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HomeVolume 29Fight with nulla-nullas, spears, a baseball bat and a machete

Fight with nulla-nullas, spears, a baseball bat and a machete


The NT Government’s incompetence to provide even the most basic level of public safety, its huge police force notwithstanding, was predicted by Bob Catley who said 20 years ago that the Territory would be unable to achieve Statehood.

Police reported yesterday it responded at 1.15pm to a large group fighting with various weapons on Bath Street. That is the street in the middle of the CBD, between Coles and Woolworth.

A number of weapons including nulla-nullas, spears, a baseball bat and a machete were seized.

Prof Catley is a highly published author in the fields of politics and economics, worked in the early 2000s as a professor at CDU, and at a number of universities in Australia and New Zealand,

He felt it was far more likely to end up as a “colonial type region” with town centres such as Port Moresby and a wider region such as PNG, with associated high levels of social dislocation and problems

In this scenario it would be dominated by badly organised and managed Aboriginal interests as most whites will leave – as in PNG.

He advances a number of reasons for this, including a lack of economic development, high welfare and government dependence, a very high and rapidly growing Aboriginal population and poor governance.

Such characteristics he argues, are typical of many colonial states. In the case of the NT we have a colonial state within a country!

A defence presence will be the main core interest that remains.

He argues that this will accelerate as governments in the NT have not been able to get a model going where whites and Aboriginal people can work together in the mainstream economy.

This outmigration of the white community is certainly what is happening in Alice with house sales  are at record levels as whites vote to leave.

This is also likely to be happening in other urban centres such as Darwin and Tennant Creek, for example.

Immigration levels to the NT can be expected to continue to fall as governments are not capable of addressing the fundamental requirements of including Aboriginal people in the mainstream economy. 

I am sure my old sparring partner Bob Beadman would agree with this. 

If governments continue to ignore the dangers of this “separate development” both Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal communities will suffer. So will the NT more generally.

PHOTO AT TOP: The first Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, 1976, was meant to be  the first step towards statehood. It’s unlikely to turn out that way, claimed a leading academic 20 years ago. Today the chronic and out of control crime puts it even more into doubt. PICTURED in the back row, from left to right: Ron Withnall, Grant Tambling, Milton Ballantyne, Eric Manuel, Marshall Perron, Ian Tuxworth, Nick Dondas, Roger Steele. Middle row: Hyacinth Tungatalum; Roger Vale; Roger Ryan; Paul Everingham; Dave Pollock; Rupert Kentish. Front row: Geoff Letts; Dawn Lawrie; Les MacFarlane; Liz Andrew; Jim Robertson. Eric Manual replaced Bernie Kilgariff in the 1976 Alice Springs by-election. Photo taken on March 17, 1976. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.


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