August 19, 2010. This page contains all major
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Abbott a pawn? By ERWIN CHLANDA with additional reporting by KIERAN FINNANE.

Country Liberals heavies appear to have been scheming to sacrifice Leo Abbott – highly unlikely to win Lingiari – to get at Labor’s Damien Hale who is on a knife’s edge in the seat of Solomon (Darwin).
This is suggested by an email exchange leaked to the Alice Springs News.
But Mr Abbott on the weekend survived a strong push to have him disendorsed over his breach of a domestic violence order (DVO).
Mr Hale, too, has a DVO against him.
Mr Abbott’s breach consisted of messages sent by text and email to his estranged partner, after the miscarriage of their baby.
Magistrate Greg Borchers, who heard the charges on December 15 last year, emphasised that there were no threats, abuse or denigration contained in the messages. (See below for further detail.)
The apparent schemers behind the attempted dumping include former Chief Minister Shane Stone, CL director Peter Allen and treasurer Graeme Lewis.
Mr Lewis said to 10 addressees: “I doubt that disendorsement is a legal option – voting has started.
“But we need to put petrol on the issue to fix Hale right up.”
And Mr Stone replied: “If we determine its correct then we pull his preselection and at the same time challenge the ALP to do likewise with Hale.
“The ALP will argue the difference is that Hale agreed to the Orders and never breached them – the point is that the ALP and Hale will be out there having to defend his predicament – Hale’s DVO has oxygen finally for them that don’t know [sic].
“Terry Mills could call for the disendorsement.”
The fracas has the Country Liberals teetering on the brink of a north-south split.
Party heavies in Alice Springs and Senator Nigel Scullion are backing Mr Abbott as the candidate in Saturday’s election, while the entire Territory parliamentary wing, his fellow candidate in Solomon, Natasha Griggs, and even the national Opposition Leader Tony Abbott want him disendorsed.
Alice Springs delegate Steve Brown says Leo Abbott told the party’s preselection committee in a closed meeting earlier this year that he had breached a Domestic Violence Order (DVO), had been fined by the court, but no conviction had been entered.
Mr Brown, who was at the meeting attended by more than 100 people, says he and several leading CL members in Central Australia are supporting Mr Abbott, in a bid to groom an Aboriginal candidate for Lingiari which for decades has been dominated by Labor’s Warren Snowdon.
Mr Brown says the DVO breach – sending text messages and not involving physical violence – had been committed by Mr Abbott in a state of extreme sadness over the death of his son.
“I believe he has the right to move on,” says Mr Brown.
But Members of the Legislative Assembly, who are not permitted to be present during preselection proceedings, were not told about Mr Abbott’s confession, it is claimed.
And while the party machine confirmed its support for Mr Abbott, and declined to disendorse him, the CL Members of Parliament demanded he be dumped.
MLA for Port Darwin and earlier a prominent CL figure in Alice Springs, John Elferink, told the Alice Springs News he had only learned about Mr Abbott’s breach from media reports last week.
He said he had asked Mr Abbott at the Darwin show whether rumours were true that he had breached a DVO, and Mr Abbott had told him all charges had been thrown out of court.
Mr Abbott gave the same reply to a question from the Alice Springs News in mid-May, clearly telling a lie.
Opposition Leader Terry Mills started the “dump Abbott” campaign by speaking to national media late last week.
On Monday Mr Mills, using the party’s website, issued a statement saying the party’s “parliamentary wing ... met this morning and were rock solid behind my move to have Mr Abbott disendorsed.
“The issues surrounding his breach of a DVO mean he is not a suitable person to represent the party at the Federal election.
“While I am naturally disappointed the party’s management committee saw the matter differently, I believe the view of the parliamentary members more accurately reflects the community’s view.
“There is too much violence in the Northern Territory and there is too much domestic violence.
“The Country Liberals’ party wing believes it is the role of community leaders to send a signal that all forms of domestic violence are abhorrent and unacceptable.”
The three CL Parliamentarians in Central Australia, Jodeen Carney (Araluen), Matt Conlan (Greatorex) and Adam Giles (Braitling) did not respond to requests for comment from the Alice Springs News.
However, the News obtained emails from Ms Carney and Mr Conlan to constituents, informing them that they will not be supporting Mr Abbott at Alice Springs polling booths on Saturday.
Says Ms Carney: “For many, many years, I have taken a strong public and private stand  against any form of violence against women. It is for this reason, and as a matter of conscience, I cannot support this candidate, which is  why I will not attend at the Gillen polling booth on election day.”
And Mr Conlan: “The parliamentary wing and Tony Abbott support Terry Mills and his call to disendorse the candidate despite the wishes of those on the Country Liberals management committee.
“As a result, I won’t be attending the Sadadeen polling booth this Saturday as a matter of principal [sic].
“The stance by Terry Mills has also been supported and applauded by former Chief Minister Shane Stone who along with Marshall Perron were at the forefront of pioneering domestic violence prevention programs in the wider community and also among the indigenous population.
“The program was called Enough is Enough and was so successful it became a bench mark for other jurisdictions around Australia.
“Hence my decision to withdraw supporting this candidate.”
They are now clearly in conflict with the people who endorsed them, the CL members in Central Australia.
Mr Abbott did not respond to phone calls from the News.
At the time of the hearing of the breach charges, Mr Abbott had no criminal record, was not known to the police, and had never been before the courts.
This was clearly stated by both the police prosecutor and Mr Abbott’s defence lawyer.
Magistrate Greg Borchers accepted that Mr Abbott had an excellent work history (from working as a stockman, to 13 years in the Parks and Wildlife Service, where he rose to a senior position, and recently a consultancy for FaHCSIA, where he was Program Manager for Indigenous Engagement)); and that he had made a significant contribution to his immediate community as well as to the wider Indigenous community.
The DVO was served on Mr Abbott on April 14, 2009 and expired on  April 5 this year.
The breach of the order consisted of 21 messages sent by text or email between April 16 and May 31, 2009.
Mr Abbott participated in a voluntary electronic record of interview with police on July 18, 2009.
He accepted that the messages were “a form of contact”.
When asked why he had contacted the protected person, he said, according to the police prosecutor, “I was reaching out to her”.
Mr Borchers, who was supplied with a “download” of the messages, noted that they were “not in any way threatening”.
He said they expressed Mr Abbott’s affection for the protected person and sought an agreement from her to speak to him.
Nonetheless they constituted a breach of the order against him, which Mr Borchers said a man of Mr Abbott’s education and background should have understood.
His defence lawyer had put to the court that Mr Abbott believed that “contact” related to “face to face” or being in the person’s “presence”.
Mr Borchers said the offence was found proven but he was “not moved to record a conviction” against Mr Abbott.
He fined him $500 and placed him on a good behaviour bond for nine months. It will be due to expire next month.
Meanwhile Mr Hale supplied this statement: “I condemn domestic violence and have never engaged in it.
“Family separation is hard on everyone but no where is it harder than on children.
“My ex-wife and I placed DVO’s on each other in July last year for a period of 12 months and they have since expired. At no time were the police involved in the matter between my ex-wife and myself.
“Neither of us ever breached the Court Orders. We are now divorced but communicate because we have five beautiful children. Our focus has always been about protecting our children so it is for that reason I will not be making any further comment on this matter.”

Who will benefit from AZRI - airport development? By

$50,000 for a house block? It may be unlikely but certainly not impossible: just how hard will the public push the pollies to make something like this happen?
As has been expected for years, the AZRI (Arid Zone Research Institute) land south or of the town has now been officially joined by some airport land in plans to provide desperately needed land for homes.
The airport is owned by the Commonwealth, leased for 99 years to Northern Territory Airports (NTA) and as is the case with the AZRI land, is unencumbered by native title.
NTA paid $110m for the leases of the Alice, Darwin and Tennant Creek airports in 2000.
Both AZRI and the airport are public land.
The NT Government is spending $10m to bring headworks – power, water and sewerage – to the edge of the AZRI block.
The cost of internal development – streets, electricity, water, sewerage – is around $50,000 per housing block, given that the land is flat and not stony.
So why should the government charge more than it costs it to bring the land on stream for home buyers?
If the government charged the extortionate current market rate for residential land, who would get the $270,000 per block windfall?
The government?
And if it didn’t, what would the people say who for years have been paying through the nose, or who just left town in disgust or despair?
Warren Snowdon, who is seeking re-election as the Member for Lingiari, with great fanfare announced that the Commonwealth had approved the airport master plan which provides for residential development on 3.5 square kilometers, about 10% of the huge block accommodating the airport, at its north-western edge.
Together with the AZRI project there will be room for creating 4,500 dwellings over 20 years, says Mr Snowdon.
He did not explain why that approval wasn’t given more than two years ago, or earlier.
Successive airport master plans contained the housing proposal and it was raised in a major town planning forum in 2008. (See
At that time the parasitical dealing with land in Alice Springs had reached crippling dimensions.  
In fact plans to use the airport land as living space dates back to the first airport master plan, in 2004, when it was approved by the then Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson (Coalition).
When Labor came to power in 2007 it embarked on a review of the entire aviation policy.
The new suburb went on the back burner while the cost of housing skyrocketed.
Labor decided there should be no houses, schools, hospitals and the like on airport land, no matter how big it is, nor how desperately they are needed.
This is unless there are exceptional circumstances, which the Minister, Anthony Albanese, has now decided are present.
This discovery came – conveniently for Mr Snowdon – just a week out from the elections.
A spokesman for Mr Albanese says neither he nor his predecessors had any opportunity – until now – to approve the residential use of part of the airport.
“The airport operator could have brought an amendment [to the master plan but] chose not to do that.
“They could have. They did not.”
But Ian Kew, NTA CEO, says the Commonwealth was “well aware what’s in our master plan all of this time”.
He says the proposal had been approached by the NT Government “with a lot of vigour in the past couple of years ... we had to go out last year and get detailed studies [and engage in] community consultation. They challenged us to provide more information.”
Asked whether Mr Snowdon had offered in the past to fast track the process Mr Kew said he had not but “he may well have done that.”
The aviation review of the new Labor government had also caused some delays.
“It’s still early days” is a common answer when one enquires about projected land prices in the new suburb of Kilgariff.
The airport company is now proposing to collaborate with the NT Government. Mr Kew says the exact form of this is not yet clear.
The company, which also owns the airports in Darwin and Tennant Creek, may be surrendering part of the lease area to the NT Government. What it will get for this – if anything – isn’t decided yet.
The Commonwealth may take the view that as the company is leasing the land for aviation purposes, it isn’t any skin off its nose if the owner – the Commonwealth – trims off a bit to counter ever rising real estate costs.
A spokesman for NT Minister for Lands Gerry McCarthy says the cost of the blocks “will be determined by the market”.
In that case someone will make a killing, either the government or the developer, given that the market value of residential land is five to six times the amount it costs to open it up.
The spokesman says with the Darwin suburbs of Belamac and Johnston, the land was auctioned.
The purchase prices will not be disclosed, except that the government will re-invest any profit in opening up further land.
All this evokes fond memories of the days of “Canberra control” before self-government in the Territory: land was sold at the cost of the services.
The writer of this article in 1975 bought a brand new three bedroom house on a quarter acre block for $36,000. The deposit was $600 and the remainder at 4% interest.
Thousands of people moved into town in those days.
The style of Kilgariff is another uncertainty.
When we raised the plans two years ago with the airport director at the time, Donald McDonald, he said his company would be careful not to offend against “acceptable” land use patterns.
This raised some questions.
The plan put forward by consultants to the NT Government, Opus Qantec McWilliam, shows along Colonel Rose Drive, the northern boundary of the airport, land for “single dwellings”, conjuring up anything from homes on quarter acre blocks to cluster housing.
In one place along that road there is provision even for “medium rise residential” developments.
And to the east of the residential areas is land set aside for “tourism” – which could mean anything from walking trails down to the Todd River to hotels and caravan parks.
On the other side of Colonel Rose Drive are long-established rural residential areas, mostly two hectare blocks (five acres).
Residents there have fought determined battles, by and large successfully, to retain the character of their area and their lifestyle.
Mr McDonald told the Alice Springs News two years ago that community wishes would be respected and where appropriate, there would be rural residential land, which would mean two hectare blocks or bigger.
That seems to have gone by the wayside. A new plan released by Mr Kew last week shows town-size blocks just across the Colonel Rose Drive, opposite Heffernan and Petrick Roads (the writer of this article lives in this area).
Stand by for another blockies’ revolt!

Way out for council on liquor litter case. By KIERAN FINNANE.

The Town Council has been offered a way out of Supreme Court proceedings challenging the validity of its liquor litter charge, according to information leaked to the Alice Springs News.
The council is not proceeding with the charge in the current financial year, now that the NT Government has promised a Territory-wide container deposit scheme by late next year.
However, the council has refused to rescind the charge imposed in the last financial year, although it has offered to consider a scheme of payments of the outstanding amounts.
Several of the affected parties are now proposing that council enter into confidential arrangements with them to not enforce the charge and to reimburse those who have paid it, in exchange for discontinuing their legal action contesting its validity.
This would leave the charge “on the books”.
Should council accept their proposal, the parties, represented by Peer Schroter of Povey Stirk, would be seeking a negotiated agreement on the issue of legal costs.
A pre-mediation conference has been scheduled for next Tuesday (August 24), with “position papers” of both sides due to be filed yesterday (August 18).
The plaintiffs’ “position paper” reflects the above proposal, first made on June 29.
Apparently council’s position paper will disclose for the first time the legal basis of its defence.
Should the case go ahead it will be heard in Darwin by Chief Justice Riley on December 16 – a relisting due to the unavailability of the council’s senior counsel.
The Alice News has asked council for comment.
CEO Rex Mooney said council considers it “inappropriate to comment as the litigation is still pending”.

Tourists, river campers watch out: by-laws will be enforced. By KIERAN FINNANE.

The Town Council’s  public places by-laws are now in force.
During the implementation period there will be “some leniency shown” with regard to enforcement, with an emphasis on education.
However, rangers are apparently being prepared for rigorous enforcement with baton training and obtaining security licences, council business papers reveal.
At Monday night’s meeting rural resident Rod Cramer asked what had the by-laws changed with respect to camping in public places, beyond extending its ban for a few hours.
Craig Catchlove, director of Corporate and Community Services, said those hours (up to 9am) are useful for the exrecise of ranger powers.
He said rangers have been actively booking “quite a number” of tourist vehicles.
At first they are advised to move on but if they “tarry”, rangers issue a ticket.
Rangers clock on at 8am, though on “river run” mornings (usually three a week) when they deal with campers in the river, they start at 5am.
Would it not be better to deal with people at 9pm, rather than 9am after “the damage” has been done, asked Mr Cramer.
Mr Catchlove says enforcement in the morning is deliberate, in light of the accommodation shortage in town. Moving people on at 9pm would be “verging on the inhumane”, he said.
There’ll be a “communications strategy”, including on CAAMA radio in Aboriginal languages, about the new by-laws, he said, letting people know what the major differences are.
Regarding tourists camping in public places, he said if necessary “the old overtime book” would be pulled out and rangers would move them on at night.
He said council met with police last week and put the view to them that they should also act to enforce council’s by-laws.
Meanwhile, the permit conditions for selling art from the lawns in Todd Mall have been redrafted and are likely to be voted for at the end of the month.
Alderman Melanie van Haaren, who had previously objected to conditions she felt were covered by the by-laws (such as prohibiting ‘public toileting’), said she was happy with the redraft.
Mr Catchlove said he had gone back to the Uniting Church, owners of the major part of the lawn area, and they were happy with the by-laws coverage of points of concern and for “specifics to be handled on a one on one basis”.
The condition regarding ownership of the works being offered for sale now says the paintings must have been “predominantly”, instead of “wholly”, produced by the sellers.
Permits will cost $200 for a year, or $50 for three months, and $100 for six.
Aldermen also supported formalising community collaboration with the police, with a model that has been successful in NSW to be put to NT Police “as applicable to Alice Springs”.
Called “Community Safety Precinct Committees” the model provides the opportunity for local councils, community members and business owners “to get involved in strategies designed to address local crime concerns”.

ERROR: Batons only for aggressive dogs. (Posted Sept 3,  2010.)

Town Council rangers under no circumstances will use batons when dealing with the public, says CEO Rex Mooney.
The baton training referred to in last week’s Alice News (“Tourists, river campers watch out: by-laws will be enforced”) is for “the express purpose of dealing with aggressive dogs in extreme situations”, says Mr Mooney.
The Alice News regrets the error.

Appeals from Spears, Kloeden rejected. By KIERAN FINNANE.

Applications on behalf of Anton Kloeden and Joshua Spears, two of the five  men convicted of manslaughter of Kwementyaye Ryder, seeking leave to appeal against the severity of their sentences have been refused.
The lawyer acting for Mr Spears, Tony Whitelum, has since applied for a rehearing of the application.
Such applications are considered by a single judge in chambers on the basis of affidavit material.
See our web archive for reports about the content of the affidavits ( and
Meanwhile, Selwyn Kloeden, father of Anton, says detention conditions for his son and co-offenders have improved.
They are now allowed out of their cells for six hours a day.
Mr Kloeden (snr) spoke out about the conditions on a recent Four Corners program.
At the time of the interview he sad the five were being held in their cells for 22 hours a day, describing that as “just extraordinary”.
Mr Kloeden told the Alice News that the conditions were changed just a few days before the Four Corners program went to air.
He is continuing to push for the detainees to be given the resources they need to study.
His son is doing a business course, through CDU, but is not allowed access to a computer.

Govt. will keep sharp eye on new town camp homes. By KIERAN FINNANE.

Residents in a brand new house at Hidden Valley town camp say they want to keep the house clean, but they also must keep it clean.
Sarah Mangeraka (pictured), daughter of Judy Williams, a dialysis patient who has been allocated the house, says “Tangentyere [sic] come and see the house all the time”.
Sarah lives with her husband Patrick Nandy at Amoonguna, about 16 kms by road from town, but frequently comes to Hidden Valley to help her mother.
“Before they come we clean the floor, we clean all the wall. If kids chuck icrecream or whatever on it, we got to clean it. 
“If they see it’s dirty, we have to get out from this house, go back and stop at another house.”
Until a month ago Mrs Williams was living in a house with – her grand-daughter, Melissa Sitzler, adds them up – 12 adults and five or six small children.
And no-one was doing cleaning.
“That was stressing her out,” says Mark Lockyer, a nephew who calls her “Mum Judy”.
In the new house there’s three adults – Mrs Williams, her grandson Angus and Melissa  – and eight young children.
“I love little kids, they make me happy,” says Mrs Williams.
“They’ve got to stop here with me.”
She grew up in Hermannsburg and spent time at Ali Curung and Tennant Creek before moving into Alice at age 19, living at first at Little Sisters camp.
She’s been at Hidden Valley since the mid-80s, in a number of different houses.
For the last several years she’s been on dialysis.
“I been waiting long time” for a new house, says Mrs Williams.
She lives off the money on her Basics Card (50% of her benefits) and saves the rest for the little kids – so she can buy them a treat when the mobile shop comes in the afternoon after school.
Mark, Mrs Williams and Sarah all seem happy with the Basics Card system.
“Before the Basics Card most kids were eating weetbix, bread and noodles, now they eat proper food,” says Mark.
“Basics Card is alright,” says Sarah.
“Before people spent their money on grog and cards.
“Now we buy tucker, clothes.
“I do shopping every day, before the kids come back.
“We save our tinned stuff.”
When Mrs Williams had good health she ran her own household, did her own cleaning.
These days she needs help and although she has a carer, “Allan, a white bloke”, she also wants Sarah to be around to look after her.
With one wish fulfilled, she hopes for another.
She points to a vacant area just over the fence and says she’d like a house to be built there for Sarah and her husband.
“I been talking about that to housing,” says Mrs Williams.
“Patrick’s a good son-in-law for me. He does cleaning, raking too.
“Before I go to dialysis Sarah feeds me.”
There’s also checking for evidence of drinking in the house, they say. Mrs Williams doesn’t want drinking anyway and sends any drinkers down to the nearby subdivision drain.
She’s happy with the house. It’s a cold windy day when the News visits, but sheltered and sunny out the back. There’s a breezeway, protected by security screens. The family will be able to sleep there when it gets hot, says Mark.
There’s a bedroom and bathroom separated by the breezeway from the rest of the house; a kitchen with breakfast bar and a small living room, plus three more bedrooms, a bathroom with disabled access, and a laundry.
Outside the yard is bare but trees have been planted along the fenceline and mulching applied. The residents are expected to keep the yard clean and the trees watered, they tell the News.
Mrs Williams says “housing” haven’t given her a washing machine and she also mentions wanting a fire drum. The News suggests that they could look for a drum at the tip shop, but Mark says they’re hard to come by.
At the house where he lives, caring for his mother who is also on dialysis, they asked for a new stove and got one.
Mark is also pleased about the services coming on to the camps: there’s care assistance for the aged and disabled, help with money management and life skills, dog control, and regular rubbish collection by the Town Council, with two wheelie bins per house.
“We need two because of the number of people and visitors living in the houses,” he says.
Wheelie bins are much better, he says, because you can take them outside. With the 44 gallon drums they had before, they couldn’t easily move them, dogs used to jump inside and strew the rubbish around and people used to burn the rubbish.
“Step by little step” things are improving, he says.
In his own life too: he was recently selected to take part in the Desert Leadership Program, a recognition in part of his role as a community advocate.
The program will take him to Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra at the end of the month. He’s particularly looking forward to visiting Canberra, where he says he’ll be “listening and learning” but also intends to speak to politicians about issues in Alice, such as alcohol abuse, violence, and overcrowding in Aboriginal housing.

Drag queens.

Armed with a pit pass, I spent most of last Sunday afternoon at the Alice Springs Inland Dragway’s Street Meet, talking to the six female racers to find out what makes them “tick”.
Mother of three and grandmother of four, Chris Jackson races in the Street Class but comes out for every race meeting to help.
She usually drives a blue 350Z Nissan and was having a day of ups and downs due to being in her husband’s unfamiliar 350Z.
Chris and Pete sponsor the dragway’s computers through their business, Centre Labour Force and Recruitment NT, and Pete spends most of every meeting in the tower, handling the technical stuff and calling names and numbers.
I asked her how she first got involved with racing. “When we installed the computers I got sent down the track as a sensor tester and loved it,” laughed Chris.  Chris and Pete were proud to be associated with the dragway’s Make a Wish Foundation charity day by sponsoring a lane: “You have got to give back to the community,” said Chris.
Glenys Wilkins has been racing for 15 years and got started because of her husband Tim: “It was a matter of joining them or being completely out of it,” said Glenys who has 11 grandkids.
One of her granddaughters is her pit crew along with a lot of the young fellows around town who all come out to help their Nan.
“Tim does a lot and Pete Hondow is a big support, especially when a motor is blown – he puts another one in and away she goes – he always seems to get me back there.”
Glenys has raced the same car since she first began and last year she won the Super Street Title, the latest of quite a few over the years.
In 2004 at the old 7 Mile track she won, out of the whole club, Champion Driver of the Year.
“A few boys didn’t like that too much but I earned it because I never missed a meeting. 
“It was a bit of a surprise and I think I was the only female racing back then.”
Glenys has attended a few “rod runs” down south but never raced at them, although she has raced in Darwin.
Her best time so far is 11.3 seconds down the quarter mile but she still wants to go faster!
“I want to beat not only my own time but also my husband’s – he’s blitzing me at the moment.”
Her car is a naturally aspirated car which doesn’t have anything extra under the hood. Although she has sometimes thought of going to “nos” she feels it would be a bit of a false thing.
At present, Heather Parkinson is the only female motorcycle drag racer on her Harley-Davidson 2003 Anniversary model Deuce.
Heather got involved at the age of 16 in Adelaide when she did five years crewing for her best mate and his old Monaro.
After all these years, she has now decided to have a go at racing and because she owns a Harley, she decided to have a go on a motorbike.
This is her first full season after having a couple of goes last year.
Her goal is to win a meeting and more than anything, to beat her own times.
“Every time you get back to the pits you have a look at your time cards to see if you’ve run a quicker time. “It’s all about running quicker and beating yourself and also your reaction time too.
“You have to get off the line quickly – you’re always trying to better that as well, so you’re actually out there trying to beat two things.”
Heather’s mates, who are also drag racers, come out for every meeting and give her heaps when she misses gears and so on. After racing, they usually get together and have a chat over in the pits to see how each other has gone.
Heather has been on the committee for five years and reflects on the hard work in getting the track built. She’s pleased that things are finally coming together, and although she usually commentates, says this is her year to have a go at racing as well as helping. “You do so much for the track (and I love it otherwise I wouldn’t do it) but it’s so nice to be out there actually doing something for yourself for a change.”
Heather’s friend Margie Paris from Darwin races mod bikes and comp bikes all round Australia and in New Zealand, making her Heather’s biggest idol when it comes to female bike riders.
Heather has also been touring on the national circuit and crewing for various Door Slammer teams. As part of a crewperson’s job, she has packed parachutes and assisted with pushing and bringing cars back.
She owns a Trans-Am which she hopes to have ready for the next Street Meet – with two toys to race, she’ll have a hard decision on the day.
As the daughter of one of ASID’s original driving forces, Big Al, Angelique Stainer is a well-known local female drag racer who started at age 14.
After they turn 16, competitors must move out of the juniors, so Angelique’s parents bought her current car for her 17th birthday.
“Most kids got a cricket bat in those days,” said Angelique, “whereas I got a drag car and if it wasn’t for my parents supporting me and letting me have a go, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with the sport.”
When I asked Angelique what’s in it for her, she didn’t have to think at all before replying, “My heart and my soul”.
She finds it hard to come out and race because she really, really misses her dad but on the same note she’s doing it for him.
She tells me about the butterflies she gets on the inside, and how at first she thinks to herself that she doesn’t want to do it.
“But in the end, that’s what you do it for, because you need that adrenalin feeling and I suppose now, I can’t get away from of it because I grew up with it.”
As a junior dragster, Angelique travelled to Melbourne and won the 1995 Junior Dragster Title, then went to Adelaide and did track passes there. She won a track record in Adelaide, along with numerous NT titles for as many years as she was a junior.
After juniors, she was lucky enough to have a consistent car where she could keep up and make it into a lot of finals.  Wins in her current car include the Mildura Power Sports Motor Weekend and her car won the Best Presented Vehicle Overall in the Show and Shine.
It has also won a Best Paint Job category and the 1/8 Mile Titles in Tennant Creek for four or five years in a row.
Angelique’s most meaningful win so far has been the runner up in the Big Al Stainer Memorial Title.
To date, Angelique has had one season off due to her dad passing away and she also took time off to have her son. Female competitors aren’t allowed to race after the first three and half months of pregnancy.
Angelique had her last race at about 3 months and wasn’t too happy at the idea of having a season off. She laughs and tells me, “He was doing 7.9 seconds down the quarter mile before he was born, which is something he can tell his mates about when he’s older.”
Her son’s first outing after he was born was to the old 7 mile drags strip and although Angelique didn’t race that meeting, he slept through the whole thing and didn’t wake up until all the noise stopped and his pa had a trophy for him.
Now aged 10, young Alan is her main support. He’s been picking out rubber from under the car and helping to polish the wheels.
If she can afford she’d like to get young Al out there one day, said Angelique.
“It’s such a family orientated sport it would be good to have him participating and not just helping.”
Considered a bit of a “revhead”, mother of one Nicki Lee Bowen always liked the drags but never had the opportunity to have a go – she was not aware of the old 7 Mile strip, even as a spectator! 
When the new strip opened, her husband Russ brought their commodore out to race, and they saw Warren Wallace’s rail car for sale.  There was something about this dragster that made Nikki Lee fall in love with it and so things moved on from there.
She feels this is a classic drag car – it was the only one in town for a while – and whenever someone mentions drags, these are usually the first picture that comes into a person’s mind.
Having always driven a four cylinder, Nikki literally jumped out of a Yaris and into a dragster and she’s now been involved for about two years.
“I like the rail car because it’s long and I like the length of it because it doesn’t seem to step out as much as the altered dragsters,” she said.
One of her more nervous moments occurred in Tennant Creek when she got the car a couple of metres sideways.
Nikki had only been racing for a couple of months before her biggest moment – winning the 2008 Alice Springs Titles. It was the first time she’d ever really won anything and she just couldn’t believe it.
Her car has a 468 big block chev motor and she runs a 150 shot of “nos” with it.
Her fastest time so far is 8.21 over the ¼ mile.
For Nikki the club is like one big happy family and that’s what makes it special. When she’s not racing, she helps out wherever she can and she and her husband both enjoy different areas of the same things, which helps to keep their partnership strong. Russ is her “number one” and her head mechanic, manager, crew and financial support. He puts in a lot of hours and is the one who has the ideas to make things come together, said Nikki.
Heather Anderson has a background in speedway, starting when she was 16 as a passenger on a sidecar. She moved on to solos for two and half years, then swung for Ringer Sidey and a couple of other people.
After this, she met and swung for her late husband Neil, who had been transferred from Adelaide to work for the aviation crew at the airport.
Neil used to drag bikes and a GT ute with Heather as pit crew and an observer, so last Sunday was her first time as a competitor.
She’s racing a ‘66 fastback Mustang which came out from California. It was imported by Down Under Thunder in Brisbane and she actually bought it when it was still on the boat to Australia.
She’s had it for about nine months during which it has just sat it in the shed and been polished a lot because she’s been too scared to scratch it!
This car also won the Best American Muscle category at the Piston Broke Promotions Show ‘n’ Shine in May.
Heather said she didn’t realise drag racing would be so hard. Although it’s a lot of fun, she was very, very nervous and was also having a little bit of trouble with the clutch.
She feels it’s probably a bit easier for the guys with automatic transmissions and was prepared for the clutch to burn out after her next run. 
The best part of Heather’s day was probably getting her confidence up.
“I’m still a bit frightened of it but the guys have been helping me out all day and they’ve been fabulous.” Heather wants to stick it out for the rest of the season but there’s a fair bit of work needed on the car first. She was surprised at how slippery it was out there without slicks.
Sitting there for the first time on the line was “absolutely petrifying” and she was worried that if something went wrong, she wouldn’t know what to do, how to correct it and shut it down.
Each of these women gave me a closing comment which was really positive and I couldn’t help becoming swept up into their enthusiasm for the sport.
Chris Jackson: “The biggest buzz for me is that this is actually time out for me where I don’t get interrupted for 15 seconds.
“There are no phones and no people, and I can just purely concentrate on what I’m doing – it’s great stress relief!”
Glenys Wilkins: “I think it’s nice that an old girl’s driving this car with a motor that could have run in any era – that makes it all good, I reckon.”
Heather Parkinson has played netball and other sports over the years but says nothing gives her an adrenalin rush like this: “The noise, the methanol, all the fumes and the burnouts – this is ‘it’ for me!”
In the future, Angelique sees herself in the same car but possibly in a different class and hopefully with her son alongside her. But if she had to choose, she’d give up and allow her son to have a go.
Nikki says racing has become her life, and although her car is out of action at the moment, she simply can’t wait to get back out onto the track.
Heather Anderson feels at her age, this sport is a bit kinder than speedway and motocross but still gives an adrenalin rush. 
Since Neil’s death, Heather has changed her entire attitude to life.
Her advice: “If you want to try something, just get out there and do it because you might not be here tomorrow – don’t wait – just go and do it because life’s too short and it’s bloody good fun.”

Desert triumph in national awards.

In a triumph for painting from the western desert, Jimmy Donegan, now living in the remote South Australian community of Kalka, has won the 27th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award.
His work Papa Tjukurpa and Pukara also won in the General Painting Award category, which meant Mr Donegan went home $44,000 richer.
The painting depicts two dreamings on a single canvas (measuring 1.8m x 2m) – dingo from his father’s country, and water snake from his grandfather’s country.
The Alice News met the artist briefly last Saturday on his return trip from Darwin where he had attended the awards ceremony the night before.
A dignified man in a stockman’s hat and dark blue jacket emblazoned with the word “Australia” and white stars of the Southern Cross, he appeared delighted about the win but keen to get home.
He speaks little English but made it clear that he did not want to talk about the “dreamings” in his painting, with all others present being women.
Local audiences can look forward to seeing work by him and others from the NPY region, currently experiencing an ascendancy in the art world, in the forthcoming Desert Mob.
Mr Donegan was born at Yanpan, a rockhole near Ngatuntjarra Bore, around 1940, and grew up as a ‘bush baby’ in country around Blackstone and Mantamaru in Western Australia.
He has family links through the Pitjantjatjara lands, his wife originally from a place near Kalka. Now widowed, Mr Donegan lives in Kalka with his four children and close to his sister Molly Nampitjin Miller. The artist is also a wood craftsman, with his spears, spear throwers and boomerangs sought-after.

Old Timers Fete $ bonanza.

Thousands turned out last Saturday for the reliably delightful annual Old Timers Fete, which raises funds for the aged care facility.
It grossed its second highest takings ever, with $72,000. Funds are likely to be put towards upgrades of the cottages.
Over 80 people had responded to a call for volunteers, with business and community organisations joining the traditional church and service club volunteers.
Clockwise from top left:
• Resident Old Timer Anne Cox, who turns 93 next month, welcomed visitors to the museum.
• It was a perfect day for picnic.
• Lluisa Vilalta from Barcelona joined local Elissa Pernu for a fete favourite, Devonshire tea.
• Volunteers Elaine Sheridan and Sue Collins with another fete specialty, handmade soft toys.
• Volunteer Mister Shaun was auctioneer.
• And volunteer Nola Leyback closes a deal at the book stall.

LETTERS: Mental illness affects many in community.

Sir – [A] canvas shows a mark for each human life lost to suicide by friends and family of the 30 attendants at the Mental Health Forum and Vigil run by local GetUp members last Wednesday. There were around 120 marks made.
Local candidates for the seat of Lingiari, Deirdre Finter and Barbara Shaw, attended the vigil.
Claudia Manu-Preston from the Mental Health Association of Central Australia (MHACA) spoke with assistance from an Indigenous support worker and a past consumer of mental health services.
Indigenous carer Valda called for a telephone service offering support in Indigenous languages.
Ms Preston emphasised the fact that while crisis services are important, a successful approach to Mental Health requires a holistic approach, with areas such as accommodation, support networks and community education providing crucial building blocks to sustained recovery. 
She cited MHACA’s recently released report into Alice Springs accommodation services for the mentally ill, There’s No Place Like Home – There Is No Place, which made the following recommendations:
• to recognise priority of need of people with a mental illness, particularly their risk of homelessness;
• to meet urgent housing and support needs: 10 long term flats, 24-hour supported accommodation for six people;
• provide accommodation beds to avoid unnecessary hospitalisation or incarceration of people with mental illness;
• strengthen the capacity of clinical services to provide timely response, including after hours, to support carers and accommodation providers.
Short funding cycles were also identified as a major problem for long term planning.
Local NT Independent Phil Walcott also spoke of his life experiences and plans as a candidate prior to the candlelit vigil.
GetUp is supporting the recommendations of Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry: to increase the federal mental heath budget by $545m in funding 90 youth ‘Headspace’ centres, 10 early psychosis intervention centres, 24-hour suicide prevention and psychosis teams, support for mental health patients to recover outside of hospital, a national mental health education campaign, social support services and training for counsellors.
Ben McIntyre
GetUp member
Alice Springs

Stuart nowhere
near Alice

Sir – The debacle surrounding the Stuart statue is made worse by the fact that Stuart, whom I believe to be Australia’s greatest inland explorer, never came within 100km of Alice Springs.  A better option would have been to celebrate John Ross who found a way through the MacDonnell Ranges or the discoverer of the original Alice Springs.
Given what  I can only describe as the penchant of the council to use the by-laws as a form of social control over the residents of this town it is doubly disgraceful that the most secretive council I can remember failed to follow its own procedures (possibly even those in regards to conflict of interest), simply to satisfy what I can only describe as a mysogonistic secret society with tentacles stretching throughout the town, with secret members and handshakes to boot.
I believe that the failure to follow due process means the town will be lumped with a western triumphalist statue more suited to 19th century Australia than 21st century Australia.  An explorer with a gun may symbolise food to some but repression to the original inhabitants.
I believe the best option for council is to donate the statue to the Waramungu, who turned Stuart back at Attack Creek, to do with it as they please.
John Costa
Alice Springs

Fab guided tour at
Rainbow Valley

G’Day Ed – We run a small tour business, taking interstate artists camping out bush for a week in various locations around the Centre.
Our last camp was on Owen Springs reserve, and we took a day trip with our artists to Rainbow Valley.
There we did a morning tour with Rainbow Valley Cultural Tours.
Guide and Traditional Owner Ricky Orr took us on a tour of the occupation and art sites behind the cliffs, including tool-making sites, rock engravings, and rock paintings.
The tour was excellent, and greatly enjoyed by our artists. Ricky is courteous and knowledgable, and has what we consider the essential prerequisite for a good guide, the willingness to say “I don’t know”.
As a result of the tour it is obvious why those parts of the Reserve should have restricted access. Having unguided visitors scrambling over the country would cause irreparable damage to the archaeological, biological and cultural values of the area.
Not to mention the ones who come with a crowbar and take a slab of rock art away with them, as has happened in the past.
The existence of these tours is a direct outcome of the Joint Management Plan and the Indigenous Land Use agreement set up under the Native Title Act.
It is a step towards the much talked about Aboriginal business and employment, and provides another item in the much sought after ‘Aboriginal tourism product’ category.
We also witnessed local Aboriginal people employed in the Ranger program carrying out buffel grass control, in an area where keeping this invasive weed out is an achievable objective.
We will be going back as part of our next camp.
Deb Clarke and
Charlie Carter
Alice Springs


Sir – I hope those involved with the camel cull, the current federal member and Peter Garrett, squirm at the realization that the Federal Government managed the magnificent sum of $1 million for the 20 million poor people suffering from flooding and starvation in Pakistan, nothing for the 9 million starving in Niger (including millions of children), and $19 million to eradicate the alleged one million feral camels, leaving the meat to rot in the desert. Mr Garret in his magnanimous wisdom has stated to me the purpose of the cull was to “contain costs” and “prevent exploitation of the Indigenous community”.   
In four recent trips into the heart of the Simpson, over some 2000 km, I have seen the princely number of six camels!
Sleep well, those devoid of conscience. I hope you squirm and suffer the same pangs of hunger as those in Pakistan and Niger.
Trevor Shiell
Alice Springs

Livestock export vital

Sir – The livestock export industry is vital to rural and regional Australia, and any restriction of the trade would have a devastating effect on thousands of Australian families and communities.
The industry employs 13,000 people across Australia – not just farmers and exporters, also veterinarians, stock agents, truck drivers, and many more people.
The industry contributes $1.8 billion to GDP nationally and underpins the entire economies of some regional areas.
It also ensures that farmers have a range of markets to sell their livestock to, making sure they get a good price for the animals they work hard to produce.
Contrary to the rhetoric, the practical reality is that our overseas customers require both live animals and frozen and chilled meat products, and one simply can’t replace the other.
But it’s not just economic contribution that’s important; it’s also the contribution we make to improving animal welfare.
Healthy and humanely treated animals are our number one priority and as an industry we lead by example. We operate under the highest standards in the world and are one of the most highly regulated industries by the Federal Government.
This ensures that all animals are exported on high quality vessels where they have room to walk around, lie down and have constant access to fresh food, fresh water and fresh air.
We also ensure that Australian stockmen and veterinarians accompany their voyages overseas.
 We employ full time staff in the regions we export to, as well as a team of experts that travel regularly overseas to upgrade facilities and train and educate local workers.
Lach MacKinnon
CEO, Australian Livestock Exporters Council

Watchdog wanted

Sir – The Henderson Government has rejected a Country Liberals’ plan to establish an anti-corruption watchdog in the Northern Territory.
I am disappointed the Government voted against this important motion, which would have provided a valuable governance tool into the future.
While I acknowledge the work done by existing organisations such as the Ombudsman’s office, the Auditor General and the Territory Police Ethics and Professional Standards Command, I also believe there is scope for an over-arching authority such as Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission.
I believe the establishment of a corruption watchdog would allow the Territory to grow unimpeded by the type of corruption that exists in other jurisdictions.
The Country Liberals plan was to adequately resource the new authority and provide it with the capacity to fight major crime and oversee high standards of integrity in the public sector.
It would also have ensured complaints about public sector misconduct would have been appropriately investigated.
Terry Mills
Opposition Leader

Women in gaol

Sir – The National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame is undertaking a local history project about the women’s section of the Alice Springs Gaol – the one located at the foot of Billy Goat Hill next to the Royal Flying Doctor Service which was operational from  1938 to 1996.  
I want to talk to anyone who worked in the women’s section, or who was imprisoned there or who visited the gaol regularly.
The information I collect will be used to write a history of the women’s section of the gaol and to develop signage and other interpretive materials for a permanent exhibition in this space.
People who contribute information can remain anonymous if they wish.
I can be contacted on 8952 9006 or 8952 8024 or via email: Please put Women’s Gaol Project in the subject box.
Megg Kelham
Alice Springs

Greetings from
a Yank shrink

Sir – Hello, all. My wife and I just discovered your website and thought we’d drop in for a visit. My wife is a retired secretary, and I’m a retired psychologist. Oz looks like it’s worth a visit!
Joe Roberts, USA

Looking for Raelene

Sir – For a number of years I was in correspondence with a Raelene Treis of Alice Springs.
It appears that she no longer uses her old email address.
She was proud of being a resident of Alice Springs. I’m wondering if she is still there.
Kirk Dawson
Invermere, BC

NANCARROW ARROW: Lesson given, lesson taken.

The nasty rain has gone away and the day is ripe for people-watching.
It’s a bit like bird-watching in that you look for all the different types and species in your area and can be amused a great deal by their behaviour. It is a favourite pastime of mine, particularly in foreign fields where there are new and exotic creatures to observe.
We are quite lucky here in Alice though, it’s like we are on a migratory flight path, we get all sorts of people passing through for all sorts of different reasons.
The “Silver Nomad” or self-funded mobile retiree is often easy to spot, driving a huge 4WD car that will never see dirt but is useful for pulling a caravan the size of an apartment block down the highway. These generally happy folk do have a rather annoying tendency to drive at 5kms an hour down the streets in the middle of town because they don’t know where things are.
Here is a suggestion, park your environmentally very unfriendly monster truck and walk around. Alice is very small and you can stroll everywhere in a couple of minutes, free up the streets and reduce stress levels. My stress levels.
To the old chap that got a few hand gestures and creative suggestions about where to drive his car, I do apologise but you were driving like a complete pillock and we were running late for a wedding. And, truth be told, we had put up, without abuse, with you driving down Leichardt Terrace, almost pulling into car parks before violently re-entering the road and without, I might add, consulting the masses of mirrors that hung from every conceivable pillar and post.
No, it was only when you pulled into the Todd Tavern Bottlo the wrong way that you got red-carded. 
Shooting backwards into the street without looking you nearly totalled my car and wrecked my day. Silly old bugger.
Actually the take away boozer is another place that will let you identify the Silveries.
While the locals have their IDs out and ready for the particularly stupid practice of scanning, the Nomads look confused and start asking questions, like “Why do we have to do this?”.
Answer: “It helps reduce the consumption of grog, reduces violence and identifies people with a court restraint against buying grog”.
“Really?” asks the bemused silver one, looking at the chaos and noise that rings in 6pm daily.
“Really, really,” says the attendant, who has the grace to at least blush in the face of such pork pies.
This is the easiest way to differentiate the Nomad from, say, older German tourists.
Even though they look alike (think vests with lots of little pockets, gaily coloured glasses and sandals with socks) these folk don’t really know the country and like all tourists in a strange new world, secretly think the locals are pulling their leg.
When they get asked for ID while buying one can of beer they are even more incredulous.
“Ziz is not pazzibol, u vant me bring my pazzport to buy beer! Vy iz siz so?” They get the same lines as the Nomads and react more explosively.
“Vot! Mein Gott yu Ossies are zer jokers, yes?”
That’s the trouble with spin doctoring, you can bullshit all you like but when someone comes in from outside the whole thing gets exposed for the sham it is.
Like in the tale of the emperor’s new clothes, these migratory folk come from elsewhere, point the finger and state the obvious.
But no one wants to hear …

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