It’s completely inaccurate and misleading for Sarah Thorne to claim …

Comment on Pilger review: Greens strike back by Alex Nelson.

It’s completely inaccurate and misleading for Sarah Thorne to claim that John Pilger is outraged by Aboriginal disadvantage and that nobody else apparently is concerned.
History shows that people from all walks of life from the commencement of colonisation have been vitally concerned about the plight of Aboriginal people and tried to do something about it. A major problem is that, in some of the various approaches tried, the attempts to assist Aboriginal people to adjust to changed circumstances have misfired. I can’t see that the Green movement is any better in its approach to this issue.
I’d just like to point out an interesting situation that occurred in 1990. Early that year the CLP was facing the prospect of its first election defeat when eventually the government would have to call the next NT elections. Private party polling clearly indicated Labor was on track to win; and I personally witnessed Chief Minister Marshall Perron almost in tears due to the stress he was under at a CLP Central Council meeting held in Tennant Creek in late April (I was a chairman of the CLP’s Flynn Branch in Alice Springs – the name was changed to the Greatorex Branch that year).
At that time the ALP had two Aboriginal members in the NT Legislative Assembly, both from the Top End – they were Stan Tipiloura and Wes Lanhupuy.
There was no Aboriginal member in the CLP or representation from Central Australia. I was one of two CLP candidates for the seat of Stuart in the elections of October 1990, the other being Eric Panunka from Ti Tree. (A similar approach was tried with the seat of MacDonnell, too). I’d never intended to run as a candidate at that time – in fact, I’d served on the local branches collegiate panel to preselect the CLP candidates for Central Australia; and I was the person principally responsible for the establishment of that collegiate preselection panel. Anyone who served on the preselection panel was ineligible to run as a candidate.
We chose a prominent Aboriginal candidate from Yuendumu initially but he was secretly dumped at the CLP’s Annual Conference on August 10, 1990. It was on or about 28 September I was contacted by the Office of Chief Minister in Alice Springs, asking me to run as a second CLP candidate in Stuart in support of Eric Panunka.
This was extremely awkward for me – I’d made no provision for campaigning, I wasn’t going to get much support from the CLP itself, I’d just bought my first home that year with interest rates in excess of 12 per cent (and that was with first home owners government assistance), and it meant I would have to resign my job in the NT Public Service, with no guarantee of getting the same position back after the election campaign.
But I chose to accept the challenge – it was an opportunity to support a traditional Aboriginal person to run for the CLP in Central Australia.
The CLP failed to win the two bush seats in Central Australia with this approach in October 1990 – but it convincingly defeated both Labor and the NT Nationals in the general election campaign.
The reason for the turnaround in the CLP’s fortunes was due to a remarkable run of events, that commenced on the winter solstice (June 21) of 1990 – that’s when the newspapers across the NT blazed with the front page story of an extraordinary attack on the leadership ability of Labor Opposition Leader, Terry Smith.
And that attack came from an entirely unexpected direction – the convenor of the Territory Greens movement, Bob Ellis. Ellis had previously been a long-serving head of the NT Sacred Sites Authority, and been a major thorn in the side of the CLP NT Government – I know from years of participation in the CLP he was heartily despised.
Bob Ellis launched a scathing attack against Terry Smith, claiming that even Mickey Mouse could run the Labor Party better – and didn’t the media lap up that one! From the punch-drunk CLP perspective, it was like manna from heaven! It was a critical blow to Labor, it was on the back foot from that time onwards.
What lay behind this extraordinary turn of events? Well, it just so happens that the CLP simultaneously jettisoned its long-standing support for the establishment of a nuclear energy industry sector in the NT, a policy the party had vigorously promoted in the late 1980s.
It was a pragmatic decision – the NT Government had no power over this matter and so there was no point supporting a policy that needlessly aggravated a part of the voting constituency. (Only the Federal Government did, and it was Labor under PM Bob Hawke, and it owed its survival to preferences from the Greens in the federal elections early in 1990, so clearly there was not going to be any support for a nuclear energy industry coming from that sector!)
So clearly there was a sweet-heart deal between the CLP and the NT Greens movement that led to that first vital shot that destroyed Labor’s chances of winning the NT elections in 1990 – and for (as it eventuated) a whole decade longer.
And that is one good reason why I think the Greens have no more credibility in politics that either of the major political parties!

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

A touch of light: crows
As a tiny infant the very first intelligible sounds I emitted was not “mum” or “mama” or any human word, it was the calls of crows.
When I was a few months old my mother would sometimes put me in a bassinet under the porch or shade of trees; and crows would gather in the branches, maybe with the prospect of a feed in mind.
In a role reversal of the usual interspecies communications between man and bird, I quickly learned to mimic the calls of the crows – I’m told I was very good at it.
Sadly, I’m no Dr Doolittle, I’ve no idea how to interpret crow-speak; but no doubt there are some who hold I’ve been away with the birds ever since.


The two territories at opposite ends of car sales stats
All the more reason to bring back Canberra control! (Now, where’s the entrance to my bunker?)


Cattle company has win in live export ban case
Perhaps I’m reading more into this decision than is warranted but it occurs to me there is possibly a principle of law here which may have much wider application.
I’m thinking in terms of government policies and decisions that have an influence or impact on climate change without due regard to scientific advice.
Are there wider implications from this decision?
While this case may rest with the decision of the Federal Court if the Commonwealth Government opts not to appeal it, I can foresee a similar case being pursued in the High Court of Australia to resolve what degree of responsibility the Commonwealth (and, for that matter, the NT Government, which is a creature of Federal law) has in regard to abiding by professional, fully researched scientific advice.


Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery
@ Surprised! (Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:25 am): Too timid to use your own name, and too dumb to get another person’s name right. No credibility in your comment.


Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery
@ Jack (Posted May 29, 2020 at 2:11 pm): Whatever amount of money “we” decide to “stump up” gives us no right or authority to dictate terms to Indigenous people on how or where their art and culture may be displayed for others.
What they decide might not cost as much as $50m; indeed, it’s the NT Government, not custodians and TOs, that “stumped up” that sum of money so it’s hypocritical to blame the latter.
And, if custodians and TOs decide they don’t want to go down this path at all, then the money becomes a moot point, doesn’t it?


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