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HomeIssue 7Will Aboriginal councillor be blocked from town camps?

Will Aboriginal councillor be blocked from town camps?

p2152-Walter-Shaw-1By ERWIN CHLANDA
Some unpleasant events from the town council elections continue to reverberate.
We received a reader’s comment from Tangentyere CEO Walter Shaw (at right) which contained remarks about top-scoring candidate Jacinta Price which we did not consider fit for publication.
It also contained this line: “She may get into council, but the doors are shut with regards to town camps.”
Tangentyere is an Aboriginal-controlled NGO funded to deliver some services in the town’s 18 Aboriginal camps.
p2280-Jacinta-PriceWe emailed Mr Shaw, asking whether what he wrote means “that you will be blocking Ms Price (at left) from accessing her constituents in town camps should she be elected, which seems certain?”
We received the following reply: “Tangentyere stands ready as always to deal constructively with the Alice Springs Town Council on issues that affect Town Campers and the wider Alice Springs community.
“Tangentyere and Town Campers would expect to have the same respect and courtesies extended to them and their representatives as is given to the elected representatives of the Alice Springs non Indigenous community.”
As Mr Shaw’s email also contains the line “nothing further to add” we can only speculate as follows: If Mr Shaw considers Ms Price affords him “respect and courtesies” then she will be allowed into the camps.
If not she won’t.
A second point to note is that Mr Shaw seems to think the Town Council represents the “non Indigenous community” only.
This is despite the presence of three Aboriginal candidates, including the emphatically victorious Ms Price, and presumably many Aboriginal people exercising their right to vote.


  1. I am curious as to why Mr Shaw is still living in a town camp when he must be getting paid in excess of $100k pa.
    Is his earnings “means tested” to allow for cheap rent / rates and maintenance?

  2. Yet he had no problem with “indigenous” councillor Chansey Paech. I hope for Mr Shaw’s sake, someone reminds him of Tang’s charter, his contract and several pledges he made to be politically neutral.

  3. With great respect I would like to ask why Jacinta is an Aboriginal Councillor?
    I believe she is a representative of the all community of Alice Springs.
    To tell she is an Aboriginal Councillor is an insult to the other white yellow brindle who had voted for her.
    A Councillor is elected on his/her work/merit not on his/her ethnicity.

  4. Evelyne, This is one of those instances of language nuance not being well conveyed in text.
    Ms Price is a councillor of Aboriginal origin as opposed to what you have suggested, that she is a councillor because she is Aboriginal.
    Our laws do not (yet) allow for the latter, in a democracy, all representatives have to be properly elected, we have not yet reached the situation of having X percentage of positions reserved for certain types of candidates.

  5. I too am interested, Desert Rat. Can he explain why he is living on a town camp and getting a car and top dollar wages? Is his rent the same as others in low income families?

  6. Had Jacinta Price ran on the basis of her ethnicity, I would not have voted for her.
    She didn’t, and I did.

  7. I don’t know how this all started but to me it seems like Shaw has something to hide and he needs to grow up and I agree he should be means tested.

  8. I imagine he lives on a town camp because his family lives there, he grew up there and he likes it there. Why not.

  9. I think so too, Rapscullion, and also his children know they are not different that the camps’relatives.
    Camps should be called Estate, as they are part of Alice Springs and not fringe residential area. For several decades Geoff Shaw and his spouse Eileen Hoosan have raised their children and grandchildren in their public housing home with a wide yard and a carefully tended garden.
    Geoff Shaw is a decorated war veteran who stay in the camp even so this means he cannot have a beer with his friends in his garden.
    Should he too leave his home to please those who really do not understand family ties and culture?

  10. Residents of town camps vote for a voice on Alice Springs Town Council (ASAP).
    Residents in the municipal area of Alice Springs can’t vote in the Tangentyere Council elections. There is much debate about the direction around town camps and the forward planning on both social and economic benefits that’s to be had about the contribution that they bring to Alice Springs.
    A conversation needs to be had between both elected councilors ASAP and it needs to be said that Tangentyere Council sits with in the guidelines of the ASTC. Maybe Mayor Ryan and his councilors need to start walking around on the camps introducing themselves as a start and it includes the Aboriginal elected councilor.

  11. I’m for normalisation of town camps. The way I see it is that Alice Springs as a town should be as one.

  12. There should be no need for Tangentyere council to be looking after town camps. It should be all under the Alice Springs Town Council. Splitting these sort of issues only sets it up as segregation instead of integration.


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