Story Archive » Volume 20 » Issue 4 »

Thursday, March 14, 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.


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 »

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.

Robocops, minder as extras for Giles’ exclusive media event

We thought the government had turned the corner with their paranoid media management when Adam Giles gave direct access to ministers, bypassing odious minders who had created a barrier worse than the Berrimah line.
Yet while the Alice Springs News Online did the hard yards on the investigation into the shortcomings of 000 calls, we got no invite yesterday when Mr Giles announced the expansion of the police call centre, amidst plods in Robocop attire, a beaming Police Commissioner and – who was that grateful Member Of The Public shaking Mr Giles by the hand? COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. PHOTOS: Images from the ABC TV News last night.


250 public dwellings would cost $100,000 each to fix up


There are 250 public housing dwellings in the NT that would cost $100,000 each to fix up.

Housing Minister Peter Chandler’s first departmental briefing, days after the Country Liberals’ election victory in August last year, revealed that two-thirds of the Repair and Maintenance budget had been spent in the financial year’s first two months.
In Alice Springs 91 dwellings are currently empty. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

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 »

Plans for new oil, gas wells at Mereenie, survey in Simpson



The oil and gas producer Santos has plans – yet to be “fully approved” by the company – of drilling 23 wells in the Mereenie field whose known reserves are close to being exhausted.

Gas from the fields west of Alice Springs has stopped flowing to Alice Springs and Darwin because the Power Water Corporation has stopped buying it. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Archival shot of the Mereenie installation. FULL STORY »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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.

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 »

LETTER: Booze controls needed for footy carnival

Will Alice Springs be the bunny at the Easter footy Carnival? There will be up to 30 teams in Alice Springs for the Easter weekend Lightning Carnival from far and wide – plus spectators. The games will no doubt be great. But if there are no decent alcohol restrictions it could be hell on earth for the hospital, police, night patrols, ambulance workers, youth services, road users and anyone else who is out and about, writes Dr. John Boffa, of the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition in Alice Springs. 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 »

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 in police custody after alleged violent incident

UPDATE Friday 2:30pm:

Police have announced that they have charged a 24-year-old man, understood to be footballer Liam Jurrah (pictured), with four counts of aggravated assault and a 32-year-old man with three counts of aggravated assault.

“Both men have been remanded in custody and will appear in the Alice Springs Magistrates Court on Tuesday 2 April,” said Detective Senior Sergeant Malley.

The new police statement says five, not three, women had allegedly been assaulted.



Footballer Liam Jurrah (pictured) is understood to be one of two men in police custody after what police describe as a violent incident yesterday morning.

Police Superintendent Brent Warren says three women were allegedly assaulted outside the 24 Hour Store on Gap Road.

They received medical treatment and have since been discharged from hospital.

“Injuries range from scratches and bruises through to facial injuries,” says Supt Warren in a media release, and investigations are continuing.

No charges have been laid so far and police have asked anyone in the vicinity of the store at around 3am to contact them on 131444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Want the facts on alcohol in Central Australia?

Sir – Professor Dennis Gray, Deputy Director of the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University, will explain the findings of the Longitudinal Study of influences on alcohol consumption and related harm in Central Australia, with a particular emphasis on the role of price in Alice Springs (see advertisement this edition), writes Vicki Gillick, PAAC Policy Co-ordinator. FULL STORY »

Jurrah trial: Jury considering its verdict

UPDATE, 6.30pm: The jury has been sent home for the night and will return to continue their deliberations from 10am tomorrow. Liam Jurrah (pictured a short while ago) has been allowed to leave the court under the same bail conditions as have applied throughout the trial.


UPDATE, 5.35pm: The court has adjourned to 6.30pm when the jury will advise its progress.


UPDATE, 4:50pm: Unless there is a verdict earlier, the Judge will call the jury back at 5:15pm to check on their progress.


UPDATE, 3.10pm: The jury has retired. Liam Jurrah is waiting with family members in the lobby. Under bail conditions at this stage of the trial he is not allowed to leave the court. He maintains a remarkable calm as throughout this trial.



The jury in the trial of Liam Jurrah started early this morning but has still not retired to consider its verdict. Chief Justice Trevor Riley has been taking them through the things they must consider, in particular matters of law of which he, of course, is the judge. The jury however is the judge of the facts but in this too they have received plenty of guidance. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Liam Jurrah: guilty or victim of a botched process?


The power of persuasion is at work in the Supreme Court in Alice Springs and the fate of Liam Jurrah hangs in the balance. When prosecutor Stephen Robson had marshaled all the Crown evidence against the accused and called for a guilty verdict, Liam Jurrah looked to the gallery, where family and friends were seated, and sighed. He would have felt more buoyant, however, after hearing his own counsel begin his summing up. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

Pictured: At the end of Day 7 of the trial, Bruce Hearn Mackinnon, author of The Liam Jurrah Story, says goodbye to the accused.


Serious harm to Basil Jurrah not in dispute


Also, glowing testimony of Liam Jurrah’s character on Day 7 of the trial



That Basil Jurrah sustained serious harm in an assault on him at Little Sisters camp on March 7 last year is not in dispute. Among the agreed facts read out to the jury this morning was an account of his injuries, including lacerations “down to the skull”, the largest of these being a 10 cm L-shaped laceration. There were eight external bodily injuries all up found when he was admitted to hospital in the early hours of March 8. A CT scan then revealed six fractures to the head and face. KIERAN FINNANE reports from the Supreme Court where evidence has concluded and summing up has begun.

 Pictured: Liam Jurrah and family leaving court at lunchtime today. FULL STORY »

Jurrah: No crime scene, no search for weapons, an ‘oversight’

In the Liam Jurrah trial this morning Chief Justice commented that a machete and a crowbar are both “distinctive”. He seemed to be in agreement, at least in this regard, with Mr Tippett that the investigation was “very perfunctory”.  Investigating officer, Senior Constable Sean Aila, said he didn’t know how to reply to this. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

‘It’s pretty complicated between Jurrah versus Jurrah.’


Liam Jurrah trial, Day 6, UPDATED (see Full Story)


Liam Jurrah (pictured with niece Johnisha White at the lunch break today) became angry, on the night of March 7 last year, when he heard people calling his name, saying that he didn’t respect anybody, that he didn’t want to know his old man and his grandfather. They were saying, “all you want to do is to come here and be with your mother’s family”. He was angry but he didn’t have “any fight with no-one”. KIERAN FINNANE reports from the Supreme Court where the jury has watched a recording of Liam Jurrah’s interview with police. FULL STORY »

Liam Jurrah serious but calm as police interview starts


Liam Jurrah trial, Day Five, afternoon: 


The trial of Liam Jurrah (pictured) finished early today, after playing of the record of his interview with police was abandoned, the courtroom copy of the DVD appearing to be faulty. The interview was given while Liam Jurrah was under arrest on March 8 last year, a day after the events at Little Sisters camp. In the few minutes that were played in court, he appeared serious but calm. He had elected not to have anybody with him during the interview and had spoken to his legal representative beforehand. KIERAN FINNANE reports.


Witness adamant, Jurrah was ‘pounding’ victim with machete



Liam Jurrah trial, Day 5, morning:


In face of strong cross-examination witness Essau Marshall (pictured) maintained that he saw Liam Jurrah attack Basil Jurrah with a machete. He showed the court how Mr Jurrah was holding the weapon, raising his arms and gripping both hands. He described the action as “pounding”.

Before evidence got underway this morning Chief Justice Trevor Riley spoke to the jury about a photo appearing in today’s Northern Territory News, showing an injured Basil Jurrah in a hospital bed. He told the jury that the photo should never have been published. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 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 »

The new NT cabinet

The new Territory cabinet was announced today. FULL STORY »