The peril of American turmoil for the Territory



Win or lose, Donald Trump, the ultimate commander of first-strike nuclear target Pine Gap, 19km from Alice Springs, will remain in office as US President until January 20 – from all reports in an unstable, unpredictable frame of mind yet with his finger still on the nuclear button.

He has already been deliberately provoking rising superpower China, in particular this year over the outbreak of the pandemic but also over with manoeuvres in relation to Taiwan. A move by China against Taiwan’s independence is widely seen as a possible trigger for military conflict.

And, in the view of David Kilcullen, if the US and China go to war “we lose cities on day one of that conflict”.

That “we” is indeed Australia – the Northern Territory in particular.

David Kilcullen is a security analyst and counterinsurgency expert, who has served in the Australian military (remaining a Lieutenant Colonel in the Australian Army Reserve), worked for the US Department of Defence, and advised US, British and Australian governments. Today he is a professor at Arizona State University and the University of New South Wales, Canberra.

“There’s a major US Marine presence in Darwin,” he told Paul Barclay on Radio National’s Big Ideas in July. “We’ve got joint facilities in Australia, these are nuclear targets in the event of a war between China and the US.”

The most important of Australia’s “joint facilities” is, of course, Pine Gap.

Prof Killcullen urged that Australia “statecraft” over next five years go into preventing that conflict, but the odds are against us, he warned, pointing to the work of another expert, Harvard’s Graham Allison, on historic scenarios when a rapidly rising power, like China today, was challenging an established power, like the US. Over the last 500 years a major war resulted 12 out of 16 times.

It is particularly dangerous that the conflict is starting to be seen as inevitable, said Prof Kilcullen, citing a Chinese General who last year predicted that China will fight Taiwan by 2025 and the US by 2035.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also argues that the world is facing the prospect of a hot conflict between China and the US.

And veteran foreign affairs journalist Hamish McDonald has raised the spectre of this post-election period in the US as a “window of opportunity” for Beijing to move on Taiwan “particularly if the election result is disputed and the country is plunged into a political and constitutional crisis” – which right now is a very real fear.

The Australian National University’s Paul Dibb, formerly holding senior office in defence intelligence and with the Department of Defence, thinks that the catastrophic consequences of nuclear war will deter such an eventuality (The Australian, September 21, 2020). But he also questions whether China fully comprehends what an all-out nuclear war would involve. 

He recognises the higher risk of a “surprise attack” given presently increasing nationalism, assertion of territorial claims and increased deployment of military assets, and asks whether our defence organisations are sufficiently focussed on the issues.

Given these sober assessments, are we – citizens of the NT – also sufficiently focussed on the issues?

From a self-interested civilian perspective, we should at least want to know how well prepared our civil defence plans are. My difficulty in obtaining an answer to this question is not reassuring – especially after the experience of so many Australians, during last summer’s bushfires catastrophe, of services being overwhelmed and finding that they were on their own to make decisions and fend for themselves.

If this was the case with a natural disaster that was predictable albeit at unprecedented scale, why then wouldn’t we be worried about arrangements for a surprise military attack, especially with the possibility of nuclear weapons being used.

Remember how close this came in 2017 for the island of Guam, which hosts multiple US military bases, when North Korea announced plans to fire four Hwasong-12 ballistic missiles near the US territory.

In response Guam’s government issued a factsheet: “Do not look at the flash or fireball – It can blind you … Take cover behind anything that might offer protection,” it helpfully suggested.

In Australia civil defence plans were not prepared in the 1980s, at the height of Cold War anxieties about a hot war breaking out – then between the USSR and America.

In his book* about that threat, Prof Dibb wrote that it was “remiss, to say the least, of successive Australian governments not to provide even the most basic civil defence measures against nuclear attack on those facilities [Pine Gap, Nurrungar and North West Cape] – despite the fact that they were advised to do so’.

When I put questions about civil defence to the Department of Defence they recommended “touching base” with the Northern Territory Government.

When I put the same questions to the the Northern Territory Government, initially addressing them to Emergency Services, I eventually received a reply from the Department of the Chief Minister:

“The Department of Defence is best placed to assist you with these questions.”

When I told the DCM about this revolving door, I was promised a reply. It came this afternoon:

“The Australian Government is responsible for security and the protection of national interests. The Northern Territory, as with all other jurisdictions, plays a contributing role.  

The term “civil defence” it was suggested – six days after my original enquiry – is a “legacy term” with connotations of emergency plans for which there are open source documents.

I’ve had a look at the Australian Disaster Preparedness Framework, dated 2018. Some of its relevant key considerations:

Take an all-hazards view – including severe to catastrophic natural and manmade disasters, terrorism, cyber-attacks, etc. (p 17)

Identify who and what will be impacted, and for how long, by the occurrence of a severe to catastrophic disaster – through methods such as forecasting and scenario testing. (p18)

Ensure communities are at the heart of planning and coordinating capabilities and partnerships to prepare for and manage severe to catastrophic disasters. (p 21)

Ensure communities are aware of their role in sharing responsibility for the preparation for and management of severe to catastrophic disasters, (p 21)

Practice the implementation of plans through simulations and exercises to build confidence in partners and the arrangements. (p21)

Is any of that happening in the NT, and Alice Springs in particular, with a view to an attack, possibly nuclear, on military assets including Pine Gap ? I’ll keep trying to find out. 


Images: President Trump in a “press conference” today (he took no questions and major broadcasters cut away from it after he started repeating baseless claims about electoral fraud). Screen capture from YouTube. • Photo of Pine Gap by Kristian Laemmle-Ruff.

*Paul Dibb, Inside the wilderness of mirrors: Australia and the threat from the Soviet Union in the Cold War and Russia today, MUP, 2018.



Kieran Finnane is the author of Peace Crimes: Pine Gap, national security and dissent, UQP, 2020. You can hear her in conversation about the book with Paul Barclay on Radio National’s Big Ideas, first broadcast on November 4.


Updated 7 November 2020, 3.55pm.


  1. “Win or lose, Donald Trump, the ultimate commander of first-strike nuclear target Pine Gap, 19km from Alice Springs, will remain in office as US President until January 20 – from all reports in an unstable, unpredictable frame of mind yet with his finger still on the nuclear button.” Kieran.
    Even though I doubt you will allow my comment to be published, I find your opening paragraph to be an appalling assertion. You have no objective journalistic basis for making such a claim of “unstable mind” … “finger on the nuclear button”.
    Of all American presidents in the past 50 years, he is the only President not to initiate a foreign war.
    And he fulfilled election promise to bring troops home from Afghanistan.
    And he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for brokering a peace deal in the Middle East which Obama said could never be done.
    No indication of being anything but someone who wants peace.
    I state these as established facts. Freely obtainable. Your comment?

    [My comment is that we are a medium for broad ranging discussion. Hence your comment is published here. Erwin Chlanda, Editor.]

  2. The clown in the White House just brokered three Middle East Peace Accords, something that 71 years of political intervention and endless war failed to produce.
    The buffoon in the White House is the first president that has not engaged us in a foreign war since Eisenhower.
    The clown in the White House has had the greatest impact on the economy, bringing jobs, and lowering unemployment to the Black and Latino population of ANY other president. Ever.
    The buffoon in the White House has exposed the deep, widespread, and long-standing corruption in the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and the Republican and Democratic parties.
    The buffoon in the White House turned NATO around and had them start paying their dues.
    The clown in the White House neutralised the North Koreans, stopped them from developing a further nuclear capability, sending missiles toward Japan, and threatening the West Coast of the US.
    The clown in the White House turned our relationship with the Chinese around, brought hundreds of businesses back to the US, and revived the economy. Hello!
    The clown in the White House has accomplished the appointment of three Supreme Court Justices and close to 300 Federal Judges.
    This same clown in the White House lowered taxes, increased the standard deduction on IRS returns from $12,500 for Married Filing Joint to $24,400 and caused the stock market to move to record levels over 100 times, positively impacting the retirements of tens of millions of citizens.
    The clown in the White House fast-tracked the development of a COVID Vaccine – it will be available within weeks. We still don’t have a vaccine for SARS, Bird Flu, Ebola, or a host of diseases that arose during previous administrations.
    The clown in the White House rebuilt our military which the Obama administration had crippled and had fired 214 key generals and admirals in his first year of office.
    This clown in the White House uncovered widespread pedophilia in the government and in Hollywood, and is exposing world wide sex trafficking of minors and bringing children home to their families.
    The clown in the White House works for free and has lost well over two billion dollars of his own money in serving – and did all of this and much more in the face of relentless undermining and opposition from people who are threatened because they know they are going to be exposed as the criminals that they are if he is re-elected.
    I got it, you don’t like him. Many of you utterly hate and despise him. How special of you.
    He is serving you and ALL the American people. What are you doing besides calling him names and laughing about him catching the China virus?
    And please educate me again as to what Biden has accomplished for America in his 47 years in office?
    I’ll take a clown any day versus a fork tongued, smooth talking hypocrite.
    Please let it be known, I am not sure I would want to have a beer with him (if he drank, which he doesn’t) or even be his friend. I don’t care if I even like him.
    I want a strong leader who isn’t afraid to kick some ass when needed. I don’t need a fatherly figure – I already have one.
    I don’t need a liar – that’s what Hollywood and CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS and the New York Times and Washington Post are for.
    I don’t need someone to help me, but I also don’t want an obstacle or a demented, senile washed-up Swamp Monster.
    God bless Donald Trump, the most unappreciated President in history.

  3. Yeow, Keiran, what a can of worms you’ve prised open.
    I’m personally shocked to see that Trumpism is so alive and well in Alice, and that Psuedo Guru appears to be its mouthpiece, hiding behind a pseudonym.
    Not to worry, by the time the election count is completed, it will be clear that the majority of Americans have chosen to put the dreadful political experiment of the last four years behind them.

  4. Scott Morrison has also been provoking China after demanding transparency over the origin and spread of the deadly coronavirus.
    He cited US State Department intelligence about how the virus had spread but said he had not seen the documents.
    Whilst the USA is in anticipation of civil unrest, due to Trump losing and Trump’s supporters arming themselves and causing civil unrest, whilst the USA is attempting to settle who the president is and trying to stop civil unrest, China can make a move against Taiwan’s independence to retake Taiwan and possibly trigger a military conflict.
    The wind in Central Australia usually blows from the southeast.
    If on the day of a nuclear strike on Pine Gap, it is blowing from anywhere in the southwest quarter, Alice Springs would be enveloped in the plume of radiation at greater than the lethal dose.
    This would happen within hours of the explosion.
    Everyone would die of radiation poisoning within 24 hours.
    The blast and radiation effects would stress the medical services in Central Australia beyond coping.
    Very many people would die, untreated.
    Large tracts of Central Australia would become uninhabitable.
    Effects of the heat released by the explosion extends to about 20 kilometres.
    Everything flammable within 15 kilometres of Pine Gap would catch fire.
    This includes Ilparpa, the White Gum Estate, the airport, the Detention Centre and a section of Larapinta Drive, the Rangers’ Station at Simpsons Gap and all scrub and animal life in that 15 kilometre radius.
    Any people in the open along the South Road, at the airport and even at Simpsons Gap would receive third-degree burns and die within 24-hours from radiation poisoning.
    It is particularly dangerous that the conflict is starting to be seen as inevitable, a Chinese General last year predicted that China will fight Taiwan by 2025 and the US by 2035.
    However, with the USA in civil unrest, it could happen in 2021.
    Taken from your story “Authorities underrated risk to Pine Gap, Alice of a nuclear strike” published on 26 August 2019.

  5. Timely article. There are war fighting scenarios developed by the US and presumably China that should alarm us.
    These fall short of MAD (mutually assured destruction) but bring massive collateral damage.
    For example:
    Clash in the South China Sea.
    China and the US target each others satellites.
    China and the US start hitting bases tit for tat.
    The US takes out the South China Sea island bases (they have said this would be 30 minutes work).
    Since Pine Gap is not on US soil the Chinese figure they can wipe it out while avoiding MAD.
    They are probably correct.
    The UN brokers a peace and MAD is avoided.
    Alice Springs is collateral damage.

  6. Erwin and Kieran. Thank you very much for publishing my comment.
    Media references and claims to any world leader being of unstable mind towards nuclear war, especially in today’s democratic Western world, are in themselves very scary and unsettling for the average punter.
    Today’s media is an all-powerful force for influencing the people one way or the other, emotionally as well as intellectually, regardless of accurate factual reporting, as the astounding and unprecedented media frenzy surrounding this Trump-Biden election has demonstrated.
    It is arguable that today’s media has the power in itself to topple governments.
    My comment was designed to see whether the Alice Springs News was willing to present an unpalatable view that challenged its feature writer’s opinion piece. And you came through admirably. Thank you again.
    Good on you, Kieran and Erwin, for the balance and acceptance of criticism. I look forward to continued reading of the News.

  7. I’ll leave the detailed analysis to others but in general terms I think it’s obvious that many working class Americans are hurting and that makes them especially vulnerable to hype, lies and grandiose promises. Trump’s propaganda machine has been relentlessly effective in claiming credit for everything under the manufacturing, economic and employment sun. Here’s just one useful link with a differing view. His cuts to funding of the postal service and other tactics designed to weaken the process of postal voting speaks volumes. A lack of regard for the rights of ordinary voters in a democracy surely exposes the true tyrant. Watching from afar I feel his personality cult springs straight out of the pages of a dystopian cartoon, a crazy moment that lasted four years. It will take time for others better qualified than any of us to disentangle the true benefits of his term in office from the mountainous spin and deception.

  8. I tend to agree with John Bell, however I thought all of the opening statement was the view of David Kilcullen. I surely would hope it is not the view of the ASN, as I have always found it to be quite balanced. “From all reports he is in an unstable mind”? I have heard and read a number of reports that have said the exact opposite, so to say “all reports” is either deliberately incorrect or a disingenuous generalization. You may not agree with his way of thinking but to actually report this seems quite biased. Has he been provoking China in relation to Taiwan, or simply stood up to a bully in saying he is prepared to stand up to a threat. I would hope he does stand at the side of a smaller sovereign ally, as I hope Australia would do too, in much the same way he stood up to North Korea. Instead of cowering in fear to their sabre rattling he virtually told them to “put up or shut up” rather than give them funding and hope they act nice now. I wonder how things would have turned out if somebody stood up for Poland. Anyway I’m not a “fan” of Trump, and love him or hate him ultimately its up to the American people who they choose, however I was just as surprised as John that News that normally comes across as balanced, has come across (in this instance) as being more supportive of the contents of Peace Crimes, rather than truly objective.

  9. @ Local1: Just a minor historical correction. We did stand up for Poland. We declared war on Nazi Germany in 1939 when they invaded the country.

  10. This article is centrally about our preparedness for dealing with a possible attack on the increasing military assets and personnel in the NT, including the most important of them, Pine Gap. Thank you, Craig Eibeck and Jason, for responding to the issues.
    These are questions for Australians to address – it’s our country. And in relation to the US and our relationship with that country, they go well beyond Mr Trump’s presidency and also well beyond the issues I raise in this article.
    I deal with some of the other issues in my book Peace Crimes, which had its seeds in my reporting for the Alice Springs News. The book, however, does not confine itself to reportage, @Local1. When it departs from reportage, offering personal reflections and experiences, that is clearly signalled in the writing.
    A final point, to avoid confusion about the possible attribution of the introduction to David Kilcullen, I have slightly edited the sentence that introduces his comments about Australia being a target in a hot war between the US and China.

  11. Record number of votes for Trump, and against.
    I wouldnt be asking the NTG about Pine Gap, probably mistake it for Pine Creek.

  12. Kieran Finnane’s article is predicated on a scenario of hostilities breaking out between the United States and China due to Donald Trump’s reportedly “unstable, unpredictable frame of mind”.
    There is equally concern that Xi Jinping may seek to capitalise on American distraction at home over internal political strife to assert Chinese military power beyond immediate national borders, especially over Taiwan.
    If war erupted between the two superpowers, Australia will become involved in the conflict and, consequently, both Darwin and Alice Springs are perceived as “first strike” military targets at risk of annihilation by Chinese nuclear missiles.
    There are really two timeframes in play here; the first is immediate, spanning two and a half months from now until January 20 when Trump relinquishes the role of President to Joe Biden (assuming the latter is – in all likelihood – victorious).
    If war broke out at any time in this period, the lack of civil defence preparations becomes a moot point – there’s nothing practical we can do about it.
    There’s certainly no prospect of Pine Gap being abruptly shut down and everybody out there told to go home immediately.
    As for Donald Trump’s state of mind, I somehow suspect the US military will have certain protocols to deal with this possibility; and frankly, if Trump’s electoral and legal options for saving his presidency are gone, it’s difficult to see what he would think to gain from such an action.
    It’s far harder to perceive Xi Jinping taking his chances precipitating a military conflict right now.
    No doubt the Chinese Communist Party is revelling in the spectacle of American political discomfiture but, as practitioners without peer of taking the long view towards achieving their objectives, the Chinese are hardly likely to risk everything they’ve so painstakingly calculated for decades with a wild gamble at this delicate stage.
    So frankly I don’t perceive we are in imminent danger of nuclear immolation, in like manner to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
    It’s the longer timeframe which poses a greater risk for us and is certainly more problematic.
    If Alice Springs no longer hosted Pine Gap, would we be any safer if war broke out between the US and China? I suspect not.
    As pointed out in Hamish McDonald’s essay (, the US would expect Australia to play some role in the conflict: “Australia’s armed forces have been equipped and configured to integrate with the Americans and operate in high-intensity conflicts.
    “Australian officers are embedded in US command structures in the Pacific. Ships, submarines and aircraft are increasingly networked to US commanders. Our room for manoeuvre is sharply diminished.”
    Even if Pine Gap were gone, Alice Springs is still likely to be a target.
    During World War Two the Alice played a pivotal role as a military logistics centre and staging post and, remaining the only major town in the middle of the country, there’s no reason to think the Centre would not reprise that role should war erupt to our north.
    The Alice Springs Airport (located adjacent to the Seven Mile Aerodrome established by the Air Force in 1941) is constructed to a military standard and handles the largest aircraft; while road, rail and telecommunications all run right through the middle of our fair town.
    We are a potentially prime military target, irrespective of the presence of Pine Gap.
    If Australia were to dissociate from alliance with the US, Alice Springs may not be a target but our nation’s military capabilities would be greatly diminished.
    As noted earlier, our armed services are effectively integrated with the American military; consequently our military effectiveness would be severely impaired (I would think) without our reliance on the US.
    Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
    A major difference for us now (compared to the Second World War) is that Australia’s remote regions are highly valued for their enormous mineral and energy resources; and in particular China continues to rely heavily on imports of high grade iron ore from the Pilbara.
    During World War Two none of our immense resources were known and, as a result, the Japanese Empire had no desire to invade and occupy the “wastelands” of northern Australia.
    It’s a very different strategic situation now.
    There’s so much more to discuss but this should suffice to point out some of the likely risks and scenarios for Alice Springs in the event of a major armed conflict between the USA and China.
    Kieran Finnane’s article is most definitely apposite for these times.

  13. @Alex Nelson: We may potentially be a military target, irrespective of the presence of Pine Gap but not a prime one.
    The presence of the Base greatly increases the danger of an attack.
    A limited war fighting scenario where the eyes and ears of adversaries are attacked is far more likely than all out nuclear war.
    If that happens Pine Gap will be a prime target.
    When it was first built Pine Gap was not a major target, so its location was not a concern.
    Over the decades it has been upgraded and currently it is a red hot target.
    If it was constructed now it would be far away from any civilian population.
    The obvious solution is to move Pine Gap but of course that would be a very expensive proposition.

  14. @ Jason: Pine Gap was feared as a potential military target from the moment it was announced in December 1966.
    Here are some early quotes for you: “The shock announcement last weekend that a multi-million dollar space research facility was to be built near Alice Springs has raised a storm of controversy.
    “It has been lauded as a ‘new phase of development’ on one hand and decried with dismay on another.
    “Fears are being expressed openly in Alice Springs that the project could mean highlighting Alice Springs as a prime target in the event of a nuclear war.
    “Member for Alice Springs Charlie Orr, MLC, today openly accused NT Assistant Administrator Dwyer of making a ‘deliberately false’ statement at this week’s Town Board meeting ‘in an effort to deceive the public’ (“Clash on true role of US base”, Centralian Advocate, 15/12/66).
    In the same edition there was further commentary: “Hardest hitting critic of establishing the research station near Alice Springs was Member for Alice Springs, Charlie Orr, MLC.
    “Shortly after announcement of the new project, Mr Orr released a statement in which he denounced the Government for ‘acting in a typical offhand way’ in not consulting either the people of Alice Springs or their representatives.
    “He said: ‘In the case of another world war, Alice Springs must immediately become a strategic military target.
    “Mr Orr sent an immediate telegram to the Prime Minister expressing ‘deep concern and alarm’ at news of the proposed centre.
    “He told Mr Holt that local residents should have been informed and consulted prior to the signing of the agreement.
    “Mr Orr also tackled Assistant Administrator Dwyer at this week’s meeting of the Alice Springs Town Management Board.
    “Said Mr Orr: ‘While beneficial financially, won’t this defence space research station place Alice Springs in danger in case of war?” (“New era of development says Calder – Hazard says Orr”, Centralian Advocate, 15/12/66).
    The Centralian Advocate editorial supported Charles Orr: “The controversy which is seething around a proposal to establish a space-research station near Alice Springs has a number of disturbing undertones.
    “It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Federal Government has not been honest with the public about the true reason for setting up the base, and the full role it might play in the quickening world space race.
    “There is a strong suggestion that the new base – far from being a space laboratory, or even a defence facility – could become involved in the space race to the point where it assumed a definite offensive character.”
    The editorial continued: “If the space base does prove to be more than it appears on the surface, then Central Australia could become a strategic target in time of open warfare.
    “If this is so, the people should be told, or at least given adequate indication, so they can to some degree determine the course of their own lives” (Advocate, 15/12/66).
    This was within a week of the Federal Government’s announcement for the new establishment and there have been warnings and protests about the Joint Defence Space Research Facility – Pine Gap ever since that time.
    Your assertion of a “limited war scenario … is far more likely than an all out nuclear war” has never been supported in the past to my knowledge, hence the reason why three out of four contests for supremacy between established and rising powers in the last 500 years which have not led to conflict have occurred post World War Two.
    Your previous scenario including “China and the US target each others satellites” is also highly unlikely as the resultant debris in orbit around the Earth would put at permanent risk all satellite communications around the world.

  15. Thanks Alex Nelson, and again Jason, for taking up the issues of this article. Just one point though, Alex: the article doesn’t suggest that hostilities will break out “due to Donald Trump’s reportedly ‘unstable, unpredictable frame of mind’.” The suggestion is only that his volatility, given that he remains Commander in Chief, is not reassuring given the rising international tensions and power dynamics which the various high-level analysts that I quote allude to.

  16. @Alex Nelson: I do hope you are wrong in thinking that a limited war is unlikely. MAD has saved the world from full scale nuclear war for decades and I am optimistic that it will continue to do so.
    I do think a limited war is likely and that the major powers are preparing for it. Witness the USA shooting down one of the their own satellites and China doing the same with one of theirs. That was sending a message.
    So was the recent threat by China that it could take out Guam with one of their new missiles.
    I recently read an analysis of a limited scale war between the USA and China in the South China Sea.
    The USA was predicted to win.
    The reason is interesting. Not superior weapons but superior sensors.
    Detecting/sensing/data is what the next high tech conflicts are all about and that’s why Pine Gap is such an important US asset and target.
    Regarding your references to Alice Springs as a target without the Base, have you not noticed that Tindal RAAF Base is now centre stage in the USA’s war fighting capacity with long range anti ship missiles stationed there.
    Tindal is now the most potent base south of Guam and Alice Springs would be near irrelevant without the Base.

  17. @ Jason: Ah well, to quote General Ludwig Beck from the movie Valkyrie: “Fine, but remember – this is a military operation. Nothing ever goes according to plan.”

  18. Very true, I don’t think DT started a war. Also the ever increasing use of drones – much about which can be found in Kieran’s book – got a real boost during the Obama regime, and neither did BO keep his promise to close Guantanamo Bay.
    But, if I recall correctly one of DT’s first trips overseas after he became US president was to Saudi Arabia after which he boasted of selling the Arabs $15 billion worth of armaments.
    So yes, he didn’t start any war, but there is such a thing as aiding and abetting. Ask the people of Yemen if they admire DT for not starting any war.
    As for JB, I’m not buying the “working class” background bit etc. I do however admire him for owning up to some serious past mistakes he’s made (in particular in race relations). This is rare in politicians and gives me a glimmer of hope for the future.

  19. On a positive note, if Alice Springs does go up in a mushroom cloud, at least that will sort out the issue of youth crime that COVID-19 never got a chance to!


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