Former president of Barkly Shire and prominent opponent of the Federal Intervention, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, has lost to Eileen Bonney and Timothy Jakara Price in the supplementary election for the Alyawarr Ward in Barkly Shire. Mrs Kunoth-Monks did not stand for the general election but threw her hat in the ring when not enough candidates came forward to fill the vacancies in Alyawarr Ward.
Participation in the vote was low – 25%
In the Central Desert Shire's Anmatjere Ward James Glenn (who sat on the first shire council), Marlene Tilmouth and Benedy Bird have been elected. Former councillor Dianne Martin, who stood and lost in the Southern Tanami Ward and then stood again in the supplementary election for this neighbouring ward, missed out.
Participation was at 34%.
In MacDonnell Shire's Rodinga Ward Louise Cavanagh won convincingly over her sole rival, Rosalie Riley, 76.6% to 23.4%.
All vacancies will be filled on shire councils, with enough nominations coming in by today's deadline. In fact in Central Desert, MacDonnell and Barkly Shires supplementary elections will have to be held as there are now more nominations than vacancies.
In the Anmatjere Ward of Central Desert Shire four people have put up their hands for three seats. They include two former councillors, James Glenn and Dianne Martin. Mrs Martin stood in Southern Tanami Ward, where she lives, but missed out there. You have to live within the shire to stand, but not necessarily within the ward. Southern Tanami is adjacent to Anmatjere.
The other two nominees for Anmatjere Ward are Marlene Tilmouth and Benedy Bird.
In MacDonnell Shire's Rodinga Ward, where there is one vacancy, Rosalie Riley and Louise Cavanagh have nominated.
In Barkly Shire, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, its former president, did not stand March 24, but has now nominated for a councillor position in the shire's Alyawarr Ward. There are two vacancies and four nominations. The others are Timothy Jakara Price, Leslie Morton and Eileen Bonney.
Pictured: Candidates in the Anmatjere Ward supplementary election: Dianne Martin (left) and James Glenn. Both served as councillors during the first Central Desert Shire Council.
Ronda Ross was a little girl of about six when she arrived at St Mary's
Children's Home in Alice Springs. She remembers getting out of a taxi
with her older brother and sister, Clive and Fay, and being immediately
surrounded by a swarm of other children. Then she heard a voice saying,
"Stand back, children, let her breathe!"
It was a "beautiful, gentle voice – always". It belonged to Sister Eileen Heath, who has passed away just short of her 106th birthday at the end of November. Ronda last saw her in Perth when she was celebrating her 104th. Mrs Ross tells KIERAN FINNANE how she remembers a great Central Australian.
Pictured: 'Belles' of St Mary's (married names in brackets, if known) from left, Sister Eileen Heath, Ronda's sister Fay Andrew (Hampton), Shirley Dixon (Stuart), Ruth Forrester (Swan), Rosalie Kunoth (Kunoth-Monks). Next to Rosalie in the back row are Wendy Bourke (Espie), Doris Branson (Campbell), Eileen, or possibly Ivy Foster peeping from behind the garland, and Mona Bathern. There are three little girls in shadow next to Rosalie and then in front, Marie Liddle (Palmer), Peggy Foster and Patsy Clements (McDonald). Standing in Front of the Dodge is Mrs Lillian Schroder, who travelled with Sister Eileen and helped her in her work. Photograph courtesy St Mary's Children Home.
Above right: Peggy Jones and Ronda Ross (right) with Sister Eileen at her 100th birthday celebration.
The one-day visit last Saturday by Secretary General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, to the Utopia homelands generated the usual round of headlines: conditions are "devastating", comparable to those in the "Third World", policies amount to "ethnic cleansing" (this last from Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Utopia resident and Barkly Shire President).
What the so-called "fact finding mission" did not do was shed any light on the challenges facing governments and Aboriginal people about the future of the homelands at Utopia and elsewhere. This was done incisively by the outgoing Northern Territory Coordinator General for Remote Services, Bob Beadman (at right), in May of this year. His few pages of analysis provide far more insight into the situation than all of Amnesty's rhetoric, either in Mr Shetty's pronouncements or Amnesty's report, The Land Holds Us, released in August.
Mr Beadman also recommends some immediate (catch-up) steps for governments to take. There's no sign of the Northern Territory Government doing so. Minister for Indigenous Development Malarndirri McCarthy declined to answer the questions put to her by the Alice Springs News. Amnesty also declined to be interviewed by the Alice
However, a spokesperson for Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says her government "respects the rights of Indigenous Australians to live on their traditional lands and acknowledges the profound connection which many Aboriginal people have with their homelands" but "housing investment is currently focussed on larger Indigenous communities where more Indigenous people live and which are faced with poor housing and overcrowding".
And the spokesperson says Canberra has provided to the NT Government $80 million for provision of basic municipal and essential services to homelands in the Northern Territory over the past four years but "future funding from July next year will be discussed with the
Northern Territory Government." KIERAN FINNANE reports.
PHOTO ABOVE:Lenny Jones, 73, and Albert Bailey, 79, Chairperson of Urapuntja Health both from Soapy Bore, speak with Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty. Photo courtesy Amnesty International.
The human rights organisation Amnesty International has released what
it calls a research report, focussed on the changes in government
policy, particularly since the Intervention, that have affected the
Utopia homelands in the Northern Territory.
The report argues that through leasing and inadequate
funding governments are actually taking land away its traditional
Nowhere in the report is there an acknowledgement that leasing only
applies to a tiny fraction of Aboriginal lands, that is the land on
which government is building and maintaining infrastructure.
A "group of Aboriginal elders" is quoted as saying in part:
"Through harsh changes we have had removed from us all control over our
communities and our lives. Our lands have been compulsorily taken from
us. We have been left with nothing." There is no explanation nor
qualification of this dramatic claim.
The only named contributor to the report is senior Aboriginal woman
and activist Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, of Jedda acting fame, who provides
the Foreword for the paper which lambasts the new shire system without
mentioning that she is the president of her shire.
And the report advances mixed evidence of the benefit of living on
homelands, including that they are a "central" component of the Northern
Territory's $775.78m tourism industry, with no scrutiny of the
realities, including welfare dependency. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Photo at top: Jeffrey
Pepperill Kemarr and family at Camel Camp on the Utopia homelands,
about 30 kms from Arlparra. Source: Amnesty International, Lucas Jordan. Above: Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, with daughter Ngarla and granddaughter Ruby, in 2006. From the Alice News archive.