Will Alison's antics put paid to the CLP's chances?


This week saw the announcement of further progress on a large mining project 270 km north-east of Alice, adding to an already impressive list of impending projects for Central Australia.
We are edging ever closer to making a start on many of these projects, yet it seems every move forward results in another backslide. The week also brought uproar and instability once again to the Territory Government, putting at risk so much that is required for the CLP Government to halt the 30 year backslide in the Centre.
The questionable and seemingly pointless grandstanding by Alison Anderson not only put Government in a precarious position but threatens and undermines belief and hope in the bush.
Those hopes had already been somewhat skewed earlier in the government’s term when Alison was dismissed from her Ministerial role, according to party members for quite literally “doing nothing”.
Certainly within that time there was no presentation of a pathway forward for the bush electorates. While there was always wariness towards Alison from party members because of her previous record, there was also a strong hope that Alison had something to offer, that there was a goal, a dream, an intended and inspiring outcome towards which she was striving.
I think that the last couple of weeks of mayhem have shown this not to be the case and tragically it appears Alison has written herself into the political wilderness. It’s certainly difficult to see how either she or her constituents’ position has been improved by her split from the government.
Alison’s justifying cries of racism within the CLP simply don’t ring true. Anyone who knows Alison would take those claims with a grain of salt, the CLP is no more or less racist than another part of the community and Alison, who has never been backward in coming forward, would have dealt with any such occurrences long ago.
The antics of Alison and Co seem more likely to be a reaction to accusations from constituents in the bush about lack of progress, which could, and should in my view, be translated into a lack of performance from herself.
In an effort to justify that lack of performance Alison has fallen back on the old familiar tag “it’s not my fault and they are racist”. She caved in to pressures coming from some of the more radical elements within bush politics where pressure is being applied by vested interests to revert to yesterday’s goals of separation and apartheid.
Demands for treaties, water rights and further hold ups and extortion on mining ventures are all in the mix. When added to Alison’s sudden new demand seeking the reinstatement of an Aboriginal Affairs Department despite previous glowing statements about togetherness and no further segregation it’s obvious that the ”poor bugger me, you owe me a living” politics are attempting a comeback.
The parasites, the hangers on, all those who do well out of the great cycle of welfare dependency are doing their damnedest to hang on. Alison, looking for justification, has turned to them, in the process turning her back on the goals and aspirations that put her into government.
She is turning completely against wishes so clearly expressed by her constituents in the lead-up to the last election, of their hopes for a new direction, one that led away from dependency and poor fellow me politics towards a life offering hope and inclusion. It seems the Bush is now going to have to find another way to communicate those desires to government.
Let’s hope the Giles Government, which came to power on the back of the bush vote, continues to acknowledge that obligation and the message that came with it. Let’s hope his government is big enough and strong enough to lead the way forward in the Bush regardless of the antics of Alison and Co.
The government needs to  hold strong to the message from the Bush, and continue to seek and promote outcomes that bring development, jobs, better infrastructure and most of all, individual rights, individual ownership and equality and inclusion for all Territorians, regardless of race.


  1. I thought it was the Mills Government that came to power on the back of the bush vote. If it comes to it, I wonder if the Giles Government will be able to do the same.

  2. @ Hal: It’s the same Government! Leaders aren’t the Government, simply part of it like everybody else!
    Not sure how you missed it Hal but the campaign to win the Bush vote was an Adam Giles’s baby and his alone.
    I know I discussed it with him many times in the lead up to its actual occurrence. Just about everybody else didn’t believe it could be done, especially Terry Mills.
    They concentrated all their energies on winning Darwin seats – with very little success, I might add.
    Maybe that’s why the Government now has a new name. Adam Giles vision and energy won the bush and I am absolutely sure that he will not have forgotten that fact, nor the promises he had to make to do it.
    I just hope he’s given the chance that he can follow through with the same vision and energy.

  3. And not forgetting Alison and Co were late to Parliament as they were all in a meeting with Land Council. The organisation that has been in the driver to ensalve aboriginal people in poverty.
    Land councils that Aboriginal elders have been fighting to get projects going for their communities. The same land councils who have control of the shires. This Federal and NT government decision under Labor ensured further control to land councils and removed more and more control from elders until they have no voice.
    So for a CLP government that was ensuring elders regain their voice.
    Alison and Co have left not because the bush was not getting attention but because land councils control was being eroded.

  4. For me it’s the path of decent regard to the simple things, first, in life that then can assist greatly in positives happening further down the track. The NT Deputy Chief Minister, who is a major political embarrassment, evidently could not afford the courtesy of calling his Parliamentary colleague, Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu, by his given name. I wonder what the reaction of the Deputy Chief Minister would have been if Mr. Kurrupuwu had replied back, when first not having his actual name spoken, “hello Dag”, instead of Dave?

  5. @ Graham: Knowing Dave I suspect he would have been quite pleased with an easy going response of that kind. That’s Dave’s culture! We all have one! No culture is of any more importance than another! Although, when in Rome …
    It would be nice if we could all respect each others culture “equally” which in this case Dave did, the moment he was informed that Francis Xavier didn’t appreciate being called Frankie he quit doing it!
    You can’t ask for more than that. Those cringing apologists who seem to think somehow we all should automatically know another person’s culture and pander to it by giving up our own, are what’s know as patronising paternalists – the most destructive breed of racist.
    Also, I’m a bit curious, if you are so passionate about starting with good manners, Graham, why didn’t you also apply that rule to the Deputy Chief Minister the Honourable Dave Tollner? Political embarrassment is hardly nice or polite I would have thought!
    “Oh”, that rule is only for others! Do as I say not as I do, hey.

  6. The current government has missed so many obvious signs of what our future holds.
    It has been obvious for years that the world needs food and the need to feed an additional two billion people within 40 years.
    To do that we need research and the way not to do that is to cover a vital research facility with supposedly low cost housing.
    While the big industrial guns are gearing up to take advantage of that in strategic purchase of the means of producing that food, research, fertilisers etc we have chosen. [We] ignore what is so obvious to others. China wants one million tonnes of meat next year and are currently in Perth trying to source it.
    Where are we? Building allegedly low cost houses on what should be the means of facilitating that to happen here, by improving the nutrition of our pastures. Similarly with vegetables. Their requirements are 800,000 tonnes next year. We could have had a share of that but we chose to bow down to real estate interests rather than facilitate the research, and prominently display the results to attract investment and consequent rural employment.
    Can I suggest that readers google up Guyra tomatoes in country NSW or look up The Australian of December 11 last year to see the possibilities of what could have been done here but was not.
    The same applies to camel milk – a billion dollar industry elsewhere – and then as why has it not happened here? The answer to that is obvious. The government is setting wrong priorities based on self interest.

  7. Steve, your “value add” to this website has been questionable thus far – but I have to jump in here.
    You say “The government needs to hold strong to the message from the Bush, and continue to seek and promote outcomes that bring development, jobs, better infrastructure and most of all, individual rights, individual ownership and equality and inclusion for all Territorians, regardless of race”
    All this regardless of race? So you want equality? OK.
    First of all, Aboriginal people should be afforded the same community health, housing, education, access to jobs, infrastructure ON communities (not growth towns) etc regardless of their race – but more so because these things are freely and readily available to the mainstream “Australian” population. Basic human rights.
    You talk of equality – why then are Government policies enacted on only Indigenous Australians, and not the mainstream when addressing alcohol misuse and social dysfunction. (see, NT Intervention, Stronger Futures).
    Equality, would also include things like, recognition of Indigenous Australians contributions to war efforts, equality in recognition of massacres and invasion (similar to the recognition that is shown to non-Indigenous histories).
    You seem to wrestle with the reality that Indigenous Australians ARE a separate race – and first peoples of this country. More effort, resourcing, recognition of their contributions – past histories, access to land etc need to happen before any “equality” can be achieved.

  8. @ Joel: Your comment gives the impression that you would like to attack me, but rather at odds with that perception is that what you write is almost in complete agreement with what I have written many times previously.
    Admittedly I’ve never written anything about Aboriginals being a separate race, probably because I had always thought of that as a given as such not worth a comment.
    I have argued constantly and consistently for equality, for Aboriginal people in everything, I absolutely recognise that that isn’t presently the case.
    Why do you think I’m arguing for it? Equality is a two edged sword Joel, while you require me to recognise Aboriginal history, which of course I do, I require you to recognise that the rest of the population also has history.
    No race is entitled to greater recognition than the other! Yep, that’s equality.
    And as for those histories I doubt any race on this continent receives the level of attention to its prior history than the Aboriginal story.
    Maybe it’s time you took a little notice of the world at large, look at the enormous upheaval just in the last 60 years since the end of World War II.
    Millions have given up their lives in one conflict or another, and those left behind get up and get on with it!
    This week the Prime Minister signed a free trade deal with Japan, referring to them as our “best friends”.
    Yes the same people with whom we were at war just 60 years ago! In that war millions fought and died including Aboriginal people!
    Yet the world has moved on, people have moved on, you don’t see the entire world sitting around 60 years on with their hands out waiting to be looked after.
    And what do you expect would happen if they did? I absolutely believe in the equality of Aboriginal people, Joel, and I absolutely recognise that they must be equally responsible for their own lives. I’m arguing for the right to be out there in the work place alongside me, the right to be held responsible for their own decisions, and the right to pay for everything you get, just like I have to.
    I absolutely have no issue with you living where you want, Joel, in or out of “growth towns”, just as long as you fund it yourself!

  9. Thank you Darwin for your support of the CLP government. Now let’s get on with growing the Territory and good riddance to racially based members and supporters who want to divide our Territory into Aboriginal and non Aboriginal. This Territory belongs to us all, regardless of race.

  10. Janet, yes the Territory belongs to all of us and we have Aboriginal and non Aboriginal stakeholders. There are huge divisions and it is foolish to suggest otherwise.
    Now the representatives of some Aboriginal citizens have walked out of government and are forming their own political party with the support oif their constituents. We are witnessing the birth of a new and powerful political force in the NT.
    It is far too late to lament the rise of race based politics (not that it’s at all new). Alison’s new party may well be a positive force. Only time will tell but one of the factors determining the outcome is whether mutual respect can be maintained.


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