Story Archive » Volume 20 » Issue 3 »

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Coup: All Central Australian members voted for Adam Giles


A reliable source says all Central Australian Members of Parliament voted for Adam Giles in his coup to become Chief Minister.

This means he had the support of Alison Anderson, Bess Price, Matt Conlan and Robyn Lambley.

And the Parliamentary wing vote was 13 for Mr Giles, three for Terry Mills.

“It’s a really good day for us down here” to have a Chief Minister from Central Australia, says Alice Springs Country Liberal Party chairman, Daniel Davis (pictured). And Senator Scullion says “the Country Liberals can get back to rectifying the damage done by a decade of Labor Government”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Liam Jurrah trial, Day 4: Alleged victim in the witness box

Basil Jurrah, alleged victim of an assault by Liam Jurrah, has given evidence about his drinking on the day. He said he bought a two litre “four corner bottle” of Jim Beam to drink at his aunty’s house at Hidden Valley town camp.  KIERAN FINNANE reports. Pictured: After yesterday’s disturbances outside the court, mounted police took up position near the steps for part of this morning.  Jurrah’s legal team is seen leaving the court in the lunch break.


Federal media laws: Will we become a dictatorship?

The argument about Federal media legislation, pushed by Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy (pictured) is clear and brief.

[a] The government does not control the work of journalists.

[b] The government does control the work of journalists.

In the case of [b] Australia would be a dictatorship. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Liam Jurrah trial, Day 3, afternoon: Did he smash a car?


Chief Justice Trevor Riley told jurors to “put to one side” anything that they may hear reported about the fighting outside the courthouse today and to “concentrate” only on the evidence heard in the courtroom. That included this afternoon somewhat confusing evidence from two witnesses that Liam Jurrah was involved in the smashing of a car at Little Sisters camp. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

Pictured: Relieved no doubt at the end of another long day in the dock, Liam Jurrah leaves the Alice Springs courthouse. FULL STORY »

Jurrah Trial, Day 3: Witness lied to police “under pressure”

A witness in the Liam Jurrah trial, 23-year-old Bruno Wilson (pictured), has told the court that he lied in a statement to  police when he said that Liam Jurrah had a nulla nulla and that he hit Basil Jurrah with it three times. He said he lied because he felt under pressure; that the police officer taking his statement repeatedly asked him whether Liam Jurrah had a weapon and only stopped when he finally said that he did. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

PHOTO below: Police intervened as tempers flared outside the court on several occasions.


Anderson gets Children and Families, Conlan Central Australia

Chief Minister Terry Mills has changed the line-up of the Government’s front bench and reshuffled Cabinet. – MEDIA RELEASE FULL STORY »

Jurrah trial, Day Two: Witness refuses to discuss family feud

Counsel for Liam Jurrah this morning attempted to explore the family dispute that may lie behind the events of March 7 last year at Little Sisters Camp, during which it is alleged the former star footballer caused serious harm to his cousin, Basil Jurrah.

Jon Tippet QC tried to ask witness Freda Jurrah, Liam Jurrah’s aunty, about the reason for the trouble. Was it between the Watson and Walker-Granites families? Yes. Was it caused by the death of Kwementyaye Watson? Yes. The Watson family were upset with the Walker-Granite families because they “blamed them” for the death of Kwementyaye Watson? No answer. KIERAN FINNANE reports.


Pictured: Liam Jurrah enters the court, with Jon Tippet QC at his side. FULL STORY »

NT Minister to probe Tangentyere funding for town camps

Tangentyere Council needs to come clean with the taxpayer about how it spends the $43m a year it gets from the public purse, says NT Minister for Indigenous Advancement, Alison Anderson (at left). She says the arganisation was previously responsible for all or most of the town’s up to 19 camps, but is is now looking after fewer than half of them; is failing to stem the “rivers of grog” despite the camps’ “dry” status, is incapable of curbing extreme violence; and is treated by the Shaw family as its private “dynasty”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTOS: Garbage in Charles Creek in 2010. The same location on Wednesday this week, after Ingkerreke has taken over from Tangentyere clean-up and parks maintenance functions. FULL STORY »

Liam Jurrah trial, Day Two: Did he have a weapon in his hand?



The court heard further evidence this afternoon regarding weapons allegedly in the hands of former star footballer Liam Jurrah on the night of March 7 last year. Niece Philomena White said he had a machete; cousin Daphne White said he had “a little iron”; cousin Ingrid White said he had a nulla nulla; aunty Freda Jurrah said he had “something”; cousin Lemiah Woods said he had a crowbar and at another stage, an axe. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  EARLIER STORIES.

Meeting of minds on the shores of a desert lake


In 2008 a flaked stone cobble was unearthed on the shores of Paruku, known in English as Lake Gregory. The latest dating techniques put the stone at 45,000 to 50,000 years old, its flaking (for tools) evidence of ancient human habitation at the site. It was a landmark archeological find but nothing surprising for the Walmajarri traditional owners: they knew their ancestors had always been there, since the Waljirri (the Dreaming). This story is but one of the intriguing strands of an exhibition and book, both titled Desert Lake – Art, Science and Stories from Paruku, launched at Araluen on the weekend. They are the result of relationship and collaboration, in some instances over many years, between traditional owners and visitor scientists, artists  and writers, looking at meeting points and divergences in the ways of knowing that country. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 


Pictured: Some of the Desert Lake team at last Friday’s launch of the exhibition and book at Araluen.


Council suspends its collection scheme and activists ‘disable’ Coca Cola machines as NT loses container deposit court case


The Northern Territory Government will ask the beverage industry to voluntarily continue the container deposit scheme following today’s Federal Court of Australia ruling that it is illegal, says NT Chief Minister Terry Mills.

Meanwhile a group calling itself Out Of Order has begun sticking OUT OF ORDER notices on Coca Cola and Mount Franklin vending machines around the country, says spokesman Katso, “in support of the Northern Territory’s ‘cash for cans’ scheme,” says spokesman Katso.

UPDATE: And the Alice Springs Town Council has today suspended its Cash for Wine & Spirit Glass Bottles scheme which had been operating out of Territory Metals since October 2012. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.



Kilgariff suburb still a work in progress









If the government wants 100 residential blocks in Kilgariff ready for sale “off the plan” by July – the target date, according to minister Adam Giles – then they’ll have to get a wriggle-on.

Mr Giles says he’s been fighting hard to bring on the subdivision early but apart from the number of blocks, very little seems clear at the minute. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. IMAGE: The approximate area where the first 100 residential blocks will be developed. The circled number 1 is the new Stuart Highway intersection.

Council: Stuart statue back, feral trolleys tamed, CDL in limbo, ‘no’ to higher fines, WiFi for mall, dropped BDR empties river



The CDL saga goes on, a hike in fines is dropped, feral shopping trolleys are brought partly under control, and the statue of the explorer John McDouall Stuart (pictured during its unveiling followed by immediate removal) finally has a home. These were some of the issues discussed at last night’s meeting of the Town Council committees. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Macklin opens door to grog in Aboriginal communities, brings in ‘assessors’ to check pubs in Alice

An initiative by the Federal Government could open doors to permitting alcohol in communities that are currently dry, while assessors will be checking Alice pubs to see if they are causing harm. The final form of the Alcohol Management Plans, part of the 10-year, $3.4 billion Stronger Futures in the NT package, was announced by Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin. She is pictured in Alice Springs with Rosalie Kunoth Monks at the Centre for Appropriate Technology after unveiling a $4.36m program to upgrade infrastructure in the Utopia homelands. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. UPDATED at 4.30pm on Wednesday.

Top cop says 000 delay “very concerning”

Police Commander Kate Vanderlaan has described the delay of a 000 call as “very concerning”. She commented today after Telstra released details of the incident on February 22 when the manager of the tennis centre, Matt Roberts was under siege by an armed mob threatening to kill him. FULL STORY »

Strife torn child welfare set for more turmoil: worker





After more than three years on the frontline of child welfare and protection Fred – not his real name – is leaving town. He’s taking with him corporate knowledge, which he says has been dwindled worryingly, about matters that are uppermost in the public’s mind.

He says he isn’t bitter nor angry, rather feels privileged to have developed relationships with a part of the population that is raising profound concerns, both as victims of abuse and neglect, and perpetrators of crime: some four fifths of Fred’s clients were Aboriginal.

He spoke in person with editor ERWIN CHLANDA, for an hour and a half, but on the condition of not being named.



000 police response: nearly 5 mins delay, then more than 13


Territory Police took 4 minutes and 46 seconds and 13 minutes and 12 seconds, respectively, to pick up two calls via 000 from the manager of the tennis centre, Matt Roberts (pictured), when he was under siege on February 22 by an armed mob threatening to kill him. The first call did not result in the police coming to Mr Roberts’ assistance. The second one did. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Protecting, controlling kids in trouble: Robyn Lambley’s long and lonely road



A youth curfew during periods of period of “high social unrest,” grappling with how to make parents pay for the damage done by their kids, an institution for young people out of control or with special needs, the government paying up to half a million dollars a year for some children in residential care services, massive cuts in Federal funding for child welfare and protection – these are some of the waypoints on the long and lonely road of the Minister for Children and Families, Robyn Lambley (pictured with constituents, photo supplied by her office). She spoke with editor ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Public housing in decay as Minister pushes for new suburb


While Minister Giles is pushing to create 100 residential blocks in the new Kilgariff suburb, Minister Chandler (at left) has the same number of dwellings empty and decaying throughout the town.

A reliable source says about 100 public housing homes and units are vacant, and no or little repair work has been done since the Country Liberals came to power in August last year. IMAGE: A small selection of empty and derelict public housing in Alice Springs (from left) 6 Walmulla Street, 10 Kraegen Street, 74 Gap Road, 97 Gap Road and 6 Arunga Street. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

UPDATE Saturday: A spokeswoman for the Minister told us she would be getting back to us on Monday. FULL STORY »

LETTER to Janet Brown and Russell Guy

Janet and Russell, you have both articulated with passion your diametrically opposed views about the degree to which the state should regulate our private lives, writes Alice Springs News Online editor ERWIN CHLANDA. I have found in the current New York Review of Books a concept which may provide a compromise between your positions while not requiring either of you to lose face: It’s called “nudging”. IMAGE: Detail of a 2012 advertisement protesting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on the sale of soft drinks in containers larger than sixteen ounces. He is portrayed in a nanny uniform. The image illustrates the Review article. FULL STORY »

That 000 call: Top cop to get answers

Two big questions remain about the police response on the night when the manager of the tennis centre, Matt Roberts, was under siege by an armed mob threatening to kill him: How long did it take 000 to get through to the police, and how long did it take for the police to despatch a unit to the scene? New police Commander in Alice Springs, Kate Vanderlaan, who has served in Alice Springs for several years previously, says she will get answers. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Mr Roberts in the tennis club room where he was under siege and phoned 000.

Mayor to raise poor police response to emergencies


Mayor Damien Ryan is to contact today the southern region’s new police commander, Kate Vanderlaan, about poor response to calls to 000 and 131441. The matter was raised in last night’s council meeting by Councillor Eli Melky, in an apparent reference to our report yesterday of the inadequate police response to an attack on the tennis club. In other council news: the search for land for affordable housing (not Kilgariff?); consistent shortfall on Indigenous staffing target; public art commissions let; no breakthrough on netball car parking. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 


At left: The Todd mall police post. How useful is it, Cr Melky wants to know. FULL STORY »

Jurrah, Carey in Supreme Court in Alice Springs



Two high profile cases are going to trial in the Supreme Court in Alice Springs, against former football star Liam Jurrah (pictured) and the builder in the Framptons New Home scheme, Randall Carey. FULL STORY »

Two week boot camp not enough to solve youth problems

A 15 day boot camp as apparently proposed by Correctional Services Minister John Elferink would be of little value.

That is the view of a member of the town council who, together with long-time youth worker Graham Ross, has been planning for years to set up a residential facility out bush for young people. PHOTO: Graham Ross (at left) and Cr Brown at the site in the Larapinta Valley where they hope to establish a camp for young people in trouble. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Eubena Nampitjin, rest in peace





It is with great sadness that we must tell you that our beautiful Eubena Nampitjin has passed away, write Warlayirti Artists, of Balgo. FULL STORY »

LETTER: New recycled water whets appetite of large businesses in Alice Springs

Large businesses and institutions south of Heavitree Gap in Alice Springs will soon be taking advantage of recycled water at their properties as the Alice Water Smart Reuse Project aims to reduce consumption of potable (drinking) water by replacing it with recycled water for horticultural and irrigation purposes, writes Les Seddon, Alice Water Smart Project Manager. FULL STORY »

Sick of waiting for a music scene, they made one









A group of young fellas who were sick of waiting around for a music scene. So much so that they decided to make one. The Black Wreath was born. HUGH MAN WINTERFLOOD reports. PHOTOS: Top: band members of The Horror, Miazma and Uncreation. Left: Pirate. FULL STORY »

Another day in the bush on the grog



I hosted a lunch with the Chronic Preventative Health worker from Alice Springs. The man she principally sought and tried to get to the lunch was intoxicated by 11am. I told her this was the way it had been for the past 18 months with this forty-five year old, talented, bi-lingual remote community man who’d had a stroke at that time. RUSSELL GUY sees the grog mayhem up close in a “dry” community not far from Alice. PHOTO: The sign nailed to the tree says: “Let there be light in the darkness.” FULL STORY »

LETTER: Looking for cousin

I am searching for my cousin Franziska Bernadette Hager b. September 14, 1959 (birth name Teresa) also know as Fran, writes Janine Hughes. FULL STORY »

Liam Jurrah trial, Day 4, afternoon: Police officer put through hoops over ‘pressured’ witness statement


The police officer in charge of the investigation leading to the present charge against Liam Jurrah was put through the hoops this afternoon on the way he took a statement from witness Bruno Wilson. Mr Wilson yesterday told the court that he had lied in his statement because he  felt under pressure. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

Pictured: Police arriving to quell the disturbance in front of the courthouse yesterday. FULL STORY »