Instead of skating or biking dare-devils on the edge of the half-pipe, it's a crowd of parents and friends. They've come down to the Alice Springs Skate Park to watch Sprung, a new youth dance group. As the sun goes down, there's a familiar rattling sound. The first dancers emerge, shaking out a rhythm: the rattle is from the all but empty spraycans in their hands. They brandish them almost like a weapon, they inscribe bold flourishes in the air. The image is clear: this is about making your mark, as is spelled out in the overall title for the piece, Graffiti. KIERAN FINNANE went to last Friday's performance. Click on FULL STORY for video.
ABOVE: 4WD tourists arrive at Palm Valley. RIGHT: Magnificent thick vegetation dominated by the unique Red Cabbage Palms.
With major changes in tourist promotion imminent under the new government, will places like Gosse Bluff and Palm Valley (above) finally get their place in the sun and become drivers of Alice Springs' flagging tourism industry? ERWIN CHLANDA went for a trip into a paradise created millions of years ago.
UPDATED, 4 November, 2012, 3.37pm: RUSSELL GOLDFLAM offers a different assessment of the book. see FULL STORY.
With her book Alice Springs, author Eleanor Hogan sets out to write an account that moves beyond “the polarities of political debate and media perceptions of Alice Springs”. This is stated at page 38, when I was already beginning to have my doubts. At the end of reading the further 261 pages, in a handsomely produced small format hardcover, these are confirmed. She has focused almost entirely on one pole, the bleak one, of a town all but overwhelmed by Aboriginal tragedy and dysfunction, and deeply divided along race lines. Tell me if I’m wrong, but that is the dominant media perception of Alice Springs, and for all her efforts, Hogan has just added to it, in spades. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.
At left: The book cover – Alice Springs? No, it's Roma Gorge in the West MacDonnells (photo by Ryan Tews.)
The Centre did well in the allocation of ministries in the new Mills government.
All except newcomer Bess Price, who has the huge Stuart electorate to look after, are on the front bench.
Deputy Chief Minister, Robyn Lambley (pictured with Mr Mills during electioneering in Alice Springs), is Treasurer and will also assume responsibility for Education, Families and Children, Corporate and Information Services and Central Australia.
What was expected to be an arraignment, at which the Supreme Court would hear Liam Jurrah enter a plea, ended up being an adjournment. The wigged barristers laughed at the media present from four outlets. But at least our false expectations had exposed us to the excellent street art (pictured) by Nicky Schonkala and Ralf Haertel, as part of the Alice Desert Festival.
The work, which required a cherry-picker to install, has given the dour Alice Springs courthouse a transforming friendly face, but inside, its serious business goes on unchanged. In the Jurrah matter all that happened, however, was that his bail conditions were altered, allowing him to reside also at an address in South Australia, given that his employer, the Melbourne Football Club, will be going into recess. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
The Country Liberals now hold all seats in Central Australia with the confirmation of the victory in Stuart by Bess Price (pictured) who defeated Karl Hampton.
The Country Liberals will now have 16 seats in the Legislative Assembly, with seven for Labor.
The wish of Lhere Artepe Enterprises (LAE) to honour traditional owners by naming streets after them in the Mt Johns subdivision has back-fired, or at least stalled. The commercial arm of the native title holders body, LAE, proposed the names "Werlatye" and "Irrampenye" for two new streets, which the Alice Springs Town Council, after some resistance, approved. Since publicity on the matter, council has received a number of phone calls, suggesting that the names are "offensive" to traditional owners, says CEO Rex Mooney. Council has now written to the Territory's Place Names Committee, pointing to the concerns.
Meanwhile, in other council news, Mr Mooney and Mayor Damien Ryan have attended the AGM of the Outback Highway Development Committee, held this week in Boulia, Queensland. Council will be lobbying for a finacial commitment to the project when it meets with the new Country Liberals government . KIERAN FINNANE reports.
The camp at the Granites goldmine north-west of Alice Springs. Workers fly in and out from all over Australia. Photo courtesy Newmont Mines.
A recurring theme during the election campaign was the question, why bother voting? And from that quite frequently flows: Let's break away. But how?
Answers to that seem to be taking shape in several quarters. Desert Knowledge chairman Fred Chaney suggested getting rid of the states and running the country from Canberra and through local governments on steroids.
And the election has suddenly shifted the political centre of gravity from Darwin's northern suburbs to the bush, through candidates and even a new party.Now Bruce Walker (pictured), the director of remoteFOCUS, Desert Knowledge Australia in Alice Springs, has argued in a submission to the Senate enquiry into Fly-In, Fly-Out that there are broad issues in remote Australia that need to be fixed.
UPDATE Fri Aug 31, 2pm: The Centralian Advocate today has printed only part of the story – a clear attempt to make me and this publication look bad.
Citing public interest as its motive, the Murdoch paper invited me to respond to questions and to comment. I did – but the Advocate left out the most salient detail. My statement to reporter Brooks was: "I have no debts other than to Forrest ..."
Just in case she didn't get it: I don't owe a cent to anyone except David Forrest. – ERWIN CHLANDA
The Murdoch-owned Centralian Advocate is making enquiries about the Alice Springs News Online and its editor, Erwin Chlanda.
Ken Lechleitner on polling day, campaigning for Warren H. Williams (back to the camera) in Hermannsburg.
The Darwin-focussed politics of successive Territory governments has finally got the challenge it deserved and it came from the black vote in the bush. Credit has to go to the Country Liberals' significant work in communicating with bush electorates and fielding credible candidates with strong local roots – this transformation of the Country Liberals is one of the major changes wrought by Labor's 11 years in power. But the performance of the First Nations Political Party, particularly in the electorate of Stuart, suggests a broader politicisation of Aboriginal people, no longer happy to have other voices speaking for them.
The challenge for the Country Liberals government will now be to respond to their new support base, honouring their campaign promises. The challenge for the First Nations Political Party is to remain active, develop its thinking beyond the broad brush, and identify future credible candidates. On polling day at Hermannsburg KIERAN FINNANE spoke to Ken Lechleitner about the party's future.
Sir,- Alice Springs has a wonderful sporting culture, excellent sports venues and great sporting organisations. Let's bring all those elements together and create “Sports Tourism”.
We have everything we need in the town for a sports tourism venture, there are great organisers who run local sports clubs. If the visiting sports have a nice experience, then they will tell all their friends back home and word of mouth will start us back on the right track. Councillor Eli Melky