TO PAUL PARKER: With respect Paul, you are way off …

Comment on Politicking or community: What to do about youth crime? by Ted Egan.

TO PAUL PARKER: With respect Paul, you are way off the mark. The land rights struggles of the 1960s sought to enable traditional First Australian groups to define and have recognised their occupancy of their specific tracts of land.
Further, we sought to enable them to be empowered to stay on that land with recognised title and, if necessary, to rehabilitate and develop that land themselves, with necessary assistance, on their terms precisely.
Alice Springs was recognised as Arranta land and we respect their ongoing presence and wisdom.
Today’s situation in Alice Springs has Warlpiri, Pitantjara, Pintubi and many other First Australians living on the fringes of town through no fault of their own.
They have no traditional rights in this area, hence they should respect the Arranta: indeed, 100 years ago they would have been subject to strict rules of behaviour.
Sadly, most of the visitors are in the grip of Centrelink or have health issues, or both.
That is not good enough: they deserve better. They deserve what all other Australians insist is their right: a town with normal facilities – in their country.
Alice Springs additionally has thousands of people other than First Australians, people like me.
I wasn’t born here, I am not a First Australian. But I recognise this as Arranta country and am happy to live in respect of Arranta guidelines, which are well-known to me. The same requirement is there for all “newcomers”.
The Arranta Elders must be invited to call the shots. We are not talking apartheid. We did once, but not any more: a tragedy is that South Africa learned from Australia how to implement the abhorrent policy of apartheid.
In Australia today we are talking proper land rights and normal behaviour. Bring it on!

Ted Egan Also Commented

Politicking or community: What to do about youth crime?
To Larry Pinta: Congratulations! I had never heard the word, but yes! Allodial title. I wonder why the term has never been applied in Australia before?
To John Bell: John, thanks for the kind remarks. As I am not a First Australian I have no authority to seek to speak on their behalf. But I have seen cases where local elders reminded visitors of their obligations when on somebody else’s country. They were very promptly obeyed, believe you me.
If we are to recognise and respect traditional authority, perhaps the Town Council, as a body, could seek out Arranta elders and ask them to provide a behavioural standard for all Alice Springs residents. Councillor Satour is of Arranta descent.
I would even suggest that a couple of places on the council should at all times be reserved for Arranta nominees. New Zealand does this sort of thing and it may even be the thin edge of the wedge to establish the “voice” that the Uluru Statement sought.

Politicking or community: What to do about youth crime?
Only the Arranta elders and a caring Federal government can resolve Alice Springs youth crime issues.
Fact 1: Most of the offenders are First Australians.
Fact 2: Most of the First Australian offenders are kids, starting at around 10 years of age.
Fact 3: Most of the First Australian kids are living in Alice Springs because of somer health or social services issue that requires them to be here.
Fact 4: Most of the offending First Australian kids do not attend school; they spend their days getting ready for tonight’s activities – house breaking, car theft, assaults, general mayhem.
Fact 5: Most of the above First Australian families are following the “fringe-dwelling” self-fulfilling prophecy that has happened long ago in most other regions of Australia: Living on the edge of established society, they are unhealthy, unemployed, unemployable, minimal money, in the grip of Centrelink, prone to alcohol and drug addiction, minor crime, leading to major crime as we now know.
Solution? Fill the gaols?
NO, they only become more skilful criminals. A Federal government must establish the 20 or so “Bob Beadman Towns” that were once proposed, whereby a place like Yuendumu has school, hospital, supermarkets, sports facilities, libraries, motels, decent housing just like a “normal Australian town”.
Next they determine to pay social services money only at these regional centres, so the owners of their land can be on the spot for work programs to rehabilitate their country on their terms.
This was the destiny sought in the land rights struggles of the 1960s.
It’s not apartheid. It’s land ownership and the undisputed owners of such huge tracts of land should be millionaires. The Federal and NT Governments have lost the plot completely.
And what should Arranta elders do? 100 years ago no outsider would behave like this on Arranta land.
Today’s Arranta elders should play the race card: This is our land.
Either respect and conform to Arranta standards or go back to where you came from.
This to ALL outsiders, Ted Egan included.

Recent Comments by Ted Egan

A living connection with the past
A beautiful reminiscence, Jose.
We are all so proud of you and the pioneering deeds of you and your family.
Our heritage is so unique.
As the father of kids who did School of the Air in its early days I know and appreciate what a formidable education system teachers like Tom Kissell implemented for our bush kids.
I can still see Tom riding his bike around town, as did Charlie Rye, waving to all and sundry. They were better days.

Claire Hockridge found dead
The important fact is that Aboriginal women are so much better than men at tracking.
Let’s get a team of say ten old women around 60 years of age to be assembled, registered and on a list ready for the next “dirt road” situation.
They would need to verify that they do not drink alcohol or take drugs and start to implement the training of a team of younger women. This sort of incident will not be the last.

Claire Hockridge found dead
One of the problems old people like me have to cop is that the eyes of listeners glaze over if you make suggestions based on many years of experience.
Particularly does this apply to issues regarding First Australian matters. Everybody knows better.
For sixty years I have been suggesting to NT Police that they employ Aboriginal women as trackers.
OK, I am aware that many of the old skills are gone and that drugs and alcohol have been disastrous influences on Aboriginal lifestyle, but there are still plenty of old Aboriginal women who are around, don’t drink, don’t take drugs and are still capable of quickly resolving situations like Chamberlain, Falconio and this present fiasco.
The police should employ a team of say, 10 old women who are non drinkers and don’t use drugs, pay them a retainer to be on call and then immediately take them to the scene of the crime, or in this case, the bogged vehicle.
Equally importantly, stop inept “searchers” from blurring the obvious facts.
Ted Fogarty has shown the importance of recognising and following tracks in this case. He is one of many pastoralists who could have provided guidance in this and similar matters.
I must concede that it is amazing that two have survived: more good luck than good management.
How does the song go: When will they ever learn?

Three people missing since Saturday
I wonder if anybody thought of the word “Tracker” – see my earlier post, when the German tourist couple perished at Trephina.
The track of their vehicle would be on the ground in the vicinity of their point of departure.
Remember Azaria Chamberlain and Peter Falconio and the lost boy at Dunmarra.
A 60 year old First Australian woman would read it like a book. Probably too late now.

Blackout: Managers must go, says union source
The most annoying factor was that it is not possible to speak to a real person.
At 9 pm Sunday night, having been told earlier by the plastic 1800 voice that the power would be on at 8 pm, I rang the number again.
The plastic voice advised me that the power had come on in our region at 6.30 pm!
And where was the ABC? In the bushfire season the ABC, through heroes like Derek Guille and Trevor Chappell, stays at the post, advising residents of the graphic detail of what’s happening.
Not a mention of the whys and wherefores of our power outage.
Busy creating the latest “Thingy”?
Clue One: I happen regularly in Alice Springs. Clue Two: Nobody knows how, why, or when. TBC.

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