In case anyone feels I’m unfairly critical of the Federal …

Comment on Second Barkly child tragedy highlights need for urgent action by Alex Nelson.

In case anyone feels I’m unfairly critical of the Federal Coalition and NT Labor, here are some quotes from a feature report “The scourge of child abuse” from an earlier time.
“Child abuse is running rife in our community.
“In Alice Springs and the Barkly region 53 cases were reported to welfare authorities last year, compared to 108 in the Darwin region.
“But authorities believe these figures represent only the tip of an iceberg.
“Statistics are not available to show whether Alice Springs has a higher incidence of child abuse than other towns of similar size, but authorities agree the potential for abuse in Central Australia is ‘probably greater’.”
Further: “Reporting of child abuse has increased dramatically since the Community Welfare Act – the Act covering the area of child abuse – was introduced in the Territory in 1982.”
Under the heading of “The four types of abuse” (physical abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, emotional abuse), it was stated: “Reports of sexual abuse have risen sharply in the past few years with the number of proven cases in 1987 amounting to five times more than that of three years ago.
“Police statistics show that one in four girls and one in 10 boys under 18 have been sexually abused.”
Under the title “Action urged on child abuse” comes the following: “Child abuse must be dealt with in the same open and honest manner as AIDS, [the] Health and Community Services Minister said last week.
“[The Minister] said nearly 400 allegations of child abuse were reported to the Health and Community Services Department in the last financial year.
“Investigations showed that in 253 cases the reports were found to be true.”
So now let’s put all this into perspective. This feature report was published on March 9, 1988 – exactly 30 years ago this month.
The Federal Government at the time was the Hawke Labor Government, and the Member for the Northern Territory was Warren Snowdon, only eight months into his Parliamentary career.
The NT Government was CLP led by Chief Minister Steve Hatton.
The Minister for Health and Community Services? None other than Don Dale.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Second Barkly child tragedy highlights need for urgent action
Consider this: the alleged offender in this case is 16 years old and the alleged victim is a four year old.
In 2007 the teenager in this case was a five year old. That was the year The Intervention was launched by the Federal Government (then Coalition under PM John Howard) in response to the crisis afflicting children on remote communities, initiated to a large extent by reports on the ABC’s Lateline program that triggered the investigation leading to the “Little Children are Sacred” report.
A major part of The Intervention’s effort was an attempt to deal with the proliferation of pornography in remote communities – which again has been highlighted in recent media coverage.
The NT Government at the time was Labor, led by Chief Minister Clare Martin, the Member for Fannie Bay.
Once again the NT Government is Labor, led by CM Michael Gunner who succeeded Ms Martin as Member for Fannie Bay.
The current Federal Government is again the Coalition; and we still have the same CLP Senator for the NT, Nigel Scullion.
The Intervention involved many millions of taxpayers’s dollars being spent, and lots of disruption, controversy and debate.
What has been achieved? What have we learned?
Maybe there is need again for an Intervention but this time in our system of government, bureaucracy and the mainstream media.
George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four has got nothing on us – his novel is a work of fiction, ours is the reality.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Party full throttle in battle against fracking
It’s time to end our reliance on the notion of political parties.
What we need in our parliaments and assemblies are elected individuals of integrity and competence, who can negotiate and cooperate with one another to provide the best standard of governance for all.
The evidence built up over many years demonstrates that political parties cannot be relied upon for the provision of good government.
They may start off well intentioned but inevitably end up being captured by powerful vested interests that equate their own aims to the public good.
I think it’s well overdue that another approach towards government and administration is given serious consideration.


When 20% royalties shrivel to as little as 1%
With such an apparently paltry return on investment, we’re effectively told these extractive industries are constantly marginally profitable at best.
We are expected to believe this errant nonsense.
Under the section of Powers of the Parliament, the Australian Constitution commands: “The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order and GOOD GOVERNMENT (my emphasis) of the Commonwealth with respect to” a range of powers.
The Northern Territory Government, being a creature of Commonwealth legislation, is under the same constitutional obligations.
I contend that being ripped off by mining and extractive industry corporations, with no real oversight or scrutiny of their claims for production costs, does not qualify as “good government.”
Equally, a Territory government that is plunging its economy into a financial abyss, and a Federal Government that permits this to happen with no apparent concern or regard for oversight of this economic mismanagement, cannot be construed as “good government”.
We are being (and have long been) systematically betrayed by our respective Territory and Commonwealth Parliaments.
Our system of governance is simply not being adequately held to account.


More to come?
For those who haven’t heard, Christmas Day set a new maximum temperature record at the Alice Springs Airport, reaching 45.7C which exceeded the previous record (45.6C) set in January this year and recently equalled in December.
The previous highest temperature record at the airport was recorded in January 1960.
It’s a sign of the times that reaching maximum temperatures around the 40C mark feels like a cool change!
We continue to be on track to smash the lowest annual rainfall record for the Alice Springs Airport which, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Daily Rainfall figures, stands at 53.4mm for the year – well down on the previous record driest year of 2009, and then 1965 (last year of the infamous 1960s drought).
This figure accords with a couple of records from private residences in town, both slightly above 50mm in total for the year; so it’s odd that the BOM recently stated on ABC radio that the total rainfall for the year in Alice Springs is 66mm – perhaps someone from the BOM can explain this discrepancy?
However, the news this morning is that the Positive Indian Ocean Dipole, the cause of our heatwaves, is breaking down at last.
It will be interesting to see how far the pendulum swings this time, in comparison to similar abrupt switches in weather one and two decades ago, respectively (see my comment).


Government corporation bids for Kilgariff Two
“Asked why the advertisement was published 12 days before Christmas, with the closing date the day after a Friday Boxing Day, the spokesman said the application was advertised “at the first opportunity … in accordance with the Department’s normal procedure”.
Now ain’t that the truth – “the Department’s normal procedure” over the summer holiday break, as has been in practice by agencies of the NT Government for decades.
Open, honest and accountable government, anyone?


Gas and solar: Still uneasy bedfellows
Stumbled across this article yesterday on The Conversation published a few months ago, reporting on US research into this problem.
The proposed solution is counterintuitive, to “overprovide” renewable energy infrastructure (solar and wind), with excess energy into the system essentially “discarded”.
While this project was confined to the state of Minnesota, asked if this model is specific to the US situation or can be applied elsewhere such as Australia, the reply was that it is universal.
Maybe some food for thought for our circumstances in the Centre.


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