Story Archive » Volume 20 » Issue 25 »

October 2, 2013

Be first, stay clean: Aussie karting title in Alice




It’s the opposite to how it often is in life: In karting if you stay in front, you stay clean. FULL STORY »

Booth resigns from the Town Council

 Former Cr Booth’s empty seat at this evening’s council meeting.


Councillor Geoff Booth embroiled in a scandal over an escort agency application, resigned from the town council at 4.58pm today and no further action is being taken by the council. KIERAN FINNANE reports. UPDATED 8.58pm. See FULL STORY for further UPDATE,  October 1, 2013, 9.32 am: Full text of Cr Booth’s resignation and CEO’s intentions on register of councillors’ and executive officers’ business and property interests. 

Let’s not waste a good scandal

So, it’s business as usual, as if the Councillor Geoff Booth scandal never happened? At 4.57pm yesterday the Town Council was getting ready to discuss, among other issues, whether Cr Booth’s proposed profiting from prostitution had put the council into disrepute. At 4.58pm Cr Booth emailed his resignation and that was it. The carpet was lifted and the dirt, swept under it. ERWIN CHLANDA comments. 


Onshore gas bonanza: what role fracking?



Onshore gas is a potential game-changer in the Northern Territory with potential reserves of unconventional gas totaling about 240 trillion cubic feet spread across six basins, write Chief Minister Adam Giles (at left) and Mines Minister Willem Westra Van Holthe (at right). We asked them what role they expect fracking to have in this development process. FULL STORY »

Wanted: sites for relocating the landfill


Councillor Steve Brown (pictured) has inched further in his pursuit of eventual relocation of the Alice Springs landfill from its present site just south of the Gap. KIERAN FINNANE reports.


A little interruption of the ordinary




Rogue bureaucrats were at it again in Todd Mall today, in their pencil skirts and pin-striped blouses, markers and whiteboard in tow. They were collecting ideas, any ideas for an agenda … a meeting would be held soon … a meeting of important people … Kieran Finnane happened to be passing by. FULL STORY »

Booth ‘terminates’ escort agency application

UPDATE 03:15pm Monday:

Karen Avery, of the Department of Business, says the application by the group including Cr Booth for an escort agency licence has now been withdrawn.


UPDATE 12:15pm Monday:

Cr Booth, who was expected to be attending tonight’s council meeting by telephone hook-up, has this morning notified the council that he will not be attending in any form.


UPDATE 10:20am Monday:

Karen Avery, of the Department of Business, said this morning: “There has been some indication that the licence application may be withdrawn. However, the Department of Business or the NT Licensing Commission have not received any formal withdrawal yet.”


Town Council CEO Rex Mooney (pictured) was told by Councillor Geoff Cr Booth that he had “terminated” his application for an escort agency operator’s licence. But in a written report to tomorrow’s council meeting Mr Mooney says:  “Cr Booth’s withdrawal of this application does not in any real way satisfy or even deal with the concerns raised” by council solicitor Chris Turner, whom he instructed to provide legal advice following “media attention” focusing on Cr Booth’s place of residence and escort agency plans. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Young men get 15 years for gang rapes of European tourists

UPDATED 5.22PM: See FULL STORY for what the court heard about the convicted men.


Eighteen year olds Norman Kernan and Ginger Green were this afternoon each sentenced to 15 years in prison for the armed robbery and multiple rapes of two European tourists in May last year. Justice Dean Mildren described their crimes as “not in the worst category” of offending but “at the high end”, as “outrageous” and with “devastating consequences” for their victims. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

Pictured: Alice Springs Courthouse.


Four assaults on women in last three weeks

The lengthy sentences handed down today for the gang rapes of two European tourists in May last year come in the wake of  four assaults on women in Alice Springs in the last three weeks.


Terrifying ordeal at gunpoint: multiple rapes of European tourists, one suspect still unidentified

MODIFIED September 26, 2013, 11.05am: Earlier suppression orders in this case were formally lifted today. The names of two of the three offenders are now part of this report. A photo has been added and minor details updated.


WARNING: Some readers may find the article distressing.


“I told her she would be safe.” This was all AN could think about when she was woken in the early hours of May 2, 2012, to the sound of banging on her car and male voices shouting, “Come out, you pussy.” She wanted to protect her friend but she had no chance. One of the men was armed and he pointed the rifle straight at her head. The Australian holiday of two young women, from Germany and Finland, was about to turn into a nightmare. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

Pictured: The cul-de-sac at the end of Maconochie Road where the tourists had parked their car to sleep overnight. FULL STORY »

Has councillor brought Town Council into disrepute?

Questions of bringing the town council into disrepute and residency requirements of the Electoral Act will be raised in the public part of the meeting of the Town Council on Monday. This follows the disclosure by the Alice Springs News Online that Councillor Geoff Booth is the director of a new escort agency in Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Councillors have open mind on landfill relocation

Coucillor Jade Kudrenko (pictured) says discussion about relocating the landfill is an example of “strategic forethought” which is a responsibility of the town council. And Cr Chansey Paech (pictured) says he is “open to discussion with other elected members” should another site be identified. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Frampton New Homes: the dream breaker

People under the illusion that our regulatory authorities would finally provide justice in the Frampton New Homes scandal, now have their answer. As no further legal action is under way – so far as we know – the story can be told. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The Alice Springs News front page photo on March 18, 2010. Mrs Abboot was pregnant at the time and they now have six children. They were forced to sell the house.


UPDATED 4:05 pm – see bottom of the report. FULL STORY »

What partner in Alice escort agency has to offer




A glimpse at the website of Maxine’s Gentlemen’s Club may offer a hint of what Councillor Geoff Booth’s escort agency has in store for the town. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Recycled water scheme ready for testing



New water recycling facilities have been commissioned in Alice Springs this week and will undergo three months of testing before the water is supplied to businesses and institutions south of Heavitree Gap, writes Les Seddon, of Alice Water Smart. Photo: Part of the plant now being tested, early in its construction phase. FULL STORY »

Let’s think globally and act locally on climate change



In this week when a climate report urges governments to redouble there efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions it seems fair to ask, what if anything does the new government policy mean for Central Australia, writes Richard Bentley, from Alice Springs.


Expensive by-election, date set

The date has been set for the by-election to replace former Alice Springs Town Councillor Geoff Booth. FULL STORY »

Reforms aimed at students in their early years




I urge parents and teachers to arm themselves with the facts about the NT Government’s education reforms which are squarely aimed at improving student outcomes. It is crucial that these reforms are put in perspective, writes Education Minister Peter Chandler.


Spirit is fine but there needs to be fun



The 10 year slide in tourism numbers has been stopped and the Do The NT campaign will add fun and adventure to the mix. PHOTO from new TV commercial, at Ayers Rock (Uluru). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Syrians really need a hand



Sir – Imagine houses in your street bombed and your neighbours left homeless. Imagine that every 17 seconds a fellow Australian is forced to flee in fear of their lives. This is all happening to the people of Syria, most of whom just wish to go to school, work and live a normal life, writes Robert Tickner, CEO, Australian Red Cross. FULL STORY »

Crime drops as super sleuth car hits beat






Sir – Figures from the June quarter this year show a 40% reduction in house break-ins, a 50% drop in commercial break-ins and a 43% fall in motor vehicle thefts, compared to the same quarter in 2012 as Alice gets police vehicle fitted with an in-car computer and video system, a next G and satellite connection, and an Automated Number Plate Recognition system, writes Chief Minister Adam Giles. FULL STORY »

Car from rainy Holland heads up sun powered race

The Dutch Nuon Solar Team from the Delft University of Technology was the first through Kulgera today at 12:53pm, 20 minutes ahead of the Tokai University entrant, from  Japan. Late yesterday afternoon entrants made camp at Traeger Park in Alice Springs (pictured), doing some urgent repairs and soaking up the day’s last sunrays to top up their batteries. FULL STORY »

Dirt kart nationals big win for Alice

Alice Springs now has two Australian dirt kart champions, but the big winner at the national titles was clearly the town. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Young men plead guilty to multiple rapes of international tourists

MODIFIED 5.10pm: Although no suppression order was sought today, the Alice Springs News Online has just been informed that an earlier order with respect to the offenders’ names may still be in force. Until this is clarified we are removing their names from our report.


Two young men this morning pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Alice Springs to eight counts of sexual intercourse without consent with two international tourists on May 2 last year, as well as one count of robbery. The young women, one from Germany, the other from Finland, were asleep in their car in a suburban street in Alice when the assaults began shortly before 3am. A third Aboriginal male was involved but has never been arrested for want of evidence against him. The victims have been unable to identify him; there was no DNA evidence related to him; and the perpetrators have not assisted the police to identify him. KIERAN FINNANE reports, with more to follow later today.

PHOTO: The location of the rapes in Maconochie Road, near the casino. FULL STORY »

‘Have you got Bruce yet?’



The search for the third offender in the gang rapes of the European tourists 


“I was only in the front seat. Have you got Bruce yet?” These were among the very few words said by convicted rapist Norman Kernan to police after his arrest. They may contain a clue as to the identity of the third offender in the gang rapes of two European tourists in May last year. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Landfill shift ‘inevitable’ but costs, timing are issues




Costs and timing are the major issues for the relocation of the dump which several town councillors see as inevitable. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 

Pictured: View from the range, with sewage ponds and landfill in the middle ground of this beautiful valley. FULL STORY »

The social value of art in desert communities

Desert Mob, now in its 23rd consecutive year, is Central Australia’s leading art exhibition claiming national and even international attention. But if you were been looking for an exploration of the work on its walls, of formal practice and aesthetic choices, then the Desert Mob Symposium (last September 6), was not the place to find it. Titled Faces, Places, Spaces it was not immediately concerned with the exhibition, but with art production as a socially valuable activity. ANNA GEORGIA MACKAY reflects upon the day. Pictured: Ngamaru Bidu, Nola Taylor, Muuki Taylor and Gabrielle Sullivan during the Martumili Artists presentation. FULL STORY »

A pool that’s not in deep water


The Mutitjulu community at Uluru (Ayers Rock) has a community pool with a difference, namely secure operational funding, says David Ross, director of the Central Land Council. FULL STORY »

Open speed limit: more ‘secret’ reports






The public deserves to know the contents of secret reports the open speed limit, writes Gerry McCarthy, Shadow Minister for Transport. FULL STORY »

Taxi disgrace: $24 fare Trucking Yards to CBD



Come on, taxi drivers, a review of your personal and professional ethics is in order, writes Jodie Clarkson of Alice Springs.


Cr Kudrenko puts poverty and disadvantage on council agenda


Far from addressing matters to do with the recent activities of Geoff Booth, the only question from the public put to councillors last Monday was about how council could address “the underlying causes of poverty and disadvantage in our community”. The questioner said it would be a “win-win” way of tackling anti-social behaviour and wanted to know what vision Councillor Jade Kudrenko (pictured) had for council’s role.  KIERAN FINNANE reports.



Moving the dump will be discussed by council …



Councillor Steve Brown has taken the first step to get discussion on the table of an alternative to future expansion of the landfill west into the beautiful Ilparpa Valley. Officers will provide a report but will it be discussed in open? KIERAN FINNANE reports.


Visit to Alice Springs by Bushtracker Owners Group







During September more than 100 Bushtracker Caravans converging on Alice Springs and District. FULL STORY »

The Boys who made the Big Time



Some of The Boys who came from the bush and made their mark in the nation, with TLC from Father Percy Smith and Mrs Smith: Bill “Buckshot” Espie (2nd from left). Middle row: Vince Copley, Charlie Perkins, Ernie Perkins (the other two unidentified). Front row: Brian Butler, John Smith (unsure). Help us fill in the gaps! Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.


PHOTOS UPDATE: Readers have now provided more names! See comments.

Ambush of delightful silliness



Most days after 5pm Todd Mall is largely deserted. Not yesterday though … FULL STORY »

Being away from Alice: the scream


I’m studying Buddhism & meditation in Melbourne. It’s awfully interesting. But man, do I miss Alice. FULL STORY »

Imparja board gets legal advice on CEO after escort agency bid



The Aboriginal owned TV station Imparja in Alice Springs is seeking legal advice on “the personal business activities” of Imparja CEO Alistair Feehan (pictured) according Chairman Michael Griffin. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Black jobs: are we really just starting to ask the questions?




Su McCluskey (pictured) heads up a think tank that rates Central Australia amongst the least competitive regions in Australia, on a scale of five (see map FULL STORY). Last week she spoke to a forum at Desert Knowledge Australia, the organisation which has been charged, for the past 15 years, to find ways for arid inland of Australia to be a better and more productive place: so far the results are slim. Editor ERWIN CHLANDA put to Ms McCluskey that The Center has a million square kilometers of land, lots of water we know of, and doubtlessly more that we don’t, lots of idle labour, as well as backloading freight opportunities, both on road and rail, which could take produce to Alice Springs or south. How come we’re not rolling in money? FULL STORY »

Alice builders still livid about insurance for home buyers






The government has replaced a home buyers’ insurance with no home buyers’ insurance. This is the main beef of more than 50 small builders and “subbies” in Alice Springs who are still at loggerheads with their representative body, the Master Builders NT, over the new fidelity scheme, set up to protect consumers.

PHOTO: Painter Kodie Bennett working on the extensions to the Old Timers Village yesterday. FULL STORY »

Dancers take over after dark


FULL STORY MODIFIED to include more photos, September 16, 2013, 10.15am.


It must rank among the best things the Alice Desert Festival has put on in its 13 years, for its key idea of enlivening our central public spaces after dark, erasing their normally anxious, shuttered and desolate state with sensual exuberance, open-hearted humour and welcome. The event was Dance Jam After Dark. It began at the entrance to the Fan Arcade where at the start of the 7pm performance last night a crowd of 50 or so spectators gathered round. By the end they’d been joined by hundreds. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. Video (click FULL STORY) by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Circus of madness and magic

“Running away to the circus” – the image is of escape, overthrow of the strictures of the adult-governed world. But what if the adults are completely on side? If they’re convinced that here lies the path to “truth, wisdom and knowledge”? This is the delightful prospect of joining  Circus Dust. Story by KIERAN FINNANE. Photos and Video by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Mbantua Festival’s time has come


The core inspiration for the Mbantua Festival arose from its site at the Old Telegraph Station. The ideas flowed as soon as it was chosen, says Rachel Perkins. One story to tell was immediately obvious – that of children of mixed Aboriginal descent removed from their families, most of them forcibly, who lived on the site. The theatrical production, Bungalow Song, will be one of the festival highlights later this week. KIERAN FINNANE speaks to Rachel Perkins. Pictured: Perkins with some of the cast on site. Photo by Alexandra Hullah. FULL STORY »