Friday, September 18, 2020

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

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Issue 31

Keep your nose out of our business, candidate tells Amnesty International

Country Liberal candidate for Stuart Bess Price has fired a broadside at two local representatives of Amnesty International for sticking their noses into Aboriginal business and has threatened to make a formal complaint.

Amnesty also put its foot in it when Secretary General Salil Shetty visited the Utopia region in October last year.
Ms Price's angry reaction follows a series of questions from James Milsom and Rachel Toovey, members of the Alice Springs Action Group of Amnesty International, to explore Ms Price's stance on several issues, mostly about outstations in Central Australia.

"I have some urgent questions for you that I expect to be answered in full by August 9 (tomorrow)," Ms Price emailed them, "so that I can tell my people and all of the people of the Stuart electorate of all ethnicities what your agenda is and why they should speak up for themselves." Photo: Bess Price (standing) on the campaign trail.

Mandatory sentencing or not, that is the question

UPDATE Thursday, Aug 9, 11am

Trish van Dijk (pictured) has confirmed that her question to Adam Giles was about "mandatory sentencing per se". It was not about the old regime that existed under the CLP when it was last in government, as suggested by Simon Walker in his comment below. She told the Alice Springs News Online this morning: "I just asked a simple question: Are you going to pursue mandatory sentencing? And the answer was 'no'."

 

Now you see it, now you don't. The Country Liberals' policy is to introduce minimum sentences for certain categories of assault. That's mandatory sentencing, but according to candidates Adam Giles and Matt Conlan at yesterday's Meet the Candidates forum in Alice Springs, mandatory sentencing is  "not happening".

"We won't be pursuing mandatory sentencing", said Mr Giles to a question from Trish van Dijk at the forum. Mr Conlan joined in: "It's not happening," he said.

Today Mr Giles 'clarified' his understanding of the policy for the Alice Springs News Online: "Mandatory sentencing is a catch-all for everyone on all things. We're talking about minimum sentencing for assault on front-line service staff."

Yet clearly, if parliament passes legislation requiring minimum sentences for certain crimes, then that is mandatory sentencing. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 

Photo: Adam Giles makes an impassioned point. To his right are fellow Country Liberals Robyn Lambley and Matt Conlan. Nearest to the camera are (from right) the Greens' Barbara Shaw and Evelyne Roullet. The moderator, the ABC's Rowan Barwick, is at far left.

A meeting of cultures and minds

It was a meeting of cultures, peoples and minds when the Institute of Aboriginal Development launched its diary and its calendar, Jukurrpa 2013, as a tribute to indigenous art, which features in all its splendor in the publications, and under the banner "50,000 years of stories from the heart of Australia". PHOTO by Oliver Eclipse, tel 0400 181 658.

Alcohol sales in Alice dropped 12% between 2004 and 2011, but mail orders, online purchases not included

 

 

 

 

The total wholesale supply of liquor measured as pure alcohol has reduced in Alice Springs by 12% since 2004, according to figures from the NT Department of Justice.

The figures do not include alcohol obtained by mail orders or online purchases obtained from interstate which, according to anecdotal evidence, are increasingly popular.
The most significant drop was in the supply of wine casks and fortified wines, coinciding with sales restrictions and price increases.
See also Letter to the Editor from Dr John Boffa, from PAAC.
Photo: Campaigners against alcohol abuse tipping out grog in Alice Springs in 2007. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

The ties that bind

With family at Three Mile outstation, Papunya: Alison Anderson in the pink top; to her left Sylvana Marks, to her right Makisha Anderson, nieces. Makisha's mother Linda in the striped top; Alison's mother Beverley, front ; Linda's eldest daughter Natasha in green.

 

It's an election campaign like no-one else's: parties, policies and platforms seem to matter little compared to the ties that bind.

People from across the vast electorate of Namatjira (formerly MacDonnell) were expected to converge on Papunya for the annual Sports Weekend. I made a date two weeks ago to travel out there with the community's most famous daughter and sitting Legislative Assembly Member, Alison Anderson.

The day of travel arrives and plans change. We'll overnight first in Hermannsburg where she must attend a funeral the next morning. My swag and stores are added to the load – her Toyota has become a rolling campaign office – and we set out. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

What a week!

Will this election forum get some real answers? Three drug houses – look for the big green signs. Will the forum host  – the Chamber of Commerce – and the ALP candidates answer questions about fuel prices? Alice a fly-in, fly-out town? 20 sleeps till the election. ERWIN CHLANDA comments.

Alice houses marked as illicit drug premises

Three houses believed to be involved in the supply of drugs are now the subject of Drug Premises Orders following their identification during the recently completed Operation Caesar in Alice Springs. Three residences in Alice Springs now display Declared Drug Premises signs which give police broad powers to enter, search and seize evidence at these locations.

Pictured: A Declared Drug Premises sign on the fence of a house in Palmer's Camp, Basso Road.

Booze and parties: August 25 crunch time

With the death of Kwementyaye Briscoe in the Alice Springs police watchhouse in January (the image at right was produced in evidence at the inquest), and the recent death of Thomas Kelly in Kings Cross, there is a rapidly increasing public awareness of the fact that Australians have allowed a national drinking culture to escalate into unacceptable levels of alcohol-related violence and self-harm.

Control of booze abuse will be a major issue for the August 25 election, yet neither major party will answer questions whether they get financial support from the alcohol industry and if so, how much.

Campaign donation figures available to the public are often from companies or donors whose connections to the liquor industry are not clear, but neither Opposition Leader Terry Mills nor Chief Minister Paul Henderson will provide explanations.

Take-away is where the money is (70% of alcohol sold in the NT is take-away). Agitating for take-away sales-free days is asking for a trade-off in lives over profit. Unsurprisingly, restricting this supply is not a popular call. In formulating the NT Country Liberals’ alcohol policy, Mr Mills makes the prima facie claim: “It’s behavior that’s the problem, not the substance.”
According to McCuster Centre For Action on Alcohol and Youth, over the last 10 years about 15% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds were due to risky / high risk drinking.  On average, five Australians under 25 die from injury or disease caused by hazardous drinking each week and Indigenous people are more than twice as likely to die.

When an intoxicated Indigenous woman holds up her hand and stops a train besides the now ironically named, Little Sisters Town Camp, it could be that she’s saying “Stop!” to the free market grog trade decimating her community.
The tragedy is that it doesn’t stop there.  If this woman is pregnant, the unborn child is likely to suffer Foetal Alcohol Sprectrum Disorder.
Terry Mills faces the Australian Christian Lobby’s Make it Count Election Forum at CDU, Darwin next Thursday, August 9 at 7:30pm. The webcast will be streamed live to the Baptist Church, cnr Crispe and Brown St, Alice Springs.
Paul Henderson, NT Chief Minister declined to participate. COMMENT by RUSSELL GUY.

Centre poor cousin in road funding

Central Australia is getting merely crumbs off the table in "a significant investment in bush roads across the Territory" by the Federal and NT Governments.

Malarndirri McCarthy, NT Minister for Regional Development, and Warren Snowdon, Member for Lingiari, announced today they would be committing $16m and $90m, respectively, to a "new Regional Roads Productivity Package" to "encourage growth and development in a number of communities and local industries".

The slice of that for Central Australia will be for "upgrading the gravel condition of priority sections" – no lengths or costs disclosed – of the Santa Teresa Way whose total length is about 70 kms.

Will Alice become a fly-in, fly-out town? Only 71 new family type homes in 5 years

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Is Alice Springs becoming a fly-in, fly-out centre? Statistics say it looks like it.
A growing number of people working or spending time here do not call Alice home. 
Only 71 "family type" three bedroom homes were built between 2006 and 2011, whereas a much greater number of flats, units and apartments were constructed.

However the FIFO workers aren't engaged in the lucrative mining industry, but most likely in the public service, in government initiatives such as the NT Emergency Response and Closing The Gap, says Dr Andrew Taylor, Senior Research Fellow, Demography and Growth Planning, of the Northern Institute, commenting on the five year Australian census results just released.

Photo: On present trends, when kids pictured above in the 2010 Bangtail Muster reach their teens, their town won't be much bigger, the racial composition will be much the same, they will head interstate to do their tertiary education, the population will be older and a booming tourism industry in The Centre will be the fond memory recalled in a Skype chat with their grandparents.

Revitalisation works just about set to go

Parsons Street East, 3D rendering. Courtesy ASTC, CAT Projects, and Susan Dugdale & Associates. 

 

The architectural design for the redevelopment of the northern end of Todd Mall and Parsons Street is all but complete. The key visual features of the design are the moth-like shade structures, which will be placed in a number of clusters along the eastern side of the mall and the southern side of Parsons Street. Their central poles will be used to support much of the street furniture that at present clutters the street-scape. This includes CCTV cameras, bike racks, rubbish bins and lighting. Some of the moth wings will also become the canvas for public art work, the brief for which is also nearing completion. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

Greatorex forum: where was the fourth candidate? And where were the voters?

It was a "job interview" and he didn't turn up. First question to the other three contenders for the Legislative Assembly seat of Greatorex was, "Where's the CLP candidate? Has there been any apology from him?"

This was the 'meet the candidate' forum for Greatorex, organised well in advance by independent candidate Phil Walcott to which all contenders were invited.

"If someone chooses to not turn up for the interview, well ...," said Mr Walcott, explaining that incumbent Matt Conlan (Country Liberals) had indicated that he would not attend via a letter to the editor in the Centralian Advocate last week.

Joining Mr Walcott to outline their platform and answer questions were the ALP candidate Rowan Foley and the Greens' recently announced contender, Evelyne Roullet.

It seems though that the campaign is hardly setting the electorate on fire. About a dozen constituents turned up. Local media from three outlets were also in attendance.

Alcohol policies were an inevitable focus.

Photo (from left): Rowan Foley, Evelyne Roullet and Phil Walcott – but where is Matt? KIERAN FINNANE reports.

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