Story Archive » Volume 24 » Issue 7 »

Burst of desert art and life in Sydney CBD

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As commuters move through the underground corridors of Sydney CBD’s busy Wynyard Station this month, a burst of life and colour from Central Australia greets them: on a huge wide-format screen (23m x 3m), a video-installation by Yarrenyty Arltere Artists and Leonardo Ortega. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Huge fence around Parliament is OK: Scullion

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Is an underground bunker such as Churchill had in WWII next, asks commentator. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


‘Territory Labor fails to enact its own fracking policy’




When is Resources Minister Ken Vowles (pictured) going to implement a decision from the 2017 Territory Labor Conference that no fracked gas is to be carried by the Northern Gas Pipeline, asks Pauline Cass, of the Territory Frack-Free Alliance.


Desert Mob: next generation always on their minds

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As an emblem of the driving force behind desert Aboriginal art, the photograph by Ikuntji Artists’ Roseranna Larry, winner of the 2017 Desart Photography Prize, is eloquent. In whatever medium they are working, artists are making their art primarily for their children, “for our next generations”: this is the most repeated statement about what motivates them, as simple as it is profound. KIERAN FINNANE reports on the annual Desert Mob. FULL STORY »

Journalists as prostitutes

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Advertising in exchange for a good story: Corrupt journalism is OK with the Gruen panel on ABC TV (Dee Madigan and Russel Howcroft are pictured). Comment by ERWIN CHLANDA.


UPDATE September 15, 12:47pm


Top scorer knocks back Deputy Mayor job

2476 councillors 1 SMCouncillor Jacinta Price says she is too busy to take incumbent Jamie de Brenni’s job but makes a firm commitment to serve a four year term. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO The 13th council. FRONT ROW: Marli Banks, Jacinta Price, Mayor Damien Ryan, Catherine Satour, Matt Paterson. BACK ROW: CEO Rex Mooney, Jamie de Brenni, Jimmy Cocking, Eli Melky and Glen Auricht.


CLP pushes for oil & gas, including fracking




The industry should be “governed by world’s best practice and science-based regulations to protect agricultural, water and biodiversity values of the land,” writes party president Shane Stone.


‘CLP rehashes fracking policy that caused its wipe-out’




Shale gas produced in the NT would be some of the world’s most expensive, and would do nothing to bring down domestic prices which have trebled in recent years, putting jobs and households under pressure, writes Lauren Mellor of the Territory Frack-Free Alliance. PHOTO from the Alice Springs News Online archive.


Ancient stories meet government silence in the Lands

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Keeping the traditional law alive while moving his people out of welfare dependency, that’s what Frank Young – lawman, artist and administrative leader – sees as his mission in the sprawling APY lands. He spoke with ERWIN CHLANDA.  FULL STORY »

Alice wants substantial increase in solar: survey

2476 RePower Alice Springs SMLocals want 70% to 100% of electricity to come from renewable resources, finds RePower Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Trouble in the Lands: Chairman, CEO clash

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Fear that an amendment in the SA Parliament will destroy Anangu property rights in the “Lands” brings toxic relationships between APY board chairman and celebrated artist, and his CEO, in the state’s top end to the boil. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Batchelor probe into just two of 65 qualifications

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Recognition of prior learning under Federal scrutiny as interim CEO takes charge. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Deputy CEO Dorothy Morrison with Defence Indigenous Development Program graduate Private Breana Miller. 


Raising the bar: the art of keeping your shop safe

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Grilles on shop windows that are things of beauty in themselves, from inside and out; gates at the shop entrance that are a work of art: instead of deadening the street with blank roller doors, they enliven it, while delivering the same security or better. It’s happening here in Alice Springs. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Is the Stuart statue next?




History denial may be on a return trip to Alice Springs, fears Hal Duell.


MLA MIA: The drover’s dog for Katherine?

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Government members show distain for Katherine, writes Bruce Francais. PICTURED: Sandra Nelson MLA


Ms Nelson replies.


No plans to stop NATS: Gunner

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Work Safe will be investigation yesterday’s “mass casualty incident”. Flames penetrating mesh fences and the crowd being close to the competition will be among the among the issues examined. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Mr Gunner with hospital superintendent Dr Sam Goodwin, Police Superintendent Bradley Currie and Andrew Everingham, heading up the St John Ambulance, this morning in Alice Springs.

UPDATE September 9:
All four patients who were transferred to the Royal Adelaide Hospital are now in a stable condition, according to the Senior Media Adviser of South Australian Health.


Eyewitness of NATS blaze praises helpers

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Eleven people injured, four flown to Adelaide as burnout car sprays burning fuel into crowd during Red Centre NATS. Photo courtesy ABC TV Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Home from the fire front

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Alice Springs fire chief helped fighting the worst blaze in the history of Canada’s British Columbia. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Change on new council: three women, three greens

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Two more women have joined top-scorer Jacinta Price on the Alice Springs Town Council, and with Jimmy Cocking their election makes for three greens all up.

UPDATED, 6.25pm: The numbers  and comment by KIERAN FINNANE.  FULL STORY »

The audience is the actor: roll up for The Living Theatre

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Living theatre requires participation. Turning up, you take more than the usual gamble on whether you will be thrilled or bored.  To some extent, you will be given the opportunity to thrill or bore yourself! KIERAN FINNANE reviews. FULL STORY »

Melbourne to Alice in a 1932 Ford for NATS

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Sandra Horne (pictured) drove this little beauty all the way from Melbourne for the Red Centre NATS starting today. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Govt quality agency investigates Batchelor Institute

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Last audit was in 2014. This one follows the sudden departure of CEO Robert Somerville. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: 2016 graduation parade in Alice Springs.


Cranking up the economy while having a ball

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Volunteering is a great part of the social life in Alice Springs while pumping millions of dollars into the town. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: The sea battle of the Henley on Todd is the climax of an annual event that attracts a crowd of 4000.


Harts Range garnet mine in trouble

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The project, which employs about 20 staff on-site, has been put on care and maintenance, reports The West Australian.


Indecent assault on 13-year-old girl

Police are looking for a man who is described as Caucasian, about 30 years old, with blues eyes and wearing glasses. FULL STORY »

Firearms stolen from a police station

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They took the gun safe as well, say police. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE September 1, 11:20am


The weapons have been recovered and three men and a boy have been charged, police say.


Stories from the inside, by the insiders

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In a selection of 40 animated films made by prisoners, shown as part of the Desert Festival, none found gaol an easy place to be, most longed for freedom and were full of resolve to not repeat mistakes; some struck tragic notes about the past and the present. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. Still at left from a film by Larry Doolan. FULL STORY »

CDP work for the dole scheme gets a hammering

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The Community Development Program is a product of inadequate consultation, has bureaucratic processes many don’t even understand, is punitive without benefits and ignores private enterprise as an alternative: That’s what academics and politicians, including Chansey Paech (pictured), are telling the Senate’s Finance and Public Administration Committee. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Desert Mob: the real deal




“Extraordinary contemporary art by some of Central Australia’s most celebrated Aboriginal artists” in a “truly unique event”  – this is almost upon us with the annual Desert Mob, no need to wait for Parrtjima. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

How will you keep me out of the camps, Walter?

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Town councillor Jacinta Price elect hits back at Tangentyere boss Walter Shaw.


Will Aboriginal councillor be blocked from town camps?

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Will Tangentyere boss Walter Shaw (at left) attempt to deny top-scoring council candidate, Aboriginal woman Jacinta Price (at right) access to constituents. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.


Finding and losing: self, love, home

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Borne aloft on women’s voices and their instruments as well as their talk of home, of the many different ways of finding a sense of belonging in Central Australia, a Desert Festival audience tuned into  She Sings: A Red Home. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. FULL STORY »

Let the gas flow, says Nigel Scullion




Even Michael Gunner’s Federal leader says so, writes the NT’s CLP Senator.


Dob in a graffiti vandal, says town council

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$1500 reward for information leading to a conviction, writes Council CEO Rex Mooney.


Did Oz Day row in Victoria scare the horses in Alice?

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Alice Springs can be expected to vote conservative but the numbers for Jacinta Price are stunning, comments political observer ALEX NELSON (pictured).

Four more years of same-same

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Council elections: So much for the need of fresh blood to make the town tick: Headed up by re-elected Mayor Damien Ryan the conservatives seem to have it in the bag, what’s more, with a succession plan in place. ERWIN CHLANDA comments.


Gunner: Man of action trips up on appointment

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Gunner: Trust me, I’m from the government. I’m here to help you – except if you want to contact the Buy Local advocate. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Council election: The counts so far.

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With two thirds of votes counted it’s Damien Ryan (easily) and Jacinta Price by a country mile. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


The triumph and the tragedy of the open road

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One of the 86 truckies inducted into the Road Transport Hall of Fame this morning was a young woman who perished in a roll-over and fire last year. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Environment: The devil needs to be in the detail

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For many, mayoral candidate Jimmy Cocking (pictured with his number two and three preferences, Catherine Satour and Donna Digby) is a household name. What would it take to convince conservative Alice Springs to embrace his message, asks ERWIN CHLANDA. 


Ryan runs on infrastructure boost, financial responsibility

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On the minus side are long delays with flood mitigation measures (although the Alice Springs News Online now has new information on this critical issue, see FULL STORY). ERWIN CHLANDA spoke with Mayor Ryan who is pictured with Jenny Barr at Sunday’s market. The how-to-vote cards on the table are Mayor Ryan’s and those of candidate Joshua “Burgs” Burgoyne, his future son-in-law.


de Brenni running for Mayor – next time

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A concreting team, a bitumen gang, in-house training for depot and civic centre workers: Candidate Jamie de Brenni (pictured) wants the council take a do-it-yourself approach to the some of the town’s needs. He spoke with ERWIN CHLANDA.


Jimmy Cocking: Council not an ideological pedestal

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“I will not support cheap political smear campaigns, political bullying or the politics of division. Real success comes through hard work, truth, honesty and integrity of dealings,” writes mayoral candidate Jimmy Cocking. He is pictured with partner Karine Trembley, mother Annette Cocking and son Louka Cocking.


Council not font of wisdom, but conduit for public concerns



Let’s be the world’s solar city, a cycling Mecca, go for digital connectivity, electric vehicles, public transport, renewable energy and accessible open spaces writes Jason Quin, Candidate for Councillor.


Politely passionate: council candidates front invited guests

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No gloves came off at the only public forum assembling all candidates in the local government election, but the word ‘passionate’ was worn threadbare. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Surprising conservative on council: Jacinta Price

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This confident, articulate and talented woman on the national stage has taken a low profile in the Town Council and consistently aligned herself with the conservative block. She speaks about why with KIERAN FINNANE. FULL STORY »

Batchelor CEO quits after ‘hard conversations’

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A leaked email from chairman Markham Rose (at left) says the resignation of Robert Somerville (at right) had been accepted unanimously. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Alcohol services cuts undermine BDR: Higgins




And the Chief Minister gives a false answer on ankle bracelets, writes the Opposition Leader (pictured).


Ross River resort moving into the future

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A travel pioneer venture from the 1950s where enjoying the bush is not done in a hurry. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Unpredictable, unaligned and undaunted: Cr Eli Melky

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Alone among the candidates handing out how-to-votes, Councillor Eli Melky has not allocated preferences. His rivals have and they’re mostly putting him well down the list. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Lambley wants ALP probed on Dan Murphy’s




She will put Labor’s dealings with the liquor giant Dan Murphy’s before the Political Donations Inquiry and the new Independent Commission Against Corruption, writes Robyn Lambley (pictured), Independent Member for Araluen.


Thousands of voters miss out on last week of campaign 

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Early polling  is likely to favour incumbents and high profile candidates over the fresh faces coming forward, some of whom are highly credible candidates. KIERAN FINNANE comments. PLUS see inside for links to our coverage of the campaign to date.  FULL STORY »

Aussies beat Yanks in Americas Cup. Vikings scare.

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The Henley on Todd is heading for 100 in 44 years’ time with its outback cheek fully intact. Story and video by ERWIN CHLANDA explain why.


Batchelor Institute in turmoil: Leak




A leaked Batchelor Institute memo raises fears about job losses and its reputation. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Students pictured at a graduation ceremony in Alice Springs three years ago.


Flood report a trickle, not a banker

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In a year and a half of the government-appointed flood mitigation committee (pictured), which has the two mayoral candidates as members, not a single practical measure has been put in place to protect Alice from partial devastation. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


How to vote cards point to totally new council

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Greens to rule, even current deputy mayor would miss out, if preferences are taken as a guide. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. See inside for links to our coverage of the campaign to date. 


BDR lite to start on Saturday

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“Early scanning” won’t nab banned drinkers until September 1 but in some “communities” including Alice you’ll have to show ID to buy take-away booze and the system will spotlight people on court orders.  PHOTO: Barman Ryan at the Gapview take-away with a scanner similar to the ones mothballed by the Giles government.


From Standley Chasm take the staircase to heaven

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A kiosk in the valley turns into a restaurant while the view from the summit takes your breath away. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Walking, writing between frontier and home

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Alice Springs journalist Glenn Morrison in two recently published books challenges the idea of ‘the frontier’ as a way of thinking about Central Australia, for getting in the way of settler Australians being able to reimagine The Centre as home, a place of intercultural exchange and emergent hybrid culture. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. FULL STORY »

Higgins doubts Gunner’s more cops promise




Gunner is 119  short of his promise for 120 extra cops, writes Opposition Leader Gary Higgins (pictured).


Fresh eyes on his adopted home: candidate John Paul Sirus 

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Alice Springs has a lot going for it, but needs strategies to turn around its declining population and flagging economy, says Town Council candidate John Paul Sirus, who as president of the Alice Springs Indian Association already represents one of the town’s fastest-growing immigrant populations. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

‘Do you mind if I speak to you?’

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“He stands in the mall, an oddly striking figure. Held between fine fingers that protrude from fingerless grey woollen gloves is a silver harmonica. The man is playing.” HOWARD GOLDENBERG stops to listen, then has a conversation with this familiar figure around Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Street kids: No Protective Custody but Care Orders

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Families Minister Dale Wakefield says early intervention is the focus of the Government. She spoke with ERWIN CHLANDA. PHOTO: A boy getting a sausage sandwich from women from the FOCAS and Positive Loitering groups in the Mall.


Candidate Marli Banks: less talk, more action

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Mother of two blends social activism with hard-nosed commercial acumen. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Ms Banks volunteering at the Old Timers Fete on Saturday.


Youth crime, flooding on Glen Auricht’s council agenda

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Aranda-speaking engineer and long-time community volunteer joins race for a seat on the town council. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


CAAMA, Imparja reluctant bedfellows

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Imparja Television and Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) have been ordered to consolidate their financial accounts. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

UPDATE 1:45pm: Imparja CEO says CAAMA has no controlling interest because of the “nature of Imparja’s constitution”.

UPDATE August 12: What ORIC said about CAAMA’s financial position. FULL STORY »

Hostel for kids, healing a split town: candidate’s vision

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“I’m 40 now and the town was going through this when I was 13,” says Donna Lemon of young people in the streets late at night. A local Aboriginal mother of two, health educator, and community volunteer, she’s running for council because she believes she can make a contribution that’s “inclusive of our community, black, white and brindle”. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Jenni Lillis: A council beyond rates, roads and rubbish

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“I’d like to see the council  have a bit more influence on other governments,” says local government candidate Jenni Lillis. She spoke with ERWIN CHLANDA.


Senior Arrernte men take a stand: time to do something about young people causing trouble on their country

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They want to set up an Arrernte community patrol to work “as one” with other community groups as well as police, the Town Council, Aboriginal organisations, and senior people in remote communities, who need to understand “how much devastation this antisocial stuff” is causing in Alice Springs which is Arrernte ground.  KIERAN FINNANE  reports. FULL STORY »

Cops at bottle shops must stay: Lambley

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The Banned Drinkers Register can’t do it on its own, writes Robyn Lambley, Independent Member for Araluen.


Environmentalist stands for Mayor, Councillor

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Safe streets and kids, better town planning, no fracking, developing The Centre as a world class adventure playground and low rates are among the policies for Jimmy Cocking (pictured at the community garden). ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


‘Room to move’ on environment: Greens council candidate

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One advantage of being endorsed by the NT Greens is to have a ready-made group of volunteers to help her, but the campaign message is “mostly mine”, says committed environmentalist and seasoned youth leadership worker, Jodi Lennox. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Murray Stewart seeks come-back to town council

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Murray Stuart for Councillor: Boost commerce and turn the Todd River into a playground for the town. Photo: Mr Stewart, who was born blind. “It makes me see with my brain a little brighter,” he says. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


‘Put community in the driving seat’: candidate Donna Digby

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Alice Springs is well provided for in its core services. Council’s role is to show leadership and guidance, in discussion with the community, to make the most of new opportunities, says candidate Donna Digby. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Alice council heading for Donald Trump style dynasty?

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Mayor Damien Ryan is set to become the father-in-law of youthful council candidate Joshua Burgoyne (at right) in next month’s election. Walking in the footsteps of Donald Trump (at left)?


Bridging gap between council and coalface: John Adams

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With a background in social services as long as your arm, candidate John Adams could bring useful understandings and relationships to perennial council debates. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Dual citizens can stand for council, NT Parliament

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Barnaby’s worries don’t affect local government poll. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.