Insofar as the CLP Government’s failure to build police stations …

Comment on Female tourists sleeping in car alleged to have been sexually assaulted: all three suspects now charged, rifle still not recovered. by Bob Durnan.

Insofar as the CLP Government’s failure to build police stations and provide adequate education services in any bush communities contributed to our present problems (and these failures undoubtedly did contribute to these problems, in a major way, because they made it impossible for the police to systematically enforce laws, particularly those against violence, drug dealing, illegal grog running, traffic offences etc) Janet is, weirdly enough, correct (Janet Brown, Posted May 7, 2012 at 10:13 am).
The CLP, or Country Liberals as they would now prefer to be known, enjoyed twenty seven years of virtually unchallenged power in the NT Assembly and ran the NT Government for 23 years following the granting of self-government in 1978.
In the forty-odd remote Aboriginal communities south of Tennant Creek, only five actually had a police presence based in their communities prior to Clare Martin coming to power in 2001. Those five police stations were all built by the Commonwealth Government prior to the advent of NT self-government.
In 23 years of CLP rule, not one police station had been built in a remote community, despite considerable begging from many respected leaders for this discrimination to be redressed.
As a consequence, drug dealers, grog runners, con men and bullies were able to get their claws into many communities and become entrenched. Whole communities became used to many people driving around most of the time unlicensed in unregistered uninsured unroadworthy vehicles. Use of violence to settle disputes and get advantage became ever more entrenched in the daily lives of many residents.
Most communities voted to ban alcohol within their boundaries, but the CLP Governments refused to allocate the police needed to enforce these decisions, although they had been made under the provisions of the CLP’s own Liquor Act by its own Liquor Licensing Commission.
Even in the communities which did have a police presence, the numbers of police were completely inadequate compared to the tasks that they were expected to perform (patrolling vast road networks and taking responsibility for other communities which were several hours of travel distant from their base).
As Janet attests: “Why are we here easy answer. A failure in policing. Failure in governments to treat all equal under law and in policy.”
In fact, the CLP in government preferred to pump vast amounts of revenue into building casinos, five star hotels, resorts and convention centres to further enrich their business cronies rather than use their revenues to construct police stations, clinics and schools for the neediest people in the Territory. The CLP also ignored widespread serious malfunctions in the system of local community governance which it had established.
It is unsurprising then that many of the folk who have grown up in these communities experience major problems in relation to bad behaviour and lack of respect for the law today. As Janet says: “As to why some in our society are not entitled to the protections of Australian laws and opportunities due to their races. That is the face of racism. That is also why we have violence on streets, home invasions and massive criminal damage. It will only stop when segregation ends. And we rebuild as a community that works together.”

Bob Durnan Also Commented

Female tourists sleeping in car alleged to have been sexually assaulted: all three suspects now charged, rifle still not recovered.
Eli (Posted May 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm), I will be ‘in’ on your roundtable discussion, subject to a couple of caveats of my own. I will discuss details of these with Russell and get back to you.
One preliminary observation: there would need to be an agreed set of ‘ground rules’.
I would prefer that participation be restricted to those who use their actual names when making comments on this site, and that Hal Duell, John Boffa and Jane Clark be asked if they would like to take part.
Ensuring sizeable Aboriginal participation would probably be possible, depending on time and place for the discussion.
I am intrigued by your request for word limits. Surely you aren’t scared of words?
[ED – Hi Bob, I hope you will participate. Some early thoughts on our role as moderator:-
• Eli would clearly need to be a debater, and not in the chair.
• An agreed agenda – e.g. floor price, mandatory rehab (including costing but comparing it with how much the likely participants are costing the public right now in repeated hospital, court, corrections and rehab services), Thirsty Thursday (or several days), banned drinkers, removal of restrictions, wet canteens on communities, opening hours.
• Two minutes per speaker per subject followed by one minute per speaker right of reply.
• No repetitions.
• All assertions to be supported by credible corroboration. Published studies should be referred to in summary, but the URLs of the full texts should be supplied.
• Participants need to give their full names.
• Live streaming (if possible) so people can watch it on their computers at home – Desert Knowledge may be able to assist.
I look forward to feedback on these ideas!
Cheers, Erwin]


Female tourists sleeping in car alleged to have been sexually assaulted: all three suspects now charged, rifle still not recovered.
Thanks Dave (David Chewings, Posted May 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm):
I realise that it is tedious for most people who regularly read these posts to encounter my repeated affirmations of certain arguments to do with excessive use of alcohol and other drugs.
However, it is also obvious that some people who see themselves as our local political, civic and/or opinion leaders simply fail to comprehend key facts and logic that are relevant to this debate, and take a long time to understand them and integrate them into their thinking.
For this reason – given the centrality of alcohol and other addictions in both the causes and possible solutions to many of our problems – it is necessary to challenge the statements of those who would be our kings when they make dubious assertions, or appear to be ignorant of central factors. There is really no alternative, as far as I am aware.


Female tourists sleeping in car alleged to have been sexually assaulted: all three suspects now charged, rifle still not recovered.
Leigh (Leigh Childs Posted May 3, 2012 at 9:59 am):
On the morning of Saturday 30th January 2006, fifteen year old Jenissa Ryan, who had been seen and ignored by several passers-by as she was lying unconscious in a gutter on Undoolya Road, was subjected to attempted rape by three 14 and 15 year old lads near the Centralian College roundabout around 3am. The boys left her still unconscious, lying in nearby bushes, where she was found several hours later in the hot summer sun, suffering from brain damage.
The boys’ respectable, church-going families at Areyonga were shocked and uncomprehending.
Just a few hours before the attempted rapes, Jenissa had been savagely assaulted at the Hoppy’s camp party scene by the 18 year old bloke whom she thought was her friend, and his 16 year old girlfriend.
Jenissa was evacuated to Adelaide, where life support had to be turned off the next day.
None of those involved in the assaults and abuse committed on Jenissa in the period leading up to her death appeared to have much idea of the difference between right and wrong.
This illustrates the dimensions of the challenges facing society and government in Central Australia.
I don’t know if anybody was ever able to get to the core of what had gone wrong with these young people, other than the bare predictable facts: they grew up in poverty, part of a society where families are often wracked with violence. A society in which many kids still grow up with very poor health, education and socialisation, and in which aimlessness, boredom, frustration, and excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs too often dominate the day to day lives of many young people. Sexual abuse of young women is common.
These crimes were part of a large number of similar incidents – serious assaults, rapes and homicides – that occurred in the 12 months from mid-2005 to mid-2006.
I don’t know of any Aboriginal adult who thinks that there are cultural excuses for these acts or this type of behaviour.
However the facts are that the recent history of Alice Springs youth sub-cultures includes on-going instances of similar behaviour, and has done so for many years.
Many parents of these kids do not have the skills or will needed to supervise, control, or even locate, their wayward children in the context of the wild environment in which they live. Many other parents are dead, or in gaol, or living far away. Many of the youth committing these crimes are actually under the care of the Minister.
In the absence of effective carers being present in the lives of many of these youth, the community at large has to step up and help address the factors which are allowing these appalling circumstances to proliferate and become more and more embedded as part of our everyday reality.
It is way past time that we demanded that there are early childhood, family support and youth services throughout Central Australia adequate to meet these challenges.
This means that we must not only unite to demand greater exercise of responsibility by some of the parents who are still there in the lives of their offspring, and greater vigilance by police and child welfare workers, but we must also pay attention to the kids ourselves, lend a hand where we are able, and advocate for serious investment by all levels of government to help with the task.
Matters are not helped by high recidivist rates and the fact that there are no actual ‘through care’ programs or post release supports that are appropriately resourced to ensure young people who exit the system stay out of it.
Inevitably we must demand urgently needed funding to provide intensive case management of many young people who are going to cost us even more if we don’t start to prevent them from committing so many aberrant acts.
We must also demand that governments allocate sufficient general funding for a range of professionally-run youth facilities, activities and services in bush communities as well as in Alice Springs. A large part of this investment must be used to take care of the capital needs of such a program.
However, even more importantly, we need to assist Aboriginal community and economic development initiatives, so that a new start can be made to rebuild Aboriginal society from the ground up throughout central Australia.
Unless we start to do this with intelligence, knowledge and commitment, the future of Alice Springs and the rest of central Australia is going to be very dismal, no matter what other efforts we make in all our private and public initiatives.


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Like InterestedDarwinObserver, I think Assistant Commissioner Beer’s claim is a somewhat questionable one.
Given that the majority of NT road deaths are normally the result of single vehicle roll-overs on remote roads, it is questionable whether more intensive traffic policing in Alice would necessarily produce this good result as claimed.
We would need a much bigger sample and more details of the individual accidents to really get an idea about what is actually going on here.


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Hal, (Posted April 14, 2019 at 1:29 am): Don’t be so disingenuous. It is obvious from the article that CLC staff have been trying very hard to get permission to act.
They have now made their frustrations known to the relevant authorities, who are able to step in.
My point is that your criticism should have been aimed at those responsible (the traditional owners in question), not at the CLC as an organisation, as the staff are trying to do their job and get something done about the situation.
I was at both Mulga Bore and Angula a little over a week ago, and found very few people at Mulga, and none at Angula.
There were no dead horses that I saw, or smell of dead horses, around the houses then at either place, but there may have been some elsewhere. Of course the carcasses should be disposed of, wherever they are; that is what the writer and the CLC are trying to achieve.


Massive horse deaths now a risk to humans
Hal: How would the Land Council stand legally if it were to destroy the property of a set of traditional owners without their permission? The CLC does not own the horses.
They are either the property of individual traditional owners and traditional owner family groups, or of persons who have contracts with the TOs to allow their horses to be on the TOs’ land.
Or else they are the responsibility of the particular Land Trust trustees on whose land they are located.
Legally the CLC as a statutory body can only consult and advise the traditional owners, and act on their instructions. It cannot make decisions for them without their permission.


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