with [Mr Oliver] or another violent man who does not respect the women with whom they are in intimate relationships”.
“Men who behave like you behaved do not deserve to have relationships with women until you can demonstrate you will not abuse your partners,” said Justice Blokland.
She said a lengthy gaol sentence would be “completely justified, both for general deterrence reasons and specific deterrence reasons” but commented, similarly to the Chief Justice in our interview last week,  “that regrettably imprisonment by itself is obviously not having the desired effect on the need to stop men in the Northern Territory from abusing women who they have a relationship with”.
Mr Oliver is 38, grew up in Santa Teresa, is reasonably literate, and has some work history but has not worked since separating from his wife, with whom he has two children, around eight years ago.
Mr Oliver has been in custody since the offending. His sentence of 16 months’ imprisonment, backdated to December 25 2009, will be suspended after eight months for an operational period of two years.

LETTERS: Hampton failing Alice Springs?

Sir – The Minister for Central Australia, who is also the Minister for Sport, has delivered a slap in the face to Alice Springs sporting fans in June 1’s announcement about a $33m spend “first class sporting facilities” for various sports in Palmerston.
Yet, he has failed to support local sporting clubs in Alice Springs by his refusal to act on a Parliamentary motion which called on the Government to ensure that Anzac Oval becomes a “first class facility”.
The motion passed in the November Parliamentary sittings, despite Mr Hampton opposing it.
My constituents don’t begrudge Top Enders improved sporting facilities, but they’re pretty cranky that Minister Hampton has completely ignored Anzac Oval, which is home to rugby, and has potential for other sports, such as soccer.
Anzac Oval also hosts the opening and closing ceremonies of the Masters Games, concerts, and other events. It should be the premiere facility in Alice Springs, but it’s dilapidated.
Jodeen Carney
Member for Araluen

Anzac sports academy?

Sir – What an amazing opportunity lies before us all in Alice Springs.  We hear so much about the poor state of infrastructure at Anzac Park and the closing of Anzac Hill High School.  Let’s get into some lateral thinking and grab this opportunity with both hands, an opportunity that has so many positives for Alice Springs and the Northern Territory – a Sporting Academy (The Centralian Sporting Academy).
We could train upcoming sporting heroes right here in Alice Springs.  With our climate and special altitude training location for athletes we would guarantee  our facility on the map as a number one training ground.  
Due to our size and the convenience of access to all varying sporting venues it is a fantastic idea.   We would win on so many issues. 
The sporting academy would ensure funding to upgrade the grounds at Anzac Park for rugby and special events such as concerts, masters games and so much more.  
It would be a positive in addressing  our youth issues and provide opportunities to so many individuals.  It would also assist our youth centre to grow and expand. Plus, plus, plus ... 
Let’s push this idea to your elected members, council and all the federal pollies.
Federal money would bring life to this concept.  This is our town and our opportunity to say strongly what we want.
Janet Brown
Alice Springs

Change of plans on police station

Sir – I note that some controversy has occurred about the NT Government’s change of plans concerning a proposed $6 million upgrade of the Alice Springs Police Station in favour of relocating the said station to the Greatorex Building located directly opposite.
That raises a couple of issues; first, what is to be done with the existing police premises?
Second, how is the Watch House immediately adjacent to the existing police station to be managed, if the relocation goes ahead?
The Watch House is a relatively new facility, built in accordance to the recommendations of the national Deaths in Custody Royal Commission of the early 1990s, and replacing the former fire station previously located on that site.
I also note that, in early December 2009, NT Supreme Court Justice Dean Mildren complained about the lack of court rooms in the Alice Springs Court House and stated that the town required a new court house.
If this is the case, it seems to me that the Greatorex Building is eminently suited (with modifications, of course) to be the site of a significantly expanded new Court House for Alice Springs.
In turn the police station could expand into the existing court house building while retaining its existing premises, minimizing both disruption and expense.
Have these options been given any consideration?
Alex Nelson
Alice Springs

Right to buy alcohol

Sir – On June 1, I went to my local liquor outlet at 6pm to buy a bottle of sherry, which I have done previously, only to find I no longer have the right to drink alocohol.
The NT Government won’t accept out of date driving licences as proof of identity any more. I am white, nearly 75 years of age, and no longer drive.
The NT Government has no legal right to treat me this way. It is a blatant breach of civil rights.
I went home and looked through phone directories to see if a Civil Rights Department exists, to complain to, but there were none. It looks like we unknowingly have been reduced to the status of sheep.
It is about time someone challenged the NT Government about its legal right to impose such a draconian law on everybody, especially elderly people.
At my age, I have a right to buy alcohol unchallenged.
Another breach of liberty, is that people my age are forced to go out at 6pm to buy certain types of alcohol, such as sherry, and walk if we have no car.
Barbara Adams
Alice Springs

Drive-in nostalgia
Sir – I share Mike Gillam’s nostalgia for the old drive-in movies (June 3).  My generation of 1960s high school students spent a lot of our free time at the drive-ins.  We fondly called them Passion Pits as that is where we practiced our sex education.
But would they still be a success today?  Aside from videos and lounge rooms being cheaper and more comfortable, I wonder about the vehicle emissions that would be generated.  In winter the cars would be kept running for heat, and in summer they would be running for the air-conditioners. 
Hal Duell
Alice Springs

Mall permits mean

Sir – With respect to your article “Crack-down on hawkers in the mall” (May 13), given the low likelihood of earnings in excess of $205 for selling a painting the council fee of  $205 seems unreasonable to me. I am stunned by the requirement for ten million dollars in public liability insurance for the vendors. What are the risks? It all seems very mean.
Peter May
Alice Springs

ADAM'S APPLE SWANSONG: In Alice, the reward outweighs the effort.

Let’s use the well-worn adage, “All good things come to an end”.
It is a truism. However all bad things and all mediocre things also have a termination date.
So no matter what you’ve thought of my little contribution to page 2 over the last four and a bit years, it is also true that this is the last Adam’s Apple.
That’s right people, in a scene played out in this town more often than lawn sales, someone is leaving town. This time it’s me.
I’ve been to more farewell shindigs than I can count. Most of them have been emotional affairs but the last couple of weeks have not been sad.
That said I do keep telling myself that people leave town all the time. I keep reminding myself that there are opportunities in other parts of the country. I keep saying to myself, “Alice isn’t going anywhere!”
Besides, I’ll just be down the road.
Alice does have a way of showing her mood, doesn’t she? The oppressive heat, the amazing storms or the perfect spring mornings.
I don’t know if Alice is all that happy with me for going. Her farewell gift was a little unwelcome. The week before I was meant to leave town I was diagnosed with Glandular Fever. Thanks Alice.  An oyster nailed to my throat, just what I’ve always wanted. You shouldn’t have!
The fever has put plans into disarray but undeterred, by the time you read this, I shall be in the land of Frog Cakes, Pale Ale and arnswers given by darncers called Larnce.
So what have I learned from my five years in Alice Springs? What advice could I offer a Centralian novitiate? Firstly, straight off the bat, you can’t make friends with stinkbugs. They look lovely but they need to be handled with a mercenary like efficiency.
It is also important to keep in the back of your mind that you are statistically never more than 50 metres away from something that can kill you. Snakes, spiders, drop bears, a microwaved pizza hero from a service station at three in the morning. Keep your wits about you.
Shop on a weekday.
Central Australia is a brutally beautiful place. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world come here to experience its awesome vastness. It might seem funny to point a timid couple from Japan down the wrong road until that same couple appears on the evening news.
Leave town every so often. Things tend to take on more importance than they should when you isolate yourself. Go on a holiday, see some water. Things tend to fall into their correct perspective after a break.
Don’t bring your big city prejudices with you. They might work perfectly fine in Sydney or Adelaide but they don’t work here. Crying about the lack of an IKEA in town isn’t going to make one appear. Figure out how to live without cheap, self assembled Swedish furniture.  Similarly, you’ll never enjoy a night out in town if you are expecting a laser light, three floors rave. We don’t have one of those and bitching about it won’t make it happen. Go to Bojangles, watch a tourist try and go to the toilet, have a laugh and enjoy yourself.
Most importantly though is this. Alice Springs is whatever you want to make it. Alice won’t come to you and invite you to take refuge in her welcoming bosom. She isn’t that type of woman. But if you make an effort, if you choose your friends wisely, if you get involved and if you care enough, Alice will reward you like no other town I’ve lived in.
That’s what I’d tell an Alice newbie. Roll up your sleeves and muck in. The reward outweighs the effort.
I’ve been so blessed here in this exceptional town. I will always love the Alice. I may be back but for now, you’ve been brilliant to me Alice, thanks.
ED – We wish Adam all the very best in this next phase of his life. We loved his many witty and often thoughtful takes on life in The Alice.

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