Congress, Tangentyere: White Ribbon spirit may end rift


p2298-John-Liddle-IngkintjaBy ERWIN CHLANDA
The long-running discord between Congress and Tangentyere is set to come to an end especially over efforts to reduce men’s violence against women.
“This White Ribbon Day was organised jointly by Congress, Tangentyere and the police. So that’s a good start. Hopefully we can build on that,” says John Liddle (pictured at today’s march, at right), a former director of Congress.
“We’re hoping to work a lot more closely with Tangentyere. We need to work together.”
What’s been the problem in the past?
“I’m not sure about that. I can’t give you the answer to that, I’m sorry. But we’re going to work together, specifically on men’s issues, and specifically on violence issues.”
How long has there been a lack of communication?
“I can’t put a time on it, but I would be a while! But let’s look to the future now, and hopefully we can make some inroads.”
Mr Liddle was one of the leaders of the march in today’s noon heat in which some 200 people took part.
He represents the Ingkintja Male Health Service and “Men’s Shed” which is “a male-only place providing care for Aboriginal male health and wellbeing,” according to its website, and is supported by the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress.
We asked Mr Liddle whether issues of men’s violence are worse in Central Australia when compared to the rest of the nation.
“I don’t have the figures,” he said, “but there are issues that affect people in the Northern Territory, especially in remote areas, that sometimes don’t affect other parts of Australia.
“A lot of it is linked to access to alcohol, unemployment, despair.”
NEWS: What needs to be done?
LIDDLE: Well, basically people need to change the way they behave. Sometimes they need good role models, education programs, maybe a bit of funding, maybe jobs, some education. Lots of things that go hand-in-hand.
NEWS: Where would they come from?
LIDDLE: Not sure. Obviously it will have to come from the government but I’m not sure where. It might be a local government function, because it’s they who have to deal with roads, rates and rubbish in Alice Springs. They do all the cleaning up. Or the Northern Territory Government – but they might not have the funds to put together a comprehensive program.
NEWS: What could the families do?
LIDDLE: It’s really difficult for the families. They are the ones who have to cope with the behaviour of their family members. They are the ones who have to suffer unemployment, hunger, limited education. It needs a concentrated effort across the field to help people come out of this situation.
NEWS: Who would set that in motion?
LIDDLE: All levels of government need to work together, and also all Aboriginal organisations and communities. It affects us all, whether we live out bush or in town.
PHOTO at top: Mayor Damien Ryan, Acting Police Assistant Commissioner Danny Bacon, Acting Deputy Commissioner Jamie Chalker and prominent lawyer Russell Goldflam lead today’s White Ribbon march.
The Northern Territory has the worst homicide rate in the country. The national rate in both 2010–11 and 2011–12 was 1.1 per 100,000. In the NT it was 4.8 and 5.5. In Alice Springs it can be a multiple of that. For the first eight months of this year the rate was 14.

The NT also has the highest offender rate in Australia for ‘acts intended to cause injury’: in 2013–14 it was 1,673 offenders per 100,000 persons aged ten years and over. In Alice Springs the rate was more than three times that.

Indigenous prisoners make up 86 per cent of the NT prison population and the NT has the highest imprisonment rate in the country. For over half (53 per cent) of all prisoners in the NT, acts intended to cause injury account for the most serious offence or charge; this is more than double the national figure of 21 per cent.

Indigenous people, especially women, are also over-represented among victims of violence. Between 2013 and 2014 two-thirds (66 per cent) of all assault victims in the NT were Indigenous. The victimisation rate for Indigenous women was more than three times that of Indigenous men, and for almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of Indigenous women the assailant was a family member (for men the figure was 48.7).

Indigenous women’s vulnerability to violence is not only established by crime statistics. In a study across the states of Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the NT, the hospitalisation rate of Indigenous women for intentionally inflicted violence was found to be 38 times the rate of non-Indigenous women (for Indigenous men the figure was 27 times). Looking at the NT on its own, the rate of hospitalisation for assault of Aboriginal women has been reported as high as 80 times that of non-Aboriginal women.



  1. Ingkentye men’s center would have to be the most under performing service to Aboriginal men in Australia.
    It’s gone nowhere and does not offer any service other than a shower, free coffee and tea. Time to move on, John!

  2. The long-running discord between Congress and Tangentyere is set to come to an end because they see a prize that requires unity.
    It is to get the money to redress men’s violence.
    Disputes will start again when they are jostling for snout space at the trough.
    If Congress was serious about reducing men’s violence they could make a start requiring no funding at all.
    Give up their interests in the Memo Club, surely one of the main drivers of men’s violence in our town.
    Instead, they want funds to solve a problem they are helping to create.

  3. If they give up the interest in the Memo they have no control over how it operates. Some other unscrupulous peddler of misery will keep selling grog as fast and as much as they can to earn the best profit.

  4. Elvis (Elvis, Posted November 26, 2015 at 4:52 am):
    Well’a bless my soul, what’sa wrong with you?
    You itchin’ like a man who’s got measles and flu,
    Your friends say your actin’ wild as a bug
    You sure are sufferin’, yeah you’re all shook up!
    Well, your hands are shaky and your knees are weak
    You can’t seem to stand on your own two feet
    Who do you think of when you have such luck?
    You are clearly sufferin’, and all shook up!
    Well, I won’t ask ya what’sa on yer mind
    You’re a little mixed up, but could be feelin’ fine
    If you asked Ingkintja for a male health check up
    You’d hit recovery road, and not be all shook up.
    Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay
    So if your tongue gets tied when you try to speak,
    and yer insides shake like a leaf on a tree,
    you can drop in at Ingkintja to get help for free,
    you’ll get treatment for yer insomnia and chronic negativity!
    And while you are at it, have a chat to the doc,
    or make an appointment to see a psych on the spot,
    or referral to specialists for your aches and pains.
    You could use the gym, and ease the strains,
    help JL plan ways to get the violence to stop,
    assist your fellow man to ease his troubled lot.
    A healthy future is yours for the taking,
    so I don’t understand yer negativity making!

  5. Gordon (Posted November 26, 2015 at 10:05 am): I have no current connection with the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, but I do know for sure that Congress has no substantive, or even indirect, “interests in the Memo Club” to give up, so your inference is a nonsense.
    Congress does nominate two non-bound candidates for director positions on the board of Centecorp Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd, the charitable trust which owns the Memo Club building.
    However the Centrecorp AIC charitable trust does not manage the club or hold the club’s liquor licence.
    The shareholders of the Centrecorp AIC Pty Ltd charitable trust are CLC (3 shares), Congress (2 shares) and Tangentyere Council (2 shares).
    The trust’s deeds specifically exclude any of the shareholders from benefiting in any way from the trust. Indeed, the shareholders do not have any specific rights to appoint directors to the board of Centrecorp.
    The Memo Club liquor licence is actually held by nominees of the groups (mainly sporting clubs) which together control the management and use of the club and its facilities. Centrecorp is just one member of this committee.
    So Congress in no way owns or controls the Memo Club or its licence, and if it ceased nominating directors to the Centrecorp charitable trust board it would not make one jot of difference to anything to do with the ownership or operations of the club and its liquor licence.
    Nor is Congress entitled to or able to receive any dividends or other benefits from Centrecorp or the Memo Club.
    Besides, if a club that doesn’t and cannot sell alcohol that can be consumed away from its premises is “one of the main drivers of men’s violence in our town,” then surely the eleven private businesses from which you can buy unlimited amounts of much cheaper take-away alcohol to drink in completely unsupervised settings must be far bigger and more dangerous “drivers of men’s violence in our town”.
    I suggest that you consider directing your energy at better regulating those sources of real problems, i.e. the take-away grog outlets, rather than at those who attempt to provide good supervised on-licence environments for drinking limited amounts of alcohol in a safe setting.

  6. Bob: Congress has two director positions on the board of Centecorp which owns the Memo Club building.
    Are you really saying that the owners of the building that houses the Memo Club have no interests in the club?
    Are the eleven private businesses offering cheaper take-away alcohol to drink in unsupervised settings really a far bigger and more dangerous “drivers of men’s violence in our town”?
    Men often drink in men’s groups while many women abstain.
    What I observe is husbands and wives going to the Memo to get drunk together, children left with other relatives in the park opposite.
    In my experience a drunk couple pose an even higher risk of violence to each other than a drunk man and his sober wife.
    Solomon: The Memo was bankrupt until it was saved by Congress and partners.
    Had this not happened we would have had one less grog outlet in our town.

  7. @ Bob: I understand your enthusiasm to keep the Ingkentye men’s health centre driving with a flat tyre and yes JL is the flat tyre. Change the tyre and look how better the car drives. That’s the issue here!

  8. Gordon (Posted November 27, 2015 at 5:43 pm): Congress does not “have” two directors on the Centrecorp AIC P/L trust board.
    Congress does not appoint directors to the Centrecorp trust board; it nominates candidates who may become directors, but who are not in any sense responsible back to the Congress board.
    If some of these nominees are appointed as directors of the Centrecorp, they are bound to act independently and according to their own judgement to abide by the aims, goals and rules of the charitable trust.
    A trust is not something that is “owned” by its directors or shareholders, and the directors of this trust are not appointed to the trust’s board by Congress (or CLC or Tangentyere).
    It is the existing trust directors who appoint new directors to the Centrecorp AIC P/L trust Board, from amongst those who have been nominated by the trust shareholders.
    Congress (or CLC or Tangentyere) cannot order any directors whom it has nominated as to how they should vote on decisions of the board about the trust. Nor can Congress affect their continued presence on the board. It cannot recall them.
    Congress is not in any sense an owner of either the trust or its investments, including the Memo Club building.
    So yes, I am really saying that Congress (as distinct from the owners of the building – i.e. Centrecorp AIC P/L charitable trust) has no interests in the profits, or anything similar, from the Memo club.

  9. Further, Gordon, concerning your comments on the alcohol issue (Gordon, Posted November 27, 2015 at 5:43 pm): The Memo Club’s liquor licencees (a group made up of representatives of sports clubs and other groups who use the Memo Club, but who do not include Congress or its representatives) have a responsibility to ensure that their customers do not drink to excess on the club’s premises, and this requirement is enforced by the NT Licensing Director.
    The fact that at times there may be drunks outside the club may be a strong indicator that the club is not allowing drunken people into the club, and that club management makes others leave if they somehow connive to evade the rules against excessive consumption of alcohol and inebriation on the premises.
    You also ask if the 11 private businesses (10 retailers and one wholesaler) which offer cheaper take-away alcohol to drink in unsupervised settings really are far bigger and more dangerous “drivers of men’s violence in our town” than an on-licence drinking venues.
    Yes, of course, the 10 retail take-away outlets really are a more dangerous factor than one club which serves much more expensive alcohol, in strictly limited amounts, and provides a closely supervised setting for consumption of that grog.
    As for the men / women drinking together issue: situations where men and women drink in mixed groups, on town camps, in houses, in hidden spots on the edges of town, in remote communities and by the highways, far outnumber male-only drinking circles.
    Besides, male only drinking groups themselves are usually unsafe places for many men anyway. It’s not only women getting injured and killed in these situations.

  10. @ Bob Durnan Posted November 28, 2015 at 1:08pm.
    Hi Bob, you provide an explanation of an ownership structure within Centrecorp.
    You point out that the shareholders cannot control how one of their properties is being used.
    This appears to be casting light on that company’s apparent resolve to disenfranchise Aboriginal people when it comes to controlling assets that they supposedly own.
    That’s an issue the Alice Springs News Online has reported about for more than 10 years, on behalf of its readers, who have complained about this for as long.
    Erwin Chlanda, Editor.

  11. This reminds me of the legal arrangements international companies like Apple have made to avoid paying tax.
    The Centrecorp legal arrangements would have been engineered specifically to provide plausible deniability to the stigma of running the Memo Club.
    From CLC and previous statements including some from Bob it is clear that a social experiment around “responsible” drinking has been the agenda.
    So behind the legal veil there was a clear intention by Centrecorp supported by directors from Congress to breathe new life into the Memo Club, which was at the time insolvent.

  12. Gordon (Posted November 29, 2015 at 8:46 am): That is a grossly unfair attempt to smear organisations which do not deserve such treatment, especially as it comes from a person who is not game to put his own reputation on the line by using his own real name when making such damaging untrue claims.
    Your unfounded suspicion about Congress, the Centrecorp trust and the Memo Club gives the appearance of a pathological obsession. There is something of the vendetta about your various comments in this string.
    Your hiding behind an anonymous tag does not assist any hope you may have of plausibility.
    It is incorrect to suppose that “The Centrecorp legal arrangements would have been engineered specifically to provide plausible deniability to the stigma of running the Memo Club.”
    The Centrecorp legal arrangements were created years before there was any prospect of an opportunity to invest in the acquisition of the Memo Club land and buildings.
    Those legal arrangements were clearly created to enable the long-term functioning of a healthy charitable trust, where its directors are free to exercise their judgement without the danger of sectional or vested interests placing undue pressures on them.
    It was set up thirty years ago, for idealistic purposes, to manage its assets, ensure that there are resources available to assist needy people now and in the future, and to distribute a proportion of its income as charity on an annual basis.
    That is what it does, via its investment management work, provision of advisory services to other groups and trusts, and through its charitable distribution of its profits via the Centrecorp Foundation (see As you can see via that link, its grants priorities are as follows:
    1. Relief of demonstrated situations of suffering and hardship.
    2. Access to Education for Aboriginal youth – sponsorship of selected individuals to attend schools.
    3. Education Support – e.g. accessing Graham Polly Farmer Foundation support, creation of Girls Rooms at local high schools.
    4. Assistance to Community Groups who provide welfare / health services to Aboriginal people.
    5. Aids to Disabled and Elderly – e.g. wheelchair, disabled bus, special equipment.
    6. Medical, emergency and trauma.
    7. Youth Leadership, Role Modelling and Individual Achievement Recognition – e.g. Awards.
    8. Health – e.g. community health education.
    9. Cultural / Musical – e.g. Bush Bands Bash.
    10. Sporting – e.g. non-recurrent funding to individuals, preference to Peak bodies, start-up funding for new teams..
    11. Transport – e.g. vehicles for other than disable purposes.
    The priorities shown above are governed by the proviso that there could be likely denial of funding applications for any of the following reasons:
    1. Where request does not fit within the charitable purposes of the Foundation.
    2. Where request is not primarily directed to benefit Aboriginal peoples of Central Australia.
    3. Purposes which should be met by government funding.
    4. Where alternate funding is more appropriate or specific to the purpose of requested funding.
    5. Where there are no recognized or measurable outcomes.
    6. Where recipient has likelihood of duplicate funding.
    7. Where assurity cannot be given that moneys will be spent on intended purpose.
    8. Where recipient appears to be have ways and means of self funding.
    9. Where project requires recurrent funding which cannot be met by other means and the Foundation cannot commit to ongoing funding.
    10. Where the request is from a charitable institution for a purpose which the Foundation would otherwise provide.
    11. Where the sole purpose of the request is to create a role or position with no additional benefits to Aboriginal peoples of Central Australia (e.g.the role does not then provide training, education, access to employment, etc).
    12. Where previous successful funding applications have not been acquitted.
    13. Where applicants are not from within the area defined by the Central Land Council footprint (see attached map).
    14. Funerals and Sorry Business.
    15. Our trust funds are only allowed to be used for those in disadvantaged circumstances and therefore applicants with high household incomes would be unlikely to receive assistance without further explanation as to why they were “disadvantaged”.
    Sounds like a pretty good outfit to me.

  13. “Pathological obsession. Vendetta. Ggrossly unfair attempt to smear organisations.”
    None of the above Bob.
    I just dislike all the grog and the sadly drunk people in our town and the violence and sickness that goes with it.
    Any organisation that is in any way associated with / has an interest in or houses grog outlets absolutely deserves the closest scrutiny.
    And that scrutiny should not be the subject of bullying by you.
    Personally I was happy to see the Memo Club failing and hoped we would have one less grog outlet in our town.
    I was dismayed when the CLC trumpeted its resurrection.
    All the Aboriginal organisations in our town, who claim to be assisting Aboriginal people and who get funds for that purpose, should have no links at all, no matter how tenuous, to grog sales.
    Please consider supporting that.

  14. Well said Bob, cop that Gordon. Reminds me of Sybil when she told Basil” “If you’re going to grope a girl, have the gallantry to stay in the room with her while you’re doing it.” Mmmm? Have the courage of your convictions, otherwise we can only think of you as “Gutless Gordon”.

  15. Gordon (Posted November 29, 2015 at 1:51 pm): I have opposed new take-away alcohol outlets, and campaigned for tougher regulation of alcohol consumption across the board for all groups of people in central Australia, for over 30 years.
    However I will not pressure people to stop a sincere attempt at providing Aboriginal drinkers with safer settings in which they may consume alcohol, unless it is demonstrated that there is more harm accruing to drinkers, their families and the rest of the community from those activities than emanates from other existing settings.
    It is easy for you to throw around incorrect and unsubstantiated allegations about Aboriginal organisations, and engender further unfair prejudice towards them. However this smearing effect may have a very harmful impact on those Aboriginal people who are trying to have a go at solving serious social problems.
    It undermines their confidence, and undermines the public’s attitude to their efforts. You should be much more careful of the facts before you let fly with such allegations.
    Your first comment (Posted November 26, 2015 at 10:05 am) strongly implied that both Congress and Tangentyere are cynically self-interested, with no commitment to to their stated aims, no better than pigs at a trough. That was a serious insult, and I believe that it was unjustified.
    You then misled the reader into thinking that Congress is at least partly responsible for the Memo Club and its liquor licence, when it had, and has, no role in these matters; plus you claimed Congress should “give up interests” that it doesn’t actually have.
    Then, against all the evidence, you claimed (Posted November 27, 2015 at 5:43 pm) that the really big suppliers who sell the great majority of alcohol in the town (i.e. the retailers and bottle shops who sell vast quantities of cheap wine, which is consumed away from licensed premises in unsupervised places), are not sources of harm commensurate with the Memo Club.
    You went on to sully the organisations’ reputations by alleging that Congress and Centrecorp behaved like professional tax evaders (Posted November 29, 2015 at 8:46 am); that they constructed legal frameworks to avoid association with the Memo Club; and that “the CLC trumpeted [the Memo Club’s] resurrection”, when they did none of these things.
    It appears to me that you regard these organisations and the people who manage them with quite unjustified contempt, but express no concern about the real exploiters of the vulnerable and addicted, such as the cheap wine manufacturers and the big retailers who sell vast quantities of these cheap products for consumption in what are quite often unsafe, unsupervised circumstances.
    Therefore I think it is valid to say that your little moral crusade against the Memo Club and Centrecorp (and other Aboriginal organisations) is unbalanced, simplistic, destructive and unfair.

  16. Bob I would suggest that it is not commentary by either of us that strongly influences public confidence and attitudes to the efforts of these organisations.
    Results are what counts and if you had provided a single example of success, for example, in the arena of Aboriginal health, alcohol programs etc etc I would reconsider my admittedly deep cynicism.
    But you haven’t taken that tack because you are well aware that the many millions of dollars of tax payer funds pumped into the organisations have, in effect, been mostly wasted.
    So while I agree that the caricature of pigs snuffling in a money trough is harsh, it makes the point by exaggeration, that organisations are self serving.
    The links to the Memo Club are unfortunate because they further highlight the question of whose interests are really being catered to.

  17. What a silly bunt. Here I was, thinking that we were discussing “Gordon’s” intemperate aspersions on Congress and other Aboriginal-controlled entities’ motives, and the fact that Congress in no way controls or influences what goes on in the Memo Club.
    However, it now appears that all along I should have been justifying the organisations’ existences, because Gordon hasn’t bothered to google the publicly available information that would answer his concerns about what they do, which show clearly that they perform a great deal of very useful work.
    You could start here Gordon and then try this if you really want a bit of an idea about what has been going on in Aboriginal health around this town for the last few decades.
    Over 125,000 episodes of care per year, for starters. Stacks of other productive programs besides, across a whole range of primary health care activities.
    Better women’s health and early childhood programs. Higher average birth weights and lower infant mortality and morbidity. Longer average life spans and excellent vaccination coverage.
    It includes, of course, highly successful advocacy on a range of important issues, most notably around the need to regulate alcohol in ways that minimise harms to the drinker and the rest of us.
    This one has led to a series of actions by governments which have dramatically reduced levels of alcohol consumption and associated harms in central Australia. Enjoy the read. If you would like more, just ask.

  18. Bob. You say that it is a fact that Congress in no way controls or influences what goes on in the Memo Club.
    A Congress Board communication dated Feb 2015 states the following:
    “Congress, Centrecorp and Memo Club management continue to work closely together to support the responsible service of alcohol at the Memo Club in Alice Springs.”
    I simply don’t think that Congress or Centrecorp should be involved with a grog outlet.
    Congress received $36,828,575 in funding last year to service Aboriginal health needs including alcohol reduction.

  19. Gordon (Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:20 am): I meant that Congress has no influence over, or responsibilities for, the governance or legal aspects of Centrecorp and/or the entities in which Centrecorp invests, has a management role, or to which it provides commercial services.
    The Memo Club committee has held a series of public meetings and private consultations with a wide range of community groups, including Congress reps and People’s Alcohol Action Coalition, seeking advice about its functions and goals, and about ways to maintain good practice in its operations as a licensee.

  20. Michael (Posted December 1, 2015 at 5:28 am): Yes, there is a committee, and a while back they were looking for more groups with an interest in its operations to nominate persons to join it.
    I imagine you could just enquire at the club to find out whether they are still after more members.
    I think the structure is that groups which use the club for one reason or another are asked to get involved with the governing committee.

  21. Michael. You asked a good question because if the Memo was as independent as we are being told then they would have a board or committee.
    I understand Bob to be saying in response that the Memo has a committee “on paper”.
    In my opinion the reason for the lack of a real committee is that it is unnecessary.
    The evidence of the Congress Board report from Feb this year cited in my previous post shows that Congress and Centrecorp do indeed have a great deal of influence over the Memo (ref below).
    They assume the most important roles of a committee.

  22. Big leap there Gordon (Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:35 pm). I did not say “that the Memo has a committee ‘on paper’”.
    Why do you think that there is no real committee governing the Memo Club?

  23. Bob, I believe you may in fact be incorrect in your assertions that Congress, Tangentyere and CLC do not hold influence over Centrecorp, in fact it appears as quite the opposite may be true.
    Your own explanation of the structure of Centrecorp is incorrect. As per Centrecorp’s own submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration (which can be found online), Tangentyere, CLC and Congress each hold shares in Centrecorp Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd. CAIC P/L is NOT a trust, rather it is the company that acts as a trustee for a number of trusts.
    It is correct that none of the shareholders can be beneficiaries of the trusts. The income derived from the trusts is distributed by the Centrecorp Foundation (which is the charitable foundation with an arms length board).
    The interference of the shareholders in the trustee company (CAIC P/L) is limited by the company constitution. This is, as you pointed out, to prevent factional interference in the objectives of Centrecorp.
    Company shareholders do have the ability to modify the company constitution by means of a special resolution of shareholders. Company constitutions can include object clauses which restrict the activities of the business. A 75% majority of shareholders is required to pass a special resolution.
    So in this case, whilst CLC, CAAC and Tangentyere cannot directly instruct the day to day running (or investment choices) of Centrecorp, it may well be possible for them to prevent Centrecorp from investing in businesses that may be seen as detrimental to the plight of indigenous people (e.g. alcohol and poker machines).

  24. Thanks, Just Another Observer (Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:41 pm). I stand corrected about one detail of the structure of Centrecorp and the powers of its shareholders.
    I had drawn my conclusions about it from reading some of the documents on their site, and discussions with a number of people who had been involved with it over the years.
    However, if it is a trustee for trusts, and not a trust per se, and “the interference of the shareholders in the trustee company (CAIC P/L) is limited by the company constitution”, this still strictly limits the legal influence that its shareholders have over its business and decisions, as you point out.
    The potential influence that its shareholders possess seems like it could only be asserted in extraordinary circumstances.
    What I still fail to understand is this: if the shareholders can’t instruct directors how to behave in their roles, then how could the shareholders cause motions to change the constitution to be put to the board?

  25. The CLC, CAAC and Tangentyere cannot directly instruct the day to day running or investment choices of Centrecorp?
    Centrecorp can own the Memo building but have no influence over it?
    Even if true, and and there is a lot of evidence to the contrary, if these organisations wanted to change this situation and the public perception of it, they could.
    And the reason they don’t?
    In my honest opinion it comes down to a lack of accountability.
    Congress received almost $39 million in funding last year – just contemplate that figure.
    You could up sum their outcomes as lots of activity, nice presentations and reporting but very few positive results and doubtful value for money.
    And they don’t spend all their funding.
    In accumulated and reserve funding “for a rainy day” they have saved more than $14 million.
    How they are allowed to retain such a huge amount of tax payer funding is beyond me.
    Earned interest on $14m would be around $500,000 a year.
    How could that be spent?
    A reasonable conclusion is that they do not appear to be under the accountability and scrutiny pressure that almost all tax payer funded organisations are.

  26. Gordon (Posted December 2, 2015 at 7:46 am): Yes, “the CLC, CAAC and Tangentyere cannot directly instruct the day to day running or investment choices of Centrecorp”, and it has been years since they have been able to do so.
    However, nowhere did I say or imply that “Centrecorp can own the Memo building but have no influence over it”.
    As I understand it, Centrecorp leases the Memo Club premises to the Memo Club Committee, and Centrecorp has a representative on that committee, so obviously it has an ability to influence the committee. Is there something wrong about this? I don’t think so.

  27. Bob, On reflection I apologise for my “pigs in the trough” comment. It was a caricature rather than to be taken literally but a reasonable person may misinterpret it.
    I acknowledge that both Congress and Tangentyere do have a strong commitment to their stated aims.
    I have no wish to undermine public confidence in their initiatives.
    I also withdraw and apologise for my comment that Congress and Centrecorp behaved like professional tax evaders.
    I will make no further comments on this matter.

  28. Thanks for your apology Gordon (Posted December 2, 2015 at 1:22 pm). It doesn’t happen very often in these here parts.
    I hope some of the very hard working staff and Board members at Centrecorp, Congress, CLC and Tangentyere, and indeed the Memo Club, get to read it and take heart that one of their many critics is prepared to reconsider and back off from extravagant condemnations of their workplaces and efforts.
    Re Gordon’s concerns about accountability, in his previous comment (Posted December 2, 2015 at 7:46 am): His account of the Congress financial situation is unfair, to say the least.
    Congress is a highly diversified practice. It employs hundreds of people and provides many programs on multiple sites, some hundreds of km away.
    By Gordon’s standards, any major health institution, such as charitable clinics in poor suburbs, hospitals, research institutes etc, would be held to be “unaccountable”, because they have raised funds as well as received grants and generated income, and received permission from the government to carry over unexpended portions of grants for programs which are underway.
    (They, like Congress, also have to reserve funds to cover payments for a variety of staff leave categories, building and equipment maintenance and upgrades, vehicle and equipment replacement, and other contingencies).
    It is equivalent to attacking the Alice Springs Hospital for “not having positive results” and “doubtful value for money” when it is simply doing its work and treating and supporting the ill, the addicted, the pregnant, the injured and the dying.
    I haven’t heard any reasonable person criticising the hospital for not performing miracles, for not preventing the illnesses and habits that were responsible for creating today’s chronic diseases several decades ago. But apparently Congress is to be condemned for not performing such miracles, while the improved life expectancies for Aboriginal men and women of the last 15 years are to be counted for nothing.
    P.s.: Congress is not investing “tax payers’ money”. Congress’s invested reserves emanate originally from bequests and a large number of donations, some of which date back at least 30 years, and many of which were made by workers like myself out of our wages, contributing to a contingency fund, over many years.
    Furthermore, Congress has in recent years been subjected to intense scrutiny by the Commonwealth government in the financial and accounting areas, and has been given a clean bill by independent experts and auditors, to the satisfaction of the Commonwealth Health Department, the ATO, the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) and other agencies.
    Indeed Congress has been commended by the Indigenous Affairs Minister as embodying national best practice in governance, management and delivery of Aboriginal health services.


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