June 2, 2011. This page contains all major reports and comment pieces in the current edition.

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Cruelty to cattle 'inhumane' but trade must go on, say cattlemen. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

Territory cattlemen are "
horrified and angered by disturbing and graphic footage of animal cruelty inflicted upon Australian cattle in Indonesia" shown on the ABC's Four Corners, says Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association president Rohan Sullivan.
Mr Sullivan released this statement today:-
I have never seen or heard of such abuse during my own visits to Indonesia in the last 12 to 18 months, and what I saw sickened me. I also know that what we saw is not common practice and that the improvements that have been made and implemented over the years were not featured.
The reaction from Australians is entirely understandable, however to cattle producers and families who proudly devote their lives to the care and production of cattle, this has been a day of great distress.
I have been inundated with calls from members of the public and producers immediately following the program.
Cattle producers who have, in good faith, contributed levies to drive improvement in animal welfare are incensed, are disappointed and affronted.
Clearly, solving this requires intervention at the highest levels, with government to government agreement and a mandate for change from Indonesian government, commercial, and religious authorities. We support Minister Ludwig’s initial announcements and will stand ready to provide what ever assistance and support necessary.
If we exit this market, will this drive any change in the system for cattle in general, whether they be from Indonesia or elsewhere? We certainly can't change it if we have no relationship with the system and have no place in it.
The frustration that we feel must be the impetus for positive change. But our view is that you develop positive change through relationships, not by destroying them. Producers are also demanding that their cattle are treated humanely and in line with their standards and expectations, and those of the wider Australian community.
Australian Ministers need to get on aeroplanes today and speak to their counterparts in Jakarta. Cattle producers and their cattle need to be supported not abandoned.
With over 220 pastoral leases, our industry manages a landmass in excess of 620,000 square kilometres and a herd of over two million head. Annual turnoff is around 600,000 head with over 50% of these going to live-export and domestic markets.
The pastoral industry is the Northern Territory’s third largest GDP earner, accounting for more than 50% of primary production in the NT and generating over $400 million in direct income.
The industry directly provides more than 1800 jobs, mainly in rural areas of the Northern Territory. Our industry supports hundreds of indigenous and non-indigenous families across the Northern Territory. Between 50% and 60% of Northern Territory producers and families rely solely on the live export trade.
By area, employment and economic contribution the pastoral industry is the dominant industry in land management in the NT, with a predominant focus on long-term sustainable production.
Over 85% of all NTCA members are active participants in Conservation, Environmental and Landcare groups throughout the Northern Territory and the Association encourages members to join their local groups.

Details of council's secret parks plan revealed. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

The Town Council had a secret plan in mid-2009 to sell off public park land for housing blocks.

It targeted three parks specifically and further parks were meant to be considered later.
Alice Springs News Online has learned this from a well informed source (not Ald Eli Melky).
The three parks are the Lewis Gilbert Park (pictured above), between Hillside Gardens and Eagle Court adjacent to the golfcourse; Finlayson Park in Barclay Crescent and Ashwin Park in Ashwin Street.
The council was planning 10 to 12 residential blocks in Lewis Gilbert Park, seven to eight in Finlayson Park and 14 town houses in Ashwin Park.
The plan was to have the land rezoned and to sell the blocks to boost the council's revenues.
The council was looking for a "partner" in the venture.
Raising revenue from the development and sale of parks sparked a major row recently when it was again put on the agenda by Ald Melky, elected in a by-election in February.
At the council meeting last week Ald Melky demanded the council to make public past plans to develop parks but the majority of aldermen voted against this.

Council brawl: more than just about parks. By KIERAN FINNANE.

An ugly rift appears to be developing within the Town Council, ostensibly around the potential sale of some park land but going deeper than that, to the relationship between Mayor Damien Ryan and two aldermen, the veteran Samih Habib Bitar and the recently elected Eli Melky.
Ald Habib Bitar left Monday night's meeting in anger and did not return; Ald Melky also walked out for a period. He returned in time to vote on the declaration of rates and charges, but as the public part of the meeting came to a close and media were leaving the chamber he was exchanging heated words with Mayor Ryan.
Ald John Rawnsley was also emotional during the meeting. He suggested that the cold explained his shaking voice, but his anger towards Ald Melky seems a more likely explanation. Unusually for him, he threw out a number of interjections while standing orders were in place and took offence when none was given.
The atmosphere degenerated early in the meeting when councillors had to debate a motion on notice, moved by Ald Melky and seconded by Ald Habib Bitar. From the start Mayor Ryan, in the chair, was visibly irritated by the motion, abandoning his usually relaxed chairing style for a terse, authoritative approach, particularly toward the mover and seconder.
The motion was an attempt by Ald Melky to bring into the open an apparently existing report on the potential development and sale of park land. The motion read: "That the archived minutes of any discussion or subsequent motion or motions regarding the development or selling of any and all parks be brought into open and made public."
Most motions are brought to council in committee meetings where standing orders do not apply, discussion can flow freely and time for reflection can pass before the formal vote on the motion at the full council meeting (the so-called "Ordinary Meeting"). At Ordinary Meetings standing orders give each alderman one bite of the cherry, while the mover, usually having introduced the motion, can also close the debate before the vote. 
On Monday Ald Melky declined to speak first, apparently feeling that the motion itself and the brief discussion of it provided in writing was sufficient. This left it to Ald Habib Bitar, to his surprise, to open the debate. His spoke in general terms about too much council business being in confidential, calling on council to come to the public "with a clear voice" and to "open their mind to the public".
Mayor Ryan cut him short, saying that this was not the motion in front of him, which was about the development or selling of parks. Ald Habib Bitar protested: bringing it into the open was what it was all about, adding that lots of other business should be moved from confidential.
Ald Rawnsley raised a  point of procedure with CEO Rex Mooney, commenting that the inference of the motion was that council was not letting aldermen speak in public about the parks issue, and denying aldermen the opportunity to move a motion about parks (a debateable inference).
Ald Habib Bitar again attempted to speak, but was overruled by Mayor Ryan: he'd invited Ald Habib Bitar to speak to the motion, "he's had his piece".
Ald Rawnsley, however, was able to further comment that aldermen hadn't heard from the person who moved the motion, asking Ald Melky to reconsider. Ald Melky said he couldn't see the need for it.
Ald Jane Clark spoke against the motion, in part because it was too broadly termed. She also made general comments about council's approach to business being discussed in confidential.
Mayor Ryan commented that the motion is "a bit open ended."
Ald Murray Stewart spoke in favour of the motion "in principle" but said he would also like to see it tightened up. He also indicated that a report on the rationalisation of park land exists and felt that it should be released to the public. Mayor Ryan asked him to bring his comments back to the motion – although it could certainly be argued that Ald Stewart's comments were relevant to the debate, as were Ald Habib Bitar's.
Ald Stewart continued, saying it would be a very good step to have plans and costings, though not conversations and minutes, released to the public; it was time for the public to have their say and perusal of "these documents".
Ald Rawnsley now spoke again, again expressing his disappointment that Ald Melky had not spoken to the motion and broadening his comments to a criticism of Ald Melky's "highly irresponsible" statements in public on the issue in relation to council's budget and future rating levels. He said there was nothing to stop Ald Melky putting forward a motion about selling parks and wondered when he was going to do it.
Ald Stewart too was able to speak again, this time on how he and Ald Melky may be sitting alongside one another but were thinking independently. Ald Habib Bitar attempted to make a point of order but was over-ruled by Mayor Ryan.
Ald Liz Martin said she was confused about the motion and did not believe there was any demand from the public to sell park land.
Mayor Ryan now asked Ald Melky to conclude the debate. Ald Habib Bitar protested that there had not been a discussion. He was over-ruled.
Ald Melky stumbled in his opening remarks, clearly feeling tense. He had the existing documentation in an envelope which he raised for all to see: this was what he wanted to have brought into the open, but because it was a confidential item he had felt it prudent to keep his motion "close and tight". He spoke about the council's reliance on grants and rates and the challenge this represents for long-term sustainability. He said when he came across the detailed confidential plan on the rationalisation of park assets, he felt that it would be a "starting point" towards financial sustainability. He said the plan did not need to be kept in confidential.
Mayor Ryan put the motion to the vote, with only Alds Habib Bitar and Melky in favour.
There was again protest from Ald Habib Bitar, dismissed by Mayor Ryan.
The meetign then moved on to other business, but was brought back to the issues by Ald Melky, declaring himself to be a fully licensed real estate agent and financial broker, putting questions to Mr Mooney about conflict of interest. He asked for guidance on whether he could continue to talk on the issue of potential redevelopment and sale of park assets without being accused of having a conflict of interest.
Mr Mooney referred to the Code of Conduct under the Local Government Act and said that in his opinion Ald Melky did not have a conflict of interest, providing the discussion was in a general form in terms of policy. Ald Melky asked – no doubt knowing full well the answer – whether he would be able to tender if the council were to sell land. Mr Mooney replied that then he would have a conflict of interest. Ald Melky said he had just wanted clarification.
Ald Rawnsley said that it might well be clarified but that there were "questions out there" and that a "perceived conflict of interest" is something that council members ought to consider. Ald Stewart retorted that the perceived conflict of interest was an "absurd notion".
Once again the meeting returned to other business, this time the issue of pedestrian crossings in the CBD. When the debate, again under standing orders, was brought to a close by Mayor Ryan, Ald Habib Bitar angrily claimed to have had his hand up to speak three times and to have been overlooked. Mayor Ryan invited him to speak but Ald Habib Bitar declined, gathered up his papers and left the chamber.
A vote took place, with Ald Habib Bitar's vote recorded as 'against', the default position if the alderman does not vote.
In the wake of this Ald Rawnsley also had an upset outburst, taking offence at Ald Brendan Heenan's comment in the pedestrian crossing debate that "people were more important than cars". Ald Rawnsley felt that the inference of the comment was that those aldermen who wanted a traffic study to help guide their decision on the crossings thought that cars were more important than people – a "disgraceful" inference in his view, but probably an unnecessarily long bow to draw in the view of others.
By this time Ald Melky had also left the chamber, but voting on the Municipal Plan and the declaration of rates and charges was busily being pushed forward by Mayor Ryan. Ald Stewart asked if all parties were required for the votes. Mr Mooney said council had a quorum. Ald Clark suggested that a recess be taken to wait for the two aldermen to return; Ald Martin, clearly frustrated by the carrying-on, felt that voting should ahead, as the two had known that the votes were coming.
A recess was taken while Mr Mooney went out to see the pair; he returned saying that Ald Habib Bitar had left but that Ald Melky would return.
The vote on the declaration of rates and charges was taken, but the rift opened up again during Questions Without Notice, when Ald Melky challenged Mayor Ryan on comments he had made in the media about land supply in Alice Springs having gone from "famine to feast". He wanted to know on what information he had based such a comment. Mayor Ryan pointed to Kilgariff and the old drive-in site "if you haven't noticed that". Ald Melky said the comments, suggesting an excess of real estate, affect his industry. Ald Rawnsley bought in to this exchange, with a challenge to Ald Melky. Ald Stewart  attempted to diffuse the tension, wondering aloud if Alds Rawnsley and Melky could "step outside and have a blue".
The public meeting was finally closed, giving Ald Melky and Mayor Ryan a chance for a face-to-face confrontation.

ALICE SPRINGS NEWS COMMENT: Good leadership would find a way to bring Ald Melky into a constructive dialogue with his fellow aldermen and thus harness his considerable energy for the benefit of the community. Ald Melky would of course have to be open to conciliatory moves but his expression of appreciation for the feedback via email on his motion from Deputy Mayor Ald Liz Martin suggests that he would be.
Good leadership would also find a way to work more effectively with Ald Habib Bitar, whose long-standing contribution to the council is worthy of respect. This might include addressing openly the frustration that some aldermen clearly have with his manner of expressing himself and his apparent failure to fully absorb, in advance of meetings, the detail of council's business papers.

Since first taking office three years ago this Council, Alice Springs eleventh, has been flirting with disaster. On Monday the chickens came home to roost with a breakdown of procedure as bickering and snide asides replaced debate in the monthly Ordinary Meeting.
Standing Orders are there for a reason. As I understand them, each Alderman is entitled to one comment and one question each on every issue being debated. When all have had their turn, a vote is taken, and the next item on the agenda is then up for discussion.
My advice would be to keep the all-in brawling for the committee meetings. Go back to running the main event as it is meant to be run. Alderman Jane Clark has as good a working knowledge of this procedure as anyone up there, so listen to her. Or just ask the CEO.
With respect to Mayor Damien Ryan, the Mayor is only the first among equals, to borrow a term from the Roman Catholic Church’s definition of the Pope’s role as a Bishop first, and a Pope second. You were elected to lead as the first among equals. Do that.
With respect to Alderman Melky, you were elected to be one of eight alderman, not to unilaterally set Council’s agenda. Do that.
And with respect to Alderman Rawnsley, it is never a good idea to put out a fire with gasoline.

Deputy Mayor Liz Martin on plane graveyard, selling parks, and council rift.

Plane Storage

I have no idea who initially told me about the plane storage facility but it has been pretty well common knowledge here for at least two years. In fact our National Road Transport Hall of Fame board looked at the option of developing a "Planes, Trains and Automobile" museum facility if it eventuated and since then have even been offered a couple of aircraft from interstate. It is an opportunity we would still look at if given the chance.
I visited a couple of graveyards in America and they are havens for both tourism and enthusiasts looking for parts and aircraft for restoration. It probably could have been a bit more public but it's definitely been out there for a while. I think a lot of people in our community are too apathetic until such proposals become reality and then they jump up and down. I hasten to add I have had no contact with the Consultative Group and thought the idea had died until I read about it a few days ago in the Advertiser (SA) and then it was brought up at council on Monday.
Selling Parks

Yes, I did find the motion (Eli Melky's) very confusing because the wording wasn't specific and it is "past" tense. We should be concentrating on "now" and "future".
With all the development going on in Alice Springs (Kilgariff, Sterry, McEwen, CAT, Mt Johns, Drive In etc) I personally think we (council and government) need to better get our combined acts together, remove bureaucratic impediments to construction and do what we can to expedite these developments so that we can get those places completed, occupied and paying rates. I have no idea how many residences this means in totality but it would represent a significant increase in our rate base albeit with accompanying services and infrastructure requirements. Some of this already exists and could be better utilised with a higher percentage of rate-payers. At the end of the day it's all about economies of scale.
As far as selling parks is concerned, I will look at each such proposal on its individual merits when and if it is put to council in a proper manner. I see no need to rehash the past with deliberations from this or previous councils being made public. The dynamic of the town changes considerably over time and that needs to be taken into account but, as "commercial in confidence" matters would have to be withdrawn it would give a skewed  impression of what may or may not have occurred and then we are put in the unenviable position of trying to justify what we can't legally justify under the auspices of the Local Government Act.
Everybody I speak to in Alice Springs says NO to selling our parks and that's good enough for me. If I thought we needed the infill for affordable housing to meet the current crisis I would weigh up the pros and cons of the park concerned and the constituents who use it but I just don't see the need for it. To me parks are parks whether they are developed or not. I support wholeheartedly the need for the dog park, regional park and the all-abilities playground park proposed by Alderman Sandy Taylor but I also think that tracts of undeveloped native land are important to keep too. Everyone who lives in this community deserves easy access to a bit of bush or green belt. We live in an iconic part the Australian outback and the landscape of our town should reflect that as much for our residents as for tourism.

I am all for looking at revenue-raising opportunities for council so that we can keep rates as low as possible. The bottom line is while council provides services, rates will have to be charged to constituents and we have a fair bit of inequity in Alice Springs as far as who pays rates and who doesn't. I think we did well to keep rates as low as 5.8% as proposed in the next budget in the Municipal Plan that was out for public comment until May 25. I would have liked to see it a bit lower but some wanted it as high as 17%. Our economy would not, could not, sustain that and we (council) would be providing a plethora of nice new services and initiatives to a quickly departing populace and closing business centre.
Council Row

In relation to the article "Council Row", you'd have to be Blind Freddy not to see that a rift is developing and I agree it is deeper than the selling of parks issue. I have been trying to stay out of it because it is disruptive and destructive, takes our focus away from what we should be doing in the community and for the community. But it's getting harder!
I have totally disagreed with some decisions made by council but once the decision is made you forget the brawls and the argy bargy and get on with the job. I have also been guilty of changing my position on some issues after listening to concerns of constituents or more learned presentations from other aldermen. I reserve my right to continue to do so but will always vote on the night for the way I feel on the night about the issue and not in a block for one side or the other. However, I do get annoyed when aldermen just walk out as it disrupts the meeting, shows little respect for democracy or time constraints and sometimes leaves us without a quorum. One night it left us without a meeting and we had to waste time rehashing all that business again! Most of us have real jobs we have just come from, and real jobs we have to turn up to first thing next morning, and just want to tend to the business at hand in a professional manner. That is the commitment we all gave to our town, so we should be honoring it.
I am not standing up for our Mayor for the sake of it but I sit opposite Alderman Habib Bitar and know he was trying to get the Mayor's attention as I was at the time too. We had new microphones that emit a red light notifying the chair that you wish to speak. Mine would not illuminate and nor would Ald Habib Bitar's and there was a fair bit of flak flying elsewhere across the floor. I didn't see the need to walk out but I guess the difference was I had the feeling the vote would go the way I wanted it, and Ald Habib Bitar may have felt it wasn't going the way he wanted. Irrespective, I want my vote counted and see no value in walking out except to adversely impact the credibility of council collectively.
I also find extremely offensive the calls that council has put the town in a hell of a mess. Most of the issues in these accusations should be aimed at the Northern Territory or Federal Government and are out of control of Local Government. Sure, it hasn't been an easy ride and there have no doubt been issues we could have dealt with better (this is the real world – what's that old adage, you cant keep all the people happy all the time) but there have been some pretty good initiatives and successes implemented along the way as well. Examples include completion of the Aquatic and Leisure Centre, the Cash for Containers Scheme, the Glass Crusher, the Christmas Carnival and night markets, the success of the Solar Cities initiative, and more recently the mowing blitz, lowering of CBD speed limits, the display screen in the Mall and of course new by-laws for the management of public places, animals and errant trolleys just to name a few. Some of these had hung around throughout the ninth and tenth councils without being finalised (and in fairness, some good initiatives originated there too).
Personally I like the make up of our existing council. We all come from different backgrounds and industries and bring opposing opinions and viewpoints to the table and are truly representative of the diversity in our community. That's how it should be. I actually like listening to the opinions of others as there is always something you can learn even if you disagree. However, I have to say I am so sick of having someone else's opinion shoved down my throat and being told that I am "wrong" or "weak" or "Damien's puppet" because I don't vote the way someone else wants me too or don't get involved in this nonsensical demoralizing public brawling over personalities. Anyone that knows me knows I am too strong-willed to be swayed that way and I WILL continue to remain independent of splinter groups despite the increasing pressure and even threats for me to "choose sides". If I couldn't handle the heat, I'd get out of the frypan and simmer somewhere else.
Liz Martin OAM
Deputy Mayor and Chief Executive Officer, National Road Transport Hall of Fame

How Territory blundering could help the nation. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

The endemic incompetence of governments in Darwin – Tory or Labor – may offer an opportunity for the Territory to become a leader in national constitutional reform, creating a model that is "new and quite different," and that could also be applied to the rest of the nation.
It could trigger the demise of the Australian states, leaving Canberra and local governments on steroids to run the country. Of course Fred Chaney didn't put it as bluntly as that, but he says it could just be worth a shot.
The idea was promoted by Gough Whitlam and Al Grassby in the early 1970s, as the Liberal Mr Chaney generously acknowledges. (The writer was chairman of the short lived committee in Alice Springs in 1975 looking at the setting up of a Regional Council of Social Development, with encouragement from Al Grassby.)
Mr Chaney has runs on the board in both camps: in the Fraser government he had portfolios including Aboriginal Affairs and Social Security, and he assisted the Ministers for Education, National Development and Energy.
And now he's a champion of the "regions" where it doesn't get any more regional, heading up Desert Knowledge Australia based in Alice Springs.
In his address on Sunday to guests of the Charles Darwin University's "emerging thinktank", The Northern Institute, Mr Chaney wasn't at all singing from the same song sheet as Minister for Statehood, Malarndirri McCarthy (in a message read by former Mayor of Alice Springs, Fran Kilgariff). Ms McCarthy's central reason for advocating statehood is the "constitutional fragility" of the NT, which allows Commonwealth interference in the NT, such as its on-going Intervention in Indigenous affairs.
Mr Chaney, however, was more interested in pragmatics than principles. He made the point that while Darwin is a vibrant city, the rest of the NT is lagging well behind. But the kind of complaints made by non-metropolitian residents of the NT are similar to those of non-metropolitian residents in the states. There, as in the NT, the capitals operate as "city states" colonizing the hinterland which is the victim of the "tyranny of democracy".
Only 5% of Australia's population lives in the 85% of the country regarded as remote, yet that region produces the "tradeable wealth that keeps Australia afloat".
Mr Chaney said regional and remote residents around Australia have four things in common:-
• poor services;
• inequitable financial flows;
• unresponsive governments;
• and exclusion from the national narrative.
As the experience is similar across states and territories, statehood in itself is "unlikely to remedy these complaints, nor would it remedy the north / south divide in the NT". And it "does not guarantee financial security".
Mr Chaney said while the NT is currently doing very well, on a per capita basis, in the distribution of Commonwealth largesse, as a state it would be in a weak position in the "revenue snatching" of "feral fiscalism", the reason being that "you don't win elections in the NT".
The Territory's current ample funds come mostly from taxpayers somewhere else. While Darwin has been made "impressive" with other people's money, the Territory capital does not want to transfer power or money to the bush.
Given the NT's performance, Canberra would be "nervous" to surrender control, and its distrust of the Territory's ability to manage its affairs is profound and well founded, suggested Mr Chaney.
A second Intervention is on the cards as the Territory appears unable to deal with problems raised by the Little Children are Sacred report. This is, of course, a "rolling back" of NT self-government.
In matters such as housing and education Canberra has no faith in the NT's ability to serve "non-Darwin interests, to govern in the interest of all of the NT". The NT's demands for the repatriation of land rights legislation have been consistently rejected, by Labor and Coalition governments alike.
On the other hand, a regional government, dealing directly with Canberra, would have a string of advantages.
In the Central Australian setting that could mean Alice Springs and the MacDonnell and Central Desert shires forming one region, possibly extending across the currently entirely arbitrary state boundaries. The rest of non-urban NT could be a second region, and Darwin a third.
There would be real power and real opportunities in those regions, which would attract people of "talent and commitment". The satisfaction that comes with being able to make a difference would keep those people here, instead of them being sucked out to the capitals.
Such a regional government, entrusted with far broader functions than local government is at the moment, would answer to the people where it resides.
"The place would have authority over its own future where all solutions are local, which they need to be," says Mr Chaney.
He was not proposing any kind of blueprint but was suggesting that the statehood debate was a distraction from issues of substance. He argued that "to be or not to be a state" was not the right question, with its outcome unlikely to change the current situation where he goes to "many celebratory openings but not to many celebrations of achievement".
Meanwhile the CDU's research professor in Alice Springs, Rolf Gerritsen, says the Northern Territory will never have the kind of independence from Canberra that the existing states have.
The people of Australia are highly unlikely to support statehood for the NT in a referendum, he says. That means the only way the NT can become a state is by an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament, and Parliament can repeal or amend any of its Acts at any time. So anytime the Commonwealth didn't like what the state of the NT was doing, they could still intervene.

Hargrave manslaughter: convicted man gets nine and half years. By KIERAN FINNANE.

The man convicted of the manslaughter of popular Alice motorsport identity and father of four, Edward Hargrave, was sentenced on Tuesday to nine and a half years in gaol. He must serve four years and nine months of the term before becoming eligible for parole.
Mr Hargrave died on April 3 2009 as the result of a stab wound to the back of his right shoulder, which severed arteries from which he bled profusely.
Graham Woods was convicted for his manslaughter on March 25 this year. He has already been in custody for 26 months and the sentence is back-dated to the date of his arrest. He will thus become eligible for parole in early 2014.
His parents, grandmother, two siblings, and seven other members of his family were in court for the sentencing. Members of the Hargrave family and Mr Hargrave's widow, Sarah Woodberry, attended via video link.
Mr Woods appeared to become angry during an exchange between counsel and Justice John Reeves over the record of interview he had provided to police. His counsel, Russell Goldflam, was arguing that Mr Woods was entitled to credit for this interview, during which he had conceded crucial facts, albeit slowly. Justice Reeves, however, was of the view that Mr Woods had lied and prevaricated in the interview and had even suggested that it was his co-accused (ultimately acquitted) who had struck the fatal blow.
Mr Goldflam said his client had been in a state of extremis during the interview, that he had not eaten nor slept for two days, that he was struggling towards the truth. This did not cut much ice with Justice Reeves who went on to rely largely on the interview in assessing Mr Woods' culpability and hence appropriate punishment.
After the lunch adjournment, Mr Woods appeared resigned to his fate and stood without showing reaction during the hour plus of Justice Reeves' explanation of his reasoning.
Justice Reeves said he considered the earlier incidents of the evening, outside the 24 Hour Store and in the carpark opposite the Memo Club and subsequent chase to be "too removed in time and place" to have bearing on his decision. He rejected Mr Goldflam's submission that these events provided a context for Mr Woods, leading to him acting as he did out of fear and to protect himself and his family, even if it was "a classic case of excessive self-defence".
Justice Reeves said the jury must have found beyond reasonable doubt that he did not act in self-defence and defence of others, which would have been a complete defence to charges of both murder and manslaughter.
Likewise the jury must have rejected that he acted defensively in the striking of the fatal blow; they must have found that he was aware that he had a knife in his hand; and that the blow was not struck independently of his will.
Justice Reeves did accept that the blow was a single blow, causing both the incision wound to the scalp and the stab wound to the shoulder. If it had been two blows, the jury would have convicted Mr Woods of murder.
He accepted also that Mr Woods' intention when he ran out from the unit, weapons in hand, was to frighten and not to fight or inflict harm; again if the jury had found otherwise, they would have convicted him of murder.
He said Mr Woods' "self-induced intoxication" may have been taken into account when the jury reached their verdict but it was not relevant to sentencing.
He rejected Mr Goldflam's submission that Mr Woods had acted in a state of panic and in circumstances of darkness and danger. Going to the record of interview, he said Mr Woods' first mention of panic was when he saw blood on his hands, when he realised he may have killed someone, not before.
He said he did not mention darkness in the record of interview and had said he did not feel danger at the critical moment of contact with the deceased, commenting that this was "hardly surprising" given that he was armed with a hockey stick and a knife.
He did accept that the confrontation was brief and sudden but said Mr Woods had created the confrontation by running out of the unit, running towards the deceased when he turned and striking out at him. Justice Reeves said Mr Woods could thus not rely on suddenness and brevity to ameliorate his culpability.
In Justice Reeves' view Mr Woods' actions were proactive, not reactive; he had embarked on a deliberate course of conduct, not justified by self-defence or defence of others. He said he could have remained in the unit and called the police, as his sister did. His "high degree of culpability" for his crime was, however, ameliorated by it not having been part of a sustained attack and not having had a murderous intention.
Sentencing submissions had revealed that Mr Woods had offered to plead guilty to reckless manslaughter, verbally via his counsel as early as June, 2010, and in writing on August 17, 2010 and again on September 2, 2010, just 13 days before his trial was originally intended to commence (it was delayed because of his successful application to have the jury quashed).
Justice Reeves allowed a discount of two and a half years for the plea offer (from a sentence of 12 years), saying more may have been allowed if it had been made at the earliest opportunity and if the letters had contained expressions of remorse.
Mr Goldflam appeared surprised by this expectation, saying that he had written many plea offers and they did not usually deal with remorse.
He argued that Mr Woods had shown remorse in his record of interview, when he said he was "disgusted" with himself; that he had expressed it in his letter of apology to the family of the deceased (read out in the court following the verdict); that he had also expressed it to Mr Goldflam on many occasions, particularly in relation to the children of the deceased.
In relation to Mr Woods' personal history, Justice Reeves noted that he is an initiated man with strong family relationships and a good employment record, including most recently two years full-time employment as a labourer and his successful application just before the offence to work as a truck driver at the Granites Gold Mine. He has no significant disadvantages – including no alcohol or substance abuse problems, "unusual for a person in your position" – to impede his reintegration to the community once he has served his sentence. He also has an "excellent record" and is "very well liked" in prison.
On the negative side he had been convicted for aggravated assault with a weapon and assault on a female, both offences occurring in 2005. However, as both the one-month and 14-day sentences had been fully suspended, the court must have been of the view that they were not very serious. Nonetheless it meant that Justice Reeves could not treat Mr Woods as a first-time offender.

COMMENT: The race backlash that didn't happen.

Once the sentence was passed, Mr Woods had a brief moment to turn to his family and was embraced by his mother, visibly distressed, and his father before being taken away. It was not possible to observe the reaction to the sentence of the Hargrave Family and Ms Woodberry but Justice Reeves had recalled their victim impact statements, particularly the "heart-rending terms" of the statement by Ms Woodberry which she read to the court herself. As he said, "no penalty can salve their loss". The end of the protracted trial, however, brings a measure of closure to a period of communal anxiety in Alice Springs.
Mr Hargrave died just two and a half months before Kwementyaye Ryder. The two men accused of Mr Hargrave's murder were Aboriginal, while the five men accused of the murder of Mr Ryder (and who ultimately pleaded guilty to his manslaughter) were non-Aboriginal. In the wake of the two killings many in town felt that the community had come to a new pass in race relations and dreaded an escalation of racial antagonism and inter-racial violence.
This did not happen – for which some credit must go to the exemplary leadership of members of the Ryder family. But the trial of the five accused over the death of Mr Ryder was closely watched from this point of view, and much of the national and international reporting and commentary was through this lens, sometimes hysterically so. By contrast, the trial of the men accused over the death of Mr Hargrave has been ignored by national and international media and commentators, although in its course racial tension, racial bias and racism – perceived, potential and actual – were constantly confronted or just below the surface.
In July 2010 the accused, Mr Woods and Julian Williams, who was ultimately acquitted, applied to have their trial moved to Darwin because they believed they would not receive a fair trial in Alice Springs where Mr Hargrave was well known and loved. Their belief was founded in part on their experience of "specific prejudice" towards themselves in gaol – as a result of which for a period they were transferred to Berrimah – and to the family of Mr Woods.
In the application the accused said they were also conscious of the way that racial issues had been highlighted in media reporting of the case, including the way in which it was being linked with the unrelated death of Mr Ryder. They also saw the historical racial skewing of juries in Alice Springs as a potential disadvantage.
The application was denied, with Justice Jenny Blokland ruling that the trial judge would be able to overcome any difficulties by her or his proper directions to jurors.
However the potential bias of the jury was raised again by the accused in September, just ahead of their scheduled trial. The successful challenge to the jury array – which pushed the trial back to March this year – was fought largely around the "unrepresentativeness" of juries in Alice Springs, where Aboriginal people make up around 21% of the local population but never constitute a similar proportion on juries. Factors contributing to this, it was contended, included: potential jurors being drawn only from Alice Springs and not from the region where Aboriginal people make up over 40% of the population; and the broad disqualification provisions regarding people who have committed criminal offences, which impact disproportionately on Aboriginal people.
The argument was not that a fairly constituted jury panel must be made up of a proportionate number of Aboriginal people – as true random selection would not necessarily achieve this –  but rather that selection procedures must provide for the possibility of representativenes.
The legal team also challenged the validity of the Juries Act (NT) on the basis of inconsistency with the Racial Discrimination Act and infringement of the Australian Constitution. The Full Court of the NT did not uphold these parts of the challenge but they did quash the jury array, agreeing that the jurors had not been summonsed in accordance with the law, including by allowing the checks for disqualification to be done by SAFE NT, a division of Police, Fire and Emergency Services – "a party who is not indifferent to the prosecution".
When the trial finally got underway, the accused faced a jury – drawn from a new array – which appeared to be, as usual, in the majority non-Aboriginal. A number of potential Aboriginal jurors had been excused on the grounds that they were related to or knew the accused and / or their families – always likely to be a problem in Alice Springs for greater participation by Aboriginal people on juries. In the way of Alice Springs, however, associations also crossed the racial divide, with one potential Aboriginal juror excused because he knew Mr Hargrave.
The divide was also far from clear cut in the events that lead to the confrontation during which Mr Hargrave died. Mr Hargrave and his four companions on the night all worked for an Aboriginal organisation, Ingerreke, and they had gone out together to farewell one of their workmates, an Aboriginal man, Faron Peckham. Another of the four also appeared to be Aboriginal or to have married into an Aboriginal family. Evidence was heard of racial insults being made on both sides – some people were "white cunts" and others were "black pricks".
So the confrontation was not in any simple way a case of black versus white, and perhaps, as with the Ryder case to a degree, factors more relevant to any generalisations would be gender, age and drink.
However, the raw nerve of race sensitivity was touched by senior counsel John Dickinson, acting for accused Julian Williams, when he was summing up. He suggested that the case was "ripe for sympathy and prejudice" and referred to its racial overtones in the context of "a debate going on that we all know about", urging the jury to put prejudice and sympathy to one side.
In a note to Justice John Reeves a juror expressed their offence over these comments, which apparently they had discussed with other jurors. The juror also commented that it might be considered that Mr Dickinson's client had initiated the racial overtones of the case (referring to his taunting and harassment of one of Mr Hargrave's companions in the early part of the evening, outside the 24 Hour Store).    
The juror's note led to an application, on the 13th day of the 15-day trial, to have the jury discharged and the trial vacated on the grounds that the jury was tainted. At this stage Mr Dickinson was no longer present and it was junior counsel for Mr Williams, Ted Sinoch, who made the application. He did not think Mr Dickinson's comments remarkable and argued that the degree of sensitivity shown by the juror suggested the lack of an "impartial mind" in respect of his client.
Justice Reeves thought the juror's note was at pains to point out that race-based considerations had not affected any of the jury's discussions; he also noted that the juror had pointed to "at least one" member of the jury being an Indigenous person.
Mr Sinoch urged him to speak to the jury in "the strongest possible terms" to point out that Mr Dickinson was not seeking to create a racial divide, he was merely seeking to ensure that racial prejudice or bias was expunged from the jurors' minds.
Justice Reeves replied – "with great respect" – that if Mr Dickinson, from interstate, had greater knowledge of the local situation he might not have embarked on his "unfortunate" reference to prejudice and the broader debate. This was all entirely irrelevant to what the jury had to consider. He declined to discharge the jury but agreed he would speak to them.
When he did so he said he could understand that they might take offence, having been "a member of this community", but urged them to simply focus on the evidence and to continue to approach the matter impartially as the note suggested they had been doing all along.
We can never know what exactly went on in the jury's minds or their discussions in the jury room, but they came back with a verdict that acquitted Mr Williams, despite his counsel's fears of prejudice against him, and they found Mr Woods guilty not of murder, but of the lesser offence of manslaughter.
The killings of Mr Hargrave and Mr Ryder were rare for their involvement of inter-racial elements. They will rightly be remembered as tragedies for the victims, their families and friends, and as criminal acts which diminish the whole community. There are lessons to be learned from the events, particularly around the widespread culture of heavy drinking in the NT and the readiness of many men to resort to physical violence. There are lessons too in the context of race relations, and some of them are cause for optimism: the justice system has been allowed to run its course (one with many hurdles in the Hargrave case); those responsible, non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal, have been held to account; an Aboriginal defendant was acquitted by a majority non-Aboriginal jury; the racial context has been named and explored, in different ways for the two trials in the court and certainly endlessly discussed outside of court.  And all the while the community has stood back from what was most feared: the deaths have not been been used as a pretext for further violence. This is to the community's credit.

See KIERAN FINNANE's reports from the murder trial:

And reports on the "fair trial" issues:

Alice is the land of opportunity, say youthful leaders. By KIERAN FINNANE.

Amidst the widespread gloom about Alice Springs it was buoying to hear a more optimistic take on the town's future from four young people at a forum organised by Desert Knowledge Australia and the four senior high schools last week.
The older two of the four – David Quan and Kristy Bloomfield – are participants in the DKA Desert Leadership program. The younger two are still at school, Lucinda Reinhard in Year 12 at St Philip's College, and Alfie Lowe in Year 10 at Centralian College.
Alfie is a participant in the Youth Desert Leadership Program, a fresh initiative of DKA and the four schools. This year it involves six Year 10 students from each, 24 all up. Eventually it will involve students across Years 10, 11 and 12.  
Also on the forum panel were Eddie Fabijan, principal at Centralian, and Reg Hatch, manager of Family and Youth Services at Tangentyere Council and CEO of YMCA Central Australia.
The panel was asked to answer the question,  "What's your dream for  Alice Springs?"
David Quan has only lived in Alice since 2007, but has found it a "welcoming place", an assessment he has held on to despite the last 12 months of "bad press". He said after a "particularly bad summer" he is confident things will be "getting better". He plans to stay here and raise a family, emphasising the work opportunities the town offers. He's a firefighter and, with energy to burn (no pun intended), has also worked at the Juvenile Detention Centre and as a teacher's aide with the Irrkerlantye unit at Bradshaw Primary School.
Later his wife, Monica, spoke from the floor. She was raised in Alice, went away to university and has come back, for the "great community" and the job opportunities, about both of which the town should "blow its horn". She said her career would be nowhere near where it is if she weren't in Alice Springs.
Kristy Bloomfield spoke of the "quality of life for all" in town – the access to housing, health, education and employment –  but stressed the need for people to "grab the opportunities". She referred to people coming into town not taking the opportunity to get educated, suggesting they need to be both "encouraged" and "pushed" to do so.
Reg Hatch took up this point later, talking of the role of parents in keeping their kids home at night so that they'd be ready for school the next day: "Our weakness for our kids is our parents," he said, to murmurings of approval. "I'm happy to be shot at for [saying] that."
Lucinda agreed about the plentiful opportunities but spoke of the need for them to better promoted. She suggested that young people can simply not know where or how to seek out the opportunities.
Alfie Lowe agreed with her, saying most young people are "too scared" to seek opportunities. He said he had a lot of hope for the future, but that it was important to take that hope and turn it into action, not just talk. Commenting on a question about how to better prepare Aboriginal people for mainstream employment, he said, "as an Aboriginal student in mainstream, it's that much different to being a white student if you've got the desire to learn".
Lucinda Reinhard spoke of "a culture" amongst Alice youth around plans to leave Alice Springs, but said that the job opportunities, the possibilities for making money, draw many back.
Kristy said she had left Alice to live in Cairns for three years and that young cousins of hers are wanting to leave, to go to boarding school and experience life elsewhere. She said her time in Cairns helped her realise that there are problems "all over the nation" and that she was motivated to come back to try to make a difference in her home town. She saw this as possible through even the small acts of assistance that she can render in her job as an Indigenous Court Officer for the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service.
The panel was asked about ways to help people "grow in harmony".
Kristy suggested the reinstatement of inter-school sports days as they existed when she went to school. She said she got to know "heaps of people in that way". This was responded to positively as something achievable, by Donna O'Brien, Year Eight coordinator at Centralian Middle School, present in the audience.
Lucinda agreed that the schools don't interact much "for the size of the town". But even within schools she said people tend to stick to their own groups. She suggested confidence programs, leadership programs to break this down. 
Alfie wanted to see more events that "everyone is interested in", like the recent impromptu visit to Centralian by Justice Crew, a street dance group from Sydney. This would allow young people to learn about "the things that are the same" for all of them, "not the differences".
He saw this as also part of the answer to underage drinking. This issue was raised by a young person from the floor, who spoke of students going home during school hours "to have a few beers – how ridiculous is that!"
Lucinda, who spent some time recently living in Melbourne, said young people there drink and smoke a lot too, putting it down to seeing their "idols" drink and smoke.
Picking up on a comment by Eddie Fabijan about drinking as a "rite of passage", David spoke of his experience with some of the inmates of the Juvenile Detention Centre. They might be aware at some level of the bad consequences of their actions, he suggested, but until they get through the experience and "something clicks", better choices can't be forced on them.
The panel was asked to identify the things that "fill them with confidence" for Alice Springs.
The people, especially peers and colleagues got several mentions, with Lucinda coming back to opportunity, a sense and experience of things being possible: "It's a really cool place to grow up."

Aircraft 'storage': The spin, the reality. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.

The aircraft graveyard for up to 300 planes alongside the main runway at Alice Springs Airport has turned into an object lesson of how badly Alice Springs deals with major proposals about which the public wants and deserves a say, but isn't getting one.
Above all, the Town Council, which is currently enmeshed in a row over keeping things behind closed doors, has failed  in its duty to inform its constituents about what's going down.
To be sure, the private company that owns the airport is leasing the land from the Federal Government and it doesn't have to answer to the council, nor even to the NT Government. However  if it wants to be the good corporate citizen it cracks itself up to be then it needs to behave in a radically different way.
But then, given that the council and some politicians are prepared to swallow whole the spin dished out by the airport and Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage Pty Ltd (APAS), what do they have to fear from keeping the public in the dark?
In tandem with some people's opinion of the proposed nuclear waste facility, which at least will he hidden from view, and the constant bad publicity about crime in the town, the airport's project may be re-inforcing the perception that Central Australia is a dump.
Just what we need as the local tourism industry is fighting for its life.
It's useful to list what people gushingly welcoming the facility think it will do for the town, while in fact it won't.
Just ask Tom Vincent, managing director of APAS, and Katie Cooper, manager of the airport.
• Spin: It will be a major employer. Fact: Mr Vincent says so far as the – very limited – construction work is concerned "he cannot go into it" because it's all up to "external consultants". And once the facility is operational there will be "less than 10 employees initially".
• Spin: It will be a major tourist attraction. Fact: "Definitely. Would love" for this to happen, says Mr Vincent. But the principal concern needs to be the safety and security of the public. This is an operational aerodrome and the area where the planes will be placed cannot be open to the public. Once the operation is bedded down APAS may turn its mind to tourism but "it's not a primary objective".
• Spin: The planes will fly again or be recycled. Fact: According to Mr Vincent some bits of some planes will be and some planes will be stored temporarily and returned to service. What percentage of the planes? It all depends on the global aviation industry, considerations of fuel efficiency and a whole bunch of other things. Does the company not have a business plan? Does it not make projections? Well, yes, says Mr Vincent, "anecdotally" 75% of the planes stored at such a facility never re-enter service.
• Spin: The planes will be scrapped. Fact: The facility "is to be for storage and break down only and not to become a scrap metal yard."
The spin turns to farce on the subject of informing the public: "We have been quite transparent with the information we are able to share ... by having information on the website," says Ms Cooper.
"The information has been publicly available. I understand some people may not be aware of it. It they have an interest then I encourage them to regularly look at our website."
In fact the "boneyard" was mentioned at the meeting on November 26 last year of the Airport Community Consultation Group.
This is what was published in the minutes which are on the airport's website – one of the estimated 300 million websites on the net: "Discussions have now been in place for approximately 18 months for aircraft storage  (Boneyard) to be located on the airside of the Airport. It is proposed to be directly opposite RWY C on the other side of the Runway. It will be on land that cannot be used for any other purpose due to the vicinity to the Runway. A new Taxiway will be required to be built to meet Aviation Standards from the Runway to the storage area. It is to be for storage and break down only and not to become a scrap metal yard. There is currently nothing of this type in the Southern Hemisphere."
This "community consultation" organisation is widely unknown. Whom does it consult – or advise – the community or the airport?
We tried to ask the chairman, retired top public servant John Baskerville. His mobile phone isn't made available and he didn't respond to messages we endeavored to get to him.
The meeting, which lasted an hour and 10 minutes during which it dealt with 12 agenda items, apart from Mr Baskerville was attended by Ross Baynes (NT Airports), Tony Parkyn (community member), Helen Kilgariff (aviation), Jo-anne Harkin (tourism), Ken Johnson (environmental), Rex Mooney (Alice Springs Town Council) and Helen Gannan (Office of Transport).
Owen Cole (community member), Kay Eade (business community) and Darren Olson (Air Services Australia) were apologies. The descriptions in brackets are from the minutes.
There are several remarkable aspects: When that meeting took place in November 26 last year the project had already been in "discussions" for "approximately 18 months". Not a peep had been uttered to the public.
It took another six months for the project to be disclosed – last week – when the airport and APAS were good and ready.
Council CEO Rex Mooney attended the November meeting, and Ms Cooper says she'd been having discussions with Mayor Damien Ryan for some time. Yet the aldermen were not informed, and there was no discussion in council meetings, open to the public or otherwise.
We asked Mr Mooney and Mayor Ryan why they had kept the project under wraps. We didn't get an answer.
Ald John Rawnsley raised the issue at the council meeting on Monday. He asked the Mayor: "Have you been involved?"
Mayor Ryan said he had been asked that question by media. He referred to Federal Minister Anthony Albanese's White Paper of about a year ago, which talked about setting up community consultative groups around Australia. He said the one in Alice Springs was one of the first to be formed. He said there were questions from one media organisation (that would have been the Alice News).
Mayor Ryan, singing from the same songsheet as Ms Cooper, said he had gone online and found the list of members for the Alice Springs group and the minutes on the airport's website.
He said the decision doesn't have to come to the council and that they (the airport) "have had public record out there".
Not a word about discussions with Ms Cooper.

Picture: An aircraft graveyard in the USA.

Native title: the traditional law men and women have final say. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

You'll be hearing these tongue twisters a lot as the bitter rift deepens in Alice Springs' native title organisation: apmereke-artweye and kwertengwerle.
Try: apmerika-ateka and koordungoola, who are, respectively, decision-makers for secti
ons of tribal country, and caretakers and co-managers who can speak for but not make decisions about that country. This is the explanation offered by highly respected Eastern Arrernte elder Margaret Kemarre ("MK") Turner.
They were always powerful people in a tribal and ceremonial context. But a decision by the Martin government, elected in 2001, gave these leaders an altogether new power, one that's mea
sured in cold, hard cash. This is how it works.
The Martin government needed to open up Crown Land to ease the shortage of residential blocks that was crippling the town. To do so they had to make a deal with the owners of native title which the Federal Court had found to exist on land in the municipality that had not been dedicated, under formal title, to any other use.
The haggling was fierce, delays were doing damage to the first ever Labor government in the NT, and the Opposition advocated expropriation of native title and letting a court settle the compensation issue – as the Act allows if a deal can't be reached.
The Martin government did reach an agreement which, in the light of later native title deals elsewhere in Australia, was a bonanza for the native title holders: they got freehold over half the land for agreeing to the extinguishment of native title over the remainder.
The first deal, Stirling Heights, was worth $2m to the native title body, Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation.
The going rate in WA, for example, is not 50% of the freehold value, but 5%, one-tenth.
Chief Minister Clare Martin said it wasn't a precedent. But when eight years later the deal was done over Mount Johns Valley (Stephens Road) residential subdivision her successor, Paul He
nderson, applied the same formula.
Suddenly Lhere Artepe was awash in money and assets.
So what do the apmereke-artweye and kwertengwerle have to do with this?
Everything. They determine who is a native holder and who is not. Who can be a member of Lhere Artepe and who cannot. Who can benefit from the millions and who cannot.
This is an extraordinary arrangement (which is not to say it's necessarily a bad one) in an organisation that resembles a company with shareholders.
ASIC would be keeping a sharp eye on the listed company and the shareholders themselves would be told what happens with their money.
Admission to Lhere Artepe's shareholding fraternity, by contrast, is on the nod from people whose authority isn't rooted in Australian corporate legislation, but in ancient tribal traditions.  And to take the word of a significant portion of the Lhere Artepe membership, they can't find out for love nor money what's being done with their dough.
This is all the more surprising when one considers the operating structure was set up by no less than the Federal Court in a process that took six years, cost a lot of money and culminated in a ceremony in an Alice Springs court room with the participants in the process patting each other on their backs.
In a nutshell, this is what Justice Olney determined on May 23, 2000, in Paragraph 2: "The persons who hold the common or group rights comprising the native title (the common law holders) are those Aboriginals who are descended (by birth or by adoption) from the original Arrernte inhabitants of the Mparntwe, Antulye and Irlpme estates who are recognised by the respective apmereke-artweye and kwertengerle of those estates under the traditional laws acknowledged and the traditional customs observed by them as having communal, group or individual rights and interests in relation to such estates."
And in Paragraph 7: "The rights and interests from time to time comprising the native title are to be held by the common law holders."
Pray tell: To whom do you complain when an apmereke-artweye tells you you're not a native title holder?
Also, this part in Paragraph 2, "by birth or by adoption," was not in that paragraph, identical otherwise, in the 1999 draft of the determination.

The rights of adopted persons is an issue most hotly debated in the current row: Should people who are not "blood relations" be accepted into the membership of Lhere Artepe. Disaffected members say that question goes directly to the eligibility as a member of Lhere Artepe group CEO, Darryl Pearce (pictured).
There is another big difference in the Alice Springs determination compared to later determinations: Federal Court determinations sometimes include the names of the native title holders.
(See, for example, chedule 6 of the Barunga v State of Western Australia determination.)
In the case of Alice Springs the court was acting on behalf of "nameless people", as one insider put it.
In the Alice decision the absolute discretion over native title possession appears to reside with these law men and women. Who are they?
The Cambridge encyclopedia of hunters and gatherers describes the apmereke-artweye as land owners – usually linked through their fathers (patrilineally) to the first ancestral owners of the country while the kwertengwerle "are said 'to police' the land owners and 'keep them straight'." They are descendant through their mothers.
The Alice Springs Native Title claim was lodged by "Myra Hayes and Others" in court speak and was opposed by the Northern Territory of Australia and Others. The claim was lodged on 1994, a year after the Commonwealth's Native Title Act came into force.
If evidence was put before the judge for him to believe that a process is in place for law men and women to be appointed, he didn't put that detail into the determination.
The Alice Springs News has asked the Native Title Tribunal and the Federal Court to help us find any submissions made to Justice Olney, and if we find them we will report them.
The Alice claim was one of the first in the country.
Rules were pretty loose before the 1998 Native Title Act, which brought in a registration test and more criteria to be complied with.
In the beginning all it took in order to gain a hearing by the Court was to fill in Form 1, give details of the claim group, provide a family tree and identification of the area – quite often just a big black texta line on a map, with the Natitve Title Tribunal having to fill in the details. (The hearing itself, of
course, went into great detail and as we've said spanned six years.)

Investments and control

Alice Springs' native title body, Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation (LAAC), lists under financial assets in its 09/10 financial report a loan of nearly $400,000 to Lhere Artepe Enterprises.
This appears to be Lhere Artepe Enterprises Pty Ltd which has bought the three IGA supermarkets and bottle shops for $14m, including a non-repayable grant of $5.8m from the Federal Government's Aboriginal Benefits Trust.
And a $372,000 loan from LAAC to Lhere Artepe Enterprises is recorded for the 08/09 financial year.
This appears to be in conflict with statements by the CEO of the Lhere Artepe group, Darryl Pearce, that no LAAC funds had gone into the purchase of the supermarkets.
LAAC is registered by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) which has detailed reporting requirements and publishes details of corporations on the web, but does not take an investigative nor controlling role.
Pty Ltd companies, by comparison, are far less transparent and required to disclose only limited details.
The director's report for the financial year ending 30 June 2009 of LAAC was posted on the website of the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) on April 4, a year and nine months after the end of that financial year.
That report lists as the corporation's principal activities "to provide social facilities to members of the corporation".
Under significant changes the report notes: "No significant change in the nature of these activities occurred during the year, other than, funds previously held in trust have now been reported through the relevant companies and trusts."
These apparently include Lhere Artepe Enterprises Pty Ltd, wholly owned by Lhe
re Artepe Pty Ltd which in turn is owned in equal shares by the three estate groups making up LAAC.
These disclosures come as major forces within LAAC tried to sack Mr Pearce last week, and as ORIC has served a "show cause notice" on LAAC why a special administrator should not be appointed.
That notice was replaced on April 21 with a comprehensive compliance notice, deferring "for a period of up to nine months whether or not to determine that the corporation be placed under special administration".
ORIC Registrar Anthony Beven says Lhere Artepe has met the first of the notice's several deadlines.
He also told the Alice Springs News that financial reports on the ORIC website are reports to each corporation's members.
Any further information would need to come from them.
Mr Beven said: "ORIC does not prepare the reports or verify the content of the reports.
"It ensures that the reports are prepared in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards and audited in accordance with Australian Auditing Standards, and that they are lodged with ORIC and provided to members.
"The directors are responsible for the contents of the reports.
"ORIC is neither a controlling body nor an umpire, but is a regulator."

The native title story so far

Posted 1830 Friday May 27

Darryl Pearce, the CEO of the Native Title organisation Lhere Artepe, has been stood down, the organization's bank accounts have been frozen and the locks changed at its Alice Springs office after a tumultuous special general meeting today.
There was a "resounding" motion of no confidence in Mr Pearce (at right), says Ian Conway (speaking in the video above), a senior traditional owner and son of the legendary Mort Conway. Under Mr Pearce's management the organisation, or entities affiliated with it, has embarked on ambitious real estate deals and bought three suburban supermarkets, in part with a $5.8m non-repayable grant from the Federal government. Meanwhile, says Mr Conway, traditional owners in White Gate (photo at top), at the eastern fringe of Alice Springs, are still living in"chooksheds".
The move to stand down Mr Pearce is backed by traditional owners representing all three estate groups, says Mr Conway.
A statement released by the group says there will be an audit of the membership of the organisation by the "traditional managers and owners of the land". The current executive has been replaced by the one in office in 2009/10. Mr Pearce, who did not respond to an invitation to comment, was ordered to hand over immediately all assets to Deputy Chairperson Connie Craig.

Update 1900 CST Friday May 27:
Mr Pearce says he's not working for Lhere Artepe but for Lhere Artepe Enterprises, a serive provider to Lhere Artepe. He says Mr Conway's meeting did not have a quorum, and people who are bringing Lhere Artepe into disrepute will be removed.
Mr Pearce says he is in Queensland at the moment, working. If a locksmith has changed the locks he will be charged with break and enter. Ms Craig is not the deputy chairperson – a new committe was elected in December.
He put this question to the Alice Springs News: "Why would a committee sack me, then hold an inquiry and then sack themselves?"

Update 1200 CST Monday May 30:

Lhere Artepe Group CEO Darryl Pearce says "it's business as usual – again or still".
The locks at the organisation's office have been changed back, the bank accounts had never been frozen and "our lawyers are following up on everything".
He says last week's events have brought to the surface a string of contentious issues which will now be dealt with in public.
The challengers will need to prove to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) that last week's special meeting was legitimate and that the people claimed to have been there, actually were.
Mr Pearce says there will be a review of who has and who has not a claim to native title or traditional ownership of land.
"There is a Ground Zero effect," says Mr Pearce. Some of the challengers "may not be traditional owners. It will finally come to the fore that they are not who they say they are."
He says inclusion on ORIC's website list guarantees no "ability to be at the table" and the "traditional land owners will need to decide".
Any removals "will have to be made in public".
Mr Pearce says one of the three estate groups making up Lhere Artepe, Antulye, has amended its constitution, requiring native title holders to be biological descendents from Arrernte people, excluding adopted descendants.
Mr Pearce says this is in conflict with Justice Olney's Federal Court decision which underpins Lhere Artepe.
Mr Pearce claims that the actions of the challengers have damaged "the brand of Lhere Artepe".
Their bid to oust him by re-instating the 2009/10 executive and sack the 2010/11 executive doesn't make sense. Mr Pearce says he had strong support from the 2009/10 executive: the current president, Brian Sterling, was in the chair at that time, and it included several members of the Liddle family, into which he has married plus some of his own family members from the Irlpme Estate group of which he is a member.
The Alice Springs News has left messages for Ms Craig and Mr Conway.

Respected native title holder Kathleen Martin wrote this open Letter to Darryl Pearce

In reply to your statement to the Australian reported in the Centralian Advocate of May 31 that you have complete control over the Lhere Artepe premises.
I would like to ask, what are you in control of?
Your control of Lhere Artepe has been addressed at several meetings by native title holders, namely traditional native title holders.
The main question asked has been, what is going on, and what is happening with Lhere Artepe, simple questions that only require simple answers, but you have conveniently been out of town.
My concern is that you are calling yourself a native title holder.
Who gave you the right to call yourself a native title holder?
And also, that you have abused the right to claim your involvement with my father's name, that is Williams, especially in the claim that you are an Arrernte man, which you knowingly are not.
Further I would like you to know that these people you are treating with contempt are my father's people, therefore, my people.
I am Kathleen Dorothy Williams, also known as Kathleen Martin.

Is Mr Pearce saying it's all the fault of the Alice Springs News?

Darryl Pearce replied at 1515 CST on June 3. The letter was prefaced: "Erwin, Please find my response to Aunty Kathy below, you DO NOT have permission to publish it unless it is published in its complete form, unaltered, unedited, no spelling changes, including web link. Lets see if you have the courage of your convictions about the “freedom of Free Speech” and publish."

Here it is.

Response to Kathleen Martin’s open letter to me

Aunty Kathy, you know the truth inside the family about the issues you have raised and that you choose to ignore it, is a call for you to make and sadly you have chosen to make public statements about me which are hurtful and disappointing. You saw me last week at the Irlpme Estate Group meeting where you said none of this stuff even as I helped you with your wheelchair to the car and therefore I will not respond to your letter as again you know the truth.
I will however respond to the Alice Springs News and to the journalist (tongue in cheek), editor (supposedly) who chose to publish what amounts to private family business which creates pain and division. I point you to a news site to look at a speech by Mick Gooda, Social Justice Commissioner about what he sees as “Lateral Violence” in communities around native title issues and I quote:
“Mr Gooda said 'lateral violence' is on the increase and native title disputes provide a platform for it. The volatile mix of some of the problems that already exist in our communities played out in the native title context and then add a big bundle of money to it amongst a group of people who are fairly poor anyway - it's like adding petrol to the fire," he said.
He described lateral violence as "internalised colonialism" that involved harassment, bullying and sometimes violence.
"People are internalising oppression and oppressing each other," he said. "It's disrespect, it's gossiping, it's backstabbing ... it leads to breakdowns.
"We have to feel a little bit more powerful than the next person so the easiest way to do that is to run them down."
Mr Gooda said “community divisions were often easily exploited by outside political or financial interests” (my emphasis) web link is at bottom of response. End quote.
The Alice Springs News boasts that it reports the news not gossip and I have stated to the journalist \ Editor involved previously I have grave doubts about that and by publishing the letter from Aunty Kathy he has proved my point. I believe, I have also describe previously described him as “socio-pathetic” and again I believe point proved.
The Journalist involved has now created a fight between 2 sisters (same mother) who are 78 and 77 years old who in the fading and last years of their lives should be finding peace and tranquillity, not anger and pain. 
Well done Erwin, your children must be proud of you and your behaviour.
Darryl Pearce
Read more:

ED: The Alice Springs News was approached by a member of Mrs Martin's group, asking us to contact her because she had something to say. Of course we did not deny Mrs Martin her freedom of speech. Erwin Chlanda, Editor, Alice Springs News Online.

Statement from Betty Pearce:

As promised here is my response as one of the Native Title Holders over the municipality of Alice Springs. This response is on condition that you report it, in its’ entirety with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors intact.
On my birth certificate is Father’s name Tom Williams along with his information.
In the 1960’s when Strehlow was setting up the Family Trees of the Central Arrernte people in the presence of the late Mr. M. Wagu, Mr. W. Rubuntja and a number of other elders, Dad (Tom Williams) put my name down as his daughter along with my daughters.  Dad identified Kathleen as his younger daughter and Walter (Wally) as his son.
This gave me the right with my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to identify as Central Arrernte and in turn Native Title Holders in accordance with Justice Onley’s Native Title findings.  This has happened and ONLY the Collins / Conway Family (no attachment to Ian Conway) can say whether we stay as Native Title Holders.  Not a 77 year old in the Winter of her life.
As for you Erwin, how you have fallen down the ladder of journalism to be reporting / printing personal / private family issues.
Are you enjoying your silly little game of pitching people against each other for the fun of it?
What you have done is opened a can of worms which is going to tear other families apart, not just mine.
I am absolutely staggered that you could possibly call yourself a journalist or even a responsible editor,
Betty Pearce
One of the Native Title Holders over the Municipality of Alice Springs

The Alice Springs News Online is publishing the letter from Mrs Pearce, and that of her son, Darryl, because these letters add to the public's knowledge about the current crisis affecting the influential as well as increasingly cash and asset rich native title organisation, Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation. I reject the gratuitous attacks on my personal and professionnal integrity by Mrs Pearce and her son. Erwin Chlanda.

Costs slow development on Melanka block. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

The five story complex of luxury apartments on the site of the former Melanka hostel is delayed because of high costs.
The complexity of the project because of sacred trees that must be preserved is also adding to the difficulties.
As spokesman for the project, Doug Fraser, of L J Hooker in Alice Springs, says it is not cancelled but delayed.
The developer, Christian Ainsworth, a member of the poker machines dynasty, has commissioned Deloittes to assist in the development.
Mr Fraser also says the building costs will need to come down.

Managers of new pool in deep water.

It might be chilly outside but inside it's tropical! The new heated indoor pool in Alice is drawing water lovers in, especially kids and especially on weekends. Since its opening on April 17 the pool has had 6912 visitors, not including the 2000 plus who came for the opening. The figures are described as "very encouraging" by the YMCA, which manages the facility for the Town Council.

... but not all is well in the new pool
POSTED 1950 CST Sunday, May 29:
Alice Springs resident Ray Rowe comments about the YMCA's refusal to allow swmimming instructors not employed by them to ply their trade at the pool:-
I’ve just been speaking to Petina Franklin, a swimming instructor.
Her main goal is simply to get as many kids as possible into swimming. She has had discussions with aldermen Murray Stewart and Eli Melky, both of whom are very supportive of her predicament.
The real crux of the matter is that the YMCA conduct their own swimming program, and naturally competition means lower profits.
Now the YMCA has the contract, they have virtually created a captive audience, ie, if you want your child to learn to swim, all profits go to the YMCA.
Alice Springs residents love the new facility, but I am sure they would not agree with the community owned (ratepayers') facility, being exclusively for the use and profit of one business. The YMCA and council happily accepted Petina’s money for hiring lanes in the outdoor pool over summer, but it now seems that the flash new indoor pool is where everybody will be going, so the Y has seen this as an opportunity to increase profits by denying other instructors access to the heated facility, eliminating all competition.
These strange management rules have also prevented Deb Renkin teaching aquatic fitness in the heated facility.
Last year Petina was the second biggest commercial user of the pool. How many parents would buy a cup of coffee or have a snack at the warm indoor café as they watched their kids being taught how to swim? If they thought laterally, they may realize there are other ways to make a profit.
Petina fully expects to pay a reasonable fee for hiring one or two lanes, and has even offered to pay a premium to help offset the cost of running the heated facility.
Petina is not overly concerned about who teaches kids to swim, as long as people have a choice.

POSTED 1300 CST Monday, May 30:
Ray Smith, the CEO of the YMCA says he has agreed to meet with the external instructors: "We have always been open to suggestions for them to come on board," he says.
The YMCA does "not make a profit. We are not a business. We're looking for cost recovery.
"The council has given us exclusive right to learn to swim programs, and we have modeled our programs accordingly."
The pool is now able to offer a full time program with a full time coordinator. Previously there were "support deficits, the squad did not have a full time coach, schools had to cancel, and there were not enough instructors".
The swimming club, too, has asked for assistance with their program.
He says a model should be created that "benefits the community".
"We do not exclude external providers," says Mr Smith.

The winter blurs. MOZZIE BITES with Ronja Moss.

Paranoid, medical mask (disguised as scarf) clad faces avoid eye contact whilst tiptoeing down silent, cold streets. Somebody coughs and we all jump. Where am I – Japan? Mexico?
That’s right – winter’s back. But it’s not the bird, or pig flu we’re all suffering from. The common cold has taken hold of Alice Springs and doesn’t seem to be letting go any time soon. It’s gotten right into the core of our bodies – like a bullet to the heart, an ice block on the teeth, like a virus to the system. Oh. Wait. Yeah. It is a virus!
I’d been whiney, snotty and missing days from work on and off for a week. Friends teased my clogged-up lisp. “It's snot funny!” I cried, poor soul that is me, into a eucalyptus-soaked hanky.
Then, when ordering a ginger and honey tea at a café down the mall, I noticed something. All around was a sea of alike red-nosed, squinty-eyed sods. All of a sudden it seemed like the whole of Alice was sick! Well, at least I’m not alone.
So how is it that the town is still functioning ? I guess we’re all too spaced out with the blurs to notice our colleagues rocking up three hours late to work, the incorrect orders from restaurants, that we’re wearing our pants inside out, back to front and upside down. Lucky it’s contagious is all I can say!
Chinese medicine practitioners, on the other hand, are thriving. Whilst GPs will tell you there is little you can do for the common cold, Chinese doctors claim to have a deeper understanding and promote the use of herbs, acupuncture and various nourishing foods.
Other than that all you can do is sleep, or snuggle up with a good old-fashioned hard copy book. I would say a film, some bad daytime television, or an i-pad downloaded story is comforting also, but as such technologies emit delta waves that are disruptive to the healing process, I won’t. However, whatever you need to get through these hard, hard times cannot be condemned.
The only other companion to the sofa is a warm brewed medicinal beverage. So, best remedies! One goody that I heard, from a Chinese medic nonetheless, was eight slices of fresh ginger and a cinnamon stick boiled and then simmered together for five to 10 minutes. Pour the liquid into a cup over fresh mint, lemon, honey and lemon grass. Yummy and curative! Another I heard, through Facebook, had similar references, but then added whisky at the end. I won’t promote such behavior either, but whatever you need to get the germs evacuating is OK by me. At least drinking such scorching potions warms the system. Someone told me the other day that Alice has had some of its coldest days for the past 27 years this last week and it’s not even full blown winter yet – seriously, the injustices!

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