Story Archive » Volume 18 » Alice Springs News, Issue 23, July 14, 2011 »

July 14, 2011

Did Peace Pilgrims answer an extraordinary emergency?

p2499n Pine Gap Franz & Tim SMp2499n Pine Gap Tanter 400
If they can establish that they were and that their action was a reasonable way to respond, then that could be a legal defence of their actions. But the Crown contends that it was an ordinary day and night at Pine Gap, business as usual, even if that business does involve drone strikes. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Bid to sack native title holders



The row in the  Alice Springs native title organisation Lhere Artepe is likely to reach boiling point on Thursday when the chairman, Brian Stirling, is calling a general meeting to sack five prominent members.

They include Ian Conway who has led a push for reform of the organisation and the suspension of its CEO, Darryl Pearce.

The others are Lesley Martin, Matthew Palmer, Felicity Hayes and Noel Kruger.

The reasons, according according to the meeting notice, are failure to attend meetings and “misbehaviour which has significantly interfered with the operation of the corporation and its meetings” or “destabilizing and generally bringing the Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation into disrepute”.

Meanwhile 90 native title holders are petitioning the Office of Registrar of Indigenous Companies (ORIC), asking it to appoint an Interim Administrator and “replace the current CEO,” Mr Pearce, because he “has betrayed members’ trust by conducting official Corporation matters against the Lhere Artepe Rule Book and failed to follow Native Title protocol”.

The petitioners say Mr Pearce’s response to a “show cause” notice given by ORIC “will not restore good governance”.

The reformers say the meeting is being called without the requisite number of members requesting it; the people under threat of expulsion have not been given a right of reply and there is no evidence that the traditional managers of the country, the “relevant Apmereke-artweye and Kwertengerle” have been consulted.

The Alice Springs News Online is seeking a comment from Mr Stirling. FULL STORY »

Migratory threads


(MOZZIE BITES is on holidays)


Have you ever seen a bird fall out of the sky? I have. Once. And it was here in Alice Springs. Happens fast. A thud – and the thing that was hovering up high in the corner of your eye now lies still on the road.  Some sort of hawkish bird in a mid-air, mid-flight crash tackle had felled a crested pigeon. Once I moved on it swooped down and arched back up with the pigeon between its claws amid a screeching cacophony from terrified avian witnesses. FULL STORY »

What you say …

Letters to the Editor in this issue say go all out on telcom towers (Alex Nelson’s photo at right shows how the people of Riga, the capital of Latvia, are dealing with the issue). Jim Brown asks is the Henbury station deal preempting the carbon trading scheme. Keep some sex offenders in gaol, says Shadow Minister for Justice John Elferink, who also comments on the NT’s crime rate. Get out of cushy Canberra, say NT cattlemen. The RSPCA are “radicals” claims a Territory Minister. Government doesn’t care about animal welfare. Exploration worker in the 60s says he likes resource project in the Simpson Desert. Neighbors were not consulted over school’s outdoor learning area. Love and sadness for The Red Centre and Aussie arts and crafts. The lifting of live export ban is welcomed by NT pollies. And here is the best one for the week …


Will the good news outweigh the bad?


Sir – Do we focus on the good news or on the bad news? This is the question being asked by the Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce and our tourist industry.

Let’s look at some good news first.

Part of the carbon tax will be an increase in funding for renewable sources of energy. Our status as a solar city means we can benefit from this.

If the aeroplane boneyard gets going, this will put a novel feather in our financial and tourist caps.

The Desert Knowledge, CAT, CSIRO and Arid Lands complex south of the Gap gives Alice a brains trust that can be built upon.

The new suburb of Kilgariff is being built. The new Aquatic Centre has been.

The recent initiative by Coles to acknowledge and start to address the devastation wrought by alcohol in Alice shows corporate social responsibility peeking through. They are setting an example for our other corporations to follow.

The advertisements run locally by Action for Alice prove that responsible people living in Alice really do care about what is happening, and what will happen, in this town we all share.

We remain the central hub for a style of indigenous painting that has been called the last great art movement of the 20th century.

Araluen is a worthy centre for our many artistic expressions.

With our demographic mix we are a melding of cultures that, at its usual best, works and works well.

With our clean air, clean water and easy access to inspirational country, Alice Springs is a place like few others to raise a family.

Our schools, from primary to tertiary, are full to bursting with our hopes for tomorrow.

And the bad news?

In the all-important quest for government funding, we play second fiddle to Top-Enders whose vision does not extend south of the Berrimah Line.

Social flatliners from our satellite communities keep coming into town to drink themselves stupid, do stupid things and contribute nothing. They then disappear back into those same satellite communities leaving us to sweep up the broken glass and broken lives left in their wake.

We can fix the first by seceding from the Territory, but if we can’t put a stop to the second, we will soon be sweeping up a broken Alice.

Then all the good news will count for nothing.

Hal Duell

Alice Springs FULL STORY »

New to the net


When it comes to using computers people in the most remote outback of Australia have a lot of catching up to do.

Of 45 people interviewed in three communities, only 6% had a computer at home, and only 1% had internet access at home.

Pictured from left at Mungalawurru are Rosita (visitor), Esmeralda with Karen’s new daughter, Karen and Cynthia. FULL STORY »

Kon Vatskalis a stand-up comedian at uranium conference?

The hypocrisy of this media release is surely breathtaking: “Resources Minister Kon Vatskalis will deliver a keynote address to hundreds of delegates attending Australia’s largest uranium conference this week … where [he] will promote investment in the Northern Territory.”

How will he explain to the conference that his government, with blatant political opportunism, during the run-up to a by-election, cancelled the exploration licence it had issued to Cameco Australia Pty Ltd for the Angela Pamela site, after Cameco had spent millions of dollars there?

How will he explain away the haplessness of that action, given that Labor had Buckley’s chance of winning Araluen, and of course did not?

And how will he explain to the Greenies that, now the by-election is out of the way, he is all in favour of uranium mining?

Is it any wonder we’re laughing stock of the nation. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Remote air traffic control: another loss of skilled workers in Alice Springs?



The air traffic control tower at the Alice Springs airport, built in 1968, may soon become a relic, and four jobs may be taken out of the town.

Airservices Australia is planning a trial beginning late next year of “remote tower technology,” allowing controllers to be based elsewhere in Australia – and conceivably, overseas – working with images and data transmitted by broadband or fiber optic cable. If the scheduled trial is successful – in operational terms – will it take skilled people out of the town? There is a poignant quote from Judith Brett’s insightful essay into the depletion of rural and outback communities (Quarterly Essay Issue 42), commenting on the effects of the banks’ downsizing from their “imposing historic buildings” in the main-streets: “Rural towns were dismayed. Since the founding of these towns, banks had brought in new families: bank managers to join the local golf club and chair fundraising drives, and tellers to play in the football team and marry their daughters. Now all they had was an ATM.”

The other argument in this context worth keeping an eye on is about the high speed broadband: Will it bring expertise to the bush, or take it away?

Photo from Flight Safety magazine. FULL STORY »

Itchy feet and big brain

By ESTELLE ROBERTS (MOZZIE BITES is on holidays)   Stuarts Well stole my heart. And kidnapped my imagination. I got big brain, a friend’s term for when your imagination gets so big it stretches the contours of your brain. This happens most when it rains. But let me start at the start. My feet had… FULL STORY »

Last migrations

A soaring bird can take our hearts
with her; in her flight we see an incomparable image of freedom.
Conversely, there is no more potent image of mortal endings than her
fall to earth in death. “Succumbing to gravity” she leaves the airs,
expiring in the space of the earthbound before passing beyond. KIERAN FINNANE looks at Pamela Lofts’ compelling series of drawings. FULL STORY »

Town camp artists commissioned by Darwin Festival

A 75 metre mural commissioned by the Darwin Festival is keeping Tangentyere Artists busy this week. The painters from Alice Springs town camps are tackling it section by section in the warehouse space on Fogarty Street that they hope will eventually become their fully-fledged studio. The corrugated iron mural will be wrapped around the festival’s… FULL STORY »

Pine Gap: Expose or the official story?

PICTURES: Top – The Pine Gap spy base. Above left: Author David Rosenberg (in sports shirt) pictured presenting a $1000 book voucher to St Philip’s College principal Chris Tudor. At right: The Pine Gap Four after the quashing of their conviction for entering Pine Gap in 2005 (from left) Adele Goldie, Donna Mulhearn, Bryan Law… FULL STORY »

Cows’ stink? No, it’s man made.

By ERWIN CHLANDA   “I suppose that’s the cows we can smell here,” an interstate friend suggested to me as we were wandering around the Alice Springs Show on Friday last week. “No,” I said. “That’s human poo you’re smelling.” The odour was wafting in from the sewage ponds next-door to the showgrounds on a… FULL STORY »

Letter to the Editor: Leaders in government’s pocket?

Sir – The comments by Julia Ross on the Action for Alice advertisements leave me flabbergasted. As we report that Rome is burning, does Ms Ross attack the messenger, or the person who lit the match? Does she pander to the bloke with the match in case he lights you up again, and go all… FULL STORY »

Smug leaders are letting down their town: alderman

By ERWIN CHLANDA   Alice Springs’ leaders are a cosy club, a snobbish hierarchy, drinking the same cocktails and dumping on people daring to highlight their incompetence in fixing the town’s escalating problems, says Alderman Murray Stewart. Despite the number of houses for sale and businesses closing at an unprecedented level, the Town Council, the… FULL STORY »

Local business needs shot in the arm

By ERWIN CHLANDA   The government urgently needs to get behind Central Petroleum’s project to produce “ultra clean” diesel from massive coal deposits in the Simpson Desert. That’s the view of Julie Ross (pictured), chair of the Alice Springs Chamber of Commerce. She says there is little else the local economy can look forward to:… FULL STORY »

“As long as adults drink, younger people will”

By KIERAN FINNANE June 23, 2011   At the recent forum about young people’s dreams for Alice Springs, a schoolgirl asked what could be done about underage drinking. She said that she knew of students leaving classes to go home for a few beers, describing it as “ridiculous”. She later agreed to speak to the… FULL STORY »

Coles takes lead against ultra-cheap wine

By KIERAN FINNANE June 23, 2011   The fight against the availability of ultra-cheap wine in Alice Springs has had a win, with Coles Liquor announcing that its Alice store from July 1 will set a minimum price of $7.99 for bottled wine, including cleanskins, and will no longer sell two litre casks of wine…. FULL STORY »

LETTERS: New challenge for online shopping for grog

Sir – Labor’s banned drinkers’ register, which penalises all Territorians not just problem drunks, is quickly turning into a farce. From tomorrow (Friday, July 1), anyone buying take away alcohol must show photo ID, which is checked and scanned, before the sale can go through. Labor says personal details won’t be kept and the scanning… FULL STORY »

Bring back the cheap booze: town council

By KIERAN FINNANE June 27, 2011   The Alice Springs Town Council will be writing to Coles, Woolworths and local IGA stores (now Lhere Artepe Enterprises Supermarkets)  asking them to reverse their recently announced decision to set a minimum price for cheap bottled wine in their local outlets and to withdraw cask wine from sale…. FULL STORY »

Coles says it will lose revenue, not profiteer

KIERAN FINNANE reports Tuesday June 28 Coles expects to lose revenue as a result of foregoing the sale of cask wine in Alice Springs, says General Manager of Corporate Affairs Robert Hadler, rejecting any suggestion of a profiteering motive for their actions. He said cleanskin wines were only ever sold at ultra-low prices in short-term… FULL STORY »

Alice at the table of Canberra grog summit

By KIERAN FINNANE Posted July 5. Photo: Alcoholic drinks decanted into soft drink bottles in Alice Springs.   With a floor price for alcohol and no take-away sales on Centrelink payday, the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC) would achieve its aims. Not much more harm minimisation could be expected through supply reduction, says the group’s… FULL STORY »

Stopping the next generation of alcoholics before they start

By KIERAN FINNANE   We can do something to prevent the next generation of alcoholics from developing and it involves intervening in the earliest years of life: little children need their parents or other care-givers to be interacting and talking with them daily, reading to them, putting them to bed at regular times; they need… FULL STORY »

Rod Moss wins Prime Minister’s literary award

By JACQUIE CHLANDA in Canberra and ERWIN CHLANDA   The Hard Light of Day by Alice Springs author Rod Moss today won the Prime Minister’s non-fiction award worth $80,000 and the huge prestige attached to it. The book chronicles the lives of Aboriginal people at the White Gate community, a squat on the eastern edge… FULL STORY »

Alice airport could close in major flood

4.5% downturn expected this year but investment continues   By KIERAN FINNANE   The Alice Springs Airport could not be guaranteed to remain open in the case of a major flood cutting access to the town through Heavitree Gap. Mayor Damien Ryan put the question to the airport’s general manager Katie Cooper when she made… FULL STORY »

Fly-in, fly-out desert knowledge

By ERWIN CHLANDA   A branch of the desert knowledge movement, that supposedly quintessential Central Australian drive to transform the governance and economy of the vast desert regions, seems to have turned into a fly-in, fly-out operation. Jan Ferguson, the CEO of the Remote Economic Participation CRC / Ninti One, which was spawned by the… FULL STORY »

PM will be asked to help Alice’s flagging tourism industry

By KIERAN FINNANE   The Town Council is writing to the Prime Minister to ask for financial assistance for the tourism industry in the Centre. While councillors voted to take this action back in May, it has now become more urgent with the grounding of Tiger flights. Alderman Samih Habib Bitar at Monday’s meeting appealed… FULL STORY »