Letters, comments 11/06/12 to 30/09/13


Letters to the Editor

We welcome your letters and comments:

What you say. See also at the bottom of this page the comments posted direct.

One punch homicide law equals one punch policy
Sir – The Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory opposes the Country Liberals’ pledge to enact the Criminal Code (One Punch Homicide) Amendment Bill if elected.
This law was first proposed by the Country Liberals in November 2011, and then again with only the name changed, in March of this year. The Bill is seriously flawed, as it is drafted in the terms of statutory principles of criminal responsibility for homicide which were superseded some seven years ago.
The Bill was proposed following community concern arising from the tragic and violent death of Sgt Brett Meredith in Katherine. However, it must be emphasised that the trial of Michael Martyn, the man who caused Sgt Meredith’s death, resulted in a conviction for manslaughter. As a result, Mr Martyn is now serving a lengthy prison sentence. If that case illustrates anything, it is that the current law works. If Mr Martyn had been sentenced under the law now proposed by the Country Liberals, he would have been convicted of a much less serious offence, and in all likelihood would have received a lesser sentence.
In 2005, the Legislative Assembly passed some very important amendments to the Criminal Code which saw the progressive adoption of principles for criminal responsibility based on the Uniform Model Criminal Code, a painstaking process by which the most eminent and experienced criminal lawyers in Australia, drawn from the bench, the bar and our universities, put their heads together to formulate a comprehensive, rigorous and effective set of laws to regulate these very difficult and complex issues. The Model Criminal Code is framed so as to cover the field of criminal responsibility for homicide.
One of the key elements of these reforms was the abolition of the offence of “dangerous act causing death”, which had been widely criticised for allowing many defendants to escape manslaughter and get an unfairly lenient sentence. One obvious danger of the proposed new one punch homicide law would be that this problem would be re-created.
More importantly though, it would be irresponsible and premature to rush to enact such a law. The Government was right to refer the matter to the Northern Territory Law Reform Committee, presided over by former Chief Justice Austin Asche. Before we “fix” this purported problem, we need to be make sure the system is “broke”. Given the fact that what we now have is the product of such a careful and considered process of law reform, I’m not convinced it is in fact “broke”, but if there is a gap in the law that needs to be fixed, the fix needs to be very carefully designed.
The Country Liberals have promised to reduce crime by 10 per cent a year. None of their law and order policies announced to date, however, will achieve that heroic aim. The one punch homicide law is no exception. It is very disappointing that an important, sensitive and technical issue such as the law relating to criminal responsibility for homicide has been used as a political football to score a few desperate points in the dying minutes of the last quarter of this election campaign.
Russell Goldflam
President, Criminal Lawyers Association NT


NT turns the corner on alcohol consumption and harm
POSTED August 7, 2012
Sir,- Data made public by the NT Department of Justice last week clearly, and happily, reveals a reduction in per capita alcohol  consumption.
The NT is finally moving away from notoriety as the home of the nation’s biggest drinkers.
Per capita consumption peaked in 2005 at nearly 15.3 litres of pure alcohol per person aged 15 and over, and has come down to 13.3 litres in 2011.
It is the decline in cheap wine sales that has made the biggest difference.  The sale and  consumption of beer and spirits actually increased slightly in this period, but only by a  fraction of the total reduction in wine consumption.
Limits on the sale of cheap cask wine in the NT’s major population centres have brought about this change. This wine is the usual first choice of the heaviest drinkers – those who drink to get drunk from the Top End to the Centre.
Alice Springs is the town most studied and we know that the introduction of an effective minimum price of 50 cents per standard drink in 2006 along with other restriction saw a 20% reduction in the sales and consumption of alcohol.  This was subsequently undermined somewhat by the availability of very cheap bottled wine.
From mid-2011, thanks to the actions of Alice Springs retailers, the minimum take-away price effectively became around 80 cents at hotel bottle-shops and one dollar or more at the supermarkets and smaller grocery shops. In 2011 there was an additional 7% decline in wine sales, although this change had only been in place for six months.
It’s clear that supply reduction measures based primarily on price are working, and that a uniform, regulated minimum price set at the price of full-strength beer would see the current trend improve and our consumption levels go down, closer to the national average.
The Licensing Commission’s 2006 Alice Springs reforms, overseen by the NT Government, played a major role in the introduction of these supply reduction measures and it is vital that this success continues and is not abandoned by any newly elected administration.
This is an achievement that the Northern Territory should celebrate and build on, as we move away from the frontier drinking culture that used to shape our identity and how we drink. We are no longer such ‘bloody good drinkers.’  We are finally becoming more responsible.
Another recent report – from the COAG Indigenous Reform Council* – has shown that during this period of lessening alcohol consumption there was a decline in the NT of around 20% in the adult mortality rate for Aboriginal people and about 5% for the rest of the population.
Dr John Boffa
The People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC)


POSTED June 15, 2012
Sir,- his is a long shot. I’m a retired airline pilot from the UK trying to find a good friend that I haven’t seen since 1975 when I graduated from the British Airways training college at Hamble Southampton, aged 25.
His name is Christopher Sharpe, and he was married to a girl called Isabelle before he left the UK, to travel the world in his old VW campervan.
I know he ended up in Australia in Darwin, and then Alice Springs. I was recently invited back to my old school in Teddington Middlesex, to revisit before it was demolished, to be replaced by a new school. I was lucky enough to meet one of my old teachers who had been in contact with my friends mother until she died.
He told me that she was very proud of Chris, as he had ended up as the Chief Inspector of Schools for Australia.
I have been searching on the internet for more information, but have had little success other than seeing an old article in your paper mentioning his name in reference to a teachers dispute.
So can you help me to get in touch? There must be somebody in Alice that can remember him.
He was the same age as me, so that would make him 62 now. He was a Geography teacher, and graduated from Hull University and was very keen on football. I hope you can help me as it would be great to get in touch with him again.
Thanks for any help you can give me.
Ian Patterson
Contact c/- Alice Springs News


Carbon tax takes out cattle station aircraft
POSTED May 29, 2012.
Sir – Fuel companies have reluctantly started to notify their customers that the price of aviation fuel for mustering cattle will rise.
An essential part of the cost of managing modern cattle operations, aviation fuel is used for helicopters and fixed wing aircraft to check water supplies and animals throughout the year and during calving, often when conditions are too wet to travel on the ground.
Mustering cattle to allow essential animal husbandry practice such as weaning, vaccinating and attending to calves and the gathering of cattle for sale are often only possible with the use of aircraft.
The decision by the government not to extend the tax exemption to on-property aviation fuel is yet another blow to the struggling northern cattle industry.  This is on top of last year’s live export ban which effectively shut down the northern industry and the flow on of that impact is still accelerating, with Indonesian import quotas for Australian cattle at an all time low.
The rise will be in the order of 9-10 cents per litre from July 1, 2012.  This will also increase the cost of other essential operations such as fire management and monitoring; weed and pest management survey and control programs.  Many of these operations relate to the overall wellbeing and environmental integrity of northern Australia, making the revenue raised through the tax a false economy.
While the NTCA applauded the government’s decision to exempt other on-property fuel from the carbon tax, the possibility of on road transport fuel being taxed from 2014 is causing serious concern. Freight is a major part of the cost of doing business with the transport of goods and services in, and livestock out, over long distances.  As it is, from July 1, there will be a flow on impact with the carbon tax affecting the cost of most business products and services.
These costs will not only further stress families and business viability but also the competitiveness of our industry in the domestic and international markets on which we depend.
We call on the government to exempt aviation fuel from the carbon tax for the good of the families and country of northern Australia.
David Warriner,
President, NT Cattlemen’s Association


Grog mayhem is exhausting Alice Springs
POSTED May 14, 2012.
At the end of April, I submitted the following letter to the Northern Territory Licensing Commission. It was discussed at their May meeting.
I now submit it as an open letter in the hope that anyone supporting my views will express that support by contacting the Licensing Commission at licensingcommission@nt.gov.au
Dear Sir
Due to circumstances beyond our control, the supply of take-away alcohol has helped create a situation that is spiralling out of control in Alice Springs. From reports in the media, the same situation is found in the urban centres and around the roadhouses all along the Stuart Highway. I do not know if this current situation is of a greater or lesser magnitude than experienced in the past, nor do I know if it can rightly be called a crisis. But I do know that it is exhausting.
Among the circumstances beyond our control I would include the success of the original Intervention in reducing the supply of alcohol to remote communities. The fact that remote communities are now largely free of alcohol means that those living there who want a drink can only find one by coming to town.
I would also include a natural drift from outlying rural or remote communities into urban centres. Sometimes this drift is driven by a need for medical attention, sometimes from a desire for an education or for employment that are both unavailable at remote locations, sometimes by young people looking for the excitement of city lights or following their dreams of sporting fame and sometimes by a combination of the above.
I do not presume to say this list is exhaustive, but for whatever reason or combination of reasons, we along the Stuart Highway have lately been inundated by an increase in refugees from outlying communities. Having arrived, a dashing of dreams, boredom, peer pressure and thwarted expectations of entitlement lead many to indulge in excessive public drinking. Others come solely to drink.
I am not a member of an organisation with a publically expressed opinion on alcohol supply in the NT. I can quote no statistics from the hospital or from the police. My primary concern is not to reduce what many consider our excessive consumption of alcohol throughout the Territory, nor is it the health and wellbeing of habitual public drinkers.
My primary concern is with the sheer exhaustion felt across Alice Springs that comes from coping with the day-in day-out noise of drinkers drinking in public places, from cleaning up after them day after day, from putting up with their disrespect for all laws and for all others and from their apparent inability to adopt the basic hygiene necessary for sharing urban space.
It is my contention that we who live in Alice need a day off, a time out, a chance on one day of the week to catch our breath before re-entering the fray on the following day. For that reason I ask you to please ban all take-away sales of alcohol on Sundays between the South Australian and Northern Territory border and Elliott.
I nominate Sundays because in Alice Springs most of the bottle shops are already closed on that day. I ask for the ban to extend from South Australia north to Elliott to keep those desperate for take-away grog from taking to the highway and becoming a danger to themselves and to others.
It would do the NT no harm if you were to make this ban Territory wide, but my focus is on central Australia. This is where I live.
The tourist industry often complains that restrictions on alcohol sales damage their industry, or have the potential to damage their industry. This objection carries weight, especially in a town like Alice Springs where so much depends on tourism. However, I suggest that this mostly shows a paralysing lack of imagination on their part.
Alcohol restrictions, in this case a day off, could be packaged not as an imposition but as a way for visitors to help us weather an acknowledged rough patch. The tourist industry prides itself on coming up with clever slogans. Surely there is at least one bright spark among them who could rise to this challenge.
Thank you for considering this appeal.
Hal Duell, Alice Springs


Listen, act NOW, involve the town.
POSTED April 30, 2012 (This comment was posted in response to our report “Those in a hurry and those who are not”)
I left Alice Springs after 13 years, not because of the anti social behavior, not because because of the endemic drinking problem, not because of the myriad of social problems in Alice. I left Alice because of the inaction on all levels of government, from the CLC, to the council, to the minister, and a whole jumble of governing bodies of people, whose main objective in this whole mess is to bring home a big pay check, employ a countless numbers of consultants to do their job for them, and still not willing to make the hard decisions and put into action a plan to fix my town. A town and ALL its people who I love dearly, and sincerely think are the most unique and accommodating people that I have ever met in my life. LISTEN to my Model / Plan to secure a safe and thriving town for all.
1: Dismantle and throw out all the insane drinking regulations that cause a horrific backlash to the community, and replace it with the standard model that the rest of Australia uses make the offenders accountable. Just execute it! Simple. The existing regulations / prohibition only gives the impression to the rest of Australia that the NT Government cannot manage its own back yard and puts Alice Springs into the bad town to live in image, bad publicity brought about by fly in and out politicians who have not walked the walk or talked the talk, honestly what chance have we got!
2: Drinking in public. Again same law as the rest of Australia make the offenders accountable. Again Execute IT! SIMPLE, its not rocket science just common sense.
It is inconceivable that under the very noses of all government departments, best examples being all around the council chambers itself, the Todd River, and yes! even outside the very Police department that are charged with the enforcement of this law, that in any minute of any given day alcohol is consumed and the discarded bottles and cans are left in full view for all to see. As quick as the discarded cans and bottles hit the ground the council sneaks in every morning early and cleans the areas. What an insult to the Alice Springs people.
The Big problem here is not the fact that this is happening on a daily basics, it’s the dismay, the disappointment, the frustration that infiltrate the community as a whole which promote racial intolerance, a repulsive by product of yet another failed government process.
The Minister blames the people for talking down the town and instructs us to talk up the town and all will just go away. I say to you Minister, sit down and listen to the families of lost ones, injured ones and sick ones that are products of this mess, and think to yourself if this were my children my family my friends, would I just walk out silently into the night as I have done in the past?
3: Anti Social Behaviour: Again an existing Australian model exists for this – Execute it! And so on and on and on. Simplistic ideas? Not at all! Use what you have and get the job done! No more over complicating and procrastinating over all the issues make a stand now! The people of Alice stand with you, I know this for I have walked the walk and talked the talk.
The People of Alice Springs expect, no, demand that the government workers employed by the people for the people act now or move aside and let someone else have a go, that’s what Australians do, have a go and save our town.
Anthony de Souza
Formerly Alice Springs


Taxi threat another reminder of Alice violence
POSTED April 26, 2012
Recent comments by the operator of an Alice Springs taxi company that he is considering taking his taxis off the road at night is another example of the debilitating effect of violence, crime and anti-social behaviour in Alice Springs.
The council elections have been and gone and nothing has changed.
The new Mayor of Katherine, Faye Miller, has been in for less than a month and already canvassed introducing foot patrols to reduce crime in partnerships with police, council and community patrols.
Perhaps her Alice Springs counterparts should follow her lead.
People are right to ask where is the Minister for Central Australia, where is the Member for Lingiari and what is Alice Springs Town Council doing?
The complacency and inertia displayed by these decision makers’ amounts to meek acceptance of the situation as being normal, and that Alice Springs residents should tolerate violence, crime and anti-social behaviour as part of life.
But here we are with taxis being vandalised and drivers fearing for their lives.
If taxis are forced to cut night services we could also see dangerous flow-ons with people – unable to catch a cab home – choosing to drink drive or simply not venturing from home, which will hit the local economy.
Decision makers need to get out of their office, open their eyes and stand up for Alice Springs –otherwise step aside and let others take on the job.
Government must take responsibility for violence, crime and anti-social behaviour in our town and put in place measures to reduce this behaviour, while sending a clear message to the rest of the community that it won’t be tolerated.”
Adam Giles
Shadow Transport Minister and Member for Braitling

Governments are too secretive: council should lead reform
POSTED April 26, 2012
All three tiers of government in Australia, no matter what their political persuasion, are often accused of being too secretive. Whether rightly or not, they are thought to be too quick to disappear into Confidential, only emerging to present the electorate that put them into office with done deals.
At a time when governments struggle to maintain connection with their electorate, and when the very relevance of local and State and / or Territory governments is being questioned, the following suggested change to the Alice Springs Town Council’s procedure might go some way toward redressing that poor public image.
I am asking Council to please consider changing its set agenda to include the following:  In both Committee and Ordinary meetings, immediately prior to Council adjourning from Open to Confidential anyone in the Gallery would be asked if they wished to challenge the placement only of any item listed on the night’s agenda for discussion in Confidential.
In the event of a challenge, the Council Officer(s) who placed that item in Confidential would be asked to explain why they did so. The challenge could not be taken on notice.
The Councillors would then vote to move the item into Open, or to keep it in Confidential.
At no time would the details of the item being challenged be debated until it was determined where that debate was to take place. If Council votes to move it into Open, the debate would then proceed. If not, the meeting would adjourn into Confidential, and the public and press would leave the Chamber.
I appreciate that this change could add to the time needed for an already long meeting. To make it easier to support, I suggest that:
• The right to challenge would not be used often or lightly.
• This is not a threat to Council’s ability or right to discuss matters in confidence. It merely offers a chance to ask why.
• Any change to Council’s agenda that increases the public’s confidence that all business conducted by Council is as transparent and accountable as it’s possible to make it is a change for the better.
• Any change to Council’s agenda that opens its meetings to greater public participation is a change for the better.
Admittedly this is not the first time I have suggested Council adopt this change. Notwithstanding previous rebuffs, I still think it has merit. Perhaps a majority of Councillors can now agree, so I make the suggestion again.
Hal Duell
Alice Springs
CDU to sponsor national AUSTAFE conference
POSTED April 13, 2012
Sir – Charles Darwin University has committed to sponsoring the AUSTAFE National Conference in Alice Springs in October.
Alice Springs campus Vocational Education and Training Senior Adviser and AUSTAFE National President Lyle Mellors says the three-day conference was expected to attract more than 150 tertiary and further education leaders from across Australia.
This will be an important opportunity for CDU staff to network with interstate counterparts, for professional development activity and for the promotion of partnerships with vocational education and training stakeholders.
Vice-Chancellor Barney Glover will deliver one of the keynote speeches and the planning committee has invited submissions for theme and breakout session papers.
The conference theme “TAFE on Target” will allow delegates to examine a series of strategic questions: Is the vocational training sector hitting the target for regional and remote students, is it equipping staff adequately for the demands of the 21st Century and is it on target to meet government, industry and community needs for a highly skilled and educated Australia?
These and other questions will inspire plenty of lively debate about the latest trends, activities, policies and reforms affecting VET.
The conference will help provide dual-sector institutes such as CDU with a yardstick for measuring their effectiveness in providing a smooth transition from secondary education to employment or further education and training.
The conference is scheduled to take place at Pioneer Park on October 3-5.
By the way, the AUSTAFE conference website went live today.
Patrick Nelson
CDU, Alice Springs


We welcome your comments:
Email: letters@alicespringsnews.com.au


26 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.

  1. Posted September 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Edit

    Interestingly, a new report from the IPCC has admitted that it overestimated the impact of global warming. The Australian has published a short article about it. All of those who have made climate change their religion will no doubt be disappointed. However, there are plenty of other religious opportunities.

  2. Ross Chippendale
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 6:32 am | Edit

    Yes ED, but it is still dominating the front page which indicates no real news, right.
    [Wrong, Ross. It shows that we have news and advertising on our front page, like most newspapers in the world.]

  3. Ross Chippendale
    Posted July 29, 2013 at 6:35 am | Edit

    Pretty slow in the Alice when Bunnings is still front page stuff.
    Don’t really know how to tell you this but Bunnings is JUST A SHOP, Open for months now, no airconditioning live everywhere too I bet.
    You sure nothing else happened now?
    [ED – The reference to Bunnings on our front page is an advertisement.]

  4. George Kraus
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 12:46 am | Edit

    A 5.8 magnitude earthquake in the Territory with a seismic detection facility in town and no mention in the News?

  5. Posted June 1, 2013 at 11:16 am | Edit

    I grew up in Alice Springs, left in 66 and been back about 29 times, usually on business and passing through.
    Most of what I read about the Alice is the problem of Aboriginals drinking and causing mayhem. It was exactly the same back in the 60s.
    People keep coming up with plans, schemes, ideas and they all fail. Why? Alcohol is a legal product.
    I gave it up overnight 13 years ago when I knew I wanted to, wasn’t forced.
    But if you want to solve the problem there is a simple answer. Everyone in town gives it up and it is not sold anywhere, or allowed to be imported. Kulgera will become very popular, right? The whites currently do exactly the same as the others, just usually in their homes which the others do not have.
    Show the way and give it up. It’s not life in any way actually, I realised this though only after I stopped.
    I was in a spiral, an addiction and didn’t want to stop as it stopped me from feeling. Exactly the opposite of what I needed.

  6. George Kraus
    Posted April 30, 2013 at 3:13 am | Edit

    April 25 and no remark about ANZAC DAY? How sad that the Diggers at Gallipoli and the Desert Rats of Tobruk are so easily forgotten.

  7. John
    Posted March 6, 2013 at 8:53 am | Edit

    In response to Adam Giles’ comment, the “threat” to remove taxis off the road at night in Alice Springs: He says Government must take responsibility for violence, crime and anti-social behaviour in our town. Why is this anyone’s responsibility but the persons’ partaking in these acts? I think Giles needs to be more responsible in his life!

  8. Posted October 17, 2012 at 6:13 am | Edit

    I recently wrote to ASTC about making The Alice a “caravan and RV” friendly town after seeing a visitor towing a caravan trying frantically to park near the Coles complex. Now I’ve seen some signage that could be helpful. Details appear on my blog post today here: http://desert-wave-enterprises.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/working-smarter-best-practice-local.html

  9. Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Edit

    As I was driving through The Alice last week and saw several caravans parked in precarious places, it occured to me that we do not have many caravan and trailer friendly parking spots around town. There is some capacity between the Todd River and the AST Council, but none it seems near the main shopping centres; Coles Complex and Yepernye. Obviously making caravan places near Yeperenye may be problematic, but Coles Complex (and Perhaps ANZAC Park parking area) could have a couple. We could then advertise Alice Springs as a caravan friendly place and hopefully get more grey nomads and others to do more than fill up with fuel and head off north or south. We could use signage to indicate where that parking is on approaches to the centre. What do you think?

  10. Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Edit

    The Territory ALP government has decided NOT to join the Federal Government and the WA Government in developing Ord stage 2, despite most of the land for development being in the NT. The ALP has demonstrated it is opposed to agricultural development in the NT despite agriculture being part of the economic solution for regional areas and indigenous communities. The ALP strategy is hand outs and part time jobs. What about a rural economy that gives people pride and self esteem from a proper job in a real economy?

  11. Posted August 19, 2012 at 9:48 am | Edit

    The government ignored agriculture for most of its term until farmers used the media to force the ALP to listen, after the last election. It took a consultant to tell the Minister he needed to make big changes. We elect leaders to act. The NT has lost so many opportunities in agriculture and wasted the $30m to $40m a year spent on Department of Resources, for at least 10 years out of 12 of the ALP, due to poor leadership by the ALP.

  12. Posted August 7, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Edit

    Dr Boffa, here we go again. A drop in sales within the NT does not equal a reduction in consumption. Dr Boffa also writes: “It’s clear that supply reduction measures based primarily on price are working.” Yes they are working … they are working to push sales out of the NT into other states which are now reaping the economic benefits. A lot of people I know including myself purchase their alcohol interstate and have done so for a fair few years now. So what have we achieved … not a lot. Round up the drunks get them into rehab. That’s what will achieve results.

  13. Denes Szerdahelyi
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Edit

    A few observations about recent trends and developments on the employment front in Australia.
    As immigrants in the early 80s, my family and I saw a land of hard working people still in a kind of pioneering spirit and with plenty of opportunity. A primary production – borne economy was blossoming into areas of manufacturing and technology.
    After three decades of hard work, I feel our family has earned a rightful place in our adopted home. Over these three decades, political and agricultural mismanagement has killed much of farming, and the much-touted global “free trade” policies have shifted manufacturing and technology to Asian countries – effectively removing income earnings and pumping spending money out of this once-rich country.
    In more recent times, an upturn in the mining sector (“mining boom” in propaganda speak) has provided Australia’s citizens some welcome work and funds in return for the exploitation of some of our abundant natural riches, much needed by the world’s industry. Yet again, and before it is even in full swing, this upturn is already being sabotaged by our own government, who (apart from carbon and mining taxes which reduce the fat profits required for the huge investments) quite happily allows foreign workers to man some of the labour needed for taking our natural wealth, often for far less money than us locals would be lawfully entitled to. This is in obvious spite of the fact that a significant percentage of Australians would have liked a chance to work those jobs.
    My Wife and I became painfully aware of this recently. As our once-flourishing Sydney based businesses slowly sank under the relentlessly sickening economy (in decline from well before the GFC), we realized that sooner or later we would fold. Looking to get back into the work force, it became apparent that larger employers and recruitment agencies have changed their attitudes. Businesses seeking dedicated and skilled persons, to learn and manage jobs aren’t the norm any more – you have to be essentially a LEGO block of just the right shape and colour, or you don’t fit. The lists for many of these jobs no longer advertise for someone with some specific skill set or professional training – they read more like a teenager’s dream list of their ideal sweetheart. Whomever are in charge of recruiting these days, appear disinterested in getting a valuable worker and training him to perform more job-specific tasks. For a reality check, try searching for work in your own field of skills – have a look at what is being asked for on the application forms. Better still, try and talk to a few personnel offices about your skills, abilities and hopes.
    The media (much of it owned by international interests) spouts regular reports on how hard workers are to get here. At the same time, I hear a constant stream of stories from friends, colleagues and acquaintances, on the lack of response from often hundreds of job applications. A recent public briefing on mining jobs in Queensland, was attended by no less than 34,000 hopeful locals. While the international accountancy machines crunch more profits by employing cheaper foreign labour and entire completed industrial plants are shipped in from overseas, we “Indigenous” folks are left pondering upon the karma of the original colonizing of Australia and the history of treatment of Aborigines. The result of my own pondering is that being exploited today does not right the exploitation done yesterday. One cannot help but draw parallels between big foreign unethical profit maximization, and government mis-policy.
    One expects a government to create most of its policies in order to benefit its own citizens. The only benefit many Australians (rightfully the owners of the mined minerals, as well as the employers of the government) see of operations staffed by overseas employees, is the royalties and taxes collected; a good portion of which simply line the coffers of the privately owned Reserve Bank. Of the jobs and opportunities available, a lack of effort (both in advertising and recruitment) on behalf of many major investors leaves an artificial “lack” of labour, “justifying” their recruiting overseas.
    We need an effort by our elected governments, us individual citizens, and also big companies to ensure that local labour receives priority for all works, and that training (including an adequate quantity of apprenticeships) is reinstated. Some large projects, such as the Inpex project in Darwin, have been leading the way in consultation and recruitment, with strong community support and good will.
    A majority of such projects could return this country to prosperous times of well paid and abundant employment, along with profitable business. Environmental issues, too, need to be tackled by reinforcing the positive, rather than punishing the perceived negative. This is our home – we can improve it or ruin it.
    Denes Szerdahelyi
    Deputy Union Representative, Manfield Colair, Gove Alumina Refinery.
    [ED – re the ownership of the Reserve Bank click http://www.rba.gov.au/about-rba/governance.html ]

  14. Peter Campbell
    Posted June 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Edit

    Last Wednesday night I picked up a couple of things from Coles on my way home from work. When I returned to my car, someone had presented me with a new dent in my Ute’s tailgate. The perpetrator left me a little note on the windscreen “Sorry I have hit your car, contact Kevin on 0437 534394 to sort out getting it fixed”.
    Fair enough, I thought, and called the number. The phone company’s message informed me this number had been disconnected. Can anyone help me contact Kevin so that he can “sort out getting it fixed”?

  15. Posted May 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Edit

    I was a bit surprised recently to receive an envelope bearing Malaysian stamps as I no longer know anyone in Malaysia. Still, I opened the envelope to find a very well presented brochure from “Tunes Travelling” telling me about the wonderful holidays they arrange. There was even a “speech” by the General Manager in the brochure and an accompanying web site that looked very professional and slick. There were also two scratch it cards, so I scratched away … and guess what? I won $USD 160,000 second prize.
    This is a scam like many others, but the level of sophistication is increasing. The criminals behind these scams are obviously willing to invest some money in the safe knowledge that they will encourage sufficient suckers to part with their money to make it a worthwhile activity.
    If you receive uninvited offers in the mail or via email, make sure you don’t help fund these criminal activities. Do some research at http://scamwatch.gov.au before you part with any hard earned cash, which is usually requested as a handling fee.

  16. Phil Selman
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Edit

    Mr De Souza’s [ideas] are too simple and straightforward to work, or that’s what every NGO and Government Organisation would like you to believe, but really it is that straight forward and simple.
    Especially NGOs have a vested interest in the maintaining the status quo, that being obtaining obscene incomes and the odd Toyota Landcruiser or three.
    I had the pleasure of living in Alice Springs for 12 months in 2008 – and it was a pleasure. But unlike anywhere else I’ve been too (and I have traveled extensively) I had to reside in a “secure” complex (although we were often broken into and stuff was taken) and had to move around especially at night in groups for safety.
    What we have in Alice Springs is a minority of black people behaving badly, simple as that and they should be treated as such. Sure the fly in, fly out “do gooders” will tell you it’s all because they’re underprivileged, try telling that to all the great indigenous people in Alice Springs, try telling that to people like Noel Pearson or Mick Mundine or Neville Bonner the list goes on of people from a so called “underprivileged” beginnings that became Leaders of Men because of their own determination.
    They knew right from wrong, lead moral lives and contribute to society in general. Let’s get rid of this elephant in the room and start treating all of Alice Springs residents and visitors, black, white or brindle with equinimity and reward good behaviour, punish bad behaviour. It is that simple.

  17. Virga Rain
    Posted April 28, 2012 at 5:32 am | Edit

    No taxi at night, living in fear, cowering in your hovels, not safe at the mall. I see that no gun thing is keeping y’all free and safe.

  18. Posted April 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Edit

    In response to Adam Giles’ comment, the “threat” to remove taxis off the road at night in Alice Springs is yet another example of how history repeats.
    I’ve just been reading editions of the Centralian Advocate in early 1979; and in April that year the police expressed satisfaction there were no road fatalities during the long weekend holidays following the usual traffic blitz. However, one person complained about what was one to do if you wish to party on after 1am because taxis ceased running from that time of night.
    That same year there was a major inquiry into liquor licensing conditions, particularly with regard to opening hours and the length of time available each day for the sale of alcohol. There was, of course, an enormous amount of debate and controversy over this issue (which I’m able to find in every year of publication of the Advocate from the mid to late 1960s onwards).
    To return to my original point – no taxis late at night – well, once again we find ourselves going back to the future!

  19. Jane Howie
    Posted April 22, 2012 at 9:22 am | Edit

    Sir – I am returning to Alice for the first time in September and have been searching for names of people whom I remember from my time there in the 50′s when I was a child.
    We lived in Alice (I have vivid memories of life then even though I was just a young child) and lived on Chewings Street across from Joan and John Higgins. My mother was May Burrows’ partner in JB’s dress shop that was situated in the arcade. I have photos of the shop and others from life in those days in slide form at the moment which I could print up if anyone was interested.
    I read your article of the 3 old ladies of Chewings Street and have great memories of riding my bike around May Burrows back garden. Also the Higgins were great friends of my mother and father and I was friends with the Jury’s children (Helen particularly) and remember their beautiful house so clearly.
    My father was a pilot with Connellan Airways and flew to all the properties around the area. I have watched Albert Namatjira paint outside our church one day sitting on a stool.
    Dad mentioned a wonderful character of the outback “Miss Pink” who used to complain about the pilots flying too low over her place! So many stories and memories. The first (can’t spell) Bangtail Muster? where in those days and Henley on the Todd. I remember the Todd flowing and dry and the aboriginal families that used to camp in the riverbed in their humpies before heading off on walkabout.
    I remember riding my bike to the mikka mine over the river somewhere; enjoying my first Christmas remembered at the airfield on the luggage trolley being driven up and down the runway ecstatic with the thrill of the warm night and the lights, with all the pilots’ kids whilst the parents partied on in the hanger (probably on a roster to keep us occupied!).
    We had come from England to Alice and this contrast is why I believe I have such vivid memories of life in Alice.
    I have heard that Sue Higgins (don’t know her surname now) who is Joan Higgins’ daughter, is involved in the camels? Would love to hear back from if you can share any info with me, or are interested in any photos or stories of the past. My dad used to write articles for some magazines and wrote many funny yarns about his experiences in the outback that you may be interested in also.

  20. Sad to Leave
    Posted April 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Edit

    Please explain to me why rental in Alice Springs is so high. We use to have reasonable rental rates until the intervention was introduced and landlords realised that they could charge extravagant rent prices because government agencies were paying for their interstate employees to come to Alice to work on the intervention. Us regular Alice residents just had to cop the increases as well.
    I am seriously looking for employment in Adelaide as I can get a 3 bedroom house in a much better condition than the one I am in now (and I pay $550pw) for $250 – $300 per week.
    I wonder how many more people are going to leave this town due to rental prices, come on Alice get your act together because you are losing good long time residents just to accommodate a few fly in/fly out people who don’t really have Alice Springs in their hearts. :(

  21. Kathy
    Posted April 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Edit

    The Housing fencing that is going on in some of the areas of Alice Springs is becoming eyesores as good undamaged fences are needlessly pulled down.
    Not all NT Housing homes are destroyed by their tenants, yet it seems the tenants who do not want or require new fencing are not consulted, or listened to, on their request for leaving the fencing, (if in good condition) but overruled.
    Being a private home owner, I was not, and did not have to be consulted before this new ugly fence was erected in our area.
    I was told by the lands office that if the fence was not a side fence, neighbours were not needed to be consulted.
    If your place was across the road and you had to look at the fence every day, I feel, we as neighbours we should.
    The mesh fencing being put up is ugly, poorly constructed, and looks like a detention centre. Is this what we pay our rates for?

  22. Posted February 16, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Edit

    When I read about the business that suffered $10,000 damage and the loss of just two bottles of grog, it occurred to me that it might be more cost effective and socially efficient for businesses to give free liquor to those who are the problem drinkers of Alice Springs.
    We could set up a booze zone five km or so out of town. Every afternoon the business owners would deposit a few truckloads of grog, free for the drunks. The drunks would be attracted to it like a moth to a candle, drink themselves into a stupor and hopefully go to sleep. The result would be that they would be out of town and the grog-related crime rate in town would drop dramatically.
    Needless to say, this idea is as scatter-brained as having a floor price, Thirsty Thursday, limited availability of specific drinks and quantities thereof, later opening times etc. Unfortunately, nothing we have tried seems to be working and it’s time for some lateral thinking and new approaches to the problem that has plagued us for decades.
    Put your thinking hats on, folks, and see what comes out of the ether; there may be some really silly ideas, but there could also be some worth trying.

  23. tony sanderson
    Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Edit

    Steve Brown, your article gets the gong from me and many of my fellow land holders. We all have to lobby our local members and the public in general that to close down produce producing properties any where in Australia is going against the philosophy of Australia being a food bowl. The present PM thinks we should develop other industries to take us forward but I assure you that whatever we do, everyone still has to eat.

  24. Kevin
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Edit

    re: RSPCA “radicals”: RSPCA is a great way for other countries to use sabotage against the Australian economy. We saw it with the sheep and now with the cattle.

  25. Kevin
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Edit

    Re: NT tops the chart. I should consider myself lucky I guess as I only pay approx $153 per week per room.
    Only trouble is, that’s on one average income plus another part time income.

  26. T lee
    Posted August 27, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Edit

    Oh my “how remote”……….
    Oh my dear, how could you … you are so REMOTE
    Green tin trees, and silver bag seas
    Bright white smiles, and bruises for miles.
    Where is the hope ?
    And liquid clear to cope …
    Babes with Babes in arms, and years of harm.
    The Future repeats, repeats
    The droning march on the streets …
    Chances are
    So remote …


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