The Aboriginal community of Hermannsburg (Ntaria) is once again baking its own bread – an example of small business enterprise on remote communities that is so often talked about. For the last 10 months or so a bakery at the back of the Finke River Mission store has been producing loaves and rolls, building up to production of 100 loaves a day, sometimes more. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
UPDATE, August 25, 10.41pm: With 95% of the ballot counted, Alison Anderson (Country Liberals) has been returned in Namatjira with 64.5% of the vote. Des Rogers (Labor) has 28.3% and Warren H. Williams (FNPP), 7.2%. Ms Anderson's win is part of a historic swing to the CLP in the bush, which has given them government.
Nicholas Williams (at left) was in Hermannsburg this morning, handing out how-to-vote cards for his father, Warren H. Williams, while stationed in front of Alison Anderson's campaign vehicle.
"I'm campaigning for both," he said, "Warren is my father, Alison is my aunty. I'm doing it for family."
In practical terms that meant telling prospective voters to put his dad at number one but to give their second preference to Ms Anderson. This went against his father's how-to-vote, where Ms Anderson was in the last spot, with second preference going to Labor's Des Rogers. Nicholas said he didn't mind who won the seat, out of his two relatives.
And the most important issue in his home community? Families have to change and become "role models" for kids, he said. KIERAN FINNANE reports from Hermannsburg.
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.
I first met Sharona Richardson (pictured) in 2007 when she and another young local woman were staffing the Centrelink agency at Tjuwanpa Outstation Resource Centre, just outside Hermannsburg where she's from. I couldn't help but notice her again when she stood up at IAD's First Friday series of presentations and confidently spoke about the interpreters' code of ethics, emphasising the professionalism of Aboriginal Interpreter Services for whom she's working now.
Back in 2007 I'd been struck by her initiative – a feature of her working life was that at one stage she had gone off to work in a tuna factory in Port Lincoln. And at the time, with the encouragement of the local police sergeant, she was considering taking a job as an ACPO (Aboriginal Community Police Officer).
She told me on Friday that she did begin the training but a five-year-old incident that had given her a record prevented her going further with it. Meantime the shires had been established and their night patrol programs were underway.
"The sergeant looked at me again," she said. She became team leader for night patrol at Hermannsburg, staying in the position for a year.
She left because she was expecting a baby. A healthy boy arrived in August 2009 and she called him Mathias.
"I thought, 'I've got a baby, now I need a job'," she recalls. She had already done six months' training as an interpreter at IAD (Institute of Aboriginal Development). She heard that Aboriginal Interpreter Services had vacancies and they took her on as a casual. Then a full-time permanent position came up as a community-based interpreter. She's being supported to finish her studies on two days of the week. For the other three she's on call to attend wherever interpreter services are needed. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Warren H Williams – singer, musician and song writer from Hermannsburg in Central Australia – has won the $50,000 Red Ochre Award for his outstanding contribution to Indigenous arts. This is Australia’s highest peer-assessed award for an Indigenous artist presented by The Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board.
The award was made today at the 5th National Indigenous Arts Awards, held at the Sydney Opera House.
While known widely as a country musician, Warren H brings together many threads of the contemporary Australian sound, merging Aboriginal music with country and rock, bringing these musical genres onto a world stage.
“Warren plays a vital and unique role in the Australian music industry,” says Lee-Ann Buckskin, who was appointed Chair of the Australia Council ATSIA Board this week. “He’s a quiet achiever who not only shows young people the way to have a successful career in the music industry, but also dedicates his energy to issues of health, Aboriginal rights and the environment."
Source: Australia Council media release. Photo by Karen Steains.
Behind the sell-out theatrical tour of Namatjira, which has its final Australian performances in Hermannsburg and Alice Springs this week, is a three-year project for social change through art. Longer than that if the start is counted from Big hART's Ngapartji Ngapartji project. I ask Scott Rankin, Big hART's director, how he thinks the company's involvement with people in The Centre has contributed to social change over this time.
Complex problems require solutions on many levels, he replies. The social change debate is mostly focussed on "quick fixes" to force change through action that is mostly "siloed" into a single government portfolio.
Big hART's approach is to work at the grassroots level, with individuals. What is required from community and government is to support those individuals – he calls them "entrepreneurs" – who are effecting change in their lives, going beyond the usual "soft Left versus hard Right" adversarial approaches to the issues.
Art and culture are used as catalysts and perhaps never more pertinently than in the Namatjiira Project which has at its heart an emblematic story of a man effecting radical change, through art, in his life, the lives of those around him and indeed the cultural and social life of the nation.
Namatjira, the theatre production, is in its own way an emblematic story, as the most successful current touring production in Australia. It shows, says Rankin, that good art, attracting widespread attention and acclaim in the country's big cities, can come out of remote Central Australia. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
PHOTO: Hamming it up big time – in the 2010 Alice showing of the work-in-progress Derek Lynch as the Queen (left) and Trevor Jamieson.
New NT Intervention measures
While the Australian Government is extending the 'stick' approach in the field of education, tying welfare payments to school attendance, and alcohol, extending income management arrangements for people with alcohol related problems, there was no mention of the stick in relation to jobs. The announcements today, part of the Northern Territory Intervention Mark 2, are all 'carrots', sounding very like the carrots proffered in the past. This new bunch cost $19.1 million.
On the government's school attendance 'stick' Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion says: "Labor is all talk and no action with the re-announcement of welfare quarantining of Aboriginal parents who don’t get their children to school.
“This government can re-announce this policy until the cows come home but it is no good unless it is acted on and people are breached."
Headlining the government's new programs are 50 new ranger positions in the Working on Country program.
There's also emphasis on local filling local jobs, with traineeships to support up to 100 Aboriginal people to fill service delivery jobs in their communities.
What can I peaceably eat without turning my life into a obsessive
compulsive over-analysis of all things good or bad or both at the same
time for me, others, and the environment? Caffeine is bad for you. But
fair trade organic coffee is good for somebody else. Raising
animals to eat is highly costly in terms of water, feed and land usage.
What about fish? OK then, what if it’s sustainably farmed? Probably
still bad as oceans potentially become radioactive.